“he will guide you into all truth:” John 16:13
"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Romans 8:14
|A Guide is very necessary for strangers in a wilderness where there are many ways and turnings.||So the guidance of the Holy Spirit, as it is contained in the holy scripture, is necessary to believers whilst they pass through the wilderness of this world, where one says, this is the way and another that.|
|An eminent and able Guide is well skilled in all ways, and able to give directions in the most difficult cases that are very hard to find out.||So the Holy Spirit is able to Guide poor sinners in all the ways of God; he led Moses and the prophets under the law, and led the apostles and all the primitive Christians, under the Gospel-ministration. Holy men of God spake as they were moved and guided by the Holy Spirit, 2 Peter 2:21. There is no precept nor promise of God needful for the children of men to be instructed in, but the Spirit in the holy scripture hath left it upon record for our direction and consolation; and whatsoever is hard to be understood, that is contained therein; “The Spirit that searcheth all things,” can open and explain it to a gracious soul: the Spirit guides in the way or morality, in the way of faith and Gospel-obedience, in the way of church-constitution and discipline, and in Gospel-holiness and conversation.|
|A faithful Guide gives notice of all the dangers that are in the way, and shows also how a poor traveler may escape them, and so go safe unto his desired place.||The Holy Spirit hath in the holy scripture (for in that are contained all the directions of the Spirit, touching all matters and cases to salvation) given notice to all spiritual travelers of all the dangers that may attend them in the way to heaven. First, the danger of unregeneracy, the common road that most men and women walk in; the Spirit hath told us positively, if we go in that way, we shall perish forever: “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3. Secondly, the great danger of the way of presumption. Thirdly, the danger of despair. Fourthly, the danger of idolatry, heresy, and error. Fifthly, the danger of disobedience to Christ’s commands. Acts 3:22-23. Sixthly, the danger of loving or liking any of one sin. Seventhly, the danger of hypocrisy. Eighthly, the danger of apostasy.|
|An able Guide frees a man, that commits himself to his guidance, from many cares and fears that attend such who have lost their way, and have no Guide.||So the Holy Spirit frees a poor saint from many fears and cares, which attend others, whilst he wholly commits himself to the guidance of God’s word, and to the direction of the Spirit: many are at a loss, and know not what to do, nor which way to go, whilst he rests satisfied, resolving to go wholly by this Guide.|
|An able and faithful Guide gives plain and full direction to the ignorant, so that they cannot well miss the way, if so be they exactly follow his directions.||So the Holy Spirit in the scripture of truth, hath given such plain and clear directions in all cases of moment about faith and holiness, that the ignorant and unlearned cannot miss the way to heaven, if they carefully observe the rules laid down therein.|
|Other Guides, though very skilful, and have good knowledge of a way or matter they undertake to guide men in, may, notwithstanding in some things, miss; being not infallible, cannot give infallible demonstrations to all doubtful persons that they are right, and that those who follow their directions, shall never go astray.||But the Holy Spirit in such a glorious manner, by many signs and wonders, so confirmed the way to heaven, (as they are recorded in the holy scripture) that those that follow his counsel, shall not go astray; he is an infallible Guide, and never imposed any rules, laws, or precepts upon men, but left such convincing evidence of truth of his testimony, that there remains no just ground for a doubt or objection; as might be shown in respect of the giving forth both of the law and Gospel: therefore those who pretend they are led by the Spirit or inspiration, and yet cannot prove and demonstrate what they say to be true, by such ways and means that no deceiver can pretend unto, or do the like, like, and abuse the Holy Ghost, who is a certain and infallible Guide.|
Bless God for this spiritual Guide in matters of faith and practice, and that there are such sure rules left by him in the written word. What should we have done, had God never afforded us such a Teacher and Guide as the Holy Ghost is?
- For man naturally is blind; I will lead the blind in ways they knew not.
- There are many by-ways, and were there not one sure and perfect Guide, how could a man find his way? It is as easy for one man to say he is led by the Spirit and inspiration, as it is for another; and how shall a man, were it not for the word, know which of them is in the right?
- Some pretend they are led by the Spirit, and they walk quite contrary to the scripture, which contains all the truth of God necessary to be known, believed and practices in order to salvation: “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” John 16:13. 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
How shall we know who follows the Spirit’s guidance?
Art thou led to repent, to leave thy sins, to believe in Christ, to obey his commands, to live a godly life, to keep a good conscience towards God, and towards men? These are part of those things the Spirit guides men in, and such who thus live, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Romans 8:14.