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
“They shall behold the land that is very far off. “Isaiah 33:17
O God, in the multitude of Your mercies I am again permitted to see the light of a new day. With another rising morn scatter all the clouds of sin and unbelief from my soul. Unfold to my view bright glimpses of Yourself — sweet foretastes of those joys which “eye has not seen, nor ear heard.”
Here, Lord, I have “no continuing city” — change is my portion in this the house of my pilgrimage — I would not desire to live here always. I am “willing rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” Wean me from this uncertain world. Bring me to live under the powers of a world to come. I rejoice to think of the happy myriads already in glory — “clothed in white robes, with palms in their hands” — safe in the presence of the Master they love, with every tear-drop wiped away. I rejoice to know that the blood and grace to which they owe their crowns are still free as ever. Oh, may I be enabled, with some good measure of triumphant assurance, to say, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day.” May the thought of that endless, sinless, sorrowless immortality reconcile me to all earth’s severest discipline. Let me not murmur under the heaviest cross in the prospect of such a crown. Let me not refuse to pass cheerfully through the hottest furnace which is to refine and purify me for this “exceeding weight of glory;” but bear with calm serenity whatever You see fit to lay upon me. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”
Lord, grant that the approach of eternity may urge me to greater diligence in Your service. May I have my loins girded and my lamp burning. May I spend each day, and this day, as if it were to be my last. When the shadows of evening gather around me, may I feel that I have spent a day for God. Nearer a dying hour — may it find me nearer heaven.
What I ask for myself I would seek in behalf of all my beloved friends. Sprinkle each heart with the blood of the covenant. May every eye be directed to Jesus, and every footstep be pointing heavenward. Though severed from one another now, may we not be found gathered in different bundles on the great reaping-day of judgment.
Lord, unite Your own people more and more. Why should we be guilty of such sad estrangements, crossing and recrossing one another on life’s highway with alien and jealous looks, when professing to be sprinkled with the same blood, to bear the same name, and be heirs of the same inheritance? Let me live near to Jesus, and then I shall live near all His people, looking forward to that blessed time when we shall see eye to eye and heart to heart — no jarring or discordant note to mar the everlasting ascription of “blessing, and honor, and glory and power, to Him who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever.” 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