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THE REV. MR IRVING'S ORATIONS.*
Our first information of the exist- sides. John Bull, however, takes for ence of such a person as “ the Reve once the Old Times' side of the quesrend Edward Irving," was derived tion, and reiterates the cry of “ quackfrom certain columns devoted (last ery” and “ cant," adding, with much summer we think) by a morning pa- urbanity, the designation of “the new per to the account of a dinner given Dr Squintum," (this by the way in in his honour in London-himself in the very same paper where John very the chair. One of the company, the properly abuses Lord Byron for saycroupier, if we recollect rightly, was ing that the King weighs twenty reported to have commenced a speech stone,)-while, to complete the mysproposing Mr Irving's health, with tification, the Morning Chronicle steps lauding Mr Irving as a person “equal. forward to abuse John Bull, and to ly gigantic in intellect as in corporeal espouse the cause of Dr Stoddart, in frame.” From this we took it for direct opposition to that maintained granted, that Mr Irving was a tall in the spotless columns of “ the Leadman—and from the speech which he ing Journal of Europe.” made in reply, we could not avoid the The only fuct we came to the knowconclusion, that he himself was of the ledge of from all these conflicting croupier's opinion as to the gigantic statements and authorities, was, that elevation of his own intellect. In other the Reverend Edward Irving has the words, we were impressed by the whole misfortune to have some defect in his of this newspaper report (which we organs of vision—which really, in spite of course considered as an advertise- of our respect for Mr John Bull, we ment,) with the belief, that some cannot consider as bearing very closely Scotch Presbyterian congregation in upon the question of this reverend the city of London had got a new, a gentleman's merits as a preacher of the tall, and a conceited minister-that, as Gospel. Even if we knew that John usual, a good dinner had been given on Bull was as heavy as Lambert, as his inauguration and that, as usual, lame as Vulcan, and as oblique in the good dinner had been followed with glance as Thersites himself-all in many speeches, which could only ap- one-we should not enjoy John Bull's pear tolerable to persons influenced by wit a bit less than we have been used those feelings which we recently had to do. Such satire as this does harm occasion to enlarge a little upon, in to nobody but the person who makes treating of the Origin and Progress use of it. It is never even excusable, of the Gormandizing School of Elo- except when used in revenge of satire quence.
of the same species and we certainly We had quite forgotten all this, une should be much surprised if we learned til our memory was refreshed by some that Mr Irving, or any other preacher, of those notices wherewith the Lon- had given John Bull any such provodon newspapers have recently abound- cation. ed. Mr Irving, it seems, has become We say, that this of the squint was a highly popular preacher in London. the only fact we had been able to gaCanning and Brougham, Sidmouth ther from all this newspaper controand Mackintosh, and Michael Angelo versy. The opinious of the several Taylor, and Mr Heber, have all been controversialists we, of course, consito hear him. The Old Times calls him dered as tantamount to nothing; and a quack and an ass—and the New we thought not much more highly of Times savs the Old Times is just as the information that such and such absurd in this as in calling (as it late- men of intellectual reputation had ly did) Sir Walter Scott a Mounte- been detected amidst the crowd of Mr bank Minstrel,"_" a dull romance- Irving's chapel upon such or such a spinner," and we know not what be- Sunday. There is no kind of reputa
• The Oracles of God, four Orations. For Judgment to come, an argument, in nine parts. By the Rev. Edward Irving, M. A. Minister of the Caledonian Church, Hatton-Garden. London. T. Hamilton, 33, Paternoster-Row. 1823.
