IRVINGITES. The followers of Edward Irving (1792 1834). After studying at the University of Edinburgh, Irving went to Haddington as a schoolmaster (1810-12). In 1512 he was selected as the first master of a school at Kirkcaldy. Here three years later he obtained the Pres byterian license to preach. In 1819 he preached in S. George's. Edinburgh, before Andrew Thomson (1779 1849), its minister, and Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847), then minister of Tron parish. Glasgow. Towards the end of the same year he became assistant to Dr. Chalmers.
In 1822 he went to his native place Annan in Dumfries shire to be ordained. He had already in 1821 accepted a call to the Caledonian Chapel, Hatton Garden, London, which at the time was far from flourishing. " The Caledonian Church had been placed under the pastoral care of two worthy ministers, who were successively called to parochial charges in the Church of Scotland; and by their removal, and for want of a stated ministry, it was reduced to great and almost hopeless straits " (Edward Irving). One of the stipulations for appoint ment was that the minister should be able to preach in the Gaelic tongue; but through the influence of the Duke of York, who was President of the Royal Caledonian Asylum. this stipulation was set aside. The "Royal Caledonian Asylum " was Instituted in 1815 by the High land Society of London for " Supporting and educating the children of soldiers, sailors and marines, natives of Scotland, who have died or have been disabled in the service of their country; and also the children of Indigent Scottish Parents, residing in London not receiving Par ochial Relief." The Institution was not opened for the reception of children until December, 1819. In that year premises had been acquired in Cross Street, Hatton Garden, London. The Caledonian Chapel was evidently connected with this institution. In July 1822 Irving began his work In London. By degrees he filled the chapel. and there came a time when it was invaded by streams of noble and fashionable hearers. The invasion is said to have been due in the first instance to a reference by George Canning (1770-1827) in the House of Commons. Canning said he had heard a Scotch •minister in one of the most poorly endowed churches preach the most eloquent sermon he had ever listened to. The scene outside and inside the chapel is described by William Hazlitt (1778-1830). " You can scarcely move along for the coronet-coaches that besiege the entrance to the Cale donian Chapel in Hatton Garden; and when, after a prodigious squeeze, you get in so as to have standing room, you see in the same undistinguished 'crowd Brougham and Mackintosh, Mr. Peel and Lord Liver pool, Lord Landsdowne and Mr. Coleridge. Mr. Canning and Mr. Hone are pew fellows, Mr. Waithman frowns stern applause, and Mr. Alderman Wood does the honours of the Meeting! The lamb lies down with the lion, and the millennium seems to be anticipated in the Cale donian chapel, under the new Scotch preacher " (The Round Table). Hazlett also gives a description of Irving himself. " Mr. Irving's intellect itself is of a superior order; he has undoubtedly both talents and acquirements beyond the ordinary run of every-day preachers. These alone, however, we hold, would not account for a twentieth part of the effect he has produced : they would have lifted him perhaps out of the mire and slough of sordid obscurity, but would never have launched him into the ocean-stream of popularity, in which he ' lies floating many a rood ';—but to these he adds uncommon height, a graceful figure and action, a clear and powerful voice, a striking, if not a fine face, a bold and fiery spirit, and a most portentous obliquity of vision, which throw him to an immeasurable distance beyond all competition, and effectually relieve whatever there might be of common-place or bombast in his style of composition " (The Spirit of the Age). In 1825 Irving published a book, " Babylon and Infidelity Foredoomed," which he dedicated to James Hatley Frere (1779-1866), a person with curious views about prophecy. In 1826 a number of students of prophecy, amongst whom was Edward Irving, began to meet together at Albury Park, Surrey, in the house of Henry Drtunniond (1789-1840) to deliberate about prophetical questions. In May 1827 was opened a new church in Regent Square which had been specially built for Irving. Thus Irving became minister of the National Scotch Church, London. In 182S he went to Scotland on a preaching tour. On this occasion he visited Rosneath, where he made a great impression upon many persons, including an invalid, Mary Campbell. In the same year Alexander John Scott (1935-1866) became Irving's assistant. Scott, who afterwards became the first Prin cipal of Owens College, Manchester (1851-57), was one of those who believed "that the supernatural powers once bestowed upon the Church were not merely the phenomena of one miraculous age, but an inheritance of which she ought to have possession as surely and richly now as in the days of the Apostles" (Oliphant). The same idea
