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REV. MR. IRVING.
This gentleman has gained an almost unprecedented, and not an altogether unmerited popularity as a preacher. As he is, perhaps, though a burning and a shining light, not“ one of the fixed,” we shall take this opportunity of discussing his merits, while he is at his meridian height; and in doing so, shall “nothing extenuate, nor set down aught in malice.”
Few circumstances shew the prevailing and preposterous rage for novelty in a more striking point of view, than the success of Mr. Irving's oratory. People go to hear him in crowds, and come away with a mixture of delight and astonishment—they go again to see if the effect will continue, and send others to try to find out the mystery-and in the noisy conflict be
tween extravagant encomiums and splenetic objections, the true secret escapes observation, which is, that the whole thing is, nearly from beginning to end, a transposition of ideas. If the subject of these remarks had come out as a player, with all his advantages of figure, voice, and action, we think he would have failed: if, as a preacher, he had kept within the strict bounds of pulpit-oratory, he would scarcely have been much distinguished among his Calvinistic brethren: as a mere author, he would have excited attention rather by his quaintness and affectation of an obsolete style and mode of thinking, than by any thing else. But he has contrived to jumble these several characters together in an unheard-of and unwarranted manner, and the fascination is altogether irresistible. Our Caledonian divine is equally an anomaly in religion, in literature, in personal appearance, and in public speaking. To hear a person spout Shakspeare on the stage is nothing--the charm is nearly worn out -but to hear any one spout Shakspeare (and that not in a sneaking under-tone, but at the top of his voice, and with the full breadth of his chest) from a Calvinistic pulpit, is new and wonderful. The Fancy have lately lost something of their gloss in public estimation, and after the last fight, few would go far to see a