Scripture Truth Publications - "Christian publishing since the 1800s"

Extracts from the Writings of William Gurnall

selected by Hamilton Smith

£6.00 (UK); $10.00 (USA) - available from STP or online bookshops.


"Extracts from the Writings of William Gurnall" selected  by Hamilton Smith

  • ISBN-10: 0-901860-82-4
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-901860-82-8
  • Price: £6.00 (UK); $10.00 (USA)
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publication date: 9 August 2008
  • Author: William Gurnall; selected by Hamilton Smith
  • Edition: 1st (re-typeset and transferred to digital printing 2008)
  • Series: Gleanings from the Past (Volume 2)
  • Height: 216 mm
  • Pages: 100 pages
  • BIC Subject heading: HRCV9
  • Place of publication: Crewe, England
  • Publisher: Scripture Truth Publications
  • Distributor: Lightning Source

Review by Yannick Ford

As explained on the "blurb" on the back cover, Hamilton Smith (1862-1943) selected key quotations from a 17th century work by William Gurnall (1616-1679), called "The Christian in Complete Armour". Hamilton Smith arranged the extracts into 12 themes: Sin and Guilt, Profession and Hypocrisy, Pride and Worldliness, Glad Tidings and Joy, Faith and Holiness, Wiles and Temptations, Suffering and Shame, Strife and Contention, Servants and Service, Reading and Meditation, Prayer and Thanksgiving, and Patience and Hope. There is a thirteenth chapter "Fragments" with further miscellaneous quotations.

The first thing that struck me when I read the book was the clear and direct way in which William Gurnall deals with areas of Christian life. Life today often seems to be based on relative values - there is no absolute moral standard, no absolute authority to refer to. As Christians of course we look to the Lord and His Word as final authority, but (speaking for myself) it is easy for the spirit of the age to rub off in some way or other. When reading William Gurnall's comments, the strong impression that I received was of the clear and serious way in which God thinks of the matters discussed in the book, and I found this to be strengthening, refreshing, and also challenging.

I read the book right through to get an overall feel for it, and ended up placing lots of sticky labels on various pages, to highlight points and comments that I wanted to come back to! It is really a devotional book, and would probably be best read slowly, one section at a time, with time to think over what Gurnall has to say on the 12 topics listed in the first paragraph, and how we can apply the Scriptures and Gurnall's explanations to our lives. It would make an excellent book for small discussion groups.

Since William Gurnall was writing in the 17th century, the language is obviously of that era, but I did not find this off-putting or difficult. Gurnall's style is relatively simple and direct, so the older English should not present a problem. I am grateful to Hamilton Smith for having taken the time to read through the no doubt very lengthy original work of Gurnall and selected these key points, and I am looking forward to reading and reviewing Hamilton Smith's other selections of Samuel Rutherford and Thomas Watson, that STP has also recently published.

Summary thoughts:-

Type of book: Devotional, Christian living.

Ease of reading: Medium: not difficult, but requires concentration, since this is essentially a collection of helpful comments, and so it is worth spending time thinking through, in the same way as one might do when reading the book of Proverbs.

Benefits: Fresh insights from a less familiar writer; clear and timely help from a spiritual Christian of former years.

Short description

"The Christian in Complete Armour" by William Gurnall has long been a source of encouragement and inspiration; but to the modern reader its length, language and structure often hinder the enjoyment of its true value. Hamilton Smith's selection of extracts under topical headings powerfully conveys Gurnall's challenge to the Christian's conscience.

Long Description

"The Christian in Complete Armour" by William Gurnall (1616-1679) has been a source of encouragement and inspiration to Christians for over 340 years; but to the modern reader its length, language and structure can often hinder the enjoyment of its true value.

In 1914, Hamilton Smith (1862-1943) set out to make the heart of this book (and of Gurnall himself) more accessible to the reader of his day.

He organised a selection of extracts under topical headings covering such themes as sin and guilt, glad tidings and joy, faith and holiness, strife and contention, servants and service, reading and meditation, prayer and thanksgiving, and patience and hope.

Retaining Gurnall's original text, he created a volume of devotional readings which have stood the test of time in sharing Gurnall's challenge to the Christian's conscience.

We are pleased to make this classic work available once again.

From the Preface by Hamilton Smith (1914)

The extracts that form this little volume are gleaned from a well-known Puritan work, written by William Gurnall and published in 1665, entitled, "The Christian in Complete Armour".

Amongst all the Puritan writings that have come down to us, none, perhaps, are more practical and conscience-reaching than this notable work. The perusal of the following pages will prove it still to be a ministry, rich with glowing thoughts to warm the heart;--a quiver well stocked with arrows to reach the conscience.

Publisher's comments

Hardback edition first published 1914 by The Central Bible Truth Depot, 12 Paternoster Row, London, E.C.

Re-typeset and transferred to Digital Printing 2008.

Other Books by Hamilton Smith are available from STP.

Table of Contents

Biographical Introduction
1. Sin and Guilt
2. Profession and Hypocrisy
3. Pride and Worldliness
4. Glad Tidings and Joy
5. Faith and Holiness
6. Wiles and Temptations
7. Suffering and Shame
8. Strife and Contention
9. Servants and Service
10. Reading and Meditation
11. Prayer and Thanksgiving
12. Patience and Hope
13. A Basket of Fragments

Author biography

Hamilton Smith (1862-1943), born in Barnes, Surrey, the son of a sea captain, was employed in the office of his uncle's building firm, where he was later joined by his cousin F B Hole. By 1901, married and living in Sutton, Surrey, with his wife and young family, he had retired from the building trade and entered full-time upon the task of building up the church of God. Later in life, he moved to Weston-super-Mare in Somerset, his wife Rachel's home county. His personal ministry was delivered in the United Kingdom, but his written ministry is still read worldwide. Along with H P Barker, A J Pollock, J T Mawson and F B Hole he frequently contributed articles to "Scripture Truth" magazine, many of which were later published in books by the Central Bible Truth Depot. His written expositions of Scripture are brief, clear and very much to the point. He is probably best known for his Old Testament character studies and New Testament outlines.

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