The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment

Weight 0.54 lbs
Dimensions 7.13 × 4.75 × 0.55 in
ISBN 9781800400153

Paperback, eBook (ePub & Kindle), Paperback & eBook (ePub & Kindle)


Salvation, Spiritual Growth, Sanctification

Original Pub Date


Banner Pub Date

Aug 17, 2022

Page Count





Puritan Paperbacks


‘This book exemplifies Puritan pastoral theology at its best. The title itself captures the imagination and stimulates thought: contentment is a jewel — and so we should value it highly; but it is rare and so we need to seek it.’ — SINCLAIR B. FERGUSON

Book Description

Jeremiah Burroughs is worthily reckoned as belonging to the front rank of English puritan preachers. As such he played a prominent part in the Westminster Assembly of divines, but died prematurely before the Assembly’s work was concluded.

Burrough’s writings, some published before and others after his death, were numerous, but The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment is one of the most valuable of them all. Its author was much concerned to promote (1) peace among believers of various ‘persuasions’ (2) peace and contentment in the hearts of individual believers during what he describes as ‘sad and sinking times’. The Rare Jewel concentrates upon this second aim. It is marked by sanity, clarity, aptness of illustration, and warmth of appeal to the heart. ‘There is an ark that you may come into, and no men in the world may live such comfortable, cheerful and contented lives as the saints of God’. Burroughs presses his lesson home with all the fervour and cogency of a true and faithful minister of God.

