In answer to the Rev. F. C. Blackstone's question about Irvingism at Port Glasgow, Arnold responded on 25 October 1831 in a letter from Rugby:
If the thing be real I should take it merely as a sign of the coming of the day of the Lord, — the only one, as far as I can make out, that ever was derived from the gift of tongues. I do not see that it was ever made a vehicle of Instruction, or ever superseded the study of tongues, but that it was merely a sign of the power of God, a man being for the time transformed into a mere instrument to utter sounds which he himself understood not. . . . However, whether this be a real sign or no, I believe that "the day of the Lord" is coming, i. e. the termination of one of the great [stages] of the human race; whether the final one of all or not, that I believe no created being knows or can know. The termination of the Jewish [era] in the first century, and of the Roman [era] in the fifth and sixth, were each marked by the same concurrence of calamities, wars, tumults, pestilences, earthquakes, &c., all marking the time of one of God's peculiar seasons of visitation". And society in Europe seems going on fast for a similar revolution, out of which Christ's Church will emerge in a new position, purified, I trust, and strengthened by the destruction of various earthly and evil mixtures that have corrupted it. But I have not the slightest expectation of what is commonly meant by the Millennium, and I wonder more and more that any one can so understand Scripture as to look for it. As for the signs of the times in England, I look nowhere with confidence. [I, 311; words in brackets replace Greek terms]
Stanley, Arthur Penrhyn. The life and correspondence of Thomas Arnold, D.D., late head-master of Rugby school, and regius professor of modern history in the University of Oxford. 4th ed. 2 vols. London: B. Fellowes, 1845.
Last modified 16 July 2006