“ONE OF THE MOST STRIKING FIGURES IN ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY”: MRS. OLIPHANT’S BIOGRAPHY OF EDWARD IRVING, 1862, HANDSOMELY BOUND
(IRVING, Edward) OLIPHANT, Mrs. The Life of Edward Irving. London: Hurst and Blackett, 1862. Two volumes. Octavo, mid-20th century three-quarter brown morocco gilt, raised bands, patterned endpapers, top edges gilt. $600.
First edition of Mrs. Oliphant’s account of the celebrated and controversial Presbyterian clergyman, handsomely bound.
A prolific late-Victorian Era novelist, Oliphant also wrote non-fiction (including notable histories of several of the world’s major cities), as here. A popular and, by all accounts, gifted preacher whose “original congregation was almost lost in the influx of the more brilliant members of London society” upon his assumption of the pulpit, Irving’s growing belief in Jesus’ imminent return, his encouragement of glossolalia (or “speaking in tongues”) and own calls for a return to apostolic purity of missionary endeavors led him to face charges of hersey and deposition from the Church of Scotland’s ministry. He would, however, go on to help found the Catholic Apostolic Church. “Irving was one of the most striking figures in ecclesiastical history, and as exempt from every taint of charlatanism as a man can be. He cannot be acquitted of an enormous over-estimate of his own powers and a fatal proneness to believe himself set apart for extraordinary works; but this mistaken self-confidence never degenerated into conceit, and on many occasions he gave evidence of a most touching humility” (DNB). With engraved frontispiece portrait in Volume I.
A fine copy, handsomely bound.