The end of all his difficulties and trials had now arrived. From this day forward the breeze that bore him along in his ecclesiastical voyage became fairer and fairer, till, advancing from virtue to virtue, and honor to honor, he became the glory of the church, and exercised such influence on the destinies of his countrymen and of those committed to his charge, that he might adopt the language of Joseph to his brethren: “God hath sent me before you into Egypt, that you may be preserved on the earth, and have food to live.” (Gen. xlv. 7.) But this is anticipating what naturally should have its place at the conclusion of our narrative.
THE DESERTED HOME OF THE ORPHANS.
“Now,” said Murty O’Dwyer, one Sunday evening, as all the members of the Prying family were seated around the tea table, “will any body doubt the usefulness of confession? The very robber who, while under the influence of drink and evil advice, plundered the widow O’Clery and her orphans of their money, has returned from the scorching plains of the south, in obedience to the advice of the priest to whom he confessed, to make restitution; and he has made it.”
“It beats all I ever heard,” said Mr. Prying.
“That is only an ordinary occurrence with Catholics,” rejoined Murty. “Thousands of dollars, and I might say millions of money, are yearly restored to those to whom it belongs, through the influence of this divine institution.”
“I wonder what has Paul done with the rest of the money, after paying for the board of himself and his sister and brothers?” said Calvin.
“He has given me two hundred of it,” said Murty, “to compensate me for what I lost on account of the malice of Dominie Boorman, the Presbyterian, because I could not believe according to his cruel code of irreligion. He paid one hundred dollars for masses for the soul of poor Cunningham, who died of fever and ague one week after his having made the restitution. Two thousand, I believe, Paul paid into the convent where his sister Bridget has gone to become a nun. And the rest, I believe, he spent in raising an elegant monument over his parents and beloved Eugene’s remains. O, yes, I forgot; he paid five hundred dollars towards the new Catholic church, S.A., where his convert friends reside.”
“It is to me the strangest thing on earth,” said old Mrs. Prying, “how liberal these Catholics are in paying to the support of their religion. Where on earth do they get the means to put up such costly buildings as they have erected in scores, within my own knowledge, these past five years?”
“So far from this being strange,” said Murty, “madam, it is the most natural thing in the world. We know the Catholic religion is true. We know it has God for its Author, and that through its teachings all men must be saved that will be saved. Knowing this, we understand the merit of supporting such an institution. What is the whole world to a man if he lose his soul? and how can a man save his soul, if true religion be wanting?”