Archive for the ‘Edward Irving’ Category

Edward Irving: the danger of success in ministry

January 27, 2011

Irving had none too brilliant a career as the young assistant of Chalmers in Glasgow, and the summons to London, in July, 1822, to take charge of the dying Caledonian Chapel there, came no less as a surprise than as an opportunity. From the first, however, he achieved in London a popularity which began by being astonishing, and ended by being immense. He became the talk of the town. Statesmen and men of letters hung on his words. Society took him under its patronage. The little church in Hatton Garden was soon outgrown. This sudden and unexampled popular applause perhaps did not completely turn his head, but it distinctly injured him. It left him an enthusiastic, simple minded man; but it gave him overweening confidence in himself; and it infected him with, the illusion that some high and world wide mission had been committed to him.

11[Chalmers himself says: “When Irving was associated with me at Glasgow he did not attract a large congregation, but he completely attached to himself and his ministry a limited number of persons with whose minds his own was in affinity. I have often,” he adds, “observed this effect produced by men whose habits of thinking and feeling are peculiar or eccentric. They possess a magnetic attraction for minds assimilated to their own.” (William Hanna, Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Thomas Chalmers, New York, 1855, vol. III, pp. 275-276). C. Kegan Paul (Biographical Sketches, 1883, p. 8) puts it thus: “Though his labors from house to house were unceasing, though all brought face to face with him loved him, in the pulpit he was unrecognized. . . . A few looked on him with exceeding admiration, but neither the congregation nor Chalmers himself gave him cordial acceptance.” In Glasgow, says Mrs. Oliphant (The Life of Edward Irving, New York, 1862, p. 98), “Irving lived in the shade.” “It was then a kind of deliverance,” says Th. Kolde (Herzog-Hauck, vol. IX , 1901, p. 425, lines 14 f.), “when by the mediation of Chalmers, he was chosen in 1822 as minister to the little (it had then about fifty members) Scottish (so called Caledonian) congregation which was connected with a small Scotch Hospital in Hatton Garden, London”].

Warfield, Counterfeit Miracles