Contentment is the Inward, Quiet, Gracious Frame of Spirit

Contentment is the inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, freely submitting to and taking pleasure in God’s disposal in every condition. ~ The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs

Afflictions Follow One After Another

It is very rarely that one affliction comes alone; commonly, afflictions are not single things, but they come one upon the neck of another. God may strike one man in his possessions, then in his body, then in his name, wife, child or dear friend, and so it comes in a variety of ways; it is the way of God ordinarily (you may find it by experience) that one affliction seldom comes alone. Now this is hard, when one affliction follows after another, when there is a variety of afflictions, when there is a mighty change in one’s condition, up and down, this way, and that: there indeed is the trial of a Christian. Now there must be submission to God’s disposal in them. I remember it was said even of Cato, who was a Heathen, that no man saw him to be changed, though he lived in a time when the commonwealth was so often changed; yet it is said of him, he was the same still, though his condition was changed, and he passed through a variety of conditions. Oh that the same could be said of many Christians, that though their circumstances are changed, yet that nobody could see them changed, they are the same! Did you see what a gracious, sweet and holy temper they were in before? They are in it still. Thus are we to submit to the disposal of God in every condition. ~ The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs

Submitting to God in Affliction

Many men and women will in general say that they must submit to God in affliction; I suppose that if you were to go now from one end of this congregation to the other, and speak thus to every soul: ‘Would you not submit to God’s disposal, in whatever condition he might place you?’, you would say, ‘God forbid that it should be otherwise!’ But we have a saying, There is a great deal of deceit in general statements. In general, you would submit to anything; but what if it is in this or that particular case which crosses you most?-Then, anything but that! We are usually apt to think that any condition is better than that condition in which God has placed us. Now, this is not contentment; it should be not only to any condition in general, but for the kind of affliction, including that which most crosses you. God, it may be, strikes you in your child.-‘Oh, if it had been in my possessions’ you say, ‘I would be content!’ Perhaps he strikes you in your marriage. ‘Oh,’ you say, ‘I would rather have been stricken in my health.’ And if he had struck you in your health-‘Oh, then, if it had been in my trading, I would not have cared.’ But we must not be our own carvers. Whatever particular afflictions God may place us in, we must be content in them. ~ The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs

The Difference Between Natural and Spiritual Contentment

I will give you just one mark of the difference between a man or woman who is content in a natural way and one who is contention a spiritual way: Those who are content in a natural way overcome themselves when outward afflictions befall them and are content. They are just as content when they commit sin against God. When they have outward crosses or when God is dishonored, it is all one to them; whether they themselves are crossed or whether God is crossed. But a gracious heart that is contented with its own affliction, will rise up strongly when God is dishonored. ~ The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs

A Contented Heart Sees the Wisdom of God in Everything

A contented heart looks to God’s disposal, 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 is God’s wisdom. The Lord knows how to order things better than I. The Lord sees further than I do; 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.  ~ The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs

A Sturdy Resolution is not Sanctifying Contentment

For if a man is to be free from discontent and worry it is not enough merely not to murmur but you must be active in sanctifying God’s name in the affliction. Indeed, this will distinguish it from a sturdy resolution not to be troubled. Though you have a sturdy resolution that you will not be troubled, do you make it a matter of conscience to sanctify God’s name in your affliction and is this where your resolution comes from? That is the main thing that brings quietness of heart and helps against discontent in a gracious heart. I say, the desire and care your soul has to sanctify God’s name in an affliction is what quietens the soul, and this is what others lack. ~ The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs

A Contented Heart is Active and Lively in Service to God

But where contentment of heart springs from grace, the heart is very quick and lively in the service of God. Yea, the more any gracious heart can bring itself to be in a contented disposition, the more fit it is for any service of God. And just as a contented heart is very active and busy in the work of God, so he is very active and busy in sanctifying God’s name in the affliction that befalls him. ~ The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs

Christianity without Contentment is Worth Nothing

Now I say that contentment is a quiet frame of spirit and by that I mean that you should find men and women in a good mood not only at this or that time, but as the constant tenor and temper of their hearts. A Christian who, in the constant tenor and temper of his heart, can carry himself quietly with constancy has learned this lesson of contentment. Otherwise his Christianity is worth nothing, for no one, however furious in his discontent, will not be quiet when he is in a good mood. ~ The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs

Outward Contentment vs. Inward Contentment

To be content as a result of some external thing is like warming a man’s clothes by the fire. But to be content through an inward disposition of the soul is like the warmth that a man’s clothes have from the natural heat of the body. A man who is healthy in body puts on his clothes, and perhaps at first on a cold morning they feel cold. But after he has had them on a little while they are warm. Now, how did they get warm? They were not near the fire? No, this came from the natural heat of his body. Now when a sickly man, the natural heat of whose body has deteriorated, puts on his clothes, they do not get hot after a long time. He must warm them by the fire, and even then they will soon be cold again. ~ The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs

Spiritual Contentment Comes from the Frame of the Soul

Spiritual contentment comes from the frame of the soul. The contentment of a man or woman who is rightly content does not come so much from outward arguments or from any outward help, as from the disposition of their own hearts. The disposition of their own hearts causes and brings forth this gracious contentment rather than any external thing.

Let me explain myself. Someone is disturbed, suppose it to be a child or a man or a woman. If you come and bring some great thing to please them, perhaps it will quiet them and they will be contented. It is the thing you bring that quiets them, not the disposition of their own spirits, not any good temper in their own hearts, but the external thing you bring them. But when a Christian is content in the right way, the quiet comes more from the temper and disposition of his own heart than from any external argument or from the possession of anything in the world. ~ The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs