Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content.
To be contented is to be contained, to be within limits. Whatever is within limits is likely to be quiet. A walled garden is one of the quietest places in the world; its high walls are a sign of contentment; within them are so many attractions and objects of delight; the world is shut out, and through the great gates one can look out upon it with all the affectionateness of distance and all the enchantment borrowed therefrom. An enclosed garden is a calm, quiet place, place in which to be content. So, the soul of man, being as it were in an enclosed garden, man's spirit being within limits, is thus shut into a calm, quiet, sunny content. Now there are limits which a man need not trouble himself much about making; the walls of circumstances will build themselves about you. But if you are a very wise man you will give up scraping when you have got enough, and put yourself within limits. Just as an enclosed garden becomes a place of peace and delight, so the spirit should have limits round it and let those limits become grounds of quietness, reasons of peace and content, a content which leads a man to be easy, within these walls to be so satisfied as not to pine, fret, complain, fuss, kick, or go to the gates and scream for deliverance, asking passers by, "Did you ever see such a woe as mine." The contented man limited and bound by circumstances, makes those very limits the cure of his restlessness. The warrior and conqueror is not content, but seeks to add kingdom to kingdom. The miser is not content with much, but seeks to make more money. It is not whether your garden is one rood or three acres, but what you should remember is that there is a wall, that so living within bounds, be they large or small, you may possess a quiet spirit and a happy heart. Things would then serve you, instead of your being the miserable servant of circumstances. You would then make life bring tribute to its King, instead of doing as people do, hire themselves out as servants to their goods, as waiters upon their chattels; allowing things to ride over them instead of their being masterful over things. A man should be within bounds, but within those bounds there is room for pleasure and service.
(G. Dawson, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.