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The New Zealand Evangelist

The New Year

page 217

The New Year

Why is not time one year? Why is not life one day? Among other reasons may not this be one, that still, and always, there shall be ending and beginning—endings ever saying “the end of all things is at hand,”—beginnings replying with joyful response, as though he that sits upon the throne were addressing his creatures, “Behold, I make all things new.”

The great bell of the universe hath tolled—the planets in their stately march proclaim the hour—Another year begins!—Pause, fellow traveller! Fellow soldier, halt! Another little eminence is gained from which we may advantageously survey our course—see Janus unfolds the two-leaved gates—come, let us ponder and imitate the searching gaze with which he regards the past, ere we follow the keen glances with which he seeks to penetrate the unknown future.

The past—oh solemn, fearful word! Child of immortality, thou hast inscribed on deathless that thou wouldst fain let die. But it may not page 218 be. Dost thou forget? Heaven remembers. Dost thou seek by forgetfulness to banish the past? The book of remembrance is written, and soon

“—The wondrous trumpet's tone
Ringing through each cavern lone,
Shall call the dead before the throne.”

Then the judgement shall be set, and the books be opened, and long buried deeds rising from their seeming oblivion, shall start out, a ghastly array, to the affright of the careless, forgetful myriads. Days wasted, opportunities lost, time misspent, will not then appear among the smallest of man's misdoings. And when “for every idle word,” man is “brought to judgment”—alas! for how many would it not have been better that they had never been born Child of immortality, “ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.” See, what are those stones by the way-side?—are they only the distance marks that tell how far thou hast already come?—ah! are they not memorials of the dead?—alas! yes—the mile-stones of man's progress are the grave stones of his friends! With them the year has ended, and no new year commenced. The sun has gone down, and has not hasted to his rising—and soon shall it be so with thee—thou shall join the long array of the nations of the dead, and poor shall be all earth's honours then, even though thou shouldst be one of those who “lie in glory, every one in his own house.”

A “sadder and a wiser man,” look onward now. See, light arises on the darkness, and hope beyond the shadow of death. The future is before thee—not as in childhood's dreams, when still the coming time was gilded with the rosy hues of sunrise—not as when in the flush of youth, the warm tide of life was flowing with vigorous carnestness in thy throbbing veins;—yet radiant with glory—the glory of the eternal day. See the morning spread upon the mountains—the gleams which arise above and beyond the dark clouds that intervene, are the “glittering sheen” of the pearly gates and golden walls of the New Jerusalem. “Where is the treasury of God opened, page 219 and where lie exposed the jewels of heaven? Where burn the torches of eternal light; and where flows the fountain of peace and light that is never exhausted. Where does the soul look into the open books of life? where does she drink oil out of the rocks? where drops the balm which heals every wound? Where, say where? In Jerusalem! Oh happy they that bless thee and love thy gates. O Jerusalem! where the everlasting palm tree flourishes, and the peaceful waters glide through the evergreen valleys, and the angels sing to their harps amongst the umbrageous trees. Thither are we bound, we happy pilgrims, from Jerusalem to Jerusalem.**

Gird up thy loins then fellow traveller! He who hath built the fair city is himself the door—the way. He, and he only, can obliterate the scorching remembrance of the follies past. He, and he only, can make the future all, and more than all the heart can hope for. Hear then his voice, while by the opening year, “Thus saith the Lord God,

Consider your ways!”

** Krummacher—“Elijah the Tishbite”