Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Puritan Reading Challenge - The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment

In January, I took up Timmy Brister's Puritan Reading Challenge. I read The Bruised Reed first.
Next, since we didn't have February's title yet, I picked up The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs. I finished it just a few days into March.

I've read The Rare Jewel before but this time was particularly meaningful. February was a hard month spiritually. I was challenged with some issues about myself and I am thankful to God for bringing these things to my attention. I don't think it was any coincidence that I was reading this book at the time.

The Rare Jewel is not necessarily easy to read, in more ways than one. I began it at the beginning of February and after a couple of days, went back and started outlining it as I went so I could keep track of all his points. That helped a lot. It's laid out well but there are subpoints of subpoints so sometimes I got a little confused until I started writing it down.

It's also not that easy to read because it's challenging spiritually. Here are some quotes and points from it. In italics are the direct quotes.

Contentment is an inward quiet gracious frame of spirit.

Contentment is freely submitting to and taking pleasure in God's disposal.

A Christian comes to contentment, not so much by way of addition as by way of subtraction.

(I can't tell from my notes if this next is an exact quote - I think so but I'm not sure)
Not only in good things does a Christian have the dew of God's blessing and finds them very sweet to him, but in all the afflictions, all the evils that befall him, he can see love and can enjoy the sweetness of love in his afflictions as well as in his mercies.

God is most honoured when I can turn from one condition to another according as he calls me to it.

Speaking of the providence of God...
No more can you make the providence of God alter and change its course with your vexing and fretting; it will go on with power...

God may have some work to do twenty years hence that depends on this passage of providence that falls out this day or this week.

If you have a love and friendship to God, be willing to be crossed... that the Lord may have his work go on in general.

By contentment we come to give God the worship that is due to Him.

Burroughs spends quite a bit of time on the evils of a murmuring/discontented spirit. It's very convicting!

One quote that particularly affected me:

The great design God has in afflicting you is to break and humble your heart; and will you maintain a spirit quite opposite to the work of God? For you to murmur and be discontented is to resist the work of God. God is doing you good if you could see it and if He is pleased to sanctify your affliction to break that hard heart of yours and humble that proud spirit of yours, it would be the greatest mercy that you ever had in your life.

From ch. 12: Considerations to content the heart in any afflicted condition
1. consider the greatness of the mercies we have and the meanness of what we lack
2. The consideration that God is beforehand with us with his mercies should content us
3. The consideration of the abundance of mercies God bestows and we enjoy
etc.

Highly recommended in any season of life. I am hoping to reread each of these books over the next few years because there is so much in them, I can't possibly get it in one reading.

We are studying the Puritans in our history study in school right now and I'm finding it interesting to be reading some of their works at the same time as I am reading about them. Sometimes I don't seem to be reading about the same people!

1 comment:

MagistraCarminae said...

Dear Juanita- this is one of my "life-changing" books! I love it! The others that have affected my that way are two other Puritan works: "The Christian's Daily Walk" by Henry Scudder and "The Crook in the Lot" by Thomas Boston. What cntent, and what challenge!