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The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment

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We live our lives in a discontented world and it is all too easy for the Christian to share its spirit. This book remedies this spiritual disease in practical biblical ways.


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We live our lives in a discontented world and it is all too easy for the Christian to share its spirit. This book remedies this spiritual disease in practical biblical ways.

30 review for The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment

  1. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    In typical puritan style, not for the faint of heart. When you get to the point that you are done with pop-christianity and McChristian books, look no farther than this book for weighty, spiritual depth and life-changing principles. Read slowly in order to digest everything. It is packed full of sound principles; not to be skimmed in a day. But worth all the effort.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Steve Hemmeke

    This series of sermons by the Puritan Burroughs is a rare jewel of solid counsel and instruction for those battling discontent in their souls. Discontent is all around us. We vent it in coffee shops to friends. Ads for the next cool thing cultivate it for us. In one of the most prosperous societies ever, discontent rages. Contentment is an inward, quiet submission of the heart, which takes pleasure in God's providence in every situation. So says Burroughs. Many have contentment who don't have much This series of sermons by the Puritan Burroughs is a rare jewel of solid counsel and instruction for those battling discontent in their souls. Discontent is all around us. We vent it in coffee shops to friends. Ads for the next cool thing cultivate it for us. In one of the most prosperous societies ever, discontent rages. Contentment is an inward, quiet submission of the heart, which takes pleasure in God's providence in every situation. So says Burroughs. Many have contentment who don't have much, and many who have much are discontent. No amount of money, power, friendships, or sensational experiences can satisfy the heart of man. But to be content with your situation glorifies God, keeps you from sin, makes you Christ-like, is part of the Spirit's fruit, and brings much reward. Murmuring and complaining is the opposite, and we see it a lot in Scripture, especially Numbers. It is wicked rebellion, though we downplay our own discontent all the time. WE always have a reason, it seems. Why not consider all the reasons to be thankful, instead? There are lots more of those! How can we complain when God has given us far better than we deserve? I especially enjoyed chapter 11, against the excuses for our discontent. If you only knew what I'm going through! It's too severe. I didn't expect it. It's worse than others face. I could handle something else, but not this. Burroughs deals with each of these well. Please read this chapter, if you say these things to yourself. A note on the style: yes, Puritans can be long-winded and difficult reading. It is worth the effort. Do something a little harder than usual, and see the reward it brings! He uses lots of real life illustrations, too, that help.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Becky Pliego

    2020: Always timely. 2019: So good. 2018: Challenging and comforting. So much yet to be learned. 2016: So much wisdom here. I pray I will be a good student and learn my lessons well.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jon Pentecost

    Incredibly good. 10/5 stars. Read during Covid lockdown, which was a very timely season to reflect on contentment. This is a book full of good, gentle, gracious heart surgery that commends the goodness of Christ in the gospel. Recommend to anyone breathing

  5. 5 out of 5

    Natalie Weber

    One of my friends encouraged me to read this book in preparation for a talk I was asked to give on the topic of contentment. She even let me borrow her copy so that I could read it! Mr. Burroughs first published the book in 1648, and it is loaded with wonderful insights, vivid analogies, helpful explanations, and practical applications. One of the most striking explanations that I gleaned from the book is that most Christians don’t handle affliction or loss with contentment because they don’t ex One of my friends encouraged me to read this book in preparation for a talk I was asked to give on the topic of contentment. She even let me borrow her copy so that I could read it! Mr. Burroughs first published the book in 1648, and it is loaded with wonderful insights, vivid analogies, helpful explanations, and practical applications. One of the most striking explanations that I gleaned from the book is that most Christians don’t handle affliction or loss with contentment because they don’t expect to encounter such adverse experiences. This is contrary to the teaching of Scripture and the example Paul sets for us of anticipating “bonds and affliction” in every city to which he traveled (Acts 20:22-23). Mr. Burroughs expounds on this and many other truths much more thoroughly than a brief review allows. I gleaned much from this book, especially in light of the personal experience God took me through to teach me the secret of contentment.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    Quite simply one of the best books I have ever read! Every Christian in America needs to read this book. We complain and complain, or as Burroughs says, "Murmur, Murmur, Murmur..." No matter our circumstance, the current economic problems, or whatever, we find our contentment in Christ and Christ alone. Please, people who read this, read this book and be changed. Thanks be to God that in His providence He raised up men like Burroughs to write things like this. Soli Deo Gloria! Quite simply one of the best books I have ever read! Every Christian in America needs to read this book. We complain and complain, or as Burroughs says, "Murmur, Murmur, Murmur..." No matter our circumstance, the current economic problems, or whatever, we find our contentment in Christ and Christ alone. Please, people who read this, read this book and be changed. Thanks be to God that in His providence He raised up men like Burroughs to write things like this. Soli Deo Gloria!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mark Popovitch

