The Statements and Words of William Irvine
The documented statements made by Wm. Irvine verbally or in writing are from the following sources:
(1) Statement for a Court Case dated July, 1913
(2) Interview with Reporter Lloyd's Review Feb 3, 1907
(3) John Coles Interview with Morning Leader
(4) Letters written by Wm. Irvine after he went to Israel in 1919 where he lived for the rest of his life
(5) Quotes from sermons Wm. Irvine made as a leading worker at the Crocknacrieve N. Ireland Conventions printed in the Impartial Reporter Newspaper
(6) Extract of sermon in Nenagh Guardian - April 15, 1911, page 5
Statements in Letters by Wm. Irvine that he was the Founder
Statements that Wm. Irvine was the Leader
NOTE: Wm. Irvine uses the term "The Testimony" to refer to the 2x2 ministry and church he founded.
Was born in Kilsyth, 1863, brought up Presberterian (sic), converted through Presberterian (sic) Preacher in 1893. Instructed in the way of serving the Lord by the late John Colville, M.P. of Motherwell, N.B.
Studied in the Bible Training Institute, Glasgow for two years.
Preached for five years in the Faith Mission, (Scotland) and have just gone on preaching and practicing what I was taught, and what is generally called “Evangelical Christianity.”
We seek to follow the pattern given by Jesus and the apostles and keep close to the practices of the early Church, as there are so many different interpretations.
The Bible teaches, we preach and practice—that no drunkard shall inherit the kingdom of God, or unclean or fornicator, or adulterer. Chastity, Charity, Righteousness and Integrity are the basis for all true Christian life and character, as well as service to God and man.
We emphasise the need for living Christ before our fellow men as well as preaching Him as Saviour. The Blood of Jesus Christ is our only plea for the forgiveness of sin for all men.
We encourage preachers to go and preach the Gospel freely to all men, two by two. Two women or two men or a married couple may go together. But never otherwise, or in violation of the laws of chastity as taught by both God and man.
We encourage people who want to live for God and worship and serve Him in spirit and in truth, to use their homes as the place of worship.
To show Christian hospitality.
To maintain good works before their fellows.
We hold yearly conventions lasting from one or two weeks at convenient places, where preachers and saints, or Christians who live Christ at home, come and get help and encouragement to be true, chaste, and useful to God in their daily life.
The convention at Brewham 1912 lasted from June 14 to 24. About two hundred people attended the meetings.
I was shown a leaflet on the 21st by Howard Burfit such as was said to be posted in Bruton outside the barbers shop occupied by Mr. Maidstone. This caused me to understand some of the language I had overheard from some of those who came to look on, rather than hear what was said in meetings.
I heard two women say "Old Burfitt ought to be burned,” and other remarks that made me wonder at their hostility as we are not accustomed to those things in other places.
Conventions are held at some worthy respected Christian home where accommodation is made for all who come, having due regard Christian, Moral and Spiritual; as well as health and sanitary considerations.
Women and men observe strict separateness in meetings, at meals and quarters for sleeping; and any violation of these conditions would at once be disciplined by asking them to go home.
Half of the attendants at meetings are married people who have their families with them.
Out preaching there are many married people also. There are two, three, four and five out of one family preaching in many cases, Brothers and sisters.
Our meetings and lives and preaching is always open to the public and we do nothing that any person who wants to see may not come and examine.
Our endeavour is to honour God, follow Jesus and obey the Scriptures as taught in the free Churches of Great Britain today.
The charges Wilson has made are absolutely unfounded, both in the teaching and practice of those he seeks to libel with a view to hindering our work.
Yours very truly
Obituary for John Colville, MP" The Times ( London). Friday, 23 August 1901. (36541), p. 8.
TTT Editor's Note: To make it easier for the reader who wishes to analyze or study the actual words on record spoken by Wm. Irvine, we have collected all those on file with TTT into this document. These statements or sermons
of Wm. Irvine are taken from articles printed by various newspapers. The full article is available by clicking the date of the quote.
The portions of sermons were taken down in shorthand by a reporter from the Impartial Reporter, and are, of course, selective. The reasons for the reporters quoting the portions he did are unknown. They didn't take down whole sermons...so it would not be fair to think that these quotes characterized all Irvine's preaching. However, this is all we have (to date) of words Wm. Irvine has spoken. Please keep this in mind while reading this collection.
NOTE: The reporters sometimes mispell William Irvine's last name as "Irwin."
There are a few notes that follow the newspaper articles below of Irvine's part in meetings or conventions.
TTT welcomes any additional statements spoken by Wm. Irvine.
Today is my birthday. I am forty-four. To-morrow I celebrate another birthday. Fourteen years ago I was ‘born’ spiritually…After years of hard work I rose to be manager for Messrs. W. Bearn (sic-should be Baird) & Co. at their Kilsyth and Bothwell pits, where I was employed when the Rev. John McNeil, the Evangelist, converted me, and eight months after his visit I gave up my position in order to devote my life to the Gospel, and I went to the Bible Training Institute in Glasgow. Had I chosen the ordinary path that leads to the ministry with its churches, chapels, congregations, and stipends, all would have been well. But already I had realized that such things were not part of Christ’s ministry, and I decided to discard them. My studies finished I joined the Faith Mission, which was controlled by J. G. Govan, and I preached in various parts of the kingdom for something like five years. It was whilst I was working in the South of Ireland that I came to the conclusion that my positions was still inconsistent with the example set by Christ, and I left the mission to preach alone.
From that day to this day my methods have been the same, though I have learned a great deal. I take the Book as it is, relying for my provision in this world upon the promise of God, which you will find in Matt x.5-15. Whenever I have visited the home of a brother I have always found hospitality in exchange for that which, as a preacher of the truth, I bring into it.
And where I don’t pay for my shelter I leave behind as much as I receive. It is clearly laid down that the Apostles were to work with their hands, and wherever I go there is usually something to do, a bit of carpentering or a bicycle to mend. I can turn my hands to almost anything. We practice no cadging, no scheming, no flouting. In exchange for bread and butter, we give those who are in fellowship with us bread from Heaven—a real hearty exchange.
