Page:A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen, vol 6.djvu/95

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" Worthy famous Mr John Livingston," as he was fondly termed by his con- temporaries, received the rudiments of learning at home, and at the age of ten was sent to study the classics under Mr Wallace, a respectable teacher at Stirling. During the first year he made little progress, and was rather harshly treated by the schoolmaster; this was corrected by a remonstrance from his father, after which he profited very rapidly by his studies. When he had com- pleted his third year at Stirling, it was proposed that he should go to the Glas- gow university ; but his father eventually determined that he should remain another year at school, and this, he informs us, 2 was the most profitable year be had at school, being chiefly deroted to a course of classical reading. During the time of his residence in Stirling, Mr Patrick Simpson, a clergyman of much note, officiated in the parish church ; and Mr Livingston relates, that, on re- ceiving the communion from his hands, he experienced a physical agitation of an uncommon character, which he believed to have been occasioned " by the Lord for the first time working upon his heart." At his father's house in Lanark, to which he returned in 1617, in order to attend the death-bed of his mother, he had further opportunities of profiting religiously ; for it was the oc- casional resort of some of the most distinguished clergymen and " professors" of that age. The celebrated Mr Robert Bruce was among the number of the former ; and of the latter were the countess of Wigton (whom Livingston him- self calls the " rare"), lady Lillias Graham, already mentioned, lady Culross, still more famous than any of the rest, and lady Barnton. It seems to have then been a common practice for such persons as were conspicuous for religious earnestness, of whatever rank, to resort much to each other's houses, and to take every opportunity, when on a journey, to spend a night in a kindred do- mestic circle, where they might, in addition to common hospitalities, enjoy the fellowship of a common faith. To a large mingling in society of this kind, we are no doubt to attribute much of the sanctity for which Mr Livingston was remarkable through life.

The subject of our memoir received his academical education at the univer- sity of St Andrews, where Mr Robert Boyd was then principal, and Mr Robert Blair, another eminent divine, the professor of theology. Being tempted at this time by some proposals for a secular profession, he adopted the expedient of retiring to a cave on the banks of Mouse- water (perhaps the same which sheltered Wallace), where he spent a whole day in spiritual meditation, and ul- timately resolved to become a preacher of the gospel, as the only means of se- curing his own eternal interests. During the progress of his subsequent studies in divinity, he gave token of that firm adherence to presbyterian rules which characterized him in his maturer years. He was sitting with some of the people and a few of his fellow students in a church in Glasgow, when the archbishop (Law) came to celebrate the communion for the first time after the episcopal fashion established by the Perth articles. Seeing the people all sitting as usual, Law desired them to kneel, which some did, but among the recusants were Livingston and the little party of students. The archbishop commanded them either to kneel or depart : to this Livingston boldly replied, that " there was no warrant for kneeling, and, for want of it, no one ought to be excommuni- cated." Law only caused those near them to move, in order that they might remove.

Mr Livingston became a preacher in 1625, and for a considerable time preached for his father at Lanark, or in the neighbouring parish churches. He had several calls to vacant churches, especially to Anwoth in Galloway, which

rank, his father was on intimate terms of personal and religious friendship, and whose fother, husband, and eldest son, were all of the same appellation.

  • In his life, written by himself, Glasgow, 1754.