Revised January 24, 2018
1898, JANUARY & FEBRUARY - BORRISOKANE & FINNOE MISSIONS: Finnoe is situated about two miles from Borrisokane in Co. Tipperary. Faith Mission records show Wm. Irvine and Fred Hughes held a Mission in Borrisokane from Jan. 16 to Feb. 6, 1898, after which they began a Mission at Finnoe on Feb. 6, 1898 (Bright Words, March 1898). John Long wrote:
"Near the Town of Borrisokane, is a country district called Finnoe...A farmer...offered his barn to William Irvine for a Mission. The special Revival efforts continued with lasting results; in that barn, whole families got converted, including my Aunts...Others were graciously moved to open their homes in order to entertain the Lord's people and for cottage meetings, among them was Sister and Brother Falkiner, Willsborough, Borrisokane, whose whole household got converted and whose home was opened to entertain the Lord's people, meetings and Conferences" (Journal, March 1898).
From the Corcoran Family Story of Faith:
1898, MARCH: Faith Mission reported:
"There was a Mission held at Borrisokane in 1898, and it was here that the mother of Finnoe House, Jane Ann Corcoran, made a profession in this faith; some who did so with her were several of her family, the Dennison family, (whose sons Frank and Harry and their sister Mae entered the ministry); possibly John Corcoran's brother George's family; another Robinson couple, the Longs, Brays and Falkiners...
"Another Mission was held a little later, near Finnoe House in the home of the Burgess family. John and Jane's children Lydia, Jim, and probably Bill Corcoran embraced the faith at this time. Eight years later in 1906, John Corcoran, the father of Finnoe House made a profession, but died only two years later. Four of John and Jane's ten children went into this ministry: Sally, Jack, Bill and Jim."
"Pilgrims Pendreigh and M'Lean have just closed a sixteen days' Mission ...with a tea-meeting, which proved a complete success, and a time of refreshing in every sense of the word. Pilgrims Irvine and Hughes came over from Borrisokane for the occasion. All present were delighted to see our two brothers again...The meeting was then left open for testimonies, each one telling what the Lord had done for them, and several praising God for the Faith Mission. and for Pilgrim Irvine in particular, and also for sending the sisters to Nenagh.
"The Lord's work is progressing in this neighbourhood in face of a lot of opposition. Missions have already been held in Roscrea, Cloughjordan, Finnoe and Borrisokane and at present, Pilgrims Pendreigh and M'Lean are working in Shinrone; Pilgrim Irvine in Templederry; Pilgrim Hughes and Mr. Henry Gilbert in Portumna, all within a radius of twenty miles from Nenagh" (Bright Words, April 1898).
1898, APRIL, MAY & JUNE MISSIONs: Irvine and John Long went to Templederry, a mountain district between Nenagh and Templemore (Bright Words, April 1898). "Mr. Irvine pushed further afield, doing Birr, Roscrea, Maryborough, Galway, etc." Birr was formerly known as Parsonstown. "After that William Irvine and I [John Long] went to Limerick City, where we had a Mission in the Young Men’s Christian Association Room...It was a stiff Mission with some success (Journal, June 1898).
1898, JUNE 19-30 - KILKEE MISSION: By this time, Irvine had been with the Faith Mission for about three years and John Long had been a Methodist Colporteur for nearly three years. According to Bright Words, Irvine held a Mission in Kilkee from June 19-30, 1898. John wrote: "While in Kilkee we had a Bible reading on Matthew 10. It was that Bible reading set me first thinking about going on Faith Lines" (Journal, July 1898).
Their attention was drawn particularly to Matthew 10:8-10: "...freely ye have received, freely give. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat."
Nothing has been found in writing that shows whose idea it was to study Matthew 10. So far, there is only the single quote in The Secret Sect stating that Irvine asked John Long, "When did God change this? Does He mean it to be the same today?" and that John Long replied, "I suppose it has never changed." This may or may not have been the first time either man had considered the possibility that God intended for this scripture to be universally followed by preachers for all times.
While visiting Ireland in 2004, the Author reviewed both original copies of the Journals of John Long, paying particular attention to this Matthew 10 study. Neither Journal told which man had the idea first; nor did they contain the words quoted above from The Secret Sect. There is no footnote as to the source of Parkers' quote. (Secret Sect by Parker, p. 2).
