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
“Only believe.” — Mark 5:36
O eternal, ever-blessed Fountain of all light — Source of all happiness — “God of all grace” — look down upon me this morning with that love which “You bear to Your own,” as I venture anew into Your sacred presence. Let me enjoy a sweet season of fellowship with You. Let the world be shut out, and may I feel alone with God. “Under the shadow of Your wings would I rejoice.”
I come in the nothingness of the creature, standing alone in the fullness of Jesus. I come, “just as I am, without one plea” — as a sinner, and as the “chief of sinners” — to You, almighty Savior. I seek to disown all creature confidence, and, with all the burden of my guilt, to cast myself, for time and for eternity, at Your feet. “Lord, save me, else I perish.” I cannot stand in myself. I can stand only in Him who has stood so willingly a Surety for me — who is still at the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens, presenting my name, and my prayers, and my plea, before the throne. I have no other confidence, and I need no other. Jesus, I am complete in You. Let me not look inwardly on myself, where there is everything to sink me in despondency and dismay; but let me look with the undivided and unwavering eye of faith to Your bleeding sacrifice. I rejoice to think of the many robes in the Church triumphant Your blood has already made white. I rejoice to know that the same blood is free as ever — the same invitation is addressed as ever — the promise and the Promiser remain “faithful” as ever — “Him who comes to me I will in no wise cast out.”
Lord, I come — I plead Your word. I come, irrespective of all I am, and all I have been. Magnify Your grace in me. Show me my utter beggary and wretchedness by nature — that every step to glory is a step of grace; and while, with childlike faith, I rest on the finished work of Jesus, may I have the same simple trust and confidence in all His dealings towards me. May I feel that the Shepherd of Israel cannot lead me wrong — that His own way must be the safest and the best. Lord, “undertake for me” — “I will follow You to prison and to death.” Take me — lead me — use me, as You see good. If I need chastisement, give me chastisement. If I need rebuke, let me not complain under the rod. Let me trust a Father’s word — a Father’s love — a Father’s discipline. “Though You slay me, yet will I trust in You.”
And as for myself, so for all dear to me. I pray that it may please You, of Your infinite mercy, to visit them with Your salvation — to guide them by Your counsel — to overrule all life’s changes and vicissitudes and trials for their well-being, and at last to bring them safe to Your eternal kingdom, through Jesus Christ — to whom, with You, O Father, and You, O eternal Spirit, three in one in covenant for our redemption, be ascribed, all blessing, and honor, and glory, and praise, world without end. 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