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scheme, and promised his aid. It had all the features of moderation, and if moderation had been the characteristic of either party, might have been successful. Leighton wished that each party, for the sake of peace should abate something of its opinions as to the mode of church government and worship; that the power of the Bishops should be reduced considerably, and that few of the ceremonies of public worship should be retained; that the Bishop should only be perpetual moderator or president in clerical assemblies, and should have no negative voice ; and that every question should be determined by the majority of presbyters. Both parties however were too much exasperated and too jealous of each other to yield a single point, and the scheme came to nothing, for which failure various reasons may be seen in the bistory of the times. The only circumstance not so well accounted for is, that Charles II. and his ministers should still persist in retaining a man in the high office of Bishop, whose plans they dislike and who formed a striking contrast to his brethren whom they supported.
Disappointed in his scheme of comprehension, Archbishop Leighton endeavoured to execute bis office with his usual care, doing all in his power to reform the clergy, to promote piety among the people, to suppress violence, and to soothe the minds of the presbyterians. For this last purpose he held conferences with them at Glasgow, Paisley, and Edinburgh, on their principles and on bis scheme of accommodation, but without effect. The parties could not be brought to mutual indulgence, and far less to religious concord. Finding his new situation therefore more and more disagreeable, he again determined to resign his dignity, and went to London for that purpose in the summer of 1673. The king, although he still refused to accept bis resignation, gave a written engagement to allow him to retire after the trial of another year, and that time being expired and all hope of uniting the different parties having vanished, his resignation was accepted. He now retired to Broadhurst in Sussex, where his sister resided, the widow of Edward Lightmaker, Esq., and here he lived in great privacy, dividing his time between study, devotion, and acts of benevolence, with occasional preaching. In 1697 he very unexpectedly received a letter written in the king's own hand, requesting him to go to Scotland and promote concord among the contending parties; but it does not appear that be
complied with his Majesty's pleasure. It is certain that he never again visited Scotland, nor intermeddled with ecclesiastical affairs, but remained quietly in his retirement until near his death. This event however did not take place at Broadburst. Although he had enjoyed this retirement almost without interruption for ten years, he was unexpectedly brought to London to see his friends. The reason of this visit is not very clearly explained, nor is it of great importance; but it appears that he had been accustomed to express a wish that he might die from home and at an inn; and this wish was gratified, for he died at the Bell-inn, in Warwicklane, far apart from his relations, whose concern he thought might discompose his mind. He was confined to his room about a week, and to his bed only three days. Bishop Burnet and other of his friends attended him constantly during his illness, and witnessed bis tranquil departure. He expired Feb. 1, 1684, in the seventy-first year of his age. By his express desire, his remains were conveyed to Broadhurst, and interred in the church of that place, and a monument of plain marble, inscribed with his name, office, and age, was erected at the expense of his sister.
Archbishop Leighton is celebrated by all who have written his life or incidentally noticed him, as a striking example of unfeigned piety, extensive learning, and unbounded liberality. Bishop Burnet, in his History of his own Times, makes frequent and the most honourable mention of him,
“ He had,” says he,“ the greatest command of the purest Latin that ever I knew in any man. He was a master both of Greek and Hebrew, and of the whole compass of theological learning, chiefly in the study of the Scriptures; but that which excelled all the rest was, he was possessed with the highest and noblest sense of Divine things that ever I saw in any man. He had no regard to his person, unless it was to mortify it by a constant low diet that was like a perpetual fast. He had a contempt both of wealth and reputation. He seemed to have the lowest thoughts of himself possible, and to desire that all other persons should think as meanly of him, as he did himself. He bore all sorts of ill usage and reproach like a man that took pleasure in it. He had so subdued the natural heat of his temper, that in a great variety of accidents, and in a course of twenty-two years intimate conversation with him, I never observed the least sign of passion but upon one
occasion. He brought himself into so composed a gravity, that I never saw him laugh, and but seldom smile; and he kept himself in such a constant recollection, that I do not remember that I ever heard him say one idle word. There was a visible tendency in all he said to raise his own mind and those he conversed with to serious reflection. He seemed to be in a perpetual meditation, and through the whole course of his life was strict and ascetical, yet he had nothing of the sourness of temper that generally possesses men of that sort. He was the freest from superstition, of censuring others, or of imposing his own methods on them possible, so that he did pot so much as recommend them to others. He said there was a diversity of temper, and every man was to watch over his own, and to turn it in the best manner he could. His thoughts were lively, oft out of the way and surprising, yet just and genuine; and he had laid together in his memory the greatest treasure of the best and wisest of all the ancient sayings of the heathens as well as Christians, that I have ever known any man master of; and he used them in the aptest manner possible. He had been bred up with the greatest aversion imaginable to the whole frame of the Church of England. From Scotland his father sent him to travel. He spent some years in France, and spoke that language like one born there. He came afterwards and settled in Scotland, and had presbyterian ordination; but he quickly broke through the prejudices of his education. His preaching had a sublimity both of thought and expression in it. The grace and gravity of his pronunciation were such, that few heard him without a sensible emotion. I am sure I never did. His style was rather too fine, but there was a majesty and beauty in it that left so deep an impression, that I cannot yet forget the sernions I heard him preach thirty years ago; and yet with this he seemed to look on himself as so ordinary a preacher, that while he had a cure, he was ready to employ all others; and when he was a Bishop, he chose to preach to small auditories, and would never give notice beforehand. He had indeed a very low voice, and so could not be heard by a great crowd. I bear still the greatest veneration for the memory of that man, that I do for any person; and reckon my early knowledge of him, and my long and intimate conversation with him that continued to his death for twenty-three years, among the greatest blessings of my life, and for which I know
I must give an account to God in the great day in a most par. ticular manner.”
In the conclusion of his Pastoral Care Bishop Burnet takes another opportunity of dwelling upon the character of this inestimable man: “I have now laid together,” says he, “ with great simplicity, what has been the chief subject of my thoughts for above thirty years. I was formed to thein by a Bishop that had the greatest elevation of soul, the largest compass of knowledge, the most mortified and heavenly disposition, that I ever yet saw in mortal ; that had the greatest parts as well as virtue, with the perfectest humility that I ever saw in man; and had a sublime strain in preaching, with so grave a gesture, and such a majesty both of thought, of language, and of pronunciation, that I never once saw a wandering eye where he preached, and have seen whole assemblies often melt in tears before him; and of whom I can say with great truth, that in a free and frequent conversation with him for above two-and-twenty years, I never knew him say a word that had not a direct tendency to edification; and I never once saw him in any other temper than that which I wished to be in the last moments of iny life.”
Archbishop Leighton's Works bave been published in four volumes octavo. The chief of them, besides bis Theological Lectures, are A Practical Commentary on the First Epistle of Saint Peter-Sermons--An Exposition of the Creed, Lord's Prayer, and Ten Commandments-A Catechism-Meditations on the Psalmsand A Defence of Moderate Episcopacy.