Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. Colossians 3:2
Why would men choose the world for their portion instead of God? Because of their ignorance of the great worth of this object. The devil courts man for his soul with the brutish pleasures of sin. The world woos the heart with its profits, treasures and honours, which are vain and perishing. God comes, and he offers for the heart the precious blood of his Son, the curious embroidery of his Spirit, the noble employment of angels, the fullness of joy, and the infinite satisfaction of his blessed self to all eternity. Now why is the devil’s money accepted, the world’s offer embraced, and God’s rejected? Truly, men do not know the worth of what God offers them. The money the devil and the world offer is in their own currency, and is familiar to them. Swine trample on pearls, because they do not know their value. Men prefer the poor things they have because they do not know their value. Men prefer the poor things they have because they are in their present possession. The devil seeks to peck out the eyes of men, that they do not see the blessed God and the happiness that is to be enjoyed in him. O how dull is the world’s glass in the presence of true crystal! The magnet of earth will not draw man’s affections while heaven is visible. He that has fed on the heavenly banquet cannot savour anything else. A man who sees a candle after fourteen years, having been born in a dark dungeon, wonders at its glory, delights in beholding it, and inquires into its nature. Bring him afterwards into the open air to behold the sun, and all his wonder will be directed to this great luminary. Man is taken up with the candle of creature comforts. Let him once see the sun of righteousness, the all-sufficient and eternal God, the excellence pf his glorious being, and that which was glorious before has no more glory in comparison to the sight 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.