“I remember reading through Jeremiah Burroughs’ book, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, a number of years ago. He’s so precise and so meticulous a physician of the heart in applying that scalpel, in helping us to ask questions to whether we really are content. It’s a masterful piece of Biblical counseling and careful heart work.”
― Kevin DeYoung, PURITAN: All of Life to the Glory of God
Jeremiah Burroughs, a 17th-century English Congregationalist, was a well-known Puritan preacher.
In one who is discontented, the heart will be unruly and would even get above God as far as discontent prevails. But now comes the grace of contentment and sends it under. Is the hand of God bringing an affliction, yet my heart is troubled and discontented? “What,” it says, “will you be above God? Is this not God’s hand, and must your will be regarded more than God’s?” O under, under! Get you under, O soul!
― Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment
Burroughs goes on to write in his book, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment:
Contentment is taking pleasure in God’s disposal. Not only do I see that I should be content in this affliction, but I see that there is good in it. I find there is honey in this rock, and so I do not only say, “I must submit to God’s hand.” No, the hand of God is good, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted” (Psa 119:71). To acknowledge that it is just that I am afflicted is possible in one who is not truly contented. I may be convinced that God deals justly in this matter, but that is not enough! You must say, “Good is the hand of the Lord” (Ezr 7:9; Psa 104:28).
The righteous man can never be made so poor, to have his house so rifled and spoiled, but there will remain much treasure within. The presence of God and the blessing of God are upon him, and therein is much treasure. It is no marvel, therefore, that Paul was content; for a verse or two after my text you read, “But I have all and abound: I am full” (Phi 4:18). I have all? Alas, poor man!—what did Paul have that could make him say he had all? Was there ever a man more afflicted than Paul was? He had no bread to eat. He was often in nakedness, put in the stocks and whipped, and cruelly used. “Yet I have all,” says Paul, for all that. “As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things” (2 Co 6:10).
Contentment is submitting and taking pleasure in God’s disposal. A contented heart looks to and submits to God’s disposal, that is, he sees the wisdom of God in everything. In his submission, he sees His sovereignty; but what makes him take pleasure in God’s wisdom? [It is this:] the Lord knows how to order things better than I. I only see things at present, but the Lord sees a great while from now. And how do I know but that had it not been for this affliction, I should have been undone! I know that the love of God may as well stand with an afflicted condition as with a prosperous condition.
Learn more about Jeremiah Burroughs in PURITAN: All of Life to the Glory of God