Preface- His Vast Opulence

Daily Need Divinely Supplied— Octavius Winslow, 1870

The Lord’s people but imperfectly realize their boundless wealth. They resemble an heir to whom a vast estate has been bequeathed, but who yet remains ignorant of the rich and extensive mines which underlie its surface, filling every acre with veins of the richest ore, until some incidental upturned sod brings to light the precious deposit. God has given us His Word–a field of wealth incalculable; His Son–in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; the covenant of grace–ordered in all things and sure; and Himself, our infinite, all-sufficient, all-satisfying, and inalienable–PORTION. Well may the apostle, summing up the inventory of our possessions, exclaim–as if no measurement or number could compass and compute their extent–“ALL THINGS are yours!”

To enable the pious reader to estimate in some experimental measure his vast opulence, is the design of this little work. The writer has endeavored to concentrate all the believer’s wealth–where, in truth, God has deposited it–in JESUS; deeply, solemnly convinced that, it is the lack of more simple views of Christ, and a more direct application to His mediatorial sufficiency–dealing with the Father more immediately through the Son, in whom it pleased Him that all fullness should dwell–which is the cause of so much soul-leanness, prostration of spiritual power, and languor of love in many of the saints.

The points of light in which God in Christ may be regarded as the believer’s PORTION were many and inviting. The writer trusts his pages will afford at least some faint reflection of “the unsearchable riches of Christ,” to which the weakest, the obscurest Christ-believing, Christ-loving soul may prefer a personal claim, and say, “All is mine, for I am Christ’s, and Christ is God’s!”

For the Coming of Your Kingdom

The Morning Watches— John MacDuff, 1852

“In the morning, O Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You — and wait in expectation.” Psalm 5:3

“May Your kingdom come.” — Luke 11:2

O eternal, ever-blessed God, whose merciful kindness is new to me every morning — give me throughout this day that peace which the world cannot give. As the beams of the material sun are lighting up anew my earthly chamber, may the inner chamber of my soul be illuminated by a better and brighter radiance. Jesus! blessed Fountain of light, and life, and glory, disperse all the darkness of unbelief and sin. May Your presence and love hallow all my joys, and mitigate and sanctify all my sorrows.

Before I enter on the day’s duties, sprinkle once again the lintels and doorposts of my heart with Your own most precious blood; may my inmost thoughts, and purposes, and desires, and affections be consecrated to that God whose property they are. May I have an increasing experience of the sweets of Your favor, and friendship, and love. With You, blessed Lord, I am rich, whatever else I lack; without You, I am poor, though I have the wealth of worlds beside. Take what You will away — but take not Yourself. Nothing can fill and satisfy the longings of my immortal nature but You — all worldly happiness and creature joys are poor substitutes for the inexhaustible source of all joy. Let me know what it is, amid the wreck of earthly refuges and hopes, to exult in the persuasion, “The Lord lives; and blessed be my Rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted.”

While I pray that Your kingdom may come in my own heart, I would especially pray for its extension throughout the world. Arise, O God, and let Your enemies be scattered. May the blessed day soon arrive when a rejoicing and emancipated world shall own no longer habitations of darkness and horrid cruelty — when Jew and Gentile shall welcome the Prince of Peace to the Throne of Universal Empire — and “all ends of the earth shall see the salvation of God.” “Come, Lord Jesus; come quickly.” Let the cry soon break over Your now burdened Church, “Let us be glad and rejoice, for the marriage of the Lamb is come and His wife has made herself ready.” Grant, Lord, that Imay be in readiness to meet You. May my loins now be girded, and my lamp brightly burning, that, at the Bride-groom’s summons, I may be able joyfully to respond, “Lo, this is my God! I have waited for Him.”

Grant this day to all near and dear to me, as well as to myself, the special tokens of Your blessing and love. Fold my beloved friends in the arms of Your mercy. Teaching them to do Your holy will, say of them and to them, “The same is my mother, and sister, and brother.” Guide us all by Your counsel here. May we feel that the way in which You are leading us is the kindest and the best that covenant love can devise; and when our appointed time on earth is finished, receive us into everlasting habitations through Jesus Christ our Lord.

And now, to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit be ascribed, as is most due, all blessing, and honor, and glory, and praise, world without end. Amen.

“Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I lift up my soul.” Psalm 143:8

For the Union of Your People

The Morning Watches— John MacDuff, 1852

“In the morning, O Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You — and wait in expectation.” Psalm 5:3

“That they all may be one.” — John 17:21

O God, the eternal Fountain of all excellence and glory! — through the one “new and living way” I desire this morning to approach You. Powerless in my own pleadings, I look up to the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, to that “Prince who has power with God,” and at all times “prevails.” Guilty, I come to this guiltless Redeemer. Diseased, I come to this great Physician. Outcast, I come to Him who has promised that He will by no means “cast out.” May His presence always be with me. May I know Him, and believe in Him, and rejoice in Him. May I feel that I need no other Savior — that He is all I require for life or for death — for time or for eternity.

I rejoice to think of the glorious multitude around Your throne — the trophies of Your grace — already wearing the white robe and the immortal palm. I rejoice to think of the blessed unity which pervades their glorified ranks: no note of discord disturbing their lofty harmonies — all seeing eye to eye, and heart to heart.

I lament the sad and mournful estrangement of Christian from Christian in Your Church below — that so many, treading the same heavenly journey, with the same glorious portals in view, should be following separate and diverse footpaths — that so many brethren in the Lord whose interchanges ought to be all love, should be looking coldly and censoriously on one another. How much ungodly jealousy, and heart-burning, and mutual recrimination, among Your professing people! How little of the spirit which of old provoked the testimony even of heathen gainsayers — “See how these Christians love one another!” O blessed “Author of peace and lover of concord,” in Your mercy, pour out on Your Church on earth, a greater spirit of unity and brotherly-kindness, and charity. In Your mercy, heal the bleeding wounds of Your mystical body — casting over them the mantle of love. Bring us all, blessed Jesus, as individuals and as churches nearer Yourself, and then shall we be nearer one another. It is because of our distance from You, the great Sun of Righteousness, the Source of light and life and peace, that we, as wandering stars are revolving in such devious and distant orbits. Give us to feel that we are all members of one mighty family, of which You are the glorious Head — that, though following diverse tracks, we are sheep of the same pasture, owning the same “Chief Shepherd” — that, though enrolled in different ranks, we are allies in the same great army, fighting under the banner of the same great Captain of salvation. O forbid that, in these “latter days” — in these times of trouble, and rebuke, and blasphemy, when “the enemy is coming in like a flood” — we should waste our strength on petty and puny dissensions! May we be led to merge the few points in which we differ, in the many in which we can unite.

Preserve me, good Lord, this day, from all uncharitableness. May I “judge not, that I be not judged.” May I have Your favor resting upon me in all the day’s duties, and Your love softening and sanctifying all its trials. May all my beloved friends be one with me in Jesus — one now, and one in glory everlasting. Amen.

“Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I lift up my soul.” Psalm 143:8

For the Outpouring of the Spirit

The Morning Watches— John MacDuff, 1852

“In the morning, O Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You — and wait in expectation.” Psalm 5:3

“I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh.” — Joel 2:28

O God, I desire this morning to approach with lowly reverence the footstool of Your throne, adoring and praising You for the rest of the past night, and the comforts and blessings of a new day. O holy, blessed, eternal Trinity, three persons, one God, have mercy upon me, and grant me Your benediction and love.

Most blessed Spirit of all grace, more especially would I at this time invoke Your presence and nearness. I acknowledge, with shame and confusion of face, how often I have grieved You by resisting Your gracious influences. How often have You pleaded with me by the voice of Providence, and yet I have turned a deaf ear to Your repeated warnings and remonstrances! You have spoken to me in prosperity, when the full cup demanded in return a heart full of gratitude. You have spoken to me in adversity, when, by the emptied cup and the broken cistern, You would have driven me from all earthly things, to the everlasting God Himself, as my only satisfying Portion. You have spoken to me by the terrors of the law and by the tender accents of gospel love, and yet I have continued to “spend my money for that which is not bread, and my labor for that which satisfies not.” Long before now I might have exhausted Your patience. “It is of the Lord’s mercies I am not consumed.”

