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
“He gives grace to the humble.” — 1 Pet. 5:5
O God, You are “the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity.” There is no being truly great but You. All other excellence and glory is derived — Yours is underived. All else is finite — Yours is infinite. The burning seraph nearest Your throne is the humblest of all Your creatures, because he gets the nearest view of the majesty of Your glory.
Lord, fill my soul this morning with suitable views of Your greatness, and a humbling estimate of my own nothingness. I would lie low at Your feet — in wonder and amazement that dust and ashes should be permitted to approach that Being whom angels worship with folded wings, and in whose sight the very “heavens are not clean.” Repress every proud, self-glorifying imagination.
Let me feel I cannot abase myself enough in Your presence. “Lord, I am vile; what can I answer You?” My best thoughts, how polluted! — my best services, how imperfect! — my best affections, how lukewarm! — my best prayers how cold! — my best hours, were I judged by them, how would I be condemned!
I desire to take refuge at the cross of a crucified Savior. Here, Lord, give me that grace You have promised to the lowly. Self-renouncing and sin-renouncing, I would seek to be exalted only in Jesus, crying out, “God be merciful to me a sinner!” In broken-heartedness of soul, I mourn the past. Distrustful of the future, I look only to You. Full of my own unworthiness, I turn to the infinitely worthy One. I seek to be washed in His blood — sanctified by His Spirit — guided by His counsel — depending on Him for every supply of grace — and feeling that without Him I must perish.
May I take the humility and gentleness of Jesus as my pattern. Like Him, may I be meek and lowly in heart. Give me grace to avoid ostentation and pride, haughtiness and vanity, envy and uncharitableness. “In lowliness of mind may I esteem others better than myself.” Let me realize every moment that I am a pensioner on Divine bounty — that I am alike “for temporals and spirituals” dependent on You — and that it well becomes me to be “clothed with humility.” Oh, let me meekly and submissively lose my own will in Yours, in childlike teachableness, saying — “What will You have me to do?” May no murmur escape my lips at Your dealings. May this lowliness of spirit lead me rather to wonder at Your sparing mercy, that the great and holy Being I have provoked so long by my rebellion has not “cut me down.”
Bless all connected to me by endearing bonds. May nature’s ties be made doubly strong by those of covenant grace. Bless Your cause and kingdom in the world. May Your Spirit descend “like rain upon the mown grass, and showers that water the earth.”
I commit myself to You, and to the word of Your grace. Guide me this day by Your counsel. May I spend it as if it were to be my last. And when my last day does arrive, may it be to me the eve of a happy eternity. 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