Some devout Christian scholars who have read this book in manuscript, have suggested that I ought to have qualified, more fully, its leading propositions. For example, in the teaching that the Holy Spirit is the guide of the Christian, it is suggested that, I lay myself open to the suspicion that I undervalue the Church and the Bible, or at least, that I see antagonism between the Holy Spirit on the one hand, and the Church and the Bible on the other. As to the latter, I am well satisfied that there can be no antagonism or contradiction between the truth of the Bible and the leadings of the Holy Spirit. The one must harmonize with the other. God can never contradict Himself although sometimes He may appear to do so.Then as to the Church. It was doubtless established by Jesus Christ, for all time, for the fellowship of His disciples and for the organized preaching of His gospel. It is a Holy Divine-human institution, and has conferred unspeakable blessings upon the world, and is being used by God at this time, as never before, in extending the Kingdom of God in the earth, but it is not infallible.
What is herein taught is that when the Bible or the Church is held up as an object of worship, or anything approaching that: or as taking the place of the Holy Spirit as the guide of the Christian, then it is made to serve the very contrary purpose for which it was intended. The Bible and the Church are meant to bring humanity to the Holy Spirit to be guided by Him. To reverse this process is idolatry.
But it is said that, even admitting this, have not the evils, arising from taking the Holy Spirit as guide, been as great as the evils I have pointed out? If I had thought so this book would never have been written. The world has produced comparatively few fanatics. A fanatic has always been such a rare and singular person, that he has attracted more notice than his importance justified.
It must, however, be admitted that some practical evils have resulted from men and movements, devoted to the spread of the doctrine of the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This only illustrates that the higher and more important the truth, the greater the danger of its misuse. The greatest spiritual truths are on the border line of fanaticism and some people step over.
It is, however, the same in the material world. The greater the power the more the danger. The sharper the knife the greater the risk in its use. Learning and unusual ability are great blessings, but how many there are who make these qualities a great curse! However, the misuse of these powers is not only exceptional, but also avoidable, and only serves to emphasize how great blessings these powers and gifts are to humanity as a whole.
I have not pointed out in the following pages the dangers of the doctrine of absolute Divine Guidance, but its truth and blessedness, and there are no dangers to one who really commits his cause to the Unseen. On the other hand, there is not only grave danger in the popular spiritual evils, which this book combats, but actual and necessary spiritual disaster.
My attention is also called to the fact that I have not been as emphatic in calling attention to the tendency of doing wrong and thinking it right, as I have to the tendency of doing right and thinking it wrong. In answer to this, I need only say that, any book is written for the God-fearing and conscientious.
My mission is to those who constantly desire to do the will of God: to remind them that the yoke of Jesus is easy and His burden light: to relieve them, from man-made laws, and from the accusations of the Devil: to dig away from their souls the theological rubbish concerning sin, tinder which they are groaning, and to relieve them from that sum total of all heresies, that God is a hard master and nobody can perfectly do His will, not even with the aid of Almighty power.
I do not think there is anything in my argument that will lead any man to do wrong and persuade himself he is doing right, even though I have not devoted it to those who desire to get an excuse for wrong-doing. There is no doubt a class of persons who cling to the Church and make a profession of religion and live in sin. Some of them
it may be, by constantly resisting the voice of God in their souls, have deluded themselves into the belief that wrong is right; and are living in carnal security: but my present message is not for this class, and I should be sorry to think that this book will be any comfort to such persons, but, on the contrary, will have a tendency to arouse them, from their spiritual delusion.
In conclusion, I ask for a sympathetic reading of what I have written and for an effort to get at my actual thought before antagonizing it, for it will be easy to give to my words a meaning not intended. If I have not made some blunders in my reasoning upon so great a theme it will be a surprise to me, but I believe in the main, my message is from God; and I can truthfully say that my chief desire is to help those to accomplish their purpose who would live to do the will of God on the earth as the Angels do it in Heaven.
T. S. LINSCOTT.