1830 EDWARD IRVING. Important Letter from Progenitor of Premillennialism & Pentecostalism

1830 EDWARD IRVING. Important Letter from Progenitor of Premillennialism & Pentecostalism

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An important and scarce c.1830 Autograph Letter by Edward Irving, perhaps on his trip visiting the MacDonalds and experiencing glossolalia for the very first time.

By 1830, Irving was already preaching at the famed Scotch National Church in Regent Square. There had already been a  prominent and well publicized miraculous healing and some instances of prophecy. Now, however, he heard there had been people in Port Glasgow, Scotland experiencing the gift of tongues. He traveled to see them, as many did, and in some ways, the proto-pentecostal movement in London was born on that trip.

The present undated letter appears to be written while visiting Scotland, so after his departure for London, and mentions a family “Mac,” of which he can’t recall the rest. This could be the MacDonald’s, the prominent family of glossolaliacs in Port Glasgow. He also mentions Dr. Thompson, perhaps the same that would become an “Angel” at the Scotch National Church and essentially the “Pastoral Apostle” of the Catholic Apostolic Church that emerged from the London movement. It reads in full: 

“Edin. Monday

My dear and kind friend,

I beg to introduce to you my true friend, Dr. Thompson, who is a bold and fearless man, mighty in word and deed. I saw Mr. Mac (I forget the rest) of K******* last night and in the Church where Knox once preached, after which the people were from I delivered Lady Harriet’s* class. The Lord prospered it to the saving of a soul. Amen. God keep you and your children and prosper the land. Amen. Farewell. I have begun my work of testimony** this day and I think the Lord was with me.

Your affectionate friend,
Edwd Irving”

*This is likely Harriet Drummond, whom he most often calls Lady Harriet in his journal. If so, this is likely during the time of the Albury Apostles’ meetings that led to the “last days” outpouring theology that stoked the Irvingite and, later, the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements. 

**Irving tended to use this phrased “testimony” of his preaching regarding the last days, which incorporated by his premillennialism [unique in his time] and his view of an end time revival of the miraculous gifts.