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Leighton, Robert

Robert Leighton, 1611–84, Scottish prelate and classical scholar. After several years in France, where he seems to have developed an admiration for the Jansenists, he became (1641) a Presbyterian minister in Midlothian and signed the Covenant in 1643 (see Covenanters). A noted preacher, he was made principal of the Univ. of Edinburgh in 1653 and professor of divinity. With the Restoration, Charles II attempted to force episcopacy on the Church of Scotland, and the king persuaded Leighton to accept (1661) the bishopric of Dunblane. Leighton's attempts to find a basis for union between Presbyterianism and episcopacy led to accusations of treason by the Covenanters and to lukewarm feelings on the part of the Episcopal party. Temperamentally unfitted for his work and grieved by the government's persecution of the Covenanters, he tried to resign, only to be appointed (1670) archbishop of Glasgow. In 1674 he retired to private life. Leighton's collected writings, including many of his sermons, appeared posthumously in several editions.

See study by E. A. Knox (1930).

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