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A Book for the Young

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A heartfelt greeting to you, my young friends; a merry Christmas and a happy New Year to you all. Of all the three hundred and sixty–five days none are fraught with the same interest—there is not one on which all mankind expect so great an amount of enjoyment, as those we now celebrate: for all now try not only to be happy themselves, but to make others so too. All consider themselves called on to endeavour to add to the aggregate of human happiness. Those who have been estranged, now forget their differences and hold out the hand of amity; even the wretched criminal and incarcerated are not forgotten.

Yes, to both the Christian and the worlding, it is equally the season for rejoicing. Oh yes! view them in any of their bearings, joyful are the days that mark the anniversary of the Redeemer's Nativity, and the commencement of the New Year. Fast as the last twelve months have sped their circling course, yet they have, brought changes to many. Numbers of those we so gaily greeted at their beginning, now sleep in the silent dust, and the places they filled know them no more! And we are spared, the monuments of God's mercy; and how have we improved that mercy, I would ask? or how do we purpose doing it? Have such of us as have enjoyed great and perhaps increased blessings, been taught by them to feel more gratitude to the Giver of all good. If the sun of prosperity has shone more brightly, has our desire to do good been in any way proportionate. Has God in his infinite wisdom seen fit to send us trials,—have they done their work, have they brought us nearer to Him, have they told us this is not our abiding place, have they shown us the instability of earthly happiness? Have you reflected for one moment, amidst your late rejoicings, of the hundreds whose hearths have been desolated by cruel but necessary war, and then with a full and grateful heart humbly thanked the God who has not only spared you these heavy inflictions, but preserved all near and dear to you.

Oh ye young and happy! have you looked around you and thought of all this, and then knelt in thankfulness for the blessings spared you? Remembering all this, have ye on bended knees prayed, and fervently, that this day may be the epoch on which to date your resolves to be and to do better. Oh, may the present period be eventful, greatly eventful, for time and eternity.

Let us pause awhile ere we commence another year, and take a retrospective glance at the past. Can we bear to do so, or will day after day, and hour after hour, rise up in judgment against us? Can we bear to bring them into debtor and creditor account,—what offsets can we make against those devoted to sin and frivolity?

Has every blessing and every mercy been taken as a matter of course, and every pleasure been enjoyed with a thankless forgetfulness of the hand from which it flowed? If such has been the case, let it be so no longer; but awake and rouse ye from your lethargic slumber, be true to yourselves, and remember that you are responsible beings, and will have to account for all the time and talents misspent and misapplied....