Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! Luke 12:24
If God is our heavenly Father, let us behave ourselves as children of such a Father. Let us depend upon him in all our straits and difficulties. Let us believe he will provide for all our wants, as children rely upon their parents for the supply of their needs. If we trust God for salvation, shall we not trust him for our livelihood? We need to be careful of being distrustful. Would God feed the birds of the air, and not feed his children? Consider the lilies; they do not spin, yet Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Would God clothe the lilies and not clothe his lambs? Even the wicked taste of his bounty. His children may not have a liberal share in the things of this life – they may have but little meal in the barrel; they may be drawn low and almost dry – but they shall have as much as God sees to be good for them. ‘Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing (Psa. 34:10). If God does not give them what they want, he will give them what they need. If he does not give them a feast, he will give them a portion by the way. Let them depend upon the Father’s providence and not give way to distrustful thoughts and distracting cares. ‘Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you’ (1 Pet. 5:7). An earthly parent may have affection for his child, and would gladly provide for him, but may not be able; but God is never at a loss to provide for his children, and he has promised an adequate supply. Will God give his children heaven, and not give them enough to carry them on their way? Will he give them a kingdom and deny them their daily bread? O, put your trust in him, for he has said; ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’ (Heb. 13:5).
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.