I don’t say that miracles are ever worked on our behalf. You may take it from me that the Lord never does mad things. The Lord is the sanest man who ever trod the earth. As for those phases of the work which cannot be carried on without money, all I know is that the money has always been available.
If it depended upon ability we have no show at all. Everything depends upon a man’s confidence in God. You speak of uneducated youths. Don’t you think that even an uneducated man can do quite as effective work, perhaps more effective, amongst men of his own class than, say, a man of education who would probably frighten some kinds of people away? At least, he can give his experiences, and a simple testimony is often more useful than an eloquent address.
No one is ever coerced into becoming a preacher. For that very reason I don’t see how it would be possible to interfere with a man or a woman who feels the call so strongly as to leave home.
Every brother or sister is free to come and go at will. The workers go their own way preaching where they like, led thither and hither by the inspiration of the Spirit. No one is ‘sent’ anywhere. At the convention held annually in Belfast, brothers and sisters volunteer for the work in the Colonies, which is very much the same as the work here. Our maxim is that God is an all-sufficient guide. Besides, you should remember that the workers always go about in pairs—two men and two women. A sister always has her companion to whom she may appeal. If she thinks it advisable she may go to one of the brothers, who are always at hand prepared to exercise nothing more than a brotherly control, which is the only kind of control we have. Besides, she can always command the advice of the brother or sister responsible for her conversion. We don’t recognize that sisters do more than help. They couldn’t baptize.”
Wm. Irvine gives how long he preached with FM:“My studies finished I joined the Faith Mission, which was controlled by J. G. Govan, and I preached in various parts of the kingdom for something like five years."
Wm. Irvine tells why he left Faith Mission:"It was whilst I was working in the South of Ireland that I came to the conclusion that my positions was still inconsistent with the example set by Christ, and I left the mission to preach alone.”
By John Coles, Lizzie Coles’ father: “Here,” said Mr. Coles, “are Irwin’s own words spoken, with Cooney, in this very room.
‘When,’ said Irwin, ‘I came across Cooney first he was a professed Christian man, and said he would work in business with all the zeal that he could command, and give the money that he could earn to help to carry on the work.’ Irwin replied, ‘I don’t want your money. I want you.’ And from that time, Cooney felt, ‘Well, here’s a man of God.’
NOTE: Wm. Irvine is “Irwin” misspelled by the newspaper reporter.
January 22, 1903: "This Mr. Irwin…who He says that the Enniskillen merchant, going to Church on Sunday morning with his Bible under his arm, is going to hell. Speaking a few nights ago on the parable of Dives and Lazarus, which some people interpret as a reality, he spoke of the rich people in Enniskillen, and said—‘If you believe the rich people in this town are going to heaven I don’t, for I think they are nearly all going to hell.’ Every other sentence almost of Mr. Irwin’s oration one night had hell mentioned in it.
Take a quotation or two—‘If a man wants to rise more than another he has only to tell lies, to boss the rest, and the Devil will get him a shilling a week more. The aristocracy of heaven are the people who dress cheapest; and the finest linen and the silk handkerchief is the mark of the man who is going to hell; if you see a man with fine dress and fine gold he is going to hell. Like Dives, the people who are dressing in purple and fine linen are qualifying for hell. The man who gets rich in this world is very likely to burn in the next. So his hearers might content themselves to be common men. ... The man who can enjoy the social party and not the prayer meeting is going to hell. That is the sort of preaching is wanted today.’
‘But,’ Mr. Irwin went on to say, ‘it did not pay to speak the truth. However, there is a day coming when the people here—(meaning those of Enniskillen)—will be exposed before the whole world. Everyone who lifts his voice or pen against Jesus Christ or against his messengers—and I am one of them—has to answer his God.’ And he clinched the idea with these words—‘It is awful if a man dares to lift his finger against God,’ and the inference was obvious.
Let us follow the discourse of this man. ‘Jesus Christ is in Enniskillen. I am not the Saviour—but Jesus Christ is in town, just as sure as the devil is in the town, and I know he is here when he gets men to speak and act for him.’ Then warning his hearers to be ‘saved’, he said—‘If you make a God of gold you are an idolater, and the town is pretty well filled with idolaters.’
Having described the ‘rich man’ who walks along the Enniskillen street, passing you by, thinking of his gold and business, ‘that man is in the devil’s power,’ said Mr. Irwin; he belongs to the damnation army. Then Mr. Irwin asked his hearers to hold up their hands, those who belonged to the Salvation Army. Hands up of course. Then those who belonged to the Damnation Army. (No hands up.) Why then, he said, are you not in the Salvation Army? Because you are in the Damnation Army.
If you see a man above his fellows, he is there by trampling over his fellows; he is going to hell. Mr. Irwin went on to speak of a card-player who had played cards during his last hours and had gone straight to hell. There are men, said he, who close their eyes on earth who will open them in hell tomorrow morning; and he drew a pathetic picture of a dying person, and the relative closing his eyes, and that poor person would go to hell. The devil was in the North of Ireland and in Enniskillen, and they should escape this yawning hell. It was the few who would escape hell and the many would find it.
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September 29, 1904: The next speaker was Mr. William Irvine. He referred to John the Baptist baptising our Lord. He said all the churches taught the doctrine of immersion, though they don’t practise it. Every church believed in immersion in a river of running water, but they went from that to their synagogues and temples, and evaded the plain command.
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October 13, 1904 p8: Mr. Irvine also delivered an address. He wanted all people to be saved, as he had been, and not to be ashamed of openly confessing their sins, so that they might not only obtain remission for them but become followers of Christ, and so enter the Kingdom of Heaven, and there enjoy that everlasting glory promised to them by the Giver of All.
