Posted by: William | April 30, 2008

A Vessel of Liquor

Allow me to share a quotation from Jeremiah Burroughs’ The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment.

“As it is with a vessel that’s full of liquor, if you strike it, it will make not great noise, but if it is empty then it makes a great noise; so it is with the heart, a heart that is full of grace and goodness within will bear a great many strokes, and never make any noise, but if an empty heart is struck it will make a noise.”

Burroughs is talking about a Christian’s contentment in the midst of affliction, both long standing and sudden. This is a text that is continually proving to be difficult for me to wrestle though. It’s something like picking a scab—it feels uncomfortable and sometimes painful, but for some reason you just can’t help but do it. That’s the way I feel about this book. Burroughs’ observation here is yet another that resounds in my ear and won’t go quietly. A person, when filled with affection for God and grace from God, bears up under all kinds of difficult circumstances peacefully. Without complaining. In fact, not only not complaining, but rejoicing.

These are difficult words to digest. These are difficult concepts to digest. That is not my manner in the midst of trials. How can we come by the affection for God and the grace from God that Burroughs mentions here?

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Responses

  1. I’m not sure I completely agree. I’d like to see the whole context of what Dr. Burroughs is saying here but I am immediatly reminded of David in the psalms. There we see repeatedly his going to God in complaint and anguish, yet at the same time in worship and praise I know, but the two, complaint and worship do marry nicely in Davids poetic pleas of rescue or his deep concern for why the Lord allowed him to be surrounded by dogs and chased by lions. I feel there is a healing device in which our loving Father has allowed in letting us voice our complaints to the source, His sovereign control. And in so doing, in venting our frustrations and hurts we are turned, almost miraculously, from suffering to worship and hope.
    Not bottling up our emotions in a quiet surety but venting our fears and pains, in an empty humility that points away from our ability to secure comfort and latches on to the Father who even in troubling times loves his clay vessels and promises to work all things to the good of those who love Him. Perhaps I’m off though, again, I’d really like to see a bigger context here. I mean, this is Jeremiah Burroughs were talking about; I definitely haven’t experienced the suffering and pain nor the grace and sustenance this man has. He is a saint that stands high in the deep redwood forest of Christian divines.


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