Special Issue on God’s Sufficiency
This Issue’s Book Review: The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment (by Jeremiah Burroughs)
"Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God's wise and fatherly disposal in every condition." This is Jeremiah Burroughs’ definition of Christian contentment, and is the framework for his excellent overview of this often-neglected topic. It is sure to ring a chord with Christians living in a culture saturated with consumerism and greed.
Burroughs takes as his text Philippians 4:11: “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content”.
Burroughs makes the point that only the Christian can be content in whatever circumstance he may find himself, because he can make up all his needs in God Himself. A Christian can make use of the world, yet if those things are taken from him, he is able to be content still, because he is but a stranger in this world. “If you were to live a hundred years,” says Burroughs, “in comparison to eternity it is not as much as a night, it is as though you were traveling and had come to an inn”. Yes, we may enjoy “creature comforts”, but only if they convey to us something of the goodness of God; they should always cause our thoughts to return to the source of all good things.
He then describes the benefits of contentment. Regarding unpleasant circumstances, Burroughs reminds us that the providence of God will yield His results through the circumstance, even if we don’t see how it works. One event leads to another, and God sees the end in view.
Contentment is necessary for spiritual service, argues Burroughs, for God will first quiet a man’s spirit and bring him to be content in any circumstance before he uses him for kingdom tasks.
“There is more good in contentment than there is in the thing that you would fain have to cure your discontent”, says Burroughs.
With regard to trials, Burroughs reminds us that afflictions are, for the believer, in this world only, which is again but a short time. He urges us to keep the mercies we’ve received in view rather than the affliction; there are many godly men and women whose example we may follow in this.
The book may aptly be summarized in this one quote: “A Christian should be satisfied with what God has made the object of his faith (i.e., Christ). The object of his faith is high enough to satisfy his soul, were it capable of a thousand times more than it is. Now if you may have the object of your faith you have enough to content your soul”. --(Reviewed by Phil Simpson)
“The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment”, by Jeremiah Burroughs, can be checked out from the Grace Fellowship Library. The abridged form of this book, “Learning to Be Happy”, is available for sale at The BookStall, Grace Fellowship’s bookstore.
Being Dead, Yet They Speak
(Below are excerpts from “The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment”, by Jeremiah Burroughs, 1599-1646)
“A Christian comes to contentment, not so much by way of addition, as by way of subtraction. That is his way of contentment, and it is a way that the world has no skill in. I open it thus: not so much by adding to what he would have, or to what he has, not by adding more to his condition; but rather by subtracting from his desires, so as to make his desires and his circumstances even and equal… [A] heart that has no grace, and is not instructed in this mystery of contentment, knows of no way to get contentment, but to have his possessions raised up to his desires; but the Christian has another way to contentment, that is, he can bring his desires down to his possessions, and so he attains his contentment.”
“A contented man, just as he is the most contented, so he is the most unsatisfied man in the world. You will say, 'How is that?' A man who has learned the art of contentment is the most contented with any low condition that he has in the world, and yet he cannot be satisfied with the enjoyment of all the world… though his heart is so enlarged that the enjoyment of all the world and ten thousand worlds cannot satisfy him for his portion; yet he has a heart quieted under God's disposal.”
“If the children of God have their little taken from them, they can make up all their wants in God Himself… If anything is cut off from the stream (a godly man) knows how to go to the fountain, and makes up all there. God is his all in all.”
“Since God is contented with Himself alone, if you have Him, you may be contented with Him alone, and it may be, that is the reason why your outward comforts are taken from you, that God may be all in all to you. It may be that while you had these things they shared with God in your affection, a great part of the stream of your affection ran that way: God would have the full stream run to Him now.”
Words of Grace From Today
“What the Christian gospel is, is simply this, all the answers you need for time and eternity are in Christ. All the answers for your soul, all the answers for your sin, all the answers for your hope for the life to come, they’re all in Christ and only in Christ. There is no other authority than the Bible, there is no other Savior than Jesus Christ and you will find everything you could ever desire or need in Him. That’s why Colossians 2:10 says, “In Him you have been made complete.” --John MacArthur
"Perhaps the greatest gift any father can bestow upon his children, apart from the covenant blessings of parish life and a comprehension of the doctrines of grace, is a passion for reading. It is cheap, it consoles, it distracts, it excites, it gives a knowledge of the world, and it offers experience of a wide kind. Indeed, it is nothing less than a moral illumination."
New to the Library:
The following titles have been added to the Grace Fellowship library. Enjoy!
-Let the Nations Be Glad! (John Piper)
-Don‘t Waste Your Life (John Piper)
-Matthew Henry’s Commentary in One Volume
-Speaking Truth in Love (David Powlison)
-Reforming Marriage (Douglas Wilson)
-All Things for Good (Thomas Watson)
Library and Bookstore News
New Name for the Bookstore: The Grace Fellowship Church bookstore has a new name: The Book Stall!
For information on library procedures, such as checking out books and donating books to the library, refer to the library notebook, located in or near the library bookshelves.
Recycle your small group books! Are you finished with a book you’ve gone through with your small group, and don’t want to keep it? Consider donating it to the library! In this way, you can let the book continue to impact lives (rather than collect dust).