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July 23, 1908: WHAT WAS FILLING HELL. Mr. Wm. Irvine next spoke. This gentleman had originally belonged to the Presbyterian Church, and in the early passages of his address he stated that Presbyterianism was not Roman Catholicism—it was white-washed Popery. Where they saw the clergyman, there they saw Rome. Where they saw collections they saw Rome. Where they found men worshipping in a building put up for that purpose, that was devilry. That was what was filling hell. How was it he did not believe in men paid for preaching? Because Christ, Moses, Elijah were not men like that. Why did he not believe in making collections? Because Jesus never did so. Whenever that was done it was the Devil who did so. The Devil’s work was the building of churches with stone and lime throughout the world’s history. And every church was a monument to the power of the Devil over the hearts and lives of men.
CLERGY AND THE WORLD. Most people today, continued Mr. Irvine, prided themselves, saying that they were Presbyterians. Poor blind fools! People said they were Methodists. Poor blind fools! Poor blind fool, with the mark of the Devil to go down to Hell. It was the CLERGY WHO WERE FILLING HELL. The publicans were blamed for making the drunkard, but many a drunkard was saved. No one could believe in a clergyman and get to heaven, and if any of them had friends who had gone down to Hell through belief in the clergy, let them stop and think. The clergy were filled with pride and worldliness and the desire to get on in the world as ever they were. But God changed their hearts, and they were now as much opposed to Presbyterianism and other clericalisms as they were opposed to Popery. He saw a priest and his brother shaking hands the other day at a railway station, and the priest was almost offended because his brother was so rough a man. The brother was the gentleman, and the priest a mean scamp to be ashamed of his own flesh and blood. And yet they found Protestant clergymen dressed well to liken the poor blind Roman priest. God pity any man who did so! Some of them dared question their right to speak against the clergy, lest it should affect their pocket or their good name. The clergy were men sitting in a manse fattening and destroying their fathers and mothers, their brothers and sisters. And yet some said unkind things about them because they dared speak against the clergy.
NORTH AND SOUTH COMPARED. From Rome to the Salvation Army they had a great choice. Put an Orange sash on a man and he would go to hell with one on, when he would not go in company with a Ribbonman! Poor honest North of Ireland man! In the south they had the Pope and priest stirring up strife against the British Government. In the north they had them stirring up strife for the British Government, and all the time the clergy were pocketing the proceeds. Where did they put the money? They were building more churches and multiplying their organizations, so that it would be impossible for a man to live in Ireland without suffering from them.
A CHALLENGE. Mr. Irvine delivered a strong address against the clergy and mentioned some in particular. One, whom he mentioned by name, and whom he alleged had sat beside his (the speaker’s) mother and had broken her heart, he described as a dirty, greasy man, a devilish fellow, and a fat, lazy, good for nothing man. That man was going to hell, and his (the speaker’s) relations were following him gladly on. ‘I will give you my head,’ said Mr. Irvine. ‘If I can’t prove that there is not the slightest chance of a clergyman being in heaven by the way set forth in the Bible. You say that these are strong words. They are not half as strong as the occasion demands.’
METHODIST CLERGYMAN’S VISIT. The speaker stated that on the previous Sunday a Methodist clergyman had visited them and also on some days during the week, and when spoken to had not a word to say for himself. It showed the mean contemptible spirit of the man when he was afraid to go to the platform to defend his position. When he looked to Jesus he had no foundation for saying that he was right in the position he was in. False prophets had always been fond of money, and always went down most assuredly to the pit. There was more tyranny in the world from the clergymen than anything else. They were worse than wolves, lions or tigers. They were the most deadly creatures on God’s earth.
ALLEGED IRVINESTOWN BOYCOTT. Reference was then made by the speaker to an alleged boycott of a lady in Irvinestown, who had left the Methodists, as he said, to follow Jesus in the true way, by the Methodists there. ‘If you will not be a Methodist’ quoted Mr. Irvine, ‘I will boycott you,’ and he described them as ‘DIRTY DEVILISH METHODISTS.’
The speaker also made frequent use of the adjectives, ‘dirty,’ ‘mean,’ ‘lazy loafers’ regarding clergymen in his address. He also referred to a case of a Christian school teacher who was expelled by a Church of Ireland clergyman from the school because he refused to teach the ‘prayer book and devilish lies.’
GOD’S MESSAGE TO CLERICALISM. ‘How do I know Methodist preachers are wrong?’ said Mr. Irvine. ‘Because they fight against me. They fight against all who preach the Jesus Way. They speak behind backs. Let them come and stand on this platform and speak out, and then we will know what to answer. Christ said to the clerics: "Ye generation of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of Hell." That is the eternal message of God to clericalism. Mr. Irvineadded that any man capable of courting the patronage of the clergy was inviting a part of the Devil on his shoulder on his way to Hell.’
CONSECRATED BURIAL GROUND. With regard to the burial of a true Christian woman in the Co. Wicklow, the speaker said that her body was refused burial in the churchyard. Better to bury her in a dung heap. He would rather be buried there than in consecrated ground. In the consecrated ground there was marked off a spot for drunkards, harlots, and unbaptised babies—babies not sprinkling with dirty, devilish hands. When he said ‘dirty and devilish’ he meant it, for the clergy were the servants of the Devil. Every time they looked at a spire they beheld the work of the Devil, or at the church clock. He believed in the Town Hall clock not in the church clock, because the latter never told the right time nor never could. (Laughter.) In the whole world no country suffered so much from clericalism as Ireland. ‘You don’t believe in Rome.’ He added, ‘Why do you then believe in clericalism? It is not in the Book. You will not find priests or clergymen in the New Testament.’
