RICHARD J. MAHONY, of Dromore Castle, Co. Kerry, is often spoken of as the Jonathan to F. C. Bland’s David, and he is referred to in that dear friend’s life; but he had a personality of his own, and well deserves a place amongst the “Chief Men Among the Brethren.”
Mr. Mahony was born in 1827, and succeeded to his father, who died very suddenly in the year of the potato famine. Although marked out for a public career, and fitted by natural gifts for almost any position, he devoted himself to promote the good of his tenantry and neighbours, and thanks
to his efforts Dromore became a pattern estate. Even to the extent of winning the highest praise from the Dublin Freeman’s Journal, a paper flagrantly hostile to the landed gentry of Ireland.
Mr. Mahony married, in 1856, Miss Wailer of Limerick, a true help-meet in every good work. The Ulster Revival of 1859 had run its course and waned, without extending to the other provinces of Ireland. A few words in a brief heart- stirring address when he spoke of the love of God and the redeeming work of Christ at a meeting held in his great Hall, in January, 1861, led to a great and widespread revival.
An extract from a circular letter written in March, 1861, says: “It pleased God to bring some of us together near the beginning of the year to ask Him to give us the true saving knowledge of Him in our hearts. . . There are now nightly meetings throughout the parish for prayer and praise to Almighty God, and there are men who a short time since never spoke or thought of religion, ... yet now stand up with burning hearts to tell of what great things God has done for them.”
Following a meeting addressed by C. H. Mackintosh, Mr. and Mrs. Mahony rejoiced in the truth of Eternal Life in Christ, and from that hour set themselves to spread the glad tidings among their friends throughout the country. A life-long friend writes: “To treat in detail of the far-reaching effect of the work begun through him, would need a volume; nor would it be expedient to name the many gifts to the Church whose conversion might be traced directly or indirectly to the work begun at Dromore.”
Mr. Mahony’ s health led to a long absence from home. He preached in Edinburgh and then went abroad, in every place finding opportunities for preaching Christ, and in fashionable hotels not a few of the rich and noble were brought to God. A man of striking presence, he combined a commanding dignity with exquisite gentleness and courtesy and intellectual gifts of no common order, with the guilelessness of a little child. The Times truly said: “He possessed in a marked degree the special graces of Irish oratory, without any of its extravagancies.” Behind all this was a heart aglow with the love of God, and a life entirely devoted to His service. No wonder that his meetings were crowded and that God owned his ministry in a special manner.
He had gifts as an author, and the little he wrote gives proof how much the Church of God has lost from his using his pen so seldom. “The Real Presence and the Royal Priesthood,” a gem “From Age to Age,” and a touching little tract “Father Martin,” are examples. “He served the Lord Christ” may be written over his life to its very close. In the summer of 1892 his speech became affected, and his inability to preach was at first very bitter to him. But soon recovering himself, he calmly repeated over and over again, “The good Lord knows best;” at times, “Someday!” “Some-day!” “The good Lord knew best, and some day we shall understand it all.” Thus ended a noble and beautiful life. Mr. Mahony departed to be with Christ on December 22, 1892, aged 65.
C. E. F.