Gurnall’s Christian in Complete Armour, certainly one of the greatest of all the Puritan’s practical writings, has been many times republished, but the best edition remains that of 1864, with an Introduction by J.C. Ryle. It is this unabridged edition which is now reprinted.
This Complete Armour is beyond all others a preacher’s book: I should think that more discourses have been suggested by it than by any other uninspired volume. 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. John Newton said that if he might read only one book beside the Bible, he would choose The Christian in Complete Armour, and Richard Cecil was of much the same opinion.
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.
"If I might read only one book beside the Bible, I would chooseThe Christian in Complete Armour." — JOHN NEWTON
"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 judgment, the best thought-breeder in all our library." — C.H. SPURGEON
"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