The New Zealand Evangelist
The New Year
The New Year.
“A Happy New Year to You!”—Tens of thousands have uttered, or will utter, this joyful salutation to day. By some it will be mere words of course, “the compliments of the season.” But in most cases the wish is father to the expression; the individuals intend all that is good; they sincerely desire that their friends may have in every sense of the word, a happy new year. As far as it goes this is as it should be [sic: be.] It tells well for the social friendliness of the national character. We will not be behind-hand in good wishes—we yield to none in the sincerity of our friendly feeling for our fellow-colonists: we join in the prevailing salutation; Reader a Happy New Year to You!
In this wish we include all that can be comprehended in the expression. In the first place, as lying nearest the surface, we desire the temporal prosperity of the Colony; that business may be brisk and flourishing—that the Merchants and Traders may find a ready market for their goods at remunerating prices—that Mechanics, Artizans, and Laborers may have the use of all their energies, full employment for them, and “a fair day's wages for a fair day's page 146 work”—that the husbandman may have a busy seedtime and an abundant harvest, without any drawbacks of blight, or drought, or flood—that the political interests of the colony may be fostered by an all-wise Providence—that no discord may arise between the several races of Her Majesty's subjects to interrupt the happy feeling that now exists in these most beautiful and fertile islands of the seas—and that “unity, peace, and concord” may permanently increase until all shall be one.
But these are minor matters. We recognize the truth and authority of the Bible, with its awful and eternal sanctions. We find in that Divine law that there is not, cannot be happiness, independent of religion. It is of this alone that the expressive language of Solomon can be used;—“Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.” He alone is the “happy man, that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.”— The beatitudes, or happinesses pronounced by the Great Teacher, in his Sermon on the Mount, are all connected with religious principles and actions.—Furthermore, from the authority of the same “Holy Scriptures,” the absence of religion is a sure preventive of happiness. The sinner may have his pleasures, transitory and temporary as they are, but happiness, he has not. How can he, with his guilt not cancelled, with his heart unregenerate! But the thing has been determined by the solemn fiat of our Creator, “There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.”
In wishing our readers then, a happy new year, we wish to be understood as desiring for them all the benefits of religion; the prosperity of their spiritual interests; that the doctrines of Christianity may be more thoroughly understood, that its truths may be more firmly believed, that its duties may be more heartily practised, that its benefits may be more fully enjoyed.
We wish that “the goodness of God”, may have the intended and desired effect of “leading to repentance” page 147 all who have, as yet, neglected that duty—that the glorious truth Jesus “is able to save to the uttermost” may be so clearly exhibited to the minds and hearts of the “mourners in Zion” as to lead them at once to “come unto God by him” that the “loveliness of peace, and the beauties of holiness” may be so delightfully painted before the eye of the Christian, that he shall “follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” Desirable consummation! Blissful state of things! Happy community where these things are so! “Happy is that people, that is in such a case; yea, happy is that people, whose God is the Lord.”
Let us use the means, and the desired end shall be realized. Let all the ordinances of religion, Sabbath and week-day, regular and special, be sanctioned by our presence. Let all the duties belonging to our common Christianity be promptly attended to. Let us be earnest in prayer, vigorous in effort, and as liberal with our property in the cause of God and benevolence, as we are earnest in praying; and we may depend upon it, prosperous and happy days shall be ours. “The blessing of the Lord which maketh rich” shall be vouchsafed, and we shall have to all intents and purposes.
A Happy New Year!