Una And Her Paupers, Life of Agnes Elizabeth Jones


Agnes Elizabeth Jones lived at Fahan in 1800s and her story is told in the book
"Una And Her Paupers. The Extraordinary Life of Agnes Elizabeth Jones with an Introduction by Florence Nightingale".
A copy of this book (ISBN 9 781905 363223) is in the Church 'Browse and Borrow Library'.

Below is an extract (scanned with some missing characters) from a part of  Chapter II (page 37) in the book entithed "FAHAN". This was downloaded from an archive site.

FAHAN. ^ She doeth little kindnesses

Which most leave undone or despise}

For naught that sets one heart at ease

And giveth happiness or peace

Is low esteemed in her eyes.  

** Yet in herself she dwelleth not.

Although no home were half so fair ;

No simplest duty is forgot ;

Life hath no dim and lowly spot

That doth not in her sunshine share*  

•* Blessing she is, — God made her so,

And deeds of week-day holiness

Fall from her noiseless as the snow :

Nor hath she ever chanced to know

That aught were easier than to bless." — LovelL  

A FEW extracts from Agnes*s journal at

^^^ this time will show the spirit in which

she re-entered the home of her childhood : —  

" June 4th, 1856. — Came down to Fahan for

a couple of days to get the house ready. Every

step by the way seemed to recall something.  

46 FAHAN.  

The little court-house at Bumfoot brings back

the memory of that dear father whose last day

of health was spent there that he might speak

for the poor : further on, the hill, where we as

children often went to meet grandpapa when

he was coming to see us; soon the view of

Fahan recalled in contrast our last look when

leaving our home six years ago, and the remain-

ing distance was spent in prayer for guidance

and strength for my new duties. May God

grant u& many days here, if they be devoted to

His service ; if He will so honour us as to

make us useful, to Him be all the glory. Lord,

do Thou be with us and bless us and drav/ us

nearer to Thee, and oh, may we not enter Thy

kingdom alone, — enable us to bring many to

the knowledge of Thee. I ran round the gar-

den with almost childish glee ; care and sorrow

seemed to have fled, — the weight of the last

few years removed. A few seconds I knelt in

that dear hallowed dressing-room — formerly

my father's, and now to be mine — to ask for a

blessing from the Lord on my coming here.

Out of doors I feel as if I had never left the  

FAHAN. 47  

place ; every tree and weed and bramble seems

unchanged. But the mind goes off to the past,

the eye lights on the face of some unknown

child, then the feeling of the interim returns

strongly."  

At Fahan the long-cherished dream of a life

devoted to the sick and sorrowful began to be

realized. In the school ; by the sick-bed of the

dying ; in the lowly cottage where some sudden

accident had brought sorrow and despair, and

where her gentle self-possession and prompt,

wise action seemed often to bring healing and

hope ; everywhere she* was to be found about

her Father's business. None who saw can

ever forget her as she would return from those

distant lonely walks ; her colour brightened by

the keen mountain air, her curls blown about

by the breeze, and her fair, happy face beaming

with the consciousness of having brought com-

fort and blessing to some of God's poor. She

had a very tender and loving sympathy for the

poor, and often writes of the happiness it was

to her to be among them. When on a visit at

the house of one of my uncles, she writes ;—  

48 FAHAN.  

" I have to this place a feeling that I have to

no other, save Fahan, from the knowledge that

here a few poor look on me as a friend. How

the heart leaps with joy to see a look or smile

of welcome from the poor, much more than at

a warmer reception from the rich!** And

again,—  

** March, 1857. — I thank God for the great

blessing of health and strength to go amongst

the poor. What a sore trial it would be to be

forced to cease from visiting them ! their cordial

welcome cheers me, and the hope of doing them

good is such an incentive ; when I come to one

who is a Christian, and hear her prayers for

me, then there rises within me a deep well-

spring of joy.  

" October, 1857. — To-day, winter came in hail

and snow and bitter cold. I put on winter

array, but felt almost ashamed to go into the

cottages so warmly clothed. What a contrast

between visitor and visited ! Who made me

to differ? Health, strength, and this warm

clothing enabling me to go out in all weather,

are talents; oh, may each and all be more  

FAHAN. 49 

and more used for His glory Who gave and

can take away. A blessing to-day from old

Mrs. W. warmed me so that I felt not the

cold ; she said, * The Lord love you, for I love

you.' "  

Another time when leaving home before

Christmas :—  

" Dec. 20th, 1856. — I do not like to give the

poor their Christmas gifts so long before. I

would like the joy to come to them on that

day, to go myself with each little love-token.

What joy is like that called forth by the grati-

tude of the poor, often too big for words ! I

never know whether to laugh or cry. Among

the many thanks and blessings I have received

to-day, none have been as hearty or overpower-

ing as widow D.'s, and her prayer for me was

that God would never leave or forsake me, but

bring me safe to heaven. The blessings of an

aged saint come so home to one, while the

words of others seem an empty form."  

