Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

CHAPTER III.

MISSION STATIONS.

Ballina--Sabbath School-Opposition of the Priest-Congrega. tion-Importance of Ballina as a centre of influence-Sabbath Profanation and Accident- Mullafara-Ordination--Old Pres. byterian Settlement-Moyne Abbey-Beautiful view-Bally. glen--Popish Crossings--Beauty of the Glen-Careless hearing of the Word occasioned by Mass being said in a Foreign Language--Schools---Doonbristy-Downpatrick Head - Stations--Bealderig Coast and School--Foundation-stone of the First Mission Church laid- Dromore WestSchools ---Interesting Family-Death of Two Sisters-Backslider awakened-Lough Conn-Castlebar-Preached to the Scots Greys-Turlough--Reek-Stations at Bal--Round TowerGeorge Robert Fitzgerald-Careless Scotchman --Straid Abbey- Foxford-Contemplated Model Farm-Roscommon County-Camlin Station-- First Dispensation of the Communion in the Presbyterian Form in Boyle-Sabbath Desecration -Clogher-- Taking the Bull by the Horns--Boyle.

Saturday night.— Arrived at Ballina wearied and way.worn. This town stands beautifully on the banks of the Moy. is not of ancient date, but is one of the most important and flourishing towns in county Mayo. Visited the Sabbath school. Its general attendance is about sixty ; and, with few exceptions, all the scholars are children of Roman Catholic parents. The priest raged and stormed when this school was commenced. Oftener than once has he come to the school, called out Roman Catholic child. ren, and horsewhipped them for attending Schools and teachers has he denounced from the altar. In the face of this opposition, the children persevered with steady firmness ; and the attendance used to be the fullest the Sabbath after the priest's visit. Addressed the children, and taught one of the classes for a short time-was much pleased with the Sabbath-school-like appearance of one of the girls, who was a Roman Catholic—thoughtful and softened in manners, and very intelligent in her answers. She seemed as if fast nearing the kingdom of God. Preached morning and night—the congregation small-meeting in an upper room. It seems of vast importance, humanly speaking, to the success and general character of the Mission, that Presbyterianism should have an outward aspect worthy of her cause in this town. Nor are the necessary materials awanting. There are Presbyterian laymen whose energies and inAuences should be heartily enlisted, as their honour and the well ng of their own souls are ncerned, in the active upbuilding of religion here; and by the grace of God on the prayers and labours of the youthful minister, whose talents and acquirements are calculated to make his a respected ministry, the work might grow apace. To a Free Churchman, who has been accustomed to see every thing through the hearty co-operation of a Christian people, conducted with a zealous speed, there appeared a lagging and timorous caution in the subject of building churches ; and here, even although the ground is purchased, delay is operating to the no small injury of the congregation's growth.

On this day God spake to this Sabbath dishonouring community by the voice of judgment, in defence of the sacredness of his own day. A party of six young people returning homewards after spending the Sabbath in thoughtless mirth, while crossing the Moy, were precipitated into the water by the upsetting of the boat, and all drowned. An awful thing to meet God in the very act of breaking one of his solemn commandments! “O that they were wise, that they understood this !”

Seven schools are attached to the Ballina district. They are under the inspection of the minister, Rev. Mr Armstrong, and afford instruction to 385 children, all of whom are Roman Catholics, with the exception of about 30 Protestants.

Tuesday.-MULLAFARA.-Came here to meet with the Presbytery of Connaught, and to attend the ordination of Mr Hamilton Magee to the pastorate of the

[ocr errors]

congregation in this place, and of Mr Matthew Kerr to the office of Missionary. In the absence of the minister who had been appointed to preach, I was asked to conduct the opening service, which I endeavoured to do, preaching from the Psalmist's solemn surrender of himself to God,—“ Truly, O Lord, I am thy servant.” It was a strictly Irish congregation, numbering about two hundred.

Whitefield was quite surprised in his first visit to Scotland with the rustling made when he named his text by opening the Bibles all at once. I was struck with the complete absence of this. Few Bibles were produced and opened. The paucity of books, or the inability of the people to read, occasions another observance which has now happily almost become obsolete with us—the reading of the line as the psalm is being sung. The whole aspect of the congregation was that of an Original Dissenting Congregation in Scotland. Before ordination there was an exposition and defence of the principles of Presbytery. This was well done by Mr Armstrong ; and it was convincingly done, for a gentleman who was present, and who had been educated as an Episcopalian, said to me after the service was over, “I am satisfied that yours is the Scriptural order.” Another little particular in which the service differs from ours in Scotland is this, while we perform the act of ordination during prayer, Mr Allen, who officiated, finished his prayer, then was ordination performed as a distinct act by the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery. Prayer was again offered up, and God's blessing supplicated on the service, and on the minister ordained. One question put to the candidates for ordination spoke to the Scottish heart, and showed the complete oneness of the Presbyterian Churches of Ireland and Scotland—“Do you hold it to be your duty to maintain, and to prosecute the reformation work of our covenanting fathers of the Church of Scotland ?It was a solemn sight to see the two young ministers kneeling, and each in his turn receiving at the hands of faithful men the high trust committed to them. “My heart was melted down,” writes Whitefield,“ when the bishop laid his hands upon my head, and I offered up my whole spirit, soul and body, to the service of God's sanctuary.” We witnessed a service more impressive, “ for it was with the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery (1 Tim. iv. 14), and God witnessed an act of selfdedication, we trust, equally sincere. Thus two additional labourers are thrown in upon this needy district-men in the opening of their days, who will give the flower and vigour of their strength to the Lord and to his service.

Mullafara signifies the Hill of Fara.

It was peo

« AnteriorContinuar »