Last time we looked at Burroughs he helped us see that contentment comes not so much by way of addition but by the way of subtraction. This time Burroughs will teach us quite the opposite. "A Christian comes to contentment, not so much by getting rid of the burden that is on him, as by adding another burden to himself." This, of course, makes no sense to the worldly mind. Yet Burroughs continues, "the heavier the burden of your sin is to your heart, the lighter will the burden of your affliction be to your heart, and so you shall come to be content". Burroughs then continues to give several examples of how this seemingly ludicrous statement is actually the way to contentment.
It appears that what Burroughs is attempting to drive deep into our hearts is the notion that our sin before a holy God is so vile and treacherous that any ill situation is fitting. Contentment, it would appear, comes from realizing that every blessing is far better than we deserve. With a mind framed like this a man will quickly become contented. When we realize that we should have been cast into hell a thousand yesterdays ago we quickly feel our blessed estate. Burroughs challenges us to look at our broken estate and come away with a broken heart towards God as well.
This will sound like strange counsel to our 21st century ears. We are told quite the opposite. The prosperity gospel would have none of this teaching. If I am experiencing a trial then it can be directly linked to my lack of faith, says the prosperity teacher. If I would but believe harder and give more then God will pull me out of this mire due to my sin. Burroughs is telling the prosperity teacher that our redemption is enough. The Cross of Christ rescuing us from the burden of sin is all the prosperity that we need. When we feel the burden of our sin, and when the Lord graciously lifts it off, we will experience contentment.
This message will likewise sound foreign to the easy-believism of the 21st century. Simply pray this prayer and God will forgive you, only be sincere, is the cry of the proponents of cheap grace. An adherent to easy-believism will seldom be content when trials come. When the scorching sun comes they will wither away. He has never felt the burden of his sin. The roots of the gospel has never gone deep. He only considers Jesus as a band-aid or a get out of hell free card. The true offensiveness of himself and utter ruin he faces are blind from his sight. He was told to pray a prayer but never to feel the painful burden of sin. Burroughs is admonishing easy-believers to look to their sin. When they sense their utter depravity and hopelessness before God; and when they are opened to see the total justification of Christ; then, and only then, will they find contentment. The Cross is enough!