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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
Many seasons of sunshine be given;
For a birthday of glory in heaven !"
OLD HUMPHREY TO HIS HONOURED ANCIENT, ON HER NINETIETH
January 16, 1851.
Hail! honoured Ancient! Once again
Not that I walk in pathways fair,
Amid the flitting seasons past,
Has God illumed with light your ways,
Say, does the Lord of life and love
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,