I. In the Morning
WE must enter heaven and sojourn there a space every day in order to understand the meaning of life and do the work that lies before us in the world. The courts of heaven are but a step away. Wherefore
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up unto the Lord.
THE day must begin with a cheerful outlook. Hope is the gift of the dawn. With the breaking of the day the powers of evil falter and flee. There is no moment of time so free from sin as when the sun first touches the East.
O God, who hast folded back the black mantle of the night to clothe us in the golden glory of the day, chase from our hearts all gloomy thoughts and make us glad with the brightness of hope, that we may effectively aspire to unwon virtues; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
THE lot us fallen unto me in a fair ground: yea, I have a goodly heritage. Opportunity opens wide its gates to me as I renew consciousness with the day. Contentment is the result of discerning the value of the things we have and the conditions that enfold us. If the evil of the day is sufficient thereunto, so is the joy. The gladness most worth having is that which is at hand growing by today's highway. Pluck it: it will be a present delight and a future treasure in memory's storehouse.
Grant, O Lord, as Thou hast cast my lot in a fair ground, that I may shew forth contentment by rejoicing in the privileges with which Thou hast strewn my path, and by using to the full my opportunities for service. In hours of hardship, preserve me from self-pity and endow me with the warrior's mind, that even in the heat of battle I may be inspired with the sense of vocation and win the peace of the victor; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
THE secret of true independence of character is dependence upon God and His will as He makes it known to me. By resting my full weight upon Him, His life flows into mine. I am the vine, ye are the branches. Dependence is the recognition of an organic relation and the acting upon it.
I laid me down and slept, and rose up again: for the Lord sustained me.
My voice shalt Thou hear betimes, O Lord: early in the morning will I direct my prayer unto Thee, and will look up. Have I not remembered Thee in my bed: and thought upon Thee when I was waking? Because Thou hast been my helper: therefore under the shadow of Thy wings will I rejoice.
This day I commit my way unto the Lord, and put my trust in Him-Lord, bring it to pass. Make my righteousness as clear as the light: and my just dealing as the noonday. As for me, I am poor and needy: but the Lord careth for me. Thou art my helper and redeemer: make no long tarrying, O my God.
Forgetting and Remembering.
FORGETTING and remembering are two important faculties. (Phil. iii. 13.) To forget the things that are behind is a duty. First they must be faced fearlessly and completely before God and placed in his hands. Having place them there we must leave them with Him. God will keep His hand on them and prevent them from rising to injure us. Because He remembers them, we can afford to forget them.
S. Paul's advice is needed. To carry it out requires sustained and vigorous effort. Our natural inclination is to do the exact opposite--to remember the things that are behind and to forget those which are before, a course that results in the unnerving of purpose and consequent injury to activity.
Eternal Father, who alone canst control the days that are gone and the deeds that are done, removed from my burdened memory the weight of past years, that, being set free from both the glamour of complacency and the palsy of remorse, I may reach forth unto those things which are before and press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Amen.
The Dignity of Common Life.
REMEMBER, then, the things that lie before. Consider the day's duties. They are the order of the day, issued by your great Commander. Take each one of them as from His hand, glistening with the dew of heaven. Especially remember that (a) routine; (b) distasteful tasks are of God's ordering, and that He will superintend their performance with eye and arm.
O God, who orderest the common things of the common day, dignify by Thy presence and aid the trivial round and common tasks of Thy servant whose hope is in Thee, that least duties may be grandly done and all activities marked with the seal of Thy righteousness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
An Inspired Day
THE whole stretch of the day should be inspired. Plan for it-prayer in the midst of work, aspiration in temptation, laying hold fo the Holy Spirit who is within and without, singlemindedness.
By living one day with God, preparation is made for living all days with God.
Day by day: we magnify Thee; and we worship Thy name: ever, world without end.
Vouchsafe, O Lord: to keep us this day without sin.
