I will not attempt to express what I felt, at this trait of exquisite tenderness and delicacy in a poor peasant boy : but I told him that the little shamrocks were far dearer to me, because they made that spot look green and lovely. He instantly kissed the leaves, and put them in his hat; and when, after two years, I saw his own lowly grave actually covered with shamrocks, I felt that, in this world, I must not look for such another char acter. That child of God was commissioned to cross my path, that he might shed over it that pure and tranquillizing light of his eminently holy and happy spirit, during the darkest, and most troubled season of my past pilgrimage. The Lord has choice cordials to bestow, but he keeps them for special occasions, to strengthen the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees, of his fainting people. Such was my experience, while the boy was with me, whose whole discourse, his every thought by day, and dream by night, was of the love and the power of Jesus Christ. He saw God in every thing: the lightning, he called ' God's eye,' and the rainbow, ' God's smile.' Two objects his soul abhorred —Satan, and Popery. Of Satan's power and malice he seemed to have a singularly experimental knowledge: yet always described him as a conquered foe. He once told me that the devil was like the candle before him; and advancing his hand to the flame, suddenly withdraw it, as if burnt: then, after a moment's thought, exultingly added, that God was the wind which could put the candle out: illustrating the assertion by extinguishing it with a most energetic puff. I often remarked in him such a realization of the constant presence of his great enemy, as kept him perpetually on his guard ; and when it is remembered that Jack never knew enough of language to enable him to read the bible, this will be felt to have been a striking proof of divine teaching. Jack knew many words, but they were principally nouns—he mastered substantives readily, and some of the most common adjectives, with a few adverbs, but the pronouns I never could make him attend to; the verbs he would generally express by signs. His language was a mere skeleton, rendered intelligible by his looks and gestures, both of which were remarkably eloquent. I have seen him transcribe from the bible or prayer-book, as he was very fond of the pen ; but when he has unintentionally turned over two leaves, or missed a line, he has not been sensible of the error : a proof that he wrote as he drew, merely to copy the forms of what he saw. He once got hold of the verse, " Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world," and asked me to explain it.
I did: and he would write it out twenty times, with great delight: but still preferred the symbol of the red hand. It may be asked why I did not advance him farther in language ? There was a reluctance on his part which I could not surmount, and which he in some measure accounted for, by saying that he liked to talk to me, but not to others. He used the word " brother," to explain the sensation occasioned by any effort in the way of acquiring grammatical learning, and went off to his pencils with such glee, that, as he was a good deal employed about the house and garden, and evidently drooped when much confined to sedentary occupation, I yielded to his choice, determined to settle him, after a while, to his studies ; and conscious that he was right in the remark which he made to me, that his not being able to talk better kept him out of the way of many bad things. His sister, who came over to me five months before his death, could not read; consequently they had no communication but by signs ; and often have I been amazed to witness the strong argumentative discussions that went forward between them on the grand question of religion. She looked on Jack as an apostate ; while his whole soul was engaged in earnest prayer, that she also might come out from her idolatrous church.
But to resume the subject of that spiritual teaching : knowing as I did, how ignorant the boy was of the letter of scripture, I beheld with astonishment the bible written, as it were on his heart and brain. Not only his ideas, but his expressions, as far as they went, were those of scripture; and none who conversed with him could believe without close investigation that he was so unacquainted with the written word. When tempted to any thing covetous or mercenary, he would fight against the feeling, saying, 'No, no: Judas love money—devil loves money—Jesus Christ not love money—Jack know, money bad.' I had of course brought him intimately acquainted with all the history of our blessed Lord; but it was God who made the spiritual application.
It was a sweet season when first the dumb boy commemorated, at the Lord's table, that dying love which continually occupied his thoughts. A season never to be forgotten. A young countryman of his for whom he was deeply interested, had, after a long conflict, renounced popery ; and earnestly desired to partake with us the blessed ordinance. Consumption had been preying on Jack for many months, though he lived a year longer, and his pale face, and slender delicate figure, formed a touching contrast to the stout ruddy young soldier who knelt beside him. The latter evinced much emotion; but there was all the serenity, all the smiling loveliness of a clear summer sky on the countenance of Jack. I asked him afterwards how he felt at the time : his reply was concise, but how comprehensive, ' Jack knows Jesus Christ love poor Jack—Jack very very much love Jesus Christ—Jack very very very much hate devil— Go, devil!' and with a look of lofty, solemn triumph, he waved for him to depart, as one who had no power to molest him. There was a galaxy rof scripture in these few words, with their accompanying looks. Jesus had made himself known in the breaking of bread—" We love him, because he first loved us." "Get thee behind me, Satan." " They overcame him through the blood of the Lamb." " The God of all peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly." Jack had the most clear perception of the nature and end of that ordinance, more so, I believe, than many who with every advantage in the way of instruction, attend it from year to year. Dearly he loved the altar of the Lord ; and near it he is now laid to rest, just beneath the eastern window of that house where, indeed, he would far rather have been the humblest door-keeper, than have dwelt in the most gorgeous palaces of an ungodly world.