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in the family vault; politely requested Mrs. W— to consult her own convenience about the period of her removal from M— Park; gave certain orders that plainly showed who was master there now, and returned to London.
"I hate that man; I shan't call him uncle," exclaimed Celia, in a rage, as the carriage moved away with the cold, hard man.
"Hush, dear sister," remonstrated Lillian, " we must not hate him. Mamma says he has a right to do all he does if he pleases."
"Eight! why doesn't he read his Bible that you say tells what is right for everybody; and he won't find it right there, I know."
"Well, but, Celia, we are ignorant little girls, you know, and don't understand the laws. Uncle Stephen can't help the laws; he must mind them as they are, I suppose."
"He doesn't mind the law that says, 'Do unto others as ye would they should do unto you.' Would he like us to turn him out of his nice home, I wonder? Don't talk of him; I hate him I say. I don't want to live in his house another day;" and looking round on her late loved home, Celia burst into tears.
Could such a young rebel have profited in the lap of continued prosperity? Had not chastening love work to do in subduing the pride and passion of her ungoverned spirit? Yes, old Grace was right; good would come out of the seeming evil some time; and Betty Booth would have to admit that "going down" in the world might be better for some people than " getting up " in it.
A VISIT TO THE SEA-SHORE. There is a wild place on the western coast of Ireland which I had, for some time, felt anxious to visit Not that it was said to possess many attractions either of nature or of art; and the people who inhabit it were supposed to be almost in a savage state, being wholly without any kind of instruction, and, from their situation, almost entirely cut off from intercourse with the rest of the world. But I had heard that, notwithstanding these discouraging circumstances, the gospel was making some progress there; and that the untaught natives now listened to the word of God in their own language, with such delight, that neither the anger of their priests, nor the power of superstition over their minds could prevent their doing so. At last an opportunity of visiting them occurred, and I went, accompanied by the Irish reader who had, for two years, gone to that desolate region with the "good tidings of great joy."
It was, indeed, a dreary place; a portion of the coast divided from the rest of the country by a ridge of hills which enclosed it, except where the sea, beating along its rocky shore, formed a still greater barrier. We entered it through a narrow pass in the hills, and suddenly the wide Atlantic lay before us—a sight which, in my mind, at least, must ever awaken solemn reflections. Well may he whose fancy tries to look towards all that lies hidden beneath that wilderness of waters exclaim, in the words of the poet—
"Thou thing of mystery, stern and drear,
Thy secrets who hath told?
The merchant and his gold.
Secure from steel and storm;
But the sweet psalmist of Israel has furnished pleasanter reflections on such a scene. "0 Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of 'thy riches. So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts."*
We soon arrived at what was called the village, a row of mud cabins built along the beach, in which there was not a Protestant inhabitant, and very few persons who had any acquaintance with the English language, as my companion informed me. We entered the first house, and were greeted with the usual "kindly welcome." The reader, when we were seated, took out his Irish Bible, and began to read and explain a chapter. Before he had ended, a man, who seemed to belong to the class called comfortable farmers, came to the door, and beckoning the woman of the house to go out to him, spoke to her for a few minutes. She returned, looking much distressed, and saying, in her own tongue, " Oh that I should live to see the day in which I must tell the stranger to go out of my
* Psa. civ. 24. •
cabin, where the best seat by the hob, or the best potato in the pot was never denied him! It can't be right: let the priest say what he will, it can't be right."
"Indeed it cannot, Mary," replied the reader, " because one who is greater than the priest, the Lord Jesus Christ himself, in his word says, 'Be not forgetful to entertain strangers; for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.' " *
At the Saviour's name every one present gave some token of reverence. The distress of the poor woman increased, and she cried out, "And mustl go against such a word as that? Indeed, sir, I would not, but that the man you saw talking to me said he would tell the priest if I let you read here, and that I should be made to stand in a white sheet at the altar next Sunday."
"Well, Mary, you will have plenty of company there," said the reader, " for I hope to read God's book in every house here before I leave. However, you seem so frightened that we will go away for the present."
The poor creature followed .us with a few eggs, which she insisted we should take with us, as we might not get any so fresh elsewhere; and seemed overcome with shame at her breach of hospitality.
