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The Hymn of the New Year's Bells.
T midnight by the wintry fire,
And memory turns her mystic page,
With many a blotted record there
For much is gone we might have gained,
The best we missed, and ofttimes lost
The good that might have been.
We might have trod a higher path,
We might have held a stronger faith,
From many a band that held us back
Our sins and errors of the past
For Jesus' sake forgive,
And grant us grace in days to come
A holier life to live.
A life devoted to Thy will,
And strengthened by Thy might; Its guidance, and its guard divine, Its pathway in the light.
A life whose coming days shall be
Until we reach our Father's house,
Ring out, O bells, the darksome night, The tyranny of sin!
O new year's bells, with happy chimes, The reign of Christ ring in!
Thy kingdom come, O God, in us,
Oh, help us to press forward still,
The things that lie behind.
That thus the best our past hath seen,
Ring out, O bells, the evil past!
We look around upon our home,
We know a little grave that lies
We have a lamb in Jesus' fold,
O Saviour! Thou didst chasten us,
Thanks, gracious Master, bless us still;
From sin and evil keep their souls,
Thy favour better than earth's gain,
Thy love more than her gold;
Thy smile more sweet than song hath sung, Or lips of man have told.
God save us all from sin and woe,
Thy grace to us be given;
That we may dwell with Thee at last,
A family in heaven.
Ring out the evils of the past,
Its failures and its fears;
Ring out the curse, the sin, the strife,
Ring in the reign of grace and truth,
T was Saturday evening, and Melton Street was crowded from one end to the other. Stalls lined both sides of the way, and displayed every kind of cheap commodity, whilst heaps of decaying vegetables and whelk-shells disfigured the middle of the road, and poisoned the air for the passers-by. Each vendor was intent on disposing of his own peculiar wares, and a ceaseless "Buy, buy, buy" could be heard the whole length of the street.
On one of the low doorsteps sat an elderly woman, and resting on her knee was a huge basket containing an odd medley of goods, one side filled with various kinds of fruit, the other with tapes and buttons and similar household necessities. But the evening seemed long, and purchasers were few, and from time to time the woman gazed wearily around. For once her usual Saturday trade seemed to have deserted her, and at length she rose from her uncomfortable seat with a worn-out gesture. For the last half-hour not one in all the busy thoroughfare had paused to buy from her little store, and Betty gazed enviously at the more attractive stalls as afterwards she slowly passed them by. An unaccountable depression weighed upon her spirits; she felt out of place amid that rude, jostling crowd, and vented her annoyance in more than one impatient exclamation.
"The world's getting too full," said she to herself; "and it's aye true what they say, the weaker ones must go to the wall. But I'd just like to tell them there'll come the time when they'll be as weak and old as me, and then I shouldn't wonder if they don't change their tone a bit."
However, at last Betty was free to leave the bustle and din of Melton Street behind her, and turning down a short, gloomy passage, she speedily found herself in a square paved yard, with houses standing closely round, and a solitary lamp-post in the centre. Paradise Gardens was the name given to this uninviting spot, though, it is needless to add, no gardens were visible, nor could aught else be seen sug