The Christian in Complete Armour: The Ultimate Book on Spiritual Warfare
The title page proclaims - 'A Treatise Of the Saints' War against the Devil: 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 Sayings. 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.' And so begins the puritan classic that is pure spiritual dynamite for Christians of all denominations. This continues to be one of the most loved, and also one of the most influential Christian books apart from the Bible. "Page after page might be filled, if a collection was made of all the short, golden sentences which are to be found in The Christian in Complete Armour. 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." J C Ryle Richard Baxter and John Flavel both thought most highly of the book. Toplady used to make copious extracts from it in his common-place book. John Newton, the converted slave trade, said that if he was confined to one book beside the Bible, he dared say Gurnall's Christian Armour would be his choice. Cecil spent many of the last days of his life in reading it, and repeatedly expressed his admiration of it. Charles Spurgeon commented that Gurnall's work is "peerless and priceless; every line full of wisdom. The book has been preached over scores of times and is, in our judgment, the best thought-breeder in all our library." David Wilkerson said concerning this book: "Leonard Ravenhill, a very godly friend, gave me a copy of 'The Christian in Complete Armour' with these solemn words, "This book is going to revolutionize your life. It has had a profound effect on my life, and I believe you are prepared to receive its message now." Says Wilkerson: "at first I put the book aside; it was too long, too wordy, ..... Out of curiosity, I later scanned the first 25 pages. That is all it took to bring me to my knees. Gurnall, the pious puritan, had touched something deep within me. His were such probing, scorching, searing words that they shook my inner man. I devoured the book with great zeal....I will forever bless the day it was placed in my hands." J C RYLE says, "This well-known book consists of sermons or lectures delivered by the author in the course of his regular ministry, in a consecutive course on Eph. vi. 10-20. Comment, or recommendation, is perhaps needless in speaking of Gurnall's great work. The fact that a sixth edition was published in the year the author died, 1679, is enough to show that its merits were early recognized. The high reputation it has 'always borne among lovers of sound English divinity down to the present day, is another fact which ought not to be forgotten. Other theological works of the seventeenth century were famous in their day, but are now seldom read. The Christian in Complete Armour is a work that is read and enjoyed by thousands up to this time. "One grand peculiarity of The Christian in Complete Armour is the soundness and scriptural proportion of its doctrinal statements. There is nothing extravagant and overstretched in Gurnall's exhibition of any point, either in faith or practice. Nothing is glaringly over-coloured, nothing is completely thrown into the shade. In this respect it is eminently like Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, a work so beautifully proportioned in doctrine, that Calvinist and Arminian, Churchman and Dissenter, are all alike agreed in admiring it. "Another striking peculiarity of Gurnall's book is its profusion of illustrations and comparisons. You can hardly open a page of the work without meeting with some vivid image or picture of divine things, which lights up the whole subject under consideration like a sunbeam."
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