The Gracious Heart and the Carnal HeartJeremiah Burroughs (1599-1646) - A Popular Independent Puritan Preacher and a Member of the Westminster Assembly.
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“The holiness of God is the height of God’s excellency.”
The difference between a believer and a carnal hearted man.
Godliness teaches us this mystery: Not to be satisfied with all the world for our portion, and yet to be content with the meanest condition in which we are.
When Luther was sent great gifts by Dukes and Princes, he refused them, and he says, “I did vehemently protest that God should not put me off so; ’tis not that which will content me.” A little in the world will content a Christian for his passage.
Mark, here lies the mystery of it: A little in the world will content a Christian for his passage, but all the world, and ten thousand times more, will not content a Christian for his portion. A carnal heart will be content with these things of the world for his portion; and that is the difference between a carnal heart and a gracious heart. But a gracious heart says, “Lord, do with me what You will for my passage through this world; I will be content with that, but I cannot be content with all the world for my portion.” So there is the mystery of true contentment. A contented man, though he is most contented with the least things in the world, yet he is the most dissatisfied man that lives in the world.
A soul that is capable of God can be filled with nothing else but God; nothing but God can fill a soul that is capable of God. Though a gracious heart knows that it is capable of God, and was made for God, carnal hearts think without reference to God. But a gracious heart, being enlarged to be capable of God, and enjoying somewhat of Him, can be filled by nothing in the world; it must only be God Himself. Therefore you will observe, that whatever God may give to a gracious heart, a heart that is godly, unless He gives Himself, it will not do. A godly heart will not only have the mercy, but the God of that mercy as well; and then a little matter is enough in the world, so be it he has the God of the mercy which he enjoys.
In Philippians 4:7, 9 (I need go no further to show clear Scripture for this) compare verse 7 with verse 9:
“And the peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ.”
The peace of God shall keep your hearts. Then in verse 9:
“Those things which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”
The peace of God shall keep you, and the God of peace shall be with you. Here is what I would observe from this text: That the peace of God is not enough to a gracious heart except it may have the God of that peace. A carnal heart could be satisfied if he might but have outward peace, though it is not the peace of God; peace in the state, and his trading, would satisfy him.
But mark how a godly heart goes beyond a carnal. All outward peace is not enough; I must have the peace of God. But suppose you have the peace of God, will that not quiet you?
No, I must have the God of peace; as the peace of God so the God of peace. That is, I must enjoy that God who gives me the peace; I must have the Cause as well as the effect. I must see from whence my peace comes, and enjoy the Fountain of my peace, as well as the stream of my peace.
And so in other mercies: have I health from God? I must have the God of my health to be my portion, or else I am not satisfied. It is not life, but the God of my life; it is not riches, but the God of those riches, that I must have, the God of my preservation, as well as my preservation.
A gracious hear is not satisfied without this: to have the God of mercy, as well as the mercy.
In Psalm 73:25, “Whom have I in heaven but Thee, and there is none upon the earth that I desire beside Thee.”
There is nothing in heaven or earth that can satisfy me, but Yourself.
If God gave you not only earth but heaven, that you should rule over sun, moon and stars, and have the rule over the highest of the sons of men, it would not be enough to satisfy you, unless you had God Himself.
There lies the mystery of contentment. And truly a contented man, though he is the most contented man in the world, is the most dissatisfied man in the world; that is, those things that will satisfy the world, will not satisfy him.