Book Review

Table of Contents Expand ↓

Biographical Introduction 11
1 Christian Contentment Described 17
I It is inward 20
II It is quiet 21
What this is not opposed to 21
What it is opposed to 22
III It is a frame of spirit 25
IV It is a qracious frame 29
V It freely submits to God's disposal 31
VI It submits to God's disposal 33
VII It takes pleasure in God's disposal 33
VIII It submits and takes pleasure in God's disposal 35
IX It does this in every condition 36
2 The Mystery of Contentment 41
I A Christian is content, yet unsatisfied 42
II He comes to contentment by subtraction 45
III By adding another burden to himself 47
IV By changing the affliction into something else 49
V By doing the work of his circumstances 51
VI By melting his will into God's will 53
VII By purging out what is within 55
3 The Mystery of Contentment - continued 56
VIII He lives on the dew of God's blessing 56
IX He sees God's love in afflictions 60
X His afflictions are sanctified in Christ 60
Xl He gets strength from Christ 62
XII He makes up his wants in God 65
XIII He gets contentment from the Covenant 69
4 The Mystery of Contentment - concluded 74
He supplies wants by what he finds in himself 74
He gets supply from the Covenant 78
I. The Covenant in general 78
2. Particular promises in the Covenant 80
XIV He realizes the things of Heaven 83
XV He opens his heart to God 84
5 How Christ Teaches Contentment 86
I The lesson of self-denial 86
II The vanity of the creature 91
III To know the one thing needful 92
IV To know one's relation to the world 93
V Wherein the good of the creature is 97
VI The knowledge of one's own heart 99
6 How Christ Teaches Contentment- Concluded 103
VII The burden of a prosperous condition 103
VIII The evil of being given up to one's heart's desires 109
IX The right knowledge of God's providence 111
7 The Excellence of Contentment 118
I By it we give God his due worship 119
II In it is much exercise of grace 121
III The soul is fitted to receive mercy 124
IV It is fitted to do service 125
V It delivers from temptations 126
VI It brings abundant comforts 128
VII It gets the comfort of things not possessed 129
VIII It is a great blessing on the soul 133
IX A contented man may expect reward 133
X By it the soul comes nearest the excellence of God 134
8 The Evils of a Murmuring Spirit 136
I It argues much corruption in the soul 137
II It is the mark of an ungodly man 138
III Murmuring is accounted rebellion 139
IV It is contrary to grace, especially in conversion 141
V It is below a Christian 144
9 The Evils of a Murmuring Spirit – concluded 152
VI By murmuring we undo our prayers 152
VII The evil effects of murmuring 153
VIII Discontent is a foolish sin 157
IX It provokes the wrath of God 161
X There is a curse on it 165
XI There is much of the spirit of Satan in it 166
XII It brings an absolute necessity of disquiet 167
XIII God may withdraw his protection 167
10 Aggravations of the Sin of Murmuring 170
I The greater the mercies the greater the sin of murmuring 170
II When we murmur for small things 176
III When men of gifts and abilities murmur 178
IV The freeness of God's mercy 178
V When we have the things for the want of which we were discontented 178
VI When men are raised from a low position 179
VII When men have been great sinners 180
VIII When men are of little use in the world 180
IX When God is about to humble us 181
X When God's hand is apparent in an Affliction 182
XI When God has afflicted us for a long time 183
11 The Excuses of a Discontented Heart 185
I 'It is a sense of my condition' 185
II 'I am troubled for my sin' 186
III 'God withdraws himself from me' 188
IV 'It is men's bad treatment that troubles me’ 190
V 'I never expected this affliction' 191
VI 'My affliction is so great' 192
VII 'My affliction is greater than others' 193
VIII 'If the affliction were any other, I could be content' 194
IX 'My afflictions make me unserviceable to God' 195
X 'My condition is unsettled' 199
XI 'I have been in a better condition' 202
XII 'I am crossed after taking great pains' 204
XIII 'I do not break out in discontent' 205
12 How to Attain Contentment 207
I Considerations to content the heart in any afflicted condition 207
1 The greatness of the mercies we have 207
2 God is beforehand with us with his mercies 208
3 The abundance of mercies God bestows 209
4 All creatures are in a vicissitude 209
5 The creatures suffer for us 210
6 We have but little time in the world 211
7 This has been the condition of our betters 211
8 We were content with the world without grace, and should be now with grace without the world 213
9 We did not give God the glory when we had our desires 213
10 The experience of God doing us good in afflictions 213
13 How to Attain Contentment-concluded 216
II Directions for attaining contentment 216
1 There must be grace to make the soul steady 216
2 Do not grasp too much of the world 216
3 Have a call to every business 217
4 Walk by rule 217
5 Exercise much faith 219
6 Labour to be spiritually-minded 219
7 Do not promise yourselves great things 220
8 Get hearts mortified to the world 221
II Directions for attaining contentment- continued
9 Do not pore too much on afflictions 222
10 Make a good interpretation of God's ways to you 223
11 Do not regard the fancies of other men 225
12 Do not be inordinately taken up with the comforts of the world 226

14 testimonials for The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment

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  1. Linda Gabriel

    This book was very profitable and helpful to me in this day of materialism, covetousness, and greed. Even though I have a very comfortable life, I still find myself complaining and worrying – whether outwardly or in my heart – about trivial matters, and this book really helped put everything into proper perspective.

    I was concerned about attempting to read a book that was written in 1648 by a Puritan author, but Burroughs’ writing style is very readable, certainly no more difficult than a KJV Bible. Burroughs does a wonderful job of reminding the reader that we are merely pilgrims passing through this world. That it is natural not to be comfortable here, because it is not our home. For example, he comments, “I am a traveler and I must not be finding fault; I am in another man’s house…” He reminded me that my contentment and peace should derive from God alone, and from no earthly person or thing. Right at the start of the book, Burroughs offers this definition of contentment:

    “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.”

    He goes proceeds to dissect this definition and expound on each of these aspects of contentment. Burroughs explains that achieving contentment is a lot like a math equation; he observes:

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

    He also gives this explanation about finding our contentment in God alone:

    “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.”

    In other words, God will not share His place in your life with any other thing or person. In fact, if we are not seeking all we need only from God, then we are idolaters.

