My soul longs, yes, faints
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and flesh sing for joy
to the living God. Psalm 84:2
Earthly portions are limited in their nature and the comfort they yield. Health is better than sickness, but does not help poverty. Honour is better than disgrace, but does not help against pain. Money is said to be the answer of all things, but cannot command ease in sickness, or much less quiet a wounded spirit. Ahab was miserable in his ivory palace. Haman, though he had the favour of the king and adoration of the people was yet discontented because he wanted Mordecai’s submission. If the world’s darlings enjoy many good things, they lack all without Christ. God is all good things, and every good things. He is self-sufficient, alone-sufficient, and all-sufficient. If God were your portion, you would find in him whatsoever your heart could desire, and tend to your happiness. Are you ambitious? He is a crown of glory. Are you covetous? He is unsearchable riches and righteousness. Do you desire pleasure? He is rivers of pleasures and fullness of joy. Are you hungry? He is a feast of wine on the lees and the fat things full of marrow. Are you weary? He is rest, a shadow from the heat, and a shelter from the storm. Are you weak? He is everlasting strength. Are you doubting? He is marvelous in counsel. Are you in darkness? He is the Sun of righteousness. Are you sick? He is the God of your health. Are you sorrowful? He is the God of all consolations. Whatever your calamity, he can remove it. Whatever your necessity, he can relieve it. He is silver, gold, honour, delight, food, raiment, house, land, peace, wisdom, power, beauty, father, mother, wife, husband, mercy, love, grace, glory, and infinity more than all these. There are all sorts of delights in him. He is the tree of life bearing all manner of fruits, and a variety of all comforts. See God, and you see all. Enjoy God, and enjoy all.
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.