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C. Bala, September 12, 1808-Iomy travels through different parts of north Wales, about twenty-three years ago, I perceived that the state of the poor of the country in general was so low, as to religious knowledge, that not one in twenty, in many parts was capable of reading the Scriptures, and in some districts, bardly an individual could be found, who had received any instructions in reading. This discovery pained me beyond what I can express, and made me think seriously of some remedy, effectual and speedy, for the redress" of this grievance. I accordingly proposed to a few friends to set a subscription on foot to pay the wages of a teacber, who was to be moved circuitously from one place to another, to instruct the poor in reading, and in the firsť principles of Christianity, by catechising them : this work began, in the year 1785. At first only one teacher was employed, as the funds increased, so in proportion the oumber of teachers, till they amounted to twenty. Some of the first teachers I was obliged to instruct myself, who afterwards instructed others, sent to them to learn to be schoolmasters. The fruit of these circulating Schools are our numerous Sunday Schools all over the couptry; for without the former we could not have found teachers to carry on the latter, Whatever we attempted of this nature succeeded wonderfully, till the wbole country was filled with Schools of some sort or other and all were taught at once. The blessed effects were correspondent, a general concern for eternal things was manifested in many large districts. Many hundreds were awakened to a sense of sin, and their need of a Saviour, and are now, I have every reason to believe, his faithful followers: three quarters of a year are found fully sufficient to teach our children to read the Bibles well in the Welsh language. I visit the Schools myself, and catecbise them publicly. 1 bave the unspeakable satisfaction to see the general aspect of the country most amazingly changed ; the wilderness blossoms as the rose, and the tbirsty land is become springs of water; through the Schools and the preaching of the Gospel, the spread of divine knowledge is become universal-bless the Lord, O my soul.'” -- p. 231-5.
The account given of the public examination of the Schools is most interesting; we wish we had room for extracts. It is to be remarked, that itinerant preaching accompanied the establishment of Schools ; indeed the education of the people appears to have been considered as a preparation for their profitable hearing of the word preached. The accounts of success are quite wonderful; we can only give portions of the very interesting extracts which we find in this delightful volume.
“ As to the further spread of the work, the prospect in our country is generally very pleasing. In Carnarvonshire and Anglesea, the congregations are very numerous; thousands flock together at the sound of the Gospel trumpet, and hear with great earnestness and attention. Awakenings also are frequent; the churches every where, are, if I may so speak, in labour, and I cannot but expect that a manchild may be born : they are prepared, they are praying, they are waiting for his coming ; he has already done great things in this principality. Within these thirty years, there have been five or six very great awakenings; a land of darkness and shadow of death hath seen great light; O may we live to see still greater things.'
One fact, that proves the reality of the spiritual work carried on principally through the instrumentality of the Schools, and the preaching of Mr. Charles is, the increased demand for the Scriptures
throughout the principality; Mr. Charles exerted himself for the supply of this demand, and we need not remind our readers, that from thence arose the British and Foreign Bible Society. The particulars connected with this great event' are too well known to our friends to justify us in detaining them longer ; We wish we could trespass on their patience by introducing them to Mr. C. on a tour to Ireland, on the part of these Christian men who set up the London Hibernian Society.
In 1807, Mr. C. accompanied the Rev. D. Bogue, the Rev. J. Hughes, and J. Mills, Esq., for the purpose of ascertaining the religious state of this country; and the conclusion of this memoir gives us extracts from his journal, to which we wish to direct the attention of our readers; but were we now to enter upon this very exciting subject, we fear they should begin to get weary. We may perhaps at a future time take up this portion of the book before us, and make such comments as we trust may not prove unprofitable. We cannot conclude our present review without making some remarks, which have been suggested to us in reading so much of this very valuable piece of biography. We confess we have never read any thing that is more likely to be instructive to those who are alive to the present wretched, darkened condition of Treland. The facts brought before us have, we think, instructed and encouraged us; we could wish them to be generally known by all our Christian friends, and particularly by all influential persons ; we could wish them attentively considered, and seriously weighed by our rulers, both in church and state; we have seen that between forty or fifty years ago, Wales was nearly as ignorant, as uneducated, and as destitute either of Scripture or a preached Gospel, as the greater part of Ireland is at this moment; and now we believe that Wales is as well educated, and as religious a country as any other part of the United Kingdom. The zeal of a few individuals, and mainly of Mr. Charles, has been blessed to the moral and spiritual regeneration of a whole country: schools, catechising, and preaching, have altered the character and habits of a people.