tion which we are inclined to hold in of what are meant to be his finest demore suspicion (not to say contempt) scriptive essays. In reasoning, he is than that of a much-run-upon, high- coarse, rather than dexterous, extremeflying church-orator. Be extravagant ly narrow, and extremely vague at the -be loud-thunder boldly, and your same time. In language he is grossly inbusiness is half done. If to a brave, accurate-bombastic and bald by turns, bellowing voice, and a furious gesture, a barbarous innovator, a most vulgar you add some strange uncouthness of artizan. Yet much remains-a cerlook, dialect, or accent—so much the tain manly vigour redeems more than better. But if to these things you add half these faults--a direct, honest earthe noble audacity of out-of-the-way nestness-ascorn of petty affectationsand unwonted allusions, political, li. a pervading spirit of bold truth of terary, personal and vituperative, sentiment-these are qualities which mantling over the spite of these with no one can deny to him. And then the thin veil of a sanctimonious sor- he made his own stylebad as it is in rowfulness, why, who can doubt the many respects, this style of preaching result of such a congregation of allure- was his creation-a novelty, and his ments?
own.—He stepped into a new walkWhitfield, in the last age, carried he wielded a new weapon-his errors everything before him by the mere were the errors of a man possessed, if fearless bawling of enthusiastic me- not of genius, (in its true sense,) cer. diocrity, aided by the concomitants of tainly of very strong and remarkable a remarkable exterior, and a melodious talents. And therefore he must not be and well-managed trumpet of a voice. altogether forgotten, at least in his We are entitled to speak in this way of own time. Whitfield, considered merely in an in- What attraction the delivery of Mr tellectual point of view-because his Irving may possess, we have no means Sermons, &c. are in print, and are, with- of guessing. From the fact of his beout exception, the poorest stuff—the ing so much followed in London, we most uniform unredeemed trash, that cannot doubt that it has at least the ever disgraced the English press. As character of extraordinary earnestness for the intentions of the man, that is and vehemence, which of itself is quite a different matter-we have no enough to make any preacher, to a doubt that Whitfield was a vain, frothy, certain extent, and for a time, excesloose-tongued declaimer; and that, in sively popular. But one thing we are spite of all this, he might be a very well- altogether unable to account for, and meaning man; and that, in spite of all this is, that, although Mr Irviug seems his weaknesses, his ministrations might never to have been out of Scotland not fail to produce a certain proportion until last year, we should never, by of good.
any accident, have heard his name The great preacher of the present age, mentioned in Scotland until after he again, is (or rather, perhaps, we should had succeeded in making a noise in say, was) Dr Chalmers.
London. He was, it seems, assistant Nobody now doubts that Dr Chal- to Dr Chaliners at Glasgow for a conmers owed nine-tenths (to say the siderable time, and yet, though till least of it) of the great effect he pro- lately the name of Chalmers was never duced, to the mere animal vehemence out of the mouths of the Glasgow and exterior uncouthness of his deli- people, we certainly never heard one very. The Doctor was for a consider- of them even mention the name of bis able time over-rated in a most extra, associate and colleague. Perhaps he vagant manner and yet nobody can is a Glasgow man, and failed there on deny that he did deserve to be rated the old principle of the prophet's being highly. The publication of his first without renown in his own land. PerSermons reduced him at once to a com- haps his accent was too close an image paratively moderate station and he of their own to be agreeable. Perhas ever since been declining ; yet haps the far-sought charm of Dr much remains. He is not every one Chalmers's High Fifeish barbarity was who has read his books, admits-the too powerful a rival for the native great master of imagination, of reason, horrors of the Gallowgate. Of all and of language, which he at first pass- this we know nothing. But Mr. Ired for. He has not much imagination viug has published a volume, and so at all-witness the laborious tinkering put it in the power of us, and of every
one who, like us, never had any oppor. Sermon, but the Oration, or the Apotunity of seeing or hearing the man logy, or the Argument that is about himself, to form some opinion as to 'to commence; and a more serious his merits, in so far as these do not doubt may also be entertained, wheconsist in visible and audible pecu- ther, upon the whole, the edification liarities.
of Christian congregations is, at all We shall confess honestly at the likely to be increased by the dropping outset, that the opinion we have formed from the pulpit addresses of their mi. is by no means just what either the nisters, of that plain, and even formal chairman or the croupier of the din style and announcement of arrangener devoured in honour of Mr Irving's ment, which the experience of so many installation in Hatton Garden Chapel ages has, all over Christian Europe, would have suggested. But we shall proved to be, at the least, compatible come to it all in due season.