Every morning, unless detained by home

duties, she set off on her rounds after break-

fast, returning to early dinner, only to start  

50 FAHAN.  

again immediately afterwards, and prolonging

her absence often until the darkness had closed

in. No weather deterred her ; no distance

was too great ; no road too lonely. She never

seemed to think it could be a question whether

the fatigue or exposure was too much for her ;

she was naturally strong, but often she over-

taxed her strength ; and when suffering from

severe headaches would set off in the morning

earlier than usual to see some sick person,

knowing that later in the day when the pain

had reached its height, she would be unable

to move. Many times in winter she came

back from her mountain walks with her cloak

stiff with ice and her hands benumbed with

cold ; but nothing could damp her brave spirit,

and the joy of her work kept her up. During

the five years she remained at Fahan, there

was no cessation in those busy labours, except

during one short visit to Dublin in the spring

of 1857. Her skill in prescribing for the sick,

and her gentle but firm touch in dressing

wounds, and especially in cases of burns and

scalds, soon became famous in the neighbour-  

FAHAN. 51  

hood, and the poor people came many miles

across the mountains to consult her, and to

get medicines, salve, etc. The turf-fires on

the cottage hearths, round which little children

often gather without much watching or care,

are the fruitful source of many severe burns,

and, on such occasions, Agnes was always

sent for. Sometimes it was a very fearful

sight that met her, but she never shrank from

anything because it was painful, if she could

but relieve suffering, and day after day she

would go to dress the bums until her care

was no longer needed. She was so conside-

rate, too, so thoughtful of their comfort ; never

forgetting to take cake or fruit for the poor

little sufferer to beguile it during the painful

dressing, as well as more substantial food,

where that was needed. Roman Catholics as

well as Protestants were visited and cared for ;

she made no distinction of creed or sect in

ministering to the needy ones, and wherever

she was allowed to do so, she never paid a

visit without reading at least a few verses of

the Bible, Then she would say a little by way  

52 FAHAN.  

of explanation, so simply that the youngest

child could understand, yet so earnestly and

practically that none could listen unimpressed.

Her own deep sense of responsibility and the

tenderness of her conscience, ever ready to

condemn herself, made her often mourn very

deeply over the apparent want of success attend-

ing her visits. A few extracts from her journal,

taken from different periods, may, perhaps,

help to bring her life more vividly before the

reader : —  

''Nov. i^th, 1856. — To-day I went to old

Mrs. D. ; she seemed very low, but I trust her

hope is sure. My thoughts went back to

former visits. Have I really set the whole

Gospel before her? How humbling to go

time after time and feel such want of words

and want of power in setting Jesus forth i As

I went into a new cottage to-day, many doubts

arose. When I can do so little in speaking

awakeningly to those I visit, why go to more ?

but this was a temptation to yield to my foolish

timidity. He who knows the thoughts an-

swered mine, for when I left the cottage, a  

FAHAN. 53 

stranger came up saying, 'I hear you lend

tracts, and should be glad of some.' This is

indeed encouragement, for which I thank God.

The promise is beginning to be realized to me,

* He that watereth others shall be watered

himself;' for when I read and try to explain a

chapter, passages strike me with a force of

which I knew nothing when reading alone.  

" Nov. ^oth. — How often do Mr. A.'s words

warn or comfort me ! To-day those which

came home to my heart were words of en-

couragement, truly God-sent, * The Lord hath

need of thee.' How often, in my secret heart,

do I long to avoid this or that visit and wish

to postpone it ! Even to-day I thought, ' The

snow is heavy, the roads slippery; my head-

ache severe ; how gladly I would remain at

home!' but how could I with those words in

my ears ? each step was cheered by them ;

better than the cry * Excelsior * came those

soft, gentle, loving words, 'The Lord hath

need of thee.' He so high, the Lord of heaven

and earth, with His myriads of angels, can

He use, much less need the instrumentality of

 54 FAHAN.  

such as I ? If it be so, and I read also, * Thou

knowest not whether shall prosper this or

that,* shall I let a little thing stop me V*  

*' February 2$th. — On my return from Ard-

more last evening, I ran up to see poor little

M. W., who I heard was dying. She took and

held my hand, and, from its motion in answer

to my question, signified her sure dependence

on Christ alone. Dear little girl, I feel so sure

of her safety ; many things she has said to me

prove her trust to be placed on the Rock of

Ages."  

" March ist, — M. W. died last night. Jesus*

words, * He that believeth on Me though he

were dead, yet shall he live,* seemed so true

of her as I gazed on the dead face ; dead yet

alive.*'  

" March 14/A. — Mrs. L. died yesterday. The

last words I heard her say as I supported her

in my arms were, * I will fear no evil, for Thou

art with me.* This was about twelve hours

before she went to be with Jesus. Hers was

no deathbed repentance, — long ago that was

all done^ and peace with God was hers. I felt  

FAHAN. 55  

— *s death so much, and the circumstance that

of none who have died since I came here, could

I look to more than a hope of a deathbed

change ; I prayed that the next might be one

of whom I could feel certain ; the answer

came, little M. W. and Mrs. L. have joined

the heavenly choir."  

*' March 28th. — On my way to see M. A. R,

to-day, the Lord, I trust, sent me a word of

such beauty and encouragement. Isaiah xxxv.

8, ' A highway shall be there and a way, and it

shall be called the way of holiness, the unclean

shall not pass over it, but (margin, for he shall

be with them) the wayfaring men though fools

shall not err therein ;' oh, what a blessed pro-

mise ! The way of holiness, which seems so

unattainable. He will give help to walk in to

those who seek it; even fools, poor weak foolish

sinful ones, such as I, shall not err therein, shall

maintain a consistent walk, if we only see His

presence here promised, * for he shall be with

them.' Oh, be so with me, Lord! guiding,

guarding my footsteps, that they err not in the

way of holiness."  