    Excellent, excellent book! Highly recommended! Practical insights into a difficult virtue for the Christian, yet vitally needed. In typical Puritan style, the pacing of the book may be a little slow and seemingly dry to our modern ears, yet I find this is a strength of the book, for it causes the reader to be attentive, intentional, and put in the effort to pull up and plod forward when we want to step on the gas. We may want to get to “the sensational”, but what we need is to slow down and “pai Excellent, excellent book! Highly recommended! Practical insights into a difficult virtue for the Christian, yet vitally needed. In typical Puritan style, the pacing of the book may be a little slow and seemingly dry to our modern ears, yet I find this is a strength of the book, for it causes the reader to be attentive, intentional, and put in the effort to pull up and plod forward when we want to step on the gas. We may want to get to “the sensational”, but what we need is to slow down and “paint the fence” (thanks Karate Kid). Since contentment isn’t something that comes naturally but must be learned, cultivating it will take time and work. Begin putting in the work by soaking in this book. Your soul won’t regret it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Abby Jones

    The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment (A short review) By Jeremiah Burroughs I started reading this book, providentially, at the same time I faced chronic health issues that sapped my energy and forced me to be house bound and mostly couch bound. What a blessing from the Lord! This book challenged me to keep my heart in the right place, trust the Lord, and seek the spiritual growth that comes from affliction. This is an excellent, easy-to-read, manual for every believer on the importance of conte The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment (A short review) By Jeremiah Burroughs I started reading this book, providentially, at the same time I faced chronic health issues that sapped my energy and forced me to be house bound and mostly couch bound. What a blessing from the Lord! This book challenged me to keep my heart in the right place, trust the Lord, and seek the spiritual growth that comes from affliction. This is an excellent, easy-to-read, manual for every believer on the importance of contentment and keeping a pre-ash, treasure in heaven mentality. He covers health issues, money issues, and many many heart issues poking in deep to help you root out a complaining heart. This book isn’t without a small handful of doctrinal issues. At one point Burroughs declares that God is more interested in your private bible study than He is with your church attendance. There aren’t so many that value can’t be gleaned, but don’t read this book blindly. Keep your theology cap firmly in place. I can see myself reading this book again, or referencing particular parts of it during times of struggle. God has taken care of His church through good times and bad, down through the ages, by giving us pastors and teachers. We are fortunate to get to read the shepherds of the past.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Meredith Johnson

