This section is from the book "Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: A Guide To Correct Writing", by Thos. E. Hill. Also available from Amazon: Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: The How-To-Do-Everything Book Of Victorian America.
To Sunday-school pupils; the room being decorated with evergreens, while one or two Christmas-trees laden with gifts stand near by.
Friends of the Sabbath-School and Sunday-School Pupils: In the midst of our festival rejoicings we assemble here to-night to make our holiday still more pleasant by the exercises of this occasion, and as I look into the expectant faces of these boys and girls, these young ladies and gentlemen that I see before me, we ask what does this evergreen, hung with a profusion of articles to be distributed among the pupils of this school, mean?
It means that good parents and kind friends have made it possible for you to attend this Sabbath-school in the past year. It means that you have been blessed with a most able and efficient pastor, who presides over the ministrations of this church. It means that your school has been managed by a superintendent who is solicitous for your welfare. It means that faithful teachers have labored throughout the year for your welfare: and together, with pastor, superintendent, teachers and friends, all hold you in kindly remembrance to-night.
And now, my young friends, what do you propose to give back in exchange for all this kindness bestowed upon you in the last twelve months? These gifts cannot all be upon one side, and you do not wish them to be. You do not desire to be under obligation. You hope to pay for all this kindness; and I will tell you how you may, to the entire satisfaction of your parents, your pastor, your superintendent and your teachers. And that will be by emulating, in the coming year, the teaching of that one whose birth we celebrate in this Christmas festivity.
As Christ taught forgiveness to all, so you must carry no hatreds, no animosities into the coming year. As Christ taught love to all, so you must exercise the kindliest of feelings to every one. You should emulate the Divine Master in seeking to do good to every one with whom you come in contact; and particularly by bringing into this Sabbath-school, in the next year, every boy and girl whom you know may be benefited by its influence. As Christ taught charity to all, so you must lend a helping hand to those who need assistance; and as Jesus said, Honor thy father and mother, so may you be that obedient to parents, that kind, that watchful of their needs, as to make them a thousand-fold glad that you are their children.
As your teachers and superintendent have labored in your behalf in the past year, so must you be very careful to remember their admonitions and practice their teaching. Doing that, your parents and your teachers will feel abundantly repaid for all they have done for you, even down to the distribution of these gifts to you to-night.
President Garfield used to say that he never stood in the presence of a boy without a feeling of veneration at the thought of what that boy might achieve in after-life.
As I stand in your presence to-night and look into the faces of these happy boys and girls - life all before you, with its privileges and opportunities - I can well understand the sentiment that moved the martyred President as he studied the life of a child and thought of its future possibilities.
How soon this little girl - the very youngest - will develop through girlhood to maidenhood. How very soon she will pass out from home - out into the great world, with confiding step and heart, leaning on the arm of a trusted companion, to assume the duties of wifehood, motherhood and womanhood.
And these boys - how soon they will take the helm to do our work. How the great world of travel, adventure, agriculture, invention, manufacture, teaching, legislation, and finance will absorb them.
May the year just opening before you in your Sabbath-school be one of real profit. May you each bring one new pupil to this school in the coming year, to enjoy these blessings with you. May we all meet here again next Christmas-time.
And now, hoping that you will enjoy the Christmas-tree to the full, I wish you, in behalf of parents, friends and teachers, a most delightful, happy New-Year.