…After tea, another service was held, at which both Mr. Cooney and Mr. Irvineagain spoke. The latter chiefly referred to clergymen preparing their sermons and reading them. He said that if God were in the pulpit there was no need for a written sermon; that a man who was filled with the Glory and Spirit of God had no need to trust to notes or manuscripts to preach the Word of God. (Also July 23, 1908, p8)
Collections, we are told by Mr. Irvine, are the work of the Devil. (Also July 23, 1908, p8)
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July 30, 1908 p8: At the afternoon service the first speaker was Mr. William Irvine, who, as he did on a previous Sunday, again attacked the clergy and the churches in general. He challenged anyone to give him a text to prove that a man should be a clergyman or to get a college education to become one. Paul, he said, went to college and he came out a persecutor of Jesus and his way. The clergymen of the present also went to college, and came out a persecutor of Jesus and His Way. Why did they believe, said Mr. Irvine, that John Wesley, Spurgeon, the Archbishop of Canterbury and John Calvin were in hell? Was it out of their own imagination? No. He would give an honest reason. Because it was the same kind of men like John Wesley and those others that led men and women to believe they were going to heaven, when they were going to hell, because they let them love steeples and church buildings. It was to such men that Jesus said:—‘How can ye escape the damnation of hell?’ That Book taught them what kind of man went to hell. No man need make the slightest mistake as to what kind of man a preacher sent by God was.
Mr. Irvine complained that the IMPARTIAL REPORTER of last issue had published some statements he made and left out others. It did not report his statement for the people of Fermanagh to know that Calvin who was a Presbyterian, had been instrumental in putting people on the scaffold. Calvin, he said, belonged to Presbyterian Popery. He (the speaker), did not see any difference between a Presbyterian pastor and a Roman Catholic priest. God made no difference between a clergyman of one kind and one of another.
The speaker in his addresses also referred to Mr. W. D. Wilson, of Framlingham, whom he described as a poor old clerical fool and a supporter of the clergy. Mr. Wilson’s two daughters were sitting in the tent that day, and he (Mr. Wilson) was wasting his time and his money in scattering literature against them and hindering in every way he could the word of God. And clergymen were even willing to put their names to those papers he published, which contained the dirtiest and filthiest lies. Some people said that the clergy had nothing to do with it. They would publish them on the church steeple if they could prove one of the statements that that poor deluded fool (Mr. Wilson) published.
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July 30, 1908 pg 5: A Scotch gentleman followed who started by reading extracts from a local paper—(the IMPARTIAL REPORTER)—and commenting on them, making some personal remarks about the editor of the paper. He next gave out a text and began a la Cooney. Holding up his Bible in front of his face he said, ‘There is no clergyman who has ever stood behind this book but is in hell, or is going there.’ This was the subject matter of his discourse, but he went further, and said that all those who listened to clergymen and supported them were also on their way to the place of perdition.
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August 12, 1909: MR. IRVINE - SOME STRONG VIEWS. The discourses at Sunday’s meetings would on the whole lead one to conclude that there was no real Christian love or sympathy manifested in their line of thought, which is apparently devoid of all true Christian charity, brotherly kindness, and Christ likeness.
An address was delivered by Mr. Wm. Irvine, the recognised leader of the sect, who in his remarks criticised very strongly the work carried on by the workers, during the holding of mission services over all parts of the country and United Kingdom. He blamed them for allowing the flesh to have too much influence in the work, with the result that numbers of converts were allowed to join The Testimony who were nothing more than
Mr. Irvine’s remarks seemed specially directed towards two prominent members of the sect, whether he intended it or not, and seemed to include Messrs. Cooney, Ben Bowles, Bill Carroll, John Kelly, and others, and were made applicable to all the other workers, with the exception of one or two.
It is understood that Mr. Irvine’s strong views in this respect have accounted for his conspicuous absence at all the public meetings held during the present convention up to the present.
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August 19, 1909, p8: The closing stages of the annual convention of Tramp preachers at Crocknacrieve, near Ballinamallard, were reached on Sunday. As was stated in last week’s IMPARTIAL REPORTER, Mr. Edward Cooney, who has figured prominently as leader this year, left during the week for America, where he is expected to remain. He was badly missed at Sunday’s proceedings, for they lacked the interest which his personality imparted. At a previous meeting of the ‘brethren,’ addresses were delivered by Wm. Irvine and Miss Gill, both of whose remarks were confined to expounding the gospel, and instructing those present how to ‘walk’ when they left that convention..
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July 3, 1913: Three meetings were held during the day. Wm. Irvine was present at the mid-day meeting, accompanied on the platform by Messrs. E. Cooney and W. Gill, and some remarks which he made in his address would show that the Pilgrims have NOT CHANGED in their attitude towards the clergymen of the present day and all associated with them. He was not sure yet, he said, whether God would ask him to forgive Scottish Presbyterian clergymen for the teaching they had given him until he was 30. If there was anything pure in the human family it was A LITTLE BABY, and nothing made him so mad as to hear the people talk of its being born in original sin. The baby, because of its human nature, very seldom got better—very often worse. People said they should not say anything against clergymen, but the serpent in the Garden of Eden got great denunciation, and religious people at the present day would be very angry if they were called the brood of the Serpent, as Jesus called the Scribes and Pharisees.
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July 31, 1913: The morning meeting was a ‘testimony’ meeting. Mr. Wm. Irvine spoke at intervals. He said that God could have no interest in a man that was indulging his selfishness, either in a saloon or in a ‘synagogue.’ The world was filled with hatred and pride. ‘People were saying they would fight for their religion. Whether they were Protestants or Roman Catholics that only proved they were human. The devil’s work was to teach men how to be religious and how to get to Heaven—but not the way Jesus did. But there would come a time when there would be no spires seen on this world, when Jesus came back to reign. And the work of making men like Jesus would continue in every part of the universe… The closing scene at the meeting in the gloaming was impressive. All the arrangements had been made for the departure of the ‘preachers’ to different parts of the world, and it only remained for the Go-Preachers’ founder to give to all the last words of counsel and farewell. Mr. Irvine dealt mainly with the duty of those in fellowship towards one another and towards the outside world. There was more heart for one another there, he said, than they would get in any community in all the world. And what people had heard there during the Convention would either torment them in hell or make them glad in heaven, for the word would not return void. They could do much to soften the hearts of the people with a little kindness. Many of them got an IMPARTIAL REPORTER, and they never thought of passing it on to the fellow who had none. They could do many little things among their friends and relatives. The best use they could make of anything was to express a little love.
