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THE NEW YEAR. A HAPPY new year to all my young readers! and a merry one too, I am willing to add; for you must not suppose, because I give you a great deal of serious advice, and wish you to be religious and good, I am a grave and austere sort of body, who would check your laugh, and forbid you to be innocently merry. I am sure I should ill understand my heavenly Master's wishes if I did so, and be very ignorant of the real spirit of the Bible; for there I learn that “wisdom's ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.” And sure I am, that none have so much reason to be merry and cheerful, be they young or old, as true, honest Christians.
But “merry and wise " is the proper rule. There is a time for every thing, "a time to laugh and a time to weep.” It will not do to be merry and laugh when you are in the house of God, or at family prayer, or your own private devotions; neither when engaged with your books and the regular duties of the day. But all these properly over,
be as inerry
as you please, only within the proper bounds of caution and sobriety.
But a happy new year! How shall it be? Do you
think it will be happy just so far as you can have plenty of fun and sport? I don't think this will do, for I have seen many young folks who have no lack of these, yet still clearly show that they are not happy. No, to be truly happy, you must make true religion the first and grand object; what I mean is this, you must seek to be brought under the influence of true religion in all you desire, and do, and say. You must seek really each day to do your duty to God and man, loving your Saviour, aiming to be like Him, and doing all from love to Him and with a view to His glory; and then I am bold to foretell a happy new year. Put duty first, and pleasure second, and then your happiness will come from a far higher source than the storms and changes of life can reach. In God's favour only is life, with all its blessings and happiness. Then own Him as your only source of happiness; seek all in and from Him: “ He never said to any of the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain." Then, if you are at peace with God, and that peace dwells in your heart, it will keep out all the enemies that would hurt you; it will keep out fear, and care, and trouble, and thus make and keep you happy.
Oh, there is no other way to a happy new year for any, whether young or old, but this. It is not that you may not have your trials, and it is quite a mistake to suppose that the young are free from trials. I feel sure that some amongst my many young readers will be thrown on a sick bed during this year; others may lose a dear parent, or brother, or sister; some may fall into great poverty, and may almost be without needful food. It is an awful thought, too, that most likely there will be some who read these lines who will he dead before the end of the year. Oh, what a thought!—the very thought that you, who are now reading this, may soon be in your grave, should make you very solemn, and rouse you to pray that you may be ready.
Still, whatever of these trials may come upon you, the true religion of Christ, if deeply seated in your heart, can make you happy and peaceful under all. I have seen a dear child more really happy on a suffering and dying bed than I ever saw one in health and amidst his very play. I have seen others in want and hunger, so happy and content with having a Saviour's love, and a hope of heaven, that they have cared not to be taken up with their own sorrows, in their efforts to bring others to know and love their Saviour.
Then look not on religion as an enemy to your cheerful happiness, but as its only source. Begin the year with earnest prayer that you may indeed be Christ's, and Christ be yours. Seek to be made really new creatures in Christ Jesus. Make yourselves well acquainted from childhood with the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make us wise
unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus. Set before you the example of Christ, and aim at being like Him. Then sure I am that your happiest year yet lies before you; and let it bring what it will, all will be yours, because “ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's.”
But should there be one child who is disposed to measure his expected happiness by the number of his romps, and pleasures, and cakes, &c,, &c., I must tell him plainly that he is laying in store for anything but a happy year.
And then think, if everything and anything is put in the place of God, and is made to go before you
future course as your guide and friend, what will you do when trouble comes? Can these things that you have chosen for your gods help you? Will they help you? When you are tossing on a sick bed, what can they do for you? When parents or friends die, can they make up for the loss? When you come to want, can they assist you?
Oh! be wise betimes! Make Jesus Christ your friend. Honour Him by expecting all from Him. Make Him your whole trust for the dark and needy future; and then trip along, merry and cheerful, and show to all around
that it is not too much religion, but too little, that forms dark and gloomy years, and that life is brightest to those whose light, and life, and all is Christ.
A CHRISTMAS STORY. You want a Christmas story? Ah! who ever could get through Christmas without a story? Well you shall have one, both wonderful and true.
One hundred and fifty years ago, there was in Switzerland a little village called Avers. It nestled at the bottom of a deep valley. Up above, on one side of it, was a high towering mountain. Up it rose, higher and higher, each peak of it striving to be highest ; and they never stopped till they reached the clouds, and were covered with the cold white snow.
About halfway up, on the bosom of this great mountain, were beautiful pastures, clothed with rich green grass, and rare flowers of all colours, which loved to live near the snow.