C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.

Old Year

  • As the wing’d arrow flies
  • Speedily the mark to find;
  • As the lightning from the skies
  • Darts, and leaves no trace behind—
  • Swiftly thus our fleeting days
  • Bear us down life’s rapid stream.
  • Upward, Lord, our spirits raise;
  • All below is but a dream.
  • John Newton.

    As Christians we have one consolation. Be the year what it may, He who has helped us in the past will stand by us in the future. His unspeakable goodness will not fail. He will overrule all the untried experiences to our good. He will shelter us from the storms. He will deliver in times of peril. This being true, we can walk forward with calm courage. “All things work together for good to them that love God.”

    Epworth Herald.

    Sad and solemn are the cadences of the dying year. Only a few months ago, how full of life and vigor was the new year, now grown old and ready to drop into the irrevocable past. It has spent its life on earth, for good and ill, and its footprints are eternal. Nothing can be altered, nothing recalled. It has left its ineffaceable marks, and they cannot be removed.

    Alexander Macaulay.

  • Still on—as silent as a ghost!
  • Seems but a score of days, all told,
  • Or but a month or two at most,
  • Since our last New Year’s song we trolled.
  • And lo! that New Year now is Old.
  • And here we stand to say “Good-by!”
  • Brief words—and yet, we scarce know why,
  • They bring a moisture to the eye,
  • And to the heart some quakes and aches;
  • We speak them very tenderly,
  • With half a sob and half a sigh—
  • “Old Year, good-by!” “Old Year, good-by!”
  • W. H. Burleigh.

    What, then, does this lead to? This old year, with all its joys and sorrows, with all its work and failure, with its opportunities and its sins—God has been in it all; a faithful God, keeping faith with the better nature in each one of us. And now we begin to see somewhat more clearly how all things have been working together for our good—toward a real and effective repentance and reformation, and new consecration of purer love and obedience.

    Franklin Noble, D.D.

    The years are going. Let the chaff and the evil part of this life pass with them. As men load the wagon with the sweepings of the street, and, carrying it far to the ocean, cast it into the deep abyss, so bring together all your hatreds, weaknesses, unkindnesses, jealousies, all passions, ingratitudes, and embittering memories, and, tying them into one bundle, let the old year sweep them out and drop them into the gulf of oblivion. Expel from your life all sins and sordid aims. Carry into the new year only the choicest thoughts and aspirations. As in the olden days when men approached the Parthenon they cleansed their persons and arrayed themselves in white robes before entering that glorious temple, so cleanse your garments from transgression, clothe yourself with aspirations. Farewell to the past! Welcome and all hail to the future.

    Newell Dwight Hillis, D.D.

  • He frothed his bumpers to the brim;
  • A jollier year we shall not see.
  • But tho his eyes are waxing dim,
  • And tho his foes speak ill of him
  • He was a friend to me.
  • Old Year, you shall not die;
  • We did so laugh and cry with you,
  • I’ve half a mind to die with you,
  • Old Year, if you must die.
  • *****
  • His face is growing sharp and thin,
  • Alack! Our friend is gone,
  • Close up his eyes; tie up his chin;
  • Step from the corpse, and let him in
  • That standeth there alone,
  • And waiteth at the door;
  • There’s a new foot on the floor,
  • My friend,
  • And a new face at the door,
  • My friend,
  • A new face at the door.
  • Alfred Tennyson.

    This dying year will bear witness for or against us at the judgment. We sometimes say, “Time dies.” Is time dead? No. The years die, but time lives. Time will live till the judgment, and then “Time shall be no longer.” When time ends, eternity begins. The passing years are time’s children, which will come from their graves to bear witness in the case pending between God and men at the great judgment-seat. Among the years which shall witness against us will be this dying year. If it shall be seen that in the year’s record are written bright pages concerning us, happy shall we be. Pages which tell of toils for Jesus, of earnest prayers, of loyalty to God and conscience, of self-denials, of visitation of the sick, of sympathy for the distresssed, of instruction of the ignorant—how many such things has the old year written for us?

    Rev. J. M. Hubbert.

  • Old Year! the tried, the true, I hold you close,
  • Though fast your moments fleet;
  • For yours has been the gracious gift to know
  • Our sainted ones, whose feet
  • Will come this way no more. For this your boon,
  • Through many a pang and tear,
  • Blended with tender, patient memories,
  • I love you, good Old Year!
  • Not that your days unclouded came and went,
  • Not that the light was sweet,
  • But that the darkness drew us close to Christ
  • In following His feet.
  • Hallowed by fires of pain—God’s proof of love,
  • Pure, infinite, and free—
  • You helped us gauge the cost and weigh the worth
  • Of human sympathy.
  • M. K. A. Stone.

  • Thy life is ebbing fast, thou aged Year!
  • This night that wintry sun of thine will set
  • To rise no more. Thy days are told: and yet
  • It seems but yesterday thou didst appear!
  • But yesternight we watched, all silent here,
  • The Old Year’s dying hours, while backward rolled
  • Its story, page by page; and now, behold!
  • Thy course is run. Even now thy moments wear
  • The fading hue of death. Farewell, old Friend!
  • Fain would we linger by thy side awhile,
  • And gather up thy mem’ries one by one,
  • While, in the vacant chairs, dear faces smile
  • Upon us, as of old. But ever on,
  • Life’s current bears us—swifter to the end!
  • M. C. C.

    He had his virtues. This old year was impartial. No discrimination knew he between classes or conditions. He meted the same number of hours to the man in the hovel and the man on the throne. The hour-glass he turned the same number of times for him whose garments were plain and coarse and him who wore garments of costliest fabric. Like God who sent him, this old year was no respecter of persons. He showed constant vigilance. No laggard, no loiterer, he. Having been sent to fill a space in time’s calendar, he filled it to the full. Sent to mark off so many hours on time’s dial, his hand was never slack; he slept not for a single swing of the pendulum. May we keep our vigils as faithfully! He fulfilled his mission. God’s plans are deep, and we know little, perhaps, as to the mission of any of these passing years, decades, centuries, and cycles; yet we know that each fulfills a purpose in the betterment of humanity; and the closing year has served well his embassy in bringing the race nearer its final goal. A prize, peerless and bright, awaits each of us if we are as true to our mission as the old year has been to his.

    Rev. J. M. Hubbert.

  • A few more years shall roll,
  • A few more seasons come;
  • And we shall be with those that rest,
  • Asleep within the tomb.
  • A few more storms shall beat
  • On this wild rocky shore;
  • And we shall be where tempests cease,
  • And surges swell no more.
  • A few more struggles here,
  • A few more partings o’er,
  • A few more toils, a few more tears,
  • And we shall weep no more.
  • Then, O my Lord, prepare
  • My soul for that blest day;
  • Oh, wash me in Thy precious blood,
  • And take my sins away.
  • Dr. Horatius Bonar.