with many advantages, both to the In the first place, however, we think reason and the memory of the great Mr Irving one of the most absurdly majority of hearers. self-conceited persons of our time. But Mr Irving will make little of Look, on the very threshold, at the this last doubt. He begins his book title-page of his volume itself.
with a distinct announcement that " FOR
he means it not for ordinary readers, THE ORACLES OF GOD,
but for the learned, imaginative, and FOUR ORATIONS:
accomplished classes of mankind. FOR
These classes, he modestly observes, JUDGEMENT TO COME,
are quite neglected by the preachers AN ARGUMENT,
of the present time. Nobody, it seems, IN NINE PARTS.”
either preaches sermons, or prints In reality, the volume consists of books, likely to serve the cause of rethirteen sermons ; but this new sort ligion among the lovers of poetry, sciof nomenclature is a lopted by way of ence, sentiment, or politics. All these rousing curiosity. We have no wish classes of people have as yet been left to echo the newspapers, which, as we entirely out of view—but at last there have seen, call Mr Irving a Quack; is some hope for them, since bebold but we certainly cannot help admitting, and listen !" the Rev. Edward Irving, that this sort of thing looks a great A. M. has girt “ the loins of his deal too like that prevailing fashion, mind," and has, to use his own lanin virtue whereof the new tooth-pow. guage, “ a thorough conviction" . der is announced as dentifrice, the “That until advocates of religion do ariso new pimple-wash as Kalydor, the new to make unhallowed poets, and undevout long coach as dodecahedron, and the dealers in science, and intemperate advo. new smutty chap-book, as Liber Amo
cates of policy, and all other pleaders before
the public mind, give place, and know the But Mr Irving confesses more than
inferiority of their various provinces to this once in the course of his book, that he
of ours-till this most fatal error, that our
subject is second-rate, be dissipated by A has a great horror for the word ser
FIRST-RATE ADVOCATION OF IT-till mon-it has come, he tells us, to ex- we can shift these others into the back. cite no ideas but those of drowsiness, ground of the great theatre of thought, by insipidity, and languid verbosity. He clear superiority in the treatment of OUR not once nor twice in the course of his subject, we shall never see THE MEN OF volume, but at least fifty times, pro- UNDERSTANDING in this nation brought claims, in express words, his ambition back to the fountains of living water, from to knock av sermon-preaching and which their fathers drew the life of all their sermon-printing, and introduce the greatness." preaching and printing of Orations There is a vast deal more of this and Arguments in their stead. Now,
sort of talk ; and more than once, Mr we freely concede to Mr Irving that Irving clearly and distinctly avows, the majority of preachers in this day that his desire is to see the days of are dull--but it may still be very predominant puritanism re-establishmuch doubted whether people will ed. For example: hear them with more attention be- “ But, by the spirits of our great fathers cause they give out that it is not the in church and state !o are we never again to
• This frigid imitation of the famous Demosthenian oath is extremely well suited to the place and the theme !
see the reunion of religious and free-born punish their idolatry of liberty, and demonmen? Is there to be no city of refuge, no strate into what degradation of party-serhome, no fellowship of kindred for one who ving and self-seeking this boasted liberty dares to entertain within his breast these will bring men, when they loose it from the two noblest sentiments--freedom and reli- fear of God, who is the only patron of equi. gion ? Is he aye to be thus an outcast from ty and good government. But why, O the pious, whó neglect all political admini. Lord ! dost thou remove thy light from thine strations, except when they touch sectarian own people, the pious of the land? Is it that pride, or invade churchman's prerogative ? they may know thou art the God of wisdom Is he aye to be an outcast from the generous no less than of zeal, who requirest the worship favourers of their country's weal, who have of the mind no less than of the heart? Then foregone, in a great degree, the noble virtues do thou, after thine ancient loving-kindness, and christian graces of the old English pa- send forth amongst them a spirit of power triarchs of church and state ; and taken in and of a sound mind, that they may consult their private character more of the manners for the public welfare of this thine ancient and libertinism of Continental revolutionists, realm, and infuse their pure principles into and have little left of the ancient blood of these both its civil and religious concerns. islanders ?