Faith Lines was not a new idea to these men. The Faith Mission was based on this concept--hence their name. As a Pilgrim of the Faith Mission, Irvine had already been preaching on Faith Lines since 1895. However, it appears that their Matthew 10 Bible study caused both men to think more deeply about what it really meant to preach fully on Faith Lines, according to Matthew 10 and to totally rely on God for their natural provisions.
Perhaps Irvine didn't consider FM pilgrims to be fully working on Faith Lines since FM headquarters dictated they were to turn in their donations and receive an allowance. Irvine would break some FM rules if he were to follow Matthew 10 to the fullest degree possible and preach solely on Faith Lines without any prearranged support.
It is possible Irvine decided to go fully on faith lines, independent of Faith Mission and see what happened. In any event, in January 1899 he ceased to send FM his monthly reports and perhaps the donations he received. Some of his letters reveal that some FM rules irritated him. He eventually separated or was put out of the Faith Mission; more about this in future chapters. John Long also began preaching fully on Faith Lines in January 1899.
How different things would have turned out if John Long had replied: "It was changed in Luke 22:35-38," which reads: "And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and script, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his script: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one...And they said, Lord, behold here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough." Years later, in retrospect, when recalling the Matthew 10 Bible Study, John Long wrote:
"However, as a guide to preachers, Matthew 10 should only be taken in conjunction with the other Scriptures and Acts of the Apostles after Pentecost. This is a very important point lest young preachers should attempt that which our Lord never meant and run into catastrophe; as in Matthew 10, that tour was only for a few days, to meet a need and prepare the way for His visit to them. Vs. 10-25. In Matthew 10 they were not to go to the Gentiles, nor to the Samaritans; after Pentecost they were to be 'Witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in Judea and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth,' Acts 1:8. In Matthew 10 they were to take neither gold, silver, or brass, in their purses nor any luggage; after Pentecost they used money, and carried necessary luggage (Acts 4:34-35; 21:15; 28:30-31; 1 Corinthians 9:14) (Journal, July 1898).
Alfred Magowan asked: "Why should they think that God is glorified by imitating prophets and apostles, when he wants every man to be himself, and to live from within? The prophets of the Old Testament did not imitate the patriarchs that were before them nor the apostles of the New Testament imitate the prophets of the old" (letter to George Walker, Feb. 21, 1954).
Wm. C. Trimble did not agree that the teaching regarding Matthew 10 was Jesus' only way. He wrote in the Impartial Reporter:
"So that we see plainly, without a shadow of doubt, that our Lord revoked His commands in the 10th of Matthew. The case is precisely the same as if an Act of Parliament had been passed for a certain local set of circumstances, but when the conditions became changed this Act was repealed; and just as the original wording of the first Act remains on the statute book to tell of what had been enjoined before the repealing Act annulled it, so we have the original commands in the 10th of Matthew and Luke, as part of the recorded history of events, as well as the repealing orders of the 22nd Luke. The 10th of Matthew, on which the Tramps affect to base their whole code of ethics, has now no binding force whatever, as it was repealed by the same authority which had created it, in addition to the fact, that it was addressed to the ‘twelve’ alone. Thus the code and ideas which the Tramps built on a wrong foundation crumble to the dust. The teaching by the Tramp Preachers respecting ‘Matthew Ten’ is clearly not ‘the Jesus way’ " (IR, Oct., 7, 1909).
A few years later, the Go-Preacher belief system was organized and it was founded on Matthew 10. It became their standard methodology which has remained intact. To this day the Faith Lines concept of Matthew 10 is an integral, inseparable, uncompromisable doctrine of the 2x2 Sect. From the Impartial Reporter:
"The references to ‘Matthew Ten’ in the rhymes of the so-called hymns of the ‘Go-Preachers Hymn Book, and the quotations from the chapter, show that the Tramp Preachers regard it as the Bed Rock of their movement. On the 10th chapter of Matthew’s Gospel they base their dress, mode of living, itinerancy, methods, &c., and I venture to say that if they incorporated the Sermon on the Mount with that chapter, no one would be inclined to say anything towards them but God speed; for with their ways of life, whether they shave or refuse to carry a purse, no one has any concern; the outside world is only concerned when the Tramp Preachers, ignoring the command ‘Judge not’—do judge and condemn their neighbours" (IR, Oct., 14, 1909).
