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imagined that by setting forth the truths of Christianity in the forms of the schools, rather than in the forms of the Spirit, he might induce the philosophers and men of science to become Christians. The notion was erroneous, because, although the plan were to be accomplished, yet in that case Christianity would only be received as a science; and although it might furnish food for the mind, the affections and tastes would remain unmoved. In his Orations, and other sermons preached at that period, there are phrases quite as loose and objectionable as any which have occurred in his later works; but they excited little wrath, as they did not arraign the practices of men, nor carry home conviction of error to their consciences; while the church was crowded to suffocation with grandees of all classes, peers and peeressés, lawyers, metaphysicians, philosophers of every grade, and members of literary and scientific societies. During all this outward shew, however, there is no ground to believe that a single soul was effectually turned to God.
Mr. Irving was next brought to discourse on the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, during the preparation of his church for the celebration of that ordinance; and he was led to preach upon the mystery of the Trinity, the impossibility of an incarnation of Deity, without it, and its application to the elements commemorating the risen Saviour, and the wine of the Spirit, and the kingdom. He at that time had no more knowledge of the subject than every well-taught minister usually acquires at college : but in watering others he was watered himself: the preciousness of the doctrine was brought with power to his own soul, and symptoms of spiritual life began to be manifested in the midst of his flock, so that a considerable number of intelligent young men applied for admission to the table of the Lord.
About this period of his ministry the Scotch Church in Regent Square was built; and amongst the first subjects to which he directed the attention of his hearers was that of the coming kingdom of the Lord, shewing that the locality of heaven was on this earth. This doctrine excited some clamour amongst the Society people, who had been falsely 'prophesying that the conversion of the world and the introduction of the Millennium was reducible to a sum in the Rule of Three; and that, if only a given amount of money could be obtained, preachers could be hired, and Bibles and tracts printed,' sufficient for the whole work, without the interference of Christ in person at all. Mr. Irving had had the elements of the mechanical arrangement of the Apocalypse explained to him by Mr. Frere, who knew no more of the subject; and an application of the Committee of the Continental Society to preach their anniversary sermon afforded a fit opportunity for Mr. Irving to put forth the light which he had himself just obtained.
On the occasion of another celebration of the Sacrament he was again induced to turn his attention to the meaning of the sacred elements, and the benefits which accrue to the faithful thereby: and the doctrine of the human nature assumed by the Son of God, and his work in that nature, was necessarily treated of. A foolish heretic coming into the church, and hearing something which he did not understand, raised the cry of heresy against Mr. Irving. This was caught at readily by the radical schismatics, who, while they were unable to refute, were mortally offended at, the doctrine of the kingdom of Christ, and the present vicegerency of all earthly kings: and as it was more easy to rail than to argue, and as abuse is a more rapid outlet for ill temper than cool discussion, they have never allowed the din of heresy to be silenced from that time. The next doctrine which was opened up was that of Baptism, in the course of which the right and privilege of the Christian church to possess all the gifts and manifestations of the Holy Ghost with which it was endowed at Pentecost was declared.-The last doctrine which he was brought to see,
and which is the essence of the Christian life, is the absolute holiness necessary for all who aspire to be the bride of the Lamb: which has been insisted upon, and shewn to be possible, through the indwelling of the person of the Holy Ghost in all his holiness, love, and power. This was not to be borne any longer: doctrines were bad enough ; but when it was held and maintained that men might not continue in sin; that the Calvinists could not get to heaven by believing certain propositions about justification and sanctification and election and final perseverance, while they continued in a course of slander, wrath, malice, backbiting, and defamation, it was high time to get rid of such a fellow from the earth; but, fortunately, not having the power YET to do this, they only did all they could, which was to get rid of him out of the kirk.
Time does not allow of our going more at length into the subject: suffice it to say, that the sentence of deposition by the presbytery was passed on Wednesday the 2d of May ;--that the Sacrament had been appointed for the Sunday following: that, consequently, Thursday was the fast, which is always considered part of the ordinance;—that the ordinance was therefore interrupted by the notice being served on Mr. Irving on Thursday evening ;---that on Friday morning the elders and deacons assembled, with Mr. Irving, in prayer, that the Lord would direct them to find a place in which the church might still celebrate the sacrament;---that they then went out different ways search, trusting to the Lord to guide their steps in whatever direction He should please ;—that all the chapels of all the professing Christians in London, where they applied, were refused them ;—that the only place which was offered was the Ball
Room in which Mr. Owen, who professes to be an infidel, delivers his lectures ;-—and that, in this place, on Sunday the 6th of May, at two o'clock in the afternoon, did Mr. Irving administer the ordinance to three elders and two deacons, together with the precentor, beadle, and almost the whole of his church, containing, probably, little short of eight hundred communicants, who had been previously admitted.
Upon every principle, no place in Europe could have been less desirable than that which it was alone possible to obtain. God, indeed, has taught us by it to feel that “He dwells not in houses made with hands;" and that the hour now is when neither in Jerusalem, nor in any mountain, shall we worship the Father; for that he is a Spirit, and is seeking those only to worship him who will worship him in spirit and in truth.” This refuge is of course only temporary: the Lord's dealings are wonderful: it is a place necessarily repugnant to the feelings of every Christian; but God may have designed it to point out the strictness of the confederacy of the hypocritical churches against the hearing of His own voice in the midst of them, and to shew that He would not suffer any such association to break up a church that reverences the ministry of the word and the ministry of the Spirit.
