William Spurstowe, the Spiritual Chymist


Upon a Sun-Dyal and a Clock

These two artificial measures of time give one and the same account of its motions, but in a very differing, if not contrary, manner. The clock at does it by a motion of its own; but the sun dial, while itself is fixed, by an extrinsic motion of the Sun up on those lines drawn upon it effects the same thing. 

And this occasioned me to think and what a differing way the same services and duties of religion are done by those that profess it. Some, like clocks, have a spring of motions in themselves, and the weight that quickens [enlivens] and actuates it’s love: they pray, confer, exercise holiness in their conversation [conduct, behavior] in a progressive manner, salvation being nearer to them than when they first believed. 

Others again are like sundials, useless posts in a gloomy day, and are destitute of all principles of motion. The sun moves up on them, they stand still: the Spirit comes up on them, as it did on Saul, but themselves are not in the least moved by those duties that others may think they profit by. There is a light and shine which passes upon their gifts and abilities that they may render them useful as well as visible to others, but it affects no alteration in their hearts to the bettering of themselves. 

What divine visions and prophecies did Balaam see and utter concerning Israel?And how remarkable is the preface which he sets before them? The man whose eyes are open has said, it his heart is fixed to his last have covetousness, and he is so far from taking the lease step towards their tents, which with admiration he holds to be goodly, as that he gives Balack cancel how to destroy them. 

Let not been any rest in a bare illumination our transient work of the Spirit upon them, as if that such things would be sufficient evidences of the goodness of their condition.

Light may make a good head, but it is heat in motion that must make a good heart, without which all profession of religion is but an unsavory carcass [a disgusting corpse]. Be wise therefore O Christians, and build not the foundation I’ve your eternal happiness upon such uncertain principles. 

May not the Spirit assist where it never inhabits? 

May it not move upon him, whom it never quickens [makes alive]? 

Were not many workers of iniquity, or workers of miracles? 

Were not many famous for their prophecies, who are infamous for their profaneness? 

Are not such things made by Christ, the plea of many in the last day for their admittance into heaven, whom he will not know? Why then should any be so foolish to make that a plea to the Judge when he knows before hand it will be rejected? 

The best way to discern your condition is not to argue the goodness of it from the light which the Spirit darts in upon us, but by the motions which he produces in us. As many as are the sons of God are led by the Spirit in a constant way of progression, from grace to grace, from virtue to virtue. Such light as it is sudden in its directions, so also in its interruptions; the one oft times are as speedy and momentary as the other. Look therefore to the attractions of the Spirit by which you were removed and drawn to walk in holy ways, rather than to such motions of the Spirit which pass only upon you, but do not beget any motion or stirring in you.