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with that of the redoubtable lord mayor
of Ireland now, by guiding their thoughts back to the former struggle. I read of a persecution against the clergy, which, by withholding tithe, reduced them to extreme distress: of a transfer of judicial and municipal authority into the hands of the lowest and most bigoted among the Roman Catholic population: of a consederation among the highest powers, directed by a crafty lawyer, one Nagle, who, for the promotion of his own nelsinh schemes, involved his poor country in almost utter destruction. I read of an attempt to force on a learned society a most obnoxious character, prepared to work, by every crasty device, the will of his mauters; and that their firm and honest rejection of this unfit associate was revenged by the withdrawal of a government grant! At every step of the history I am met by such coincidences, that, remembering the years of the right hand of the Most High, and His work in former times, despondency gives place to glowing hope, rendered still brighter by the sweet conviction that the present trial finds our Protestant brethren far better armed with spiritual weapons than their fathere were, who tructed too much in the arm of flesh, and hasted to battle rather than to prayer. The poor little coin, hences,rth to be cherished as a special prize, was struck to supersede the worthless currency of king James's pewter and brass: it has passed, no doubt through hands that were raised in joyous thanksgiving; and I will preserve it searless of gunpowder plots, a token of what shall yet be done when the Lord ariseth to plead his people's cause, and to windicate the glory of his insulted framine.
prayers on Sunday the 15th of May, 1836. Deep and rather strange was the emotion excited by this simple announcement, as the words of our Lord passed rapidly through the mind, “If the light within thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” And far removed from idle curiosity were the feelings with which I sallied forth, ere the shadow had well touched the verge of the sun's disc, to pass in a retired field the season of his obscuration. The day was brilliant, and even oppressively warm. It breathed a fragrance and a balm that spoke of sunnier climes, and filled me with solemn thoughts of that miraculous eclipse which darkened Judea, when the orb averted his shining face from the awful spectacle of his Creator's agony. A keen conviction of my own exceeding sinfulness—of the part which my iniquities bore, in humbling my Saviour even to the death upon the cross, with somewhat of that appropriation which can say He “loved me, and gave himself for me.” combined at once to sadden and to elevate, during a short progress to the chosen spot. It was gained, and in its verdant retirement I watched, not so much the sun as the earth, for, I confess, the spectacle so interesting to an astronomer's eye, attracted me less than the peculiar beauty of that dimness which even at its height left me a consciousness that, in spite of the eclipse, the sun was shining still—brilliantly shining—and retaining to himself a wide field of dazzling light upon the sky, though a cold dark blue in other quarters bore witness that a vast portion of his rays was withdrawn. Insensibly, a vision of by-gone days arose before me: I could not fix the date, but at some period of happy childhood I had stood, in a fair garden planted on a gentle slope; at the bottom there ran a clear stream sringed with osier, willow, and hazel, which circled a common, until it reached the works of a mill, the object of my profound admiration, curiosity, and awe. The scene was restored, as by a magic touch; and I stood on the highest point of the garden ground, with my blooming little brother beside me, peering through pieces of smoked glass at the opaque object then darkening our summer day; and turning to admire, or rather to taugh at, the geese who, in solemn state,
were waddling across the common towards their place of nightly repose. I recalled the innocent prattle of my sweet companion, his bright countenance, lighted up by sunshine from within, and his anxious care, lest by any means I should lose any portion of the wonderful sight. “I think my glass is better than yours: take it, dear,” was his occasional remark; and I dwelt upon his image, secretly exclaiming, Oh, where shall I now look for such sympathy, such love on this cold, dark, selfish earth ! Dark indeed the earth was then waxing, in full unison with my feelings; and even the chill that accompanied the deepening gloom was congenial to that upon my spirits. The birds, flying low, in the direction of some sheltering trees and bushes, gave witness to their perception of the more than cloudy shadows that fell around, and, strange to say, I turned scarcely a glance towards the object of attraction, at that moment irresistible to many millions of eager gazers, but almost revelled in the gloom below. From the by-gone days of individual feeling, a transition was soon made to what seems inwoven in my very existence —the by-gone season of my country's prosperity. This rousing theme withdrew me from the former retrospect, inducing a train of thought wherein many a one would sreely participate who could not enter into the more selfish regrets. More than once has the sun of England's splendor suffered an eclipse, and the light that was within her been turned to the blackness of night; and blind indeed must they be who descry not the ominous speck, stealing as of old with noiseless but rapid progress over the glowing disc, prepared to quench its brilliancy, and to scatter around the darkness of the 'shadow of death. Only two days had elapsed since I learnt such facts, from indubitable authority, proclaimed too in the ears of many hundreds, as were calculated to fill with dismay every bosom not lulled into the torporossels-deluding indifference. Among the encroachments recently made by the darkening powers of papal obscuration, I found upon the lowest calculation, which they themselves aver to be far below the real number, five hundred and ten chapels, erected for and dedicated to the idolatrous worship of Rome; with two other chapels, lately in the occupation of Protestants, purchased from these degenerate successors of the Reformers, and converted into mass-houses too ! Nine colleges for the regular instruction of our British youth in Maynooth morality, and the theology of Dens. Seven hundred ecclesiastics, all sworn and girded to the work of warring against our national faith.