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Saviour, dismantled and fast hastening to decay. Alas! how many an Irish Protestant peasant and farmer beholds now the loved church, in which he and his forefathers used to worship, now, in consequence of the suicidal Church Disendowment Act, closed up,-a 'silent' church, to use the expressive term of the Roman Catholics themselves, with nettles and weeds growing around the closed door, through whose portals, many a happy Sabbath-day, the little congregation, now a prey to Rome, entered to worship and adore."
"And all this cruel wrong," he elsewhere remarks, "has been done in the vain hope of conciliating Romish Ireland, the disaffected portion of which will never be satisfied as long as a solitary English bayonet gleams between Cape Clear and the Giant's Causeway, and the bigoted partisans will never be content as long as an open Bible is to be found in any portion of the land, or Protestant pastor either."
It is not only that the Protestant, thus abandoned to a hostile surrounding, becomes a pervert for dear life and property sake, but mixed marriages have also been the ruin of the Protestant men. "One can scarcely conceive," says Dr. Craig, "what the poor Protestant has to endure who remains faithful to God's Word, surrounded by a vast Roman Catholic population. The Ochlocracy, or mob law, setting in dead against him; the Roman Catholic wife, if he is ill, trying to introduce the priest, and to shut out the minister; (Dr. Craig's work contains some graphic descriptions of such scenes, emanating from the rivalry of two hostile churches ;) the Bible sometimes thrown into the fire; Romanistic pictures and crucifixes set up around the walls of his little dwelling; his children made Roman Catholics. Unless the man be very firm he can scarcely weather the ceaseless storm."
For it is not only that in places the Protestant is now deprived of a pastor, just as many a lovely village would be in England were the English Church disestablished, but as the Rev. John Paynell is made to remark, "the most iniquitous act of English Statesmen to Ireland was when the Kildare Place schools in which 160,000 Roman Catholic children were instructed daily in the Word of God, side by side with 170,000 Protestant children, were superseded by the National Board system of education, in which the word of God is dishonoured." And further on, "You have hundreds of thousands of Roman Catholic children brought up by these priests in these National Schools, without one ray of Bible truth reaching them, and the government of England subsidising these very priests with enormous sums to teach these children that same Roman Catholic religion which we believe to be idolatrous and opposed to the pure gospel of God; and, moreover, now we see, all over the
length of Ireland, the Church of Ireland struggling to maintain new schools, the education in which is based upon the Word of God, and in which still thousands of Roman Catholics are to be found, and yet England gives these scriptural Church schools not one single farthing to maintain them, the burden falling principally upon the clergyman of the parish and the few Protestants living in it."
Then, again, as to the glebe-house! The outgoer has to pay his successor for damages contracted during his tenancy, and the incoming incumbent has to expend money on necessary repairs. "How many heavy hearts this dilapidation clause used to cause ! Poor perpetual curates and rectors, starving on £75 or £90 a year, possessed of the shelter of an aged glebe-house, for which, at the end of their tenancy of it, they, if promoted,-or their widows and orphans, if deprived of it by death,-should have to pay a large sum-large to those whose incomes were so small. How many a
a weary night the poor incumbent would toss and turn from side to side, wondering if that cough of his became worse, if his lungs gave way entirely, if pale-faced Death stood at his door some night, how the poor wife and babes could manage when, even from their little scanty pittance that might be left-the last half-year's tithe-rent charge that might still be before them, -the funeral expenses and dilapidation charges would have to be paid!"
There were many cruel anomalies in regard to rectorial endowments in the Church of Irelaud, as there are at this day in the Church of England. There are few human institutions, that after a time are not in want of reform; but reform, which every Conservative upholds, is a very different thing from the destruction practised by Liberals and Democrats. "It was hard to give one's mind solely to the work of trying to save souls, when thoughts would ever and anon occur as to how the children's education was to be paid for, how the few acres of glebe land might be made to support the cow, horse, and few thin sheep, that formed the el dorado of the little parsonage.'
"Oh, what despair has not the Irish Church Disestablishment Act sent into many such a home as this, by utterly depriving them of the sole star of hope, of extrication from their difficulties, in the prospect of, in years' time, being appointed to a better incumbency, as expenses multiplied and the cost of living grew dearer yearly."
