January 1

 

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?   Romans 8:31

 

Do not be discouraged at the difficulties and oppositions that will rise up before you when you begin resolvedly to walk with God.  Discouragements turn multitudes from religion, and provide a great temptation for many young beginners to turn back.  Israel in the wilderness was ready to retreat to Egypt. God himself will have his servants and his graces tried and exercised by difficulties, and Satan will quickly rise up storms before you, as soon as you are set out to sea.  But God is n your side and has all your enemies in his hand, and can rebuke them, or destroy the in a moment.  O what is the breath or fury of dust or devils, against the Lord Almighty!  In the day you entered into a covenant with God, and he with you, you entered into the most impregnable rock and fortress, and covered yourself in a castle of defence, where you may (modestly) defy all adverse powers of earth or hell.  If God cannot save you, he is not God.  And if he will not save you he must break his covenant.  Indeed, he may resolve to save you, not from affliction and persecution, but in it, and by it.  But in all these things you will ‘overwhelmingly conquer through him who loved us’ (Rom. 8:37).  It is far more desirable and excellent to conquer by patience, in suffering for Christ, than to conquer your persecutors in the field, by force of arms.  O think on the saints’ triumphant boastings in their God: ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble’ (Psa. 46:1).  If all of the world were on your side, you might yet have cause to fear.  But to have God on your side is infinitely more.  Christ the Captain of your salvation has gone this way before you, and now he is engaged to make you a conqueror.  Do not be afraid where Christ is leading the way.  Do not draw back when you see his steps and his blood.

 

A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life

by J. I. Packer

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.

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