« FöregåendeFortsätt »
The interval between the com- deficiency, the character of Leighmencement of the Great Rebellion ton shines forth with uncommon and the expulsion of James the splendor : while “ in the world, he Second, comprizes the darkest was not of the world ; ” and amidst period in the History of our Esta- all the trying scenes to which he blishment since the Reformation, was exposed, he evinced such and its annals are pregnant with stedfastness of purpose, and holiwarning and instruction. The ness of conversation, as to comimportant lessons, however, wbich mand the admiration of multitudes are there taught, are in numerous who were not themselves prepared instances disregarded; while many, to copy his example ; and whose bastily adopting a narrow and
life and conduct, however scanty partial view, are induced indiscri. in incident, are every way deserving minately to applaud one party, and of serious contemplation. vehemently to censure the other; Robert Leighton, the subject of forgetting that neither Royalists our memoir, appears to have been nor Republicans, Churchmen nor born in Edinburgh in 1611,* and Puritans can be entirely defended, was the eldest son of Dr. Alexand that very few individuals can ander Leighton, Professor of Moral be named on either side, during Philosophy in the College of Edinthat whole period, on whom the burgh. Dr. Leighton was a Presmind can
rest with unmingled byterian Minister, descended from satisfaction. The conduct of many, a family early distinguished in whom succeeding ages have char- Scottish history, and was himself acterized as at once good and subjected, by the Star Chamber, great, exhibits strange anomalies, in the reign of Charles the First, and the most zealous partizans to very severe punishment, on have found their ingenuity severely account of a scurrilous and inflamexercised, while attempting to ex- matory publication.
Robert was culpate or commend a favoured his eldest son, and endeared himindividual. The theological pro- self exceedingly to his parents by ductions of Baxter and of Owen his early piety and docility, and by are in every library, and are read an extraordinary exemption from with instruction and improvement childish faults and follies. It is by men of different denominations ; but few are hardy enough on all
* See the very valuable Life of Archbishop occasions to vindicate their political Leighton, by the Rev. J. N. Pearson, A. M.
prefixed to an edition of the Archbishop's conduct.
Commentary on Peter, lately published by Amidst, however, this general Duncan. JANUARY 1832.
not known where young Leighton portions of that corrupt establishreceived the rudiments of his edu- ment, that its constitutions were cation, though this was most pro- not altogether dross, he went on bably at Edinburgh, under the to discover that the frame of his superintendance of his father; but own church was not entirely gold : we are informed that his behaviour nor did it escape him, that in the at College was so uniformly ex- indiscriminate extermination, so cellent as to attract the notice of clamorously demanded in Scotland, his superiors, and that Dr. Leighton of all those offices of devotion was subsequently congratulated on which symbolized with the Roman having a son, in whom Providence Catholic services, there would be bad abundantly compensated him swept away some of the noblest for his sufferings.
