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THE THIRD CONFERENCE AT ALBURY.

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world, which penetrated the depths of his heart with ever-returning accesses of exquisite sadness—from the thought that this very throbbing flesh, this very troubled soul, was the same nature to which the Lord, by conquering all things in these selfsame garments, had secured the victory. It was no dogma to Irving; the reality of the consolation and strength which he himself found in it is apparent in every word he writes on the subject; he fights for it as a man fights for something dearer than life.

Another Albury conference concluded the year. This was the third ; and the yearly meeting seems now to have become a regular institution, returning with the return of winter. The bonds formed in this society were naturally drawn closer, and the interest of their researches intensified by this repetition, at least to a man who entered so entirely into them as Irving did. Nothing of the position he himself held in those conferences is to be learned from his own report; but the significant pre-eminence in which he appears in the pages of the Morning Watch, their organ and

representative, infers that it must have been a high place. No doubt the little interval of retirement, the repose of the religious house, enclosed by all the pensive sights and sounds of the waning year, the congenial society and congenial themes, the withdrawal from actual life and trouble in which these serious days passed, amid the falling leaves at Albury, must have been deeply grateful to his soul. Whether it was a safe or beneficial enjoyment is a different matter. There he attracted to himself by that “magnetic influence,” which Dr. Chalmers noted, but did not under

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NOTES OF THE CONFERENCE,

stand, a circle of men who were half to lead and half to follow him hereafter ; attracted them into a certain loyal, all-believing admiration, which he himself repaid by implicit trust and confidence, as was his nature, - admiration too great and trust too profound. Nothing of this, however, appears in the following record of the third conference at Albury.

Albury Park, 30th Nov. 1829. “MY DEAR WIFE, I have enjoyed great tranquillity of mind here, and much of God's good presence with me, for which I desire to be very thankful. Our meetings prosper very well. My time is so much occupied with preparations and examinations of what I hear, that, except when I am in bed, my Bible is continually before me, in the margin of which I engross whatever illustrates my text. This morning I have been alone, being minded to partake the Lord's Supper with the rest of the brethren.

I find Mr. Dow agrees with me in feeling his mind clear to this act of communicating with the Church of England.

“We are not without some diversities of opinion upon most subjects, especially as to the Millennial blessedness, which was handled yesterday. Lord Mandeville and Mr. Dodsworth take a view of it different from me, rating the condition of men in flesh higher than I do, and excluding death. I desire to think humbly, and reverently to inquire upon a subject so high. Mr. Dow has great self-possession and freedom amongst so many strangers. Mr. Borthwick is very penetrating and lively, but Scotch all over in his manner of dealing with that infidel way of intellectualising divine truth, which came from Scotland. I, myself, have too much of it. Mr. Tudor is very learned, modest, and devout. Lord Mandeville is truly sublime and soul-subduing in the views he presents. I observed a curious thing, that while he was reading a paper on Christ's office of judgment in the Millennium everybody's pen stood still, as if they felt it a desecration to do anything but listen. Mr. Drummond says that if I and Dodsworth had been joined together we would have

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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 Dodsworth. 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.

CHAPTER III.

1830.

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,

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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

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