02 December 2014

Gurnall on avoiding the inception of temptation

by Dan Phillips

As I continue to read through Gurnall, this section on an occasion Satan finds a good season to press temptation home was too good, too meaty, too important not to share:
When he hath the presence of some object to enforce his temptation. Thus he takes Eve when she is near the tree, and had it in her eye while he should make the motion, that assaulting two ports at once, it might be the harder for her to hinder the landing of his temptation; and if Eve’s eyes did so soon affect her heart with an inordinate desire, then much more now is it easy for him by the presence of the object to excite and actuate that lust which lies dormant in the heart. As Naomi sent her daughter to lie at Boaz’s feet, knowing well, if he endured her there, there was hope that he might take her into his bed at last: if the Christian can let the object come so near, Satan will promise himself his suit may in time be granted. Therefore it should be our care, if we would not yield to the sin, not to walk by, or sit at the door of the occasion: look not on the beauty with wandering eye, by which thou wouldest not be taken prisoner; parley not with that in thy thoughts, which thou meanest not to let into thy heart; conversation begets affection; some by this have been brought to marry those, whom at first they thought they could not have liked.

[William Gurnall and John Campbell, The Christian in Complete Armour (London: Thomas Tegg, 1845), 47–48.]
This really is being a wonderful read as part of my devotions. Anyone might find it daunting at a glance; it's like 47000 pages long, give or take 40K. But his style is lively, practical, witty, pithy, penetrating, meaty, and always and in all ways richly edifying. I am really enjoying it.

The book is also available in a paperback set.

Dan Phillips's signature


Anonymous said...

What a helpful reminder!

If I would only put more effort into steering clear of things, I would need less effort in not succumbing to them.

Michael Coughlin said...

Excellent, thanks for sharing. This. I suppose in modern vernacular, it is summed up well by Casting Crowns.

God bless you, DJP.

Jay said...


Thanks for sharing. I'm working through some Edwards now (well, Piper first, then Edwards in the book "God's Passion for His Glory"), but Gurnall may end up on high on my list of books to read. Even if he is only 47K pages ;)

Burrito34 said...

There are so many great Christian resources out there to discover like this one. This is one good effect of the internet that we've become more aware of rich theological resources just a click away. At the same time, when I study one of them, it feels kind of like I'm trying to dig a new Grand Canyon with a teaspoon.

Anonymous said...


Loved your comment on the Denny Burk blog under the post "It coulda been me”.
I won't call the comment insightful, because what you said was obvious, but it was a ounce of sanity in a sea of stupidity.

I'd like to submit an idea for a TeamPyro post:
Why is it that whenever an issue involving race or gender is discussed, everyone's IQ seems to drop 30 points?

DJP said...

Probably part of the answer comes from another comment at Denny's:

"Recent converts to the Social Justice trend in evangelicalism are looking opportunistic. They seem too hungry to prove their Social Justice/Racial Justice bonafides. Is this where the cool kids are now? Is this part of the new Cultural Engagement – now that the Culture Wars are over (The Left Won) and Gay Marriage is the Law of the Land."

DJP said...

Paul, I published your second comment, then deleted it. While I think I agree with your point, I couldn't even bear watching the linked vid. Sorry.

Alan E. Kurschner said...

Very good read.