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bition of a Bible-reading peasant.* Such is the progress of the poor man, who first assumes his right when his favourite language is invaded, but who soon substitutes sense for sound, and claims the glorious liberty with which Christ has made him free, prompted by the not unnatural inclination to read or hear “in his own tongue wherein he was born the wonderful works of God.” Nor does the advantage cease here; it is not confined to the school or to the class, where old and young, the adult and the infant, the grandfather and the grandchild may be seen together :— the reader of the Irish Scriptures becomes a missionary; eager to exhibit his new powers, and to gladden the ears of his friends, he takes his Testament in his hand, and walks among them—and powerful indeed must be the influence of the priest that can prevent him obtaining an attentive and interested auditory-and the reading is blessed; the high, and the holy, and the simple message sinks into the hearts of the people ; unschooled by man, they believe God on his own word, and the fetters which priestcraft had wound round their minds drop off, and in fact, though not perhaps in profession, the Roman Catholic becomes a Protestant. Such has been the case in many of the late Cavan conversions. Irish masters and scholars were the first to make the bold and Christian declaration, and the bonds snapped by their energy and faithfulness NEVER can be again united!
We will add another of the disposing causes to which we are inclined to ascribe the singular commotion now manifest in the Roman Catholic world. We mean the public religious meetings and the preachings peculiarly addressed to them. To these meetings they will go, notwithstanding all opposition ; there they hear the progress of divine truth and its nature fully and fearlessly detailed, with a variety, a familiarity, and a feeling that necessarily affect; they there witness the opposition given to what they acknowledge to be laudable, by their interested and violent priesthood, and for the first time they have an opportunity given them of hearing the infallibility of their priests denied, their statements questioned, and their errors pointed out. We know there is but one step from the sublime to the ridiculous-what is doubted is despised. Add, too, the effect of the sermons preached in different parts of the country, in the market-place, the barn, or beneath the canopy of heaven, free from the restraints of every peculiar body of Protestants, and exhibiting the great centre of unity for all. We know that both to the meetings and the addresses alluded to the Roman Catholic people will go; we know that the pious and gifted individual, who by his zeal, bis eloquence, and his devotedness, has attracted so much of the public attention-we know that he has never wanted an audience, that the utmost power of the priesthood has been frequently in vain exhausted to stop his course, that when artificial means have not been resorted to, and the worst passions of an angry and excitable mob, inflamed by the turbulent eloquence of an unprin
* We have known that much-coveted book subscribed for by two or three of the people clubbing their triles together.
cipled demagogue, Mr. Pope and his friends have been listened to with deep and most respectful attention, and that his progress has been marked by the Roman Catholic population reading the Scriptures, thinking upon the subject of religion, and in some instances even dissenting from Popery.* May the missionary spirit which is now infused into our Clergy, purified from the absorbing and degrading influence of the world, never cease its exertions in our country until its effects be perceptible in the moral improvement and real emancipation of our people.
In the above passing observations we have not enumerated, nor could we in one article, all the instruments which Providence has employed to generate a spirit of enquiry in Ireland. We have alluded to what we know to have been effectual, and what we conceive eminently calculated to be so. But, in truth, this spirit is the result of the combined operation of many causes, which have been simultancously at work, and which affect the Irish mind in many ways. The school in which the Scripture lesson is read and is retained, the Sunday school where the landlord and his family are found hallowing their Sabbath by imparting scriptural instruction to the poor, the tract, that silent and unobserved, but often efficacious missionary-above all, the active, zealous, and benevolent exertions of a pious Minister; all these join in producing a combined effect, and extend their united influence over the cottage and its inhabitants. Hence do we rely on its permanence and stability; it does not arise from merely local causes, deriving its efficacy from them, and vanishing as they cease to be operative. It does not arise from undue pressure in one place, or unusual exertion in another. All Ireland has felt the impulse; it has spoken in accents not to be mistaken, from Kerry, and Limerick, and Waterford, and Tipperary, and Meath, and Cavan, while the folly or the audacity of the Roman Catholic Priesthood has accelerated its progress in Ulster, by provoking a public discussiont on the points of difference between the rival Churches, and the right inherent in human nature of judging on points of faith. At Cavan this spirit has shewn itself more conspicuously than in other places, and surely it cannot be wondered at. In that county there is no overwhelming majority of Roman Catholics to overawe or punish independence, but the numbers are nearly equally matched; there, too, there is a Protestant aristocracy unterrified and untrammelled by political bonds, to protect by their influence the individual who dares to emancipate himself, and to guard him against the tremendous temporal
* In one instance, several Roman Catholics met, resolved on reading the Scriptures, rejected some points of doctrine connected with their Church, and though attached by name to the Church of Rome, in fact form a body of Dissenters from it.
+ Vide the regulations of the Derry discussion meeting in our Religious Intelligence. We can anticipate, from our knowledge of the disputants, nothing but victory to the cause of truth; but even if we were less sanguine as to those who are engaged in the contest, such friends are we to discussion in every shape, that we are sincerely glad it is pervading the land, and trust that it will continue so to do, till error hide its head.
consequences of the spiritual censures of Rome; there too has been placed an active and laborious Clergy, with all the important implements of schools and societies. We cannot wonder then that there the pervading spirit should manifest itself; but while we rejoice that such an example has been set by the Nobleman to whom we allude, and while we would recommend his conduct as an object of imitation to every resident gentleman in Ireland, we feel confident that similar protection, similar prudence, and similar zeal, would produce erery where similar success, and that a harvest of Protestantism, now kept down by personal terror, would every where spring up under the favouring shelter of Christian influence.
