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out, lest the presence of a heretic might communicate a taint of sin to the departing spirit-lest her soul should sustain a spiritual injury from the physical proximity of one who was not a CATHOLIC! This circumstance is strictly true, and I could lay my finger on the head of the man who thus expelled, so rudely and unfeelingly, the friend of his mother. And here I desire to observe, that this is no extreme case; for the Roman Catholic family in question was no way remarkable as being either bigoted or superstitious but it was only the exercise of an admitted and fundamental principle in the creed of a Popish peasant, written on his heart by every feeling and opinion which he saw in operation around him.

But there is no specimen of Irish superstition equal to that which is to be seen at St. Patrick's Purgatory, in Lough Dearg. A devout Romanist who has not made a pilgrimage to this place, can scarcely urge a bold claim to the character of piety. As soon as a man who is notorious for a villainous and immoral hardihood of character, and has kept aloof from "his duties," thinks proper to give himself up to the spiritual guidance of his priest, he is sent here to wipe out the long arrear of outstanding guilt, for which he is accountable, to neutralize the evil example of a bad life by this redeeming act of concentrated devotion. It is melancholy to perceive the fatal success to which the Church of Rome has attained, in making void the atonement of Christ by her traditions; and how every part of her complicated, but perfect, system, even to the minutest points, seizes upon some corresponding weakness of the human heart, thereby to bind it to her agreeable and strong delusions. Every spiritual arrangement in her is calculated to turn the steps of the sinner from the cross of Christ. Has he committed a crime?-he is not taught to look with unfeigned repentance to Him who taketh away the sin of the world; to acknowledge his own vileness, as a sinful and corrupt creature; and to cast his burden upon Christ. Oh no! he must cast it upon some rotten prop-upon St. Francis, upon St. Anthony-upon the blessed Virgin-upon the power of his priest, or upon his own works: all of which rise up in impious competition with the blood of Jesus, rivalling, in the arrogance of human pride, the benefits of his redemption.When he commits a sin, he must confess it to a fellow sinner; perhaps, to a greater one, too, than himself; he must fast-he must confess he must pray-he must shed tears, because he thinks that tears make his contrition perfect; and whilst the mind is distracted or puffed up by the performance of these, that have not even the merit of being voluntary, the faith perishes the heart becomes habituated to self-deception, and the blood of Christ is forgotten in a mechanical routine of deceitful and unprofitable works. Is he sick he is not taught to approach, with a trembling hope in the divine mercy through Christ, that awful throne, before which he is shortly to appear-no-he must be anointed by the clergyman-be must confess and receive, and then all anxiety as to the danger of his situation is over-he rests then contented; and, 2 M


ignorant that there can be no way to happiness but through Jesus, he reposes himself upon the intercession of his priest; who, indeed, says his masses for him, and is neither ashamed nor afraid when he attempts to sell the blood of Christ for money; or to extort from the awakened terrors of a guilty conscience, that pittance which charity would apply to procure him those comforts which the bed of sickness necessarily requires. Sir, I have seen a man who led an outragiously wicked life, seized by an illness which was likely to prove fatal; he became alarmed,— for the horrors of eternity, and the wrathful countenance of an angry God, seemed kindling before him. It was appalling to hear the groans and shrieks of the miserable man, as he called upon his priest: I never witnessed any thing so solemn. He did not address himself to God; he did not appear to know that there was mercy for him through the Saviour; neither did he call upon Christ; but he expected it through his priest, and he accordingly called upon him. The priest came, the sick man confessed to him, received absolution, and in less than an hour I saw that very man quietly reposing on his bed apparently happy. Here was no change of heart, no spiritual views of the character of God, of his detestation of sin-of the plan of Redemption furnished by his Son-nor of the simple terms on which the benefits of that redemption are communicated to sinners. No; but because he had confessed his sins to the priest-because the priest had read a form of prayer over him, in which neither his heart nor his tongue could join, inasmuch as he did not understand them; and lastly, because he rubbed a little oil on those parts of his body which had been most instrumental in committing sin.Upon these forms did the spirit of that man rest for its hopes of eternal salvation. Through these, and not through the blood of atonement, did he expect to be reconciled to God, after an illspent life: yet how many thousands die, like this man, ignorant of the only means of salvation, in the bosom of a Church calling herself Christian, and claiming holiness as one of the marks peculiar to herself.

