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his heart, therefore, bounded as a roe, and he went on his way rejoicing.
Being now fully persuaded that the Church of Rome had, by "giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils, departed from the faith;" and that it is that “man of sin, the son of perdition, whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders; and whom the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of his mouth;" (2 Thess. ii. 8, 9;) he immediately obeyed the command of God, “ Come out of her, my people,” (Rev. xviii. 4,) and formally renounced all connexion with it; and, it is believed, never after attended even one of its ordinances.
It must not, however, be supposed that tke Romish Church was prepared to reiinquish her interest in such a son, so long as there remained any hope that he might be restored. Hence, all the arts which she could devise were put into requisition, in order to reclaim him. He was caressed, cajoled, and menaced.
The first official agent who attempted to effect his restoration, was the French Friar, by whom he had been initiated into the fraternity of the Holy Scapular. This was a most politic step, as of this person he cherished a high opinion, and they had spent much time together in the services peculiar to their order. And that this part of the plot might succeed, the scene of action was discreetly ordered. He was informed that a person at the house of the Roman Catholic gentleman, before alluded to, wished to see him. He repaired thither, and was immediately ushered into the oratory, or domestic chapel,--a room fitted up in the house exclusively for religious purposes,—to await the arrival of the person with whom the business was to be transacted. This was no common place; and the walls of it were sufficiently omamented with pictures, representing the different persons to whom the family, and their Father Confessor, were in the habit of addressing their various supplications. In this place he was left alone for some time, no doubt with the intention of affording him the opportunity to ruminate on the solemnity of the situation in which he sat, and the imposing objects with which he was surrounded. At one end of the room hung a painting, larger, and more adapted to strike the mind with awe, than any of the rest, as it represented the crucifixion of our blessed Redeemer. Either through inadvertence, or to show his abhorrence of the design of such representations, he had seated himself with his back toward this more conspicu. ous painting ; and when the holy Father made his appearance, he instantly administered unto him a most severe rebuke, observing, that he was ashamed of the ignorance of Irishmen ; and then animadverted in strong language on the irreverence with which he treated the holy and blessed crucifix, by turning his back toward it. But Magorian had read, “ Do not I fill heaven and earth ? saith the Lord;" (Jer. xxiii. 24;) and, like the Psalmist, his pious heart had said, “ I have set the Lord always before me.” (Psalm xvi: 8.) To this sharp rebuke, therefore,, he meekly replied, “The Saviour whom I worship is always before me!” The Father now understood the kind of person with whom he had to do; and, perceiving that he was not likely to gain his point by an appeal to superstitious feeling, he varied his mode of attack, and assumed the most soft and tender tone. He told him how much he loved him; how greatly he was concerned for his salvation; and that he could not possibly be saved but by continuing in the bosom of the true Church. He then opened his vest before him, and exposed to view his uncovered bosom, saying, that he was prepared to sacrifice his life for the Church ; but would never abandon the faith in which he had been educated to embrace heresy! When he saw that he did not prevail, he tenderly embraced and wept over him in the most passionate manner, exclaiming aloud, “ My son ! my son !” This burst of feeling greatly affected Magorian, and his resolution was somewhat shaken. All the kindly and sympathetic feelings of his generous nature were aroused, and he was almost ready to yield. But, suddenly recollecting himself, and calling to mind the painful process through which he had passed in his search after truth, he remembered “the wormwood and the gall :” hiş firmness therefore returned, and he expressed himself as determined never more to suffer falsehood to usurp the place of truth in his heart. The Father saw that the snare was broken; and that the well-wrought part of the plot which he had engaged to sustain was a failure. Finding his wayward son a more sturdy polemic than he was prepared to expect, he reluctantly gave up the task which he found himself unable to accomplish.
Thus this young convert was delivered from the evil which was designed by the first attack; and, like the three Hebrew worthies, he came out of the fire perfectly unscathed. But, though he afterwards endured much grievous persecution, he frequently said, that all his trials put together never startled him half so much as did the affecting conduct of the French Friar.