We entered another house, and were received by a woman - with a very marked countenance, and air quite stately, who had scarcely welcomed us, and bade us be seated, when the same man who had occasioned our first hostess to turn us out, appeared at the door and called her out. Their interview was brief; and when, on her reentrance, the reader inquired, "Well, what did he say to you?" she answered, "that he had told her to send us away," but she replied, "that if she had a silver, or a golden roof to her house, we should have twenty welcomes to it;" and she bade the spy go home and mind his own business, for that he should not frighten her, as the reader was only doing what the priest ought to have done long ago, reading the blessed book which they could all understand. She then presented us with some milk each; and despite the threats of the farmer, who had come from a neighbouring parish to act as spy, and who still hovered about the house, a number of people crowded in, while others gathered round the door, every man eager to hear in
'* Heb. xiii. 2.
his own tongue wherein he was born, the glad tidings of salvation.
When the reading was over, and our little congregation had dispersed, I asked our hostess how it was that she had acquired sufficient courage to receive us, and brave the wrath of the priest. She replied to this question by giving me the following recital. A poor fisherman in the village had, not long since, a daughter who was dying of consumption, a young girl about seventeen or eighteen years of age. She was idolized by her parents, whose hearts were almost breaking at the prospect of losing her. She had been struck down in the brightness of youth and beauty; but not before her heart had been opened, by the Holy Spirit, to understand the Scriptures which she had heard from my friend the reader. One morning our hostess went to visit poor Aileen, when her departure seemed to be not far off. She found the cabin quite tidy and neat—the floor had been well swept, and freshly garnished with sand from the sea-shore. The father, mother, and sister of the dying girl were seated round her bed, all weeping; and she was endeavouring to comfort them with the promises of the gospel.
My informant, Mrs. Hennessy, was told that they were expecting a visit from the Irish reader, whom they had sent for at the earnest desire of the sick girl. "For how could we refuse our child, and she going to leave us?" said the father. "Besides, it is not any Sassenah * book that he reads for her, but the word of God in our own, ancient language." "But," said Mrs. Hennessy, "what does a creature like that want of any book, or anything? She that never committed one sin in her whole life, and—" Here Aileen interrupted her, raising herself in the bed, and saying: "No, no, neighbour. I was born in sin like every one of us; I have a sinful heart, and I knew it, and felt it, even before I learned it from the book of God. Father — mother dear — all of you remember what the Lord Jesus Christ said: 'Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.' "f She sank down exhausted, and, just then, the reader entered.
Mrs. Hennessy moved as if to go away, though, as she
told me, longing to hear more of these things, so that a
little pressing prevailed to induce her to seat herself on the
threshold of the door; a position she hoped would not be
* Saxon, or Protestant. t John iii. 3. deemed quite so wrong as if she remained decidedly under the roof. A portion of God's word which was, as usual, read, was followed by a conversation between the reader and Aileen, in which the all-sufficiency of His death who "put away sin by the sacrifice of himself" was clearly stated. The peace and joy in believing it experienced by the sick girl was so beautifully evident, that her parents dried their tears, saying they would disturb their darling child no more, and giving thanks to God for her happy state.
Mrs. Hennessy returned home, speaking to every one of her amazement at hearing such blessed things from the lips of a Protestant man, and a dying girl; and with equal freedom expressing her indignation that she had never heard them from a minister of her own religion, wondering whether the priests knew them, and, if so, why they concealed them.
Aileen's peace lasted to the end, though some old women of the place, alarmed for the state of her soul if she died under priestly ban, told her, among many other terrifying things, that a convert's eyes never closed in death. When the hour came, the young Christian remembered this prediction, and resolved to show its fallacy. Her sister, who was warming a drink for her, saw her settle herself in the bed, lift her hand over her eyes, draw down the lids, and gently lay it down again. When she came to wet her lips with the drink, the spirit had gone to God who gave it. So little were the threats verified, that Mrs. Hennessy declared, when Aileen was laid out dressed in the clothes provided for the wake, she was allowed to be the handsomest corpse that any one in that part of Ireland had ever seen.
The happy death of this young disciple had been the means of removing any fear which Mrs. Hennessy, as well as many others, might have entertained of listening to the reader and his book: so that when he came to the village he was almost universally received as a welcome guest.
These few and simple facts are offered to the Christian reader with a hope that while they rejoice his heart, and lead him to praise the Lord who hath said, " Is not my word like as a fire, and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?" they may stimulate his exertions to circulate that word, which is light, among those who walk in darkness; but especially my own long-neglected countrymen, and in their own tongue.