(These meditations were written by William Spurstowe. To the best of my knowledge, they have remained unpublished since 1666.)
Upon Morning Dew
The meditation of this subject is no less facile than delightful, like Jacob’s venison, it is soon come by, because God has brought it to my hand having often in his Word resembled dew (which makes the earth fruitful), to his Grace, that makes the hearts of men, naturally barren, to bring forth fruits of righteousness, so that it is not difficult task for to draw a useful parallel between the one and the other in sundry respects.
The dew if of a heavenly original, the nativity thereof is from the womb of the morning, it tarries not for man, not waits for the sons of men. And is it not thus in the grace of conversion? Is not that wholly from above, without any preparations, congruities, concurrencies, that do or can arise from the flesh? We are made active by grace, but we are not at all agents in fitting ourselves to grace. As no man ca be antecedently active to his first birth; so neither can he be to his second birth. Of God’s own will we are begotten by the Word of Truth.
The dew also in its descent and fall is silent and imperceptible, it flies every sense of which it may seem to be a proper object. It is so subtle as that the sharpest eye, as that the sharpest eye cannot see it; so silent, as that the quickest ear cannot hear it; and so thin, as that the naked hand cannot feel it. When it is come, it is visible: but how it comes, who can tell?
After such a secret manner oft times are the illapses [movements, descents; it was the word which the Puritans often used to describe the work of the Holy Spirit] of the Spirit, and the operations of his grace upon his heart; his teachings, his tractions, his callings, are all efficacious to draw, to persuade, yet the way is hidden, and the soul, ere ever it is aware, is made like chariots of Aminadab [Song of Songs 6:12, KJV].
The dew again, as Naturalists observe, is most abounding in calm and serene seasons, when the heaves are least disturbed with winds and storms; it is a moisture drawn up the sun in the day and then falling by small innumerable drops in the night. And is it not thus in the grace of God? Are not those hearts refreshed most with it, that are least disquieted with earthy cares and tossed to and fro with anxieties? Are not such, like Gideon’s fleece, plentifully wet with evidence of God’s love, when others, like the ground about it, are wholly dry?
Lastly, the dew is of a growing and reviving nature, which brings a life and verdue to the fields, vineyards, gardens, flowers, which the cold would chill or the heat would scorch. Therefore, when God promised to Israel the beauty of the Lilly, the stability of the cedar, the fruitfulness of the olive, to effect all this he says, “He will be as dew.”
And what ground can but bring forth when he who is the Father of Rain, and begets the drops of the dew, shall himself descend upon it in the bounty and goodness? Who can but love him with a love of duty, whom he shall thus tender with a love of mercy? Who can but love him with a love concupiscence [here, extremely strong desire, not a mere sexual desire], as being more desirous of new influences, than satisfied with former receipts, whom he so freely loves with a love of benefice?
My Soul thirsteth for thee as the gaping and chapped earth doth for the moisture of thy heavens;
I am nothing,
I can do nothing without thee;
My first fruits
Depend wholly upon the droppings of thy grace
When thy dew leith all night upon my branch
My glory is fresh in me
And my whole man is as the smell of a field with the Lord hath blessed.
Be not therefore unto me
O my God
As a cloud without rain
Lest I be as a tree without fruit.
But let thy grace always distill upon me as the dew
And as the small rain upon the tender herb
And then shall I be as the ground which drinketh in the showers that come oft upon it
And bringeth forth fruit meet for him by whom it is dressed
And receive also new blessing from God.