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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1832, by Peirce and PARKER,
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.
PRESS OF PEIRCE & PARKER.
The design of this volume is to bring within the reach of private Christians the most practical and interesting portions of Archbishop Leighton's Complete Works. The selection is in regular order from every part of his writings, and we have endeavor-ed to make it in reality rather his select works, than a mere compilation of his beauties ; supposing that no person of intelligence would be satisfied with a meagre list of scattered extracts. In the account of his life we have extracted several successive pages from the memoir prefixed to the last edition of his works, and have made free use of the interesting notices to be found in Bishop Burnet's History of his own Times.
The remark on page xl, in regard to the difference between Christians of this and the seventeenth century may be liable to misapprehension. Whoever at this day is a biblical Christian, must of necessity be a revival Christian; a Christian who prays with fervor and acts with energy for the conversion of his fellow men. But there is a tendency in the external religious effort of this age to stand in the place of prayer and the study of the Bible, instead of proceeding from the steady performance of those duties, as their inevitable, legitimate result. Our religion, then, is in danger of becoming bustling and superficial. Now if there be a thoughtful being in the universe, certainly the Christian ought to be such an individual. The Christians in Leighton's time were so. The Nonconformists especially united pro
found study and much meditation with great external energy. To make the Christiar character complete, both these are necessary. Our danger is that of neglecting prayer and the Bible, the only means that can fit us for usefulness, and of entering on external effort, too much because the general current sets that way, and to be consistent we must go with it, whether our hearts are humble, broken, and contrite, or not. We are in danger of endeavoring to promote revivals, not because, by the acquisition of scriptural wisdom, and by habits of fervent, frequent, persevering prayer, our heads and hearts are prepared for it, and would naturally constrain us to it, but because others are working, the world is busy, and we ask, what will men say La société, la société ! says Madame De Stael, (and oh how much melancholy truth there is in it, even in regard to social religious effort,) comme elle rend le cœur dur et l'esprit frivole! comme ella fait vivre pour ce que l'on dira de vous ! Society, society! how it renders the heart hard and the mind frivolous ! how it makes you live for what people will say of you !
As external effort increases, Prayer and the thoughtful perusal of God's word ought to increase in proportion. We are in danger of acting on a theory directly opposite, and of arguing ourselves into the belief that the frequency and variety of external duty excuses us from spending so much time as usual over the Bible and in prayer. If the Christian would do much for Jesus in this dying world, he must be vigilant, he must be thoughtful, he must labor in secret, and become eminently a man of prayer.
Amidst all Paul's journeyings, perils, and labors, he was 'night and day praying exceedingly.
LIFE, CHARACTER, AND WRITINGS,
Put off thy shoes from thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. It is with no small degree of this feeling that we approach the contemplation of a character so holy as that of Archbishop Leighton. Every thing connected with his memory seems sanctified; and when we open a volume of his writings, it is almost as if we opened the Bible.
He was born at Edinburgh in the year 1611. His father, Dr. Alexander Leighton, was a presbyterian clergyman, who, for a virulent attack upon Episcopacy, experienced the painful cruelties of the Star-Chamber under Charles 1st. Leighton had two sisters and a younger brother. He was remarkable even in childhood for bis quiet disposition and affectionate serious manners. He seems indeed to have been sanctified from his earliest years, and while yet a boy is said to have directed his studies and views towards the ininistry. He was educated at Edinburgh, and after receiving his degree travelled in Europe for several years, pursuing his studies at the same time. From his travels he returned to Scotland, and shortly, in 1641, being then thirty years of age, was ordained Minister of Newbottle near Edinburgh. Here he continued till 1652, when he tendered his resignation to the Presbytery. “He soon came," says Bishop Burnet,“ to see into the follies of the presbyterians and to dislike their covenant; particularly their imposing it, and their fury against all who differed from them. He found they were not capable of large thoughts : theirs were narrow, as their tempers were sour.
So he grew weary of mixing with them. He scarce ever went to their meetings, and lived in great retirement, minding only the care of his own parish at Newbottle, near Edinburgh. Yet all the opposition that be made to them was, that he preached up a more exact
rule of life, than seemed to them consistent with human nature; but his own practice did even outshine his doctrine."
It was not strange that a'man of his uncommon mildness should find bis situation an unpleasant one. Besides having a predilection for the Episcopalian form of worship, he could not endure the spiritual despotism nor the fierce zeal prevalent among the members of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. From one anecdote it would seem that his brethren in the ministry were but ill pleased with his freedom from the intolerant and passionate zeal of the times. In a synod he was publicly reprimanded for not preaching up the times. Who, he asked, does preach up the times? It was answered that all the brethren did it. Then, he rejoined, if all of you preach up the times, you may surely allow one poor brother to preach up Christ Jesus and eternity.
About this period he met with a calamity in the loss of a thousand pounds, which constituted his whole property. He had suffered it io remain in the hands of a merchant without adequate security.
To the remonstrances of Mr Lightmaker, bis brother in law, who urged him to come to London and vest it more safely, he replied, “any pittance belonging to me may possibly be useful for my subsistence; but truly if something else draw me not, I shall never bestow so long a journey on that I account so mean siness." When the merchant failed, as had been anticipated, and Leighton's patrimony was irretrievably lost, he said to bis brother in law, “ That liule that was in Mr. E.'s bands bath sailed me; but I shall either have no need of it, or be supplied in some other way.”
Being in England sometime afterwards, bis recent loss was touched upon by Mr. Lightmaker, who regretted that he had so sadly misplaced bis confidence. “Oh! no more of that,” cried Leighton; "the good man has escaped from the care and vex-' ation of ubat business." “Wbat, is ibat all you make of the matter?" rejoined his brother-in-law with surprise.“ Truly,” answered the other, “if the Duke of Newcastle, after losing nineteen times as much of yearly income, can dance and sing, while the solid hopes of Christianity will not avail to support us, we had better be as the world.”
" Somewhere about this tine,- for the date cannot be assigned with certainty,—there happened an accident which drew forth a proof of bis admirable self-possession in the sudden prospect of death. He had taken the water at the Savoy stairs, in company with his brother Sir Ellis, his lady, and some others, and was on his way to Lambeth, when, owing to some mismanagement, the