THE MORNING WATCHES by 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
“For Your name’s sake, O Lord, pardon my iniquity — for it is great.” — Psalm 25:11
O God, I bless You that You have permitted me to lie down in sleep, and to awake this morning in safety. You have dispersed the darkness of another night — may no shadow of sin obscure the sunshine of Your favor and love. May the returning light of day be to me the type and emblem of that better radiance with which you visit the souls of Your people, when they are enabled, in Jesus, to behold a pardoning God seated on a throne of reconciliation and grace.
I come to You, acknowledging my transgressions in all their heinousness. I have nothing to plead in extenuation. Warnings have been abused, providences slighted, grace resisted, Your Spirit grieved. It is of the Lord’s mercies I am not consumed — that You have not long before now consigned me, with all this load of unpardoned guilt, to that place where pardon is unknown.
But I do rejoice to know that “there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared” — that I can bring my great sins to a great Savior. May I be enabled to feel that this all-glorious name of a reconciled God in Christ is “a strong tower,” into which I may “run, and be safe.” Give me grace, in self-renouncing lowliness, to disown every other ground of confidence or hope of mercy; and to cast myself, a broken-hearted, humbled penitent, at the feet of Him on whom was laid the burden of all my transgressions. May mine henceforth be the blessedness of those “whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.”
May life’s joys be sweetened, and life’s sorrows sanctified, and life’s terminating hour gladdened, with the assurance: “I am at peace with my God.” May Your favor brighten every scene, and the sweet sense of Your reconciling love be interfused with all my occupations. If sorrow should cloud or darken, may I be brought to feel that there can be no true sorrow or disquietude to the soul which has found its rest in the finished work of Jesus, and which has attained that blessed peace here, which is the prelude of glory hereafter.
Give me grace to walk more closely with You in the time to come. Being forgiven much — may I love You all the more. May my life be one habitual effort of self-crucifixion and sin-crucifixion, seeking to consecrate my soul’s best energies to Him who is willing to “blot out as a thick cloud” all my transgressions. Overrule the discipline of Your providence for promoting within me this death of sin, and this life of righteousness. Amid earth’s many disquietudes, its crosses and its losses — enable me with joy to look forward to that blessed hour when there shall be no more sin, and therefore no more sorrow — when every tear shall be wiped from every eye, and when I shall be permitted to know all that is comprehended in the holy beatitude, how “blessed” indeed are “the pure in heart,” who are to “see God.”
Direct, control, suggest, this day — all my designs and thoughts and actions — that every power of my body, and every faculty of my mind, may unite in devotedness to Your sole service and glory. 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