56 FAHAN.  

" April i8th. — It is long since I wrote. Pas-

sion week with its sacred services and many

privileges is passed. The coming week seems

to promise trial of a kind which I feel most

sensibly, and yet cannot explain to friends. I

am going to E.'s wedding ; gay scenes are be-

fore me ; may I not by my narrow-mindedness

disgrace the holy name I bear, and put my

Saviour to shame. Oh, may I have grace to

perceive and know what I ought to do to pre-

serve the right medium. How beautifully ap-

propriate is this week's collect, ' Follow the

blessed steps of His most holy life ! ' Oh, for

some of the spirit in which he went to the mar-

riage feast ! Oh, so to shine in His reflected

light as to attract some to Him, and not repel

them from Him !"  

^* May i^th. — I am weighed down sometimes

with the sense of responsibility and short-

coming. With this crushing feeling I was

coming home this evening, taking my Satur-

day's review of the past week, but as I came

near our gate the lovely scene before me

seemed to lift off the load of care : the church  

FAHAN. 57  

and trees behind it were bathed in a heavenly

flood of light, the rays of the setting sun ; it

seemed unearthly; I almost listened for the

angels' songs, but a sweeter note perchance to

flesh and blood was the assurance brought

home by the scene of a loving Friend Who is

touched with the feeling of His people's infir-

mities. I do not the less feel my own short-

comings, but I feel in my weakness the strength

engaged for me; — the sweet promise; * All that

the Father giveth. me shall come to me ; ' shall

come, however far short human instrumentality

falls of their need. His crown shall not want

a jewel, but if believers do not live up to their

privileges, if they tire and faint, their crowns

may be less bright because they will not avail

themselves of the honour He allows them, of

being His instruments in winning souls. They

will not be less safe, but less happy; further

from Him, perhaps, because in a lower place

in heaven. I would be ambitious of a high

place there; nearer, Jesus, to Thee. Oh, for

a heart burning with love to Jesus."

" Whitsunday, — ^The deep feeling of thanks-  

58 FAHAN.  

giving that I am a member of the Church of

England, which often makes me class it among

my many mercies, was never more deep than

to-day. The commemoration of the hrst be-

stowal of that gift of gifts, the Holy Spirit, is

indeed a holy season, a day much to be thought

of in prayer beforehand, and not to be forgotten

when past. It seems such hallowed ground, I

grudge that its hours have nearly fled. Oh,

the lovely promises connected with this day,

the chain of gems, brightest and best that

which names Him Teacher and Remem-

brancer. How much I need Him ! Lord, on

me, and on all dear, mother, sister, brother,

let this blessing come ; give to Mr. A. a double

portion of Thy Spirit, and oh ! for Fahan,

water it also, and bless our dear, dear Church

and its ministers, and keep its beautiful ser-

vices intact. Thank God for them.**

 " October yrd. — Went up before breakfast to

see Mrs. B., who I heard was worse. A party

of friends were staying in the house and I was

to take them to Dunree, so feared I might not

have time later. She seemed happy ; no mur«  

FAHAN. 59  

mur; not the old longing for death, but a

trusting dependence on Christ's finished work

for her. As we sat at breakfast after my re-

turn, Mrs. P. came in a distracted state; her

child was fearfully burned. *The doctor is

from fiome, and the minister is from home, and

oh. Miss Jones, you must come; all my de-

pendence is on you.' I could get no particu-

lars from her, so collecting all I thought neces-

sary% I rushed off up the hill and arrived at the

cottage before the mother. The child was in-

deed a fearful sight ; from the waist upwards a

skinless mass ; the water they had thrown over

it to extinguish the flames had brought off the

skin ; it lay shivering in the father's arms,

wrapped up in cloths wet with buttermilk ; the

house was full of neighbours, and before I

could do much the mother came in. Her

screams were fearful, so both for her own sake

and the child's, I persuaded her to leave the

house. With flour and cotton I dressed the

wounds, merely putting flour on the face, and

left it, feeling almost hopeless. I was little in-

clined for our day's excursion, but our friends  

6o FAHAN.  

were waiting and we started. On my return

I asked eagerly, and was told the doctor had

seen it at two o'clock, and said it could not

live. 

" It died at eight that night. I went up

next morning as I had promised, I dreaded the

going, but found the neighbours gathered in

and I in a crowd when I would have given

worlds to be alone, yet I was glad I had gone.

I was asked to read, and did so. I scarcely

know who were there, for I could not see well,

but they seemed to be mostly men, and some to

whom I have not spoken before. I tried to say

none were too young to die, and to speak of

the only preparation, and so bring the question

home to each : am I ready ? As I left I longed

so for quiet that I was almost sorry to meet

dear Mr. A., who had returned late the evening

before. After a short talk we parted, I to see

M. A. R. and G. G., both very ill ; on my way

home I met Mr. A. again, and he asked me

to go with him to Mrs. B., to vrhom he was

to administer the communion. I felt this was

just the soothing my worn, distracted mind  

FAHAK. 6l  

needed, but I did not foresee all the comfort

that blessed communion was to bring. I thank

God for it."  

" October 2yth, 1858. — I have a friend less in

the worid to-night, one more in heaven. Dear

old Mrs. R. has gone home ; a remembrancer,

perhaps of poor unworthy me before the throne.

The walls of heaven are ringing with her * new

born melody,' and in my ears come the echo of

her words to me, * I have been at school and

hearing all my life, but till you came, I knew

nothing of these things but that God was

above me. You will get a blessing for what

you have done for me.' Ten days ago she

said, * I am going home ; if I don't see you

again, God bless you and yours. I can't

say all I feel, but God knows I love you.'

How good and kind God is to give me this

encouragement I but to Him alone be the glory

and praise."  

