The fifth characteristic (which is the second half of Burroughs original definition) is that Christian contentment is "freely submitting to and taking pleasure in God's disposal". Today (p.8) we will see that there are three things (Burroughs says there are four, but only lists three) to be explained about this "freedom of spirit".
- The heart is readily brought over. Burroughs simply means that if you really are content and "freely submitting" then it will not take a cattle prod to get you into contentment. Burroughs says that if we really are content then, "as soon as you come to see that it is the hand of God your heart acts readily and closes and once".
- It is freely, that is, not by constraint. It is not that we "must" be content. We do it with joy. It is also not because of ignorance that we freely submit. If our contentment stems from not knowing any better then it cannot truly be called "free". True freedom comes whenever we "know the condition [we] are in as an afflicted and sad condition, and still [have] a sanctified judgment [to bring our hearts to contentment]."
- It is in opposition to mere stupidity. This appears to be much the same point as number 2. Burroughs likens this to pinching a man with paralysis and then praising him for his patience and tolerance of bearing such a terrible affliction. He could not feel it, how can you praise him? True contentment is likened to when you can feel the pinch and do not pop the guy in the teeth (my words not Burroughs).
Burroughs then continues with his sixth point and because it is short we will too. He hopes to expound upon what it means to "submit to God's disposal". "The word submit," says Burroughs, "signifies nothing else but 'to send under'". What he means by that is that submitting means to bow yourself before the feet of God. It is when our soul, "can send itself under [bow before] the power and authority and sovereignty and dominion that God has over it." That causes me to ask myself today, am I freely submitting to God's rule? Do I live in proper authority, bowing before God's dominion over me? Does my heart readily submit to His and say, "Have thine own way Lord, Have thine own way"?
Next time we will look take this another step and look at having pleasure in God's disposal.