The way of the LORD is a stronghold to the blameless,
but destruction to evildoers. Proverbs 10:29
The ways of God are righteous ways, blessed ways, and they bring in temporal, spiritual, and eternal blessings upon all who walk I them. His ways lead to righteousness, to the love and delight of righteousness, and to the practice of righteousness. As for the ways of profaneness, pride, hypocrisy, formality, and apostasy, these are not the ways of God. They are unrighteous ways, cursed ways, and they bring nothing but curses and crosses upon all who walk in them. Those that walk in these ways are in no way secure, but always liable to the thunderbolts of divine displeasure. But the ways of God are soul-refreshing ways. O they yield the soul an abundance of refreshment and sweetness! If a man’s soul is tired and weary, the ways of the Lord will refresh it; if it is dead and dull, the ways of the Lord will quicken it; if it is fainting, the ways of the Lord will be comforting to it. The ways of the Lord are transcendent ways. They excel all others. What is darkness to light? What are pebbles too pearls? What is dross to gold? ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways…For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways’ (Isa. 55:8-9). The ways of the Lord are afflicted, perplexed, and persecuted ways. ‘For the gate is narrow’ (Matt. 7:14) – the word means afflicted – the way is made narrow by afflictions, troubles, and persecutions. The ways of God are soul-strengthening ways. They confirm the upright in heart, and make the upright strong: strong to withstand temptations, strong to conquer corruptions, strong to rejoice under afflictions, strong to perform the most heavenly duties, and strong to improve the most spiritual mercies.
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.