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The Anecdotage of Glasgow
Archbishop Leighton's Preaching


ALEXANDER LEIGHTON, Archbishop of Glasgow, 1670-4, has been termed the Scottish Fenelon; and he was also known among his contemporaries by the honourable designation of The Good Bishop. He was good in the largest and noblest sense of the epithet. He was good in the sense of being benevolent. The world has not been blessed with many finer copies of Him who was Love incarnate, and who went about doing good. Good-doing was emphatically the work of Leighton’s life, and delight of his heart. Bishop Burnet declared that, during a strict intimacy of many years, he never saw him for any moment in any other temper than that in which he would wish to live and die.

In the troublous times in which he lived, contentions about different modes of Church government, and similar matters, were then at their height; but it was Leighton’s great aim to win souls to Christ, and not to make them proselytes of a party. His brethren were ill-pleased with his silence on these matters, and in a synod he was publicly reprimanded for not "preaching up to the times."

"Who," he asked, "does preach up to the times?"

The reply was:-

"All the brethren do so."

"Then," said Leighton, "if all the brethren have preached up the times, you may surely suffer one poor brother to preach up Christ Jesus and Eternity." And on another occasion he said:—

"I would rather convince a man that he has a soul to save, and induce him to live up to that belief, than bring him over to my opinion in whatever else beside."


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