Robert Leighton: The Apostolic Anglican Prelate Of Scotland -- By: Albert H. Currier

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 074:293 (Jan 1917)
Article: Robert Leighton: The Apostolic Anglican Prelate Of Scotland
Author: Albert H. Currier

Robert Leighton: The Apostolic Anglican Prelate Of Scotland

Albert H. Currier


Why undertake another sketch of this man’s life and character, when so many have already been made? For two hundred and fifty years he has shone in Scottish history as a person of extraordinary piety and moral excellence — a star of unrivaled brilliancy in its storied sky. It has justly attracted the attention of admirers of human greatness in every generation since he lived, and the number of those who have expressed their admiration of his character has not been small. This is right; and a proper regard for human welfare demands that the merit of such persons should not be lost sight of because of the obscuring effects of time. When hid from view on his account appreciative students of his life and character do well to attempt to rescue his name from temporary oblivion by restoring it to public notice, as Old Mortality in Scott’s famous novel with his chisel and mallet did the names of the Scottish Covenanters whose memories he honored and whose virtues he thus sought to perpetuate.

An inspiring biography is an inestimable treasure to any one who reads it with any real appreciation and true insight of the character portrayed. “A good book,” John Milton says, “is the precious life blood of a master spirit.” It marks an epoch in the life of the reader, by kindling in the soul new

ambitions, and stimulating it to worthy endeavors, that issue in a career of worthy achievement and usefulness, that otherwise would not have been attempted. Many examples might be mentioned. Who can estimate, for example, the effect upon Lincoln of the life of Washington, which he read in his early manhood? “To believe in the heroic makes heroes,” a distinguished English statesman has said.

The author’s excuse for the following biographical sketch is the hope that it may bring a similar benefit to its readers.

Robert Leighton was born in Edinburgh, June 23, 1611. His father, Dr. Alexander Leighton, was a Presbyterian minister. On account of the offense given to Archbishop Laud, the Primate of the Anglican Church in the reign of Charles I., liv his book, “Zion’s Plea against Prelacie,” in which he dared to question the divine right of Episcopacy in a virulent and intemperate style similar to that of John Milton’s famous treatise, “Reason of Church Government urged against Prelaty,” he was brought before the Star Chamber by Laud and sentenced for his temerity to have his cars cropped and his nose slit, to stand in the public pillory exposed to the rabble’s scorn and insult, to endure a term of imprisonment, and to pay a heavy fine. “He was,” says Bishop ...

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