Speaking of donations: The Library Wish List is now in the Library Notebook. To purchase one of those titles for the library, or to suggest another title, see the instructions in the notebook.
Back Issues of “Words of Grace” Now Available Online: Well, more like “back issue”. The Summer issue of “Words of Grace” is now available for viewing at it’s temporary website. To view it, log on to http://gfcwordsofgrace.blogspot.com. This issue will be posted there shortly as well!
Desert Island Books
Which three books have been the most influential in your Christian life?
*Danny F.: “Knowing God”, by J.I. Packer; “Spiritual Gifts” by William MacRae; and “Trusting God”, by Jerry Bridges.
*Vicki H.: “Knowing God”, by J.I. Packer;
“Future Grace” by John Piper; and “Trusting God”, by Jerry Bridges.
*Pete T.: “The Pleasures of God”, by John Piper; “Pilgrim's Progress”, by John Bunyan; and “The Works of Francis Schaeffer”, by Francis Schaeffer.
*Phil S.: “The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment”, by Jeremiah Burroughs; “The Holiness of God”, by R.C. Sproul; and “The Shadow of the Almighty”, by Elisabeth Elliot.
Wanted: Book Reviews
If you would like to submit a review of a book you’ve read from either the library or the bookstore, you may e-mail it to: firstname.lastname@example.org. All book reviews are subject to editing, and should preferably be 300 words or less.
For History Buffs
Ø September 20, 1565 -- Hundreds of Huguenots (converts to Calvinist Protestantism out of Catholic France) were massacred by Spanish captain Pedro Menéndez in Florida. The matter was bewailed in Europe by Catholics and Protestants alike.
Ø September 22, 1931 -- Noted Oxford and Cambridge literary scholar, author, and Christian apologist C.S. Lewis was converted to Christianity while riding to a zoo in his brother's motorcycle side car. The conversion followed a long talk he'd had the 19th with two Christian friends: J.R.R. Tolkien and Hugo Dyson. Lewis authored such works as “The Screwtape Letters”, “Mere Christianity”, and “The Chronicles of Narnia”.
Ø September 30, 420 -- Jerome, translator of the scriptures into Latin, died. His translation became known as the Vulgate, because it was written in the popular tongue of the empire. It was the Bible of the Middle Ages.
Ø October 4, 1535-- Miles Coverdale‘s translation of the Scriptures into English was published. He used William Tyndale's translation as a starting point, and filled in the gaps with his own translations based on the Latin Vulgate and Luther's German Bible.
Ø October 16, 1701--Yale University was founded on October 16, 1701. It was founded by Congregationalist ministers unhappy with the growing liberalism at Harvard.
Ø October 17, 107-- Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, was martyred by the lions in a Roman arena for professing the name of Christ. Ignatius was a disciple of John the apostle, and the apostle Peter appointed him bishop at Antioch where he served for forty years. Ignatius wrote shortly before his death, "Nearness to the sword is nearness to God; to be among the wild beasts is to be in the arms of God; only let it be in the name of Jesus Christ. I endure all things that I may suffer together with him, since he who became perfect man strengthens me."
Ø October 27, 1978-- On October 27, 1978 the complete New International Version (NIV) of the Bible was published by Zondervan of Grand Rapids Michigan.
Ø November 7, 680-- The sixth general church council convened in Constantinople to affirm the view that Christ is fully God and fully man.
Ø November 12, 1836 -- Charles Simeon, an influential Anglican evangelical who discipled the missionary and Bible translator Henry Martyn, died. He faced serious opposition because the congregation wanted the assistant curate, Mr. Hammond, as their new vicar instead of Simeon. They locked the gates to keep him out, and removed chairs he set up in the courtyard! Nevertheless, Simeon persevered, preaching through the Bible and becoming a leader of the Evangelicals in the Church of England, and helped bring into existence the British and Foreign Bible Society, the Religious Tract Society, the Church Missionary Society, and other influential Evangelical organizations. He helped appoint evangelical chaplains to India, spreading the gospel into that country when the East India Company would not allow missionaries. The faithful pastor preached until two months before his death. On his deathbed, he said that Genesis 1:1 was a great comfort to him. He explained, "Why, if, out of nothing God can bring all the wonder of the world, He may yet make something out of me!"
Ø November 23, 101 -- Clement, bishop of the church at Rome, was executed. Clement was only the fourth bishop of Rome, the first possibly being Peter. It is possible that these men taught him. We know next to nothing about the two bishops between Peter and Clement, but Clement's letter made him stand out among the early leaders of the Roman church.
(Adapted from The Christian History Institute, http://chi.gospelcom.net/about/index.shtm).
The Grace Fellowship Reading Ministries exists for the purpose of bringing glory to God by serving His church, through the promotion of God-honoring literature, as well as other media. These materials are made available to His body at Grace Fellowship Church, for their edification and encouragement, so that they will be helped to appreciate the Wonders of our God, to love the gospel of the Savior as set forth on the cross, and to be a living display of His Glory by increasing in holiness, servanthood, and love.
For bookstore or library-related questions, contact Phil Simpson. If you prefer e-mail, you may reach him at: email@example.com.