The Christian in Complete Armour
A few months ago, a friend recommended The Christian in Complete Armour by William Gurnall, originally published in 1669. Thankfully, it is still available today in print and digital. Charles Spurgeon said…
“Gurnall’s work is peerless and priceless; every line is full of wisdom; every sentence suggestive. The whole book has been preached over scores of times, and is, in our judgment, the best thought-breeder in all our library.” —Charles Spurgeon
The copy in print today is from the 1865 edition and has a biographical introduction by the notable J.C. Ryle. William Gurnall was a pastor for nearly 30 years in the village of Lavenham in Suffolk, England.
“John Newton said that if he might read only one book beside the Bible, he would choose The Christian in Complete Armour.”
The original short description of the book reads, “A Treatise, wherein a Discovery is made of that grand Enemy of God and his People, in his Policies, Power, Seat of his Empire, Wickedness, and chief design he hath against the Saints. A MAGAZINE OPENED From whence the Christian is furnished with Spiritual Arms for the Battle, helped on with his Armour, and taught the use of his Weapon: together with the happy issue of the whole War.”
Certainly not for the faint of heart! In fact, one of my favorite quotes in the book about the need for courage to stand strong reads,
“The Christian, of all men, needs courage and resolution. Indeed, there is nothing he doth as a Christian, or can do, but is an act of valour. A cowardly spirit is beneath the lowest duty of a Christian.” —William Gurnall
This book is rich. It is also THICK. You can’t tell from the picture above but this book has small print and measures nearly 2 ½ inches thick! This print has 656 pages besides the introductory biography by J.C. Ryle.
“It requires more prowess and greatness of spirit to obey God faithfully, than to command an army of men; to be a Christian, than to be a captain.” —William Gurnall
I’m loving it. I believe the need for this book in our time is equal or greater than its original audience. The entire book is a study of eleven verses from Ephesians 6. The book is filled with supplementary Scripture references and written with an eloquence and depth no longer in vogue but wonderfully suited for disciples who truly long to grow in relationship with Christ, to better understand the battle we are facing, and to be better equipped to stand victorious with Christ.