Friday, November 9, 2007

Meet Mr. Jeremiah Burroughs

In November we will be looking at the life of Jeremiah Burroughs. Throughout the month we will be studying his book The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment; which can be purchased through Monergism books for the low price of $7.20 plus shipping. You can read it online, but I would suggest purchasing the book here.
Burroughs is best known for the book that we will be studying this month, "The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment". He was born in 1599 and died in November of 1746. In 1621 he graduated with a BA and had his Master's by 1624. His tutor was another famous Puritan by the name of Thomas Hooker. By 1627 Burroughs was a member of the famous Westminister Assembly. In 1631 he was appointed as rector [the person in charge of a congregation] of Tivetshall, Norfolk. In 1636 he was suspended for refusing to obey some of the sanctions placed upon churches by the Bishop Matthew Wren. The charge was non-conformity. Burroughs (and many Puritans) refused to read King James Book of Sports, as well as refusing to read prayers rather than speak them without restraint.
Because of his troubles in Norfolk, Burroughs went to the Netherlands were he was a teacher at a congregation at Rotterdam. Here he met William Bridge and Sidrach Simpson. In the 1640's these three men would be instrumental in the rise of congregationalism. The 1640's for Burroughs would prove to be the decade in which he received the most notoriety. During the Commonwealth Period he returned to England and again became pastor. In his charge where two of the more prominent churches in all of London: Stepney in St. Giles, Cripplegate.
Burroughs found himself in the middle of the growing controversies between Presbyterians, Independents, and Episcopalians. In 1644 he and several of his friends presented to Parliament their Apologetical Narration. The work was an attempt to find a middle ground for Presbyterianism (too authoritarian in their opinion) and Brownism (too democractic in their opinion). Throughout his life he tried to establish unity among believers and to heal these divisions. His life was "cut short" in 1646 after a fall from his horse.[1]

[1] This biography was adapted from Burroughs article from Meet the Puritans. Beeke, Joel R. and Pederson, Randal J. Reformation Heritage Books. 2006. p118-25.

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