" October 2gth. — Mr. — died this morning ; he

was happy, very happy all through his illness,

and now as he lies a corpse, the blessed spirit

fled, it has seemed to me as if God has been  

62 FAHAN. 

very near Fahan lately; within these few

weeks, the gates of heaven have unfolded to

receive three new bright spirits to swell the

anthem there, the glory — glory — glory. And

I ; how have I longed to go home too ! how

long this life seems I Mine is a very happy life

here, but for sin and all my shortcomings

which weigh at times upon me, when I cannot

cast the burden on my Jesus. It seems so

selfish to mourn those who have gone home ;

how could we and our love supply half the joy

they now have ! "  

"April 2^th. — This evening I was very

weary; the great joy of getting my darling

mother and sister back after their fortnight's

absence ; the delight of again listening to their

voices made me, I fear, ready for an excuse to

stay at home, but the thought of the poor, of

Mrs. B., who would be expecting me, over-

came the desire, and I went. By the way I

thought Mr. A.*s Easter word of comfort on

Mark xvi. 3, might refresh her; I felt its force

doubly as I recalled it in order to tell its pre-

cious message to weak believers: and then  

FAHAN. 63  

the joy of her teax-choked words, *you have

brought me the message I needed to-night/ I

might sit at her feet, sweet Christian, and

learn of her, and yet God sent me to cheer

her by repeating His servant's words. * Truly

out of the mouth of babes doth He perfect

praise.' " 

" 13^. — I felt much the soothing influence of

the scenery to-day : the bank of wild roses on

the sand hills above the strand; the sunset

seen from Buncrana ; then the full moon, in all

its grandeur, sailing over the sky and then dis-

appearing behind a heavy cloud, silvering its

outline; all these, one after the other, came

with a force that seemed to speak peace. It is

your heavenly Father that gives you this enjoy-

ment. I did bless him for my creation and for

that of this lovely earth."  

" 28th. — A Sunday at home, doing nothing,

but, I trust, learning much. I had overtaxed

my voice, cold settled in it, and for some days

it has been inaudible. It seems as if by taking

it away for a time my God were going, as it

were, to take my education into His own hands;  

64 FAHAN.  

it may be to force that preparation of the heart,

that learning of Him and from Him which

came before Isaiah's lips were touched with

the live coal and he was sent forth to teach

others. God grant that I may learn His lessons.

And though it will come home sometimes that

it is a severe trial that I cannot make my poor

hear me, yet that very feeling shows how much

I need the lesson, thinking, as it were, that I

cannot be done without. Lrord, if it be Thy

will to take away my voice for long, draw me

nearer to Thyself and teach me to know Thee

more, to sit at Jesus' feet and learn His word."

God's word was indeed the rule of her life

and her daily study. She truly hungered for

the bread of life, and fed day by day on the

written word. With her it was no njere read-

ing of a few chapters but searching the Scrip-

tures, comparing passage with passage, and

storing her heart and memory with the truths

she thus learned. I think it was in November,

1856, that my aunt Esther gave her a treasury

Bible as her birthday gift. She thus notices it

in her journal : —  

FAHAN. 65  

This morning came aunt E.'s birthday gift,

—a treasury Bible ; a new talent given to me ;

Lord give me grace to use it aright. And do

bless the kind and loving giver, and enable me

more and more to show my love to her."  

She afterwards wrote to a friend : — " Aunt E.

has always loved me very much, but she never

did anything for me half so valuable as when

she gave me that Bible."  

A few passages from her journal about this

time may show how she meditated on God's

word, and drew from its sacred pages the

strength and comfort for her daily walk : —  

"May 12th. — For some time I have been

cheered by the words, * The hand of the Lord

is upon all them for good that fear Him.* On

them, leading them to seek Him; on them,

when they have found Him, for good ; making

all things, every little incident, every text they

read, every good thing they hear, every thought

He suggests, teach them some lesson, lead them

some step onward. Yes, His hand is in all

things on His people for good.  

" The following verse seems to me a motto  

66 FAHAN.  

with which I should strive to sanctify every

thought and feeling:— 'I will go in the strength

of the Lord, I will make mention of Thy

righteousness even of TBine only/ Psalm Ixxi.

1 6, in connection with our Lord's own declara*

tion, 'Without me, ye can do nothing.* In

every effort for the glory of God and good of

men, these texts must be acted out in the

length and breadth of their spirit. May I re-

member also to give none occasion to the enemy

to blaspheme.  

"Another wonderful text so expresses the  

love and condescension of God in employing us

sinful creatures as His agents in doing good to

the souls of our fellow-men : — * But as we were

allowed of God to be put in trust with the Gospel,

even so we speak not as pleasing men, but

God who trieth the hearts.' i Thess. ii. 4.

His goodness is expressed in the 'allowed;*

our responsibility in the 'put in trust.' Our

solemn obligation is to remember Whose ser-

vants we are; we cannot serve two masters,

therefore, we must not seek to please men, but

God. This must be our aim, and angels have  

FAHAN. 67  

none higher, to please God. How forcibly

came home the Saviour's words, * Without Me,

ye can do nothing/ for the God whom we are

to please trieth the hearts. Sinners in thought,

word, and deed, how can we of ourselves please

the heart-searching God? but we can appear

in the robe purchased for us and freely offered

to us, and our works may in Jesus be not only

acceptable but pleasing to God. But for

this, how close we must keep tQ Jesus, cling to

him ! nothing less will do ; only in Him can

we appear before God, only by His help can we

please God."  

