Featured Puritan, William Gurnall on wrestling with God & taking Heaven by force

Discussion in 'Daily Devotional Forum' started by Reformed Bookworm, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritan Board Freshman

    Gurnall has thrown down the gauntlet. Dear Christian, will you pick it up?

    "The Christian in prayer comes up close to God, with a humble boldness of faith, and takes hold of Him, wrestles with Him; yea, will not let Him go without a blessing, and all this in the face of his own sins, and divine justice, which let fly upon him from the fiery mouth of the law; while the other’s boldness in prayer is but the child, either of ignorance in his mind, or hardness in his heart; whereby not feeling his sins, and not knowing his danger, he rushes upon duty with a blind confidence, which soon fails when conscience awakes and gives him the alarm that his sins are upon him, as the Philistines on Samson: alas! then in a fright, the poor-spirited wretch throws down his weapon, flies the presence of God with guilty Adam, and dares not look Him in the face. Indeed, there is no duty in a Christian’s whole course of walking with God, or acting for God, but is lined with many difficulties, which shoot like enemies through the hedges at the Christian, whilst he is marching towards heaven: so that he is put to dispute every inch of ground as he goes. They are only a few noble-spirited souls, who dare take heaven by force, that are fit for this calling. For the further proof of this point, see some few pieces of service that every Christian engageth in. - Gurnall, W., & Campbell, J. (1845). The Christian in Complete Armour (p. 3). London: Thomas Tegg.
     
  2. Stephen L Smith

    Stephen L Smith Puritan Board Junior

    Amen. I am reading this section on Gurnall at the moment so timely.
     
  3. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritan Board Freshman

    Praise God. His timing is always perfect.
     
  4. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    I am currently reading William Gurnall's The Christian's Labour and Reward, but I have never got around to reading The Christian in Complete Armour. I was put off buying/reading it by some of the criticisms of the book made by Martyn Lloyd-Jones in his sermons on Ephesians, though I cannot remember precisely what his criticisms were.
     
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  5. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritan Board Freshman

    The Christian's Labour and Reward is a fantastic read. I am quite surprised to hear Lloyd-Jones criticized such a book. Along with Scriptures, TCinCA along with Brakel's Christian's Reasonable Service would most likely be my desert island picks. Here are some praise for Gurnall's work:

    "Endorsements
    ‘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. 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"
     
  6. Stephen L Smith

    Stephen L Smith Puritan Board Junior

    If I recall correctly, he thought Gurnall could get a little 'long winded' in his comments and stretch the exegesis a bit. But I emphasise it is a very minor criticism. MLJ did make minor criticisms of other Puritans at times.

    It is important to emphasise that Lloyd-Jones was proactive in promoting the Puritans. He truly believed their writings were the very best nourishment for the soul. If he was alive today I am sure he would say that Gurnall is one of the best Puritans. Read him and your soul would be greatly blessed, don't be put off by a minor criticism!
     
  7. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    It has been about 17 or 18 years since I read MLJ's criticisms of William Gurnall. I do think his concerns were about more than the book being long-winded, however.
     
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  8. JimmyH

    JimmyH Puritan Board Junior

    In volume 7, 'The Christian Warfare', Ephesians 6:10 - 13, on page 16, MLJ says that,
    He goes on to say,
    I typed all of the above looking at the text manually on my keyboard, so though I've proofread it, there may be a word or two omitted or out of place. The first paragraph I typed is edited somewhat, but the balance (separately quoted, is complete)

    Incidentally, reading the above years ago also discouraged me from reading the Gurnall volume, though I have it. Perhaps I'll get to it down the road .... Lord willing.
     
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  9. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritan Board Freshman

    I understand. As I have stated elsewhere, I am forever indebted to Lloyd-Jones. I owe so much to him and his ministry. When I first discovered the MLJ Trust, I listened to at least one sermon every morning for a year. MLJ books are well stocked in my library. He was fundamental in my early stages of discovering the Reformed faith along with the Puritans. I am reading his two-volume biography at the moment.
     
  10. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    Thanks, Jimmy. I think that is what I read as well.

    It really is odd how you can be put off reading something. At the time, I was devouring Puritan Paperbacks one after an other, but always avoided William Gurnall's tome on the basis of what MLJ said. Mind you, having made my way through the volumes of MLJ sermons, I perhaps needed to take a break from Ephesians.
     
  11. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritan Board Freshman

    Gurnall uses Ephesians 6 as the foundation. In the process, he covers so much ground in the Christian life. I couldn't possibly commend his book to you enough.
     
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  12. TheOldCourse

    TheOldCourse Puritan Board Sophomore

    I highly commend Gurnall. And as far MLJ's criticism, the "sweetness" that he finds lacking clearly shines through in Gurnall's exposition of the text. It is immensely encouraging. Gurnall also does, if implicitly, recognize a distinction between vv. 14 and following from the preceding ones. Do not let that prevent you from taking it up. It can certainly be a bit long-winded, but it is even so extremely edifying.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
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  13. Stephen L Smith

    Stephen L Smith Puritan Board Junior

    Likewise. I posted a number of book recommendations in another forum. https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/happy-birthday-dr-lloyd-jones.96969/#post-1185114

    Likewise.
    Read it many many times. You will not regret it! My copy is getting quite worn with use. As I said in that other post, also read Iain Murray's "Martyn Lloyd-Jones: messanger of grace". I am convinced it was providential that Iain Murray was the official biographer for MLJ. He did an excellent job.
     
  14. Stephen L Smith

    Stephen L Smith Puritan Board Junior

  15. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritan Board Freshman

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  16. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Professor

    Says the guy (ML-J) whose series of sermons on Romans runs to 14 volumes, and didn't finish the book!
     
  17. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Professor

    He didn't. It was The Christian in Complete Armour that Lloyd-Jones was criticizing.
     
  18. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritan Board Freshman

    I know that as is evident through the discussion that followed. That was two separate thoughts, which wasn't very clear on my part.
     
  19. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

  20. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritan Board Freshman

    Indeed it is. I was excited to find it as an appendix to The Christians Labor and Reward.
     
  21. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Professor

    In my semi-humble opinion, Lloyd-Jones's best book is Studies on the Sermon on the Mount (originally published in two volumes, 1959 and 1960; now available as a single volume).
     
  22. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

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