The Reader willingly wrote out his petition, for Doghery was a better scholar in his native Irish than in the English tongue ; and while he was so employed, the young man took up the book which the other had been reading—a book that I had given him, containing some controversial tracts on the leading errors of Popery.
When the letter was completed. Doghery exclaimed, 'This book must be false, for it contradicts my church ? here is the presence of Christ in the sacrament of the mass denied. Why do you read such books ?'
' Because,' answered the other, 'they shew me the errors of the church to which I also once belonged'.
A very animated discussion ensued, wrhich lasted till after midnight; while Doghery contended for the orthodoxy of his church, with equal spirit and4 ingenuity. The next day he returned with an anxious countenance: and on the Reader inquiring the fate of his petition, he replied, he did not come about that; but to renew their discourse concerning the book. ' For,' said he, ' you deny the power of my church to forgive sins ; and if that be the case I am in a bad way.' Again wras the point brought to the test of Scripture ; and Doghery went away, deeply impressed, to return on the following day, more troubled than before, while he frankly acknowledged that he could no longer place any confidence in that which had always appeared to him an infallible guide to heaven.
'What am I to do V was his anxious inquiry. The Reader told him, that if he would accompany him to the Irish Church, where service was performed on the Wednesday evening, he might hear something in his own tongue that should give him more light.
Unacquainted with the circumstances, the pastor addressed his little flock on the parable of the prodigal son, expounding it as he proceeded. On arriving at the passage—" Put a ring on his finger, and shoes on his feet," he explained the latter by a reference to Eph. vi. " having your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace," and dwelt on the difficulties that the Christian, must surmount, or pass over, which required, at every step, such defence as Christ alone can furnish to the feet of his saints. At this period of the discourse, Doghery trembled exceedingly, and looked down at his feet. The Reader asked the reason of his emotion : 'Look,' he replied, 'at my broken shoes—I could never travel a stony road in them : my soul is in a worse condition than my shoes i how then can I travel that difficult path to heaven 'And see, my shoes are so far gone, that nobody can ever make them good for any thing now : my soul is worse—Oh, who shall mend that.!" The Reader was so struck by this singular application of the subject to his own case, that he took him to the vestry, and introduced him to the zealous preacher, who spoke very impressively to him, and gave him a bible.
On that very evening, the minister of the Irish church repeated this to me : and Doghery became the subject of our especial prayers.
From the time of receiving the bible, he studied it daily—hourly. A change most striking came over his whole aspect and character. His memorable petition had succeeded, so that he got a place as porter in an apothecary's establishment: and he who never before could remain sober for two or three days, and was sure to loose every situation within a week, was now so temperate, so faithful, so diligent, so steady, that he won the perfect confidence of his employers. Still, being an out-door servant, and having a little motherless girl to support, at nurse, he was unable to afford himself the means to remove from his wretched lodging to one less miserable. He occupied a corner in a densely inhabited court, near Covent Garden, surrounded by the most bigotted of his unhappy countrymen, wrho made Doghery and his heretic bible the objects of their fiercest animosity. However, the Lord helped him to make a good confession, in meekness and love, even here : and after a propei season of probation, Doghery was admitted a com municant at the Lord's table in the beloved Irish church. There, the cup of blessing, which his crafty priests withheld from him, was put into his hand ; and with what effect may be gathered from an incident that his dear pastor repeated to me. He went to visit a poor sick Irishman, in one of the dens of St. Giles', and found Doghery seated by his bedside, reading the word of God to him. Mr. B. said ' I rejoice to find you sensible of the preciousness of that sacred book.' Doghery replied, 'I hope I am, sir; I feel much when I read the scriptures here; I feel much when you preach to me in the church ; but when you gave me the bread of life, in the holy sacrament, I feel, oh, then I did feel, indeed !'—' How did you feel, my poor fellow V He looked up, with eyes that sparkled brightly, and answered, with great energy, 'Sir, I felt that it was the marriage ceremony, which united my soul to my Saviour for ever'.
On the Saturday following this, he went to his old friend the reader, and said, ' I have many trials at home : they never allow me to sleep, for cursing me and blaspheming. They insist on my giving up my bible, or else they will have my blood. My blood they may have,' he added, with earnestness, 'but this book none shall take from me. It is more precious than my life.' He then related how he was accustomed to answer their menaces and revilings, by reading or repeating to them the blessed truths by which he was made wise unto salvation. He told the reader, that he must go on the morrow to see his child, at Finchley common; and, therefore, could not attend church till the eve* ning, and he continued searching the scriptures with him until a very late hour, expressing the joy and peace he felt in believing.
At seven o'clock next morning he was obliged to go out with medicines, to his master's patients; between nine and ten, he went to eat his breakfast in his comfortless home. Here he was most fiercely assailed, on the two points that they constantly insisted on—to give up his bible, and to go to mass. Doghery refused : they attacked him, and struck him, but he only entreated their forbearance: he raised not his hand, except to ward off some of their blows—in ten minutes he was pitched out into the street, a mangled corpse—his head and side both laid open by blows from a plasterer's shovel; one arm and several ribs broken : and all the upper part of his body black with bruises. The poor Irishman had sealed with his blood the tastimony of that truth which he held: he had joined the noble army of martyrs, and entered into the joy of his Lord.