And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Luke 10:18
Satan’s empire is bounded by this little spot of time. This mocking acts the part of a prince, but when Christ comes at the end of the world, Satan shall be degraded, his crown taken off, his sword broken over his head, and he shall be hissed off with scorn and shame as a prisoner into hell. No more will he infest the saints, but lie with the wicked under the immediate execution of God’s wrath. He is already cast out, and his doom has been sentenced. He knows it; trembling he asked Christ why he came to torment him before his time? This is bad news for the wicked. Their prince cannot sit long on his throne. Sinners many now have a merry time of it and rejoice while Christ’s disciples weep and mourn; they rustle in their silks, while the saints wear rags. It is strange to see Satan carry sinners after him with this golden hook. He baits them with honour, property or pleasure, and their hearts skip after it like a dog after a crust of bread. O the naughty heart of man that loves the wages of unrighteousness that the devil promises, but fears not the wrath of God! He is like the spaniel that leaps into the river for a bone but only gets a mouthful of water. Sinners swim through the threatenings of the Word to get to the pleasures. They resolve to have them and fall into the devil’s snare, and are led into those foolish and hurtful lusts that drown them in destruction and perdition (1 Tim. 6:9). Yea, this bragging prince tells you what he will give you, but goes down himself. ‘O’.says the sinner, ‘the pleasures and honours that sin and Satan offer are present, and the promises of Christ we must wait for!’ This deception is that which takes many down. It is a vile wretch who loses a future reward to join the devil for ready pay. O what desperate madness it is to accept the wrath of God for joy that lasts but for an hour!
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.