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102

HOW A PRIVATE MAN MUST BEGIN THE MORNING WITH PIETY.

As soon as ever thou awakest in the morning, keep the door of thy heart fast shut, that no earthly thought may enter, before that God come in first; and let him, before all others, have the first place there. So all evil thoughts either will not dare to come in, or shall the easier be kept out; and the heart will more savour of piety and godliness all the day after; but if thy heart be not, at thy first waking, filled with some meditations of God and his word, and dressed, like the lamp in the tabernacle (Exod. xxvii. 20, 21), every morning and evening, with the oil-olive of God’s word, and perfumed with the sweet incense of prayer (Exod. xxx. 6, 7), Satan will attempt to fill it with worldly cares or fleshly desires, so that it will grow unfit for the service of God all the day after, sending forth nothing but the stench of corrupt and lying words, and of rash and blasphemous thoughts.

Begin, therefore, every day’s work with God’s word and prayer; and offer up to God upon the altar of a contrite heart, the groans of thy spirit, and the calves of thy lips, as thy morning sacrifice, and the first fruits of the day (Psal. li. 17; Rom. viii. 22; Hos. xiii. 2; Psal. cxxx. 6;) and as soon as thou awakest say to him thus:

My soul waiteth on thee, O Lord, more than the morning watch watcheth for the morning! O God, therefore be merciful unto me, and bless me, and cause thy face to shine upon me! Fill me with thy mercy this morning, so shall I rejoice and be glad all my days.

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