    An excellent book and one I wish I owned a copy of to refer when I find myself lacking...the jewel of Christian contentment. There were a few points I disagreed with... For men, to whom God has given gifts of wisdom, when things fall out amiss in their families, to be always murmuring and repining, is a greater sin than for women or children to do it. There's some old-fashioned 17th century misogyny for you. :P Or... For instance, God takes away a child and you are inordinately sorrowful, beyond w An excellent book and one I wish I owned a copy of to refer when I find myself lacking...the jewel of Christian contentment. There were a few points I disagreed with... For men, to whom God has given gifts of wisdom, when things fall out amiss in their families, to be always murmuring and repining, is a greater sin than for women or children to do it. There's some old-fashioned 17th century misogyny for you. :P Or... For instance, God takes away a child and you are inordinately sorrowful, beyond what God allows in a natural or Christian way; now though I never knew before how your heart was towards the child, yet when I see this, though you are a mere stranger to me, I may without breach of charity conclude that your heart was immoderately set upon your child or husband, or upon any other comfort that I see you grieving for when God has taken it away. Talk about a "breach of charity". In conclusion-- while it wasn't a breeze to get through and I didn't agree with about 5 percent of it-- I think I have benefited by reading it and can even see myself recommending it to others.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Prata

    It's hard to know how to review such a phenomenal book. Full of wisdom, well written, and convicting. Burroughs gives the reader higher visions of Jesus and sets the reader into place and position compared to Him, and allows us to clearly see what a sin discontent is. You might think that's a downer, but any book that raises our estimation of Jesus is worth it. Burroughs shows us how very MUCH we have in Christ. Contentment is a jewel because Jesus is the jewel that bestows it- if we cultivate i It's hard to know how to review such a phenomenal book. Full of wisdom, well written, and convicting. Burroughs gives the reader higher visions of Jesus and sets the reader into place and position compared to Him, and allows us to clearly see what a sin discontent is. You might think that's a downer, but any book that raises our estimation of Jesus is worth it. Burroughs shows us how very MUCH we have in Christ. Contentment is a jewel because Jesus is the jewel that bestows it- if we cultivate it. The Puritan Paperback has streamlined the language lightly but it is still a book that demands attention I didn't want to miss out on so many jewels and nuggets of wisdom, so I read one chapter a day or two. Leave space in your mind for ruminating. And don't miss out on reading this book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Bob O'bannon

    When I read the Puritans, I sometimes wonder why I read anything else. This book is a 228-page treatment of Paul's declaration that he had learned to be content in every circumstance. Burroughs analyzes the subject of contentment from about every imaginable angle, and shows a timeless acquaintance with the workings of the human heart. Put asunder any fear that this 17th work will be hard to understand --it is plain spoken, practical and profound. When I read the Puritans, I sometimes wonder why I read anything else. This book is a 228-page treatment of Paul's declaration that he had learned to be content in every circumstance. Burroughs analyzes the subject of contentment from about every imaginable angle, and shows a timeless acquaintance with the workings of the human heart. Put asunder any fear that this 17th work will be hard to understand --it is plain spoken, practical and profound.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sadie

    I wasn’t sure what to expect from a Puritan on the topic of contentment, but after several friends had sung it’s praises to me, I decided it was worth a try. It had me hooked in the beginning, when the author concedes that some people seem outwardly content when in fact they may just be people who are never excited about anything good or bad and that didn’t mean they were actually content. He seemed to know human nature well and was willing to speak honestly so I kept reading. The book is filled I wasn’t sure what to expect from a Puritan on the topic of contentment, but after several friends had sung it’s praises to me, I decided it was worth a try. It had me hooked in the beginning, when the author concedes that some people seem outwardly content when in fact they may just be people who are never excited about anything good or bad and that didn’t mean they were actually content. He seemed to know human nature well and was willing to speak honestly so I kept reading. The book is filled with scripture, encouragement and thought provoking questions about the nature of contentment in many different circumstances that Christians encounter in life.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Brown

    I feel as if I have only scratched the surface of this book. I will be re-reading it for many, many years to come.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany Youtzy

    “A man who is little in his own eyes will account every affliction as little, and every mercy as great.”