Clerical life in Ireland has other drawbacks of a less serious, but not very agreeable character. "It is," says Dr. Craig, "a life of much peril to minister as a presbyter of the Church of Ireland to the little flock of Protestants in some parts of the country. It is not pleasant to see the crowds returning from mass, making the
sign of the cross as they catch sight of the Protestant minister, as he meets them on his way to the little church where a few worshippers are waiting him; or to mark them spitting on the ground with abhorrence as they behold him; or, in some of the town districts, even to hear them crying out, There goes a devil from. And yet these very same persons who thus act, being taught from their very childhood to hate the name of Protestant, are of the noblest races in the whole world. The Irish Celt, warmhearted, generous, eloquent, enthusiastic, brave, chaste, only needs to be instructed in the Word of God, and to have the lessons of that precious Bible brought home by God's Spirit to his heart, to be one of the noblest races upon earth."
This, amid the scenes of outrage, fire, and murder, too often to be traced to priestly denunciations, with which Dr. Craig's work teems, is an honest and noble testimony to the Irish character, and in it lies the sheet anchor of our hope for the future-even amid temporary difficulties. It is to be remembered that all priests are not alike—the most hostile are few and far between; then it must also be taken into account that aggravation is not all on one side. The Rev. Florence MacCarthy, affixing a weekly challenge to discussion to the town pump as the people came out fro:n mass, is a specimen of as turbulent a minister as any priest. No wonder thit a desperado, under the disguise of a menk, should have attempted his life. The only thing to admire in the act is its honest courageousness. In that respect it differs widely from the denunciations (equivalent to a sentence of death), made in perfect safety, from the Romanist pulpit.
Dr. Craig himself bears testimony to the fact that he was never insulted by a priest, although there are some strange stories, especially one about two wills; and the Roman Catholic Church has to bear in mind that Fenianism itself" is not alone an effort to make Ireland free, to shake of the dominion off England, and to start an Irish republic, but it is an effort also to shake off the intolerable tyranny of the Church of Rome, and to burst those shakles of Ultramontanism to which, alas, England's Liberal Government consigned the poor Irish Roman Catholic." Again, Dr. Craig says elsewhere, "The Fenian Agitation, though lulled, is not dead. Many of the leaders have returned to Ireland again, biding their time; and when the Home Rule chimera has culminated in another insurrection, those will see their mistake who fancy that Fenianism is extinguished."
It has, then, come to this pass in Ireland, that it is as much the interest of the Roman Catholic priest to maintain peace, order, and loyalty, as it is of the Protestant clergymen, who represent what was once the Church of Ireland, of the Presbyterian ministers, and
of the Primitive Methodists, to whose earnest zeal missionary life in Ireland has been wonderfully indebted; and while, in as far as England is concerned, justice is done alike to all parties, the emphatic words of brave old Oliver Cromwell should be carefully treasured up: "I meddle not with any man's conscience; but if by liberty of conscience you mean our paying you to teach the doctrines of the Papacy, I tell that where the Parliament of England has power, that shall not be done!"
THE daisy, oh! it is a common thing,
Why would you waste your time its praise to sing?
And think'st thou common objects have no charm?
When dew-drops bright are sprinkled o'er the lawn,
Are virtues that adorn the greatest queen.
That seems more sweet when gaudier charms are flown
And from a soft heart bring a foolish sigh;
These heavenly charms, so lovely, sweet, and dear,
AN AUBADE, OR DAWN SONG.
BY A NINETEENTH CENTURY TROUBADOUR.
BEAUTIFUL star of dawn,
Pale not athwart the lawn,
Nor let thy radiance fade the woods above,
And let my fingers play
Thus 'mid the golden tresses of my love.
Sure the long summer day
May yet awhile delay
Its advent o'er the morning, grey and dark ;
Stay, stay, ye shadows dim,
Nor heed the Matin-hymn,
Which at heaven's portal chants the choral lark.
More passionate refrain
Shall greet thee from us twain,
Wilt thou not linger and prolong our bliss,
While yet no jealous eyes
Can mark our ecstasies,
Or cheat our burning lips of one long kiss?
While yet-but as I speak
Behold yon saffron streak
Proclaims another day, and seals our pain;
When Hesper lights the sky,
We meet to part when Phosphor pales again!