-A monastery in preparation, to harbour a hundred and forty monks of the dark and bigoted order of La Trappe, and, to spread the pollution yet wider and deeper, several infant schools, where the babes of England are taught to lisp the praises of the queen of heaven, and to bend the flexible knee, to lift the passive hand before a crucifix of wood—or a deity formed of potter's clay ! I learnt that ample success had already crowned the proselyting zeal of these ministers of evil; that, through every gradation of rank, their false gospel had successfully run, winning souls from Christ and filling their coffers with unholy gain. I was told how they creep subtily in, obtaining the kingdom by flatteries: submitting some fair-faced plan of a school, founded, to be sure, on rules of unobjectionable liberality, where the rudiments of useful knowledge are to be afforded to the poor, apart from all interference with their religious tenets. Such benevolent prospectuses are offered to the notice of wealthy Protestants, with a modest petition for a
little pecuniary help to carry them into
eflect: and the money" thus abstracted from the pockets of their hoodwinked dupes, goes to garnish the mass-house, to salary the singing men and singing women, and in every way to lengthen the cords and strengthen the stakes of their extending encampment in the land. Their missionaries, emboldened by success, now leave their lurking-places, delivering public lectures against Protestantism. A number of Magazines are attractively got up, and supported by the whole literary energy of the crafty, welltaught priesthood, to farther their views,
by an extensive circulation among the up
per and middle classes; while for the poor they are daily issuing a vast variety of cheap tracts, of most delusive tendency, and distributing them even at the doors of Protestant churches, to the departing congregation. Acute controversalists are
employed as scripture readers, to visit freely among the poor, to terrify them with the thunders, and to allure them with the blandishments of the apostate church. By these, and other means—by all deceivableness of unrighteousness directed by all the crast and subtilty of the devil and man—is the wolf repairing his ancient den in the very bosom of our privileged fold. And are there none awake to the danger? none found to reject the hireling's part, and to follow the steps of the Good Shepherd, who gave his life for the sheep 3 There is one society, established, and hitherto conducted, on the pure principle of scriptural watchfulness, and scriptural resistance to the enemy. A society which, totally unconnected with any party, and carefully keeping aloof from all political questions, treads in the steps of our martyred forefathers. Has apostate Rome her clerical missionaries zealously at work? The Reformation Society is augmenting its body of evangelical clergymen, and sending them forth to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints. Has Popery her Magazines, sull of all subtlety and mischief, and her tracts drugged deep with poison for the poor? The Reformation Society furnishes a faithful exposure of the enemy's devices, and to the extent of its funds sends out a little army of tracts, full of the gospel antidote. Scripture readers too have gone forth in Ireland, selected, commissioned, salaried by this society, who are there reaping a harvest of souls, from among the delüded people; and they lack but the power, not the will, to extend these efforts in England also. Yes, it is one grievous feature of the growing darkness, that a society which ought to enjoy the servent prayers, the strenuous support of every true-hearted English Protestant, is suffered to struggle on, through difficulties of every shape, burdened with an old debt of thirteen hundred pounds, while as many thousands would be forthcoming from Protestant liberals, rather than the Popish | priest, their polite neighbour, should want a spacious chapel, and a flourishing school. I cannot look upon the smiling heart'sease, now putting forth its lovely petals on every side, to tell me of D., the honoured subject of many a fond regret, without remembering how, from the day of this society's formation to that of his death, he laboured in it, and for it. A warmer advocate, a more strenuous supporter of its claims on spiritual men, the Reformation Society never had, than in D. Well do I remember his intense anxiety, at a period when no common difficulties involved it. In his own energetic style he remarked to me, “Its characteristic is honesty, based on godly principle. There is a cloud over it now, and the powers of hell are working for its overthrow: but never fear, dear friend; its banner is truth, and truth— God's truth—must and will prevail.” I have known him speak even of its pecuniary embarrassments, as overruled to try for a time its faith and constancy; “And then,” he smilingly added, “we shall be made to know whose is the silver, and whose the gold.” Well might such recollections of D. mingle with the sad and solemn thoughts of a day, the very aniversary of that on which I, with several of his fellow labourers in the work, beheld his remains committed to the grave—well may they deepen my regrets, that hitherto his beloved Society has been lying, a perfect and powerful engine, waiting but the means to feed her surnace, and to career away on a long wide track of missionary usefulness, in the defensive warfare that we Must ere long be aroused to maintain.
