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IRISH MISSIONARY MAGAZINE,
Spiritual State and Claims of Ireland.
IRELAND. POPERY THE GREAT CAUSE OF ITS PRESENT DEGRADED CONDITION. “And sure it is yet a most beautiful and sweet country as any is under heaven; being stored throughout with many goodly rivers, replenished with all sorts of fish abundantly; sprinkled with many sweet islands and goodly lakes, like little inland seas that will carry even ships upon their waters; adorned with goodly woods, even fit for building houses and ships, so commodiously, as that if some princes in the world had them, they would soon hope to be lord of all the seas, and ere long of all the world; so very
full of good ports and havens opening upon England, inviting us to come unto them, to see what excellent commodities that country can afford; besides the soil itself most fertile, it to yield all kinds of fruit that shall be committed thereunto; and, lastly, the heavens most mild and temperate, though somewhat more moist than the parts towards the east.”
Such was the description given of Ireland in the days of Queen Elizabeth, by an Englishman (the celebrated Spencer) sent over by Her Majesty to take charge of “ her loving and faithful subjects," and to endeavour to bring under“ proper restrainte” those of them who did not, even at that period, feel well inclined to submit to English rule and domination—and such, or very similar, have been the terms in which the soil, the climate, and the natural resources of the country have been described by travellers who have visited and viewed it from one period to another, even to the present day. That it is a beautiful island, and possesses great natural resources, and vast capabilities for trade and commerce, cannot be denied; and yet, strange to say, with all these advantages, with a fine soil, and an intelligent population, Ireland, at this moment, presents one of the most extraordinary anomalies to be met with on the face of the globe. Separated merely by a narrow channel from the wealthiest nation in the world, from a people speaking the same language, professing the Christian faith, and to whom many of the inhabitants
are related by the closest affinities of friendship and kindred, and at the same time possessing such a superabundant capital as scarcely to know how to lay it out to profit-with all these and many other advantages, Ireland still remains in poverty and distress : her harbours deserted; her mines unworked; her water-courses, capable of moving half the machinery of England, running to waste, unproductive and unused; with her rich and fertile soil not half tilled, her daily increasing peasantry half starved, and scarcely half clothed ; and, as might very naturally be expected, discontented and unhappy.
Such being the actual state of the case, the question naturally arises, from whence proceeds such an extraordinary state of things ? How comes it that, with so many advantages, such a people should, at the present day, remain in such a degraded situation?
To enter into the varied causes that might be assumed, would lead us far beyond our legitimate province; but of this we are assured, and to this point we feel ourselves fairly called upon to direct the attention of our readers, that whatever other evils may have combined to produce such an unhappy resultto the demoralizing, soul-destroying spirit of Popery, may be traced ninetenths of the miseries by which the people are afflicted. Whatever else may have conduced to the distresses and consequent turbulence of the peasantry, there can be no question that Popery has been the night-hag which has brooded over and kept down their moral and intellectual energies, and prevented their prosperity and happiness ; nor need we ever expect the inhabitants of Ireland to assume their proper station amongst the nations of the earth, or be really contented and happy until the chains of ignorance and superstition, by which they have so long been held in willing bondage, shall be cut asunder by the sword of the Spirit, acting on their hearts and consciences. Let the wisest laws be enacted, and the greatest exertions be made by the legislators of the land to produce peace and plenty, still we feel persuaded that so long as Popery is allowed to pervade the length and breadth of the country, without an effort being made to get the people from under the power of the priests of Rome, every other effort to produce happiness or prosperity will prove unavailing; and we have no hesitation in saying-on the avowed friends of the Lord Jesus-on those who profess to be his followers-a great moral responsibility rests; and until they exert themselves to spread the knowledge of the way of salvation among the inhabitants of Ireland, it will be vain to hope that the country will be freed from those agitations by which it has for centuries been convulsed.
