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Irish priests, or rather Irish rogues, having very little Latin, less learning or civility. .... In many places the very walls of the churches down : very few chancels covered, windows and doors ruined or spoiled. There are fifty-two other parish churches in the same diocese, who have vicars endowed upon them, better served and maintained than the other, yet but badly. There are fifty-two parish churches more, residue of the first number of two hundred and twenty-four, which pertain to divers particular lords ; and these, though in better estate than the rest commonly are, yet far from well.

« “ If this be the estate of the church in the bestpeopled diocese, and best-governed country of this your realm, as in truth it is; easy is it for your majesty to conjecture in what case the rest is, where little or no reformation, either of religion or manners, hath yet been planted and continued among them : yea, so profane and heathenish are some parts of this your country become, as it hath been preached publicly before me, that the sacrament of baptism is not used among them : and truly I believe it.

6“ If I should write unto your majesty, what spoil hath been, and is, of the archbishoprics, of which there are four, and of the bishoprics, whereof there are above thirty, partly by the prelates themselves, partly by the potentates, their noisome neighbours, I should make too long a libel of this my letter. But your majesty may believe it, that upon the face of the earth, where Christ is professed, there is not a church in so miserable a case : the misery of which consisteth in these three particulars : the ruin of the very temples themselves ; the want of good ministers to serve in them when they shall be re-edified ; competent living for the ministers, being well chosen.” ,

And now we come to that which has proved the great hindrance to the spread of truth in Ireland, the refusing to her children, the Pentecostal privilege of hearing

every man in his own tongue the wonderful works of God.”

. But it was not enough for churches to remain in desolation, while the teaching of English was to do the work of an evangelist ; it was carefully guarded that the Irish-speaking (that is, almost the whole native) population, should be excluded from even hearing the truths set forward in our beautiful liturgy. Here is a clause in the act relating to the public services of the church, intended, be it remembered, to carry out the spirit of our 24th Article, which says, “ It is a thing plainly repugnant to the word of God, and the custom of the primitive church, to have public prayer in the church, or to minister the sacraments in a tongue not understanded of the people.” “ And forasmuch as in most places of this realm, there cannot be found English ministers to serve in the churches, or places appointed for common prayer, or to minister the sacraments of the people ; and that if some good mean were provided, that they might use the prayer, service, and administration of sacraments set out and established by this act, in such language as they might best understand, the due honour of God should be thereby much advanced ; and for that also, that the same may not be in their native language, as well for difficulty to get it printed, as that few in the whole realm can read the Irish letters ; we do, therefore, most humbly beseech your majesty, that with your highness's favour and royal assent it may be enacted, ordained, established and provided, by the authority of this present parliament, that in every such church or place, where

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the common minister or priest hath not the use or knowledge of the English tongue, it shall be lawful for the same common minister or priest, to say and use the matins, even-song, celebration of the Lord's Supper, and administration of each of the sacraments, and all their common and open prayer, in the Latin tongue.” (p. 260.) “Could not these difficulties," asks our good bishop, “ then have been overcome by supplying the proper types for the printing, and by training persons to read the Irish character, if none were to be found actually qualified ?"

The following facts show how little zeal there was for the true good of the Irish Church.

• The primacy was vacant at the time of Elizabeth's succession, in November, 1558, and a primate was not appointed till the beginning of 1562 ; Down and Conner was left vacant for two years ; Kilmore had a bishop during only four years of her long reign ; and no appointments were made to Derry and Raphoe till 1595 ; and all this time, of the bishops dispossessed on Mary's accession, for their attachment to Protestantism, not one was reinstated in his see, except Casey, Bishop of Limerick, and he not until twelve years after the death of Mary.'

Yet it was not the Irish people who were unwilling to read the scriptures, as the following extract will prove.

• The command in a preceding reign to place a bible in every church in the kingdom, must have been a dead letter or nearly so, for soon after the queen's accession two large bibles, presented by Heath, Archbishop of York, to the two cathedrals of Dublin, “caused a great resort of the people thither to read and hear their contents. Small bibles at that time, for private use, were far from common; but the hunger and thirst for them

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was great, when means were offered for its gratification ; so that it appears from the account of John Dale, a bookseller, that in two years' time he sold seven thousand copies for the booksellers in London, when the book was first printed and brought over into Ireland, in the year 1559 ; a large number, when regard is had to the probable population of the country, and to the small proportion of those who were capable of reading.” (pp. 265, 266.) There is much force in these observations, and the facts prove what might have been done for Ireland, had a few been like-minded with this worthy Archbishop.'

* The reign of James I. is marked by more decided efforts for the temporal well-being of the Irish Church, than have characterized any period since the Reformation, except the last twenty yea of George III. The king made a wise use of the immense tracts of land, which were left at his disposal at the expiration of Tyrone’s rebellion, and extreme destitution was no longer the characteristic of the church in the northern part of the kingdom ; yet its state, even in externals, was not very gratifying, After all the grants of James's

peaceful reign, in 1622, on an examination of the northern provinces, it appears that in seven dioceses, of which returns are given, there were 304 churches in good repair, and 481 in ruins ; and under the head of “good repair,” we are elsewhere informed, are included buildings covered with thatch ; the glebes being to the churches in the proportion of one to three. Now before we proceed beyond the surface, we must ask, was this a fair presentation of the Gospel ? A people attached to a glittering and earnest idolatry, taught to regard devotion as the paramount, almost the only characteristic of true religion, see their idols thrown down and their temples rifled under the name of reformation, and when they look at the reformed religion, pressed by legislative enactments upon them, they see its ceremonials scorned by its very professors, and while they hear of laws to compel them to resort to their reformed parish church, they see that church in ruins.'

If we are sending missionaries to Hottentots, to cannibals, to the most savage tribes, we say they must be men carefully trained and prepared, men too taught of God and filled with his Spirit ; for the greater the difficulty of the task, the more need of suitable instruments to carry it on. This was not the reasoning applied to poor Ireland, her children were despised and counted almost as savages, therefore it was thought that ignorant men would suffice to teach them.

«« The incumbents," writes Sir John Davis, “ both parsons and vicars, did appear to be such poor, ragged, ignorant creatures (for we saw many of them in the camp), as we could not esteem any of them worthy of the meanest of those livings, albeit many of them are not worth more than forty shillings per annum : (p. 358,) and in Derry, one of the incumbents is described by the diocesan, Bishop Downham, as an honest man, but no licensed preacher, notwithstanding to catechise, and to speak and read Irish, and sufficient for a parish, wholly consisting of Irish :' and he describes another as an Irishman of mean gifts, having a little Latin and no English, but thought by my predecessor sufficient for a parish consisting wholly of Irish.''

In the reign of the first Charles, the holy Bedell flourished, a man who had the good of the Irish-speaking population thoroughly at heart, and spared no pains to bring the truth before them in their own tongue.

• The effect of his labours may be traced in the re- :

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