Morning Piety: How A Private Man Must Begin the Morning with Piety – Introduction

From The Practice of Piety: Directing a Christian How to Walk That He May Please God, Lewis Bayly (1575-1631), Bishop of Bangor, with additional Scripture passages and emphases in bold supplied*

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.


* Date of 1st edition unknown, 3rd ed., London, 1613; 74th ed. 1821; been translated into French, German, Czech, Dutch, Italian, Polish, Hungarian, Romansh, Welsh, language of Massachusetts Indians. Best selling Reformed book in 17th century Netherlands. One of the two books John Bunyan’s wife brought with her into their marriage (having inherited it from her father); Bunyan’s reading of it led to his conversion.

Ex. 27:20 And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring unto thee pure olive oil beaten for the light, to cause a lamp to burn continually. 21In the tent of meeting, without the veil which is before the testi-mony, Aaron and his sons shall keep it in order from evening to morning before Jehovah: it shall be a statue for ever throughout their generations on the behalf of the children of Israel.

Ex. 30:6 And thou shalt put it before the veil that is by the ark of the testimony, before the mercy-seat that is over the testimony, where I will meet with thee. 7And Aaron shall burn thereon incense of sweet spices: every morning, when he dresseth the lamps, he shall burn it.

Ps. 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: A broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

Rm. 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

Hos.13:2  And now they sin more and more, and have made them molten images of their silver, even idols according to their own understanding, all of them the work of the craftsmen: they say of them, Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves. Ps. 130:6  My soul waiteth for the Lord, more than watchmen wait for the morning; Yea, more than watchmen for the morning.