“ It seems to my mind, likewise, when " But if England would make another I compare the writings of these patriarchs step in advance, she must look to the of church and state with the irreverent and strength in which she made her former fiery speculations of modern politicians, steps ; and if foreign nations would possess and the monotonous, unimaginative dog, the blessings of England, they must look matizings of modern saints, that the soul of to the same era of her history, when her this country hath suffered loss, and become liberty struggled into light. It will be found sterile, from the disunion of these two that religion set the work in motion, and spouses, religion and liberty; and that the that religious men bore the brunt of the la. vigour of political and religious thoughts bour. The Puritans and the Covenanters hath declined away. There is no nourish. were the fathers of liberty ; the cavaliers ment to a righteous breast in the one class, and the politicians would have been its and in the other there is no nourishment to death. I find it so also among the Huguenots a manly breast; and until harmony between of France, whose massacre the star of li- these two be joined, we never shall enjoy berty set to that ill-fated land, and cannot such an offspring of mind as formerly was rise again for want of such men as Condé produced in this land to beget its likeness and Coligné. It was so also in the United in every heart. When I read the Speech Provinces of Holland, and every country for the Liberty of Unlicensed Printing,' in which liberty hath had any seat. Ne- the most powerful, it seems to me, of all vertheless, every religious man must wish compositions, ancient or modern, and over well to the present shaking of the nations against it set the Descent of Liberty, a as likely to open passages for the light of "Mask,' and such like works of modern retruth, which heretofore the oraft of priests formers--when I read the • Letters for Toand the power of absolute tyrants have di leration,' or the Treatises on Government ligently excluded. I pray to Heaven con. of Locke and Sydney, and over against stantly, night and morning, that he would them set thę Defences and Apologies of raise up in this day men of the ancient moderns persecuted for conscience' sake, mould, who could join in their ancient wed. (or, as they phrase it, for blasphemy's sake,) lock these two helps meet for each other, I seem to be conversing with creatures in a which are in this day divorced-religion different sphere in creation. Nor do I feel and liberty. As it goes at present, a man the element less altered upon me when I who cherishes these two affections within
within pass from the • Ecclesiastical Polity' to any
pass from the Ecclesiastical Po his breast hardly knoweth whither to betake modern treatises or eulogies upon the himself ;- not to the pious, for they have church, or from the Saint's Rest,' to any forsworn all interest or regard in civil af- modern work of practical piety. The granfairs ; not to the schools of politicians, who deur of religious subjects is fallen ; the with almost one consent have cast off the piety of political subjects is altogether de. manly virtues and christian graces of the ceased. We are mere pigmies in the moral old English reformers. But, by the spirits applications of intellect. The discriminaof our fathers ! I ask again, are their child. tion of the age is led astray or fallen asleep), ren never to see THE REUNION of RELI- and maketh more account of the most petty GIOUS AND FREE-BORN MEN ? Have
novice or student in art or science, of the inour hearts waxed narrow that they cannot tervreter of an Egyptian hieroglyphic, or the contain both of these noble affections ? or,
; discoverer of a new Oasis in the great desert hath God removed his grace from us-from those who consult for freedom, in order to
of Zaara, than it would, I verily believe, of 9
* Meaning Coligni.
the GREATEST BAGR OR MORALIST, if there was ily!!! and modesty, and truth. They ANY CHANCE of such a PHENOMENON arising, grow great in crime, and hold a hot war in this physical age.”
with the men of peace. They sink them. And again, in the following passage,
selves in debt; they cover their families which we are not sorry, on many dif
with disgrace; they are their country's
shame. And will they talk about being ferent accounts, to have an opportu
their country's crown, and her rock of denity of quoting here.
