Written in the 17th century by Pastor William Gurnall and compiled into 365 readings by Bell, this collection supplies Christians with a soul-searching supplement to the Bible. Gurnall gives readers eternal knowledge that can be embraced daily, providing extra strength for victory.
The Christian in Complete Armour is certainly one of the greatest of all the Puritans' practical writings. This 3-volume paperback set is a modernized abridgement of the Puritan Classic by William Gurnall.
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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.
'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
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