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barium, where the doves found a house, and a nest where they might lay their young-even the altar of the Lord of Hosts? And may we not here exclaim,“ Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the Doves to their windows? Surely the Isles shall wait for Me."
St. Columba, having founded the missionary Church of Iona, and having preached the Gospel in Scotland and the Isles, fell asleep in Christ, in a good old age, at the end of the sixth century (A.D. 597).
But he being dead yet speaketh.*
Before the middle of the following century—the seventh century (A.D. 635)—the King of Northumberland, Oswald, who had been educated in the Irish Church, sent to it for Christian teachers, that they might convert his subjects from Paganism. Accordingly, Aidan, an Irish bishop, and other Irish missionaries, went forth from the school of Columba, and were settled by the king in Lindisfarne, and preached the Gospel in Northumberland, and planted the Church there.
The happy effects of this mission from Iona were felt throughout England, from the river Humber to the Thames. Churches were built; the people flocked with joy to hear the Word of God. The Heavenly Dove—the Holy Spirit of God-brooded invisibly over the heads of thousands baptized by these Irish missionaries in the faith of Christ in our own land. Multitudes, wearied by the storm, and finding no rest for the sole of their feet on the wilderness of the waters of this life, took refuge in the Ark of the Church.
* Heb. xi. 4.
ELIZABETH'S REFORMATION IN IRELAND.
IT now remains for us to notice the measures employed during the reign of Elizabeth to propagate the “reformed” religion in Ireland. One would naturally suppose that religion had been lost sight of amid all the slaughter, devastation, and hideous cruelty which characterized this reign. But no; the propagation of the Protestant religion was actually one of the pretences put forward by the English government for its “vigorous policy” toward the Irish ! Protestantism and persecution went hand in hand; and while Grey, Carew, and Mountjoy were burning and devastating in Munster, Leinster, and Ulster, the zealous propagandists of the new religion were laboring to extend their creed by means of torture and cruelty. Many Catholic bishops and priests were put to death during Lord Grey's administration, for exercising their spiritual functions; some were hanged and quartered; others were beaten about the heads with stones, till their brains gushed out; others were murdered in cold blood, sometimes at the very altar; others had their bowels torn open, their nails and fingers torn off, and were thus painfully destroyed by slow torture, their remains being afterward treated with the most revolting indignity. The most common method, however, of executing the sentence of the law upon these Catholic recusants was as follows: They were first hanged up, and then cut down alive; they were next dismembered, ripped up, and had their bowels burned before their faces; after which, they were beheaded and quartered; the whole process lasting above half an hour, during which the unfortunate victims remained conscious and writhing under the agonies inflicted on them by their Protestant persecutors.
While the Catholic clergy were thus treated, the Protestants who had been created teachers of the State-religion by Act of Parliament, were notoriously profligate, lewd, simoniacal, slothful, and intemperate, even according to the testimony of English Protestant writers themselves. They were the refuse of the English Church we had almost said, of England-of whom nothing else could be made but Irish parsons. They went to Ireland for gain, for tithes, for plunder; caring nothing for the souls of the flock, and watching over them rather with the care of the wolf than that of the shepherd. The Irish Church was, in fact, henceforward looked upon as a mere refuge for hungry adventurers from England, who, born within the atmosphere of gentility, were too idle to work; but were not beneath extracting from the hard earnings of the poor the means of profligate luxury and riotous extravagance. What was the consequence ? That the great body of the Irish people, in whose eyes Protestantism had become identified with everything that was odious and intolerable, clung to their ancient faith, and to the native pastors who had been faithful to them for centuries.
Such was the reign of "good Queen Bess” in Ireland — one of the darkest and bloodiest passages to be found in history. In her time, almost the entire country was reduced to the condition of a desert, and at least half the entire population perished by famine or the sword. Nearly forty rebellions occurred during the half century that she occupied the throne-many of which rebellions were stirred up and fomented merely for the purpose of rapine, confiscation, and plunder. Famine and pestilence were then openly advocated as the only pacificators of Ireland, by one who is known in England as the most elegant and graceful of her early poets. In the Irish mind, however, Edmund Spenser is associated, not with the