" Nov. 1st — * I am come that ye might have

life, and that ye might have it more abundantly.*

Truly the Christian must not stand still; the

Saviour came not only to save, not only that

we might have some life, a dim spark, a

mere existence, but that we might have it

more abundantly; might grow in grace, in

knowledge, in holiness, in beauty, in useful-

ness."  

" Nov. ^rd. — I have for some nights gone to

bed thinking over that sweet text (oh, that I  

68 FAHAN.  

could enter into its depths !) : — ^Jeremiah xxix.

II, * I know the thoughts that I think towards

you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace and not

of evil, to give you an expected end.' * God so

loved the world that He sent His Son to die for

us/ God pleads and entreats with us to come

to Him ; He bares His heart to us that we may

see the love laid up there for each and all, * I

know the thoughts that I think towards you.*

You, every one of you, whosoever will appro-

priate to himself these words : * I, the Lord,

who search the heart ; I, who am not a man to

lie, but the Lord Jehovah, I say to you, poor,

sinful, wretched, lost sinner though you be, I

know the thoughts that I think towards you,'

and what are those thoughts ? are they con-

suming, destroying thoughts ? He who cannot

look at sin might well say, ' I will destroy them

in a moment ; I will not spare — .* But no,

the thunders of Sinai would but harden the

heart ; the tones are of the still small voice ;

they declare God's thoughts to be of peace and

not of evil.

** Another text I have been thinking much of  

FAHAN. 69  

is, Psdm xxxiii. 18, 19, especially, * To keep

them alive in famine.' When panting after the

living waters of salvation, and the fountain

seems closed to the longing soul, when Christ

is not to be found, because as yet not rightly

sought ; oh, how cheering to think that He yet

waits to be gracious, and that meanwhile he

will keep the soul alive in the famine, till He

Himself speaks, ' Take, eat : this is my body

which is given for you, even you !*"  

" Nov. 22rd. — Read Matthew i. to-day ; the

two names here given to Christ should teach

us much, — Jesus — Saviour. If in temporal

danger, what more cheering sound than the

news of an approaching deliverer, able and

willing to save; so, to sin-bound and con-

demned sinners, what sound more sweet than

that name which tells of safety, if we only feel

our need and seek it ? Then the meaning here

given, * Jesus, for He shall save His people

from their sins.' Not only from the punish-

ment but from the thing itself ; from the power

and dominion as well as the condemnation of

sin. Take it in its close home-sense. He shall  

70 FAHAN.  

save me. Each may take the name of Jesus as

a personal promise of salvation, as the pledge

and seal to each. His name is Jesus, for He

shall save me, and as sure as this is His name,

will He give salvation to all who seek it through

Him and Him alone. Then, His other name,

' Emmanuel, God with us,' tells of Jesus being

a man as well as God, — our fellow, fellow-man,

fellow-sufferer, one of fellow-feeling. He can

be touched with the feeling of our infirmities,

for ' He has felt the same ' temptation ; He was

* tempted of Satan.' The feeling of being sepa-

rated from God, * My God ! my God ! why hast

Thou forsaken me ?' The separation caused

by sin He tasted for us, that He might feel for

us, though Himself without sin ; — poverty, de-

sertion of friends, sorrow, suffering, hunger,

thirst, the heart-desolation among those who

cannot sympathize. He felt all that He might

feel for us. He is God, but God with us in

nearness, love, and sympathy."  

^^ June 28th, 1857. — I had a delightful morn-

ing before going to church, studying Ezekiel

xlvii., to which dear M. N. called my attention  

FAHAN. 71  

yesterday. I find my treasury Bible of great

use ; not only as a help to explain Scripture by

Scripture, but also as an opener up of many

parts of which I might perhaps otherwise never

think ; and oh, how every text shows more and

more what a mine the Bible is; how inex-

haustible and how precious !  

" The waters in-verse i are types of the living

waters so freely promised, and of which all are

invited to take, Margaret spoke of the men-

tion of the altar here as sending us to the cross

of Christ as their source, — the purifying water

and the cleansing blood ; but what delighted

me most were the references on the comparative

depths of the water, * The waters were to the

ankles,'— the first outpouring of the Spirit. Luke

xxiv. 49 ; Acts ii. 4, 33 ; x. 45, 46 ; xi. 16, 18.  

" ' Then the waters were to the knees and

loins,' — ^the gradual spread of the Gospel and

its being offered to the Gentiles. Acts xiii. 4a-

48 ; Romans xv. 16 ; Col. i. 27.  

" Then ' waters to swim in ;' the looking for-

ward to that glorious time when ' the know-

ledge of the Lord shall cover the earth.*  

72 FAHAN.  

Isaiah xi. g ; Daniel ii. 34, 35 ; Habakkuk ii. 14 ;

Matt. xiii. 31, 32 ; Rev. vii. 9 ; xi. 15 ; xxi. 2-4.  

" Then the reference to the question, verse 6,

*Hast thou seen this?* is to Matt. xiii. 51,

where Jesus asks, * Have ye understood all

these things ?' showing that it is He alone

who can open them to our spiritual understand-

ings. In verse 8, where the waters issue in

all directions, the references show so beauti-

fully the Lord's promises of provision for His

people's every need. The promises : Isaiah

xxxv. 1-7 ; xli. 17-19 ; xliii. 20 ; xliv. 3-5 ; xlix.

9 ; Jeremiah xxxi. 9.  

