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made a Pope Gregory the Great -- he to furnish the popish quality, not me. I do not know what I should furnish ;-but the church bell is now ringing.
“We have just returned from a most delightful service Mr. Dodsworth preached from Psalm viii. 4;:5, 6, . . Our subject to-morrow is the parables and words of our Lord as casting light upon His kingdom, opened by Dödsworth. Next day the Remnant of the Gentiles and their translation, opened by your husband; the next, the Apocalypse, opened. by Mr. Whyte; and the last, the Signs of the Times, opened by our host. This will enable you to sympathise with us. Farewell! The Lord preserve you all unto His kingdom.
“ Your faithful husband,
“ EDWARD IRVING.”
With this Sabbatical scene, in which Irving was a simple worshipper, concludes, so far as I have any record, this year of strenuous labour and conflict. Another illness of his wife's still further saddened its termination. The sunshine of household prosperity did not light up for him that path which went forward into the darkness. But he went on boldly, notwithstanding, bating nothing of heart or hope.
FROM year to year, as Irving proceeded further on his course, the tide of thought and emotion had been hitherto rising with a noble and natural progress.
He had now reached almost to the culmination of that wonderful and splendid development. Everything he had uttered or set forth with the authority of his name had been worthy the loftiest mood of human intellect, and had given dignity and force to the high position he assumed as a teacher and ambassador of God. All his discoveries and openings up of truth had operated only, so far as his own mind was concerned, to the heightening of every divine conception, and to the increase and intensification of the divine love in his heart. But another chapter of life had commenced for the great preacher. That a man whose thoughts were sublimated so far out of the usual way, and whose mental vision was so vivid as to elevate everything he clearly perceived entirely out of the region of compromise into that of absolute verity, should have gone on so long without coming in contact at some point with the restrictions of authority, is more wonderful than that the commonly orthodox understanding, long jealous of a fervour and force which it could not comprehend,
should at length set up a barrier of sullen resistance against his advances. The conflict had fairly set in when the year 1830 commenced. No longer the politico-religious journalists of London, no longer stray adventurers into the world of controversy, but the authorised religious periodicals of his own country, and the divines of his mother-Church, were now rising against him; and while the storm gathered, another cloud arose upon the firmament — another cloud to most of the spectators who watched the progress
of this wonderful tragedy; but to Irving himself another light, still more beautiful and glorious than those which had already flushed his horizon with the warmest illuminations of gratitude and love. Since that summerday of 1828 when he preached at Row, and agreed with Mr. Alexander Scott to come to his assistance in London, and work with him entirely unfettered by any pledge as to doctrine, that powerful and singular spirit had been his close companion and fellow-workman ;-and had not occupied that place without influencing the open and candid heart of his leader. I do not know what thread of unity ran through Mr. Scott's beliefs at this time, and gave his faith coherence. All that is outwardly apparent of him through the long vista of years is a determined resistance to every kind of external limitation, and fastidious rejection of all ecclesiastical boundary for his thoughts, combined with a power of impressing other minds around him, not only with his own marvellous powers of understanding, but with his profound spirituality and perception of divine things. To a man of so questioning and unsatisfied a mind, slow to believe what
INFLUENCE OF SCOTT.
anybody told him, and apparently rather stimulated to contradiction than to reverence by the utterances of authority, the hope of direct communications from heaven afforded, no doubt, a gleam of possible deliverance out of the ever increasing problems and perplexities of life and thought. It was an idea which already, in a kind of grand prophetic reverie, had crossed the mind of Irving. So far back as 1828, he himself says he had become convinced that the spiritual gifts so largely bestowed upon the apostolic age of Christianity were not exceptional, or for one period alone, but belonged to the Church of all ages, and had only been kept in abeyance by the absence of faith.
Yet with the lofty reasonableness and moderation of genius, even when treading in a sphere beyond reason, Irving concluded that these unclaimed and unexercised supernatural endowments, which had died out of use so long, would be restored only at the time of the Second Advent, in the miraculous reign, of which they would form a fitting adjunct. Such had been his idea for some time, when the restless soul beside him began to work upon this germ of faith. “He was at that time my fellowlabourer in the National Scotch Church,” writes Irving some time afterwards, in his narrative of the Facts connected with recent Manifestations of Spiritual Gifts, published in Fraser's Magazine for January, 1832—
“ And as we went out and in together he used often to signify to me his conviction that the spiritual gifts ought still to be exercised in the Church; that we are at liberty, and indeed bound, to pray for them as being baptized into the assurance of the gift of the Holy Ghost, as well as of repentance and remission of sins.'
Though I could make no
answer to this, and it is altogether unanswerable, I continued still very little moved to seek myself or to stir up my people to seek these spiritual treasures. Yet I went forward to contend and to instruct whenever the subject came before me in my public ministrations of reading and preaching the Word, that the Holy Ghost ought to be manifested among us all, the same as ever He was in any one of the primitive Churches.”
Mr. Scott's influence did not end here. About the same period at which he was engaged in quickening this germ of expectation in the breast of Irving, circumstances brought him in the way of sowing a still more effectual seed :
“Being called down to Scotland upon some occasion,” continues Irving, “and residing for a while at his father's house, which is in the heart of that district of Scotland upon which the light of Mr. Campbell's ministry had arisen, he was led to open his mind to some of the godly people in these parts, and, among others, to young woman who was at that time lying ill of a consumption, from which afterwards, when brought to the very door of death, she was raised up instantaneously by the mighty hand of God. Being a woman of a very fixed and constant spirit, he was not able, with all his power of statement and argument, which is unequalled by that of any man I have ever met with, to convince her of the distinction between regeneration and baptism with the Holy Ghost; and when he could not prevail he left her with a solemn charge to read over the Acts of the Apostles with that distinction in her mind, and to beware how she rashly rejected what he believed to be the truth of God. By this young woman it was that God, not many months after, did restore the gift of speaking with tongues and prophesying to the Church.”
This singular transaction connects the history together in its several parts with wonderful consistence and coherence. The preaching of Mr. Campbell of Row, which had stirred the whole countryside with its warm