formularies and most useful insti• After taking his degree, Leigh- tutes of the primitive church. It ton past several years in 'travel, was probably from this period that and in the studies proper to qualify his veneration for the presbyterian him for future usefulness. It was platform began to abate. his mature opinion, that great ad- 'He was thirty years old before vantages are to be reaped from a he took holy orders : and in postresidence in foreign parts; inas- poning to so ripe an age his enmuch as a large acquaintance with trance on the ministry, as well as the sentiments of strangers, and in retiring so early as he did from with the civil and religious institu- its more laborious province, he tions, the manners and usages of acted agreeably to his avowed other countries, conduces to un. opinion, that some men preach sbackle the mind of indigenous too soon, and some too long. His prejudices, to abate the self-suffi- judgment of what is most reverent ciency of partial knowledge, and to towards God corresponded with produce a sober and charitable esti- those
of the Levitical mate of opinions that differ from economy, which prescribe a mature Many years afterwards,
age for engaging in the more he recommended a similar course arduous department of the sacerdotal to bis nephew, alleging, that there office, and grant an honourable is a very peculiar advantage in superannuation at that period of travel, not to be understood but life, when the strength of mind and by the trial of it; and that for body commonly begins to decay. himself he no-wise repented the It was on the sixteenth day of time he had spent in that way. December, A. D. 1641, that Leigh
• During his stay abroad, Leigh. ton was ordained and admitted ton was often at Douay, where minister of Newbottle, in Midsome of his relations were settled. lothian, a parish in the presbytery In this seminary he appears to
of Dalkeith.' have met with some religionists, No information is afforded of his whose lives were framed on the early ministrations, but we are told strictest model of primitive piety. that it was his aim not to win Though keenly alive to the faults proselytes to a party, but converts of popery, he did not consider the to Jesus Christ; that he seldom Romish church to be utterly anti- attended the convocations of the christian; but thought he discerned presbyters, whose practice of desin it beautiful fragments of the canting from the pulpit on the original temple, however disfigured solemn league and covenant, he with barbarous additions, and al- greatly disapproved, and that on most hid beneath the rampant one occasion being publicly reprigrowth of a baleful superstition. manded in a synod for not preaching Having learnt from these better up the times, he asked, "Who
does preach up the times ?' and interests. During his whole life when it was answered that all the however, he invariably evinced the brethren did it,' he rejoined, · Then utmost indifference to moneyif you all preach up the times, you of this a very striking instance may surely allow one poor brother occurred wbile resident on his to preach up Christ Jesus and eternity.
At his father's death, he came • Although averse, both by tem- into possession of about a thousand per and principle, from meddling pounds; which sum was in fact his with politics, yet there were certain whole property. This he placed, conjunctures of perplexity and peril, or suffered to remain, in the hands in which he thought himself bound of a merchant without adequate to set an example to his flock of security; notwithstanding the reintrepid loyalty. "In the year 1648, monstrances of Mr. Lightmaker, he acceded to the Engagement for his brother-in-law, who urged him the King; a step which would have to come up to London and vest it involved him in serious trouble with more safely. Leighton's reply to the republican government, but for this good counsel is very characthe interposition of the Earl of teristic. Lothian, and the charm of his per- Sir,- I thank you for your letsonal character. When the engage- ter. That you give ine notice of ment expired, in the discomfiture I desire to consider as becomes a of those enterprises to which it had Christian, and to prepare to wait given birth, he was placed in a very for my own removal. What busidelicate predicament; in which, ness follows upon my father's may however, his behaviour was no less be well enough done without me, creditable to his political discretion, as I have writ more at: large to than to his christian boldness and Mr. E, and desired him to show integrity. Called upon in his official you the letter when you meet. Any capacity to admonish some of his pittance belonging to me may parishioners, after they had made a possibly be useful and needful for public profession of repentance for my subsistence; but truly if somebeing actively concerned in that thing else draw me not, I shall engagement to which he himself never bestow so long a journey on had subscribed, he directed their that I account so mean a business. consciences to the many offences Remember my love to my sister against morality and religion which your wife, and to my brother and they had committed in the course sister Rathband, as you have opof their military service; and of portunity. I am glad to hear of these, without touching on the the welfare of you all, and above grounds of the expedition and the all things wish for myself and you merits of their cause, he solemnly all our daily increase in likeness to charged them to repent.'
Jesus Christ, and growing heaven. Mr. Leighton had not been long wards, where he is who is our minister of Newbottle, before he treasure. To his grace I commend became acquainted by experience and you. observation with the defects of the · Before long, the event anticipresbyterian system, and engaged pated by Mr. Lightmaker took in correspondence with several of place. The merchant failed, and the episcopal clergy; at length Leighton's patrimony was irreafter withdrawing himself for some trievably lost. How he took this time from the legislative assemblies, misfortune may be learnt from the he determined on relinquisliug the following letter to his brother-insituation he occupied, though ap
law. parently very contrary to his secular Sir, ---Your kind advice I can