Beautiful at all times, and always refreshing, there are seasons when the garden wears a countenance of enhanced beauty, and wafts to the spirit a refreshment more welcome than at others. Such is the case, when, after a short period, perchance a day or two, passed in the crowded metropolis, we return to the bosom of domestic repose, and wander through the maze of flowers, all fresh and sparkling from the pure moisture of an untainted atmosphere. Balmy, indeed, are the breathings of my lovely companions after such an absence: and most intelligible is the welcome that their smile bespeaks. At all times I feel it; but now more truly than at other seasons : for a short excursion to the mighty capital has filled my mind with images more touchingly tender than I can well bear to contemplate, save in the society of these beloved mementos of all that my heart has learnt to cherish, through a varied and painful course. I could not afford to lose this picture gallery : at least, I should need a large portion of all-sufficient grace, cheerfully to submit to that privation, to which multitudes of my fellow-creatures are subjected. The sense of sight is a blessing that we do not rightly appreciate : and I am conscious of much guilty omission in that I do not oftener render thanks to God for such enjoyment. Is there no echo to this acknowledgment in the bosom of my reader ?
I bless the Father of mercies for the delight that he has given me in the works of his hand; and I desire to find in them an ever active stimulus in the path of willing obedience. Shall I rebel, when, from the majestic oak, that even now is putting forth his multitudinous leaves, each in its appointed place, down to the butter-cup that holds forth its tiny receptacle, to catch the falling raindrop, all, all are implicitly following His law, from the third day of creation, even to the present hour ? Shall I move laggingly on in my assigned course, like a fettered slave forced to his task-work, while each little blade of grass springs up with joyous elasticity, even though my footstep again and again presses it down to earth ? No, there is a lesson to be learned here, and I will con it, so long as the Lord, by his aiding grace, enables me to study his will in his works, even as his word hath commanded me to do.
But my picture gallery—what has now endeared it beyond its common value ? I have been where every chord of my heart was compelled to vibrate, and every form and colour of by-gone scenes most vividly represented to my tearful gaze. I found myself in an assemblage, including many whose looks of love are still permitted to gladden me ; and, alas ! presenting many vacancies where others, most deeply endeared, had passed away— some to the world of spirits, and some into distance almost as remote. The May-blossom, that in fond, annual commemoration of the day, I had hidden in my bosom, bore a thorn which I had not the heart to break off; for why should I not feel, even bodily, the piercings of what had been to me a broken reed, so far as this world's comfort is concerned ? The very thorn of that withered May-flower was more precious to me than all the living garlands of the present spring. There are many who will question the truth of this ; but some there are, who, without knowing any thing of me or mine, will, from individual experience, acknowledge it to be unquestionable.
The object of the meeting before me, was one inexpressibly dear to my heart—the promotion of poor Erin's spiritual good, through the divinely appointed medium of her native tongue. I say divinely-appointed: for God has declared it to be so, not only in word, but by confirming signs and wonders, which none might gainsay.
Who that contemplates the day of Pentecost can deny this ? Could not the same Omnipotence have rendered one dialect intelligible to all hearers, at no greater expense of miraculous power, than was required to pour at once the eloquence of more than fifty various languages from the lips of twelve unlettered men ? It was the divine will, that each should hear them speak in his own tongue, the wonderful works of God : and shall our poor sister sit desolate upon her green mountains, excluded, through our iniquitous neglect, from sharing the privilege that was extended to the swarthy Egyptian, and the dweller of the distant desert—that is now carried out alike to the inhabitant of polar regions, and to the South-sea islander, to the wild hunter in his western forest, to the Brahmin, in his eastern fane, and which in his own uncouth dialect, speaks words of peace in the Hottentot's kraal ? It is a foul spot in our feasts of excursive charity, to have those of our own household sit famishing at the portal: it is a denying of the faith—it is an aggravation of something worse than infidelity. But, blessed be God! the odious stain is in the hands of the scourer; and fuller's soap will, ere long, whiten this defiled garment of ours. It must be so: for the Lord puts such persuasive words into the mouths of those who plead for our poor sister, that many were, on that day, constrained to lay down for a while the telescope so curiously pointed towards the remote corners of the globe, and shed a tear over the mourner, who has so long sat neglected at their feet. God puts such tears into his bottle : yet, not by weeping shall we help Ireland, unless we join thereto the fervent supplication of interceding spirits : and when that is accomplished, we have done but the preliminary work. Our tears and prayers are to the Lord, that he would send help: he answers, "Who shall I send, or who will go for us ?" Here is the test: are we ready to reply, " Here am I, send me ?" Perhaps not literally, for no miraculous power is now put forth, to fit us for the task of speaking in other tongues ; and we cannot all become learners of a new dialect : but let it be remembered that there are hundreds, yea, thousands, competent to engage in the sacred labour, and under the greatest advantages that local knowledge and attachment can afford, awaiting only the means which you hold within your purse-strings, to set them at work. This fact is unquestionable ; and a most astounding fact it is,—two shillings will buy an Irish Testament; eight shillings the whole word of God in that language ; and three pounds eleven shillings and three-pence, will afford a salary on which a native Irishman can be found, to spread its contents, for a year, amid the habitations of his darkened countrymen. And oh, how beautiful on the mountains of Erin are the feet of those who publish peace, where war—intestine war, goaded by bigotry— has for ages past defiled the land with blood ! I look around me on the peaceable possessions of an English garden : I recall a long sojourn in the sister isle, yet more brilliantly clad in the profusion of vegetable beauty, and again does my heart bleed over a scene most unexpectedly placed before my mind's eye, in the very assemblage to which I have alluded.