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A Review of ihe Moral and Religious Con- , immorality, and promote the growth
dition of the Irish People, from the of virtue and of the Christian religion.” Conquest under Henry II. until the Pre. For some centuries Ireland had been sent Times.
By Richard Fitzralph. celebrated for learning and piety, and Dublin: S. B. Oldham. London: Seeleys, at this time the customs of its churches 12mo., pp. viii., 59.
were more in accordance with those of
the east than with those of Rome. RICHARD FITZRALPH is a name as- “They still retained something of the sumed for the occasion by a gentleman primitive order of pure Christianity in whose opportunities for observation and their ecclesiastical polity; though there right-heartedness render his testimony is too much ground to believe that they valuable, but whose position in society retained but little, if any thing more, makes it inconvenient to avow himself of the purity of the first Irish churches. as the author. He is neither an ad- But even at this degenerate period of herent of the church of Rome nor of their church history, it would appear the Protestant establishment; he is that they had not altogether adopted neither a minister of religion nor an the titles and gradations of Romeagent of any of the societies which are titles which are more characteristic of, aiming at the improvement of the Irish and congenial with, feudal times and people; but he is an upright, devout, dignities, than with the scriptural model and conscientious observer of the reli- of the churches of the first Christians. gious condition of his countrymen, and They did not as yet avowedly admit a student of Irish history. He is just
the supremacy of the
Ireland was such a man, therefore, as impartial the last country in Europe to do so ; inquirers would wish to hear as a wit- but the ready and facile subjection of ness; and it is as the voluntary deposi- the Irish at this time to the see of tion of a respectable witness that we Rome gives painful indications of their bring his work before the reader's at- decay in piety and in the pure faith of tention. Abstaining pretty much from the gospel of Jesus.” the expression of our own opinions, we The princes of Ireland submitted shail simply adduce some of his. themselves to Henry, and the clergy
It is well known that in the year acknowledged the supremacy of the 1156, Pope Adrian, being ex oficio pro- Pope; but the people, whose condition prietor of the whole earth, granted was bad enough before under their naIreland to Henry II. of England, by a tive petty sovereigns, gained nothing Bull in which he said, “You promise to but disadvantage from the change. pay us out of every house a yearly “Mutual conveniences are, as jurists acknowledgment of one penny, and to say, the foundation of all contracts and maintain the rights of the church with bargains; so it was with Henry and out the least infringement or diminu- Adrian ; they had each his own wishes tion. Upon these conditions we consent and objects with respect to Ireland, but and allow that you make a descent upon miserable was the result to the poor that island, to enlarge the bounds of inhabitants. They, though the persons the church, to check the progress of ' most interested, were the least con
sulted in the transaction-their green friends were its worst enemies; they fields, their toil and labour, their minds did not use moral means to produce and their bodies, were parcelled out for moral results- they did not use the merchandize between Henry and Adrian, scriptures, the Irish language, prayer, and between their respective followers faith, reason, and arguments, to enand votaries, as if they were the sub- lighten and convert the Irish-these jects of legitimate traffic, just as if the were not the means generally employed; bargain had been about cows and horses, had such been used there is every reason or other articles of barter, and not their to believe that, under the divine blessfellow men, having heads and hearts, ing, there would have been abundant souls and bodies, like themselves. These success. There were the same materials poor people were henceforth doomed for to work on in Ireland as in other centuries to be hewers of wood and countries. The people were not more drawers of water in the bondage and attached to popery in Ireland than in servitude of lords temporal and lords other parts. The exactions, insolence, spiritual."