  15. 5 out of 5

    Randall Hartman

    This exposition of Philippians 4:11 by Puritan Jeremiah Burroughs defines Christian contentment as "that sweet, inward quiet gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God's wise and fatherly disposal in every condition." It is a heart condition that is so opposite that of 21st century culture, which has ingrained me and so many others with serial discontent. Burroughs notes that being well-skilled in the mystery of Christian contentment is the duty, glory, and excellence This exposition of Philippians 4:11 by Puritan Jeremiah Burroughs defines Christian contentment as "that sweet, inward quiet gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God's wise and fatherly disposal in every condition." It is a heart condition that is so opposite that of 21st century culture, which has ingrained me and so many others with serial discontent. Burroughs notes that being well-skilled in the mystery of Christian contentment is the duty, glory, and excellence of a Christian. The book describes the source and characteristics of contentment, unfolds its mystery, and notes that we learn it in the School of Christ. The author then articulates both the excellence of contentment and the evils, aggravations, and excuses of its opposite, a murmuring spirit. He concludes his scripture-drenched book with considerations to content the heart and directions for attaining the grace of contentment. Lest one think this is a list of to-dos, it is focused on considering what God in Christ has done. I highly recommend this jewel as a devotional reference as well as a challenge to our world-oriented perspective.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    I have finished - if by finished you mean I will go back to the beginning and start it again. This is a cheese grader of the soul. Or maybe just a chisel to chip of those bits that have grown on to me in my sin. We now own it on audiobook as well.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Bambi Moore

    Full of delicious truths. A balm to the soul!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Fendrich

    Much like the other writings of the English puritans, this one is a loving, compassionate, humble punch in the face. ;) It’s a classic of Christian literature for a reason: Bible-centered, pride-crushing, and sanctification-empowering. Will need to read again and again.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl Linebarger

    I believe this is my fourth (or fifth??) time through this Puritan classic. In fact, my old copy fell apart, so this was a fresh, new book this time around. This is a book I try to read one every 2-3 years, to remind myself of all that Christ has done for me, and how vital it is that I am content in my circumstances, whatever they may be, in light of Him.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Watkins

    A great collection of puritan sermons all tying back to contentment and discontentment. A highly recommended classic.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Laura Thigpen

    Burroughs has bent his own bow in this collection of sermons, each one striking his target with a purifying precision. Contentment is not something we suffer, but a reward we gain in our sufferings.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    I debated between 4 or 5 stars. It's an excellent book, makes you realize how great God is & how small we are in comparison. It's not an easy read & takes time to sort through all of his thoughts. Can get a bit dull at times, but Burroughs gives numerous examples of excellent points he has. Highly recommend for those not only struggling in contentment, but for those looking for a book to challenge their worldview. I debated between 4 or 5 stars. It's an excellent book, makes you realize how great God is & how small we are in comparison. It's not an easy read & takes time to sort through all of his thoughts. Can get a bit dull at times, but Burroughs gives numerous examples of excellent points he has. Highly recommend for those not only struggling in contentment, but for those looking for a book to challenge their worldview.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Chad Warner