" * Wherever the waters come, they shall

bring healing : wherever the Gospel is preached

among the heathens many shall be saved."

Isaiah xi. 6-9; Malachi i. 11 ; Matthew viii. 11.  

" Verse 9 teaches the universality of the offer

of salvation. John iii. 16 ; xi. 26. ' Every-

thing shall live,' — the type of Jesus the life is

shown in the life-giving properties of the

waters. John v. 25 ; vi. 63 ; xi. 25 ; xiv. 6, 19 ;

Romans viii. 2 ; i Cor. xv. 22 ; Eph. ii. 1-5.

* The great multitude of fish ' denotes the mul-  

FAHAN. 73

 titudes from every land and age which shall be

saved. Isaiah xlix. 12 ; Ix. 3 ; Zech. ii. 11 ;

viii. 21, 22. ' For they shall be healed/ — the

Lord is Himself the healer. Exodus xv. 26."  

'^ August 1st — What should I be without my

Bible ? It is, indeed, a rich mine of treasure,

and I think I am learning more to dig into it.

Job xxxviii. 26, 27, may indeed come home to

me ; the tender herb is the seed sown, but not

yet showing itself, so that we doubt its life;

yet one of the designs of the thick cloud is to

cause it to spring forth. Luke viii. 15. Then

Job xxxyii. 12, 13, we see the cloud comes to

accomplish the Lord's ends ; these are three :

— For correction ; for his land, or for mercy.  

" For correction : ' He may send trouble, as

to David His servant, to reveal to him his sin

as against God.* Psalm li.  

" For his land : to give to those who are

His the assurance that they belong to Him.  

" For mercy : to turn our thoughts more and

more to Him ; to awaken those who sleep the

sleep of death."  

*' August i^th. — I was much struck to-day by  

74 FAHAN. 

Job xxviii. 25, ' He weigheth the waters by

measure/ contrasted with John iii. 34, * He

giveth not His spirit by measure.* He weighs

the trial and affliction He sends, lest one drop

too much should fall to His people's lot, but

for the good gifts of his Son and Spirit there

is no limit. * Open thy mouth wide and I will

fill it.' It is a word of reproach against His

people that they limited Him. They took not

somewhat of Him, — took no heed to the pro-

mise, ' Ask and ye shall have.' "  

We might fill volumes with passages such

as these, showing how she thought over the

verses she read, and tried to draw teaching

from all ; but I must pass on to speak of what

can be learned only incidentally from her jour-

nal ; the quiet beauty of her home life. Visi-

tors in the house saw the simple unaffected

girl, so quiet and unpretending, though ever

ladylike and cheerful, and knew nothing of

the deep inner life which was the motive power

of her consistent walk. But they could not fail

to see that while her days were spent among

the poor, no home duty was ever neglected,  

FAHAK. 75  

and her mother's slightest wish would at all

times make her give up her own plans. Long

before the party assembled in the breakfast-

room, Agnes might be seen returning from the

garden laden with flowers, which she delighted

to arrange in the sitting-rooms with a skill and

taste quite peculiar to herself. If the servants

happened not to be sufficiently skilful to un-

dertake all that was required, she would spend

hours in the kitchen preparing confectionery,

etc., and when my mother came down in the

morning to give orders, she frequently found

that Agnes had been in the kitchen from five

o'clock, and that all was prepared. In all the

arrangements of the farm and garden she took

the greatest interest, and was ever ready to

do anything to help my mother, and save her

from anxiety and fatigue. On first coming to

Fahan, I find from her journals, it had been

sometimes a great trial to her to give up her

visiting of the poor when guests at home re-

quired her attention, and she even questioned

with herself how far it was right to yield the

point, but it was not long before her peculiarly  

76 FAHAN.  

just and calm judging mind had discerned

where the line was to be drawn; and it was

often a marvel to those who knew where her

heart lay, to see with what sweet cheerfulness

she would devote herself to the amusement of

the friends and relatives who visited us during *

the summer months. A year and a half after

my mother and she returned to Fahan House,

I had been left a widow, and once more joined

the home circle. Those only who knew the

deep tenderness of dear Agnes's character, and

the intense love she ever bore me, could guess

at the affectionate sympathy with which she

watched over me at that time, and how with

gentle persuasion she drew me on to join her

in walks and visits to the poor: the desire

to give me an interest again in life, making

her forget her timidity, and admit ipe even to

her Bible readings in the cottages, where I

learned many a lesson from her simple prac-

tical teaching. Of her it might indeed be said,

whatever her hand found to do, she did it with ^

her might ; she saw what many, alas, of the

good and useful people of the present day fail

 

 

 

FAHAN. 77

 

to see, that God may be obeyed and glorified

as truly in the small details of domestic life,

if done unto Him, as in the greater missionary

work abroad.  

The following letters have been sent to me

by the Lady Secretary of the Young Women's

Christian Association, and seem to have been

written between 1856 and i860 : —  

"Fahan, Londonderry.  

•'My dear Miss S. — Though I cannot yet

call myself a member of the Young Women's

Association, you will, I am sure, excuse a

stranger's addressing you in the familiar style.  

