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night: and utter despair in regard to his eternal portion, had taken possession of her mind to that hour.
By representing the peculiar nature of that obligation which compelled the youth to follow his commanders, Bryan convinced her that she was not justified in deciding so unfavourably, on this awfully interesting question. He exhorted her rather to receive the message as one of admonition to herself, sent in love, to rebuke and chasten for the quickening of zeal and repentance.
He dwelt on the mysteriousness of the divine dispensation towards the most favoured people of God; and obtained a promise, that she would seek grace to rest her burden on the unchangeableness of him, whose gifts and calling are without repentance.
After kneeling in prayer, and persuading her to take proper sustenance, he left a kiss on little Thady's blooming cheek, and departed. At the door Sarah stood, and raising her eyes to his face, with a low curtesy, pronounced the words, “ The Lord bless ye, Sir !” in a tone of such solemn, such earnest gratitude, that Bryan's heart welcomed the blessing, and acknowledged the hand of God in honouring him with this commission to comfort his mourners, rather than permitting him to go forth on an embassy of destruction against his wretched and deluded country men. Time was rolling on, and the warmth of approaching summer appeared far more dreadful than the rudest storms of winter to so dense a population, pent up within a narrow compass. After the beginning of May, the throwing of bombs ceased; and this was hailed as a welcome respite, though only of a few weeks duration : but the firing of cannon balls into the city, some of which were red hot, created a new source of terror, and deprived several persons of life.
James Stuart was still in Dublin, where, assisted by his mock parliament, he continued to issue the most tyrannical and oppressive edicts against the Protestants of the land, outlawing them, that his own adherents might obtain possession of their estates; and proving that their sole hope must lie in a desperate course of resistance to his usurpation. No succours had been received from King William ; while the French fleet, with a reinforcement of popish auxiliaries on board, had gladdened the heart of James by making good their entrance into Bantry Bay, and landing their formidable freight in the country which, it was credibly reported, was to be annexed to the dominions of the French King, when his troops should have completed its subjugation. The Marechal Conrad de Rosen, a fierce and pitiless commander, headed this expedition: and commenced his progress across the island, from which his object was to root out Protestantism in every form, and to lay the nation prostrate before the rulers into whose hearts it was put to give their dominion unto the
papal antichrist. It is difficult to assign a reason for the tardiness of the English government in this emergency ; but it was overruled to the better instruction of the Protestants as to the value of the stake for which they contended; and also to the severe chastisement of that pride, self-confidence, and disunion which so disgracefully marred the church of Christ among them.
During the month of May, continual sallies took place from the gates of Derry, in which the besieged were generally successful. Such was their confidence, that Walker in his Diary mentions, under date, May 5, “ This night the besiegers drew a trench across the windmill-hill from the bog to the river, and there began a battery ; from that they endeavoured to annoy our walls, but they were too strong for the guns they us’d, and our men were not afraid to advise them to save all that labour and expence, that they always kept the gates open, and they might use that passage if they pleas'd, which was wider than any breach they could make in the walls.” This was five months after the commencement of the contest, änd strikingly displays the undaunted resolution of men who, what with external assaults and internal treachery and disappointed hope, had endured enongh to damp the ardour of minds sustained by any thing less powerful than the consciousness of a righteous cause. In the bulk of those people there might indeed be found few instances of vital, personal
religion ; but, collectively, they had, by solemn public acts of devotion, committed themselves and their cause into the hands of the Most High, ahjuring all connexion with the idolatrous power, which is most emphatically opposed to the sole and absolute sovereignty of Jehovah. What was the result ? wrought for his name-sake," and having made them, in their unsupported constancy, a spectacle to the world, he finally brought them out of their distresses, when in the utmost extremity, and blessed their efforts to the establishment of that pure faith for which they professed to suffer. Alas, that so signal an example should in our day have become powerless! that on occasions of national perplexity, instead of seeking to that arm wherein our fathers hoped, and trusted, and found deliverance, we should embark our safety in the nutshell of our own strength, relying on a worldly, crooked, inconsistent, and unscriptural policy for that which perverted wisdom can no more secure, than could our puny might have acquired it. “ Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy ? are we stronger than He?”
Neglected by their friends, and on all sides pressed by foes, yet could not the inhabitants of Derry entertain a thought of capitulation; for not only were the most shameless acts of treachery committed-prisoners murdered in cold blood, and messengers fired at under a flag of truce-by the assailants, but one of the captives brought into the town after a successful
sally, moved by the generous compassion and kind usage of the citizens, confessed to governor Walker that the enemy were bound by dreadful oaths to observe no faith with them; but, on whatsoever terms they might obtain possession of the city, to slaughter indiscriminately, without regard to age or sex, whosoever bore the Protestant name. Thus, by the mercy of God, their peril was still made known to them; and any degree of suffering preferred before delivering up their helpless families to such blood-thirsty fanaticism.
The report of De Rosen's probable advance, with formidable reinforcements, was communicated to the besieged by their enemies, in one of the frequent parleys that took place. It reached M‘Alister's home, and was variously received by the different inmates.
The month of May passed without any greater annoyance from the enemy than that of the frequent cannonading, which amongst other unpleasant effects, so polluted the water of the city, that many hazarded, and some lost their lives in the attempt to obtain a purer beverage from without the gates. This was a dreadful hardship, bearing, particularly, on the sick, on delicate women, and children. Various diseases began to spread among them, heightened by the heat of summer, and the unwholesome food to which they were well nigh confined. But on the twentyninth of the month, a general panic was spread