Many a tear have I shed over the leaves of Doghery's little bible, as I marked the print of his soiled fingers in those pages which he loved to ponder upon. The Gospel and Epistles of St. John, and that of St. Paul to the Hebrews, bore evident traces of frequent and protracted study : there he had found encouragement to pursue his new and blessed path, until, through the blood of Christ, he had grace given him to shed his own. He was faithful unto death : and the Lord delayed not to give him a crown of life.
It may be said, this was the act of a savage mob, and ought not to be charged upon the religion that they so ignorantly profess : but, a very short time afterwards, a clergyman connected with the friends who supported the Irish chapel, was met by the regular, the educated, the recognized Roman Catholic parish priest, of a populous district, in another part of London, who, adverting to the murder, coolly said, there would be more of them, if the Irish preaching and scripture reading was not discontinued: while placards were fixed opposite the chapel, menacing those who attended it with Doghery's fate.
What shall we say to these things ? shall we permit our souls to be blinded, and our hearts hardened, against the dreadful evils of this unholy system ? It is the device of popery to keep her votaries in perfect subjection, by the same arts that she uses to lull their souls in the most profound repose of secure iniquity. By means of her priestly absolution, she affects to wipe off the old score of sins, committed since last the nominal penitent knelt at the confessional; and sends him forth to commence a new arrear, with perfect assurance that by the same process that too shall be made to pass away. Thus is the conscience seared, and the sinner deluded; as was poor Doghery, until, through the faithful testimony borne without reserve against his darling errors, he was led to feel his dreadful peril, while walking along a bridge of straw, over a gulph of ascending flames. And this is the case with every member of the church of Rome, high and low, rich and poor. Thus are we guilty concerning our brethren, if we fail to set before them the peril in which they stand. The wild fanatics who murdered Doghery, were less guilty than we, if we hold our peace, when opportunity is given to plead with a member of that anti-Christian church. They acted up to the spirit of the religion that they professed; we do not. They killed his body; but in so doing sent his soul to glory : we study the ease of our own bo dies, and to retain the mistaken good-will of our neighbours, at the fearful price of accelerating their pace to everlasting destruction. I say accelerating ; for if we, calling ourselves Protestants, withhold the PROTEST, which by that very name, we are pledged to make, what must their inference be, but that we are not of the same mind with our fathers, who yielded their bodies to the flames, rather than even feign a tacit acquiescence in the fearful delusions of others ? They see us banding for the zealous promotion of missionary labours, of which the avowed object is to put down the idolatry of heathen lands; and can they believe that we really consider them idolaters, while, with every facility of daily intercourse, we speak not a warning word to save their souls ?
Alas for the desolation of popery, that is rapidly spreading over our country! We despise the little cloud, no larger than a man's hand, nor believe that ere long the heavens shall be black, and the earth deluged, with the abundance of that plague which wre care not to arrest in its early progress. Far different is the view taken by the promoters of Rome's deadly apostacy : they know the value of every foot of land that their multiplying temples over-shadow, and of every deluded soul that they ensnare with the net which is now spread in almost all our English villages. The land, which is as the garden of Eden before them, they will convert to a howling wilderness, if the Lord revive not in us somewhat of the spirit that dwelt in his confessors of old.
How awful are the descriptions given in the word of God, of this predicted apostacy—how fearful the denunciations thundered forth on its upholders ! Can we read them, and not desire to become instrumental in the work of delivering our fellow-sinners from such a snare ? Never in the annals of creation did a power so fierce, so pitiless, so sanguinary as that of popery, appear to deface the beauty of God's works : none stand exposed to visitations so tremendous as He has denounced against it. We must turn to the martyrology of the Piedmontese Valleys, and to our army, m the days of Mary, to nerve us for the perusal of those vivid descriptions in the book of Revelation, where the smoke of the eternal torment of great Babylon, ascending to heaven, is said to call forth new songs of praise and triumph from the spirits in glory. We must explore the records of Spanish atrocity in the newly discovered western hemisphere, and dive into the dungeons of the eastern inquisition ; we must open the blood-stained page of a Parisian St. Bartholomew, and then turn a stedfast eye to the green shores of poor Ireland, tracing to their true source the wretchedness, the recklessness, the crimes of her priest-ridden peasantry. We must consider how the Lord is insulted, His truth blasphemed, His word anathematized, His great name prostituted to the upholding of that which he de clares an abomination, wdiile His glory is given to another, and his praise to molten images. Yes, we must survey the curse, in its height, and depth, and length, and breadth, in its various manifestations through twelve hundred years of violence and wrong, in order to impress our minds with the duty that we owe to our wretched fellow-creatures, yet lying under the condemnation of this idolatrous iniquity.
It was predicted of our blessed Lord, that he should " grow up as a tender plant," and as he was, so are his people in this world. To be born under a dispensation of pure gospel light, and unclouded truth, to sit every one under his own vine, and his own fig-tree, with none to make us afraid —oh, we do not properly estimate the value of such distinguishing privileges. Our sons grow up like young plants indeed ; but it is out of a rich, a watered, a well-tempered soil, where morning sunbeams play, and evening dews bring gentle refreshment ; where the hand of culture directs their growth; and the guarded fence repels every prowling foe. How different is the case of him who, having been reared in the hot-bed of superstition, is taken thence, and received into the shelter of the true church of Christ, while the storms of vindictive rage howl around, longing to blight the early promise of his growth, and to visit him with swift destruction.