With an impartial judgment, therefore, and not influenced by the
approval or disapproval of this vast dress circle, in whose existence
we have no faith, let us take up these imaginary lines for a moment.
It is unquestionable that, whether for good or evil, they have descended
to us by tradition and custom as a legacy. They are sufficiently real
to be of practical use, and they are used. It is by them that we set
a time--alas, that we should have the necessity of doing it--to discard
some vice, some sin, some weakness. We use them in the interest of
procrastination--that we may put off the parting day with something
our conscience, or our taste, or both, disapprove. By them we appoint
a time when we shall say to the divine spark within our breasts, you
may flame out into our daily life. By them we give a respite which
alas, often ends in a commutation of sentence and oftener still in a
full pardon and restoration to peace.
So, you see, I do not think a great deal of old year remorse or New
Year resolutions. I think they are just that much better than none at
all, and this has to be qualified by the damage they do in having us
put off reformation. That a man should fix a day to reform in this or
that particular, is at least an evidence that he is aware of his need
of it--a great point gained.