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opportunities, and with all its miseries. With some it has sped quickly away, while to others it has moved with tender feet. Many have been anxious to see its close, while others have dreaded its approaching end, to some it has brought sorrow, and to others joy, it has given and taken away, '56 is no longer ours.
We have done with it until the dust of ages shall spring into life, and the mighty waters give up the dead. We know how we have spent it, and it has carried with it a report of our conduct, which will be read to us, when Time is no more. O that it may be a good report
That we may give for every Year,
A good account at last. What then are your prospects and decisions, in reference to the New Year. I speak now particularly to you who have not yet entered on the path of purity and peace ; I dare say you hope, or expect to have a happy New Year. And I hope from the bottom of my soul, that you may have a happy New Year. But let me say, that the Year, so far as happiness is concerned, will be to a great extent, what we feel disposed to make it. There are many false notions in the world, with reference to happiness, some think that happiness consists in the abundance of worldly good, and many young people cherish this mistaken notion, until they painfully discover its fallacy. Why, there are many, who during the past Year, had all that the world calls grand and great; splendid homes, gold and silver, superior wearing apparel, and moved among a gay and fashionable circle of friends, and yet look back upon the past Year with unhappy feelings and bitter regrets. Like Solomon, who gave the world a fair test, in retired moments they bave been wont to exclaim, all is vanity &c. On the other hand, there are many living in humble homes, like the desert flower, obscure and unknown to the world, who have had but the common fare of life besides numerous difficulties to encounter, yet have been happy as possible upon earth, and possess in their minds a happy and pleasing retrospect.
Happiness, my dear friends, does not consist in what we have, but in what we are. A man may be very rich, but unless he has treasure in heaven, &c. he never can be happy. I had rather be a Lazarus in life, than a Dives in death, for I am convinced from experience and observation, that apart from religion, there can be no true happiness or enjoyment
'Tis religion that can give, &c. Do you ask why? I answer, because man possesses a body and an immortal soul. You and I are linked to two worlds, and the desires of an immortal spirit, possess a kind of infinity and cannot be satisfied with finite objects. The soul must have a good), suited to its nature and constitution;
Something lasting that will stay,
When heaven and earth are fled away. And that something is religion, the pearl of great price, and which is within the reach of the poorest, and the most illiterate person upon earth. O! with all your getting, get wisdom-the wisdom of the Bible. Buy the truth, and sell it not, this will be your guardian angel through life, encircle your dying pillow with a halo of heavenly glory, aud light up the dark valley of death.
Do not historical accounts prove the world to be a broken reed at last? Do not the many wrecks on the ocean oftime, faithfully warn against making the world the foundation of our hopes? Just glance over the pages of history, and converse for a few moments with the departed, for they being dead yet speak, and all will bear testimony to what I have said in reference to the world. Gaze on Alexander who conquered the world, sitting weeping, because every other planet is beyond his reach, and because he had not conquered himself. See that iron hoofed despot-Napoleon, fretting himself to death on a gloomy Island, while yet in the prime of life. The world slew him. Tread softly in the death chamber of Elizabeth, and listen to the high estimate she puts on time in her last moments,-0 time, a world of gold for an inch of time. And Oh! bear in mind the words of Cardinal Wolsey as he retired from the court of Henry the Eighth, to a Monastry, to spend the remainder of his days, “If I had served God, as faithfully as the King, He would not have given me up in my grey hairs.” And if you have time, spend a few moments with the great and good, which have adorned the Panorama of the world. We have not room to name them here, and you will see very plainly what true happiness consists in. And 0, may you be constrained to embrace the principle, then shall you not only be happy this Year, but
When rolling Years shall cease to move. Let me say in conclusion, a few words to you, who have chosen the good part which shall not be taken from you without your permission, and I pray God that it never may, for you have made a proper choice ; I have not the least doubt but the past year has been a happy one, although you may have had severe trials and difficulties to contend with. But these will make our joys more sweet, when we to glory go. The world is a great school, and you and I are going through the first rudiments of our future being, we are schooling for eternity. The Lord bless you, and may this Year be a happy one indeed to you, is the earnest prayer of your affectionate Brother in Christ.
