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
“Search me, O God, and know my heart.” — Psalm 139:23
O eternal, everlasting God, who have once more enlightened my eyes, and allowed me not to sleep the sleep of death, bestow upon me this day the riches of Your grace and love. Morning after morning is dawning upon me, with new tokens of Your mercy. Oh, may these be bringing me nearer the glorious day which is to know no night — that eternal noon-tide when all shadows and darkness are forever to flee away!
Lord, I am unworthy to come into Your presence, and yet I have to mourn that I do not feel this deep unworthiness as I ought. I am unwilling to see into the unknown depths of my sin. I do not know myself. I have no depressing consciousness of the desperate wickedness of my own evil heart. I have buried many past transgressions in oblivion. I have deluded myself with the thought, that many were too trivial and unimportant to incur Your disapproval. Even any imperfect good which Your grace has enabled me to perform, I have been too prone to take the merit to myself, instead of ascribing all the praise to You. There has been pride in my humility. There have been mingled motives in my best services. My best resolutions have been fitful and transient. My purest and most unselfish actions could not stand the scrutiny of Your eye. The holiest day I ever spent, were I to be judged by it, would condemn me.
O You who “searches Jerusalem with lighted candles,” “search my heart.” Bring me to the publican’s place of penitential sorrow, exclaiming, in self-renouncing humility, “God be merciful to me a sinner!”
I would seek to make a more entire and undivided surrender of all I am and have to You. Give me such a dreadful and affecting sense of my vileness, that I may never feel safe but when close to the atoning Fountain, drawing out of it hourly supplies. May mine be a daily heart and self and sin crucifixion — an eternal severance from those bosom traitors which have so long separated between me and my God. Make me more zealous for Your honor and glory — “Cleanse the thoughts of my heart, by the inspiration of Your Holy Spirit” — “Let no iniquity obtain dominion over me.” But may it be my daily ambition to become more like You, reflecting more of the image, and imbibing more of the spirit, of my Divine Redeemer, that thus the atmosphere of holiness and of heaven may be diffused all around me. May my own soul be pervaded with lofty and purified aspirations. May I be enabled to exhibit to the world the felt happiness of close walking with God.
And gracious Father, “send forth Your light and Your truth” to a darkened world. May Your own ancient people be speedily gathered in with the fullness of the Gentile nations, that all ends of the earth may see the salvation of God.
Bless all my dear friends, near or distant. May they have the heritage of those who fear Your name. Defend them now by Your mighty power, and at last number them with Your saints 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