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The Christian in Complete Armour (2 Volumes) Hardcover – July 1, 1964
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'If I might read only one book beside the Bible, I would choose The Christian in Complete Armour.' --John Newton
'Gurnall's work is peerless and priceless; every line is full of wisdom; every sentence is suggestive. I have often resorted to it when my own fire has been burning low, and I have seldom failed to find a glowing coal upon Gurnall's hearth.' --Charles H. Spurgeon
'A beautiful feature in Gurnall's book is its richness in pithy, pointed, and epigrammatical sayings. You will often find in a line and a half some great truth, put so concisely, and yet so fully, that you really marvel how so much thought could be got into so few words. Solid scriptural theology, like that contained in these pages, should be valued and studied in the church. Books in which Scripture is reverently regarded as the only rule of faith and practice books in which Christ and the Holy Ghost have their rightful office books in which justification, and sanctification, and regeneration, and faith, and grace, and holiness are clearly, distinctly, and accurately delineated and exhibited these are the only books which do real good. Few things need reviving more than a taste for such books as these among readers.'
'I believe The Christian in Complete Armour, should be in the library of every man and woman of God. No Christian leader, teacher, pastor, evangelist, or Christian worker should be without it.'
'You could not buy a better work, nor get better value for your money.' --Free Presbyterian Magazine
About the Author
William Gurnall (1616-1679) was born in the coastal town of Lynn, Norfolk, about a hundred miles north of London. His father was first an alderman (town council member), then mayor of Lynn, a chief town of the most thoroughly Protestant district of England in the seventeenth century. The inhabitants of Norfolk and Suffolk counties were famous for their deep attachment to the doctrines of the Reformation.
An excellent scholar, Gurnall was awarded a scholarship from the city of Lynn to attend Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He began his formal training there in his 16th year, shortly after his father's death. He earned a bachelor's degree in 1635 and a master s degree in 1639.
At the age of 28, William Gurnall was appointed curate and then rector on the death of the incumbent of the church at Lavenham, Suffolk, then a town of about 1,800 inhabitants, half of whom were his parishioners. A year later he married a minister's daughter, Sarah Mott, who bore him at least fourteen children, eight of whom survived him. Gurnall spent the rest of his life, dogged by ill-health, in this pastorate.
The years during which Gurnall served the parish at Lavenham were filled with momentous events in English history: a civil war, the beheading of King Charles I, the declaring of a protectorate under Puritan leader Oliver Cromwell, then the death of Cromwell, and the restoration of the monarchy under King Charles II. But the most significant event for Gurnall was the passing of the Act of Uniformity in 1662. He chose to remain in the Church, signed the declaration required by the Act, and was ordained a priest by the evangelical Bishop Reynolds of Norwich. His reputation amongst the Puritans consequently suffered and is probably the reason so little has been written about William Gurnall in the annals of church history.
It was during this time of civil and religious strife and controversy that Gurnall preached to his parishioners his messages on spiritual warfare. With the help of a benefactor, Gurnall published his material in three volumes between 1655 and 1662 The Christian in Complete Armour. He dedicated the first volume to the inhabitants of Lavenham.
Gurnall died on October 12, 1679, in the 63rd year of his life. The fact that a sixth edition of his work was published in the year he died is enough to show that its merits were early recognized.
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The style of the book is so written as you can read it any chapter and be blessed without having read the chapter before or after I spent five years reading this book and never felt the need to back up to find out what was being taught in that chapter . This is a rare quality for a book of such spiritual depth and like all truly great preaching you will not need a theological degree to understand it .
You will be uplifted , chastened and inspired by the practical truths taught . You will be encouraged to take up the whole armor of God and made plainly aware of the spiritual battle that is all around us . There is an abridged version of this great book available as well , I own it , it is a good outline but is simply cliff notes without the strength of the unabridged edition . Buy it , Buy it now as you never know when it may become unavailable .
The Table of Contents is particularly useful as it not only gives Chapter titles but chapter descriptions as well . This will allow you to go straight to the section you are most interested in such a shield of faith with many subheading as well . I do recommend that you read front to back but as the sections stand up pretty well by themselves you can skip to a particular subject . Also so helpful for relocating that part that you are really blessed by , and this book will really bless any Christian who reads it . I added a personal index to the back blank pages to identify how that teaching applied to me . Every and any Christian who reads this book will be blessed . Note the abridged copy omits to much of the scripture example and explanation . It ( abridged ) is good for an out line of this subject .
Not only can I understand what concept he is explaining, I can immediately apply it to my life right away because of his powerful writing style. An example I can remember is about "We wrestle not with flesh and blood..." I had thought of it as a wrestling match, go into a ring and have a skirmish. It has an end. Where did I get this image? From TV images. Tho not a wrestling fan, in a movie I'm sure I saw a match which lasted maybe 5 minutes on film and it had a winner in the end of the 5 minutes. So, that is what we humans can think of as we read Ephesians. For me, this image has never been changed by any sermonette I have heard.
But W. Grunell first starts off by explaining that a wrestling match is a direct contact sport. And that it is NOT a recreational sport. In addition, unlike any other sport, it continues until there is a winner. So, for us Christians, this wrestling we will be doing with our enemy is NOT over until we finally reach either reach heaven or are taken out of this world.
This truth brings an entirely different light upon our stay here on earth and our work for God. It means that during this "match" we will have times of fatigue but through our faith and the strength of God, we can finish the race. Please excuse me but I certainly didn't do justice to William Grunell's incredible description of the "wrestling match". His description that it is NOT a recreational sport spoke very powerfully to me. It changed my mental picture, idea, concept, that somehow made it into my consciousness that; for the Christian were are engages is a "sort of" recreational sport with the enemy. Nothing could be farther from the truth!!! This alone changed my daily life.
Also, somewhere along in reading fairly early in the book, I learned to "Look to the heart of God". It wasn't stated exactly like that but I quickly made the translation. To use this concept on a daily basis: I was explaining to a nursing co-worker, Think of all those times in our lives we need to make a decision. A "sticky decision" where there isn't a clear cut answer in scripture. Those common, fairly mundane decisions. Or some common relatively small sticky roadblocks, usually with family and friends. She quickly smiled and nodded as we all remember those all too common events in our lives. So I said, I now just think of the concept, "See the heart of God". This is so easy to do because scripture is brimming over with examples. Now, I am able to fairly easily and quickly navigate through these darts from Satan.
Honestly, this book is so incredible that I have ordered four additional books and sent 2 to family, one to a doctor, and one to the nursing co-worked above mentioned. I will be placing another order soon as have a list as I am given names by the good Lord who He would like to receive these books. I am also sending a few to a church out in New Mexico. I do hope someone who reads this will be moved by the Holy Spirit to read this great book by William Grunell. Mine has notations everywhere in it. He has so many "nuggets of truth that I have started a small book so I can remember them in appropriate times.
Look to the heart of God
Satan tries to squeeze between God and the saint
Do not complain about the providence of God
We are a wrestler, not a conqueror
Contention throws the soul into chaos
Power is the rightful attribute of God alone.
Blessing from a Quilt Gram
It will take me over a month of non-stop solid reading to finish this book. One thing I noticed is there are no page numbers. I am not sure if there is a reason for that or not, so you will have to pay attention to where you left off.
The author is very spiritually minded without becoming proud over this. He is very humble, unlike those today who give the pretense of being spiritual, but ARE proud.
Since I am only a short way into this book I cannot tell everything about it, but I CAN tell you that it is worth every cent of purchase. I am not sure why it's called "Volume I" when it does not mention that there is a "Volume II" forthcoming.