and profligacy of the Romish hierarchy At the time of the Reformation the were the subject of complaint in Irecondition of the Irish people was truly ! land as in other places; the only differdeplorable. “They were counted as se
ence was that their extortions in Ireland aliens and enemies by the English ; it were but an item in the catalogue of was often adjudged to be no felony or many grievances, whilst in other counmurder to kill a 'mere Irishman;' tries they were the most prominent even in times of peace it was a good evils. The faith too which triumphed plea to an action, and was often so in other parts of Europe would have decided, that the plaintiff in the suit had equal success in Ireland, if the was an 'Hibernicus' or Irishman, or same means were adopted to propagate what was equivalent, that the com- it; there was the same Lord, rich in plainant was not one of the 'Quinque his mercies and goodness to all, to bless Sanguinibus,' that is, one of the five his own truth to the poor Irish, as he septs or clans that were made denizens, did to the Germans, the Swiss, the or enfranchised by special grace. The English, and Scotch. These nations English were forbidden by divers heavy heard the word preached in their own penal laws to marry, to foster, or to language; they understood what was make gossipred with the Irish, or to said to them; they felt its power; they have any trade or commerce in fairs or were convinced, and many were conmarkets with the Irish. So late as the verted, and lived and died rejoicing in 28th Henry VIII., the English were the faith of Jesus. How different was forbidden to marry a person of Irish the mode adopted in Ireland. Church blood, though the person had gotten a promotions were only given to those charter of denization, unless he had who could perform the reformed service done homage to the king in chancery, in the English tongue, and if the latter and given sureties by recognizance for could not be had, then in Latin. These his loyalty. Sir John Davis says that languages the people did not underfor three hundred and fifty years after stand. Even in a great portion of the the conquest, the laws of England were pale, the Irish was the only language forbidden to the Irish.” p. 22. then spoken. It might be well asked,
The attempts that were subsequently Were men ever converted by preachmade to introduce the Reformation ag- ing addressed to them in an unknown gravated existing evils." Its professed tongue ? Hath any nation changed its
gods or its old customs, at the bidding with their respective clergy, though of strangers entirely ignorant of its sufferers themselves, were actively enlanguage ? Yet these were the men gaged in relieving with money, food, and the means employed for converting and clothing, the painful wants, hunger, the Irish from their idolatry and super- and nakedness of their Roman Catholic stition. They never heard the mercies countrymen and neighbours. Past strife of redemption-a Saviour's love or his and differences were forgotten in a high power to save-preached in the endear- and elevated Christian sympathy and ing language of their country and affec- benevolence. Protestants heroically, tions. But this was not the only cause and in a spirit of self-devotion, scaled of its failure. The Reformation was the partition wall that hitherto divided presented to the Irish people not as a them from their Roman Catholic counfriend and a deliverer, but as an enemy trymen, and shared in their sufferings and oppressor-not as the harbinger of and alleviated their wants. By these love and mercy, but as the cause of humane and self-denying efforts, thounew distinctions and divisions.” pp. sands were saved who otherwise must 39, 40.
have sunk under daily want and a linChanges in the law, which have gering starvation. The writer has taken place in our own times, and in frequently, during the famine, heard the policy pursued by the government, Roman Catholics say, that only the the author regards as beneficial in their protestants stood to them; they must operation. “All distinctions and re- have all perished—that they (the prostrictions are now removed; the Roman testants) were their best friends, and Catholics are no longer bound together the best sort of people that the priests as a disqualified and distrusted faction only cared for money, and that unless and party; their understandings are you had money to give them you might no longer closed by prejudices and dis- die like a dog. There are grounds to abilities against the appeals of reason, hope that whilst their bodily wants sense, and fact; their pursuits and were supplied, there are instances not business, now unfettered by penal en- few where their spiritual maladies actments, lead them into more constant were not overlooked or forgotten, and and repeated intercourse with persons that some at least partook of that of opposite creeds and opinions; they bread of which 'if a man eat he shall have thereby opportunities of hearing never die.' The roughest stones, when questions of religion, commerce, and long rolled and jostled together, graduscience, discussed with freedom, and ally lose their sharp edges and corners. without fear or control. There is also So it is with the Roman Catholic and the great influence and circulation of opposite sects; the genial influence of an unfettered press in which similar a free and unrestricted intercourse has questions are discussed and examined softened down, and is still softening, with ability and without control. These the roughness and asperities of ignocombined agencies cannot fail to pro-rance and bigotry. Roman Catholics duce the most beneficial results on the now discover that these men whom minds of the Roman Catholic people. their church and priesthood still brand The late famine has been signally over- as 'heretics,' are neither monsters in ruled for good in this respect - the form nor demons in disposition; they people of England generously contri- see with their own eyes and know from buted out of their abundance, but the their own actual observations, that protestants of Ireland of every class, these heretics have all the sympathies
and feel all the wants and desires of reading the scriptures and announcing other men--that like themselves they pardon through a Baviour's blood, are must eat, drink, and sleep-that they now, under the divine blessing, telling are like all the other children of Adam, on the Irish-speaking population in and are besides in many instances kind these long neglected and benighted disfathers, husbands, and neighbours- tricts. These humble men, however, men of benevolence and virtue. These had to bear the toil and heat of the salutary lessons, derived from real life conflict, the railing and pelting of and actual observations, stand out in Romish mobs, and not unfrequently the prominent relief, in contradiction to cudgel and whip of the Romish priests; the teachings of their church and yet amidst all this outward opposition, priesthood, and must tend to weaken the Lord has been blessing his word to their reliance on instructions so contra- the souls of sinners. They have had dictory to their personal knowledge and often to go forth in sorrow and discouexperience.
