Extracts from "Personal recollections of ... Robert Daly"
There are interesting references to the Powerscourt Meetings in this book (available on Google Books in full)
Personal recollections of ... Robert Daly ... bishop of Cashel, at Powerscourt and Waterford, by an old parishioner [mrs. Hamilton Madden].
Here are some relevant extracts;
Another extract from "Memoir of the late Right Rev. Robert Daly, D.D., Lord Bishop of Cashel";
Lady Powerscourt was present at these meetings, as appears from a letter to Mr. Daly, of which the following is an extract : I am going to the prophets meeting at Mr. Drummond s. . . . No arguments are to me stronger than yours, so much so that I always conclude I have strong grounds for an opinion if it is not shaken by your arguments to the contrary. They appear to have sug gested to her the idea of holding similar * discussions at Powerscourt House, which she did in the autumn of the year 1827, on which occasion she invited to her house the most remarkable men, of whatever Christian denomination they might be, who were interested in the study of pro phecy, from all parts of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and entertained them at her house for a week; during which time meetings were held morning and evening, to which every one in the neighbourhood was invited. Mr. Daly took the chair, and they were conducted uniformly on his part in a spirit of Christian love, and in a very judicious manner. A subject was arranged for considera tion for each day, and a copy of the paper which con tained them given to each person. The meetings were begun and concluded with prayer. In his closing address on one of these occasions he expressed himself as follows : As to the grand outlines of threatenings to sinners, and promises to the people of God, and as concerns the personal glory of the Lord Jesus Christ, I feel pleasure PASTORAL CARE. 151 and comfort in dwelling on them ; and I feel obliged to the students of prophecy for having led me to a more clearly defined view of glory, as connected with the glory of Jesus. I find something upon which my mind rests with more security than upon a vague idea of the happi ness of a disembodied spirit, with which for many years I was content. I have only to add, that I thank my Christian brethren for the edification and comfort which I feel grateful for having been allowed to enjoy amongst them ; and if at any time I have said anything that was unsuitable, and that should not have been said, I feel assured they will overlook it, and consider it as the in firmity of man. I am thankful for their communications ; and I pray for them as for myself, that the Lord may enable us all to minister His word " as to the Lord and not to men," as workmen of the Lord that need not be ashamed, out of whose treasures we may bring things new and old, and rest our souls upon the Eock of Ages. These discussions were held annually at Powerscourt House for three or four years. They were much enjoyed by many, but they became latterly a source of great anxiety to Mr. Daly, who felt that he was set as a watch man over the souls of his parishioners, and feared lest the many strange doctrines which were propounded then might disturb the simplicity of their faith, and alienate them from their scriptural Church. Unfortunately these students of prophecy (although the interest they felt in that study was shared by him) held, and brought forward, on other subjects very erroneous opinions. Amongst these 152 MEMOIR OF THE EIGHT EEV. EGBERT DALY, D.D. was that celebrated and truly pious though mistaken man, Edward Irving. Mr. Daly s opinion concerning the doctrines held by the Irvingite party is expressed in a letter to a Christian friend : DUBLIN, 29th April MY DEAR Miss P., I return you the letter. I feel a great deal for the state the Lord s Church is in, yet I cannot think that really Christian people will be long left in the fundamental errors of Irvingism. In the conversa tion I had with my dear friend H., I said to him, "I ought first to know your doctrines before I inquire even into your pretensions to gifts ; for if an angel from heaven should come and preach any other gospel than that which the apostles preached, I ought to hold him accursed." He assented to this, and I asked was it true that they denied the imputed righteousness of Christ. He said it was ; that it was a gross mistake to suppose that God accounted a man to be anything but what he really was; that God accounted no man righteous but just in proportion as the man really was righteous. ... I said, " Let us go to texts of Scripture Phil. iii. ; do you consider that the right eousness there spoken of as being of God by faith is an imputed or an imparted righteousness ? " He said, an imparted righteousness. He went so far as to say that the manifestations in their Church were the testimony of God to their holding that holy truth. Nothing could be plainer than his language. As a body they have departed from the gospel of Christ. Mr. Baxter s tract, which I gave you, will furnish Mrs. P. with full materials for PASTORAL CARE. 153 those failures of prophecies which she wants to show among them. May the Lord defend His own truth, and deliver His Church from error. Yours, in the love of the truth, EGBERT DALY. The Plymouth Brethren also gave expression to their peculiar views on religious subjects. All that Mr. Daly felt to be dangerous he thought it his duty, as the minister of the parish, manfully to oppose ; while the Christian spirit in which he did so is shown by the following extract from one of his speeches at the conclusion of the discussions in October 1832, which was taken down by one of those who were present : 1 1 must say in truth that I do feel my mind so harassed with all that has passed, that instead of saying anything more, I think it best to ask one of rny brethren to entreat the Lord s pardon and forgiveness for all the evil that has crept in among us through our defilement and infirmity ; to ask for more of the Holy Spirit, for more light; to return thanks for the privileges that we enjoy, and to pray that our meeting together may be blessed; that though there may have been error brought forward, the Lord may be pleased to lead us into all that is truth, all that is holiness ; and if, in the various observations which have been made (this evening particularly), there have been great differences of opinion upon what appear to be fundamental points of doctrine, to pray that we may be enabled to exercise towards each other a spirit of love and of interest for one another. For myself, I earnestly desire 154 MEMOIR OF THE EIGHT EEV. EGBERT DALY, D.D. to ask that all should remember me as a Christian friend, and especially when they think I have erred, that they should ask the Lord to lead me into all truth. I would desire grace to say, in the spirit of one who was inspired to be a writer of Scripture, " God forbid that I should sin against my brethren in ceasing to pray for them." May a spirit of mutual love and interest be promoted ; and may a deep feeling of our own sinfulness, of the sinfulness of our brethren, of our own ignorance and error, and the error and ignorance of our brethren, produce amongst us tender ness and a forbearing spirit towards one another, accom panied by an ardent looking up to the Lord, that He would cleanse us from all sin, and bring us into the unity of the Spirit. For myself, I never felt in spirit so much inclined to say, " Oh that I had the wings of a dove, that I might flee away and be at rest ! " When my soul is forced to dwell in such an evil world, when I see before me the prospect of such divisions in the Church, when I think of those being so separated upon earth who I do hope are joined together in the Lord, there is something within that causes me to say, "Better to^depart and be with Christ;" that is the wish of my heart. I once heard one much loved by many here pray that he might remain on earth until the coming of the Lord ; and I did feel (though perhaps it might have been sinful) that I would not wish to be left to witness all the evil, the separation, and the variety of errors with which it seems as if the Lord is beginning to allow the Church to be tried even now. I certainly felt this evening a more awful sense of coming evil than I ever did before ; whilst I trust at the same time PASTOKAL CAKE. 155 I felt, though something that was suggested by a brother did grieve me, that he was right in speaking of personal responsibility, and in saying that it was a small thing to be judged of man s judgment. I felt that I stood before my God ; and whilst some of my Christian brethren might say that I was blaspheming against the Holy Ghost, I could go to Him and say, " Lord, Thou knowest all things ; Thou knowest that I love Thee." One good effect at least that our meeting together this evening may have produced is, a more simple seeking after God ; if we have not sweet fellowship with one another, that we may be led to seek more " fellowship with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ, till we all come, in the unity of the Spirit, unto a perfect man, unto the full measure of the stature of Christ."