Saturday, May 27, 2023

"The Rare Jewel" by Jeremiah Burroughs

The following excerpt is from a member of the Westminster Assembly of Divines, Jeremiah Burroughs was known for his gentle spirit and desire to see breaches within the church healed. Reprinted with permission from Christian Life Classics: The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment (Lafayette, IN: Sovereign Grace Trust, 1990).

A Christian gains contentment by seeking out his duties.

I cannot better compare the folly of those men and women who think they will get contentment by musing about other circumstances than to the way of children: perhaps they have climbed a hill and look a good way off and see another hill, and they think if they were on the top of that, they would be able to touch the clouds with their fingers; but when they are on the top of that hill, alas, they are as far from the clouds as they were before.

So it is with many who think, If I were in such circumstances, then I should have contentment; and perhaps they get into those circumstances, and they are as far from contentment as before. But then they think that if they were in other circumstances, they are still as far from contentment as before. No, no, let me consider what is the duty of my present circumstances, and content my heart with this, and say, “Well, though I am in a low position, yet I am serving the counsels of God in those circumstances where I am; it is the counsel of God that has brought me into these circumstances that I am in, and I desire to serve the counsel of God in these circumstances.”

There is a remarkable Scripture concerning David, of whom it is said that he served his generation: “For David indeed having served his own generation according to the counsel of God, fell asleep.” It is a saying of Paul concerning him in Acts 13:36 … “After he had served his own generation according to the will of God,” but the word that is translated will means the counsel of God. We ordinarily take the words thus, That David served his generation: that is, he did the work of his generation—that is to serve a man’s generation. But it is clearer if you read thus “After David in his generation had served the counsel of God, then David fell asleep.”

O that should be the care of a Christian, to serve out God’s counsels. What is the counsel of God? The circumstances that I am in God has put me into by His own counsel, the counsel of His own will. Now I must serve God’s own counsel in my generation; whatever is the counsel of God in my circumstances, I must be careful to serve that. So I shall have my heart quieted for the present, and shall live and die peaceably and comfortably, if I am careful to serve God’s counsel.