Such is a rapid view of Ireland's best and growing interests during the last year; and if the reader discover an inconsistency between the promise of our title and the contents of our article, we would beseech him to consider what subject is so important to this country, as the progress of the Reformation; what means so likely to generate cordiality and love, to allay discord and faction, to make Ireland what she ought to be, and to give that security to England which she demands, and with justice. The world is too apt to undervalue such labours, and to despise their effects; forgetting that for important and permanent results, there are none can be put in competition with them. The revolutions of empires dazzle, but their consequences cease; the march of the warrior terrifies, but the recollection of his inflicted miseries passes away even before the returning spring has obliterated with its springing verdure the print of the hoofs of his war-horse; but the humble missionary, though his walk be obscure, though the world with its rustling silks" passes him by, yet the impression he produces on society is not the less deep because it is peaceful, nor its effects less permanent, because accompanied with blessings. Before the fame of a Martin, and a Schwartz, and an Heber, of a Bedell or a Boyle, how do all the triumphs of the Marlboroughs or the Napoleons vanish into insignificance !- and while their laurels fade, though watered by the tears and bedewed by the blood of thousands, the olive of the Gospel flourishes in unchanging prime, for it is invigorated by the sun of Divine favour, and watered by the dew of heaven-it bears fruit not for time only, but for oternity!
HOW TO DIE.
It would be a grievous neglecting of some of God's best helpings to our souls, did we, because we have a Book of Grace, neglect to read occasionally in the Book of Nature.
When our Lord said unto the Jews of his day, “ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky, and of the earth, but how is it that ye do not discern this time ?” he did not mean to condemn their attentive observation of material things, but only that this accuracy of discernment was not extended to the great spiritual processes which were then going on under God's superintendance. And it was the continual practice of him who was not only the Saviour but the teacher of mankind, to bid his followers look out upon the ever-varying surfaces of earth, and sea, and sky, with all their living furniture, and take a lesson from the survey. Let us not omit to follow this practice. Let us not, as CHRISTIAN EXAMINERS, suffer the “times and seasons" to pass by unheeded. Another year is gone. The cheering smile of Spring and Summer's golden promises, and Autumn's teeming prodigality, have all retreated before the cold dark frown of winter. Now then, while nature's obsequies are celebating, while dropping rains descend, and the wind sighs among the withered leaves and over the buried flowers, let there be as it were the voice of the Creator saying to us, “ how readest thou ?” and let us take an admonition concerning the most important of all subjects which living man can ponder-How to die.
We do not know that there is in our language a word which sounds in the ear with a deeper tone of solemn and awful vibration, when deliberately pronounced, then the word-Never. It is in fact a word more belonging to another world than to this. It links the thought to the amazing durations of infinity. It is a word to be written upon the gates of Heaven, for within their foldings are the redeemed of the Lord, they who “shall NEVBR perish.” It is a word to be written upon the doors of Hell, for within them “ the worm never dieth, and the fire is not quenched.” But we do not stand alone in this sensitiveness to the associations connected with this word. They continually force themselves upon the generality of men. There are few persons, we believe, who can look for the last time upon any place where they have sojourned, and not feel as they turn away their eyes never again to behold it, some touch of melancholy. And let us have to part company with an acquaintance of even comparatively short standing, and let the conviction be upon our minds, that never again shall the tones of his voice sound upon our ears, and will not something of sobriety if not of sorrow steal over the soul.
The reason of this is evident. In such case thought is awakened, (though slightly it may be) to that infinity which lies before us all. Man is compelled to member himself a creature of a few short years, and then to pass away into an unseen world, When we feel that we are parting with some things or some persons never to see them more, thought springs forward to that moment, when we shall resign every thing we now behold, never again to look upon them. Then comes over the soul, as it were, that awful voice of Scripture, “it is appointed unto men once to die.” And for him who dies what hope is there that he shall return again to life, and be again a denizen of earth, and see the sun and breathe the air ? Mad as men are in many things, none look for this reprieve. Death is confessedly the one irretraceable step, and the very aspect of the grave bids us take up those beauteous words of Job,
“For there is bope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground; yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant. But man dieth, and wasteth away; yea, man giveth up the gbost, and where is he? As the waters fall from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up; so man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep."
If then, the bare flashing of the thought of death can thus occasionally sober us, what may we not conceive to be the sensations when the conviction comes, that in a few hours or minutes we shall be in eternity. If to God's people even it is a solemn thing to die, what must it be to those who have no fixed prospects of a happiness to come. It must be dreadful, it is dreadful, whenever the idea is distinctly dwelt on. Millions there are doubtless, of whom it may be said, that till their eyes opened on another state, they knew not what it was to leave this! There is a stupor which disease produces, and there is a blindness and apathy which long habits of sinfulness often beget, and there is a false and flattering hope which some deceitful creeds produce, that carry millions through life's closing scene, with what the world calls calmness. It is a misconception of the poet, that
“Men may live fools, but fools they cannot die,” for every day brings evidence to its falsity. But though such persons die, they cannot in honesty be said to have seen before their departure what death truly was. Take, however, a man in full possession of his mental faculties; a man who believes death to be, not a termination of existence, but a change of the manner of it; yet one who knows not any solid ground of consolation in such case; take such a man and tell him you must now die,' and how will you dash him down into all the depths of grief and horror. The truth is, that there is a natural shrinking from death, growing out of the very determinations of God conceiving it. For as a punishment was it ordained. And to men indeed, constituted as they now are, a strong repugnance to death would also seem necessary for the very preservation of society. Did not this instinctive feeling act so powerfully as it does, what man, buffetted by the storms of adversity could longer endure the anxieties of his state? What discontented person but would rush eagerly to a change of exist