" When Miss Williams first proposed my

joining the Association, I felt most strongly

what Miss H. speaks of in her letter, — a

shrinking from making public my feeble ef-

forts, and a* fear lest the love or desire of the

praise of man should in any degree take the

place of the only true motive. I was glad to

receive the packet of letters you so kindly sent

me, hoping to learn much from them, yet de-

termined not to become a member on the con-

dition of a quarterly letter. As I read on^ bow-  

78 FAHAN. 

ever, I felt that I must join such a blessed

Association; that I must write to commend

myself and the work given me to do, to the

united prayers of the Christian band. How

the consciousness of prayer being offered up

for us, nerves us to struggle on in our Saviour's

strength, through difficulty and discourage-

ment ! I myself am a very young woman,

and, as such may claim to be remembered in

your prayers. I can look back and bless God

that 1 was once a member of Miss W.'s Sun-

day-school class • now, though myself a teacher,

I would gladly resume my position as scholar.

Enough of myself, and now for my work. Its

sphere is a small country parish, whose de-

voted minister allows me free access to the

people.  

" In June last I returned to this my former

home after some years' absence. The girl,

grown into a woman, was cordially received for

her parents' sakes. It was indeed no light bless-

ing to feel myself from the first received as a

well-wisher. Those whom I remembered a

little, were first visited, the homes of the  

FAHAN. 79  

school-children next, the old, crippled, infirm,

and sick, as the case of each in turn became

known, till now my visiting-book contains the

names of sixty families, more or less regularly

visited, according to circumstances, — twice a

week, weekly, fortnightly, or monthly. I never

willingly exceed the last term.  

" I desire to be regarded by all as a Scrip-

ture-reader ; everjrthing else, I try to make sub-

servient to this great end. The system of lend-

ing tracts I have adopted, not only for their

own sake, but also that their regular exchange

may serve for an excuse, as it were, to enter

the house Bible in hand. I find my way thus

made easier among the thirty families where

this system is carried out ; but for this, I

should often find an excuse, as I do sometimes

among the others, to allow my call to merge

into a mere visit. The sooner I begin, the

more readily is it understood. If I cannot stay

long, they feel that the ' one thing needful ' is

to be the first object, though, in this case, I

try to return soon again, and spend a time in

listening to their tales of sorroM' and difficulty,  

80 FAHAN.  

longing to be regarded as a friend, and trust-

ing that as such my message may come home

to their hearts through the Spirit's blessing

on my instrumentality.  

" I have dwelt thus at length on my system,

hoping for advice on the subject, and also for

some hints as to the best means of gaining

access to the hearts of the people. Few, I

suppose, have their time so fully at their own

disposal as I have. When I read letters

from many more fitted for the work, laid aside

from active employment, and thought of my

ov/n unvaried health and strength, and yet

inward weakness and frailty, I thought who

made me to differ. Even in my work I gain

fresh vigour. I have long walks to take daily

to the various cottages, but the way . lies

through beautiful scenery, in sea and mountain

air, and my practice of disregarding weather,

has, with God's blessing, kept me from a single

cold this winter. Then God's Word often

comes home more strongly to my own heart

as I read to the poor, and try to make a lew

simple remarks. As to capacity, were it not  

FAHAN. 8l 

for Jeremiah i. 6-9, 17, 19, and the promise

Proverbs xxii. 21, — ^were it not that I go armed

with the sword of the Spirit, I should indeed

fear to go forward. But in our weakness, the

promise is but the surer, ' I am with thee,' if

only we be really in God's way. My Sunday

and day-school classes will not come under the

title of ' young women,' neither do the cases

of all I visit, but several such there are, and

some I would especially desire to be remem-

bered at the Throne of Grace.  

" .... is one who causes me much anxiety.

For months she resisted my invitations to the

Sunday-school. At the close of the year I

thought of a plea, 'Suppose you begin the

year well by coming.' To my delight, its first

Sunday saw her in our clergyman^s class. I

watched for her each week; again she was

absent on a slight excuse, now has returned.

May the instruction be blessed to her! She

is in a trying position at home, and this is the

only way of reaching her at present. Another,

for whom I ask your interest, is of a difierent

spirit. What that spirit is, her remark on 

Q S2 F4HAN.  

John XX. 22, will clearly show, ' He breathed

on them.* * What strong words ; how near

they seem to bring Jesus to us ; how they

come home !' She has long been ill ; every

effort to come to church is followed by a re-

lapse, but she longs after God's house. She

is always so happy when strong enough to

kneel in prayer. To her I go not as a teacher,

but as a learner, and what a refreshment it

is ! Another poor girl has been led far astray.

I am always at a loss how to deal with . . . .,

not to destroy her sense of shame or let her

motherless sisters think lightly of her fall,

and yet not to break the bruised reed. I

should much like advice on this subject from

those more experienced. Though, as a general

rule, I am not an advocate of Sunday visiting

of the poor, when time can be found during

the week, I think it is well to give something

to mark the day to those who can never at-

tend public worship ; therefore between services

I visit two poor cripples, to read to and in-

struct them; an hour every Wednesday is

likewise devoted to these ; their only point in  

FAHAN. S$  

common is their infirmity. The young woman

cannot read, but she is anxious to learn. I

try to store her mind with hymns and texts

to think over in my absence ; these she takes

pleasure in remembering for my sake, but she

is yet, I fear, unenlightened with regard to

the soul's only Light. I do not like to weary

you by multiplying cases, but select those in

which I am myself most interested. On a

mountain slope there lives a family, formerly

without any religion. One of our summer

showers suddenly swelled the mountain

streamlet into a torrent, by which a child was

carried off. All night the parents searched

in vain, till the morning light revealed the

sad tale. I had never seen the family before

this time, but was then asked to visit them.

I cannot read their hearts, but I do know

that both parents listen attentively to God's

Word, and I receive many thanks for my

visits and am entreated soon to return. The

father, a shoe-maker, lays aside his work and

does not resume it until the last word is said.