The next official attack which was made upon him was by one of the Priests of the parish in which he resided; and as it was still thought that mild measures were more likely to be successful than such as were of an austere kind, this assailant also conducted himself with great kindness of manner, and expressed the utmost disinterestedness in the attempt which he made to reclaim him from, what he supposed to be, dreadful heresy. But Magorian was too strongly persuaded, that the Church of Rome had departed from the faith to be easily shaken ; and the truth of God had too firm a hold on his understanding and conscience, to suffer the most wily agent of that Church to induce him to renounce it. This attempt, therefore, was as unsuccessful as the former; and the Priest left him, without being able to make any impression that could encourage a hope of his ultimate restoration.
It was now industriously reported that he had become a subject of mental aberration; that, associating and conversing with heretics, and
reading the Scriptures, whose contents were above his comprehension, were likely to turn him completely “beside himself;” and that, if proper measures were not promptly adopted to prevent it, he would soon become a confirmed lunatic. His friends, therefore, under the pretence that he might do himself some grievous bodily harm, were enjoined to watch him with the utmost vigilance; to hide from him all such articles as could do him injury; and to endeavour to divert his attention from those religious matters which, it was pretended, were too deeply mysterious for his weak capacity. Pursuant to this advice, his tools were stolen from him, and never returned ; his shaving apparatus was put out of his way; his New Testament was destroyed, but this he soon found means to replace; and various efforts were made to get him out into the world, as it was called, and to preFent him from associating with his new religious acquaintance. As the Down races were at hand, it occurred, that if he could be prevailed upon to accompany his family to them, the point desired would be gained. To accomplish this, therefore, his friends prepared themselves with much art, and he was importunately urged to go to the races. When he stated the impropriety of Christians engaging in such scenes of folly and of sin, it was said that he certainly could not pretend to be wiser and better than all men; that persons of all religious creeds were accustomed to attend such places; that Priests and Clergymen, Protestants and Papists, were there united in one general and common association. This, he was aware, was too near the truth; and, being always kind and conciliating, he suffered their incessant and plausible solicitations to overcome his better judgment; so that he yoked his horse, and drove away with his family to the race-course. On his arrival there, one of the first persons that saluted him was a Priest of his acquaintance, who cordially shook him by the hand; told him how glad he was to see him there, and hoped that he was now prepared to renounce heresy, and return again to the only true Church. But how great was his surprise and mortification when Magorian replied, “Never, Sir!” and assured him, that he was convinced Popery was a system of delusion and falsehood; and that, by the grace of God, he had abandoned it for ever! The Priest became enraged, and threatened to give him a severe horse-whipping. But he firmly retorted, that a horsewhip was a strange instrument by which to teach men the way to heaven; that Christ and the Apostles did not make use of such weapons, for they said, “ We do not war after the flesh; for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.” (2 Cor. x. 3, 4.) At this his Reverence furiously exclaimed, “ To — with both you and the Apostles !” And Magorian, being now more firmly than ever persuaded that that was a place where no Christian man should be found, determined to “escape for his life :" and, without any parleying, he immediately left the course, leaving his horse, cart, and family to shift for themselves. It is, perhaps, unnecessary to add, that he was never after seen at the races.