ragement, sowing the seed of the king“It is admitted that this knowledge dom in faith and patience. But the will not of itself make Romanists Lord that seeth in secret has been with Christians or even professing protest- them, and is now rewarding them ants; but we believe that great social openly. Several religious societies have and moral advantages are gained there- had agencies of this kind employed for by. These men of whom we write may several years past in the Roman Cathonominally continue in communion with lic districts of Ireland ; we believe they the church of Rome, but we believe all date the origin of their labours that they are so far civilized, if not within the last forty years. We have protestantized, in principle and habit, been kindly furnished from accredited as to cease to be the blind votaries of quarters with their respective Reports the priesthood of Rome. No consider- of recent date. Our limits forbid give ation or persuasion would, we conceive, ing extracts from them as we had at induce these men to participate in the first intended; but the perusal of the massacre of a St. Bartholomew; in Reports of the Irish Society's Missions; atrocities like to those of the rebellions of the Presbyterian Home Missions, of of 1611 or 1798, or to countenance the the Irish Evangelical Society, and the detestable tortures of the inquisition. Irish Chronicle of the Baptist Irish But we rejoice to know that there are Society, will be found highly interesting, still greater and more pleasing indica- as confirmatory of the facts now stated, tions of good than even these—that and enabling the reader to judge for not only in this respect is there a himself of the great and pleasing breaking up of the fallow ground, and changes that are passing over the minds a gradual preparation, by the removal of the Roman Catholic people.” pp. of prejudice and bigotry, for the recep- 53—55. tion of the truth, but that throughout The author gives at some length his the south and west of Ireland, persons reasons for believing that the time for are to be found anxious and earnest to Ireland's improvement is fully come, read and examine the scriptures, in and that the present state of the popudefiance of priestly authority and de- lation affords more of hope and promise nunciationis. The labours of these than any which has existed for many silent and noiseless messengers of centuries. He concludes his pamphlet mercy, who have for years past gone thus : “ The Irish mind, so long from house to house, and cabin to cabin, sluggish, inert, and patient of impos
ture and deception, shows manifest readers, the Analytical Hebrew and signs of inquiry; the masses may be Chaldee Lexicon, a work admirably truly said to be heaving with great and adapted to remove the difficulties which important changes; the phases they impede solitary students of that lanexhibit are auspicious; they are not in- guage in which the Old Testament dicative of infidelity or scepticism; oracles were recorded. It is with much persons are constantly emerging from satisfaction that we now announce the those masses who evince a practical publication of a work on the same plan, independence of thought and action, of the same size, prepared for the use and a self-sacrificing devotion to truth of those who have but little knowledge and conviction, in many instances de of Greek, and who yet are intent on cided conversions to piety and godli- the perusal of the original writings of ness; nor are these instances few cr Christ's inspired messengers. The pubunfrequent, but numerous and real lication of these works has a direct throughout the Roman Catholic dis- tendency to promote religious knowtricts of Ireland. The writer has not ledge of the most valuable kind, and to long since been favoured with a list of remove some of the evils under which over two hundred converts from Roman- dissenting churches have suffered. An ism, twenty-nine of whom were for- illiterate ministry is greatly to be demerly Roman Catholic priests, several precated; but it is by no means deof whom were known to him
sirable that the supply of pastors should
personally, and by name. Never before, we
be derived exclusively from those who believe, was there so general an awak- have passed through college training ening, or so favourable an opportunity
and college temptations. We rejoice of sowing broadcast the principles of to know that many acceptable preachers true religion in the minds of the Irish of the gospel who had but few litorary people; and never did it behove the advantages in their youth, have applied friends of Christian benevolence and
themselves with success to the study of protestantism to make like correspond- the original languages of scripture, and ing efforts to meet the awakening and that they are in fact far better scholars increasing desires for the bread of life than they have credit for being. We eternal, and to send forth heralds of hope that the time is not very distant mercy to direct their fellow men to when it will be a customary thing for 'the way, the truth, and the life,' and young men who have had but a common to point them to Jesus, whose lood education at school, as soon as they cleanseth from all sin.'
become partakers of genuine religious
principle, to determine that they will The Analytical Greek Lexicon : consisting
not be dependent on any fallible men of an Alphabetical Arrangement of ercry
for their knowledge of the revelation occurring Inflexion of every Word con
which was given not merely to“ bishops tained in the Greek New Testament Scrip- and deacons,” but “to all the saints in tures, with a Grammatical Analysis of Christ Jesus.” What obstacles would each Word, and Lexicographical Illustra- this remove, which pastors who have tion of the Meanings, a Complete Series been intent on teaching the true meanof Paradigms, wilh Grammatical Remarks ing of scripture and nothing else have and Explanations. London: S. Bagster had for some years to encounter ! What and Sons. 1852. Quarto, pp. xlii., 444. facilities would this give for the diffu
In July, 1848, we had the pleasure sion of divine truth in our own country of introducing to the attention of our and in the colonies ! Books which