And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Galatians 4:6
God has commanded us to pray that we might be prepared to receive form him what he is always ready and willing to confer upon us. Is God our Father? This gives us an abundance of assurance that we shall receive at his hands what we ask. ‘Our Father’ is the most proper name with which to address our prayers to him. It encourages our faith. It is like a pledge beforehand that our requests shall be heard and granted. If the heart of an earthly parent, whose tender mercies and cruelties in comparison with God, does not allow his children to be defeated in their requests, how much more will God who is love and goodness itself. Our heavenly Father has inspired all parental affections. If God does not give us what we ask, it is not for our good, and we have no reason to complain that we are not heard lest he should turn our prayers into curses. He will not allow his children to return ashamed when they beg of him those things which are most agreeable to his will and to their wants. O Christian, are you sighing under your burdens? Is not God your Father? Go and boldly lay your case before him. His heart will certainly roll and yearn towards you. Is it spiritual blessings you want? Spread your requests before him; as he is your Father, so he is the God of all grace, and will give you of his fullness; for God loves that his children should be like him. Is it temporal mercies that you need? Why, he is the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. Why go about so dejected and destitute, when you have a Father so able and so willing to relieve you? Only beware that you do not ask for stones instead of bread. Ask for your good, and you will receive it. You can be well content in your present state and condition, for God is your Father equally to you as with the greatest in the world.
Dr. Packer has had a long-standing passion for the Puritans. Their understanding of God and His ways with man has largely formed his own spirituality and theological outlook. In A Quest for Godliness, the esteemed author of Knowing God and a dozen other books shares with his readers the rich world of Puritanism that has been so influential in his own life.
Dr. Packer masterfully uncovers the hidden treasures of Puritan life and thought. With crystalline clarity he reveals the depth and breadth of Puritan spiritual life, contrasting it with the superficiality and deadness of modern Western Christianity.
Drawing on a lifetime of study, Dr. Packer takes the reader on a survey of the lives and teachings of great Puritan leaders such as John Owen, Richard Baxter, and Jonathan Edwards. He offers a close look at such subjects as the Puritan view of the Bible, spiritual gifts, the Sabbath, worship, social action, and the family. He concludes that a main difference between the Puritans and ourselves is spiritual maturity–the Puritans had it; we don’t.
In a time of failing vision and decaying values, this powerful portrait of Puritans is a beacon of hope that calls us to radical commitment and action when both are desperately needed.
A Quest for Godliness is a profoundly moving and challenging exploration of Puritan life and thought in a beautifully written book. Here is J. I. Packer at his very best.