There remained, however, another expedient; and it was thought better to resort to it, before measures of a more rigorous kind were -adopted. This was to procure an interview between him and the Bishop of the diocess. And, as his Lordship’s residence was in the parish, no great inconvenience was experienced' in bringing about this interview. It is, however, highly probable, that a circumstance which now occurred, brought this matter to a more speedy issue than it would otherwise bave had. Magorian's wife evidenced symptoms of waver: ing in her attachment to the Romish Church. She thought it possible that her husband's new opinions might be right; she then believed that they were right; and she concluded that it was her duty to em: brace the same faith, and to walk with him in the same path. At this her mother, who resided with them, became afraid, that if things were suffered to proceed in this manner, they would all soon be lost; and, as she knew not how to prevent it, she hastened to the Bishop, requesting that he would forthwith repair to the spot, and, by interposing his Episcopal authority, prevent the plague from spreading any farther, and restore the rebellious to their former obedience. The Bishop lost no time in complying with her request; and, in his presence, the mother knelt down and imprecated such horrible anathemas upon the head of her daughter, unless she abandoned her new opinions, that the poor woman became terrified; and, superstitiously believing that the curses of her mother would certainly rest upon her, provided she continued in her course, she reluctantly promised to return to her former mode of faith and practice. It was not so with her husband. For though, at the outset, the Bishop was exceedingly courteous, and with great urbanity of manner endeavoured to convince him that in all things it was the duty of the faithful to submit to the authority of the Church, he remained invulnerable. In the course of the dispute, lie respectfully signified to his Lordship how St. Paul had taught, that even the Apostles had not “dominion over the faithi" of the disciples of Christ ; (2 Cor. i. 24;)' and that he was satisfied no other men, how learned or holy soever, could possibly be “lords over God's heritage.” (1 Peter v. 3.) He therefore intimated, that he could not be persuaded to renounce that which his enlightened judgment assured him was the truth of God, at the bidding of any man, how learned or dignified soever he might be. At this the Bishop assumed a lofty tone, and threatened him with his Episcopal malediction in case he did not submit to be subject to his fatherly dominion. But it was now too late ; for Magorian had learned, from the words of Christ, to “ call no man upon earth father," in the sense claimed by this Ecclesiastic ;, (Matt. xxiij. 9 ;) and this made him despise the menaces of one who arrogated to himself a title which no Christian Minister can innocently, daim. As he knew that: “ the curse causeless shall not come," (Provi, vi. 2) he regarded the threats of the Right Rev. Father as utterly harmless, and remained firm and unmoved while they were uttered. Had the Inquisition existed in his country, how speedily would he have been arraigned before its ghostly tribunal! and, having been pronounced a confirmed heretic, as he certainly would, nothing would have remained bat the burning to death of the body for the good of the soul.
Nothing now remained to complete the work of restoration, but to publish, that if he did not recant his heretical notions before the termination of a given period, he should be proceeded against in due form, and “ separated from the bosom of the holy mother Church.” This, indeed, might bave been spared, as he bad voluntarily renounced all connexion with it, and long ceased to attend any of its ordinances. But as his was no common case, it was determined to make an example of him, and thus deter others from following in his steps. In the meantime he paid no attention to the fulminations which were prepared against him ; and, therefore, at the time appointed, this solemn farce was rendered complete.
Being formally cut off from the Church, he was now regarded by his former associates as worse than “ a heathen man and a publican;" and the consequences were to him exceedingly painful. For as there were very few Protestants in his immediate neighbourhood, he was subjected to many annoyances, and to much persecution. His nearest earthly relations looked upon him as an outcast from God; one whose words would eat as a canker, and who was likely to do much mischief to the Church ; and, therefore, treated him in the most harsh and annatural manner. Though he did not willingly give offence to any one, but was amiable and industrious, affectionate and economical, his comforts were neglected, his person despised, and the most ingenious plans adopted to give him pain or disappointment. Many instances of the outrageous persecution which he was made to endure might be easily accumulated : two, however, shall suffice.
On one occasion, when returning from Downpatrick, where he had been to market, a party of men overtook him on the road, accompanied by, and manifestly under the guidance of, a person who was about to take, what are called, “ holy orders as a Priest.” They soon engaged him in conversation, and seemed desirous that the subject should turn on the controversy between Popery and Protestantism. As he was deeply convinced that Popery is a grossly corrupt and stupid compound of Jewish rites and Pagan superstition, and that genuine Protestantism is in perfect accordance with the Scriptures of truth, he was fully prepared, on all fitting occasions, to expose and refute the one, and to espouse and defend the other : at this time, therefore, he feared not the number of his opponents, or their supposed superiority ; but being confident in the goodness of his cause, he believed that truth, which is great, would prevail. His opponents soon found that they were noi.