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in any thing than in going over in my thoughts all I saw and observed in him.”
Leighton was small of stature, as may be inferred from some letters of Dr. Fall * to a friend, in which he is more than once playfully denominated “ the little bishop ;” and one of the anecdotes inserted above, in which he contrasts himself with a corpulent person, denotes him to have been of a spare habit. To judge from his portrait, his countenance must have been a faithful interpreter of his mind; for it seems to denote a character in which the highest moral and intellectual faculties are felicitously blended. Of his manners in private life we have no more exact information than may be deduced from the foregoing narrative: but. from this we may confidently pronounce, that in his general character and deportment there was an union of dignity and meekness; and that in him the sterling integrity of the christian was refined, without being impaired, by secular accomplishments. Indeed, reli
* Dr. Fall appears first in the family of Craig Hall, (Sir Thomas Hope's,) as governor, it would seem, to a Mr. Hope, whom he accompanied to the continent. He was afterwards abroad in the same capacity, with the sons of the Marquis of Queensberry, Lord Treasurer, through whose patronage he was appointed, about the year 1682 or 1683, to be King's Historiographer, with a salary of 401. sterling. On the 29th September, 1684, he was chosen principal of the College of Glasgow, from which situation he was removed, soon after the Revolution, on declining to take the oaths. In 1671 he sends his friend Wylie a translation from the Italian of the account of “ The Last Conclave;" and he is supposed to be the translator of Mascardi's History of Count Fleschi's rebellion, about the year 1670. He was evidently a great admirer of Leighton, wrote a Latin preface to the first addition of the Prælectiones and Paræneses, and took a lively interest in the publication of the Commentary on the first Epistle of Peter,
gion combining, so largely as it did in Leighton, with a happy nature improved by travel, by multifarious and elegant learning, and by familiar intercourse with the politest men of the age, could not fail of forming a gentleman of a higher cast than worldly education alone can model.
It only remains to offer some remarks on the intellectual character and atttainments of Archbishop Leighton, on his genius as a writer, and on the style of his compositions.
With respect to his mental qualities, it may be safely affirmed by the most scrupulous encomiast, that he was gifted with a capacious mind, a quick apprehension, a retentive memory, a lively fancy, a correct taste, a sound and discriminating judgment. All these excellencies are conspicuous in almost every page of his writings; for in Leighton's compositions there is an extraordinary evenness. We are not recruited, here and there, by a striking thought or a brilliant sentence from the fatigue of toiling through many a heavy paragraph, but“ one spirit in them rules ;” and while he occasionally mounts to a surpassing height, he seldom or never sinks into flatness. The reason of this is, that he is always master of his subject, with a clear conception of his own meaning and purpose, and, a perfect command of all the subsidiary materials; and still more, that his soul is perpetually teeming with those divine inspirations, which seem only occa. sionally vouchsafed to ordinary mortals.
Had the mind of Leighton been less exact and per
spicacious, the rapid and multitudinous flow of his ideas would have rendered him a writer of more than common obscurity; for he was impatient of those rules of art, by which theological compositions are usually confined. No man, indeed, was better acquainted with scholastic canons and dialectical artifices ; but he towered above them. At the same time his argument never limps, although the form be not syllogistic, the correctness of his mind preventing any material deviation from a lucid and consecutive order. A logical continuity of thought may be traced in his writings; and his ideas may, perhaps, be not unaptly compared to flowers in a garden, so luxuriantly overhanging trellises, as to obviate the primness and formality of straight lines, without howevér straying into a wantonness of confusion that would perplex the observer's eye.
It is not to be denied, that a more scientific arrangement in Leighton's compositions would have greatly assisted the memory of his readers; and let those, who come short of him in intellectual power, beware of imitating his laxity of method. The rules of art, though cramps to vigour, are crutches to feebleness. My impression is, however, that the effusions of our author's mind, disposed more artificially, would have lost in richness what they gained in precision, and thus the gain would have been overbalanced by the loss. From the structure and flow of his discourses, I should conjecture it to have been his custom, when he had determined to write on any subject, to ruminate on it till his mind had assumed a corresponding form and tone; after which he poured forth his conceptions on paper without pause or effort, like the irrepressible droppings of the loaded honeycomb. So imbued was his holy soul with the principles of the gospel, and so completely was the whole scheme of revelation embraced and pervaded by his powerful intellect, that whatever he wrote on sacred subjects came forth with an easy flow, clear, serene, and limpid. In all his compositions there is a delightful consistency; nothing indigested and turbid; no dissonances of thought, no jarring positions ; none of the fluctuations, the ambiguities, the contradictions, which betray a penury of knowledge, or an imperfect assimilation of it with the understanding. Equally master of every part of the evangelical system, he never steps out of his way to avoid what encounters him, or to pick up what is not obvious : he never betakes himself to the covers of unfairness or ignorance ; but he discusses, with the utmost intrepidity and clearness, the topic that comes before him.
Moreover, it not a little enhances the value of his writings, that he is fully aware how far the legitimate range of human inquiry extends, and what boundary Divine wisdom hath assigned to man's inquisitiveness. While the half-learned theologian beats about in the dark, and vainly attempts a passage through metaphysical labyrinths which it is the part of sober wisdom not to enter, the sagacious Leighton distinctly sees the line beyond which speculation is folly; and at that limit he stops with a promptness of decision, and religious modesty, very graceful in one who has proceeded up to it with such calm assurance.
Such a writer as Leighton was incapable of parade. He was too intent upon his subject to be choice of words and phrases ; and his works discover a noble carelessness of diction, which in some respects enhances their beauty. Their strength is not wasted by excessive polishing: their glow is not impaired by reiterated touches. But, though he was little curious in culling words and compounding sentences, his language is generally apt and significant, sufficient for the grandeur of his conceptions without encumbering them. If not always grammatically correct, it is better than mere correctness would make it, more forcible and touching, attracting little notice to itself, but leaving the reader to the full impulse of those ideas of which it is the vehicle. Leighton is great by the magnificence of thought ; by the spontaneous emanations of a mind replete with sacred knowledge, and bursting with seraphic affections ; by that pauseless flow of intellectual splendour, in which the outward shell, the intermediate letter, is eclipsed and almost annihilated, that full scope may be given to the mighty effulgence of the informing spirit.
Dr. Doddridge applies to his eloquence the description given by the great epic Poet of the oratory of Ulysses :
– έπεα νιφάδεσσιν έoικόλα χειμερίησιν : but in this he seems to have misconceived the meaning of Homer, who compares the thronging words and forcible elocution of the Grecian hero to a storm of pelting rain and driving sleet, and not to flakes of snow descending in rapid yet gentle succession.