Ought not the servants of God and the friends of man, in Ireland, to take courage ? Should not the example of Mr. Charles, animate them? It is true, the friends of Ireland find one enemy in their way, which was not to be encountered in Wales, and that is-Popery ; which is set against the enlightening and education of the people, and wields a monstrous power against the exertions of the servants of the Lord. But shall we not feel, that if God is on our side, we need not fear what man can do unto us? Shall not the language of those who survey the land, be like that of faithful Caleb, “ If the land delight us, he will give us the land ; and though those children of Anak be there, yet we need not fear them; their defence is departed from them, and the Lord is with us; fear them not?” We hope many of our younger men, who are strong to labour, may read this book, and catch some of Mr. Charles's zeal for souls. We hope that many may be led to say,
"Woe to me if I preach not the Gospel, and that they
feel constrained to the work, in spite of all opposition and all difficulty. We hope our ecclesiastical rulers may read the book, and learn an important lesson from it. This good man was actually forced out of the Church; and the work which the bishops would not countenance, and did not countenance, went on in spite of them; and that work, which, if it had been done in connection with the Established Church, would have been its strength and its glory, has become in Wales, its weakness and its shame. May our bishops take warning. We hope they will not misunderstand us, or take needless umbrage, when we say, that Treland must be evangelized--the Gospel must be freely preached, from the Giant's Causeway to Cape Clear. As the servants of Christ, we say, and, we trust, many say with us, the Gospel must be preached to every creature. If the bishops of our Church wish that the success which we anticipate in such a work, shall tend to the honour and strength of the establishment, let them one and all, warmly sanction it; else it will be in Ireland, as it has been in Wales, that the moral and spiritual regeneration of the people, will prove the shame and weakness of the Established Church. We wish to ask, whose is the duty ? Upon whom did the duty devolve in Wales? Can there be any answer but one ?-On the Established Church. Her bishops and ministers did not do their duty; and the consequence is, that the mass of the people who have reaped the harvest of the zeal and labours of such men as Mr. Charles, are separated from her. As friends, attached friends of the Established Church in Ireland, we pray and trust, that it may not be so here.
Is it not pre-eminently the duty of those, who are supported by the country, to seek out the recesses of ignorance to teach and evangelize the people of the country. There are in operation, schools both in English and in Irish ; but not to an extent at alí proportionate to the wants of the population; but where is the preaching of the Gospel to the people
to those who are not formally connected with our Church? There has indeed been lately established, the Church Home Mission Society; we rejoice that something of that kind has been set on foot at last. It is, we maintain, no work of supererogation; it is the simple fulfilment of an imperative, crying duty. The work it proposes to do, must be done; the attempt has been delayed too long; it must be delayed no longer. We were always its cordial friends, from the time we first heard of it; we have been made more cordial to it, since we read Mr. Charles's life. We rejoice at the measure of countenance given to it, by some of our most valuable church rulers; but we confess that we lament exceedingly, that it has not been taken up by them in a body. We would ask them, is not the work which it proposes to do, a work which it is the duty of an established church to perform; and one that it would be for the honour and strength of the church, that she should perform? We would say to those who are hesitating about regularities, and calculating about mere forms-look to Wales ; see the work done, and every Christian must rejoice at the work that has been done; see it
done without the Establishment, and mark the consequence the population alienated from the Establishment; and must not the man who loves our church grieve at the effect, and blame those rulers who were the authors of the evil ? These are times which impose a peculiar measure of responsibility upon those in authority in the church of Ireland-They cannot sleep on and take their restA great excitement is abroad--Great powers are in the field. Those that are in high stations need an especial measure of wis: dom; may it be poured out upon them from above! May they be guided by a heavenly hand, that they may indeed be a blessing to the country which maintains them!
We feel unfeignedly grateful to some of the highest of our dignitaries, who set a good example; who countenance such piety as that of Mr. Charles, and encourage zeal. May their example intinence even all their brethren, and may their better wisdom guide the counsels of their whole body. Thus we should have nothing to fear for our church--every thing to hope for our country. We hare dwelt largely on the part of this memoir directly connected with Wales, but indirectly connected with our own country; we hope on another occasion, to call the attention of our readers, particularly, to some portions of the work more directly bearing upon Ireland.
