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

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 074:294 (Apr 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

II.

It must not be supposed that Leighton had stood alone in his protest against the violent proceedings of Sharp and Rothes. Many of the Episcopal clergy of Scotland were much offended at them. They perceived that the prejudices of the people were increased and intensified by them. “I happened,” says Burnet,

“to be settled near two of the most eminent of them — Mr. Nairn and Mr. Charteris, who were often importuned to accept bishoprics. Mr. Nairn was one of the politest clergymen in Scotland, and was the most eloquent of all our preachers. He considered the pastoral function as a dedication of the whole man to God and his service. In a word, he was the brightest man I ever knew among all our Scottish Divines.”

Of Mr. Charteris, Burnet gives this characterization: —

“He was a man of composed and serene gravity, but without affectation or sourness. His conversation arrested attention and begot composedness in all about him, without frightening them, for he made religion appear amiable. He had read all the lives and epistles of great men carefully; he had read the fathers much, and gave me this notion of them; that in speculative points for which writers of controversy searched them, they were but ordinary men; their excellence lay in that which was least sought for — their sense of spiritual things, and of the pastoral care. In these he thought their strength lay. He often lamented, not without some indignation, that due care was not taken to set out their Ideas of the sacred function [of the Christian ministry]; of the

preparation of mind and inward vocation with which men ought to come to holy orders, the heavenly temper and the constant application to the doing of good, that became them. He was a great enemy to large confessions of faith when they were imposed in the lump as tests.”

“It was a great happiness for me,” says Burnet, “that I fell into such hands in those early days of my ministry, with whom I entered into a close and particular friendship; they both set me right and kept me right.” Burnet was then a young man only three and twenty, but observant of the character and the conduct of most of the Scotch bishops. This was his opinion of them as a class (only Scougal, Bishop of Aberdeen, a man of rare temper and great piety, and Leigh-ton were excepted):—

“They were not only furious against all that stood out against them, but were very remiss in all the parts of their function. Some did not live within their diocese; and those who did seemed to take no care of them. They showed no z...

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