The Christian’s Trade is Heavenly - Gurnall’s Christian In Complete Armour

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Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Senior
Greetings,

Below is a short quote from Gurnall (see My Introduction below) but I just had to include most of his title page, which itself I consider edifying.


THE
CHRISTIAN IN COMPLETE
ARMOUR;

OR,

A TREATISE ON
The Saints’ War with the Devil:


WHEREIN A DISCOVERY IS MADE OF THE POLICY, POWER,
WICKEDNESS, AND STRATAGEMS, MADE USE OF BY THAT

ENEMY OF GOD AND HIS PEOPLE

A MAGAZINE OPENED,
FROM WHENCE
THE CHRISTIAN IS FURNISHED WITH SPIRITUAL ARMS FOR THE
BATTLE, ASSISTED IN BUCKLING ON HIS ARMOUR, AND TAUGHT
THE USE OF HIS WEAPONS;
TOGETHER WITH
THE HAPPY ISSUE OF THE WHOLE WAR

BY

WILLIAM GURNALL, A.M.,
From​

CHAPTER XII

SHEWETH WHAT THE PRIZE IS, WHICH BELIEVERS WRESTLE AGAINST THESE
PRINCIPALITIES, POWERS, SPIRITUAL WICKEDNESSES​

My Introduction:
This short quote from Gurnall is from a small portion of chapter 12. Even then I skipped several pages as not to make the reading so long that you miss the part that spoke to me this day. The first paragraph is good but if you read nothing else please read the second (partial) paragraph. He really nails it on what a Christians private devotions are (or should be) like.

Secondly, The Christian’s trade is heavenly; the merchandise he deals for is of the growth of that heavenly country, Phil. 3:20: ‘Our conversation is in heaven.’ Every man’s conversation is suitable to his calling; he whose trade is heavenly, follows that close. ‘Every man minds his own business,’ the apostle tells us. You may possibly find a tradesman out of his shop now and then, but he is as a fish out of the water, never in his element till he be in his calling again. Thus when the Christian is about the world, and the wordling about heavenly matters, both are men out of their way, not rightly girt, till they get into their employment again. Now this heavenly trade is that which Satan doth in an especial manner labour to stop. Could the Christian enjoy but a free trade with heaven a few years without molestation, he would soon grow a rich man, too rich indeed for earth; but what with losses sustained by the hands of this pirate Satan, and also the wrong he receives by the treachery of some in his own bosom, that, like unfaithful servants, hold correspondence with this robber, he is kept but low in this life, and much of his gains are lost; now the Christian’s heavenly trade lies either within doors, or abroad; he can be free in neither; Satan is at his heels in both.

This is the really good part.

First, Within doors; this I may call his home trade, which is spent in secret between God and his own soul; here the Christian drives an unknown trade; he is at heaven and home again, richly laden in his thoughts with heavenly meditations, before the world knows where he hath been. Every creature he sees is a text for his heart to raise some spiritual matter and observations from. Every sermon he hears cuts him out work to make up and enlarge upon when he gets alone. Every providence is as wind to his sails, and sets his heart a moving in some heavenly affection or other, suitable to the occasion. One while he is wrapped up with joy in the consideration of mercy, another while melted into godly sorrow from the sense of his sins. Sometimes exalting God in his praises, anon abasing himself before God for his own vileness. One while he is at the breast of the covenant, milking out the consolations of the promises; another while working his heart into a holy awe and fear of the threatenings. Thus the Christian walks aloft, while the base worldling is licking the dust below.

EDIT: I decided that I should add the rest of the paragraph above lest too rosy a picture is painted by leaving out most of the warts. I live in both parts of the former and latter quotes.
One of these heavenly pearls which the Christian trades for is more worth, than the worldling gets with all his sweat and travel in his whole life. The Christian’s feet stand where other men’s heads are; he treads on the moon, and is clothed with the sun; he looks down on earthly men, as one from a high hill doth upon those that live in some fen or moor, and sees them buried in a fog of carnal pleasures and profits, while he breathes in a pure heavenly air; but yet not so high as to be free from all storms and tempests; many a sad gust he hath from sin and Satan without. What else mean those sad complaints and groans which come from the children of God, that their hearts are so dead and dull, their thoughts so roving and unfixed in duty, many times so wicked and filthy, that they dare hardly tell what they are, for fear of staining their own lips, and offending the ears of others by naming them? Surely the Christian finds it in his heart to will and desire he could meditate, pray, hear, and live after another sort than this? doth he not? Yes, I durst be his surety he doth. But so long as there is a devil tempts, and we continue within his walk, it will be thus, more or less; as fast as we labour to clear the spring of our hearts, he will be labouring to thicken or stop it again: so that we have two works to do at once; to perform a duty, and watch him that opposeth us; trowel and sword both in our hands. They had need work hard indeed, who have others continually endeavouring to pull down, as they are labouring to rear up the building.

Gurnall, W., & Campbell, J. (1845). The Christian in Complete Armour (p. 153). London: Thomas Tegg.
 
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