fence? They have in them a courage of a “I would try these flush and flashy spi- kind such as Catiline and his conspirators rils with their own weapons, and play a lit- had. They will plunge in blood for crowns tle with them at their own game. They do and gaudy honours; or, like the bolder bat prate about their exploits at fighting, animals, they will set on with brutal coudrinking, and death-despising. I can tell
rage, and, like all animals, they will lift them of those who fought with savage
ho fought with savage up an arm of defence against those who do beasts ; yea of maidens, who durst enter as them harm. But their soul is consumed coolly as a modern bully into the ring, to with wantonnéss, and their stcadfust prin. take their chance with infuriated beasts of ciples are dethroned by error; their very prey ; and I can tell them of those who frames, their bones and siners, are effemi. drank the molten lead as cheerfully as they nated and degraded by vice and dissolute do the juice of the grape, and handled the red indulgences." fire, and played with the bickering flames, as
In short, it is clear, that “whatgaily as they do with love's dimples or wo.
ever is, is wrong," and that England man's amorous tresses. And what do they talk of war? Have they forgot Cromwell's
is ruined till we get back the solliery
of Croin well, the statesmanship of the iron-band, who made their chivalry to skip? or the Scots Cameronians, who seven times,
é Rump, and in one word, the political with their Christian chief, received the thanks as well as the spiritual predominance of Marlborough, that first of English cap
of such Orators and Arguers as Mr tains ? or Gustavus of the North, whose camp
Edward Irving.— There is all the sulsung Psalms in every tent ? It is not so long, ky, savage, sneering malice of another that they should forget Nelson's Methodists, crop-eared Prynne, in that one phrase who were the most trusted of that hero's crew. * about Cromwell's iron band making Poor men, they know nothing who do not the chivalry of England to skip! It know out of their country's history, who it well becomes such a spirit, indeed, to was that set at nought the wilfulness of talk about “ former times," when Henry VIII., and the sharp rage of the “CHRISTIANs were in this island the virgin Queen against liberty, and bore the Princes of human Intellect, the Lights black cruelty of her popish sister ; and pre- of the world, the Salt of the political sented the petition of rights, and the bill of ends
and social state," (p. 25.) Princes ! rights, and the claim of rights. Was it
Lights! and Salt indeed! This truly is chivalry? was it blind bravery ? No; these second-rate qualities may do for a pitched
the sort of oracle who is entitled to field, or a fenced ring; but when it comes
bellow into the ears of the “ accomto death or liberty, death or virtue, death plished,” and “imaginative" classes of or religion, they wax dubious, generally mankind, that “ Christians never will bow their necks under hardship, or turn their be the MASTERS AND COMMANDING backs for a bait of honour, or a mess of SPIRITS OF THE TIME, until they cast solid and substantial meat. This chivalry off the withered and wrinkled skin of and brutal bravery can fight if you feed an obsolete age! and clothe themselves them well and bribe them well, or set them with Intelligence, as with a garment, well on edge ; but in the midst of hunger and bring forth the fruits of power and nakedness, and want and persecution,
and of a sound mind!"--(ibid.) Such in the day of a country's direst need, they
assurance would have done no discreare cowardly, treacherous, and of no avail.” We were going to stop here, but the
dit to the most acid roundhead that
grinned in front of Charles's scaffold, next paragraph, consisting of an eja
at Whitehall. We beg the reader to : culation against the British Soldiery
compare some of these last sentences of the present time, is too rich to be omitted.
of Mr Irving's with that passage quo“Oh these topers, these gamesters, these
ted a little way back, where he la. idle revellers, these hardened death-despi. ments over the impossibility of the sers ! they are a nation's disgrace, a na. “ Christians" of this time coalescing tion's downfall. They devour the seed of thoroughly with those “ GENEROUS virtue in the land; they feed on virgin. FAVOURERS OF THEIR COUNTRY'S
• Was Nelson himself one of Nelson's Methodists, Mr Edward ?