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1. A TEAR FOR 1858.

2. A PLEA FOR 1859.

8. MIND YOUR P's and Qʻs.





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HRISTMAS! What a crowd of strange associations does

the word convey! What a chequered picture does it paint before the mind! A picture with a foreground of bright colour, set off by a distance of sombre and cloudy hues. It is a season in which we live emphatically in this present. A season when we either forget the past entirely, or only recal the happier and lighter of its incidents. A season when all, by a sort of common effort of hilarity and good fellowship, banish care and sorrow from the mind, and give themselves up to joyousness and smiles. A season when we abandon "ourselves to the pleasures of the moment, and close our eyes to all that may be darkling in the future. Christmas! Sketches innumerable fill the fancy, and Imagination turns the pages of her album to shew her choicest treasures. Family groups are hung round all the gallery-every

The vacant chair of yesterday has now a smiling occupant. Great men grow condescending to their poor relations, and invite them to a place beside the well-spread board. Warehouses are closed, and even cotton is forgotten for a few short hours. Lawyers and stockbrokers manage to squeeze a real smile into their faces just to honour the occasion; and the sourness of evil tempers is reduced by the sweetness of plumpudding, and the savoury odour of “the roast beef of old Eng. land.” Christmas! The time when lovers meet their idols; the time when the parental roof-tree is darkened with the coy

blank filled up.

shadow of the mistleto-bough; and when the blushing daughters shriek and cry out, “ Don't be foolish, Joe, as the countrycousin's arm comes twining round their waist, and seals their meeting with a sounding kiss. Christmas! Now then, ye hungry clericals, with a red book in your side-pocket, now is your time to make the grandees bleed, and state the case of • Ebenezer " or Bethesda." Every one's heart is open who has a heart at all ; every one's purse is open whether he has a purse or no.

This is the sunny side of Christmas; he is a jolly old fellow, and he tries hard to dry up teurs and quiet sighs, and clear up storms. He piles the yule-log high upon the hearth, and beckons brothers and sisters to circle round its crackling blaze; but he cannot always succeed. There are tears that surge upward from too deep a source for him to dry; there are clouds too dense for him to drive away; there are sighs too sorrowful for him to tranquillise and calm; and when he finds he cannot banish pain, he comes to sympathise with it; he has a gentle hand to lay upon the troubled heart ; he, too, can weep with those that weep, as well as rejoice with those who rejoice ; he, too, can feel for the unfortunate, and help to bear the burden of the weary; he, too, can listen to the thoughtful retrospect which his return awakens in the mind.

Let us then sit for a few minutes this afternoon in the light, or rather in the shade, of his soberer and more serious face. After a feast there generally ensues a season of reflection. Many of those, perhaps, who listen to me now were last night whirling through the mazy dance, or tittering and struggling with amorous admirers beneath the kissing-bush. Many were plucking the trinkets from the Christmas-tree, and some were romping at blind-man's-buff. I am glad of it. I rejoice even at the fancy which I form of your enjoyment, and I wish from my heart that you may live to do the like on many a Christmas-day to come. But now that Sabbath bells have rung the matin of this day-now that the organ swell and vocal peal have breathed out of the sanctuary doors— let us be serious, and harken to the good advice which grey old Christmas would impart to us before he goes away. He has shaken us warmly by the handhe has given many of us a merry greeting—and now he sits among us like a sage to give his parting counsel ere he leaves ús for another year. His finger points us backwards, and we turn to survey the track we have pursued. That track commenced amidst the snows of January, and we can see the footprints of the early stages of our journey. Good resolutions fortified us at the first, and our way was tolerably undevious and straight; but as February's white mantle was blown off by the fierce winds of March, the track is not so plain to see: the soft ground still discloses footmarks to us, but the staff of good resolves with which we started seems to have broken down, and our way is sadly crooked and erratic. The fences of law and precept are rudely broken down and tangled, and we have trespassed widely into the enemy's country. The showers of April have bedecked our course with snow-drops, but in our staggering and unstable course we have trampled many of them under foot, and soiled their fair white leaves. The sunshine of “the merry month of May" extracts the fragrance of a thousand flowers, but many of the garlands we have plucked have been withered by our violence, and lie unheeded in the way. June and July — two sisters blooming with wreaths, and flushed with the sunshine - both drop a modest and regretful tear over our heedless and misguided course. August, with her golden ringlets waving in the breeze, and September, with prolific womb, combine their matronly regrets at our degeneracy and sin. October, with her laden palm gushing with fruit- with grape-juice trickling through her fingers—looks as though she had been weeping tears of blood and could not hide them with her hands, as she howls over our forgetfulness of good, and tries to cover our backslidings with her seer and yellow leaves. November veils her doleful face in shrouds of mist, and shudders with a mortal chill; and grim December brings a panoply, or pall of crape, to smother up the vices of another year. But Conscience will not let the obsequies go on-she will not let the past be buried-she comes to us to-day and bids us contrast the beginning with the end.

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