Dear Sir,--In reference to your remarks in last Saturday's "Guardian," to the preachers at Cloughjordan fair, I do not think you will find many of any denomination of Christians to disagree with you. I enclose an extract from a Belfast paper giving an account of an address, at one of their conventions, by a man called Irvine or Irwin, who visited this neighbourhood some years ago. I hope you will, give it in full. All Christians should unite in putting down this devilish movement—Yours, &c CHURCHMAN
Extract from Belfast paper:
A Mr Irvine, who seems chief lieutenant to Mr Cooney, next gave an address. He said, "Presbyterianism was not Roman Catholicism, it was whitewashed Popery; where they saw the clergyman there they saw Rome; where they saw collections they saw Rome; where they found men worshipping in a building put up for that purpose that Was devilry. That was what was filling hell. How was it he did not believe in men paid for preaching? Because Christ, Moses, Elijah were not men like that. Why did he not believe in making collections? Because Jesus never did so. Whenever that was done it was the devil who did so. The devil's work was the building of churches with stone and lime throughout the world's history and every church was a monument to the power of the devil over the hearts and lives of men.
"The Filling of Hell. Most people prided themselves, saying they were Presbyterians; poor blind fools. People said they were Methodists; poor blind fools. Poor blind fools with the mark of the devil to go down to hell. It was the clergy who were filling hell. The publicans were blamed for making the drunkard, but many a drunkard was saved. None could believe in a clergyman and get to heaven, and if any of them had friends who had gone down to hell through belief in the clergy let them stop and think. The clergy were men sitting in a manse, fettering and destroying their fathers and mothers, their brothers and sisters."
The speaker referred in his denunciations to several clergymen by name. One whose name he gave was “a dirty greasy man, a devilish fellow, and a fat, lazy, good-for-nothing man—that man was going to hell; and the speaker's relations were following him gladly on.
"I will give you my head," said Mr Irvine "if I can't prove that there is not the slightest chance of a clergyman being in heaven by the way set forth in the bible. You say that these are strong words; they are not half as strong as the occasion demands. There was more tyranny in the world from the clergyman than anything else. They were worse than wolves, lions or tigers. They were the most deadly creatures on God's earth,"
The speaker went on to speak of "dirty devilish Methodists," and to complain about a Church of Ireland clergyman dismissing a teacher because he refused to teach the "prayer book and devilish lies." "How do I know the Methodist preachers are wrong? Because they preach against me; they fight against all who preach the Jesus way," "Christ said to the clerics, ye generation of vipers how can you escape the damnation of hell." "That is the eternal message of God to clericalism. Any man capable of courting the patronage of the clergy was inviting a pat of the devil on his shoulder on his way to hell."
With regard to the burial of a woman in Co. Wicklow, the speaker said her body was refused burial in the churchyard. "Better to bury her in a dung heap. He would rather be buried there than in consecrated ground. In the consecrated ground there was marked off a spot for drunkards, harlots, and unbaptised babies, babies not sprinkled with ditty, devilish hands." "When he said ‘dirty and devilish’ he meant it for the clergymen, the servants of the devil; every time they look at one they beheld the work of the devil. You will not find priest nor clergymen in the New Testament," continued the preacher.
Sermons of William Irvine
TTT Editor's Note: The following excerpts by William Irvine were typed from copies of hand-written notes of various conventions held between 1910-1917. The person who actually heard the speaker and took down these notes is not known.
William Irvine: The power that built synagogues and put Jesus to death, put chief priests in the palace. As you describe the beast kingdom so you can describe the human unregenerate. It takes the power of the Devil to do violence to human nature. Cain put Abel to death because he was possessed of the devil. Hatred can't control the heart of the children of God because the love of God is there.
Matt 11. The colt is a type of the kind of people we should seek out for. The colt tied at the door where two ways met, and often people in the same place not taken in the synagogue, as the colt was when the servants came to take the colt there was some there to hinder, asking what are you loosing the colt for. The answer was the Lord has need of him and those servants didn't rest satisfied until the colt was at the disposal of Jesus and He had full control of the reins.
William Irvine: Mark 9th ch. 29v. Means the same as meat being put in oven and cooked by the fire with salt in the meat. No wonder Peter's mother-in-law took sick when Peter was going out to preach and her daughter's hopes were blighted: laid and sick of fever. Jesus took her by the hand, got her to do the right thing. Luke 14:26. If not willing to be dead to your own human relatives - cannot be my disciple. If you don't start that they will soon pile up difficulties. Its a tug of war, and it's for you to see which is going to get the victory, whether God or man. A man's foes shall be they of his own household. God's battles can't be fought and a tower can't be built and a testimony can't be raised up if you are going to please them who love you best. Fight the battle to receive a crown and don't build a tower to be crucified on. All our earthly relationships cease at the grave.
William Irvine: Mark 9. Jesus climbed the mount, only three of the disciples was willing to go with Him. Leaven of the Pharisees is they think the way where there is no opposition is the best way. Jesus felt need of salt, climbed the mount and prayed and getting the victory, the other three was so much overcome by the opposition and conscious of all the discouragements and so could do nothing but sleep. The other nine down the mount didn't feel as if prayer, an half hour praying would be much good to them. And didn't have power to help the lunatic boy. If you don't have salt, you will have the spirit of the lunatic boy.
The Elder son same as Esau; and the elder over the prodigal son means all that makes us a man in human nature and the younger means born naturally and born again.
1 Peter 3:19. Speaks about the resurrection. The spirit of Jesus preached unto the spirits in person, and Christ in Noah preached to the spirits in person, and Christ in you today preach to the spirits in person.
William Irvine: Psalm 68. Moses was away in the wilderness not learning how to lead but how to be led. It's what we keep back that gives trouble not what we give. Let God arise; if He goes before, then we will be alright. In the camp the children of Israel was to be looking in and keeping eye on the cloud, and see God moving.
