The Saint's Call to Arms by William Gurnall
William Gurnall's The Christian in Complete Armour is on our top 10 list of books on the Christian life and spirituality. IMHO, It is a book that belongs on the bookshelf of every disciple of Christ. Here is an excerpt:
"...not only the Christian's first strength to close with Christ is from God, but he is beholden still to God for the exercise of that strength, in every acÂtion of his Christian course. As a child that travels in his father's company, all is paid for, but his father carries the purse, not himself, so the Christian's shot is discharged in every condition; but he cannot say this I did, or that I suffered, but God wrought all in me and for me. The very comb of pride is cut here; no room [is left] for any self-exalting thoughts. The Christian cannot say, that I am a saint is mercy; but being a saint, that my faith is strong, this is the child of my own care and watchfulness. Alas, poor Christian! who kept thine eye waking, and stirred up thy care? Was not this the offspring of God as well as thy faith at first?
No saint shall say of heaven when he comes there, â€˜This is heaven, which I have built by the power of my might.â€™ No, â€˜Jerusalem above is a city whose builder and maker is God.â€™ Every grace, yea, degree of grace, is a stone in that building, the topstone whereof is laid in glory, where saints shall more plainly see, how God was not only Founder to begin, but Benefactor also to finish the same. The glory of the work shall not be crumbled and piece-mealed out, some to God and some to the creature, but all entirely paid in to God, and he acknowledged all in all.
[Use or Application]
Use First. Is it the Christian's strength in the Lord, not in himself? Surely then the Christless person must needs be a poor impotent creature, void of all strength and ability of doing anything of itself towards its own salvation. If the ship launched, rigged, and with her sails spread cannot stir, till the wind come fair and fill them, much less the timber that lies in the carpenter's yard hew and frame itself into a ship. If the living tree cannot grow except the root communicate its sap, much less can a dead rotÂten stake in the hedge, which hath no root, live of its own accord. In a word, if a Christian, that hath his spiritual life of grace, cannot exercise this life without strength from above, then surely one void of this new life, dead in sins and trespasses, can never be able to beget this in himself, or concur to the production of it. The state of unregeneracy is a state of impotency. 'When we were without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly,â€™ Rom. 5:6. And as Christ found the lump of mankind covered with the ruins of their lapsed estate (no more able to raise themselves from under the weight of God's wrath which lay upon them, than one buried under the rubbish of a fallen house is to free himself of that weight without help), so the Spirit finds sinners in as helpless a condition, as unable to repent, or believe on Christ for salvation, as they were of themselves to purchase it. Confounded therefore for ever be the language of those sons of pride, who cry up the power of nature, as if man with his own brick and slime of natural abilities were able to rear up such a building, whose top may reach heaven itself. 'It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but God that sheweth mercy,â€™ Rom. 9:16. God himself hath scattered such Babel-builders in the imagination of their hearts, who raiseth this spiritual temple in the souls of men, 'not by might, nor by a power,â€™ of their own, 'but by his Spirit,â€™ that so 'grace, grace,â€™ might be proclaimed beÂfore it forever. And therefore, if any yet in their natural estate would become wise to salvation, let them first become fools in their own eyes, and renounce their carnal wisdom, which perceives the things of God, and beg wisdom of God, who giveth and upbraideth not. If any man would have strength to believe, let them become weak, and die to their own, for, 'by strength shall no man prevail,â€™ I Sam. 2:9.
Use Second. Doth the Christian's strength lie in God, not in himself? This may for ever keep the Christian humble, when most engaged in duty, most assisted in his Christian course. Remember, Christian, when thou hast thy best suit on, who made it, who paid for it. Thy grace, thy comfort is neither the work of thy own hands, nor the price of thy own desert; be not, for shame, proud of another's cost. That assistance will not long stay which becomes a nurse to thy pride; thou art not lord of that assistance thou hast. Thy Father is wise, who when he alloweth thee most for thy spiritual maintenance, even then keeps the law in his own hands, and can soon curb thee, if thou growest wanton with his grace. Walk humbly therefore before thy God, and husband well that strength thou hast, remembering that it is borrowed strength. Who will waste what he begs?[iii] or who will give that beggar that spends idly his alms? when thou hast most, thou canst not be long from thy God's door. And how canst thou look him on the face for more, who hast embezzled what thou hast received?"
Excerpt from William Gurnall's The Christian in Complete Armour
Here is an excellent abridged version with easy-to-read English