The New Year is once more with us. 1905, with all its joys and sorrows, its fulfilled expectations and its disappointments, its rain and its sunshine, its smiles and its tears, its defeats and its victories, has passed away, closed up forever in that great Book of Time, the pages of which we can never turn back,—the badly written pages, the blots, the mistakes, the errors, standing out so clear to memory's eye, but shut for ever from our power to erase one blot, to take out one error, or call back one mistake. Oh Book of Time! Oh Book of Life! How often would we turn back thy pages if we could. How often would we tear out thy tear-stained leaves; how often would we—if we only could—alter some of thy blurred and misspelled pages! But it cannot be. That which is done is done for ever, and we sit alone in the twilight of 1905, and the shadows thicken around us. And the dying year points back, and we see it all, as a dying man sees the picture of his life pass before him. Oh dying year! hast thou nothing for us but tears? Shall we see nothing but thy fair hours soiled and misspent? Why stand those things out so prominently before our eyes tonight in thy dying hours? And the dying year answers back to us, "I gave thee a New Book, its pages were fair and unsoiled, and I said to thee, write, but beware what thou writest therein; every deed shall be recorded, every word shall be written here, every thought shall stamp its imprint upon this fair white page, to shine in beauty or mar and blot its loveliness. And thou did'st take the Book from me, and thou hast written, and I take it back from thee tonight, and carry it with me into Eternity; tomorrow another book shall be given thee, 1906. Take heed what thou writest in it. Let the past stand out before thee, and where thou hast marred the past, let the future be beautified. This is why I show thee these things tonight. This is why thou seest the blotted pages, that they may be danger-signals to thy soul, that thou may'st be gentle where thou hast been impatient, kind where thou hast been angry, forgiving where thou hast been revengeful, meek where thou hast been forward, tender where thou hast been hard, patient and longsuffering where thou hast been exacting and masterful. So shalt thou atone for the past, for so men rise on stepping stones of their dead selves to higher things Farewell."
1906, we welcome thee! Thou comest to us laden with hope and promise. We lift our eyes, and see thy bright sun rise in the heavens, we see the day break over the earth, "and the shadows flee away," and we feel a new day break upon our souls, and we know that the old shadows are gone; we take from thy hand thy portion of our Book of Life, fair and unsoiled its pages lie open before us. Oh days, and weeks and months! we know not all we shall write of thee, we cannot see what lies hidden within thy unknown happenings, but we do know that we can make thee very much what we will. We can beautify thee with love, and pity, and tenderness, and compassion, and sympathy. We can, if we will, as the days slip by, leave on record pure and unselfish thoughts and deeds, glad hopes, and high aspirations; ideals—not abandoned as often in the past—but earnestly sought after; victories gained over our own hearts and inclinations. And so, when once again we watch with the dying year, and feel it slipping away from us, bearing with it forever another record, our eyes shall be less tearful and our hearts less sorrowful, and we shall know that life is good, bringing with it each day its many opportunities of doing good, its precious hours laden with golden moments in which we can bring comfort and harmony and peace to those around us; its varied experiences in which we can develop character, and grow virtuous and strong, pure and courageous, thus getting nearer each day to the full, complete, and Divine manhood and womanhood of the "Sons of God."
The little bird remembereth his note,
And this wise Seer within me never errs.
I never taught it what it teaches me;
I only follow when I act aright.