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which Edward Irving was then the minister. The announcement fell on ears well prepared to receive any strange tidings. The atmosphere, political and religious, was then surcharged with electricity. The Reform Bill fever was at its height. The first appearance of Cholera at Sunderland had caused a panic throughout the land. There was a widelyspread belief amongst a section of the religious world, who had turned their attention to the study of prophecy, that the second coming of the Son of Man was close at hand. Under these circumstances, it is not surprising that the excitement in the public mind should have been prodigious, and that crowds should have flocked even to the early morning services, to witness for themselves these strange phenomena.
Mrs. Oliphant has truly said :
'A concourse of a thousand people drawn together at half-past six in those black wintry mornings, with the November fogs rolling up from the unseen river and murky heart of the City, and day but faintly breaking through the yellow suffocating vapours, when the assembly dispersed, was a prodigy such as perhaps London never saw before, nor is likely to see again.'
What might have been the effect on a later generation familiarised with Ecstaticas' and ' Adoloratas,' with apparitions at Lourdes and La Salette, with mesmeric séances and spiritualist manifestations, with Mormonite miracles and Shaker communities, with American camp-meetings and Irish revivals, not forgetting the Italian S. David and his twelve Apostles, it is vain to speculate. Suffice it to say, that in 1831, in a less blasé age, the manifestations in Mr. Irving's church not only occasioned immense excitement at the time, but were productive of lasting and momentous consequences. From them we may date the origin of the singular body which arrogates to itself the title of Catholic Apostolic Church, but is popularly known as Irvingite, though repudiating this name or any notion of spiritual descent from the Scotch Presbyterian Church to which Irving belonged.
*There is no pretence,' they say, 'for the assertion that Mr. Irving was the author, founder, or director of the system, or was ever acknowledged as the ruler of those connected with it.' And certainly there is much to be said in favour of their view. It requires a great stretch of imagination to conceive the process by which the gorgeous ritual of the church in Gordon Square can have been developed out of a Presbyterian service. Irving himself would probably stand aghast, if he were to appear again on earth to witness it. While we believe that but for the support which the movement derived from Edward Irving's reputation, eloquente, and powers of mind, the so-called Catholic Apostolic Church, if born at all, would never have reached maturity, it is no less true that Irving soon found that he had called into existence a spirit which he could not control, that his part was to obey, not to rule.
He was never himself called to the office of Apostle or even Prophet in the Church.
"Outside people imagined him the leader, by right of whose permission Prophets speak and Elders teach, but within, the scene is very different. Apostles and Prophets have patience with him when the light breaks slowly and painfully upon his troubled soul, and mastering all the prejudices of his life, all the impulses of his will, the martyr, into whose lingering agony nobody enters, still bends his head and obeys. His reason and his heart struggle against their views, but still he submits, always submits, bringing his lofty, sorrowful head under the yoke.
Such is the touching picture which his biographer has drawn of Irving struggling to adapt strange vestments to his giant limbs. Nor is it less true that most of those who came to the front in the new movement were members of the Church of England. Irving's Scotch friends gradually dropped away. Only one of the Elders of the Church in Regent Square followed him to Newman Street. Of the original Apostles only three were Presbyterians, while two were in English orders. There are two other men who, with quite as much reason as Irving himself, may be looked upon as the founders of the Church which commonly bears his name, both of them members of the Church of England.
One of these was Henry Drummond (with whom, in the popular mind, the Irvingite body is almost identified), well known as the eloquent and eccentric M.P. for West Surrey, His pleasant abode at Albury Park, with its luxurious hospitality, was the wilderness to which the Church retired from the world. His social position and personal popularity gained a favourable hearing for their opinions, while his purse supplied the necessary funds. To his refined taste and artistic feeling, the Catholic Apostolic Church mainly owes its æsthetic development.
The other, John Bate Cardale, though less known to the outside world, probably exercised a still greater influence on the fortunes of the rising community, and did more to mould it into the form which it ultimately assumed. Mr. Cardale, a solicitor in London, who had been Mr. Irving's legal adviser
on his trial before the Presbytery, was the first called Apostle, and afterwards, as Apostle of England and Pillar-Apostle, continued till his death last year, at the age of seventy-four, to be the ruling spirit of the Church. His shrewd practical mind, and talent for organisation, were most valuable in building up its outward framework. His liturgical studies were no less so in the compilation of its ritual. The author of Apostolic Lordship describes him as a man of iron will and dominating character, who could brook no opposition, and relates how, at a council of the Apostles, when some difference of opinion had been manifested about a proposal which he had made, he took up his hat and said, 'Well, gentlemen, I leave you ; when you see your way to assent to my proposition, you may send for me. There can be no question but that, with a kind heart and attractive manner, he loved power, and could put down rebellion with a high hand, as he showed on more than one critical occasion. In the darkest hours of the fortunes of the Church to which he belonged, he was entitled to the praise of not having despaired of the republic.' It remains to be seen how the Church, of which (more especially since the death of all his colleagues but two) he has been the life and soul, will survive his loss.
We are quite ready, then, to allow, that in speaking of Irvingites,' we are speaking incorrectly. We employ the term only in conformity with common usage, and for want of a better, as we cannot, without surrendering a principle, concede to them that of the Catholic Apostolic Church.' Our object in calling attention to their past history and present position, after a lapse of nearly fifty years, is to raise this very question : Can they establish any valid claim to so high-sounding an appellation ?