Through the kindness of correspondents we have been enabled to lay before our readers a few specimens of the “ teaching which causeth to err," by which, not only the ignorant, but even the learned Roman Catholics of Ireland are kept in their present condition, and ultimately lured to their ruin. In our present number, will be found a specimen of the theology propounded by a Roman Catholic Doctor of Divinity, in the Metropolitan Chapel, on the occasion of Mr. O'Connell's liberation from prison, wbich the learned Divine described as a miracle, wrought specially for the occasion by the Virgin Mary; and in the newspapers of the day we find a similar specimen of the teachings of Popery, in an address presented to the government of the country from the Roman Catholic hierarchy and clergy of Ireland, and signed by nearly all the bishops, and some hundreds of the clergy, relative to the Bill which recently passed the British Parliament, having reference to charitable bequests, and by which it is enacted that no bequest of land shall be valid, unless the will making such bequest shall have been executed three months before the death of the testator. This provision of the Act was wisely introduced, in order to prevent the awful threatenings of the Church being brought to bear upon poor guilty sinners in their last dying moments, in the view of compelling them, under fear of eternal torment, to make over their lands and property to the Church, as has been too frequently the case in England as well as in Ireland.* The Roman Catholic hierarchy and priests of Ireland, in their published protest against the clause, declare their conviction, that “instead of a concession, it is a new penal clause of the old leaven, FORBIDDING THE DYING Sinner, in his most sincere moments—the time of his last sickness, To Redeem HIS SINS, by the BEQUEST of a SINGLE ACRE OF LANDED PROPERTY, for any religious or charitable purpose in our communion." Without referring, therefore, to various other points, such as the numerous feast and fast days, by which their time is consumed, and the large sums drained from the poor, as dues and offerings by the priests of Rome-with such hopes held out to the sinner while revelling in guilt and sin, that in the dying hour his sins may be redeemed by the bequest of an acre or even ten acres of land—and those of the poorer classes in proportion--surely it is not surprising that the country should be as it is;that the laws should be broken, that life and property should be insecure, and that those who have property, should fear to invest it in such a country.
Let then the Christians of England do their duty to their sister land—let them use every means in their power to send them that Gospel, which shall enlighten their understandings—and teach them that, “ denying ungodliness, and worldly lusts, they should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, looking for that blessed hope, the glorious appearance of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.” Under such teaching, with the divine benediction resting on the efforts now making for their temporal benefit, we might shortly expect that the people of Ireland, renouncing their errors and false dependencies, would, ere long, be as renowned for their quiet and peaceable deportment, as they are now for the contrary.
* See “ Death-Bed Wills,” page 72.-ED.
Missionary Stations and Labours.
IRISH EVANGELICAL SOCIETY. and practice, and believing, as lost sinners,
what they reveal to us-an all-sufficient
Saviour, even the Son of God, &c. But
what have you done? Instead of asking
God for his Holy Spirit to teach you in his agents, of the progress of the work in
Word, you, as a Roman Catholic, are bound which they are engaged. New fields of to look to a poor sinful man as your infalusefulness are opening to this Society, lible guide, and to believe all the dogmas and fresh calls for help are addressed to of the Romish Church, which are directly the Committee from different quarters. opposed to the Holy Scriptures.” To these the Committee are unable, for I proved to her how a poor sinner could want of adequate funds, to return the
be justified by faith only in Jesus Christ,
and contrasted that blessed truth with some prompt affirmation, in reply, which they
of the leading errors of Popery, and showed would gladly do. We hope in a future
their awful tendency in leading the sinner's number to present to our readers more
heart and mind from the Lord Jesus, to copious extracts from their correspond- sinful man, &c. ence than we are favored with this month.
“Now, my friend, have you reason to The following narration will show the thank God for that foolish and sinful change, kind of labor in which the Scripture for you may perceive how you have left Readers, in connexion with this Society, light for darkness, truth for error, God for are engaged. A host of such men might man ?". She paid the greatest attention to be employed, could the means of their me, and said, "Sir, I must tell you that I support be obtained.
never gave up the Bible; but to my shame,
I do fully acknowledge, I have made no Extracts from the Journal of H. D., from good use of it, and from what you have July to September 30 :
told me to-day, and proved it so plainly
from that Sacred Word, I see my error, TRIUMPH OF PROTESTANT PRINCIPLES.
and with the help of God will renounce it I had a conversation with a respectable from this moment; I know my mind can woman, both by appearance and dress. never be at rest while I remain as I am." She made a few remarks on the destitute Her case appeared to me to be a very state of the poor; and, taking me for a striking one. While I was speaking of the Romish priest, she said, “Sir, I have reason Word of life, I am persuaded the Lord sent to be thankful to God, for I must tell you, it home with power to her heart. “Oh !" that my parents, with a sister and myself, said she, “if my dear father and mother were once Protestants, but now Roman knew what you have told me this day, they Catholics." I said, “would you be so kind would not act so foolish as they have done as to tell me why you and yours left the in leaving my sister and myself amongst religion of the Bible, for that of man's in- ignorant Roman Catholic servants, who vention.” When she saw that she was mis- instilled into our young minds, with the taken with regard to me, she remained silent assistance of the priest, time after time, for a few moments, and said, “I have been their erroneous sentiments, as you have told the Roman Catholic Church is the only proved them to be, to my greatest satistrue Church, and that none can be saved faction. I cannot tell you how truly thankout of it.” “Who has told you so?” “The ful I am to you for taking all the trouble priests have repeatedly told me so; and all with me that you have done. O that God the people in my neighbourhood.” “ Be would grant me grace to thank him with pleased to tell me, have you ever read the my whole heart for sending you in my way Bible ?" Yes, Sir," was the reply. “Do to-day. May He keep me from the snare you believe it to be the Word of God ?”
of the enemy, and keep me looking to Jesus * Yes." • Does that blessed Word tell you Christ all my days. One request I want that the Roman Catholic Church is the only you to grant me, to remember me in your true one, and that none can be saved
Now we are going to part, I out of it ?”
