For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Philippians 2:13
It is not the vast bulk of an estate, but the vigilant care of divine providence that guards you from the stroke of ruin. The providence of God around us is the solid basis of all sanctified and durable prosperity. His providence enfolds all who bear his image in everlasting arms. He will advance you higher, and secure you better than any noble birth or estate could ever do. The delight and pleasure resulting from the observation of divine providence is very great. It will doubtless be a part of our entertainment in heaven to view with transporting delight how the designs and methods were laid to bring us there. Providence not only brings you to heaven, it brings heaven to your soul now. God is providentially steering all to the port of his own praise and his people’s happiness, while the whole word is busily employed in managing the sails and tugging at the oars with a quite opposite design and purpose. They promote God’s design by opposing it, fulfill his will by resisting it, and enlarge his church by scattering it. They make the saint’s rest sweeter by making heir condition so restless in the world. What a history we might compile, as we trace the footsteps of providence along the way. Here it prevented, and there it delivered. Here it directed, and there it corrected. Here it grieved, and there it relived. Here was the poison, and there, the antidote. This providence dispelled a dismal cloud. This one straitened, and that one enlarged. Here a want, and there a supply. Words cannot express the delight we may find in such an employment. O reader, what a life of pleasure you might live by noticing the ways of providence towards you! What a heaven upon earth you may have! Taste and see the glory of the study of providence.
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.