The Christian in Complete Armour   -     By: William Gurnall
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The Christian in Complete Armour

Hendrickson Publishers / Hardcover

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Product Description

Arguably the most significant spiritual and biblical theology ever penned from the English Puritan era, the presentation of William Gurnall's (1616-1679) The Christian in Complete Armour in an accessible single volume is certainly a landmark, and much welcomed, event.

According to the Apostle Paul, the world is at war. Not a "hot war" but a war in the realm of the spirit. This war, paul warns, requires special armament, and he explains that armament in Ephesians 6. Anglican cleric Gurnall began to explore Paul's exhortation in sermons and lectures, which he published under the title The Christian in Complete Armor. A perennial best-seller in Gurnall's own lifetime, these teachings became his legacy, influencing well over three centuries of Christians and eliciting praise from the likes of Richard Baxter, John Flaven, John Newton, Charles Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards.

Historical theologians and Church Historians should benefit greatly from this volume, as should anyone who stands in the Reformed tradition. It sheds much light on the pre-critical puritan view of the world, as well as illuminating a subject matter both theologically and spiritually that us moderns either ignore or take for granted.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 1312
Vendor: Hendrickson Publishers
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
ISBN: 1598564676
ISBN-13: 9781598564679
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

At a time in England when loyalty to Scripture placed Christians in the center of the nation’s wars, Gurnall was more concerned with the souls of his people than the issues of conflicting political parties. Compiled from his many sermons on "the saints’ war against the devil," his exhaustive exposition of Ephesians 6:10–20 treats the spiritual battles of believers and their God-given protection.

Originally written in three volumes (1655–1662), the book first covers the Christian’s call to arms and describes the nature of the battle and the character of our enemy. The various pieces of godly armor and weapons, and their use on offense and defense, are then described at length, item by item and verse by verse. More pastoral and practical than theological, Gurnall’s work is filled with spiritual insight, encouraging exhortation, and inspiring word pictures concerning the importance of doctrinal truth as "a girdle for the mind," the power of holiness, the "pre-eminence of faith against other graces," and much more.

Profoundly biblical and as relevant today as it was almost 350 years ago, Gurnall’s work is a resource that will add grace to the library of Calvinist and Arminian alike. This edition includes an introduction and biography of Gurnall by J.C. Ryle.

Author Bio

William Gurnall (1617–1679) pastored in the little town of Lavenham, in the English county of Suffolk. Despite his Puritan leanings, Gurnall signed the Act of Uniformity and agreed to the dictates of the Church of England. Though not ejected from his pulpit as were other non-conformists, his position was not respected on either side of the conflict. His massive treatise on spiritual warfare and two small pieces—The Christian’s Labor and Reward and The Magistrate’s Portrait Drawn from the Word— comprise all of Gurnall’s known published works.

Editorial Reviews

Hendrickson’s reprint of the 1865 Edinburgh edition of William Gurnall’s The Christian in Complete Armour will be welcomed by all lovers of practical and pastoral divinity. Little is known about Gurnall, who was rector of Lavenham in Suffolk from 1644 until his death in 1679, and his reputation rests almost entirely on the Complete Armour. The work itself originally appeared in three quarto volumes, published in 1655, 1658 and 1662 respectively, and consists of a long consecutive series of sermons preached at Lavenham on Ephesians 6:10-20. It was so popular that by the time of Gurnall’s death it had already reached its 6th edition. However, while admired by such evangelical luminaries as Richard Baxter, Charles Haddon Spurgeon and John Newton, today it is little known.

The grand theme of the work is spiritual warfare and as the full title declares Gurnall’s aim was to furnish the Christian with ’spiritual arms for the battle’ against his Satanic foe. In its depth and scope the Complete Armour doubles as a body of practical divinity. The style is pictorial and ’affectionate’ in the best Puritan tradition. Following a common template each section concludes with an application or ’use’ intended to ground the received doctrine in the life of the believer – in Gurnall’s own striking words to drive a nail hard into the conscience. Doctrinally the focus is Christological and Gurnall is emphatic that it is Christ himself who is the Christian’s ’complete armour’ and not his own merits or qualities. Throughout, his discussion is characterised by great psychological depth and he is assiduous in applying Scripture to diagnose and treat the believer’s spiritual maladies.