Sketches of Irish Character. By Mrs. S. C. Hall, in two vols.London
Frederick Westley, and A, H. Davis, Stationers'-ball Court. We have perused these volumes with considerable pleasure. They do not, it is true, contain any story of deep and powerful interest; but there is an ease and truth of delineation--a playful gracefulness of fancy-a simplicity of structure about them, wbich strongly remind us of those incidents that occur in every-day life, as we may have heard them from the lips of some artful narrator who can throw the elegance of his own mind about a plain story:
The volumes contain eleven sketches--all purely Irish, and all founded upon characters and incidents in or about the village of Bannow, in the county Wexford. The volumes are dedicated with great propriety to Miss Mitford, of whose “ Village” the work is no unsuccessful rival. But we must give a quotation that our readers may judge for themselves of the graphic powers of the author, and her happiness in sketching living character. The first is a picture of Mrs. Cassidy and her cottage, from “ Lilly O'Brien," with which the work opens; but, though true in Bannow, we regret to say her cottage is certainly not a fair specimen of Irish cottages in general.
“ The sweet Lilly of Bannow !-I shall never forget the morning I first saw her. Her aunt-wbo does not know her aunt, Mrs. Cassidy ?--her aunt is positively the most delightful person in the whole parish. She is now a very old woman, but so “knowing' that she settles all the debatable points that arise among good and bad housewives, from Mrs. Connor of the Hill, down to Polly the Cadger, (whose name designates her character) as to the proper mode of making mead, potatoe-cakes, and stirabout ; and always decides who are the best spinners and knitters in the country, nuy her opinion, given after long deliberation, established the superiority of the barrel over the hand-churn. There is, however, one disputed matter in the neighbourhood, even to this day. Mrs. Cassidy (it is very extraordi. nary, but wbo is without some weakness ?) Mrs. 'Cassidy will have it that a quern grinds wheat better than a mill, and produces fiver flour; sbe therefore abuses those both of wind and water, and persists in grinding her own corn, as well as in making her own bread. By the bye, this very quern was in great danger some time ago, when an antiquary, who had hunted bill and dale, seeking for Danish or Roman relics, (1 forget which--but'it is of little consequence) pounced upon it, declared it was a stone bowl of great antiquity, and that Mrs. Cassidy's maiden name, “Maura O'Brien," carved on it in Irish characters, proved it to bave been used 'either by Dane or Roman, in some religious ceremony or Bacchanalian rite, I cannot take on me to say which ;-but this I know, that the old gentleman was obstinate ; had been accustomed to give large sums for ugly things of every description, and thought that Mrs. Cassidy could be induced to yield up her favourite, for three guineas. He never was more mistaken in his life; nothing could tempt Mrs. Cassidy to part with her dear quern ; so he left the neighbourhood almost heart-broken with disappointment.
“ I respect the quero myself, for it was the means of introducing me to the sweet Lilly. There, that little path bordered with oxlips, primroses, and unobtrusive violets,
“ Whose deep blue eyes
Kissed by the breath of heaven, seem coloured by its skies,” that leads to Mrs. Cassidy's dwelling. You can not see the cottage, it is perfectly bidden, absolutely wooded in--but it is a rare specimen of neatpess. The farm yard is stocked with ricks of corn, bay, and furze ; with a puddle-like pond for ducks and geese, and a sty for a little grunting animal, who thinks it a very unjust sentence that consigns a free-born Irish pig to such confinement. How beautiful is the bawthorn hedge ; one sheet of snowy blossom! and such a row of bee-bives ! wbile the white walls of the cottage are gemmed over with the delicate green halfbudded leaves of the noble rose tree, that mounts even to the chimney top. Tbe bees will banquet rarely there, by and bye. A parlour in an Irish cabin! yes, in good truth, and a very pretty one-the floor strewed with the ocean's own sparkling sand; pictures of, at all events, balf the head saints of the calendar, in black frames, und bright green; scarlet, and orange draperies. A corner cupboard displaying china and glass for use and show, the broken parts carefully turned to the wall- the inside of the chimney lined with square tiles of blue earthen ware; and over it an ivory crucifix and a small white chalice, full of holy water ; six high backed chairs like those called " education," of modern days, a well polished round oak table, and a looking-glass of antique form, completes the furniture. The window ! forget the window! ob, that would be unpærdonable. It consists of six unbroken panes of glass, and outlooks on such a scene as I have seldom witnessed. the lattice-wbat a gusb of pure invigorating air ! behold aud gaze, aye first on the flower-bed that extends to wbere Mrs. Cassidy, with right good taste, has opened a view in the bawthorn bedge; then on, down tbat sloping meadow dotted with sheep, and echoing the plaintive bleat of the young and tender lambs; on, on to the towe ering cliff, which sends leaping over its blackened sides, a sparkling foaming torrent, rapid as lightening, and flashing like congregated diamonds, for the sun's brightness is upon it, to the wide-spreading sea, wbich reposes in its grandeur, like a sheet of
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