« PreviousContinue »
in review before her, and she looked round on her comfortless cabin and ragged children with something like shame. Her thoughts were all confusion, sometimes she would be ready to start off to the priest, then she feared getting her husband into trouble; then she remembered the fearful confessional, and trembled as she anticipated the penances that would be enjoined her, but she determined at last to do nothing until her husband came back; and as he had shown himself so kind, and gentle, and forbearing, she would be guided by his advice.
At length he returned, and his appearance was hailed with joy; “ Where have you been Dennis,” she said, “ Your absence frightened me,”
“ Did it ?” he replied kindly, “ for your sake I would not mention it, that if Father Murphy asked for me, you could not tell.”
“ Father Murphy has not been here,” she answered, “but I want to see him, I am very unhappy Dennis,” she added, bursting into tears, “ And I do not know what ails me, and somehow I do not fancy Father Murphy could help me.”
“ No Cathleen,” replied Dennis, “ That I am certain he could not, there is but one physician that can cure you—but one that can heal your wounds."
“ Where is he?" she answered quickly, “ I know what you mean, the wounds in my soul; I will confess, I will do penance, I will try to be good, I will; but oh Dennis! I don't know if it will be of any use."
“ No dear, it will not, but my book will tell what indeed will benefit you, it is my book of remedies for all evils Cathleen,” added he smiling. “You told me I might get another and I felt so lost without it, that I hastened to avail myself of your permission.” So saying, he drew his new Bible from out of his breast where he had concealed it, and rapidly turning over the pages, he read to the astonished woman words of comfort, and beauty, and love, such as she had never heard before. For that day, and many days she listened with mute attention; the word of life came home with power to her heart, she found Jesus Christ the only mediator between herself and her offended God; she read nothing of the Virgin Mary, beyond her being the honored instrument of bringing the Redeemer into the world; she thought when Dives prayed to Abraham, that there she found an excuse for worshipping the departed saints, but when Dennis bade her observe that that prayer came from hell, she was silent; and with a smile confessed herself conyinced.
Nor was Dennis idle out of doors ; one after another came to talk to him, and try to draw him back to “ holy mother church,” but when he proved to them that the Church meant that little flock out of all nations, and people, and languages, who are
“ called, and chosen, and faithful,” then they were silent. They asked him more, they called upon him for the book ; and when, upon their faithfully promising not to attempt to injure it, he drew it forth and read to them in their own precious tongue, the wonderful love and mercy of God in Christ Jesus, they seemed to feel that a prophet had risen up among them, and that the words he told them were true. By degrees the number of hearers increased; an old vacant building was resorted to, and Dennis Mahony's time was fully and profitably employed. A blessing from above rested upon him, and as Daniel was preserved in the lion's den, so he was watched over and protected from popish persecution—none made him afraid. He proceeded onwards with his task, and has been the honored instrument of leading many of his ignorant countrymen to know the truth of Christ's Gospel. And what is the effect ? Order now prevails in that district which was once the Whiteboy's haunt, and many a soul born in ignorance and superstition has had cause to bless the day when Dennis Mahony was sent to gaol.
And now, my reader, have I not fulfilled my promise, and shown you the “Panacea for Evil.” Yes, the Bible is the great remedy for the evil that destroys the happiness of individuals, families, and nations; where it is made the rule of conduct and the guide of life, there is peace. And when the Holy Spirit illuminates its pages, and brings home its truths, then it transforms sinners into saints, and chases away error and corruption.
The substance of the above tale was communicated to the writer some time since. At that time the Whiteboy's hearers amounted to three hundred, and application had been made for a teacher to come amongst them, whose arrival was soon expected. Thus we may truly say, " The fields are white for the harvest !” Would that Ireland was freed from the dominion of popish superstition, and truly her sons and daughters would render her name glorious. Ireland wants the Bible in her own native tongue, she wants the pure unadulterated word of God; and not until every cabin possesses it, will she be freed from that miserable thraldom, which makes her now the object of compassion, and a source of the deepest sorrow and sympathy to the Christian world.
M. C. B.
THE CHAIR OF SAINT PETER. To those who take their religious faith simply and solely from the Bible, it can be matter of very little consequence whether Saint Peter ever was at Rome, and still less, whether he ever sat in the Chair, now superstitiously preserved as his, in that city. The Scribes and Pharisees sat in Moses's seat, and yet they were denounced by the purest and holiest of all beings as hypocrites and blind guides. Neither the authority nor the sanctity of the apostle, it is quite clear, has descended on his putative successors, and if they have disgraced the position once occupied by him, they have the more reason to feel ashamed and humbled.