But “take not, O gracious God, Your Holy Spirit from me.” Come, blessed Enlightener, Quickener, Sanctifier, and inspire this dull cold heart. Touched as with a live coal, may the flame of a holy love to You be rekindled on its altar. “Return, O Holy Dove, Messenger of rest,” from the true ark of God. Give me grace to hate the sins which drove You away from this guilty breast. Breathe upon me and say, “Peace be to you; receive the Holy Spirit.” Invigorate my languishing affections. May I realize my dependence on You for every pulsation of spiritual life. Without You I perish.

While I pray for this Blessed Agent in behalf of my own soul, Lord, it is my earnest prayer that He may be poured out upon all flesh — that that time may soon come, when the rain of His gracious influences shall descend on a barren church and parched world. Hasten the Pentecost of the “latter day.” Earth is at present but as the prophet’s “valley of dry bones.” Come, blessed Spirit of all grace, “breathe upon these dry bones, that they may live.”

And may the same blessed and benevolent influences be shed on every heart that is dear to me. The Spirit of the Lord is not restricted. O my Father in heaven, have You not promised to give the Holy Spirit to those who ask You? I pray that all my beloved friends may become members of that mystical body of which Jesus is the living Head, so that the oil of anointing grace poured upon Him by the Spirit, and flowing down to the skirts of His garments, may be shared by His humblest and unworthiest members, O that each and all of our hearts may become living temples, in which the Holy Spirit dwells! May nothing that is unholy find admission there, but, “sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, the earnest of our inheritance,” may we be daily and habitually living in the expectation of eternal glory. Through Jesus Christ. Amen.

“Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I lift up my soul.” Psalm 143:8

For the Conquest of Satan

The Morning Watches— John MacDuff, 1852

“In the morning, O Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You — and wait in expectation.” Psalm 5:3

“The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.” — Rom. 16:20

O God, I bless You for the returning mercies of a new day. “I laid down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid of the ten thousands who have set themselves against me.” Give me, I beseech You, Your fatherly protection and blessing, that all my thoughts may be ordered by You, and all my plans and purposes overruled by You, and all my joys hallowed by You, and all my sorrows sanctified by You. Keep me near Yourself. While I seek to realize, every hour of this day, the power and subtlety of my spiritual adversaries, may I rejoice in the assurance that greater is He who is with me than all those who can be against me — that, “though a host should encamp against me,” with God on my side, “I need fear no evil.”

I mourn the prevalence of sin, both in the world and in my own heart. Your creation still groans and travails under its power. “The Prince of the power of the air still works in the children of disobedience.” “The whole world lies in the Wicked One.” Often is Satan still “desiring to have me, that he might sift me as wheat” — “standing at my right hand to resist me” — to oppose my plea and damage my cause — sending some “thorn in the flesh to buffet me” — marring my peace, disturbing my joy, and hindering and impeding my spiritual growth and advancement. But, Lord, it is my comfort to know that there is in heaven a “stronger than the strong man” — that no time can impair or diminish the comfort of the assurance, “I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not.” When Satan assaults, blessed Jesus, I will think of Your continual intercession. “Your hand is never shortened, that it cannot save.”

May I ever have grace given me to “resist the devil, that he may flee from me” — to keep watchfully guarded every loophole of the heart. May I abstain from all appearance of evil, avoiding every place and every company where his unholy influences are likely to prevail. “Lead me not into temptation,” and, if tempted, Lord, make a way of escape, that I may be able to bear it.

O adorable Intercessor within the veil, it is my comfort to know that, in Your season of humiliation on earth, You were “not ignorant of his devices.” You also, of him, “suffered, being tempted,” and You are therefore the more able “to aid those who are tempted.” I rejoice to think that, exalted on Your mediatorial throne, You shall reign until Satan and every other enemy be put under Your feet, and until the kingdoms of this world (so long usurped by him) shall become the “one kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ.”

Heavenly Father, take this day all my beloved friends under Your guardian care. May they dwell in the secret place of the Most High, and abide under the shadow of the Almighty. May they, too, be able to take up the triumphant challenge — “God is for us, who can be against us?” and when their earthly work and warfare is accomplished, may we all meet in that sinless world where Satan’s seat no more can be found, and Satan’s temptations shall no longer be felt or feared. And all that I ask is for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

“Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I lift up my soul.” Psalm 143:8