I am not sure I am either qualified to review or whether the book itself should be subjected to the likes of me for review. Who are we in the great scheme of God’s church throughout time to review, analyze or critique a truly tested, timeless prophet of the Gospel like Jeremiah Burroughs? Nevertheless, I will, in whatever feeble means I am able as I have been so richly blessed by his other work Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment during a season of my life where God, in his grace, saw it fit to ruin my desire for contentment over His glory, but that is different post. During that season of my life I was helped by a book of essays and excerpts on the topic of suffering which consisted of authors from Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Burroughs, Jonathan Edwards, to modern prophetic voices like R.C. Sproul and John Piper among others. It has now been sometime since I read most works on the topic during many nights of darkness when it seemed Jesus was not there. And of all the authors I have read to help me discern why I was so tainted with a thirst to be healed of my ailments, only Burroughs still remains clear in my memory. So when I saw the opportunity to review a book that succeeds his work I already benefited from so greatly I could not pass it up, even if it meant setting aside my other reading.
Burroughs has a way of demolishing any ability to hold on to one’s carnal desires and claim to be a faithful follower of Christ. He does so swiftly and without prejudice and then once the reader is at his weakest, he let’s the light of the glory of the God of our Gospel begin to saturate the room so that once shone through, its grandeur is unsurpassed and as C.S. Lewis similarly phrased, we will no longer be so easily amused (or amazed may be a more appropriate term) by anything else.
In Contentment, Prosperity and God’s Glory (CPGG), he makes his case from Paul’s letter to the Philippians and does so with both doctrinal prudence and exegetical care. He goes on to show in the introduction chapter Paul’s character as it has been molded and shaped by the Glory of God and the grace of the Gospel. He humbles the reader by showing us Paul’s gratitude and humility towards others alike even as he suffered imprisonment, and other repercussions of His faith. It is humbling because by this point in the book, if like me, you have already complained about something of no eternal value or lusted over something that will decay, rust or be eaten by moths over eternity. This is all done to show the reader that the true Christian is content, that is made to abound, in the knowledge of and union with Jesus Christ regardless of the circumstances. It is truly a grace to be content. To be content is to know Christ, the ultimate manifestation of God’s overpowering grace toward a rebellious sinful world.
I could go on about the various chapters and details therein, but what I want to layout is his thesis as it relates to the Gospel. See Paul also lays out for us in Philippians a point that Burroughs picks up with pastoral wisdom and drives home. When we are content, praise God for his grace, and furthermore, any contentment we have worldly things must serve to point us to The glorious God from whom all blessings flow! Amen and Amen, I say. I have been blessed beyond comprehension and I pray that God keeps pointing me to him when I stare at my beautiful healthy children, a loving wife, a warm home, a meal and a loving church family where we are able to freely worship our Savior.
Further and maybe even more importantly there is the point that must adjoin this one and needs to be learned by all Christians to “Be Full” regardless, even when we are abased. Wisely, Burroughs shows us Paul. When all comforts were gone, when life was becoming unbearable Paul was able to continue in rejoicing that he was content because he was full of the one thing that could not be removed. The glorious Grace of God’s indwelling presence and the promises of eternal riches and true prosperity as a citizen of the Kingdom of God.
At approximately 115 pages and 10 chapters, Jeremiah Burroughs is the one source as a pastor I point people to apart from the Scriptures to show them the riches of His glorious grace when life seems grand according to worldly standards or the world around us is crumbling beneath our feet. I leave you with a quote that I believe is the crucial message you need to take away from the book.
Always be the same.
So in a constant way, whether in prosperity or adversity, the gracious man will still respond consistently before God. If God brings illness upon him, he rejoices in God and blesses Him; you will find pleasant and spiritual things coming from him even then. And if God delivers him and he comes into prosperity, there you will find that his heart still remains heavenly. It remains gracious, spiritual, and raised above created things, no matter which condition he is put into (116).
I cringe to think how Jeremiah Burroughs might address the world we live in today. We have certainly seen the perpetuation of the carnal inclination to worship the created things instead of the Creator and in so doing, we have worshiped ourselves and our circumstances.
Let us all see the things we have and our circumstances as they are. Sign glory. Sign glory is meant to be just that, a sign pointing us to greater things and an even greater God.
As a truthful disclaimer, I read this book in a hammock overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, but had I read it in a hospital bed I would recommend it just the same. So, whatever your circumstance, prosperity or adversity, I don’t merely recommend this book. I say you NEED this book.
This book was provided for an honest review by Cross Focused Reviews, a positive review was not required but the book certainly warranted it.