THURSDAY AFTER THE THIRD SUNDAY
ON MORNING PRAYER
Consider first, that every servant of God ought to begin the day with the worship of God, and to give him his heart, as the wise man says, Eccles. xxxix. 6, and to resort early to the Lord that made him, and pour forth his prayer in the sight of the Most High. The manna of heaven melted away and was lost, if the people of God did not get up before the sun to gather it: ‘that it might be known to all men,’ says Solomon, Wisdom xvi. 28, ‘that we must prevent the sun to bless God, and worship him at the dawning of the light.’ ‘O God, my God’ says the royal prophet, Psal. lxii., ‘to thee do I watch at the break of day.’ My soul, see thou never neglect this morning worship of thy God. Let not the devil run away with thy first thoughts, but give them to God, by a pure and perfect offering of thy whole self to his love and service for that day and for all eternity, and whilst thou art rising and dressing thyself, keep thyself in his company and speak to him.
Consider 2ndly, what are the particular acts of virtue and religion that ought to be the ingredients of thy morning prayer, viz.: 1. An act of adoration of the infinite majesty of God, and of homage to him, by bowing down both body and soul to worship him with all thy powers, as thy first beginning and thy last end, and to acknowledge his absolute sovereignty, and thy total dependence on him. 2. An act of thanksgiving for all his benefits in general, and in particular to thee and to all the world; for creation, preservation, redemption, vocation to the true faith, &c., as also for his eternal love, and, in consequence of this love, his bringing thee to the beginning of this new day, in order to bring thee forward to the happy day of eternity. 3. An act of contrition, for all thy past ingratitude, and for all thy sins, with a sincere resolution of renouncing them all for the future. 4. An offering of all thy thoughts, words, and actions of the day, to the honour and glory of God; and of thy whole soul, to be employed in loving and serving him. 5. An humble and fervent supplication, to beg the grace of God and his blessing for thyself and for the whole church, that he would keep all from sin, and teach all effectually to love him and serve him for ever. 6. Conclude always with acts of faith, hope, and charity, and recommend thyself to the prayers and protection of the blessed Virgin, of thy good angel, and of all the angels and glorified saints.
Consider 3rdly, that thou must also remember, in thy morning exercise, to declare war against thy customary failings and sins, but more especially against thy predominant passion, which is the most dangerous of all thy enemies. This is that daily warfare in which all of necessity must be engaged who have a mind to save their souls – we must all fight, and fight continually, against our vices and passions, or they will carry us to hell. Now, this it is that obliges us to renew every morning our good resolutions, yet without trusting at all in ourselves; and to arm and prepare ourselves beforehand for these conflicts, by forecasting the occasions and temptations we are likely to meet with in the day and by concluding upon the measures proper to be taken in order to overcome them, either by flight, or fight, but principally by fervent prayer to our Lord, to help us in the combat, and to grant us the victory.
Conclude to be ever diligent in this morning exercise. A good beginning of the day is a great matter. He will have the whole day to whom thou givest the beginning of it.