The Devil Loves to Fish in Troubled Waters

There are a number of reasons why Christians should strive for contentment in their lives. In The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, Jeremiah Burroughs presents ten reasons why contentment is to be desired and longed for by believers. His fifth reason expounds on how contentment delivers the Christian from temptations. I present an excerpt below.


Contentment delivers us from an abundance of temptations. Oh, the temptations that men of discontented spirits are subject to! The Devil loves to fish in troubled waters.

That is our proverb about men and women, their disposition is to fish in troubled waters, they say it is good fishing in troubled waters. This is the maxim of the Devil, he loves to fish in troubled waters; where he sees the spirits of men and women troubled and vexed, there the Devil comes. He says, ‘There is good fishing for me,’ when he sees men and women go up and down discontented, and he can get them alone, then he comes with his temptations: ‘Will you suffer such a thing?’ he says, ‘take this shift, this indirect way, do you not see how poor you are, others are well off, you do not know what to do for the winter, to provide fuel and get bread for you and your children,’ and so he tempts them to unlawful courses.

This is the special disorder that the Devil fastens upon, when he gets men and women to give their souls to him: it is from discontent, that is the ground of all who have been witches, and so have given themselves to the Devil: the rise of it has been their discontent.

Therefore it is noticeable that those upon whom the Devil works, to make them witches, are usually old and melancholy people, and women especially, and those of the poorer sort who are discontented at home. Their neighbours trouble them and vex them, and their spirits are weak and they cannot bear it, so upon that the Devil fastens his temptations and draws them to anything.

If they are poor, then he promises them money; if they have revengeful spirits, then he tells them that he will revenge them upon such and such persons: now this quiets and contents them.

Oh! there is occasion of temptation for the Devil when he meets with a discontented spirit.

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