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A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Leighton, Robert

Leighton, Robert (1611-1684). -- Divine, was the s. of Alexander L., physician, and writer on theology, who, on account of his anti-prelatic books, was put in the pillory, fined, and had his nose slit and his ears cut off. Robert was ed. at Edin., after which he resided for some time at Douay. Returning to Scotland he received Presbyterian ordination, and was admitted minister of Newbattle, near Edin. In 1653 he was appointed Principal and Prof. of Divinity in the Univ. of Edin., which offices he held until 1662 when, having separated himself from Presbyterianism, he was appointed Bishop of Dunblane, under the new Episcopal establishment. He repeatedly but unsuccessfully endeavoured to bring about an ecclesiastical union in Scotland on the basis of combining the best elements in each system. Discouraged by his lack of success in his well-meant efforts, he offered in 1665 to resign his see, but was persuaded by Charles II. to remain in it, and in 1669 was promoted to be Archbishop of Glasgow, from which position, wearied and disappointed, he finally retired in 1674, and lived with his widowed sister, Mrs. Lightmaker, at Broadhurst Manor, Sussex. On a visit to London he was seized with a fatal illness, and d. in the arms of his friend, Bishop Burnet, who says of him, "he had the greatest elevation of soul, the largest compass of knowledge, the most mortified and heavenly disposition that I ever saw in mortal." His sermons and commentaries, all pub. posthumously, maintain a high place among English religious classics, alike for thought and style. They consist of his Commentary on St. Peter, Sermons, and Spiritual Exercises, Letters, etc. His Lectures and Addresses in Latin were also pub.