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depend all our hopes for things present and for things to come-and it is no vain vision which we cherish, when, through the blessing of God on the instrumentality at work, we look forward for the same blessed effects being fulfilled in Connaught as have long been visible in Ulster, when, by the preaching of the word and the teaching of the Bible, its cities and scattered villages shall flourish, and the barren wastes of Mayo shall, through a welldirected industry, become fruitful fields.
Leaving Belfast, the Zion of Irish Presbyterianism, we set forward. We had reached Lurgan, having travelled through the cheerful towns of Moira and Lisburn, when the sun set behind the broad expanse of Lough Neagh. But ere the sun had gone down, the moon had risen to rule by night. Its light revealed the whitened farmsteads, and the growing corn fast ripening towards harvest, and cast the trembling shadows of the trees which skirted the road across the path, to the no small annoyance of the spirited tracers. Under the pale moonbeam Armagh was visible. True to the meaning of its name--that of the lofty field—its streets occupy the sides of Druimsallech, the hill of willows; and the venerable cathedral, crowning the top, looks down upon the city as if exercising a hallowing inspection over it. The name of one man rises from beneath the obscurity of centuries in connection with this city-it is that of James Usher, Archbishop of Armagh, and Primate of Ireland. Christianity owes much to the learned labours of Archbishop Usher. Presbyterianism will ever pronounce his name with grateful respect; for, when annoyed and persecuted by other bishops, the Presbyterian ministers were sure of his kindly interference. He knew too well the wants of his country and the worth of the Presbyterians, not to acknowledge them as fellow-labourers in the same great work; and had his scheme of reducing Episcopacy to the form of Presbytery met with the royal acceptance earlier, as it met with it too late, the wide gulf which now separates Episcopacy and Presbytery would have been greatly narrowed. Let those who love their country and the cause of Christ, compare the gentle counsels and administration of Usher with the policy of Laud, which, by dividing Protestant influence, weakened its power, and prepared things for the growth of Popery and the awful massacre of 1641.
Morning found us approaching the town of Enniskillen. One of the two maiden cities of Ireland, it stands on its proud eminence overlooking both divisions of Lough Erne; and it contains in its courthouse the royal standard of William and Mary, which was unfurled at the battle of the Boyne. Of the
Presbyterian Church in this place was Mr Plunkett, the father of Ex chancellor Plunkett, once minister. This family has displayed, within as many generations, the three great denominational forms of Popery, Presbytery, and Episcopacy; for the Ex-chancellor's grandfather was a convert from Popery, his father was a Presbyterian, himself is Episcopalian, and his sons are in possession of those lordly dignities in the Church which their grandfather thrice solemnly disclaimed as unscriptural. Surely if, in any form, Christianity has been taught by dear bought experience not to trust in men's sons, in whom there is no stay, and more especially when they are gorgeously apparelled and live in king's courts, it has been in the form of poor Presbytery. He who succeeded Lord Plunkett for a short time in the honours of the Chancellorship of Ireland, was also the son of a Presbyterian minister, born and bred in a Scotch manse; but when the Church which reared him came seeking justice at his hand, his recorded opinions and decisions show that he had become a stranger and alien to her principles.
Skirting Loch Nitty, betwixt the Black Lion inn and Manor Hamilton, we enter the province of Connaught.
FIELD AND ORIGIN OF THE MISSION.
Connaught-General Character of the Province-Origin of the
Mission--Rev. Robert Allen-Rev. M. Brannigan-Missionary Spirit of the Irish Presbyterian Students.
Connaught is described as the western, the smallest, least populous, least reclaimed, least known, and most misunderstood of the four provinces of Ireland. It is divided into counties Mayo and Galway on the west, and counties Sligo, Leitrim, and Roscommon on the east. Tracts of its best ground are lying wild ; and the large proportion of its inhabitants is much in the same condition as were the peasantry of Europe in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Adults innumerable, having no regular employment, live by beggary, and the children, unschooled and in rags, were wont to ply the same trade of mendicancy. In 1841 the population was 1,418,859. The population, generally, is Romanist; and 357 Popish priests are in busy operation throughout the province. Ignorance and superstition, indolence and filth, meet you
in every direction. Such the field selected for the Mission.
The means and manner of its commencement are full of interest. A copy of the Irish Scriptures had been found on the public road. It fell into the hands of a humble man who knew the Irish language. He read, and his eyes were enlightened. The light which gladdened his own heart he was desirous to communicate to his neighbours ; and so, with his Bible in his pocket, he went from cottage to cottage, and by the gleam of the blazing bogwood he read the word of life to interested and increasing circles. The Irish language was found to be the key to the Irish
and the influence of this as an agency for good was soon discovered by those who were waiting and watching for the wellbeing of their fatherland.
The second stage in the progress was when the subject was brought under the notice of the Rev. Robert Allen, minister of Stewartston.
He was reading in his study after breakfast, when the visit of a gentleman was announced.
“ The object of my visit,” said the gentleman,“ is to get you actively interested in Irish schools.” 66 An Irish school! an Irish school !” replied Mr Allen, “it is the first time I have heard it named.” After the matter was explained, it was no difficult thing to secure Mr Allen's interest and hearty co-operation. The result was