The million-peopled city
General Expectations of Irish Romanists that Ireland will soon become a Protestant, and England a Popish Country.
As in the early ages of the Christian Church, opposition has only tended to the increase of converts. At the same time, the success in London, or in England generally, has been by no means what it has been in itself of late, and especially in the western parts of that island. The events of the last year at would lead, however, to the hope, that with increased effort they would more nearly resemble each other. It has been so extensive of late in , that visitation among the Romish Irish, even in London, will show, they entertain themselves now the expectation, that ere long will become a Pro- testant country. This is their own general belief. Nineteen years ago (in ) a return was made by the Commis- sioners of Public Instruction, from which it appeared that there were then in 6,431,008 Roman Catholics, 852,676 members of the Established Church, 642,356 Presbyterians, 21,808 other Protestant Dissenters, and 6,254 whose religion could not be ascertained. By this return there were 4 1/4 Roman Catholics to every Protestant. It is believed by those best informed, that at the present time the respective numbers are very nearly equal, while Protestantism has on its side the vast ascendancy in the wealth and influence of the country. It is, however, a most affecting fact to append to this, that the expectations of the Irish of London are not less general, that will
|ere long become a Protestant country, than that England will become a Popish country. They anticipate the latter as firmly as the former.|
With a population in the midst of our metropolis undis- guisedly and avowedly Romish in its creed, and numbering 200,000 souls, what efforts ought not to be made by Protes- tants on their behalf! They require to a great extent a distinct agency, peculiarly adapted to themselves. Persons who understand the Irish character, the Irish controversy, and even the Irish language, are the parties needed, as well as men who can endure a large amount of very rough work. And less than one hundred such men are insufficient for this one class, even to give each separate family a single visit each month. It ought also to be known by Christians, that Irish Romanists are themselves very zealous to make converts of English Protestants. They are urged to do this from the pulpits of Romish chapels. "If," said to a Romish congregation recently, " all of you can but bring over each one person during the next year, how blessed would be the result;" and then he urged it strongly on them to make the trial. They do succeed, moreover, to a consider- able extent, in alluring English Protestants to attend occa- sional services at Romish chapels. And who shall say to what this may lead, with a population themselves very ignorant and uninstructed ? Indulgences granted for each convert, we believe extending to a hundred days, present also a strong motive to effort.