The Balance Sheet.

Another year has passed away ;1
New Year’s morn has now begun : 2
To most, it comes with joy and glee—3
To me, with none !4
It comes with solemn face and grave, 5
And whispers of the buried Past ;6
And bending low, it asks of me :7
How spent, the last ?8
Where is the record of the work ?9
Where is the ledger, kept for Heaven ?10
How has the book been posted up ?11
What statement given ?’12
I open it, and turn the leaves13
And pondering, page by page explore ;14
Here, on the first, its title—clear,15
It needs no more !16
The next is fairly ruled and lined,17
And even a wish for good is penned :18
How, without prayer to God for help,19
Will such wish end ?20
Here is a page we careful trace,21
Written with firmest hand and true ;22
No surface-reading critic, sure,23
Finds fault with you !24
What stands upon this blotted page ?25
Scarce the caligraphy I know.26
Ah ! I remember !  Late I wrote—27
The light burned low.28
But what now follows ?  Startling fact !29
I turn the pages o’er and o’er,30
Each after each contains a blank,31
And nothing more !32
Ah, here at last, a well-filled page,33
Its lines in full, traced through and through ;34
You must contain some treasure trove—35
Some good in you.36
And is it so ?  Ah no ! ah no !37
I find of Earth, what’s earthly here ;38
Earth’s joys, earth’s pleasures, earth’s renown,39
On you appear.40
I read its lengthy-worded tones,41
—Its boast—what ‘ I ’ have done and do ;42
How shall I on its pompous page43
Strike balance true ?44
No !  Close the book, and seal it up ;45
Anew I dare not through it go ;46
The lesson which it well has taught,47
By heart I know !48
Could we but blot out of our lives49
The days and hours we’ve spent in vain,50
How easily might be summed up51
What would remain !52
And if our years for Him were spent,53
Doing His work—His work alone,54
We need not fear the ‘ Balance Sheet,’55
When Life is done !56