8. Endeavour to keep an account of your income and expenditure, that you may be able to live justly and generously. Give what you can to assist poor relatives, and poor Christians, and the Church of Christ. Try this one year to tax yourself ten per cent, on your free income for such purposes.
Learn to do these things, and many more will the Lord teach thee to know and do; and may the God of love and peace be with thee!
“Remember all the way the Lord hath led thee” during the past year.
REMEMBER HIS MERCIES.—Calmly review, as far as you can, what God has given you these bygone months.
Have you been blessed with bodily health? If so, consider what a gift it is to be spared the tortures some endure: the restless, feverish nights; the long weary days; the unceasing pain; the no-hope of relief in this world.
Have you been blessed with mental health? If so, think of the mercy of not having been visited with insanity, or of having been freed from the suffering of even mental depression, so touchingly described by the poet as
“A grief without a sigh, void, dark,
A stifled, drowsy, unimpassion’d grief,
That finds no natural outlet, no relief,
To word, or sigh, or tear;”
Think of the mercy of having been able to enjoy God’s beautiful world, and to feel the life in its scenery, its music, and its blue sky, during the summer that has passed, as you walked along the sea-shore, among the woods, across the green fields, up the glen, over the moorlands, or gazed on the glorious landscape from the windy summits of the old hills. Health of body and of mind!—Oh, common, most blessed, yet, alas! how often unnoticed, gifts of God!
Have you received other mercies connected with your temporal well-being? Perhaps at the beginning of the year (as at the beginning, maybe, of many a year before) things looked very dark for you and yours. Yet “hitherto” God has helped you. You may never have had more light on your path than what enabled you to take the next step with safety, but that light has never failed you. God has been pleased thus to discipline many of His people. You may, possibly, remember also peculiar deliverances:—from sickness; from money difficulties; from bodily dangers; with unexpected additions to your means of comfort and of usefulness.
Again, call to remembrance your social mercies, which have come more indirectly through others. Think of the relations and friends who have been spared to you! Begin with your dearest, and pass on from those to others less closely allied, but still most valued, and number them all, if you can. Do any remain whom death threatened to remove during the past year? Have any, have many, been a comfort to you? Have your anxieties regarding the temporal or spiritual well-being of others been lessened? Have beloved ones been given to you during the year—such as a wife, a husband, or a child? If God hath led you in this way during the past year, it ought indeed to be remembered!