“I do not remember that it want your advice how I am to act when I
“My friend, bear with me, while I go home, for it may be we shall never see tell you you
have done what you ought each other again in this world.” (She lives not to do; for true Protestantism is taking some distance from the city.). “The simple the Holy Scriptures for our rule of faith advice I have to give you is this, when
HOLY SCRIPTURES THE RULE OF FAITH.
you return home, enter into your closet, the apostle is speaking in the end of the pray to your heavenly Father in the name chapter that was read, that they were of Jesus Christ, for his Holy Spirit to teach no more strangers but fellow-citizens with you his Holy Word and lead you into all the saints of the household of God, and truth ; pardon you all your sins ; sanctify are built upon the foundation of the apostles you by his Spirit, and make you meet for and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being an inheritance among the saints in light; the chief Corner Stone, in whom all the then you and I shall meet never more to building fitly framed together groweth part, and join all the blood-bought sons unto an holy temple in the Lord, &c. and daughters of the Lord in singing that Three of the men answered, and said, new song, unto him that loved us and
“ Indeed we always thought that Prowashed us from our sins in his own blood, testants laid no stress upon works in any be glory and dominion for ever, Amen." sense of the word, but since we have heard We parted in a most loving Christian you we are inclined to believe what you
have told us.” The mason laid down his hammer, and said to his companions, “ You
are inclined to believe it, I am not only I read the second chapter of Ephesians inclined, but I verily believe that we can be to four Roman Catholics ; in making a few saved in no other way; it appears as plain remarks on what was read, I described to me as that wall before me ; and I tell man's lost and guilty state by nature; how you more, if I had one six months' instructhe evil spirit of disobedience dwells in all tion from this man, I think I should be such ; in that state man cannot save himself, happy.” I advised him to read the Bible, in part or in whole. The great love of God and to pray for the Holy Spirit to teach in giving us his Holy Word, wherein He him, then he would be happy, and that for reveals himself, as a God rich in mercy to ever. We parted in a very friendly manner. all that seek him through Jesus Christ, &c. May Almighty God bless his own Word. One of the men, (a mason by trade) said, Amen.
H. D. " It appears from what you have read, and The more I became acquainted with this the remarks that you have made, that man's worthy reader the more convinced I am of works are of no avail, nothing worth in his Christian consistency and devotedness the sight of God.” “ Yes, my friends, the to the work in which he is engaged in the Word of God tells us plainly that it is by midst of many difficulties. grace we are saved, through faith, and
J. D. H, W. that not of ourselves ; it is the gift of God, Limerick. not of works, lest any man should boast; or, in other words, that Jesus Christ the Son of God by laying down his life on
ZION CHAPEL HOME MISSION. Calvary's cross and shedding his precious blood has made a complete atonement for
To the Rev. W. H. C. a lost world.” I then brought forward
C- College, Sept. 24, 1844. about twenty parallel passages to sub- My dear Sir, stantiate what was said. Therefore if we Ever since my return to England I have believe the Word of God, we must fully promised myself the pleasure of sending admit that Christ is the procuring cause of
you a letter, in reference to my late our salvation, and all that believe with
visit to the county
Clare ; but the their hearts unto righteousness in that Saviour shall be saved, all such will receive
multiplied duties of the opening session the Spirit of God to change their sinful
have not allowed of it. To give you, in hearts and minds ; or, in other words, they
detail, an account of my labours in Fshall be born again, and become new crea
and its neighbourhood would be dry and tures in Christ Jesus ; that blessed Spirit uninteresting. Preaching was kept up will carry on his work in them, making regularly on the Sabbath, and, except them more obedient day after day to ali when otherwise engaged, on Wednesday his heavenly commands. You perceive, evenings. The number of Protestants then, it is the saved, all that believe in
attending the little chapel is small, and Christ, that will perform good works as evidences or proofs that they are saved by
they are all very poor; but few and God's free grace ; all their obedience then
poor as they may be, there is, notwithwill flow from a principle of love to Christ,
standing, great encouragement to preach who saved them. You see now, my friends,
and teach among them. There are only that all Bible Christians are advocates
five Protestant families in the immediate for good works ; but they keep them in neighbourhood, all of whom attend the their proper place, where God would have place opened for worship. them kept. It is of such characters that The chief sources of interest, however,