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Would that every one had always a happy birthday, and that the dwelling-places of those who sit at the desk, labour at the loom, work in the mine, or wield the hammer, the saw, or the file, rung with grateful joy and light-hearted merriment! Would that on such occasions there was every cause for congratulation and rejoicing, and none for regret and lamentation! “It is,” says one, a poor

heart that never rejoices;" and when is there a fitter season to rejoice than on the return of that day when we came into this breathing world, to help each other gratefully to enjoy, patiently to endure, and to do His holy will who has crowned us with tender mercies and loving-kindnesses ?

Birthdays are mostly kept by the happy-hearted, for little are they recked of by those who have poverty and pain, sickness and sorrow, in their habitations. To the outcasts of the world, the return of the day of their birth must be rather an affliction than a source of joy. The ruined spendthrift, the prisoner, and the felon, cannot but say in their hearts, “Oh that it were with me as in days that are past!” Yes, the unhappy set but little store by their birthdays, and would rather blot them out than remember them. Poor Job thought lightly enough of his, when his sons and his daughters were destroyed, his camels, asses, sheep, and oxen taken away, and his body so changed by sickness that his very friends did not know him. What a mockery it would have been, in the depth of his destitution and darkness, to have paid him the compliment of wishing him “many happy returns !” What a keen and bitter susceptibility must he have had of his desolate condition, when he thus spoke of his birthday !—“Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived. Let that day be darkness; let not God regard it from above. As for that night, let darkness seize upon it; let it not be joined unto the days of the year. Lo, let that night be solitary, let no joyful voice come therein. Let them curse it that curse the day, who are ready to raise up their mourning.” I know not whether Job's birthday came round while he was in this trouble, but if so, it must have been a day of darkness. It becomes us not, however, to despond in the hour of calamity; rather should we remember that it is as light a thing with God to lift up as to pull down; for of this same Job it is said that the Lord blessed his latter end more than his beginning.

I must now bring my remarks to a close. We all like to be esteemed by those we respect, and none of us have any objection to be remembered on our birthdays by those who have a niche in our hearts ; and whether the symbol of their affection or friendship assume the shape of a page of prose, a verse of poetry, an etching, a book-marker, a simple

flower, or any other form, it is invested with the
value that kindness always confers. Reader, what
is the date of your birth ? Have you ever made
inquiry whether any good man came into the world
or went out of it on that day, that you might have
some one to imitate ? or whether any bad man was
born or died on that day, that you might shun his
evil deeds? Have you given yourself the trouble
to ascertain whether any event has ever occurred on
that day calculated to awaken your wonder, increase
your piety, or call forth your thankfulness? What
a reproach to any one it must be to be born on the
same date as Beveridge, Baxter, Watts, or Wesley,
and yet be ungodly! or on the birthday of a How-
ard, a Wilberforce, or a Fry, and be hard-hearted
and cruel! There are many ways of turning a
birthday to account; and, if no better method should
occur to you, adopt at once the following advice of
Old Humphrey, putting it in practice on your very
next birthday. Enjoy the present, think on the
past, and prepare for the future. Call to mind
your mercies, encourage thankfulness of heart,
forgive such as have offended you, and try to make
some aching heart happy. Hardly can I express a
better wish for you than that which a kind corre-
spondent has expressed for me :
“Many happy returns of the day of thy birth,

Many seasons of sunshine be given;
And may God, in his mercy, prepare thee on earth

For a birthday of glory in heaven !"



January 16, 1851.

Hail! honoured Ancient! Once again
I take in hand this votive pen,
To briefly pour, as best I may,
A stanza on your natal day.
With me, the changing scenes that fly
Are as they were in times gone by:
The earth is green, the heavens are blue:
How is it, honoured friend, with you ?

Not that I walk in pathways fair,
And feel no pain, and know no care;
My share have I of shade and smart,
But then the sunshine in my heart
Lights up the things my eyes behold,
And turns the seeming dross to gold.
Such is, in truth, my onward view:
How is it, honoured friend, with you ?

Amid the flitting seasons past,
The summer breeze, and autumn blast,
How have you borne the chequered strife
That marks this fitful, feverish life?

Has God illumed with light your ways,
And given you tranquil nights and days?
His hand has held me hitherto :
How is it, honoured friend, with you?

Say, does the Lord of life and love
Look down upon you from above,
And soothe your grief, and dry your tears,
And dissipate your rising fears?
Does He his sovereign grace impart,
To cheer with hope your fainting heart?
I find Him faithful, kind, and true:
How is it, honoured friend, with you ?

Will He, whose love has bless'd your

brow For ninety years, forsake you now? No, never! His Almighty power Will guard and guide you every hour. My hope is strong that He will spread A heavenly glory round your

head. His gifts to me are like the dew : How is it, honoured friend, with you?

This prayer I freely would impart,
The incense of a loving heart,
That peaceful seasons may arise,
And smooth your pathway to the skies.
Be your's with thankfulness to trace
A Saviour's all-abounding grace.
With me his praise is ever new :
Thus be it, honoured friend, with you!


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