Always confusion where God doesn't move, the whole key is, Let God arise, and you'll find those who hate God not willing to be God's friends, driven away. Many were called; few are chosen, many gets the will of God made known to them, but only those who are true to the call are chosen. Judas always looking to please himself, selfishness.
Peter made mistakes and was very impetuous but was always seeking to do the right thing in pleasing God. Idolatry is allowing your own flesh to work in you and put the name of Jesus on you. Hebrews 1 ch. as it was necessary to follow Moses, so the more necessary to follow Jesus, not enough to be born again, but to live like Jesus, and He was heir, so will we be heir by allowing Him to live in us. Jesus is above all Angels and men, And everything else is blotted out in the 1st ch. Jesus the perfect pattern to whom we have to look to and revealing in Jesus all that man needs to be fit to enter the kingdom. 2nd ch. A Christian is a Christ-man. A Clergy takes a Bible or a college bred man, and a monkey takes a newspaper and the monkey is more interested in the part that touched candy than any other part.
And the college bred man is more interested in the goldly (sic ) part which makes it easy and nice for Him than any other part. Take the salary from him and he wouldn't read it, belongs to the God of this world. 3 ch. Publican means a man who makes it his business in getting and looking for a living first thing. Holy means a whole purpose not divided, or whole hearted. As Adam is the head of human, Christ head of family of God. To believe in Christ is to let Him live in you. No good what God says unless its lived out. What God said to Abraham and Noah they did it. Jesus was perfected not only to manifest God but to sympathize with us so he can succor. 9 ch. Two sides of testimony: God's side and man's side. Bread table - candle stick Aaron's rod budding bringing forth fruit without any earthly root. Covenant written on our hearts. God gave men the law to show them what they were.
10 ch. Superiority of the sacrifice that Jesus made. We can honor every part of it today if we are willing for it. 16v. If you don't get the blessing of God through the gospel of God, you will get cursing through despising the Gospel. Pharaoh feared the consequences but still held on to his own way, so God sent the plagues. 11 ch. 30. They were believing God but never had seen the outward manifested. We have the pattern (Jesus ) they did not have. Those who have had least privileges get the best results. Great privileges always tends to harden unless there is an honest heart. A ruler means the Clergyman. The man who was the ruling elder in a synagogue.
12 ch. As in Noah's time, the only hope the people had was in Noah, the same in the time of Moses, and today the only hope is in us.
“The sin which so easily beset us” or that which is admired by many, and that is our own selfishness, sin that appeals to the blood that flows in our own veins, hinders us from denying ourselves. If we give into our own selves, we have lost the battle.
William Irvine: Luke 16. If we don't use the privilege that God gives us, or what he has loaned us we can't expect to receive the Kingdom which should be our own. Fool against us as human, so spiritual. A fool in the spiritual sense is one that doesn't use his mind as God would have him. Does not take the wisdom that came down from above. If we don't value Gods privileges and live them is a fool.
Prov. 5:1. The sacrifice of fools is say and do not. Prov. 10:2. A fools heart at his left, always taking up for those and for that which is against him. And the wise man's heart is always taken up for that which is for his help.
2 Kings 2:23. The children there just brings on what was trained in them of their parents, to speak against the true servants of God; couldn't hide it because they hadn't the guile to do it, being children. Shows people the danger of speaking against those who show the marks of Jesus in men and women's lives. People can understand the value of healing but don't seem to understand the value of being born again. Leprosy is the pride of human nature. The healing was always to teach them spiritual truth. If people so act in a wrong way and cause God to suffer, they may get suffering in the human sense. These people here were wrong spiritually. Psalm 14:1. Corrupt always doing the thing that will work death. No man naturally would do good to eternal life v.13 Man that lives for today thinks his immortality is for today.
William Irvine: The children of Israel were the same as a man taking a handful of grass out of the field, and they were a sample of what God would do with His people, they were the seed of Abraham in the human, but those who got born again were saved. No forgiveness to a man until he becomes a child of God.
Leviticus 1 ch. If we give ourselves to Him He gives us of His spirit. Offerings - The truth of the gospel can be compared to these: First offering is ourselves a whole burnt offering, as all comes from God so all should return to God.
3 ch. Lev. Peace offerings shows that as the inward parts of the offerings were to be taken away so our own human desires and natures, will not be acceptable to have peace with God.
Mark 12. 42. Shows her perfect love by giving in all she had, though it was little it was more than the others giving out of their abundance, attention to the little things is acceptable, and whereby we may be sure God will be able to work. It is not how much we give but it is with what heart we give. The kingdom of Israel was as a joke among the nations. Don't measure anything by the scriptures. All sects and denominations prove their points from the scriptures. We measure them by Jesus. Either to take or get salary shows a man to be the servant of the God of this world. No man can battle with a child of God who has Jesus as the pattern.
Gates of Hell - No power of religion in the world will have power to overthrow the work of God in a human heart. Naaman went from a great kingdom to a small one in order to get cleansed.
True Prophet always gets on best when he is giving most. Jordan dirty never compared with other rivers.
Matt 31:13. The mustard seed. The truth of God, the smallest paltriest thing in the eyes of the world, but it produces the greatest results in human life.
[Robert (Bob) Skerritt, who went into the work in 1902, gave the following notes to the writer, who hand-copied them into his/her notebook. Robert (Bob) Skerritt became one of Wm. Irvine's Omega followers.]
William Irvine: If you will miss God's blessings and let it go by, some day you will wake up to find it is gone forever. If you have no human hope you are more likely to put your hope in God. God will breathe death over every bit of fleshly influence we exert over men. Many a time the only hope for a man getting blessing is to get him to close his mouth and open his ear.
Some are as fond of prating about religious words as what others are of talking football. We can run a lunatic asylum if we want. Put folly on the horse and give him the rein and you will have it. Jesus said to the woman give me to drink.
This work is necessary in a preacher, it was the beginning of an eternal friendship.
