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merely continue their intrusions and impertinencies, we can afford to consult our own convenience, and choose our own time for appealing to the last resort of injured nations for redress of the wrong.
And if the European Powers should see fit to press the matter to its ultimate issue, we shall not shrink from our proper responsibility, as a free people and the friends of free institutions. And the Powers may be sure that we shall not stand wholly on the defensive. We will say no word and do no act implying an admission that the Political System of America is less honorable than that of Europe, or less true, or less beneficent, or less worthy of heroic sacrifices in its cause, or less deserving of universal adoption. The question will then lie between the European System for America, and the American System for Europe. If, by their machinations or aggressions, we are once involved in their conflicts against our will, there will be no more peace for us or for them, until the American ideas of national independence and responsibility have been spread over the countries of the Old World, and the doctrines of national interference and the Balance of Power have been cast among the rubbish with the systems of absolutism and popular ignorance which they were devised to support. And let God give the victory to the right!
ARTICLE VIII.-EDWARD IRVING.
[In the July Number of the New ENGLANDER we gave place to an Article in review of Mrs. Oliphant's biography of Edward Irving, from the pen of a writer who has had, perhaps, greater facilities for becoming acquainted with the character and religious convictions of that eminent man, than any other individual in this country. In that Article, it will be remembered, the reviewer had not space to enter upon any examination of those remarkable occurrences which, during the last four years of Mr. Irving's life, exerted so important an influence upon
such a new direction to his efforts. This period is one over which great obscurity has hung. It has not been easy to gain satisfactory information with regard either to the facts or to Mr. Irving's views respecting them. His friends have always claimed that on these points he has been grievously misrepresented and misunderstood. Under these circumstances we are confident that our readers will be pleased that we are able to present them with an extended statement of the nature of these remarkable events, and of the development of Mr. Irving's belief in connection with them, prepared by one whose means of becoming acquainted with the whole subject have been unusually complete. And if, in the detail of the facts, and the discussion of these novel subjects, the reviewer discloses, what is already generally known, that he is the warm supporter and hearty advocate of the views which Mr. Irving was led to embrace, his readers who are obliged to differ from him in his conclusions have, in the undisguised sympathy which he shows, this additional guarantee that he has given a presentation of the whole subject which will be admitted by all to be satisfactory. It may, perhaps, be well also, in giving place to an Article of this kind in our · pages, to guard occasional readers from imputing
any adherence to the views, that are here unfolded, to those who are interested in the conduct of this Quarterly.
ED. NEW ENGLANDER.]
The Life of Edward Irving, Minister of the National Scotch
Church, London. Illustrated by his Journals and Correspondence. By Mrs. OLIPIANT. New York: Harper & Brothers, Franklin Square. 1862.
In one of Emerson's Essays, if we mistake not, there occurs this pregnant saying, “ To-day is a king in disguise.” The true meaning of it is, that God's greatest works are misunderstood at the time that He is doing them. The prophets are killed, and it is after generations who build their sepulchres. That a servant of God should have met with almost universal obloquy and reproach, does not show him to have been unfaithful, or to have failed in his mission. His very fidelity may have been the cause of his rejection, for a work may have been given him to do beyond the reach of his generation, the necessity and glory of which only a later age can discern and appreciate. This principle is especially to be borne in mind, in forming a judgment upon the career of one whose holiness, it is universally admitted, never shone out more brightly than in the last years of his life, and whose services to the cause of Christian doctrine were unsurpassed by those of any man of his time. The charity which “thinketh no evil ” would be slow to believe that such an one was left to follow an ignis fatuus which led him into a land of "Gorgcns, hydras, and chimeras dire,” where he wasted his noble gifts in ineffectual toils and sufferings.
The history of Edward Irving up to the year 1830, was not such as to prepare us for that utter wreck of his magnificent endowments and opportunities which he is commonly thought to have made towards the end of his life.
“ From year to year,” says Mrs. Oliphant, “as Irving proceeded farther on his career, the tide of thought and emotion had been hitherto rising with a noble ard 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, lad been worthy the loftiest mood of hunan intellect, and had given dignity and force to the high position he assumed as a teacher and embassador of God. All his discourses 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.” It was not long before this time that Coleridge said, " I see in Edward Irving a minister after the order of Paul."
There can be no doubt that he had thus far been most providentially guided and trained, and had abounded in the noblest labors for Christ and His Church. Born in the most intensely Protestant country of Europe, and educated in the grave and sober ways of its religious peasantry, he was transplanted to England in the prime of his early manhood to receive a spiritual and intellectual culture such as his native land could not give him. IIe inherited all that personal strength and courage and unconquerable firmness, which have made Scotland victorious in many a stormy conflict, but his spirit had been chastened by the patient yoke-bearing and painful disappointments of thirty years. After he had learned the first lessons of the pastoral work, as the helper of Chalmers, the wisest and greatest of the Scottish pastors, he was removed by a striking providence of God, and without any seeking on his own part, to the Metropolis, then as now the great center of the Protestant world. When he went up to London he was ill-fitted for the high sphere he was ultimately to fill. Full of genial life and power he was (no one more so “in all these Islands," said Thomas Carlyle), and his wonderful gifts, then for the first time finding room and range enough, at once made him the splendid pulpit orator whose fiery eloquence shook the whole kingdom. But before he could become the profound and powerful teacher of Christian doctrine, he must sit a docile pupil at the feet of the greatest Christian philosopher and sage of these last ages, to learn from him the principles on which all vital philosophy and spiritual religion rest. In the highest sense, Mr. Irving's training for the ministry began at Highgate. It was from the lips of Coleridge that he received those seeds of truth, which, quickened by tlie Divine Spirit, brought forth the rich fruits of his teachings on the Incarnation, the Ordinances of God in society and the Church, and the future Kingdom of His Son. Humanly speaking, he could not otherwise have been that mighty expounder of the purpose and work of God in Christ which he soon became. It was his communion with this remarkable man, at a time when his energetic intellect was all a-glow with youthful fire, that gave the right direction to his theological studies, and lifted up the eloquent orator into the far-seeing interpreter of the ways of God to man.
His removal to London also brought him under the influences of the more varied structure of English society, enlarg. ing him from provincial narrowness, and giving him a broader understanding of the applications of Christianity to human life. To the simplicity and earnestness of Scottish character, prone to degenerate into monotony and harshness, were thus joined the wider range of thought, and the richer, mellower tone of feeling, which come from the blending of so many diverse elements in the national life of England. In the Dedication of his "Lectures on the Parable of the Sower," to his “ dear and honored friends,” Mr. and Mrs. Basil Montague, “ with all those honorable men and women of the English nation, who have showed me much kindness in these parts,” he thus beautifully expresses his obligations in these respects to the land of his adoption:
"For while I must ever acknowledge myself to be more beholden to our sage friend Mr. Coleridge (whose acquaintance and friendship I owe likewise to you), than to all men besides, for a knowledge of the truth itself as it is in Jesus; I feely confess myself to be much your debtor for the knowledge of those forms of the natural mind, and the actual existing world, with which the minister of the truth hath in the first instance to do, and into the soil of which the seed of truth is to be cast. Your much acquaintance, worthy Sir, and your much conversation of the sages of other days, and especially the fathers of the English Church and Literature, and your endeavors to hold them up unto all whom you honor with your confidence, your exquisite feeling, dear and honored Madam, of whatever is just and beautiful, whether in the idea or in the truth of