Our repositories of ancient Protestant literature furnish weapons of proos, the republication of which would go far towards turning the battle ; but without assistance this cannot be done. An institution is also much wanted, in London, for the instruction of different classes of persons—a sort of depot, where young soldiers should be trained for the controversial encounter to which our clergy and laity are now frequently challenged by the well-disciplined forces of Rome. Can I behold, with augury of cheer, the rapid shading of our greatest light, and England lying in dreamy stillness, content that her eagles should droop the wing, and bow the head in dismay, while the owls and bats come screeching forth, to seek their destined prey in the gloom of such unnatural twilight? Yes, I can dare to hope: for eclipsed as our sun has frequently been, it has never been quenched. He who set it to rule the day, sustains it
yet; and still from the darkest depth of shade he will bid it come forth, as a bridegroom from his chamber—rejoicing as a strong man, to run its appointed race. Even so, vital protestantism, however sharp the conflict may be, will triumph over all; for what saith the Lord 7–" The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” The candle that was lighted, by God's grace, at the flames of our martyrs, has never since been put out in England—it never will be. While my thoughts were thus engaged, the eclipsing body began to pass away; the gladsome beam returned in its strength, diffusing light and heat, and joyousness around. The birds sprang forth from their covert, the shadows departed from the distant hills, and even the daisies at my feet looked up in gayer guise, to welcome the returning ray. Yet it was sad to think that on his own Sabbath the temples of our God had been closed, and one allotted season of public worship had passed unnoticed by. Too touchingly applicable was this part of the type:—men had forsaken the house of prayer to give their undivided attention to a speck of darkness, a blot on the page of creation, an interloper between themselves and the fount of day. Commentators tell us that the moon, in prophetic symbols, typifies the church; and here we must needs concede the title to her of Rome. A church, not reflecting in pure and silver light the glories of the sun of Righteousness to illumine a benighted world, but thrusting her black and scowling aspect between that world and its redeeming God—intercepting the day-spring from on high in its mission of mercy to sinful man, and causing many steps to stumble, which that beam would have guided into the way of peace. A church whose prerogative it is, to shut up the temples of a pure worship, and attract all eyes to gaze on her own dark visage, when they should be searching the pages of inspired truth. Alas for our country, should such an eclipse be at hand; for however short, it is most terrible—fearfully dishonouring to God, and ruinous to the souls that he hath made. Many a record of by-gone days exists, though now too little heeded, from which we may gather the effects of that ancient visitation, turning the sun into darkness and the moon into blood:—veiling the light of truth, by withdrawing holy scripture from men's eyes, and defiling the land with carnage—staining the church of Christ with the blood of his saints. The appeal made on this thrilling subject, at the recent meeting of the British Reformation Society, sank deep into the ears of some ; may it have found entrance into their hearts, thence to be echoed through the corners of our land, and awaken a response worthy of those who, basking as they do in the gospel beam, can appreciate its grace and beauty; and resolve in the strength of the Lord, that His glory shall still dwell among us.
CHA PTE R XII.
If there be one scene more than any other calculated to leave a deep, enduring impression on the mind, and to be recalled with fondness, on occasions when scarcely any other reminiscence is welcome, it is the scene of a village churchyard in some secluded spot, with its usual accompaniment of a venerable yew-tree. A succession of such pictures I can call up; for my path has lain through divers and distant places; and the landmarks that distinguish each, in these retrospective visions, are chiefly of that nature. Sorrow, in a variety of shapes, has accompanied my steps—a sad but sweet companion, rendered precious by the experience which assents to the wise man's remark, that “it is better to go to the house of mourning than to the house of feasting.” There has not been a time, since the earliest years of thoughtless youth, when enough of secret sorrow has not mingled with my brightest hours, to impart an attractive character to that house appointed for all living, “where the wicked cease from troubling, and where the weary are at rest.”
One of these soothing scenes is even now vividly present to my thoughts. An antique church, with its square wooden turret, its short thick spire, and jutting
porch standing on the declivity of a gentle hill, closed in by trees towards the north. and southward opening down to a rich variety of meadows and corn-fields, marked out by hedge-rows, thick set with noble oaks, elms, and all the leafy denizens of a genuine English landscape. The whole aspect of that place was rural in a high degree; the few tombs that were scattered about lost their cold and formal character amid the luxuriance of the grass and wild flowers, which would not be restrained from shooting up, and tossing their graceful forms around them. The proportion of head-stones, though larger was still very moderate; and of these the greater number were of date so ancient as to be scarcely legible. Their grey moss-grown appearance, frequently halfsunk beneath the swelling turf, was exquisitely accordant with the venerable aspect of the old church. But the favourite species of memorial, (probably because it was more within the means of humble villagers.) consisted of a long board, placed low over the grave, and supported at either end by a wooden post. On one side of this rail was painted the name, age, and obituary of the dweller beneath its shadow: and on the other side sometimes a text of scripture, or an attempt at versification. These monuments were, of course, very frail, and not calculated to endure for many years. However, they served to mark the grave as long as, in the course of nature, the near connexions might be supposed to survive, whose feelings would be wounded by an invasion of the spot appropriated to their deceased friend. And this appears to me to be all that man can reasonably require at the hand of his fellow. Any attempt to evade the lawful decree, “Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return,” is equally vain and futile. It was not many days since I read of the public unrolling of an Egyptian mummy—an emphatic commentary upon the folly of such mistaken care of any poor mortal remains ! The sanctity of the grave should be preserved inviolate—they who would invade it are monsters, not men—until sufficient time has been allowed for the perfect decomposition of what was committed to it: and then why preserve an external memento of a substance that has there ceased to