Son of the Shumamite - a type of a young worker, how many are like him, in a short time they cry "My head, my head" and you have to take them to their mother. One of the clearest proofs that we are led of God is that we have the spirit of discernment to see where people are. Where the carcass is there will the eagles be gathered means where there is spiritual death there will be judgment of God be hovering over. “Two, one taken the other left," one hears God's warning voice and the flees from the wrath to come, the other fails to do so and is left to perish. It is God & not gold that is lacking in The Testimony.
Matt 10. without God's seal will make you a mad man. You can have dens instead of churches and tombs and snares instead of open houses as a result of your work.
Psalm 137:9. "Dash their little ones against the stones" means destroy your enemies, world, flesh and devil while they are weak and little, else they get strong and get power over you and take you into captivity.
He gave His beloved sleep. Beloved means well pleasing. Sleep means His peace and rest. Seek to be well pleasing to Him if you want His rest in your soul.
Leah had "tender eyes," did not see as God sees and so lived a loveless life. We can have the harlot or bride spirit. The harlot spirit professes to love the Lord but does not do His will. Is marriage a failure? Yes, especially in the spiritual sense, when men's hearts are joined to any other than God. All that is human and earthly will perish, therefore be born again and inherit the spiritual.
Where there is a true heart no matter where you find it things will improve, but where there is an untrue heart no matter how promising the conditions it will bring shame.
Moses broke the tables of stone. In his zeal for God he got angry and forgot everything and broke then the laws of God and man.
Slum preachers are always bum preachers. The honest working middle class are always the most hopeful. The highest and lowest in social scale are the most hopeless. The Apostles were from the middle class.
The worst treated person in all the world is God, that is the reason He values so much the friendship of those who are true to Him. "It shall be given to them for whom it is prepared." God gives it to those who allow him to prepare them. Tribes, there are tribes in The Testimony, the head of a tribe was responsible to judge his tribe and to save them from their follies.
I am certain that no one will get more solid satisfaction than in pouring out their lives for God.
Samson was tempted many times but was never overcome till his vow was broken which typifies the purpose of His heart toward God. God did not make the devil. He made an angel of light who became the devil because he would not obey the truth. Some hypocrites will not laugh now, or crack a joke, nor get angry but they would kill Jesus. There are no perfect preachers in the world and never have been except Jesus, and He was the most found fault with of any man.
God's way is right, perfect even though all who walk in it are imperfect. If we all turn aside, God's way is still the same and is right and perfect. Sacrifices, meat offerings and drink offerings etc. typifies the service we offer to God that satisfies Him. It must be such as is well pleasing to Him. There is a difference between sins of ignorance and sins of presumption. A man who does wrong knowing that the Lord is displeased, God overlooks the former but not the latter. If a man is wrong, he is utterly incapable of judging himself. If you will not be blessed and made a blessing to others you will be cursed and made a cursing.
Choose ye today, The most difficult kingdom to reign over is in our own spirit. King Edward reigned over the British Nation but found it hard to reign over his own spirit, The most deadly results follow as the consequence of a man putting his own will to reign instead of allowing God to reign. The priests work was to attend to the killing of the sacrifice and burning them on the altar. This is true in reference to our work regarding the sacrificing of our own lives and others.
The Levites were responsible for the erecting of the tabernacle and having it in a condition that God could dwell in it. They were also to bear the iniquity of the tabernacle; that is they were to be responsible for what was wrong in it. God will despise anything other than a broken and contrite heart. If you had a gold mine, it would not be a thousandth part as valuable as the fountain of living water that can flow from the life of every child of God. Jesus seeks to bring all things into subjection to himself. So does the devil. 1 Tim 1:20. Means that Paul put them outside because they blasphemed and spake against.
Regarding the 7th day, it is Gods day of rest for the unsaved; but the 1st day on which Jesus rose is the day for those who believe on Him. “The true and the false" and "our ways and thoughts." Brains is flesh--beware of it, it is what enables the Clergy to preach without God. Saul fell on his own sword, so will all who won't allow the sword of God in their lives. Nothing except your own selfish nature can deprive you of the privilege of having your heart right with God. You ought to learn to see God's hand in providence every day. The privilege of getting men and women born again is great, all the colleges and clergy in the world and all the armies and navies put together could not accomplish it yet this is your privilege, don't despise it. The question is not what do you do, but why do you do it? What is your motive? Don't talk about your human relationships, it is the channel through which the Devil has worked in all ages, talk about your relationship in Christ. Our human nature is but the clothing that our spirit wears, we soon put it off forever. Some are too high spiritually, others too low.
John says every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain brought low. "The scriptures must be fulfilled" means the same things take place now that took place then. "I know no man after the flesh" means I refuse to recognize the fleshly relationships. You must give yourself to the Lord if you want Him to give Himself to you. You must satisfy His thirst if you want Him to satisfy yours. I don't know how long I may continue in the path, but if I ever turn aside, it is not because the way is wrong, but because the pride or selfishness of my own heart would not allow me to continue in it any longer. It is by dying to the human that we live unto the divine even our bodies are sustained by the death of the animal and animal by the vegetable.
If you think only what you are in Adam, you get into a bog.
It's possible for a child of God to think we can never sin again and also possible to think of never being as right as we once were.
No condemnation about the past if right with God.
Lord Master Controller.
Jesus paying the price.
Trust His life.
Faith-God speaking to you & we yielding.
God can be more real to us.
It's the quality we get in people not the quantity.
God's way is always simple.
Secret of powerlessness: Outwardly walking but not doing His Will.
Defiled conscience: Not very sure of our condition before God.
Faithfulness in a church depends on the few. Some saints are weak because of lack of prayer on behalf of the servant. The just shall live by faith. Faith is doing what God desires.
A saint should use all he has in the Gospel instead of banking his money which will hinder his prosperity in the spiritual life. Those out of The Testimony are not out of it because of being overcome, but because of wrong motives in heart. Peter was to take every possible way to get out of prison and then stay out. Very important matter to get a saint to earn an honest livelihood. If not, God cannot go on with them. Nothing so dangerous or deadly as charity to a man.