It is agreeable to the pride of man to be saved by his own merit; the doctrine recommends itself to the depravity of his nature, for an individual nay give himself very large scope in the commission of crime, who believes, that if he fasts, prays, and confesses for it, he can, by these means, exonerate himself from the consequences of guilt. A person who has neglected religion until advanced in years, need not then feel very deep remorse for his dissolute life, nor very serious apprehensions at the hour of death, if he has performed a station to Lough Dearg, thus lulling his old age into a false and treacherous security.

It is a fact, Mr. Editor, that many an unfortunate sinner runs a career of vice and iniquity on the strength of Lough Dearg; particularly those who reside in that part of the kingdom, where, in consequence of their contiguity to it, a belief in its efficacy is most habitually present in the mind.

But as I commenced this paper with an intention of giving you an account of a pigrimage which I made, when a Roman Catho

lic, to this celebrated place, I think I had better not tantalize you, or your respectable readers any longer, but give you at once the narrative. I was, at the time of performing this station, in the middle of my nineteenth year-of quick perception-warm imagination-a mind peculiarly romantic-a morbid turn for devotiona candidate for the priesthood, or what is more technically termed lignum sacerdotis, having been made slightly acquainted with Latin, and more slightly still with Greek. At this period, however, all my faculties merged like friendly streams into the large current of my devotion. Of religion I was completely ignorant although I had sustained a very conspicuous part in the devotions of the family, and signalized myself frequently at chapel by taking the lead in a rosary. I had often out-prayed and outfasted an old bachelor uucle, who lived with us; a feat on which few would have ventured; and I even arrived to such a pitch of perfection at praying, that with the assistance of young and powerful lungs, I was fully able to distance him at any English prayer in which we joined. But in Latin, I must allow, that owing to my imperfect knowledge of pronounciation, and to some twitches of conscience I felt on adventuring to imitate him by overleaping this impediment, he was able to throw me back a considerable distance in his turn? so that when we both started for a de profundis, he was always sure to come in before me. Owing to all this I was considered a young man of promise, being, moreover, as my master often told my father, a youth of prodigious parts and great cuteness. Indeed on this subject my master's veracity could not be questioned; because when I first commenced Latin, I was often heard repeating the prescribed tasks in my sleep; a circumstance which, added to my well-proved piety, rubbed up my father's knowledge of calculation, when he enumerated what the income of a bishop might amount to, under the present dynasty; but should emancipation pass, and things turn out as was expected, why the Palace of the Protestant bishop of would be, he would add smiling placidly, no uncomfortable residence for me; nor his income by any means an indifferent fund for establishing all my poor relations. Many of these latter had already, even upon the strength of my priesthood, begun to claim relationship with our family, and before I was nineteen, I found myself father to a dozen godsons and as many goddaughters; every one of whom I had with unusual condescension taken under my patronage: and most of the boys were named after myself. Finding that I was thus responsible for so much, in the opinion of my friends, and having the aforesaid character of piety to sustain, I found it indispensible to make the pilgrimage. Not that I considered myself a sinner, or by any means bound to go from that motive; for although the opinion of my friends, us to my talents and sanctity, was exceedingly high, yet, I assure you, it cut but a very indifferent figure, when compared with my own upon both these subjects. I very well remember that the first sly attempt I ever made at a miracle was in reference to Lough Dearg; I tried it by way of preparation for my pilgrimage. I heard that there had been a boat lost there about