THE magnitude of a man is measured by the magnitude of his motive. Set your motive. Make it (a) simple, (b) strong, having in it the purity of childhood and the virility of manhood.
O Saviour, who in the completeness of Thy manhood art still babe of Bethlehem and Child of Nazareth, restore in me the simplicity I have tempered with, the transparency I have obscured, the childlikeness I have lost, that the shattered fragments of my innocence may be assembled anew in the beauty of Thy sanctity; who with the Father and the Holy Ghost art God forever and ever. Amen.
Reverence, Resolution, and Love
AS the courtier comes into the audience chamber of the monarch; as the officer approaches his commander to report for duty, desiring to be bidden to a hard task; as the lover hastens to his betrothed-so at break of day we appear in the presence of our God, with reverence, with a sense of responsibility, with growing love.
Lord, make me conscious of Thy holiness and majesty: teach me to know and do Thy will: pour into my heart such love towards Thee, that, loving Thee above all things, I may obtain Thy gracious promises; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Importance of Definiteness
THE setting of the motive and the broad acceptance of God's law is the preliminary step toward a righteous life. But detail may not be neglected. The best gifts become ours by being severally coveted and not by being merely desired or admired. (1 Cor. xii. 31.) Ideals must be wooed before they are won. We must embrace them when they are most shy, until they turn and embrace us. In no other way may we hope to possess them. Contemplation of virtue must be followed up by daily aspiration and effort to achieve it. The graces that we are most destitute of are those to be first courted.
O Author and Giver of Life, who rejoicest to make the desert like the garden of the Lord and the wilderness to blossom as a rose, fertilize with the breath of Thy mouth the barren portions of my nature that, instead of the thorn (of ....), may come up the fir-tree (of .....), and instead of the brier (of ....) may come up the myrtle-tree (of ....). Let there be showers of blessing until virtuous and goodly living attain in me its fullest fruition, O Holy Spirit, who with the Father and the Son art glorified as God forever and ever. Amen.
1. I would make my day joyous even though clouds obscure the sun's bright shining-joyous with the joy that the world apart from God cannot know, and that no man can take from me.
(a) In moments of hardship remember that all things work together for good to them that love God. Wherefore be markedly composed when you are in a difficult place.
(b) In temptation remember that manhood has its best opportunity when it is attacked.
2. I would make my day righteously ambitious, purposeful.
(a) His will is my peace. Wherefore (a) seek, (b) do God's will, remembering that God is in the law of probability, and that he values the best course above the better course.
(b) A Christian deed is a common deed done Christianly-gracefully, with the whole heart, under the conviction that God is interested not only in what is done but also in the manner of doing.
3. I would aim to be great according to the law of God's kingdom.
(a) Service is love translated into terms of action. To serve is to wield a sceptre. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
(b) Consider how full of need the world of men is, especially that portion of it which your life will touch this day.
The Christian Code of Conduct is:
1. To treat the older women as mothers, the younger as sisters with all purity.
Look on girlhood as God's chosen vessel of crystal purity. Use womanhood as an inspiration to nobility of thought. Protect it in your mind from any suspicion of dishonour or insult. The thoughts can heap horrible shame on our fellows if they are not disciplined and refined by daily effort until they are brought into captivity to Christ. Jewels of womanhood are sometimes dimmed and soiled. True manhood by spotless honour and delicate touch can restore them to a new if not to their first beauty (S. John iv., viii. 11). The sensitiveness of the feminine nature response quickly to the unconscious effluence of a clean-minded man. His bearing toward womanhood supports and elevates it.
2. In dealing with men, to be as just to their interests as to your own.
3. To look on little children as God's own sacrament of innocence, for of such is the Kingdom of God. Wherever child life touches you it should leave a white spot on your character.
Pray that these things may become a part of your life.
The love of the Father enfold me, the wisdom of the Son enlighten me; the fire of the Holy Spirit inflame me. Amen.