Render unto the Lord the Firstfruits of Thine Increase - by JB Stoney
"RENDER UNTO THE LORD THE FIRSTFRUITS OF THINE INCREASE"
There is nothing like reading the scriptures before breakfast. I believe it is a great thing to begin the day with God. There is a reason for it. The mind retains what engages it first. I know you have a constitutional difficulty in getting up early; the way I should recommend to compensate for this would be—to devote your last moments before retiring to meditation. What has arrested my attention, as I lie down, speaks to my heart and conscience, and as I awake in the morning, if I recall it, it freshly engages my heart and mind, and places me on a level above the carnal influences with which contact with things here must leaven my mind unless I am garrisoned against it. It is far happier to pass from a high level to a lower one than to seek to rise from the lower one to the higher. The level from which your mind starts lends it a character for a long time and period of the day, and even if it drops to a lower key, small supplies will easily restore it to its first and better key. It is almost proverbial that if you begin the day badly, or as you begin it, so will it generally continue. "Render unto the Lord the firstfruits of thine increase" gives us the principle for the rule. They say if you want to bear cold well go out warm, and surely the more braced and endued with spiritual caloric the soul is, before encountering the battle and the breeze of this evil world, the better. In keeping with our illustration, it is easier to accumulate heat when there is no expenditure of it than when our greatest supply will soon be sorely taxed. "Incipium belli dimidium facti", the beginning of the battle is half the deed.
In prayer God can remove from our hearts certain current influences which, being destroyed, leave room for certain spiritual influences to take their place in the soul.