We approach the subject in no unfriendly spirit. There is much which attracts our sympathies in the Irvingite system. We willingly admit that they have been of service in calling attention to some forgotten or neglected truths. We can bear personal testimony to the earnest, self-devoted lives and Christian spirit of many of their members. As ecclesiologists, we naturally hail them as fellow-workers in the great revival of ecclesiastical art. We are at one in the belief that whatever is rich and beautiful finds its fitting place in the House of God, and that there are rich liturgical stores, both in the Eastern and Western Churches, from which we may with advantage draw. We admire their reverence for holy things, their devotion of a tenth of their income to religious purposes, their frequent services, their open
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churches. As Catholic Churchmen, we cannot but rejoice in the prominent place given in their worship to the great Eucharistic Sacrifice, in their recognition of the importance of an authorised Apostolic ministry, in their yearning after Catholic unity. But when all this is said, with so much that is beautiful in theory, what do we find in practice? What, after nearly fifty years, has been the result, but that another sect has been added to the 150 already recognised by the Registrar-General ; that another rent has been made in the robe of Christ?
We have said that hitherto the members of the Irvingite community have been honourably distinguished from other modern sects, notably the Plymouth Brethren, by their Catholic and Christian spirit, but we fear that a change is coming over them in this respect, perhaps as the natural consequence of disappointed expectation. We are told that in some quarters more of a narrow proselytising temper is springing up, and that they are adopting the tactics of the Romanists, in endeavouring to make clergymen of the Church of England dissatisfied with their position, by exaggerating all its defects and anomalies, and putting forward the claims of their own body to be the one ark of safety.
It is this conviction which has led to the work whose title stands at the head of our article ; but Mr. Miller shall speak for himself as to his reason for publishing an examination of the claims of the so-called Catholic Apostolic Church to a divine mission :
I have known clergymen younger than myself, whom I have regarded as men with a great promise of doing good in the Church of Christ, admit their demands.
“They have appeared to me, therefore, to require a careful examination at the hands of some one. And I have further thought that if the materials for forming a right judgment were collected into a convenient compass and made public, much good must of necessity ensue under the good Providence of Almighty God. Moreover, having myself made a careful examination by reading everything I could find anywhere, and by inquiry at head-quarters, and having become convinced that many good persons have been mistaken or deceived by a plausibility which some of the arguments put forward wear at first sight, I am anxious, with the Divine blessing, to strip off this plausibility, and by exhibiting the system in its true light, to win back, if possible, many souls to the Catholic Church of Christ, who have inadvertently been led into a positive schism. .
Therefore, I have attempted to speak with all the fairness, and candour, and openness, that I can command, and to examine every single allegation that I can discuss. Whether this be right or wrong,
others will judge, nay rather He especially, whose guidance and blessing have been continually invoked throughout.'
We feel bound to say, after a careful study of Mr. Miller's book, that we think he has done good service to the cause of truth by the able and impartial manner in which he has executed his task. We had ourselves previously, by an independent course of reading and inquiry, and with access to other very important sources of information, arrived, in almost all respects, at identical conclusions, and we can endorse the accuracy of Mr. Miller's statements of fact.
It will be impossible within the limits of an article to give an account of the rise and progress of the Irvingites, or of the gradual development of their ritual, nor can we enter into a detailed investigation of their doctrines. For all this we must refer our readers to Mr. Miller's volumes. What we
1 It may be convenient here to give a brief summary of some of the principal events.
On May 2, 1832, sentence of expulsion was pronounced on Irving by the Presbytery of London, partly on a charge of heretical doctrine, partly on account of the manifestations which he had allowed in his church, and on the following Sunday the doors of his church in Regent Square were closed against him by the trustees. For a time his adherents found a refuge in a room in Gray's Inn Road, where Robert Owen had been used to lecture. Soon they removed to a more commodious building in Newman Street, which was opened on October 24, 1832, as the first Irvingite Church, and continued to be their head-quarters till the dedication of the magnificent edifice in Gordon Square on Christmas Eve, 1853. A few days after the first service in Newman Street, Mr. Cardale was called to be an Apostle, eleven months afterwards Mr. Drummond. Two more Apostles were called before the close of that year, and again two more in the course of the next, before the death of Mr. Irving. July 14, 1835, when the 1260 days, of which Mr. Baxter had spoken, would be completed, was appointed for the filling up of the number to twelve, and the formal separation of the whole. Early in 1838, after two and a half years of preparation, chiefly spent at Albury, the Apostles went forth on their mission to the Tribes; in June, 1840, they were recalled, to put down a rebellion of the Prophet and Angels, when Mr. Mackenzie retired.
The following is a list of the Apostles, and of the districts' to which they were called, answering to the twelve tribes of Israel :
John Bate Cardale, Esq. England and Wales. Judah. Henry Drummond, Esq. Switzerland and Scotland. Benjamin. John Tudor, Esq.
India and Poland.
Ephraim. Spencer Percival, Esq.
Manasseh. Rev. John Armstrong. Ireland and Greece. Zebulon. Rev. H. Dalton.
Asher. Francis Sitwell, Esq. Spain and Portugal. Naphthali. William King Church, Esq. Denmark and Holland. Issachar. Thomas Carlyle, Esq. North Germany.
Simeon. Francis V. Woodhouse, Esq. Austria.
Reuben. Rev. W. Dow.
Dan. David Dow, Esq.
Norway and Sweden. Gad.