R. B. M.
A WORD TO THE SORROWFUL. “It is good for me that I have been afflicted."-Ps. cxix. 71.
Why am I thus tried? The question is constantly being asked by one and another. Affliction in the present tense is scarce recognised as a good. As in the wrench of an operation the nerves of a patient are distracted, and the whole of the vital force is used up in mere endurance, so in affliction.
Often the soul revolts and rebels under it; its immediate effect seems to be to increase our spiritual maladies. Persons often say, under severe trials, “I used to think I had some self-control, some patience, some good temper. I
thought I had to a good degree overcome selfishness and pride, but these harassments and trials seem to upset all.” And, accordingly, a person, when passing through periods of severe trial, often seems to be growing worse, to be becoming hard, and irritable, and unlovely. A writer has said, it is not while the storm is driving the sea one the beach, that we go out to look for treasures; but when the storm is laid, and the sun shines out clear, we find the jewels and precious stones which the sea hath cast upon beach. Often in the height of an affliction all comfort is in vain, as medicaments in the fury of some diseases. The soul must spend itself, the storm must pass. be months, it may be years, before the soul can come to herself enough to look back and say, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted.” Nor is the good of affliction often perceivable as the result of one paroxysm, but rather as the aggregate of several. The mechanic who would bring out the clouds and veins of a precious wood, seems to harass and torture it in many ways; and if the wood were a sentient creature, it might well complain as the saw, and plane, and the rude pumice-stone passed successively over it, and each varnish is scraped and rubbed, -nor till the last touch has been given does one see the full result. So of afflictions. Some are like strokes of the axe and hammer, splitting and rending the heart of the soul ; others are wearing and long continued, like the slow work of the file and the polishing-brush, and very seldom, under the process, does the soul recognise their use ; but after long years, a softened melody of spirit is produced as the result of all.
One thing is remarkable of afflictions, and that is that almost every soul feels itself stricken in the precise point where it is least able to bear. “Oh, were it anything but this !- I could bear anything else !" are the most frequent exclamations of the hour of sorrow. We would bear very composedly a suppositious afiliction,-an afliction so-called,-against which our peculiar temperament so fortifies us that to us it is no affliction. But when Omniscience puts forth its hands and touches that vital point, known to God alone, where each is most sensitive, that is real affliction, and the soul shivers under it. We would change our affliction for this or that,-God sees that this and this only can serve his purpose.
Could a diamond speak, when the lapidary is leisurely filing away its glittering particles, and vexing it with weary frictions and polishing, it might say, “I could bear a good hammer stroke, but oh, this is wearing my very soul away." Nevertheless, the artisan knows that it is not the hammer but the weary polish that the diamond must hare to make it glitter royally, at last, in a diadem. Such are some of the most common, least valued of our afflictions, -a slow, wearing, heart-eating process,--an affliction, oftentimes known and recognised as such only by God who orders it, and who knows the precise moment when it is possible to let it cease.
Then let the soul deeply engrave in its belief this answer to its oft-recurring question, Why am I thas tried ? Because this affliction and no other could save thee. The great Father is an economist in all his lavish profusion of riches, but of nothing is he more saving than of the sorrows of his beloved ; not one tear too much-not one sigh, not one uneasiness nor anxiety too many, is the lot of the meanest of his people.
MRS. H. STOWE
A great deal of talent is lost in the world for the want of a little courage. Every day sends to their graves a number of obscure men, who have only remained in obscurity because their timidity has prevented them from making a first effort; and who if they could have been induced to begin, would in all probability have gone great lengths in the career of fame. The fact is, that to do anything in this world worth doing, we must not stand back shivering, and thinking of the cold and the danger, but jump in and scramble through as well as we can. It will