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On birth-days, and Christmas, and New Year's, too,
Questions. Why should the daylight be called “blinding and dazzling”? Why is the air said to be “groggy”? What is the s steward's pass”? Why is time called a · dead-head”? Explain the ninth stanza.
XIII.--A CHEERFUL TEMPER.
1. Another thing conducive to cheerfulness, is the regulation of desire within proper and natural limits. Another thing for which Sidney Smith deserves admiration, was, amid all his honorable aspirations, the absence of mean jealousies. He had a brother who was titled and wealthy, but, toward him, was nothing exacting or envious. He occupied his own sphere, and was very brave and contented in managing his own affairs, and the very cattle in his inclosures had occasion to be thankful for his kindness. The conditions of contentment are put at a very low figure in the Scriptures,—“having food and raiment.” It is the intrusion of envy and jealousy that destroys cheerfulness; and, if I were to string together a few brief hints as to the manner in which this bright virtue may be cultivated, they would be in this wise : As every man has a will of his own, you must expect every day that your own will be crossed; and when this is done, you must bear it as meekly as when you cross the will of another.
2. Expect not too much of others, and then they will be more tolerant of you. Esteem others more highly than yourself, and watch for the opportunity in which you can say a kind word and confer a small pleasure. Be studious to see what is good and hopeful, to be applauded in another, rather than what is evil, to be reproved; and, amid all the trivial annoyances of life, measure those substantial blessings which come to you every hour from the open hand of Christ ; and, if the practice of these rules does not cure a clouded brow and an irritable manner, then it is because you need, and most probably will have, some other medicine besides that of a merry heart.
3. Last of all, chief of all, if
would be cheerful in such a world as this, you must exercise a constant trust in an allwise Providence. But do not suppose that by this I intend anything like that reckless confidence which is born of pride, and inflated by egotism,- which is at once our national char. acteristic and peril. We mean the recognition of that Divine supremacy which directs the revolutions of time and events, with a wisdum and love and power superior to our own, and an obedient deference to his will. If we will consider it honestly, we shall be convinced of the fact that the occasions for individual and national gratitude which are owing to our power and achievement, are very few; while those are boundless which spring from Him who watches alike the fall of a' sparrow and the rise of empires.
4. Never was there a better compend of wisdom, for individuals and nations, than that expressed in these few words of inspiration, "Be careful for nothing" (the word denotes an uneasy, uncheerful apprehension), “but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God, and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ.” It has been very profanely said by some, in their perverse way, that, as things are among us, we shall have small occasion for thanksgiving. Such men ought to pass their lives in Mexico or Algiers. Nothing to be thankful for! If all the people of these states would, for the whole day, in their homes and in their houses of worship, employ themselves in recounting the mercies of God by which we are distinguished, what beneficent effects would flow from the gratitude such an occupation would inspire. Direful evils there may be, -national sins may provoke Divine displeasure,- perils may environ us,—but, notwithstanding all, how much for which we ought to be thankful ! 6. The Lord
has done great things for us, whereof we are glad.” Let us come with our homage and gratitude, and sing praises to Him.
5. In the worst times let this be our joyous confidence, “The Lord God omnipotent reigneth.” “Although the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls; yet, I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” If there is one peril more than another which threatens our prosperity, I will venture to give it a name: that indifference to our mercies which might provoke God to withdraw them, and give them to another people. May God incline us more and more to that unambitious, unselfish, contented, cheerful, thankful temper, which is at once a medicine and a feast, an ornament and protection.
XIV.-OVER THE RIVER.
NANCY A. W. PRIEST.
Loved ones who've crossed to the further side;
But their voices are drowned in the rushing tide.
the reflection of heaven's own blue;
And the pale mist hid him from mortal view.
The gates of the city we could not see;
My brother stands waiting to welcome me!
2. Over the river the boatman pale
Carried another- the household pet;
Darling Minnie! I see her yet!
And fearlessly entered the phantom bark;
And all our sunshine grew strangely dark. We know she is safe on the further side,
Where all the ransomed and angels be; Over the river, the mystic river,
My childhood's idol is waiting for me! 3. For none return from those quiet shores,
Who cross with the boatman cold and pale ; We hear the dip of the golden oars,
And catch a gleam of the snowy sail, And, lo! they have passed from our yearning hearts;
They cross the stream, and are gone for aye; We may
not sunder the veil apart
May sail with us o'er life's stormy sea ;
They watch and beckon and wait for me !
Is flushing river and bill and shore,
And list for the sound of the boatman's oar;
I shall hear the boat as it gains the strand; I shall pass from sight with the boatman pale,
To the better shore of the spirit land ;