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
“That they all may be one.” — John 17:21
O God, the eternal Fountain of all excellence and glory! — through the one “new and living way” I desire this morning to approach You. Powerless in my own pleadings, I look up to the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, to that “Prince who has power with God,” and at all times “prevails.” Guilty, I come to this guiltless Redeemer. Diseased, I come to this great Physician. Outcast, I come to Him who has promised that He will by no means “cast out.” May His presence always be with me. May I know Him, and believe in Him, and rejoice in Him. May I feel that I need no other Savior — that He is all I require for life or for death — for time or for eternity.
I rejoice to think of the glorious multitude around Your throne — the trophies of Your grace — already wearing the white robe and the immortal palm. I rejoice to think of the blessed unity which pervades their glorified ranks: no note of discord disturbing their lofty harmonies — all seeing eye to eye, and heart to heart.
I lament the sad and mournful estrangement of Christian from Christian in Your Church below — that so many, treading the same heavenly journey, with the same glorious portals in view, should be following separate and diverse footpaths — that so many brethren in the Lord whose interchanges ought to be all love, should be looking coldly and censoriously on one another. How much ungodly jealousy, and heart-burning, and mutual recrimination, among Your professing people! How little of the spirit which of old provoked the testimony even of heathen gainsayers — “See how these Christians love one another!” O blessed “Author of peace and lover of concord,” in Your mercy, pour out on Your Church on earth, a greater spirit of unity and brotherly-kindness, and charity. In Your mercy, heal the bleeding wounds of Your mystical body — casting over them the mantle of love. Bring us all, blessed Jesus, as individuals and as churches nearer Yourself, and then shall we be nearer one another. It is because of our distance from You, the great Sun of Righteousness, the Source of light and life and peace, that we, as wandering stars are revolving in such devious and distant orbits. Give us to feel that we are all members of one mighty family, of which You are the glorious Head — that, though following diverse tracks, we are sheep of the same pasture, owning the same “Chief Shepherd” — that, though enrolled in different ranks, we are allies in the same great army, fighting under the banner of the same great Captain of salvation. O forbid that, in these “latter days” — in these times of trouble, and rebuke, and blasphemy, when “the enemy is coming in like a flood” — we should waste our strength on petty and puny dissensions! May we be led to merge the few points in which we differ, in the many in which we can unite.
Preserve me, good Lord, this day, from all uncharitableness. May I “judge not, that I be not judged.” May I have Your favor resting upon me in all the day’s duties, and Your love softening and sanctifying all its trials. May all my beloved friends be one with me in Jesus — one now, and one in glory everlasting. 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