The mother is a very young woman, but 

G Z 84 FAHAN.  

both her own and her husband's former family

will, I trust, have cause to bless God for this

accident. My letter has insensibly lengthened.

I know not whether it be necessary to enter

so fully into detail, but I have thus mentioned

some of my anxieties and blessings, that you

may more fully be able to realize a stranger's

position and give the advice and help I need.

I must apologize for troubling you with so

long an epistle, and request that if it be neces-

sary to send this my first letter with the others,

you will considerably abridge it.  

I remain yours truly,  

** In a common Saviour's service,  

" Agnes E. Jones.  " Fahan, November, 1857.  

*'My dear Miss S. — This letter will pro-

bably be late for this quarter; indeed, I had  

not thought of writing, but for a circumstance

which occurred to-day. For the last month

my thoughts have been painfully occupied, and

I have been away from home and my poor;

 FAHAN. 85 

now I have returned again among them,

though home ties will occupy me more now

than before. . . . My last visit before leaving

home was at the house where I called to-

day. About a year ago, a young woman — a

Presbyterian — ran off with a Roman Catholic.

Her parents were very angry, and till her

baby was born, when the mother went to her,

she never saw them. Whether she ever went

to chapel I do not know ; her child was of

course taken there to be baptized. Within

the last two months they have come to live

in my visiting district, and, when at the house

where she lodged, I saw her two or three

times. The husband, however, was always

present, and as I had not known her family

until after she had left it, I felt I must not

appear too much interested in her at first.

Last week I paid her a visit in her own house,

having received a message that she would like

to see me. The husband was out, but a

stranger was there, before whom I felt I must

be cautious. The poor girl's eyes filled with

tears when I went in, and she looked so glad  

86 FAHAN. 

to see me. I spoke of her parents, and saw

how her mother's rare visits were prized and

her father's continued estrangement mourned

over. I told her that I saw them sometimes,

and lent tracts to her brother, who liked them

much. I watched the effect of this, for I was

doubtful what to do. I longed to take ad-

vantage of her husband's absence to speak

to her, and, a tailor being generally at home,

I feared to lose the opportunity, and yet

dreaded to get the poor thing into trouble,

were the woman who was present a Roman

Catholic. I prayed for direction, and finally

offered to lend her tracts and to read a chapter

to her. When I was leaving, she thanked me

with tears and begged me to repeat my visit.

Yesterday, among other places, I went to her

mother's house, determined to urge her family

to visit her and be kind to her, fearing much

the effects of her being left entirely to her

husband's family. I therefore spoke of my visit

to her and of her contrition for the step she

had taken, dwelling on the steadiness with

which she has of late withstood all efforts to  

FAHAN. 87  

bring her to the chapel ; for a time none of

them spoke ; then the mother said, ' I would

not be able to explain the contentment it was

to her to see you coming to visit her.' She

then told me that the poor girl had said so

much about my visit, and that she was thank-

ful I had lent her the tracts before her sister-

in-law, though she had ' scowled on her ' when

she saw it. She was anxious, too, for a Bible

our clergyman promised her. All this I men-

tion as showing the poor girl's state of mind ;

her great distiess is, lest the baby should grow

up to return on her her conduct to her parents.

Poor thing ! I believe she is truly penitent,

but in a most difficult position. I want you

to pray for her and for me, that I may have

wisdom given me in dealing with her.  

** I want more zeal and earnestness in my

work, to speak more to the people of the dear

Saviour I have found. I am naturally very

reserved, but I find to get influence over the

poor, the more openly one speaks the better.

I may not have much longer to go among

them. My voice is each day more easily tired,  

S8 FAHAN. 

and sometimes after reading in three or four

houses, I have to return home, unable to exert

it again that day. At home, when trying to

read aloud in the evening, my voice fails me in

about ten minutes. This makes me long the

more to work while I have time. I have done

little good with that voice, but to be able to

continue reading God's Word to the people,

as I have tried to read it for the last year

and a half in this place, is my desire ; if He

has need of it. He will give strength. One

learns by going among so many different cha-

racters, the depths in God's Word, — its ap-

plicability to every circumstance ; its strength

and power is so felt in contrast to one's own

weakness and ignorance. I am sure the more

we know for ourselves the certainty of the

words of truth, the more we shall be able to

answer those who send to us. That promise *is

such a sweet one to take and plead at every

cottage-door, — the promise of the Spirit to

teach all things and bring Christ's words to

our remembrance.  

" I have written at too great lengthy but

 FAHAN. 89  

many interruptions have caused me to 6e less

concise than I ought to have been. Poor young

Mrs. M. needs your prayers, as does also your

friend,  

** In Christian love,  

*' Agnes E. Jones.**  

"December 31, 1859.  

*'Dear Friend, — In this day of blessed

revival work and in the near neighbourhood

of its visitation, we have yet, alas ! to say,  

' The dew falls thick on all around,

But our poor fleece is dry.*  

And yet T cannot but feel as if the word to us

were, * Though it tarrj% wait for it ;' for more

than two or three among us have agreed to

pray to and for the Holy Spirit, and is not the

word sure, ' Seek and ye shall find 7 It is a

trial of faith to witness, as on a late visit

to a previously known locality, the blessed

change there, and then to return and see

only more vividly than before the deadness

among our own loved people, but it is a  

90 FAHAN.

On R238 from Derry to Buncrana at Tooban, Burnfoot 

Fahan 

Co. Donegal 

Republic of Ireland F93 XY65