Honour the Spirit, Listen to Men
If we thus ask for the guidance and teaching of the Holy Spirit, it will follow, dear friends, that we shall be ready to use all means and helps towards the understanding of the Scriptures.
When Philip asked the Ethiopian eunuch whether he understood the prophecy of Isaiah he replied, “How can I, unless some man should guide me?” Then Philip went up and explained to him the word of the Lord.
Some, under the pretence of being taught by the Spirit of God refuse to be instructed by books or by living men. This is no honouring of the Spirit of God; it is a disrespect to him, for if he gives to some of his servants more light than to others — and it is clear he does — then they are bound to give that light to others, and to use it for the good of the church. But if the other part of the church refuses to receive that light, for what purpose did the Spirit of God give it? This would imply that there is a mistake somewhere in the economy of gifts and graces, which is managed by the Holy Spirit. It cannot be so.
The Lord Jesus Christ pleases to give more knowledge of his word and more insight into it to some of his servants than to others, and it is ours joyfully to accept the knowledge which he gives in such ways as he chooses to give it. It would be most wicked of us to say, “We will not have the heavenly treasure which exists in earthen vessels. If God will give us the heavenly treasure from his own hand, but not through the earthen vessel, we will have it; but we think we are too wise, too heavenly minded, too spiritual altogether to care for jewels when they are placed in earthen pots. We will not hear anyone, and we will not read anything except the book itself, neither will we accept any light, except what comes in through a crack in our own roof. We will not see by another man’s candle, we would sooner remain in the dark.”
Brethren, do not let us fall into such folly. Let the light come from God, and though a child shall bring it, we will joyfully accept it. If any one of his servants, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, shall have received light from him, behold, “all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s,” and therefore accept the light which God has kindled, and ask for grace that you may turn that light upon the word so that when you read it you may understand it.