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
“What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits towards me?” — Psalm 116:12
O God, I adore You as the Author and Giver of every good and every perfect gift. You are daily loading me with Your benefits. Every returning morning brings with it fresh causes for gratitude — new material for praise. I bless You for Your temporal bounties — “how great has been the sum of them!” While others have been pining in poverty, or wasted by sickness, or racked in pain, or left friendless and portionless, You have been making showers of blessing to fall around my dwelling. I laid me down last night and slept — I awoke, for the Lord sustained me. I might never have seen the morning light. Mine might have been the midnight summons to meet a God in whose righteous presence I was all unfit and unprepared to stand. And yet I am again spared, a monument of Your goodness. Oh, enkindle a flame of undying gratitude to You, on the clay-cold altar of my heart. I mourn and lament that I am so little and so feebly affected by the magnitude of Your mercies, and especially by the riches of Your grace and love manifested in Jesus — that my affections are so little alive to the incalculable obligation under which I am laid to Him who has “loved me with an everlasting love.” I am doubly Yours. Creation and redemption combine in claiming all I am, and all I have, for You and Your service. Good Lord, preserve me from the sin of insensibility to Your unwearied kindness — of taking Your mercies as matters of course, and thus living in a state of independence of You. May my whole existence become a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving — may all my doings testify the sincerity and devotion of a heart feeling alive to every gift of the great Giver; and, especially, may I be so brought under the constraining influence of redeeming love, as to consecrate every power of my body and every faculty of my soul to Him who so willingly consecrated and shed His very life’s blood for me.
Lord, this day shine upon me with the light of Your countenance; may every mercy I experience in the course of it be hallowed and sweetened by the thought that it comes from God. And, while ever mindful and thankful in the midst of present mercies, teach me to keep in view the crowning mercy of all — the hope of at last sharing Your presence and full fruition, and of joining in the eternal ascription with the ransomed multitude above, who cease not day nor night to celebrate Your praises.
Bless all near and dear to me. Defend them by Your mighty power. Give them, too, gratitude for mercies past, and the sure and well-grounded hope of a glorious inheritance in that better world, where mercy is unmixed with judgment, and joy undarkened by sorrow. 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