by C. H. Spurgeon
From the July 1869 Sword and Trowel
TANDING NEAR THE REMARKABLE SPRING at Ewell, in Surrey, and watching the uprising of the waters, one sees at the bottom of the pool innumerable circles with smaller circles within them, from which extremely fine sand is continually being upheaved by the force of the rising water. Tiny geysers upheave their little founts, and from a myriad openings bubble up with the clear crystal. The perpetual motion of the water, and the leaping of the sand are most interesting. It is not like the spring-head in the field, where the cooling liquid pours forth perpetually from a spout, all unseen, till it plunges into its channel; nor like the river head where the stream weeps from a mass of mossy rock; but here are the fountains of earth's hidden deeps all unveiled and laid bare, the very veins of nature opened to the public gaze. How would it amaze us if we could in this fashion peer into the springs of human character and see whence words and actions flow! What man would wish to have his designs and aims exposed to every onlooker? But why this aversion to being known and read of all men? The Christian's motives and springs of action should be so honest and pure that he might safely defy inspection. He who has nothing to be ashamed of has nothing to conceal. Sincerity can afford, like our first parents in Paradise, to be naked and not ashamed.
If other men cannot read our motives we ought at least to examine them carefully for ourselves. Day by day with extreme rigor must we search into our hearts. Motive is vital to the goodness of an action. He who should give his body to be burned might yet lose his soul if his ruling passion were obstinacy, and not desire for God's glory. Self may be sought under many disguises, and the man may be utterly unaware that thus he is losing all acceptance with God. We must not impute ill motives to others, but we must be equally clear of another more fascinating habit, namely, that of imputing good motives to ourselves. Severity in estimating our own personal character very seldom becomes excessive; our partiality is usually more or less blinding to our judgment. We will not suspect ourselves if we can help it; evidence must be very powerful before it can convince us of being governed by sordid aims. The stream of generosity does not always spring from gratitude to God. Zeal is not at all times the offspring of deep-seated faith. Even devotional habits may be fostered by other than holy affections. The highest wisdom suggests that we spend much patient and impartial consideration upon a matter so fundamental as the heart's intent in the actions which it directs. "If thine bye be single, thine whole body shall be full of light." Dear reader, stand by thine inner springs and watch, and make faithful notes of what thou seest, lest thou be deceived.