Expect others to be absolutely guided by our rules

(Letters of John Newton)

It seems to me, that no one person can adjust the standard, and draw the line exactly for another. There are so many particulars in every situation, of which a stranger cannot be a competent judge; and the best human advices and models are mixed with such defects — that it is not right to expect others to be absolutely guided by our rules. Nor is it safe for us — to implicitly adopt the decisions or practices of others.

But the Scripture undoubtedly furnishes sufficient and infallible rules for every person, however circumstanced; and the throne of grace is appointed for us to wait upon the Lord for the best exposition of His precepts. Thus David often prays to be led in the right way.

By frequent prayer, and close acquaintance with the Scripture, and a habitual attention to the frame of our hearts — there is a certain delicacy of spiritual taste and discernment to be acquired. Yet love is the clearest and most persuasive indicator: and when our love to the Lord is in lively exercise, and the rule of His Word is in our eye — we seldom make great mistakes.