Page images
PDF
EPUB

discouraging. It is illustrative of Roman Catholic bigotry and violence :-

“On entering, I said, 'I presume, Mr. Callaghan,' (I had obtained his name from another lodger,) 'you can guess who and what I am ?' He said, pleasantly, 'Why yes, sir,' and offered me a seat. We conversed very agreeably for some minutes, and he told me he attended Roman Catholic chapel, and spoke of the priests who ministered there. He added, “I suppose you have come to collect for the chapel.' I assured him I had not come to receive, but to impart the knowledge of the blessed Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. “And pray,' said he, 'what religion are you?' I informed him. Upon this announcement being made, a great alteration took place; he became immediately violently excited, and livid with rage. In vain did I urge the propriety of discussing religion mildly and affectionately. The language he applied to me and to my religion was of a very horrible character. He rose from his seat, flung open the door, and declared that if I was not out in a moment he would kick me from the top to the bottom, which, had Providence permitted, he appeared fully disposed to do.

“On another occasion, bad characters, by whom I had been surrounded, behaved very respectfully to me, and several appeared much affected by a plain statement of what Christ had done to save sinners; but one man, decently dressed, an Irishman, was very angry, and said, 'Every cobbler now can put on a half-crown black coat on a Sunday, and go about preaching; but there was a time, added he, when it would have cost a man as much as his life to do it-he'd have burned for it.'

The depth of bitterness with which this was uttered, induced some of the characters around, degraded as they were, to testify their disapprobation by vehement hisses. I have been so mercifully preserved as never to have sustained any serious injury from Roman Catholics. Various of my City Missionary brethren, however, have received violent ill usage ; and one, a Mr. Bullin, we always considered to have received his death through being thrown down stairs in St. Giles's. But to this martyr, we have every reason to believe, to die was gain.

I shall now introduce the reader to a very pleasing case of usefulness, in the hopeful conversion of a Roman Catholic on my district, named D

In a cul de sac, termed Frying Pan Alley; I met with Mr. D. On offering a tract, I was anything but welcomed. Mr. D., who was confined to his bed, eyed me askance from head to foot with a scowl of displeasure. Perceiving this, I did not immediately enter upon the subject of religion, but inquired the character of his illness, and what means he was using to seek recovery. I then spoke of the uncertainty of life, and necessity of repentance and faith ; but my visit being barely tolerated, and that with a very ill grace, I quickly left, after inviting the children to our Ragged School. Having, for a very long series of years, held a situation in one house of business, Mr. D., although only a labouring man, was enabled when in health' to provide his family with the common necessaries of life. His wife, also, as I afterwards found, was an exceedingly industrious woman, and earned a few shillings a week by working at a "trotter vard;" but sickness had reduced the family to a condition of abject poverty.

I of course continued my visits, and their prejudice appeared to diminish, and as soon as advisable I introduced the subject of Roman Catholicism. On one occasion, on entering, I found a person present not recognised by me as any minister with whom I was acquainted; he inquired who I was, and was informed by me. He did not appear at all disposed to interchange even the commonest courtesies of life, for immediately on hearing I was a City Missionary, he adjusted his hat, and left. I was informed he

the priest.” This led to conversation respecting the Roman Catholic religion. “A great question is, Mr. D.," said I, “ what comfort and consolation does your religion afford you? You are stretched by the Almighty on a bed of sickness and pain, your circumstances are those of extreme poverty, you have a young family whom you are likely to have to leave fatherless. What you require is mental support and comfort. Now we may depend upon it," I added, " that if the good God has given us a religion, it will afford all thisdoes your religion afford this to you?”

l'he poor man began to cry; and, after a pause, 6. Indeed, no,” said he, sure I'll be after telling the truth-God help me then-my mind is dark and miserable, your reverence.”

I felt sad in contemplating the scene of human woe around me ;

[ocr errors]

was

66

לל

and the Missionary must sympathize with woenot merely express sympathy, but must feel sympathy—“ Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ,” Gal. vi. 2.

“My friend,” said Í, “a religion that does not comfort, is not worth having ; and then I declared to him the offices and work of Him by whom came

grace and truth,” and told him of the Holy Spirit, “ the Comforter.” “ The word of God is quick and powerful,” Heb. iv. 12, and the sufferer appeared much affected. He could neither read nor write, and “his priests had never taught him thus,he said. Alas! no; good reason why; the witnessing and convincing of the Spirit of God in the heart of the believer that his sins are forgiven—this Rome dreads. Her strength is in the crushed and abject spirit, and to offer it ashes and mourning, and penance, and the spirit of heaviness—thus to rivet the iron chain of priestly despotism, and serve her purpose. Rome preaches penance, not peace. Let the dread of future torment rule, cries Rome ; let the nations perish in their sins ; and whilst they pass in exchange for coin, we will never tire of ordaining penances, hearing confessions, granting indulgences, bestowing holy unctions, conjuring transubstantiative mysteries, and singing masses, both ante and posthumous.

The fabled Flora is represented in the spring of the year with poised wings, gyrating gracefully over our earth, surveying the rolling orb with a kindly countenance, and scattering profusely the seeds of corn, and fruits, and flowers, for the sustenance and pleasure of man.

Let Rome be

represented as an incarnation of oppression, casting down upon the earth fetters, and fears, and snares, and torments. Make her a Ceres or Pomona, if you

לל

will, but let her cornucopia be filled with poison weeds. Who could deny the myth ? Such is Popery

Mr. D. received instruction from me during the space of two years, the whole of which period he was a great sufferer from an internal disease, which at last terminated his life.

The reading and plain exposition of the New Testament, especially the Gospels, and the prayers I from time to time offered with him, were evidently much blessed to his enlightenment “ in the knowledge of glory and virtue.'

He was led to see the vanity and delusion of the Popish views he had once held, and to which he had been so bigoted. “I did believe once,” said he, " that the priests could put me into heaven, but thanks be to God for sending you to instruct me, I know better now; there's none but the blessed Lord Jesus Christ, that died for sinners, that can save my poor

I feel it, Mr. Vanderkiste, I do indeed, thanks be to God.” I have repeatedly asked him, whether he really believed formerly, that the priest had power to secure heaven for him ; he would reply, “Why, Mr. Vanderkiste, you have no idea how ignorant and blinded the people are in Ireland, or you wouldn't ask that question; they do believe it, the whole of them-pay your dues, confess to the priest, and it's all well with you,' said he, nodding his head—“that's the way they're taught, poor things, and how should they know better?”

Afterwards Mr. D., whose mind became more enlightened “by the word of God and prayer," was enabled to come to the “ full assurance of faith,” and to a knowledge of the forgiveness of his sins. He was enabled blessedly to resolve the question : :

soul;

« PreviousContinue »