We made it! And honestly, it was barely even a challenge. There have been some classics that I’ve had to struggle to finish. Sometimes, by the end, it is hard work just to turn the next page. But that was not that case, at least for me, with The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment. I found it a joy to read from beginning to end and it is one I know I will return to in the future (though I may need a copy that is no quite so thoroughly highlighted). Today I am simply going to provide a very brief overview of the chapter and then offer a few of my favorite quotes.
In this final chapter, Burroughs concludes his thoughts on how to attain contentment. Here are the twelve directions he gives:
1. All the rules and helps in the world will do us little good unless we get a good temper within our hearts.
2. If you would get a contented life, do not grasp too much of the world, do not take in more of the business of the world than God calls you to.
3. Be sure of your call to every business you go about.
4. I must walk by rule in the work that I am called to.
5. Exercise much faith.
6. Labor to be spiritually minded.
7. Do not promise yourselves too much beforehand; do not reckon on too great things.
8. Labor to get your hearts mortified to the world, dead to the world.
9. Let not men and women pore too much upon their afflictions: that is, busy their thoughts too much to look down into their afflictions.
10. Make a good interpretation of God’s ways towards you.
11. Do not so much regard the fancies of other men, as what indeed you feel yourselves.
12. Be not inordinately taken up with the comforts of this world when you have them. When you have them, do not take too much satisfaction in them.
Let me share just a few favorite quotes that I had to highlight on my way through:
“You can never make a ship go steady, by propping it outside; you know there must be ballast within the ship, to make it go steady. And so, there is nothing outside us that can keep our hearts in a steady, constant way, but what is within us: grace is within the soul, and it will do this.”
“Nothing in the world will quiet the heart so much as this: when I meet with any cross, I know I am where God would have me, in my place and calling; I am about the work that God has set me.”
“Exercise faith, not only in the promise that all shall work together for good to them that fear God, but likewise exercise faith in God himself; as well as in his Word, in the attributes of God.”
“Let afflictions and troubles find you with a mortified heart to the world, and they will not break your bones; those whose bones are broken by crosses and afflictions are those who are alive to the world, but are not dead to the world. But no afflictions or troubles will break the bones of one who has a mortified heart and is dead to the world; that is, they will not be very grievous or painful to such a one as is mortified to the world.”
“You find many people, all of whose thoughts are taken up about what their crosses and afflictions are, they are altogether thinking and speaking of them. It is just with them as with a child who has a sore: his finger is always on the sore; so men’s and women’s thoughts are always on their afflictions.”
The Next Classic
Stay tuned and in a couple of weeks I’ll announce the next classic we’ll be reading together. Feel free to offer suggestions in the comments here.
But for now, I’d love to hear your concluding thoughts on The Rare Jewel…