Psalm 1. Certain conditions to be fulfilled to have the blessing of God. Venture to be determined. Esau & Jacob. David & Saul. Ruth & Orpha. Abram & Lot. How to get true peace: Obey the Spirit of Christ in you. God can make us partakers of His Divine Life.
Romans 5. Tribulations: All that comes upon us is from God.
Patience: Able to face all the difficulties.
Experience: outcome of tribulation and patience.
Hope: Having proved God in the past, it fills our heart with confidence in Him.
Some day when He finishes the work in us, we shall be like Him. "Him who has. begun the work". Is there not encouragement to believe He will go on and finish it? We often felt discouraged, but we can depend He will perfect us. We are in the process of being someday like His Son. God sheds His love in our heart by the inward something that makes us hang onto Him. The things we once loved, we now hate. We are like limpets on the rock, almost washed off, but when the storm comes it only makes them cling tighter. Love of God needs feeding. There is food in us for the love of God. When we think of His love to us and our coldness toward Him, it should create more love in us. It's not what we are today but what we one day shall be. What God has done for us proves His love. If He gave His best for our very worst, taste and see the Lord is good. Chew that every day and it shall not be exhausted. I give my all for you that you some day may be like Him. God will deaden that which is opposed to Him and quicken that which is of Him. He has all power to give us the grace and sympathy we need today. "Joy in God" I used to wonder if I were elect, if God really heard my prayer; but also enjoyed at times the joy of God. If God has really helped others, can He not do it in your life also?
Adam’s fall was the result of living to himself.
Ceremonial law: God accepts when we offer in His way.
Peace offering: Part for you, part for God.
Moral law: Thou shalt...thou shalt not.
Sin offering: What we would do by human nature...feed on Lamb.
There's a difference between human nature and being devil-possessed, as seen in Cain hating his brother after he professed. Largely through our blood relatives the power of the serpent reaches us. Men are irreligious. Women always religious. Women are keener to see what's pleasant to the eyes and good for food. Women and children - victims to the devil's religious systems. Eating and drinking, etc., all tend to make us forget God. Home life at its best has the greatest tendency to help us forget God. The best human conditions, home, children, comfort, etc., tend to make us forget God. The thieves. robbers. etc., in the world’s sense is not the place for the Gospel. All the Devil's wi1es and ways try to make us satisfied with good human life.
God’s Gospel is how to get the Heavenly bread, how to stand well in the eyes of God. The best definition of sin is seen in Gen 3, what Eve did. Yielding to what's opposed to God in the world is sin. Receiving wrong impression of what's pleasing to God is sin. Ignorance of what God has said is sin. Choosing according to seeing with our eyes, hearing of our ears, etc., is sin. Nothing is safe for us. Only having an ear and obedient heart to do what God says is righteousness. Unwillingness to yield to God is the root of all Sin.
Peace: While doing what God has said, not ashamed of Him or His word.
Terah tried to hinder Abram, but God got the victory. Abram's faithful life. begot 3 faithful generations. Joseph was the one that got the blessing of Jacob. The recognition of God being with Joseph caused his brethren to hate him. God never fails on if we give Him a chance. He created circumstances which made his brethren see that God was with him. Blessing resulted in Egypt. Great possibilities of being blest and be made a blessing. Patience is one of the marks of an apostle. If God is for us don’t be in a hurry. When 40 yrs expired an angel appeared in a bush to Moses. He that knows God shall not make haste. A sort of slipshodness characterizes our whole life. I wonder what will be the result of your life after 40 years. No evidence for 40 years of God being with us. Nothing done but Moses was getting conformed to His image. A man that will stand public life is a man who has been alone. The more human help we get, the weaker we become. How we like the old letters, fellowship, cups of tea, etc. Do you think your building would stand if the old scaffolding was taken away? Forty years expired. Some of you would get homesick. Wonder how you'd be if you hadn't seen your friend for 40 years. You'd be dead for 39-1/2 years!
Mount Sinai is a lonely looking place. Where the angel appeared. The reason God doesn't appear is because we haven’t ears to hear, eyes to see, and hearts to understand. I hope some of you will be dead and gone within 40 yrs as you'll be ugly old things! No convention. No collection. You have to get your owm Book, shoes, etc. Left for 40 years to do as you like. The Lord had His eye on him all the time but Moses put God first. Therefore, He could say at the end, "Take off thy shoes from off thy feet…” Some lose all interest when they get married. Their only thought is wife and children. "I can't do any more.” No heart now for the kingdom. Moses wondered at the sight of the burning bush. If we were there we'd wonder why it wasn't there long ago. But God knows best. He is all the time anxious to have us with a true purpose. Wherever He finds one man or woman in that condition, He'll be there. God said to Moses, "I am the God of thy fathers." We must also believe that their God is ours and is just as much interested in us if we're true to Him. It's an individual matter right through.
There are no people but will have "envy" from friends, etc., as Moses, Stephen, and others had. Moses' wife made it the hardest possible thing for him to do God's will. I have no sympathy for a man who becomes a drudge to an ungrateful wife. When meanness is on a mother’s side, it will be in the whole family. When Moses went to pray, God was vexed because he yielded to his wife. Then Moses went and got the two sons and circumcised them and gave them to their mother. Then she went back to her father. She would only have made Moses miserable. Make a decision in your heart who is really going to have first place. The little we do for God will be the little morsel we'll eat throughout eternity. God is always standing w1th His arms outstretched. Backsliding Israel compared to a calf. God values men that have been tested, tried, proved and come out free to do his will and walk His way. We need more of those class of people today.
Laziness has roots longer than cancer. Sickness mostly is the result of chronic laziness. Not enough in them to look after their health.
Cast away: Too much alive to the things of the natural. always about our own business, which produces nothing. We soon lose zeal if we let laziness overcome. The world, flesh and devil too many for you because of being too lazy to lay hold on God. Limit the Holy One of Israel to your own laziness.