    Burroughs’ illustrations are well constructed and memorable. And I found the truths to be life-changing. This was one of those books that, as soon as I finished it I felt like I wanted to turn to the beginning and start again. I am still in the process of learning to turn complaints into contentment, and may God give me the grace to improve in this area.

  2. Debby Murphy

    I loved this book. It is filled with practical wisdom concerning an important topic that I have never really read about anywhere else.
    Without Christ’s contentment, worry, selfishness, and worldly lusts take over the heart. Get this book and apply it’s lessons.

  3. Ana

    Wonderful book for all Christians to read. We cannot be more greatful to God for great wisdom of Holy Spirit poured out to our Puritan brothers which is helping church to grow in all ages. Here Jeremiah Burroughs very practically leads us to understand the routhes of Christan contentment, but also discontentment and murmuring. This really encourages us to apply the Bible wisdom in every day leaving.

  4. Ojoje Adeyi

    For all who run to Christ saying, ‘Master, carest not that we perish?’, methinks, after reading Borroughs, should engage ‘The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment’, and assuredly they would hear from its pages,’Peace be still!’ My storm, by this celestial cordial, has been calmed to stillness!

  5. Robert Norman

    Dare I say that this book has changed my life? So many trials, worries and concerns, but all is dissolved away now in the contentment of all situations as ordained by God.

  6. Robert Norman

    Note to Banner: Please consider publishing more of this Puritan’s works.

  7. Robert Norman

    Dare I say that this book has changed my life? So many trials, worries and concerns, but all is dissolved away now in the contentment of all situations as ordained by God.

  8. Robert Norman

    Note to Banner: Please consider publishing more of this Puritan’s works.

  9. Ken Sarber

    This book is one of the Lord’s most powerful means of grace in my life in the past year. Two of my dearest brothers in Christ have started to read it or finished reading it. I took notes and sharing them with me beloved wife.

    I loved how Jeremiah Burroughs primed the heart for 11 chapters to receive instruction on attaining contentment by helping us understand our need for contentment and the evil of murmuring. The Lord pierced me deeply about my sin of murmuring.

    Every practical illustration Burroughs uses is spot on and makes everything accessible.

    Definitely a must read, especially during the pandemic.

  10. MatteoB

    I would echo others in asking for Banner to publish more Burroughs. This book is a wonderful tonic in this world of materialism, individualism and selfishness. Burroughs encourages readers to count their blessings in a gentle and pastorly way. I think we are all apt to get a little arrogant and cocky at times and also to be jealous of others possessions and gifts. I know I am like this so I am very content to have this little book to hand to guide me on the right path. Apparently Burroughs was a kindly conciliatory man who did not have much for sectarianism and wished Christians would all just get along. I can say Amen to that.

  11. Daniel Christian Henderson

    Wow! This little book is helpful in so many ways for the Christian life. Among the most useful, is that it shows how dependent we are on God for His Spirit to give us this disposition and reality of God honoring, Christ exalting, unwavering contentment. True Spiritual work requires obedience in faith and that is all rooted in our joy and happiness in Jesus.
    When we are filled with the fullness of God we are in no need. In the Son we have it all. Take the world, just give me Jesus!

  12. Marijane Stokes

    One of the finest books I have ever read. Mr. Burrough’s depth of Scripture knowledge, heartfelt expressions of God’s care for His people and sound encouragement for believers in this difficult time make this a most beloved volume. On page 19 Burroughs calls his era “heart shaking times.” My margin notes read: published 1648 still the same 373 years later.

  13. Jimmy C

    This book was such a blessing. Burroughs does a fantastic job illuminating the evils in our heart that drive us to discontentment. In that same breath he highlights the mercies of Christ and provides practical wisdom in which we can overcome these battles (in Him) and find that contentment. Definitely a book I will read multiple times.

  14. Frank Eckenroad

    The Christian is the most content person and at the same time the most discontent. Holy discontent. Hunger and thirst for righteousness paired with contentment in a God ordained lot (1 Cor 7).

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