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others live, and grow, and sparkle. There are many such ; my Mignonette, like the ivy, represents a class; and I will name that class forth with, and glory in it, while I name it-The Irish Scripture Readers.
What! more of Ireland and the Irish?' Dear friend, yes. You do not know enough of them yet, not even if you be cradled in the very bosom of the Green Isle. Some of you are, I know ; and some will read this, who may remember when, amid a cluster of warm hearts, beneath the shade of a noble grove, near a venerable ruin, where a very paradise of bright flowers, and brighter smiles, is watered by the majestic Slaney, a fair twin said to me, ‘We do love your chapters, and cherish all the flowers you name.' That day was one of deep enjoyment, and infused new energy into me: it taught me that young hearts might be roused, and young hands nerved, in the cause of their country, even by such means as these. Let those who refreshed my spirit then, cherish the little, lowly Mignonette, and blend with its character the humble work of men, who, unobserved, disregarded, yea, often trampled upon, are breathing through the wilderness the savour of life unto life.
These men are generally, indeed almost exclusively, taken from the humblest walks of society, day-labourers, weavers, and sometimes the keepers of hedge-schools. The word of life, by some appointed means, reaches the ear and heart of the poor native Irishman: he feels its quickening power, and being himself raised from the death of trespasses and sins, he looks abroad upon his countrymen, still lying under the sbadow of death, and, constrained by the
love of Christ, burns to make known among them the unsearchable riches of his Saviour. The Irish being his vernacular tongue, he speedily learns to read it, by means of some circulating school of the blessed Irish Society,' and, armed with the Sword of the Spirit, he goes forth to assail the strong holds of Satan, in the heart of the Beast's dominions. This exposes him to a storm of persecution, well understood by such as reside in Ireland, but inconceivable by an English subject. As regards his own neighbourhood and class in society, it may truly be said that every man's hand is against him, though every man's heart is not. The power of priestly intimidation is brought to bear on all who venture to encourage him; for there is not upon earth so terrible an object to a true priest of Rome, as the Holy Bible ; unless it be the man who dares to proclaim its sacred truths, in a language understood by the people. Consequently, the vassals of popery must stand arrayed to oppose him; and it is too undeniable a fact, that, except where the mind has been spiritually enlightened, the nominal Protestant beholds with suspicious dislike one who has forsaken the religion of his fathers; and sneeringly denounces the turncoat,' though the turn that he has taken is from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God.
There is not, perhaps, among the hundreds of Irish scripture readers, at this moment one, who cannot set the seal of his individual experience to Paul's declaration—"No man stood by me.” The enemy levels his fiery darts at every child of God: bow much more anxiously and accurately at one who goes about to assail the strongest foundations of his most elevated throne! I know, and I avow, that to attack
popery is to incur the fiercest assaults of hell : to rouse up a host of opposers, calumniators, open foes and false brethren, from without; fears, temptations, and fiery trials within. Our solemn convictions are denounced as prejudices, our zeal as intemperance, our forethought, fanaticism. Shielded from violence, surrounded by encouraging helpers, and cheered on our path by their approving countenance, still we, who, in Protestant England, dare to act a Protestant part, are liable to many an almost disabling wound in the house of our friends. What then must be the lot of the poor, despised peasant, in the very citadel of popery, taking an unsupported stand against the united forces of Satan and man, while the great contest that forced Paul to cry out, “ Oh, wretched man that I am!” is carried on within, by the Spirit warring against the flesh, and the flesh against the Spirit.
But the Scripture Reader has taken up his cross, and follows Christ. He goes on, often through persecutions, afflictions, stripes and imprisonment. He enters the obscure cabin, at dusk, and addressing the poor, doubly benighted inmates, in the loved accents of their native race, he draws from his bosom the proscribed “story of peace,” and tells them in the most persuasive of all words that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners—that wine and milk, without money and without price, is freely held forth to those who, up to that hour, had been spending their money for that which is not bread, and their labour for that which satisfieth not. Some, whose hearts the Lord opens, receive the word with gladness; and the patient labourer, leaving it to a mightier hand to give the increase, proceeds on his thorny
way, to plant in another spot. His life is thus passed, until, perhaps, the hand of persecuting violence waylays him, and sends him to his sure reward by the blow of a stone, or the stab of a knife, while his last breath sobs out the dying prayer of Stephen, in hope that the murdering, blaspheming Saul may become like himself a preacher of the faith that now he persecutes. Or, if rescued from the assassin's hand, this lowly Mignonette of the Lord's parterre maintains his inobtrusive station at the foot of loftier shrubs, and breathes the odours of heaven around the heel that tramples upon his unresisting form.
Taking one of the class, I will name an individual well known to me, and to many in England. His name was Dennis Sullivan; his native place was Kerry. Converted to the truth as it is in Jesus, he abjured the soul-destroying errors of popery, and made himself eminently useful, as a Reader, to the Irish Society of London. When, in 1830, the Lord first blessed our efforts to the establishment of an Irish church in St. Giles', Sullivan gave his whole soul to the cause ; and I well remember that our earliest meeting was as fellow-labourers in it. About that time, the Reformation Society engaged his services, first as a reader, then as a clerk in their office ; and most faithfully, zealously, diligently did he perform the duties of his station there, until the hour of closing it dismissed him to the post he so dearly loveda teacher's place in the adult evening school, where the Irish labouring poor assemble to be instructed in reading the language of their distant homes. Often have I seen him, his honest countenance all alive with intelligence and shrewdness, seated in the midst of a motley crew, paviours, bricklayers, blacksmiths, and such like, now patiently instructing his tall pupils in the first rudiments of literature, now plunged into a hot controversy on some disputed point, and maintaining his ground with inimitable steadiness. Jast behind him was a closet, stored with books of reference, which he used in a masterly manner; and I once witnessed a scene of curious uproar, provoked by a contumacious tailor, on a point of popish doctrine, when Sullivan reached backwards to his treasury, produced the decrees of the council of Trent, and silenced them all.
There was also another point in which I found the most perfect sympathy in Sullivan : his attachment to D-, the beloved heartsease, was intense. On the day after D- was called to his Father's house, Sulliyan walked down some miles to where I was; and it being Sunday, he only arrived after we were in church. Entering another pew, I did not immediately observe him; but when at last our eyes met, he burst' into tears, and sat down. Never did I see a babe weep more unrestrainedly than that stout and resolute man continued to do during the whole service. I afterwards took him to visit some of our poor lost sheep, scattered in that neighbourhood; and most touchingly did he address them. At the grave of D-, ten days afterwards, his ardent Irish feelings again defied all control.
I scarcely saw him since; he was seized with fever, and in the London Hospital he yielded his spirit into the hands of the Lord Jesus : poor in this world, rich in faith, and an heir of the kingdom of heaven.
Dennis Sullivan's soul would have magnified the Lord, could he have beheld what is now our rejoicing and joy, the re-opening of the Irish chureh, after