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fury of fighting elements , their rage does not exceed a certain limit , that the ocean does not swallow up the land , nor the land narrow the mighty ocean ? Tell us , you that have seen many days , and who , in the course of them , have been witness to many pompous schemes of man blasted and broken to pieces , and noble families swept away , and the policy of kingdoms utterly changed , —in all the years that have rolled over your heads , tell us , has the sun once forgot to trace his radiant circle through the sky ; is there diminution of his light or abatement of his genial heat ? Has the earth ever refused to return the sesd which was committed to it , with fair increase > Has
it not always brought forth grass for cattle , and herbs for the service of man ? Has not summer always brought with it its wonted enjoyments , and winter its accustomed comforts ? Have ye never stood still to consider and admire these things ; or , rather can you ever see them without fresh and growing admiration > Many seasons have passed over you , and the stated
changes of nature you have long been familiar with ; yet which of you ever saw the new year without emotions of delight ? Which of you can contemplate nature quickening again to life and vegetation after the torpid lethargy of winter , without feeling his heart bound with transport ? The frequent sight of any earthly pageant satiates and wearies the eye , but who that is most familiar with the procession of months and seasons can view their
returning pomp without new sentiments of admiration > Whom does not the sweet sound of the spring fill with spontaneous rapture ? That pleasure , so pure , so innocent , which arises from the grateful impression of the works of nature , is the first that strikes the infant senses , and the last which cheers the gloom and languor of age . Cherish it , therefore , in your hearts ; unite it with sentiments of gratitude and piety . Learn to see every thing as the work of God . This sentiment will give animation to the stillest scene , and
interest to the simplest . Seek for an increase of knowledge in the wheels that move the great machine , that you may admire with more understanding ; for he who knows most and considers most will adore most , and the theme , though obvious , is inexhaustible . But you have topics to engage your attention more interesting still .
Stand still and consider the salvation of God wrought in you and for you . You that have been favoured with many years , can tell of many mercies . You have not lived so long without having many personal and many family blessings to be thankful for . You can speak of dangers escaped , of temptations overcome , of sicknesses healed , and sins forgiven . You can trace back your long line of life and find many blessings in it , which at the time
were cutting mortifications ; many escapes , which at the time were severe disappointments . How have your characters been brought oat by afflictions and mellowed by the -various discipline you have been obliged to pass through ! Stand still and consider , and when , from the elevated post of observation you now occupy , the various scenes of your life pass in review before you , you will see events in a light in which at the time it was impossible you should see them ; you will find yourselves now thankful for scenes
in which you once thought it quite enough to be patient ; past trials will be present triumphs ; you will see , that you were led by the hand when you nave been ready to think yourselves utterl y forsaken . How often has the arrow been turned aside from your path while you were singing carelessly along ! How many circumstances can you recollect in whteh a choice , seemingly casual , has influenced the colour of your future life ; in which an unpremeditated meeting , a word dropped accidentally , a train of thought kindled up by some slight and obscure circumstance , has sunk into your
New Year Discourse . 3
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Jan. 2, 1828, page 3, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2556/page/3/