Irving, Edward (17921834)

Irving, Edward, a great pulpit orator, born in Annan, Dumfriesshire; bred for the Scotch Church, became in 1819 assistant to Dr. Chalmers in Glasgow, and removed in 1822 to the Caledonian Church, London, where he attracted to his preaching the world of fashion as well as intellect in the city, who soon grew tired of him and left him, after which he took to extravagances which did not draw them back, and drew around him instead a set of people more fanatical than himself, and whose influence over him, to which he weakly yielded, infatuated him still more; the result was that he was deposed from the ministry of the Church that sent him forth, and became for a time the centre of an organisation which still exists, in a modified form, and bears his name; he was the bosom friend in his early days of Thomas Carlyle, and no one mourned more over his aberration than he, for he loved him to the end. “But for Irving,” he says, “I had never known what the communion of man with man means. His was the freest, brotherliest, bravest human soul mine ever came in contact with; I call him on the whole the best man I have ever, after trial enough, found in this world, or now hope to find. Scotland sent him forth,” he says, “a herculean man, but our mad Babylon wore him and wasted him with all her engines, and it took her 12 years”; he died in Glasgow, aged 42, “hoary as with extreme age,” and lies buried in a crypt of the cathedral there (17921834).

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

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