Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, John 4:13
God is the happiness of man because of his suitableness to the soul. Hungry man finds his stomach craving. Give him music or honour and he is hungry still. These are not suitable to his appetite. Give him food and his craving is over. So it is with a man’s soul. Give it honour, profits, and the pleasures of the world, and these cannot abate its desire; it craves still. These do not answer the soul’s nature, and therefore cannot answer its needs. Set God before it just once, and let it feed on him; it is satisfied, and its inordinate, dogged appetite after the world is cured. Tasting this manna tramples on the onions of Egypt. God is the true happiness of the soul because he is an eternal good. As the sun never sets, so the soul that rests in God has an eternal Sabbath. Outward mercies, in which most place their happiness, are like floods that swell high and make a great noise, but are quickly over. The blessed God is like the spring that bubbles forth and runs over forever. This all-sufficient, suitable, and eternal God is the saint’s peculiar portion, and therefore causes infinite satisfaction. God is my portion forever. When God says to the soul, ‘I am yours, and all that I have’, who can tell how the heart leaps with joy and desires after him upon such new! The pronoun ‘my’ is worth so much to the soul. Luther said much religion lies in the pronouns. All our consolation indeed consists in this pronoun. He is my God. All the joys of the believer are hung upon this one string. Break this and all is lost. I have sometimes thought how David rolls this word as a lump of sugar under his tongue: ‘I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.’ (Psa. 18:1-2).
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.