But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 1 Timothy 6:8
Let us be content with the portion God has given us of earthly things. God stands upon his sovereignty, and we must be content with God’s allowance, though he gives others more. The good man pleaded: Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? . . .Do you begrudge my generosity’ (Matt. 20:13-15)? If others have a better income and are more amply provided for, God is sovereign, and will give according to his pleasure. Nothing is deserved and therefore everything should be kindly taken with contentment. If a man is provided for by another’s expense, we take it very ill if he murmurs and dislikes his diet. Certainly we are all maintained at free cost and should be content with what is put in our hands. God in wisdom knows what proportion is best for us. The shepherd and not the sheep chooses the pasture. Leave it to God to give what is suitable to your condition of life. God gives a portion as you are able to bear. Contentment itself is a gift of God and a great blessing. When our minds are suited to our condition, our earthly blessings are sweeter and more comfortable. Our happiness does not lie in abundance, but in contentment (Luke 12:15). All spiritual miseries may be attributed to either a war between a man and his conscience, or a war between his affections and his condition. There may be just as much love in a lesser portion as in a greater. There is the same affection to a younger child, though he does not have as large an allowance as his elder brother. The father loves him just as well. So a child of God may say, ‘God loves me, though he has given another more than me.’ Be content with what falls to your share in the gracious providence of God.
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.