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glance, and numbered by a child. But faster and faster they appeared, multiplying as they brightened; and, simultaneously with their increasing lustre, the night blackened around them. Believe, Christian ladies, the testimony of one who speaks not from report, but from close and continued personal observation. I dwelt among them, when the reign of terror was commencing. I beheld their rapid increase, in numbers, in zeal, in devotion to God and their flocks; I witnessed their fervent wrestlings with Him, in continual prayer for those who already menaced their existence: and truly can I aver, that, even so long back as in the year 1823, the lives of Ireland's spiritual country-clergymen, were as the lives of those men whose blessed memory you are now consenting to celebrate-so perilous and so pure.
The work has continued: God's work in his beautiful church, and Satan's work in his Babylonish synagogue. Menaces, which were freely uttered ten or twelve years ago, have been ful. filled, by the assassination of several individuals among the clergy, and more widely in the temporal ruin brought on their families throughout the land. Their present position is that of men, urging the acceptance of the bread of life upon those who, with weapons pointed at their bosoms, have wrested the daily bread from the lips of their wives and children. Those devoted wives, the zealous, patient, cheerful fellow-helpers of their husbands, in this work and labour of love ! Those sweet children, who, clustering like olivebranches round their father's table, received the nurture of divine truth, and were growing up to carry
forth the precious acquisition, and spread it through the length and breadth of their beloved land! Would that I could touch my reader's heart with a little of the feelings that are rending mine! One day passed in the glebe-house of a pious Irish clergyman would suffice, a few years since, to open all the avenues of a Christian heart, in love and admiration. Alas! and now it would prevail to open every floodgate of natural grief. Those manly boys, whom I have watched at their sports, and secretly prayed over at their tasks,-it is not because they are now labouring in the fields, or seeking an exile, to toil in distant lands, that I weep for them: it is because their prospective path of usefulness is closed; and the education that should have fitted them for it, is placed far, far beyond the reach of their impoverished parents. Those light-hearted girls, with their joyous smiles, and tones of love,- I do not lament because their delicate hands are hardened, and their transparent complexions embrowned, by tasks that are not wont to devolve on a clergyman's daughter-nor even that their frames are emaciated, and their young strength withered under the privation of wholesome diet-that they who delightedly filled the milk-cans of the poor from their father's dairy, and dealt their bread to the hungry beggar, should be reduced themselves to a hard meal of dry potatoes, and water from the well-no ; though I might weep at this, the deeper sorrow is that they can no more afford the means of collecting their little schools, and bringing to Christ the neglected young ones of their wretched, misguided persecutors. And wherefore is all this endured? What nerves the parent to look upon his blighted blossoms, to watch the decay of their wasting mother, to behold the wreck of every earthly comfort, the receding of every fond hope, and to brave the daily menace of a slaughtered household ? It is that which nerved Martin Luther in his arduous, his triumphant course: which brought Miles Coverdale to the end of his sacred and laborious task : which brightened the gloom of Bradford's dungeon ; which fanned the unflickering zeal of Philpott; and taught Latimer to embrace the stake, in joyous anticipation of the enduring light that his death-fire should kindle through the land. It is protestantism, in its pure and spiritual essence, standing out in brilliant contrast, amid the blackness of darkness that arrays the demon of POPERY. These men are now of the goodly company of true prophets, already alluded to,—they are the children of those prophets whose sepulchres we are so forward to garnish, in the zeal, not unmixed with sentimentalism, of admiring discipleship. But let us remember Augustus Berpher; and remember, too, that even such a mission of love and duty may be ours. As yet, the persecuted brethren are not imprisoned: as yet, no government authority would impose bonds on such as should dare to relieve their necessities. And who does not long for the privilege of doing that which the delicacy of high-bred gentle-, men, and the patient endurance of persecuted Christians, alike would shrink from inviting! A tale might be told from any of the four provinces of Ireland, that would make the ears of those who heard it to tingle ; yet not one word, bearing the semblance of complaint, has reached me, from the individuals thus aggrieved. In one case indeed, very recently, the Rector of a parish earnestly commended the cause of a poor persecuted convert; mentioning that he had employed
him to work in his own fields, until now, that being himself obliged to subsist on the bounty of friends, he can no longer afford the hire of a labourer: but this touching acknowledgement was made solely to prove that for no mis-conduct on the part of the man, he had ceased to befriend him.
May the Lord pour out among his people the spirit of grace and supplication, on behalf of our afflicted brethren! We need no personal motives to stir us up in such a cause; but ungrateful indeed should I be, to feign the absence of feelings most deeply personal, while thus vainly seeking to express the yearnings of a full heart towards them. Theythe oppressed Church of Ireland—were those who cherished in my soul the first breathings of spiritual life; who ministered to me of their own substance in the day of necessity, imparted sweet consolation in the heavy hour of severe affliction, and made me the recipient of their bounty in every shape, when there existed no probability of a return in any. I glory in proclaiming that whatsoever little service my pen may instrumentally have rendered, in the humblest department of Christian literature, theirs it was first to bring that pen into action ; they directed, encouraged, and with princely generosity remunerated its feeble efforts, in the cause of truth. And they are persecuted, afflicted, tormented, destitute, sold into the hands of their most malignant enemy, and half rescued by those who could accomplish no more than half a rescue ; saving, for a time, the ark of the Lord from the hands of the unballowed Philistine, but compelled, in so doing, to leave its anointed priests unsuccoured.
There was a day when the Church of Christ, in the
freshness of its beautiful infancy, ere the trappings. of Mammon had allured its eye, or the wiles of the tempter divided its heart, suffered not such things to be. “ Neither was there any among them that lacked; for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them down at the Apostle's feet; and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.” Favoured Church of England! still peacefully reposing in the lap of abundance, lay this to heart: and with it the awful admonition: “I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember, therefore, from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works ; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove the candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.”