the year 1796, and that a certain priest who was in her as a passenger, had walked very calmly across the lake to the island, after the boat and the rest of the passengers in her had all gone to the bottom. I thought to myself, that should any such untoward accident occur to me, it would be no unpleasant circumstance to imitate him; but, that it would be infinitely more agreeable to make the first experiment in a marl-pit on my father's farm, than on the lake. Accordingly, after three days fasting and praying for the power of not sinking in water, I slipped very quietly down to the pit, and after looking about me to be sure that there was no looker on, I approached the brinkAt this moment my heart beat high with emotion, my soul was rapt up to a most enthusiastic pitch of faith, and my whole spirit absorbed in feelings, where hope-doubt-gleams of uncertainty-visions of future eminence-twitches of fear-reflections on my expertness at swimming-on the success of the water-" walking priest aforementioned-and on the depth of the pondhad all insisted on an equal share of attention. At the edge of the pit grew large water-lillies, with their leaves spread over the surface; it is singular to reflect upon what slight and ridiculous circumstances the mind will seize, when wound up in this manner to a pitch of superstitious absurdity. I am really ashamed, even whilst writing this, of the confidence I put for a moment in a treacherous water-lilly, as its leaf lay spread so smoothly and broadly over the surface of the pond, as if to lure my foot to the experiment. However, after having stimulated myself by a fresh Pater and Ave, I advanced, my eyes turned up enthusiastically to heaven-my hands resolutely clenched-my teeth locked together-my nerves set-and my whole soul strong in confidenceI advanced, I say, and lest I might give myself time to cool from this divine glow, I made a monstrous stride, planting my right foot exactly in the middle of the treacherous water-lilly leaf, and the next moment was up to the neck in water. Here was a cooling with a witness. Happily I was able to bottom the pool, or could swim very well if necessary; so I had not much difficulty in getting out. As soon as I found myself on the bank, I waited not to make reflections, but with a very rueful face set off at full speed for my father's house, which was not far distant; the water all the while whizzing out of my clothes, by the rapidity of the motion, as it does from a water spaniel after having been in that element. It is singular to think what a strong authority vanity has over the principles and passions in the weakest and strongest moments of both; I never was remarkable, at that open, ingenuous period of my life, for secrecy; yet did I now take especial care not to invest either this attempt at the miraculous, or its concomitant failure, with any thing like narration. It was, however, an act of devotion that had a vile effect on my lungs, for it gave me a cough that was intolerable; and I never felt the infirmities of humanity more than in this ludicrous attempt to get beyond them; in which, by the way, I was near being more successful than I had intended, though in a different sense. This happened a month before I started for Lough Dearg.

It was about six o'clock of a delightful morning in the pleasant month of July, when I set out upon my pilgrimage, with a single change of linen in my pocket, and a pair of discarded shoes upon my bare feet for in compliance with the general rule I wore no stockings. The sun looked down upon all nature with great good humour-every thing smiled around me, and as I passed for a few miles across an upland country, which stretched down from a chain of dark rugged mountains that lay westward, I could not help feeling, although the feeling was indeed checked, that the scene was exhilarating. The rough upland was, in several places, diversified with green spots of cultivated land, with some wood, consisting of an old venerable plantation of mountain pine, that hung on the convex sweep of a large knoll away to my rightwith a broad sheet of lake that curled to the fresh arrowy breeze of morn, on which a variety of waterfowl were flapping their wings, or skimming along, leaving a troubled track on the peaceful waters behind them-there were also deep intersections of precipitous or sloping glens, graced with hazel, holly, and every description of copse-wood. On other occasions, I have drunk deeply of pleasure, when in the midst of this scenery, bearing about me the young, free, and bounding spirit, its first edge of enjoyment unblunted by the collision of base minds and stony hearts.

The dew hung shining upon the leaves, and fell in little pattering showers from the trees, as a linnet, alarmed at my approach, would spring from the branch and leave it vibrating in the air behind her: the early challenge of the cock grouse, and the quick-go quick of the quail were busily employed on all sides. The rapid martins twittered with peculiar glee, or in the light caprice of their mirth, placed themselves for a moment upon the edge of a scaur, or earthy precipice, in which their nests were built, and then shot off again to mingle with the carreering and joyful flock, that cut the air in every direction. Where is the heart which could not enjoy such a scene? Under any other circumstances it must have enchanted me; but here, in fact, that intensity of spirit which is necessary to the due contemplation of beautiful prospects was transferred to a gloomier object. I was under the influence of a feeling quite new to me. It was not pleasure, nor was it pain, but a chilliness of soul, which proceeded from the gloomy and severe task which I had undertaken-a task which, when I considered the danger and the advantages annexed to its performance, was sufficient to abstract me from every other object. It was really the first exercise of that jealous spirit of mistaken devotion, which keeps the soul in perpetual sickness, and invests the innocent enjoyments of life with a character of sin and severity. It was this gloomy demon that could alone have strangled in their birth those sensations which the wisdom of God has given, as a security in some degree against sin, by opening to the heart of man sources of pleasure, for which the soul is not compelled to barter away her innocence, as in those of a grosser nature. I may be wrong in analyzing the sensation, but for the first time in my life I felt anxious and unhappy; yet, according to my own opinions, I should have been otherwise. I was startled myself at

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