But the arguments which these remarks are intended to introduce, have a much larger and more important bearing than to develop the origin or history of a mere piece of upholstery. They tend to shew in a very striking and characteristic manner, the combined effrontery, ignorance, and disingenuousness of the Church of Rome. We wonder, after all the experience its abettors have had, that any should be found hardy enough to rush into controversy. Its atmosphere is undoubtedly-darkness and silence. The more it “comes to the light,” the more it is sure to be 66
reproved." The history of this “ Battle of the Chairs” may not be known to some. Lady Morgan, in her work on “ Italy," published many years ago, states that the French army when in Rome, removed the cover from Saint Peter's chair, and found engraven on it in Arabic characters a well-known Mahometan inscription-a singular decoration for the throne of a Christian apostle. This assertion was the cause of her book being placed under the Pope's ban, as intimated in the opening of the following article ; and the controversy has lately been taken up with much warmth by the Popish faction here. A correspondent of the “ Daily News,” proceeding only upon the statement of this party, judges them out of their own mouths, and entirely explodes the fiction. He writes,
“Some years ago Lady Morgan's · Italy' was extracted from my portmanteau by an officer of the Roman custom-house. The man read the name in the title-page, and dropped the book as if it had singed his fingers, rejecting all entreaties to have it restored with a degree of ill-humour and asperity very unusual even amongst a class of officials by no means renowned for excess of civility. As I had not then read, nor have since had an opportunity of reading, the offensive pages, I should, in all probability, never have known the reason which excited so much spleen, if her ladyship had not been induced, by the injudicious vauntings of her opponents, to resume the feathered weapon which she wields so well, in order to inform them that the story respecting a Mahometan inscription upon the so-called “ Chair of St. Peter" is derived from the authority of two eyewitnesses, both great and learned antiquarians, Denon and Champollion.
“ As it is obvious that the Roman Church can never be expected to convict itself by exhibiting the Chair, with such an inscription upon it, we must give up all hope of occular demonstration, and have recourse to circumstantial evidence derived from antiquarian arguments in reference to the constructive appearance and details of the object itself, as described by witnesses, who profess to have seen it heretofore.
“ The external appearance, material, form, decorations, and uses of the chair are thus enumerated.
“It is of wood, almost entirely covered with ivory, so as to be justly considered a curule (or folding) chair. It may be divided into two principal parts; the square or cubic portion, which forms the body; and the upright elevation behind, which forms the back. The former portion is four Roman palms in breadth across the front, two and a half at the side, and three and a half
in height. It is formed by four upright posts, united together by transverse bars above and below. The sides are filled up by a species of arcade, consisting of two pilasters of carved wood, supporting, with the corner posts, three little arches. The front is extremely rich, being divided into eighteen small compartments disposed in three rows. Each contains a basso-relievo in ivory, of the most exquisite finish, surrounded by ornaments of the purest gold. These bassi-relievi represent the exploits of the monster-killing Hercules. The back of the chair is formed by a series of pilasters supporting arches, as at the sides; the pillars here are three in number and the arches four. Above the cornice, which these support, rises a triangular pediment, giving to the whole a tasteful and architectural appearance. Besides the bassi-relievi above-mentioned, the rest of the front, the mouldings of the back, and the tympanum of the pediment, are all covered with beautifully wrought ivory.
“St. Peter's first journey to Rome, is said to have taken place in the reign of Claudius ; and it is precisely at this period that, selle gestatorie (or portable chairs) began to be used by men of rank in Rome. They were borne by means of rings placed at their sides, through which poles were passed ; and thus the chair was carried by slaves upon their shoulders. At each side of St. Peter's chair are two rings, manifestly intended for this purpose."
How far these particulars prove it to have been the veritable chair of the apostle, will be shewn by the following shrewd and conclusive arguments.
"1. The sides and back of the chair are decorated with pillars supporting arches. The practice of supporting arches upon columns was unknown to the architects of the Augustan era; and was never thought of till it became customary to erect a new edifice with materials collected from some one more ancient, either damaged by accident, or designedly pulled to pieces for the purpose. It had its origin in the poverty of art, when attempts were made to compensate for the loss of correct design and exquisite finish, by the imposing effect of space alone. As a fitting architrave of stone or marble will not support a heavy superstructure over an intercolumniation of greater width than three diameters between column and column, arches were