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 die daily.” — 1 Cor. 15:31
Heavenly Father, who have permitted me, in Your great mercy, to see the light of another day, enable me to begin and to end it with You. Let all my thoughts and purposes and actions have the superscription written on them — “Holiness to the Lord.”
Give me to know the blessedness of reconciliation — what it is, as a sinner, and the chief of sinners, to come “just as I am, without one plea,” to that blood “which cleanses from all sin.” I desire to take hold of the sublime assurance that Jesus is “able to save unto the uttermost” — that He has left nothing for me as a suppliant at Your throne — a pensioner on Your bounty — but to accept all as the gift and purchase of free, unmerited grace.
While I look to Him as my Savior from the penalty, may I know Him also as my Deliverer from the power of sin. I have to lament that so often I have yielded to its solicitations — that my heart, a temple of the Holy Spirit, has been so often profaned and dishonored by the “accursed thing,” marring my spiritual joy, and sorely interrupting communion with the Lord I love. Give me grace to exercise a godly jealousy over my traitor affections — to live nearer You — to have the magnet of my heart more centered on Yourself — to keep the eye of faith more steadily on Jesus — to live more habitually under “the powers of the world to come.” You know my besetting sin — the plague of my heart, which so often leads to a guilty estrangement. Lord, cut down this root of bitterness. Let me nail it to Your cross. Let me be ever on the watchtower, ready to resist the first assault of the enemy. Let it be to me at once a precept and a promise — “Sin shall not have dominion over you.” Oh show me that my strength to repel temptation is in Jesus alone. Put me in the cleft of the rock when the hurricane is passing by. May I be as willing to surrender all for my Savior — my heart sins and life sins — as He willingly surrendered His all for me. May I be enabled to say, “Lord I am Yours.”
Every idol I utterly abolish. Save me, blessed Savior from a deceitful heart and a seductive world. Let me see more and more the beauties of holiness. Let me ever be basking in the rays of Your love — approaching nearer and nearer You, the “Sun of my soul.” May Your loveliness and glory eclipse all created beams and may I look forward with bounding heart to that time when all that helps to lighten up earth’s pathway shall be obscured in the shadow of death, and I shall be ushered into the glories of that better and brighter scene, where “the sun shall no more go down, neither shall the moon withdraw itself, but where the Lord my God shall be my everlasting light.”
And what I ask for myself, I desire in behalf of those near and dear to me. “Sanctify them wholly.” May they, too, crucify sin, and “die daily.” May this be the happy history of all of us — “Being made free from sin, and having become the servants of God, we have our fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” 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