The wheels of God's providence move round the fate of pations; and the dews from heaven fertilize and the sun of heaven ripens, or the windows of heaven are closed and the heat of heaven scorches, according as He wills to bless or to chasten a people. The wheels of nations move round the church; and these rise or fall according as the institutions of religion are honoured or neglected. The wheels of the church move round the unseen prayers of the elect; and the secularity of the priests in the desecration of their offices draws not down, though it provokes, the righteous vengeance of Omnipotence, for the sake of the true salt which is diffused through the mass. The wheels of the elect move round the Spirit of God within them: the living creatures go by the wheel in the middle of a wheel; and whithersoever the Spirit goes, the living creatures go.
The fall of England, the cholera and the sword, has come on account of the wickedness of the people : the wickedness of the people has grown out of the apostasy of the church : the church has cast out the Spirit of the living God, and rejected His voice with unprecedented unanimity: and on the very first day that the Parliament met after this event, the government was overthrown, and a universal cry of a refusal to pay tribute was raised among the people. Let no one sneer, as if, in selfrighteous arrogance, we claimed for Mr. Irving, or for the members of his church, greater holiness than others possess. No; it is of the Sovereign Grace of God that his Spirit has been put into that church, But there it is, and the pastor has honoured it, and the people have reverenced it, and all have welcomed it; and a spiritual ministry is there established, against which the gates of hell shall not prevail.
Our readers may be glad to know likewise a few of the legal points of the case, which we will give as briefly as we can.-The building in Regent Square, though called the National Scotch Church, took that name from the accidental circumstance of Mr. Irving's being of the Church of Scotland. It was built by subscriptions, chiefly from personal friends of Mr. Irving, a large proportion of them being Englishmen. Some of the trustees were such, and one of them we know to be of the Church of England; and we have heard him declare, that he should never enter that building if Mr. Irving were removed. Many of the subscribers were positively told that the church was erected solely for Mr. Irving, and that provision had been made against the possibility of removing him. One of them writes thus : “When I was urged repeatedly to subscribe, and also to contribute to various collections, with all of which I subsequently complied, I was assured that no power whatever could displace Mr. Irving : on which assurance alone I consented ; not being a member of the Church of Scotland, and having a strong objection to contribute to a church in connection with it.”
Mr. Irving, however, has been removed and we now propose to consider the question, between the trustees on the one part and Mr, Irving on the other, in its legal bearings : ạnd for this purpose will first discuss the state of the cause (to use a technical expression) as it was brought before the London presbytery; and, secondly, the jurisdiction which the presbytery possessed in the matter, and the way in which they exercised it, from the commencement to its final decision. In doing so we shall abstạin as much as possible from comment: the bare relation of what passed is more fatal than any comment which could be made on the presumptuous ignorance and the pre-resolved injustice which marked every part of the judicial conduct of that tribunal, to which alone we now restrict ourselves. It is well for the moral interests of mankind, that, if injustice be perpetrated, it should be perpetrated in an unrighteous manner; and that the veil which it is attempted to throw over the Act should be so slight as inadequately to conceal the real nature of the PRINCIPLES and motives.
1. 1. We repeat, that the church was avowedly built for Mr. Irving—built on the credit of his name--and, without that, it never would nor could have been built ; and therefore it was never contemplated but that Mr. Irving should hold it for life. Yet, as Mr. Irving was not to be the only person who should hold the situation of minister, and the trust was to be perpetual
, it was necessary, in framing the deed, to make proper provisions
for the election and removal of the minister in case of misconduct. Not to have included Mr. Irving in these provisions, so far as they could be applicable to him, would, indeed, have been to raise him above all rules, which none have contended for ; , and therefore the fact of their being made. applicable to him, is no proof for the statements, attempted to be urged by the acting trustee on the trial, that the clause for removal was expressly made applicable to him, with a direct reference to the possibility of such a case as has occurred. To those who know any thing of the facts, this is too absurd to require an answer ; but as the statement was made, we have deemed it right to say so much in observation on it..
To remove a minister, to sever the connection between a pastor and his flock, is, and ever has been, esteemed in the church of Christ one of the most important and awful acts which a Christian community can be called upon to perform. In all established churches it has ever been reserved, if not in the first instance, yet at least by means of appeal, to the highest authority.... As Mr. Irving and the Regent-Square Church were situated, it was necessary to constitute a tribunal, for å tribunal having intrinsic authority there was none. The most obvious, and under general circumstances the most proper, tribunal was chosen--namely, that voluntary association which existed, of the ministers and elders of the Established Church of Scotland in London. True they were in a foreign land, surrounded by persons belonging to other divisions of the Christian church, and removed from the review both of their brethren and their inferiors in their own church; and, therefore, from the controul of, that general knowledge of ecclesiastical proceedings and maxims of ecclesiastical jurisprudence which would necessarily be found among their countrymen in Scotland. True they only assumed to themselves, and among themselves (by voluntary agreement), to supply the place of a court, which, so far from being the final court of jurisdiction, fulfils in Scotland, for the most part, the function merely of preparing and reporting proceedings for a higher court. Still they were the best that could be had; and in choosing them it was the more necessary to guard against improper applications, and to lodge the power of complaint in proper and sufficient hands. There were selected for this last purpose three bodies-namely, 1st, the trustees, consisting of sixteen individuals, and who, under the provisions of the deed, were never to be permitted to sink below eight in number; and when reduced to seven, were to be increased to at least thirteen : 2dly, the elders and deacons : and 3dly, twenty seat-holders, being heads of families and communicants. The clause is as follows:
That in case the trustees for the time being of the said church, or the elders and deacons for the time being of the said