had already occurred to Irving, and he seems to have been impressed more and more by Scott's convictions. In 1830 James Macdonald, a disciple of Scott, cured his invalid sister by telling her in the words of Psalm xx. to " Arise. and stand upright." He then wrote to Mary Campbell, who apparently was on her death-bed, and conveyed to her the same command. She has herself described the effect of the message. " I received dear brother James NI'Donald's letter, giving an account of his sister's being raised up, and commanding me to rise and walk. I had scarcely read the first page when I became quite overpowered, and laid it aside for a few minutes; but I had uo rest in my mind until I took it up again, and began to read. As I read, every word came home with power; and when I came to the command to arise. it came home with a power which no one can describe; it was felt to be indeed the voice of Christ; it was such a voice as could not be resisted. A mighty power was instantaneously exerted upon me. I felt as if I had been lifted from off the earth, and all my diseases taken from me at the voice of Christ. I was verily made in a moment to stand upon my feet, leap and walk, sing and rejoice" (Norton, Memoirs of J. and G. Macdonald). In the same year, apparently before her cure. Mary Camp bell received the gift of tongues. Irving himself, writing later (1832) in " Fraser's Magazine " says that " the Holy Ghost came with mighty power upon the sick woman as she lay in her weakness, and constrained her to speak at great length and with superhuman strength in an un known tongue. to the astonishment of all who heard and to her own great edification—for ' he that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth " Towards the end of 1S80 Irving and some Evangelical clergymen began to conduct prayer meetings in order " to seek of God the revival of the gifts of the Holy Ghost in the Church." The Presbytiry of London had already begun to doubt his orthodoxy. Early in November 1831 Irving preached two sermons on the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, and several members of the congregation began to reveal the miraculous gift of tongues. In 1832 the Scotch Pres bytery in London decided " that the said Rev. Edward Irving has rendered himself unfit to remain the minister of the National Scotch Church aforesaid, and ought to be removed therefrom, in pursuance of the conditions of the trust-deed of the said church." Irving's congregation sought an asylum in a large room in Gray's Inn Road. But here only the principal services were held. Irving preached for a time in various places out of doors. Later, he removed to a house in Newman Street. This con tained a large picture gallery which was to serve as his new church. The ministerial organisation now under went a change. Robert Baxter of Doncaster declared prophetically " that the Church no longer retained the privilege of ordaining, and that all spiritual offices were henceforth to be filled by the gifted, or by those specially called, through the gifted, by the Spirit of God" (Oliphant). Irving himself on April the 5th, 1833, was re-ordained as " angel over the Church in Newman Street." Irving died ou December the Sth, 1834.
Writing in 1S36, Robert Baxter (Irvingism) describes the chapel and its arrangements. " The room adopted for their meetings was fitted up in the usual style of pews and galleries, as in a church; instead of a pulpit, how ever, there was constructed at the upper end of the church a raised platform, capable of containing perhaps fifty persons. In the ascent to this platform are steps, on the front of the platform are seven seats; the middle seat is that of the angel; the three on each side of the angel are elders. Below them on the steps, and in a parallel line, are seven other seats belonging to the prophets, the middle seat being allotted to Mr. Taplin as the chief of the prophets. Still lower in a parallel line are seven other seats appropriated to the deacons. the middle seat being occupied by the chief deacon. This threefold cord of a sevenfold ministry was adopted under direction of the utterance. The angel ordered the service, and the preaching and expounding was generally by the elders in order, the prophets speaking as utterance came upon them." In 1S32 the followers of Irving had taken the title of the " Holy Catholic Apostolic Church." In July 1835 there were twelve apostles, who ordained angels and elders. The ritual of the Church developed considerably after this. In 1S54 a fine chapel was opened in Gordon Square, London. It possesses a good liturgy. The ministry now comprises angels, elders, prophets, evangelists, and pastors, and is supported by tithes. See Robert Baxter, Irvingism, its Rise, Progress, and Present State, 1836; Mrs. Oliphant, The Life of Edward Irving, 1S62; J. H. Blunt; the D.N.B.