The Author delivers a Short Sermon

Asenath Nicholson
Chapter XVII (10) | Start of Chapter

Saturday morning, March 7th.—Had made all ready for leaving the glen. My obligations to the family where I stopped, were of no ordinary kind.

"I was a stranger and they took me in." I had enjoyed religious intercourse by conversation, by reading the Scriptures, and by prayer, in a more familiar way than in any family I had visited; and though this glen, in point of filth and whiskey-drinking, stands pre-eminent, yet they suffered the plainest rebuke without a retort. They received tracts, and thanked me after reading them, for giving them such kind advice; and the priest, who lived some miles from the glen, sent a message by his clerk, thanking me for the advice I had given, and the tracts I had distributed. And though I would not intersperse my journal with preaching a long sermon in every chapter, yet here it would be timely to say, that a right spirit and a right manner have much to do in the success of introducing any principles clashing with long cherished ones of our opponents.

Should a sanctimonious monk, full of zeal for his church, with crucifix and rosary in his hand, come into our houses and tell us we are all going to perdition, because we did not say his prayers, and embrace his faith, and insist that we should assemble our household to hear the truth from his lips, should we do it? Should he rail on our clergy, and denounce our Sabbath schools, think you he would get a patient hearing?

Let us reverse this picture—let us allow our brethren of the human family the same prepossessions, however absurd they may be, till, by a course of Christian charity, we show them that the religion we profess is indeed what we call it, a religion of love, and calculated to do the most permanent good.

Should any one visit Glengariff—if it be Glengariff still—and from cabin to cabin commence an attack upon popery, and priests, images, and the "blessed Virgin," he might be grateful if he escaped unhurt; but let him go with a heart warm with a Saviour's love—let him tell them of this love—let him tell them if they do not repent, they will all likewise perish—let him rebuke them sharply for all their profanity, Sabbath-breaking, drunkenness, &c.—let him pointedly tell them that all this wickedness comes from hatred to God, from wicked hearts of unbelief, and they will respond—"An' you're the one that knows it"—they will gather around him, they will ask him to read, they will inquire for his books, and sometimes they have asked such to pray for them. One said to another, "Aint she a Protestant?" "I don't care what she is," was the spirited reply; "nothing but love to God could bring her across the ocean to see such a poor people as we, and stop in our cabins to discoorse us, and give us good books. She's been well rair'd, the cratur, and that she has."

Ireland’s Welome to the Stranger is one of the best accounts of Irish social conditions, customs, quirks and habits that you could wish for. The author, Mrs Asenath Nicholson, was an American widow who travelled extensively in Ireland on the eve of the Great Famine and meticulously observed the Irish peasantry at work and play, as well as noting their living conditions and diet. The book is also available from Kindle.