    Biblical, pastoral advice on Christian contentment. Burroughs draws on the Bible to walk through many ways to fight discontent and replace it with contentment. The lessons are timeless; they're just as true today as when the book was published in 1651. It's worth enduring the verbosity and repetition to absorb its valuable lessons. Burroughs explains that contentment comes from within (trusting God), not from outside ourselves (the circumstances of our lives). He also reminds us that our salvatio Biblical, pastoral advice on Christian contentment. Burroughs draws on the Bible to walk through many ways to fight discontent and replace it with contentment. The lessons are timeless; they're just as true today as when the book was published in 1651. It's worth enduring the verbosity and repetition to absorb its valuable lessons. Burroughs explains that contentment comes from within (trusting God), not from outside ourselves (the circumstances of our lives). He also reminds us that our salvation is a greater mercy than any affliction we may suffer. Notes We may ask God for deliverance from a negative situation in an orderly, quiet, still, submissive way. We may also explain our situation to friends, to ask for help and encouragement. We may seek lawful help and means to escape afflictions; it may be God's will to use such means for our deliverance.A well-tempered spirit may enquire after things outside in the world, and suffer some ordinary cares and fears to break into the suburbs of the soul, so as to touch lightly upon the thoughts. Yet it will not on any account allow an intrusion into the private room, which should be wholly reserved for Jesus Christ as his inward temple.Desiring to honor God in your affliction helps you be content. Go beyond being content in affliction to seeing God's goodness in it. Contentment comes not from adding things to your condition, but to subtracting from your desires until they equal your circumstances. Believers in Bible are almost always spiritually worse, not better, for being prosperous (exceptions are Daniel, Nehemiah). Contentment comes not from having your desires satisfied, but from matching your will and desires to God's. Go beyond submitting to God's will to making God's will your will. Contentment comes not from taking things from outside to make ourselves more comfortable, but from purging lusts and bitterness from within (James 4:1). See God's love in affliction and prosperity. See God as making up for anything you lack in this life. God removes comforts so that we focus on Him instead of them. Self-denial brings contentment, because it helps you yield to God's will. Realizing that you deserve nothing but Hell helps you be content with anything you have. When the focus of your life is earthly comfort, you're easily discontented. When the focus of your life is eternity, earthly comfort becomes far less important, and you're content. When you don't have something, realize that God withholds it because He knows you can't handle it. Wealth is spiritually dangerous (Matt 19:24), so be content with your financial state. Be willing to live for as long as God pleases; don't wish to be delivered from this life. By living through affliction you honor God. We shouldn't expect literal performance of outward promises of OT to apply to us, but God can apply the promises to us spiritually, which is better. For example, He may not prevent plague (Ps 91), but may use it for our good and thus guard us from spiritual evil associated with plague. God's ordinary course is for His people to live afflicted lives, so we should expect such and not be discontent (1 Pet 4:12). Salvation is a greater mercy than any affliction. Make a list of mercies and a list of afflictions and you'll see that God has given far more mercies than afflictions. All we have we have received freely from God, so to murmur at what He gives us is a great evil. A man who lives for free with a friend has no right to complain. We live for free in God's world every day. Look beyond afflictions to see God behind them. Afflictions are instruments in God's hands. No matter how great your afflictions are, recognize that they're are far less than Hell, which you deserve. Spend time with the poor, injured, and sick, to realize how good your conditions are. This will help you be grateful and content. If you grieve too much the loss of property, or your reputation, or even a person, you have loved those things more than God. Don't love things too much, and you'll not grieve their loss too much. Put more emphasis on spiritual things than earthly things, and you won't be as bothered by your earthly conditions.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    This was the first book I read aloud for my podcast, Hurry Up and Read. It is a fantastic look at true Christian contentment, how to attain it, and how to avoid discontent and murmuring. It is filled with analysis on reasons people give for discontent, and I found many of them convicting. Overall, this book motivated me greatly to pursue true Christian contentment in my own life.