His desire is for the believer’s final perseverance in holiness and all the ’evangelical graces’ until the ’evil day’ of which Ephesians 6 speaks: their grapple with the ’last enemy’ of death. His emphasis is therefore on the lived-out life of holiness as the fruit of the believer’s righteousness in Christ and in this way he combines his Christology with a strong pneumatological thrust.

Hendrickson’s are certainly to be congratulated for making this little-known work widely available. . . [I]t still very much retains the flavour of its nineteenth-century original. . . To ease the modern reader the Latin is helpfully translated and explanations of unusual dialect terms given. No other apparatus is provided but no other is strictly necessary. Apart from students of the seventeenth-century this work will be of particular interest to pastoral theologians and preachers, both in its plain, pithy style and its veritable mine of practical, biblical advice.
—Expository Times


"If I might read only one book beside the Bible, I would choose The Christian in Complete Armour."
—John Newton

"Peerless and priceless; every line is full of wisdom; every sentence is suggestive . . . . The best thought-breeder in all our library."
—C.H. Spurgeon

"I believe The Christian in Complete Armour . . . should be in the library of everyman and woman of God. No Christian leader, teacher, pastor, evangelist, or Christian worker should be without it."
—David Wilkerson

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Displaying items 1-5 of 5
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  1. Age: 18-24
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    A Spiritual Treasure in a Fine Printing
    December 9, 2013
    Chris
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    To comment on the work itself, The Christian in Complete Armor is amongst the most valuable works ever written for the Christian outside the Bible. The careful reader will find it overflowing with practical wisdom and sharp insight. It is a comfort, an encouragement, edifying, and often very pithy.

    The entire book covers just Ephesians 6:10-20, but, despite the obvious focus on the immediate subject of spiritual warfare, covers a tremendous breadth of matter. Gurnall writes for the common man/woman who loves and desires to serve his/her Lord, but is able to carry the common person to heights unimagined in many pulpits today.

    Yes, it's written in the English of the times - it's a little more readable than the KJV. I find it perfectly readable, though occassionaly the phrasing of a passage requires a little scrutiny. Footnotes are included for especially uncommon words (i.e. "quackle"). Be bold. Tackle something that isn't lightweight. Those who love any of the Puritans shouldn't need any encouragement.

    Pages are printed facsimilies of an earlier printing, easily readable, providing a nice atmosphere. Cover and binding are solid. The book looks great, if you care. Seriously hefty. Don't use it as a bookshelf anchor, though... read it!
  2. North Carolina
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    A rare treasure
    June 9, 2012
    Rebecca
    North Carolina
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Rich language! Recommended for anyone who enjoys the style of the Puritans, Matthew Henry, etc. The beauty of the language has been preserved in this edition. Definitely a must-have for any avid Christian reader. Tremendously insightful and encouraging.
  3. 1 Stars Out Of 5
    old english
    June 1, 2011
    follower of christ
    this book is written in a english are generation doesnt speak anymore i couldnt understand alot of what i was reading so i didnt finish the book
  4. West Virginia
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Outstanding principles
    January 14, 2011
    Gary
    West Virginia
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: male
    This book is wrote in the old English language, the print is very small, I have to use visual aid to read it. However, for spiritual growth it is outstanding. I suggest not getting this one volume but getting the three volume instead; the print is larger easier to read.
  5. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    December 20, 2009
    John
    This is one of the most incredible books I've ever read. I am so glad to see this one volume, hardcover edition is going to be released. This was a favorite of Charles Spurgeon. He said about it, "Gurnall's work is peerless and priceless; every line is full of wisdom; every sentence is suggestive. The whole book has been preached over scores of times, and is, in our judgement, the best thought-breeder in all our library." Spurgeon's library had more than 12,000 volumes in it. This book is also a favorite of David Wilkerson. I bought it after hearing him mention it in a sermon.
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