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The Anecdotage of Glasgow
Rev. Edward Irving bearing a poor man's burden


WHEN this remarkable man was officiating as assistant to Dr. Chalmers, although not a member of the Presbytery, he set off one day on foot to attend some special meeting in the country. The ministers who were members were conveyed to their destination in carriages, and on the way the brethren overtook a tall, military-looking figure, which they would have taken at once to be Dr. Chalmers’ helper but for the fact that he bore a pedlar’s pack upon his stalwart shoulders, and was accompanied by the well-pleased owner of the same, who was trudging by his side.

To the laughter and jokes that hailed him, Irving presented a rather affronted and indignant aspect. He could see no occasion for laughter or remark with regard to his thus literally fulfilling the law of Christ. The pedlar was a poor Irishman worn out with his burden, and, as Irving explained, "His countrymen were kind to me," thus recalling and alluding to those days when, sick at heart, he retired to Ulster, and found comfort in his wanderings among its cabins. He knew and felt he was in the path of duty and of right, and so he held on with the pack until its owner was well rested and ready to resume it.

It was while he was in Ulster, in the year 1819, and in the twenty-seventh year of his age, that he received Dr. Chalmers’ letter inviting him to Glasgow.


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