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(With an Engraving.) Would my young readers go with me, in their minds, to Saint Patrick's, and see what is there worth their investigation? But first let us read what Mr. Wesley says about Saint Patrick, in his Journal, dated April 25th, 1748:
“I read to-day what is accounted the most correct history of St. Patrick that is extant; and, on the maturest consideration, I was much inclined to believe, that St. Patrick and St. George were of one family. The whole story smells strong of romance. To touch only on a few particulars :-I object to his first setting out. The Bishop of Rome had no such power in the beginning of the fifth century as this account supposes; nor would his uncle, the Bishop of Tours, have sent him in that age to Rome for a commission to convert Ireland, having himself as much authority over that land as any Italian Bishop whatever. Again, if God had sent him thither, he would not so long have buried his talent in the earth. I never heard before of an Apostle sleeping thirty-five years, and beginning to preach at three-score. But his success staggers me most of all: no blood of the martyrs is here; no reproach, no scandal of the cross; no persecution to those that will live godly. Nothing is to be heard of from the beginning to the end but Kings, nobles, warriors, bowing
Vol. VI. Second Series.
down before him. Thousands are converted, without any opposition at all; twelve thousand at one sermon. If these things were so, either there was then no devil in the world, or St. Patrick did not preach the Gospel of Christ.”
However sound this doctrine may be, it would be a very difficult task to persuade a true-born son of Erin to believe it. He would tell you, that Saint Patrick, in the year 448, converted Alphin M'Eochaid, King of Dublin, and his subjects, to the Christian faith, and baptized them in a well near to which the church now stands, called by the name of the Apostle of Ireland. He would tell you that he died in the year 491, aged one hundred and twenty-two years, and was buried at Downpatrick.
It is not the intention of the writer to enter upon this discussion, but to describe the church as represented by the plate accompanying this note. Like many other ancient churches, it has fallen into comparative decay. An account published states, “This church was considered, for size and magnificence, as superior to all the cathedrals in the land, and to many in the sister country. The choir was covered with a curious stone roof, of an azure colour, inlaid with stars of gold, and the windows amounted to one hundred. The vaults and aisles were supported by forty great pillars. In the walls were several niches, filled with the images of saints. Over one of the entrances was a stately window, embellished with stained glass; but no part of this beautiful work now remains.” The great stone arch fell during the reign of Henry VIII. The rubbish raised the floor three feet above the level; that floor has lately been discovered, and is a curious work, composed of small burnished tiles. The fall of the arch it is said also destroyed many ancient monuments, which are replaced by a few modern ones, to which reference shall be made. But one or two ancient ones yet remain, as that erected in 1631 to Richard Boyle, Earl of Cork. It is placed on the south side of the communion-table, constructed of native marble, and contains sixteen figures of individuals of that great statesman's family, in various postures.
The traveller will find about twenty monuments altogether, some of them well-executed; but those generally sought, are
Dean Swift's, that of the celebrated Stella, and the Dean's servant, Alexander M‘Gee. The first is a plain slab of marble, under his bust, which is esteemed a good likeness. The inscription in Latin was written by the Dean himself.
In the choir, which is truly beautiful, are constantly displayed the banners of the Knights of St. Patrick, who are installed in this Cathedral. The service performed on Sabbathafternoons attracts large congregations, on account of the music and singing, which is conducted by the first-rate singers, accompanied by the organ, allowed to be without a rival in the island. The lamps, which are numerous, and suspended round the church, produce a great effect during the winter
The banners, helmets, and swords of the deceased Knights are preserved in another part of the edifice, where is shown the skull of the Duke of Schomberg; the cannon-ball which killed Lord Lisburne, at the siege of Limerick, while sitting in his tent; also the arms of King John, and other antiquities.
BETWEEN GEORGE AND HIS MINISTER.
George. SHALL we take the next in order of our Lord's miracles, Sir, for the subject of our present conversation ? and if so, which is it?
Minister. The Harmonies, in general, bring us now to a miracle connected with several very instructive circumstances ; the cure of the infirm man at the Pool of Bethesda. To this we will now attend. You will find the whole history in St. John's Gospel, the fifth chapter, from the first to the sixteenth verse, inclusive. Read the whole, in the first place, and then we will take the several portions.
George. I have read it, Sir; and am now prepared to go on. Minister. What, then, is your
first question ? George. Is it necessary that we should decide exactly what that religious festival was, at the time of which this miracle was wrought? Minister. I think not. By many it has been supposed to