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
“And confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” — Heb. 11:13
O God, again, in the multitude of Your mercies, You are permitting me to approach the footstool of Your throne. I am another day nearer death — oh, may I be a day nearer You! With a new morning’s dawn may I hear the pilgrim summons — “Arise, for this is not your rest.” Before I mingle with the world, give me to feel I am not of it, but born from above, and for above; and cherishing more of a pilgrim spirit, may my prayer and watchword be — “I desire a better country.”
Lord, I bless You for the rich provision You have made for the wilderness journey — for all Your mercies, temporal, providential, and spiritual. Forbid that the many gifts of Your love should draw me away from Yourself, the bountiful Giver, or obliterate the solemn impression — “I am a stranger with You and a sojourner, as all my fathers were.” May I “use the world without abusing it.” By the varied discipline of Your providence, may I be led to feel that all my well-springs are in You. May the world’s fascinations be becoming more powerless — sin more hated — holiness more loved — heaven more realized — God more “the exceeding joy” of my soul. Driven from all creature supports and earthly refuges, may Jesus be the prop and staff of my pilgrimage. When the world is bright, may I rest upon Him, and seek that He sanctify my prosperity. When the wilderness is dreary, and the way dark, may He hallow adversity. When friends are removed, may I feel that I have One left more faithful than the best of all earthly friends; and when death comes, and the pilgrim warfare ceases, leaning confidingly on that same arm, may I enter the pilgrim’s rest.
O adorable Savior! — You who were once Yourself a pilgrim — the lonely, weary, homeless, afflicted One — who had often no arm to lean upon, and no voice to cheer You — an outcast wanderer and sojourner in Your own creation — I rejoice to think that You have trodden all this wilderness-world before me — that You know its dreariest paths. I take comfort in the assurance that there is at the right hand of the Majesty on high, a fellow-Sufferer, who has drunk of every “brook in the way” — shed every tear of earthly sorrow — heaved every sigh of earthly suffering — and who, being Himself the “tried and tempted One,” is able and willing to support every pilgrim who is tried and tempted too.
I beseech You this day to look down in great kindness on all my beloved friends. Seal to them a saving interest in Your great salvation. Wash them all in Your blood — sanctify them all by Your Spirit. May not one be missing on “the day when You make up Your jewels.”
Pity a fallen world. Your Church is slumbering — the enemy is all vigilant — souls are perishing. Arise, Lord, and plead Your own cause. Promote greater unity and love and concord among Your own people. Let us be nearer Jesus, and then we shall be nearer one another. Give us all more of the single eye to Your glory. Make us more self-sacrificing — more heavenly-minded — more Savior-like. And all 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