Page images

1661. posed on him any longer. And yet he hated all contention so much, that he chose rather to leave them in a silent manner, than to engage in any disputes with them. But he had generally the reputation of a saint, and of something above human nature in him: so the mastership of the college of Edenburgh falling vacant some time after, and it being in the gift of the city, he was prevailed with to accept of it, because in it he was wholly separated from all church matters. He continued ten years in that post: and was a great blessing in it; for he talked so to all the youth of any capacity or distinction, that it had great effect on many of them. He preached often to them: and if crowds broke in, which they were apt to do, he would have gone on in his sermon in Latin, with a purity and life that charmed all who understood it. Thus he had lived above twenty years in Scotland, in the highest reputation that any man in my time ever had in that kingdom.

He had a brother well known at court, sir Elisha, who was very like him in face and in the vivacity of his parts, but the most unlike him in all other things that can be imagined: for, though he loved to talk of great sublimities in religion, yet he was a very immoral man, [both lewd, false, and ambitious.] He was a papist of a form of his own: but he had changed his religion to raise himself at court; for he was at that time secretary to the duke of York, and was very intimate with the lord Aubigny, a brother of the duke of Richmond's, who had changed his religion, and was a priest, and had probably been a cardinal, if he had lived a little longer. He main137tained an outward decency, and had more learning and better notions, than men of quality, who enter 1661. into orders in that church, generally have. Yet he was a very vicious man: and that perhaps made him the more considered by the king, who loved and trusted him to a high degree. No man had more credit with the king; for he was on the secret as to his religion, and was more trusted with the whole design that was then managed in order to establish it, than any man whatsoever. Sir Elisha brought his brother and him acquainted: for Leightoun loved to know men in all the varieties of religion.

In the vacation time he made excursions, and came oft to London; where he observed all the eminent men in Cromwell's court, and in the several parties then about the city of London. But he told me, he could never see any thing among them that pleased him. They were men of unquiet and meddling tempers: and their discourses and sermons were dry and unsavoury, full of airy cant, or of bombast swellings. Sometimes he went over to Flanders, to see what he could find in the several orders of the church of Rome. There he found some of Jansenius's followers, who seemed to be men of extraordinary tempers, and studied to bring things, if possible, to the purity and simplicity of the primitive ages; on which all his thoughts were much set. He thought controversies had been too much insisted on, and had been carried too far. His brother, who thought of nothing but the raising himself at court, fancied that his being made a bishop might render himself more considerable. So he possessed the lord Aubigny with such an opinion of him, that he made the king apprehend, that a man of his piety and his notions (and his not being married was not forgot)

1661. might contribute to carry on their design. He fancied such a monastic man, who had a great stretch of thought, and so many other eminent qualities, would be a mean at least to prepare the nation for popery, if he did not directly come over to them; for his brother did not stick to say, he was sure that lay at root with him. So the king named him of his own proper motion, which gave all those that began to suspect the king himself great jealousies of him. Leightoun was averse to this promotion, as much as was possible. His brother had great power over him; for he took care to hide his vices from him, and to make before him a shew of piety. He seemed to be a papist rather in name and shew than in reality, of which I will set down one instance that was then much talked of. Some of the church of England loved to magnify the sacrament in an extraordinary manner, affirming the real presence, only blaming the church of Rome for defining the 138manner of it; saying, Christ was present in a most unconceivable manner. This was so much the mode, that the king and all the court went into it. So the king, upon some raillery about transubstantiation, asked sir Elisha if he believed it. He answered, he could not well tell; but he was sure the church of England believed it. And when the king seemed amazed at that, he replied, do not you believe that Christ is present in a most unconceivable manner? Which the king granted: then said he, that is just transubstantiation, the most unconceivable thing that was ever yet invented. When Leightoun was prevailed on to accept a bishopric, he chose Dunblane, a small diocese, as well as a little revenue. But the deanery of the chapel royal was annexed to that see. So he was willing to engage in that, that 1661. he might set up the common prayer in the king's chapel; for the rebuilding of which orders were given. The English clergy were well pleased with him, finding him both more learned, and more thoroughly theirs in the other points of uniformity, than the rest of the Scotch clergy, whom they could not much value. And though Sheldon did not much like his great strictness, in which he had no mind to imitate him, yet he thought such a man as he was might give credit to episcopacy, in its first introduction to a nation much prejudiced against it. Sharp did not know what to make of all this. He neither liked his strictness of life nor his notions. He believed they would not take the same methods, and fancied he might be much obscured by him; for he saw he would be well supported. He saw the earl of Lauderdale began to magnify him. And so Sharp did all he could to discourage him, but without any effect; for he had no regard to him. 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, which happened the year after this, 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 particular manner. And yet, though I know this account of his promotion may seem a blemish upon him, I would not conceal it, being resolved to write of all persons and things with all possible candor. I had the relation of it from himself, and more particularly from his brother. But what hopes soever the papists had

1661. of him at this time, when he knew nothing of the design of bringing in popery, and had therefore talked of some points of popery with the freedom of an abstracted and speculative man; yet he expressed another sense of the matter, when he came to see it was really intended to be brought in among us. He 139 then spoke of popery in the complex at much another rate: and he seemed to have more zeal against it, than I thought was in his nature with relation to any points in controversy; for his abstraction made him seem cold in all those matters. But he gave all who conversed with him a very different view of popery, when he saw we were really in danger of coming under the power of a religion, that had, as he used to say, much of the wisdom that was earthly, sensual, and devilish, but had nothing in it of the wisdom that was from above, and was pure and peaceable. He did indeed think the corruptions and cruelties of popery were such gross and odious things, that nothing could have maintained that church under those just and visible prejudices, but the several orders among them, which had an appearance of mortification and contempt of the world, and with all the trash that was among them maintained a face of piety and devotion. He also thought the great and fatal error of the reformation was, that more of those houses, and of that course of life, free from the entanglements of vows and other mixtures, was not preserved: so that the protestant churches had neither places of education, nor retreat for men of mortified tempers. I have dwelt long upon this man's character. But it was so singular, that it seemed to deserve it. And I was so singularly blessed by knowing him as I did, that I

« PreviousContinue »