I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, John 14:30
The nature of temptation is to lead us into sin. It may proceed either from Satan, the world, or from ourselves. Temptation may come singly from each of these, or they may join together their forces in various combinations. Satan seeks to inject his evil and blasphemous thoughts about God into the hearts of the saints. It is his own work. He does not use the world or our own hearts in this temptation. His fiery darts are prepared in the forge of his own malice, and shall, with all their venom and poison, be turned into his own heart forever. Sometimes Satan makes use of the world, and joins forces against us. This is the way he tempted our Savior; he ‘showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory’ (Matt. 4:8). The variety of instruments and weapons that Satan will use from the world is innumerable. As other times, Satan seeks assistance from ourselves. We are not like Christ when Satan came to tempt him. Jesus declared that Satan ‘had nothing in him’ (John 14:30). It is otherwise with us. Satan has in us an agreeable party within our very own breasts for most of his purposes (James 1:14-15). This is how he tempted Judas. He appealed to Judas ‘ own corruption, for he was covetous and a thief. The ways and means of temptation, and the causes of them, are so inexpressibly large and various it is impossible to organize them in a systematic way. To attempt it would be an endless task. Temptation, then, in general is anything, and for any reason, that exerts a force of influence to seduce and draw the mind and heart of man from the obedience, which God requires of him, to sin at any level.
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.