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Zealous Protestants

Tuesday, May 3.—I rode to Birr, twenty miles from Atlone and, the key of the session house not being to be found, declared "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ" in the street, to a dull, rude, senseless multitude. Many laughed the greater part of the time. Some went away just in the middle of a sentence. And yet when one cried out (a Carmelite friar, clerk to the priest), “You lie! You lie!” the zealous Protestants cried out, “Knock him down”; and it was not sooner said than done. I saw some bustle, but knew not what was the matter, till the whole was over.

In the evening we rode to Balliboy. There being no house that could contain the congregation, I preached here also in the street. I was afraid, in a new place, there would be but few in the morning; but there was a considerable number, and such a blessing as I had scarcely found since I landed in Ireland.

Sunday, 15 (Dublin).—Finding my strength greatly restored, I preached at five and at eight on Oxmantown Green. I expected to sail as soon as I had done; but the captain’s putting it off (as their manner is) gave me an opportunity of declaring the gospel of peace to a still larger congregation in the evening.  One of them, after listening some time, cried out, shaking his head, “Ay, he is a Jesuit; that’s plain.” To which a popish priest who happened to be near replied aloud, “No, he is not; I would to God he was.”

Monday, 16.—Observing a large congregation in the evening and many strangers among them, I preached more roughly than ever I had done in Dublin on those awful words, “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” [Mark 8:37]

Wednesday, 18.—We took ship. The wind was small in the afternoon, but exceedingly high toward night. About eight I laid me down on the quarterdeck. I was soon wet from head to foot, but I took no cold at all. About four in the morning we landed at Holyhead and in the evening reached Carnarvon.

Friday, August 12.—In riding to Newcastle, I finished the tenth Iliad of Homer. What an amazing genius had this man! To write with such strength of thought and beauty of expression when he had none to go before him! And what a vein of piety runs through his whole work, in spite of his pagan prejudices! Yet one cannot but observe such improprieties intermixed as are shocking to the last degree.

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