Little did they know that out of that Bible Study and upon the foundation of Matthew 10 would grow a worldwide group of followers numbering over 100,000. The significance and impact of this Bible Study are immeasurable. The concept of "Faith Lines" became and remains the foundation of the 2x2 workers' ministry. It is the element that sets the 2x2 ministry apart from other Christian ministries. Most Christian ministries operate on the basis of faith in God's provision; however, the 2x2 ministry is unique in how they apply their faith. Early worker Irvine Weir told Doug Parker that:
"William Irvine's ideas of preaching and tramp preaching were founded entirely on his idea of the tenth Matthew where Jesus told them to go, providing themselves neither gold nor silver nor script or staff for their journey, neither two coats, neither shoes nor staves for the workman is worthy of his hire. William believed that what was good for the apostles was also good for the preachers of that day. He forgot that this message was given to the apostles to give to the Jewish nation only" (Secret Sect by Parker, Fn 5, pp. 2, 9).
While John Long was a Methodist colporteur, he often helped other ministers with their Missions. For example, John wrote: "After that William Irvine and I went to Limerick City, where we had a Mission in the Young Men’s Christian Association Room…(Journal, June 1898). "At that time William Irvine, Fred Hughes and I went to Kilkee, where we had a Mission in the Methodist Church" (Journal, July 1898). Hughes was a Faith Mission Pilgrim. "William Irvine, Thomas Turner, and I went to Roscrea, to have a Mission in the Methodist Church..." (Journal, Dec. 1898). John Long wrote that he was together with Irvine for 83 Missions!
Mr. Gilbert was the Methodist evangelist. G. Pattison commented "...both John Long and Mr. Gilbert incurred some of Mr. Whittaker's displeasure because of allowing themselves to attend so frequently and persistently upon the ministrations of the man [Wm. Irvine] who at this time had become the great center of attraction, the former [John Long] keeping in touch with him nearly all the time, while still doing a little at his book scattering, etc..." (G. P., Accounts of the Early Days).
1898, FEBRUARY: EDWARD COONEY MEETS IRVINE & LONG: It was at the Methodist Church where Irvine was conducting the Borrisokane Mission that Ed Cooney first met Wm. Irvine. [View Photo of Borrisokane Methodist Church] "A Christian commercial traveller, named Edward Cooney, during his business tours, met some of the young converts and being impressed with the genuineness of their testimony was resolved to meet the Evangelist [Irvine] and have an interview with him" (Journal, Jan. 1898). Ed Cooney stated in a letter to Alice Flett:
"I travelled for my father's business and preached inside and outside, as occasion offered with some persecution. Whilst doing so, I met William Irvine through whom George Walker, Jack Carroll, William Carroll, Willie Gill and a number of the present leaders professed, including James Jardine. William Irvine and I were drawn together as brothers in Christ, each of us claiming liberty to follow Jesus as we received progressive light from God by the Spirit....He was at that time Pilgrim Irvine, a preacher in The Faith Mission...At that time we believed that all who were born anew, including ourselves, in the denominations were children of God, needing to become continuing disciples."
1898, JULY: "It was a very remarkable coincident that Edward Cooney turned up next day, [after their Matt. 10 study] for he very soon after gave up a very good situation, and distributed thirteen hundred pounds to the poor, and went fully on the Lord's work, and became a great advocate of preachers going without a stated salary" (Journal, July 1898). Edward Cooney entered the work in 1901, according to the List of First Workers at July, 1905.
In the Go-Preacher's Hymn Book, the first printed hymnbook of the 2x2 Sect, four of the twelve hymns Edward Cooney wrote refer to Matthew 10, which illustrates the importance they gave to it:
Whilst thousands say Lord, Lord, through men
who preach, but won't live Matthew Ten."
No. 95: "For well we ken, through Matthew Ten, the way that pleases God "
No. 99: "Tramp about and preach. Saints will give you bread. This you'll find full described in Matthew Ten."
No. 100: "poor men who left their homes and then launched out to live like Jesus as told in Matthew Ten."