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    Re-read in 2020: There's a lot of psychological insight in this book, more even than in Tournier, the best point of which is that we always think we need a little bit more to avoid complaining and grumbling. Long, but powerful on every level. Canon Press will be releasing a version soon. Old review: A surprisingly calming read. Surprise! Elizabethans had the same problems as us! A very wise book with loads of insightful quotes, as thus: "Especially is this the case with those who besides their corr Re-read in 2020: There's a lot of psychological insight in this book, more even than in Tournier, the best point of which is that we always think we need a little bit more to avoid complaining and grumbling. Long, but powerful on every level. Canon Press will be releasing a version soon. Old review: A surprisingly calming read. Surprise! Elizabethans had the same problems as us! A very wise book with loads of insightful quotes, as thus: "Especially is this the case with those who besides their corruptions have a large measure of melancholy. The Devil works both upon the corruptions of their hearts and the melancholy disease of their bodies, and though much grace may lie underneath, yet under affliction there may be some risings against God himself." Note that this precedes all modern psychology, and admits the best of it: melancholy is not a mere "temperament" but a bodily humor (one of the four), but it is not neutral, but an opportunity for the devil. "I beseech you to consider that God does not deal by you as you deal with him. Should God make the worst interpretation of all your ways towards him, as you do of his towards you, it would be very ill with you. God is pleased to manifest his love thus to us, to make the best interpretations of what we do, and therefore God puts a sense upon the action of his people that one would think could hardly be. For example, God is pleased to call those perfect who have any uprightness of heart in them, he accounteth them perfect: 'Be ye perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect'; uprightness in God's sense is perfection. Now, alas, when we look into our own hearts we can scarce see any good at all there, and yet God is pleased to make such an interpretation as to say, It is perfect. When we look into our own hearts, we can see nothing but uncleanness; God calls you his saints, he calls the meanest Christian who has the least grace under the greatest corruption his saint. You say we cannot be saint here, but yet I God's esteem we are saints. You know the usual title the Holy Ghost gives, in several of the Epistles, to those who had any grace, any uprightness, is, to the saints in such a place; you see what an interpretation God puts upon them, they are saints to him. And so I might name in many other particulars, how God makes the best interpretation of things; if there is an abundance of evil and a little good, God rather passes by the evil and takes notice of the good." God putting a good spin on us, why yes, well phrased! "I will give you a clear demonstration that almost all the discontent in the world is rather from the fancies of others than from the evil that is on themselves. You may think your wealth to be small and you are thereupon discontented, and it is a grievous affliction to you; but if all men in the world were poorer than you, then you would not be discontented, then you would rejoice in your estates though you had not a penny more than you have." So yeah, the Puritans did have a unique talent for sin-spotting, a talent that has backfired due to their legalism, their overrealized view of providence and sometimes depravity. Worse is their introspectionism, which sadly continues in some quarters of the church. If you tend that way, this book is for you. If you are more well adjusted, this book may not be consoling for you. But we're all whiners, so the content is definitely not optional. So, you should probably read and re-read it.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    This rare jewel of a book has so much spiritual depth & practical guidance that I'm giving it 5 stars. From start to finish, Burroughs turns over the fallow ground of our discontented, restless & self seeking hearts, at times leaving the reader out of breath searching for a place to hide from one's own shameful participation in this frequently disguised sin. With such skill the author exposes the evils of a murmuring, covetous spirit & uncovers all our excuses for being discontent; most importan This rare jewel of a book has so much spiritual depth & practical guidance that I'm giving it 5 stars. From start to finish, Burroughs turns over the fallow ground of our discontented, restless & self seeking hearts, at times leaving the reader out of breath searching for a place to hide from one's own shameful participation in this frequently disguised sin. With such skill the author exposes the evils of a murmuring, covetous spirit & uncovers all our excuses for being discontent; most importantly, that what God has already given to us & the estate we currently find ourselves in is insufficient & inadequate. Discontentment suffocates the joy, the beauty & the wonder of knowing Christ & His all sufficiency as it's intended to function in every area of our Christian lives. It breeds self absorption & a perpetual withholding of the gratitude God deserves from us, particulary in the hard & the difficult providences of life, where God is granting us the deepest most profound graces that we so often disdain. The entire book so accurately addresses the hard realities of our sinful dissatisfaction & all our clever yet useless devices to gratify them. Although it's incredibly helpful & insightful, thank God he doesn't leave the reader just more informed but in the last two sections outlines the finer details of how to go about attaining contentment based on scripture & these two sections alone are worth their weight in gold. This book is a keeper & will merit reading again & again throughout the life of the believer!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Joshua

