I have alluded to the strength of the boy's patriotism ; this always appeared extraordinary to me. Of geography he had not the slightest idea, neither could any peculiarity of language (for the Irish is much spoken in his native place) or difference of accent, affect him. He showed not the slightest unwillingness to leave his country; nor did a wish of returning to it ever seem to cross his mind. Yet was his love for Ireland so pervading, that it seemed to mix itself with all his thoughts. I have no doubt but that the sad contrast which his memory presented, of the wants, the vices, the slavish subjection of a priest-ridden population, to the comforts and decencies, and spiritual freedom of the land where he could worship God according to his conscience, without fear of man, was a principal ground of this tender compassionate love towards Ireland, and was the means of stirring him up to that constant prayer, in which I know that he earnetly wrestled with God, for his brethren according to the flesh. The language of his heart was, " O that mine head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people !"
I well remember finding him one morning in the garden, leaning on his spade, with tears trickling down his cheeks. On my approaching him with a look of inquiry, he took up a handful of earth, and showed me that it was so dry he could scarcely dig : then proceeded to tell me, that, because of the drought, he feared potatoes would not grow well in Ireland; and poor Irish would be all bone, and would be sick and die, before they had learned to pray to Jesus Christ. He dwelt on this for a long while ; and most pathetically en* treated me to pray to God for poor Ireland. All that day he continued very sad: and on bidding me good night, he gave a significant nod to one side, and joined his hands, signifying his intention to have a ' long prayer,' as he used to call it. The next morning I went to the garden ; and most vehemently did he beckon for me to run till I came to where he stood ; when, with a face flushed with joy, he turned rapidly over the well-moistened earth, then stuck his spade exultingly into it, and told me that he prayed a long while before he went to bed—got up soon after, to pray again— and, on returning to his little couch, slept till morning ;—that while Jack was asleep, God who had looked at his prayer, made a large cloud, and sent much rain; and now potatoes, would grow, poor Irish would be fat and strong; and God, who sent the rain, would send them bibles. He then lifted up his face to heaven, and with a look of unbounded love—so reverential, yet so sweetly confiding —such as I never beheld on any other countenance., he said, ' Good, good Jesus Christ V Often when my heart is particularly heavy, for the wants and woes of Ireland, do I recall that triumphant faith in which the boy pleaded for it, day by day, foi seven years; and it gives me comfort more solid than can well be imagined.
His expression, that God looked at, or saw his prayer, reminds me of another beautiful idea that he communicated to me. Observing that he could not speak to be heard, he made me open my watch ; and then explained that as I, by so doing, could perceive all the movements of the wheels, so, but without opening it, God could discern what passed in his head. A servant going to fetch something out of his room one night, when he was supposed to have been asleep a long while, saw him at the low window on his knees, his joined hands raised up and his eyes fixed on the stars, with a smile of joy and love like nothing, she said, that ever she had seen or fancied. There was no light but from that spangled sky ; and she left him there undisturbed. He told me that he liked to go to the window, and kneel down, that God might look through the stars into his head, to see how he loved Jesus Christ. Alas ! how few among us but would shrink from such a scrutiny !
I once asked him a strange question, but I did it not lightly. He was expressing the most unbounded anxiety for the salvation of every one. He spoke with joy and delight of the angels, and glorified spirits : he wept for those who had died unreconciled through the red hand; and urged me to pray very much for all alive, that they might be saved. When he lamented so feelingly the lost estate of the condemned, I ventured to ask him if he was not sorry for Satan ? In a moment his look changed from the softest companion to the most indignant severity : and he replied, with great spirit, ' No ! Devil hate Jesus Christ—Jack hate Deviland went on in a strain of lofty exultation, in the prospect of seeing the great enemy chained for ever in a lake of fire. He did not excuse those who perished in unbelief and enmity : he seemed to mourn for them in the exact spirit of his Saviour, who, as man, wept over the sinners whom, he nevertheless, as God, sealed up in just condemnation. When I asked him if he ever prayed for those who were dead, he answered, in some surprise, ' No,' and enquired whether I did. I replied in the negative. He said, ' Good ;' and added, that the red hand wras not put on the book after people were dead, but while they were on the earth, and praying. Yet the idea of the soul slumbering was to him perfectly ridiculous—he quite laughed at it. The day before his death, he asked me, with a very sweet and composed look, what message I wished him to deliver to my brother, when he should see him : I desired him, in the same quiet way, to tell him that I was trying to teach his little boy to love Jesus Christ; and that I hoped we should all go to him by-and-by. Jack gave a satisfied nod, and told me he would remember it. Accustomed as I was to his amazing realization of things unseen, I felt actually startled at such an instance of calm, sober, considerate anticipation of a change from which human nature shrinks with dismay. At the same time, it furnished me with a support under the trial, not to be recalled without admiring gratitude to Him who wrought thus wondrously.
And oh that we were all such Protestants as Jack was ! Popery he regarded as the destroyer of his beloved country: its priestly domination, its mechanical devotions, were, in his mind, inseparably linked with the moral evils of which he had been, from infancy, a grieved and wondrous spectator— drunkenness and discord, especially. After he was spiritually enlightened, his view of the ' mystery of iniquity,' as opposed to Christ and his gospel, became most overpowering ! it was ever present to him ; and when actually dying, he gathered up all his failing energies into an awfully vehement protest against it: sternly frowning, while he denounced it as 'a lie !' This was followed by an act of beautiful surrender of himself into the ' bleeding hand' of his ' One Jesus Christ,' as he loved to call him in contradistinction to the many saviours of unhappy Rome—and a pathetic entreaty to me, to pray, and to work for 'Jack's Poor Ireland'.
I will do so, God helping me ; and happy shall I be, if some among my readers, when the little trefoil spreads its green mantle in their path, will remember the dumb boy, and fulfil his dying wish, by seeking occasion to promote the cause of Jesus Christ among the darkened population of' Jack's poor Ireland'.