There will be more about Edward Cooney in Chapter 14 and Chapter 28.
1898 AUGUST - GALWAY - McCLUNGS' CONVERSION - John Long wrote: "At that time [August] , William Irvine left me and went to Galway town." Early worker Annie McClung wrote:
"My conversion, as well as my husband's took place in Galway in year 1898 through the preaching of Mr. Wm. Irvine in that town and on my husband's resignation from the Prison Service, we went out to preach November, 1903. We preached in Ireland for a year, then in England in Berkshire and Suffolk until our leaving for Australia in October, 1908" (letter, Aug. 31, 1913). Wilson and Annie McClung were a married worker couple from Belfast. They had no children. A Irish reporter remarked about them: "The chief Missioner is a bearded Irishman named M'Clung, who is assisted by his wife. I found McClung in a small lodging near his temple. He is a handsome man, with magnetic eyes, a rich voice, and very nice white shapely hands" (IR, June 21, 1906 p. 3).
1898 JULY: About his brief visit to Co. Tipperary in July, Mr. Govan reported: "With Pilgrims Pendreigh and M'Lean, I attended five meetings at Nenagh...It was a joy...to see so much satisfactory fruit remaining from the Missions held by Pilgrim Irvine and the sisters during the past twelve months. I had also a number of candidates for the Mission to interview. Some of these were accepted" (BW, Aug. 15, 1898). The Pilgrims were instructed to convert people to become Christians and to set up Prayer Unions. They were to refer anyone who was interested in becoming a FM Pilgrim to Mr. Govan. If he approved the volunteer, they went through a training session at FM. The new Pilgrim was then sent with an experienced Pilgrim of the same sex to a Mission location.
1898 AUGUST: Irvine was appointed Faith Mission Superintendent of South of Ireland (BW, Aug. 1898).
1898 OCTOBER & NOVEMBER - BIRR MISSION: John Long wrote: "...we went to Birr, where we again met with William Irvine who was having a Mission in Soldiers’ Home...That was the only Mission in which Irvine said, so far as he could judge, there was no conversions" (Journal, Nov. 1898).
1898, DECEMBER - ROSCREA MISSION: John Long wrote: "William Irvine, Thomas Turner, and I went to Roscrea to have a Mission in the Methodist Church...Ben Boles, a shopkeeper from Roscrea and John Sullivan, a School Master from Moneygall, gave up their occupation to go fully on the Lord's work. Thomas Turner, succeeded me in the Colportage work for one month, when he resigned and went as an Evangelist on Faith Lines" (Journal, Dec. 1898). NOTE: Tom Turner became associated with Todd's Mission--not the Faith Mission. He pioneered Western Australia in 1906 and was Overseer of Queensland from 1924 until his death.
1898, NOVEMBER - JOHN LONG RESIGNS FROM COLPORTAGE WORK. He wrote:
"At that time, William Irvine left me and went to Galway town; Fred Hughes went back to merchandise and Thomas Turner joined me...I spent a day in prayer and fasting, seeking to know the mind of the Lord concerning giving up the Colportage work and going on Faith Lines; while I was praying I got a definite anointing of the Holy Spirit...While in the Colportage work...in round numbers I must have sold and circulated upwards of 100,000 literature, from the Bible to the tract; and although I gave up the selling, it was by no means a finish of my literature experience" (Journal, Nov. 1898). Although I resigned the Colportage work and the salary, I did not as yet cease to be a member of the Methodist Church" (Journal Jan. 1899).
"When I resigned the Colporteur work...William Irvine wanted me to join the staff of Pilgrims. I applied to J. G. Govan and was accepted; nevertheless he knew that I was seeking to know the will of God as to whether I should join the Mission or go on Matthew Ten lines. At the conference [convention] held in Roscrea in December, 1899, on the way home I let the Lord make the choice; and it was on the Matthew Ten side, so I wrote to J. G. Govan telling him that I was led in the matter not to join the Faith Mission; and he wrote me a nice letter in return saying that he was glad I was guided in the matter and would like to know in the meantime how it worked out” (Journal, Jan., 1900).
Telling the Truth has a hard copy of the documents, books, newspaper articles, references, etc. used in this book. Any exceptions are noted.
Go to Chapter 8