    I wish I could give this book more than 5 stars! If there is a more needed message to our culture today than the lesson of Christian contentment, I don't know what it is! And if anyone could more thoroughly and biblically teach it than Jeremiah Burroughs here does, I don't know who he is! I wish I could give this book more than 5 stars! If there is a more needed message to our culture today than the lesson of Christian contentment, I don't know what it is! And if anyone could more thoroughly and biblically teach it than Jeremiah Burroughs here does, I don't know who he is!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Joost Nixon

    So helpful in getting control of the attitude. Can be a bit wordy (he was a Puritan after all(, but really quite good.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea Floyd

    This is my second time through The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, and I think I will reread this book until I die. It is one of the best books I have ever read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    John

    One might think that contentment is a contemporary issue, but Jeremiah Burroughs’s admonitions in The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment remind us that humans have struggled with contentment since Adam and Eve. To be content is what God calls us to and is what distinguishes us as those who have experienced the transforming work of God in our lives. Burroughs says that, “Christian contentment is the duty, glory, and excellence of every Christian.” What is contentment? Burroughs suggests that con One might think that contentment is a contemporary issue, but Jeremiah Burroughs’s admonitions in The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment remind us that humans have struggled with contentment since Adam and Eve. To be content is what God calls us to and is what distinguishes us as those who have experienced the transforming work of God in our lives. Burroughs says that, “Christian contentment is the duty, glory, and excellence of every Christian.” What is contentment? Burroughs suggests that contentment can be defined as, “…that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God’s wise and fatherly disposal in every condition.” Reflecting on Paul’s words to the Philippian church, Burroughs tells us that when we are able to see things as God sees them, we can shift our perspective from not only seeing a few good things that we have been given, but to realize, that God has given us all that we need. In his words, “… a Christian should say, I have not only enough, but I have all.” It is no small thing to be able to shift our perspective to see the world this way. It requires a radical “heart-work.” When our hearts begin to be transformed by God, we not only require less to be satisfied, but the very things that satisfy the world are things that do not satisfy us. In God economy, Burroughs suggests, we come to contentment not by addition, but by subtraction. Burroughs says: “You do not find one godly man who came out of an affliction worse than when he went into it; though for a while he was shaken, yet men, you find, have been worse for their prosperity.” Instead, we begin to see all we have through God’s eyes. What is it that we have received that we ought to be content in? Burroughs reflects: “If God has glory, I have glory; God’s glory is my glory, and therefore God’s will is mine; if God has riches, then I have riches; if God is magnified, then I am magnified; if God is satisfied, then I am satisfied; God’s wisdom and holiness is mine, and therefore his will must needs be mine, and my will must needs be his.” When we have this perspective, we see how much we have and not how much we lack. We consider the sufferings of Christ and wonder why we should suffer so little. In Burroughs words, “Thus, a godly man wonders at his cross that it is not more, a wicked man wonders his cross is so much.” When our hearts respond to God with contentment, he is glorified and filled with joy. But, when our hearts are ungrateful and discontent, we grieve God. Reflecting on God’s harsh response to discontentment, Burroughs says, “To murmur when we enjoy an abundance of mercy; the greater and the more abundant the mercy that we enjoy, the greater and the viler is the sin of murmuring.” Or, more simply put: “Nothing is more grievous to the heart of God than the abuse of mercy.” Burroughs The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment is indeed a timeless jewel. It’s remarkable to consider how much more the poorest contemporary reader of Burroughs book has compared to the richest reader when it was first published. It reminds us how universal the problem is. Burroughs book is well worth the read. It calls us to the heart of God and in doing so convicts powerfully. The pace of the book is tough for the contemporary reader, myself included, and not necessarily linear in its organization. Burroughs circles the topic more than moves through the reader toward a destination. And the practical applications are less clear than his statement of the problem. One final quibble I would have with Burroughs is that, at times, he can overstate our depravity for effect (at one point he calls us “pitchers of poison”). That said, I commend The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment to the patient reader who desires to have his or her heart better reflect our holy and loving God’s heart.

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