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
“Grow in grace.” — 2 Pet. 3:18
O God, draw near to me in fullness in Your great mercy. Another peaceful morning has dawned upon me. May it be mine to know the happiness of those who walk all the day in the light of Your countenance.
O best and kindest of Beings, teach me to know, amid the smiles and the frowns, the joys and the sorrows, of an ever-changing world, what it is to have an unchanging refuge and portion in You. I can mourn no blank, I can feel no solitude, when I have Your presence and love. If I have nothing beside — stripped and divested of every other blessing — I have the richest of all, if I am at peace with God.
I desire to dwell with devout contemplation on the infinite loveliness of Your moral nature. Lord, I long to have this guilty, erring soul, molded and fashioned in increasing conformity to Your blessed mind and will. Let my great concern henceforth be, to love and serve and please You more and more. May all Your dealings with me, of whatever kind they be, contribute in promoting this growth in holiness. May prosperity draw forth a perpetual thank-offering of praise for unmerited mercies. May adversity purify away the dross of worldliness and sin. May every day be finding the power of sin weaker and weaker, and the dominion of grace stronger and stronger. Living under the powers of a world to come, may I look forward with joyful expectation to the time when sin shall no longer impede my spiritual growth — when Satan shall be disarmed of his power, and my own heart of its deceitfulness — when every faculty of a glorified and exalted nature shall be enlisted in Your service in a world of eternal joy.
O blessed Advocate within the veil — You who are even now interceding for Your tried and tempted saints, “that their faith fail not” — Impart to me a constant supply of Your promised grace. Not only sprinkle my heart with Your blood, but conquer it by Your love. Fill me with deep contrition for an erring past — inspire me with purposes of new obedience for the future. May I know, in my sweet experience, that “Your yoke is easy and Your burden light” — that, growing in holiness, I am growing in happiness too. Give me an increasing tenderness of conscience about sin — lead me, with more filial devotedness, to cultivate a holy fear of offending so gracious a Father. Habitually realizing my new covenant relationship to You, may I ever be ready to exclaim, with joyful sincerity “O Lord, truly I am Your servant!”
Revive, blessed God, Your own work everywhere. “Take to Yourself Your great power, and reign.” Remove all hardness and blindness of heart — all contempt of Your Word. May it have free course and be glorified.
Bless my dear friends. However far separated from one another, we can ever meet at the same throne of the heavenly grace, pleading the same “exceeding great and precious promises.” May we all be following the same path of grace now, and meet amid the endless joys of glory hereafter. 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