The LORD your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
God represents himself as a Father to encourage us to pray. Father speaks of love and condescension. The name Jehovah is majestic; the name Father shows mercy. Our Father is the only wise God, and knows the best way to bring about what is best for us. Earthly parents do not always know how to advise their children, but God always knows what is best for us, and how to best comfort us. He keeps his medicine handy for our fainting (2 Cor. 7:6). He knows when affliction is best, and when it is best to give a bitter portion (1 Pet. 1:6). The Father knows how to make evil things work for good to his children (Rom. 8:28), and he can make a sovereign antidote for poison. Our Father is love (1 John 4:16). The affection of a parent is but a pebble compared with God’s love to his children. He gives them the cream of his love: electing, and saving love (Zeph. 3:17). There is no father like God for love. You cannot love your own soul so entirely as he loves you. He gives us unsearchable riches (Eph. 3:8): the hidden manna, the tree of life, and the rivers of joy. His treasuries cannot be exhausted: gates of pearls, and pleasures without end. His riches are given, but never exhausted. Our Father is the best father; he gives to his children more than any father could ever bestow. God numbers his children among his jewels. He writes their names in the book of life and will never blot them out (Rev. 3:5). He is not ashamed to be called our God (Heb. 11:16). Christ writes upon us the name of God (Rev. 3:12). What an honour and dignity is this! We have the blessings of God’s love and favour, and he is the proper object of our delight, and every true child of God says as Peter; ‘Lord; you know that I love you!’ (John 21:16).
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.