Wednesday, August 18, 2010

How many books? #3

Returning to books, W.S Plumer records the following in relation to Psalm 27:4. 'When some one admired Leighton's library, he said: "One devout thought is worth more than it all." He was right'. 'When we have a good thought or desire, we must not yield it up to temptation, but hold on to it and cherish it'.

The reference is not to Lord Leighton but to the godly but misguided prelate Robert Leighton. It is not a reference to Leighton's Newbattle library but to his Dunblane Library. True to his sentiments, Leighton bequeathed his books to the Cathedral of Dunblane in Scotland, to remain there for the use of the Clergy of that Diocese, thankfully not to remain a diocese for many years after. The library was opened in the year 1688. Various books have been lost over the years c.100. I remember a summer job over 10 years ago was to remove and store the books while work was being done to the library building.

Leighton filled his library with the best books of divinity then available and numerous markings and pencillings show his avid reading of authors such as Richard Sibbes. It appears that next to his Bible his most treasured book was a miniature pocket edition carried everywhere "Of the Imitation by Christ" by Thomas A Kempis which we quoted from at the end of 'How Many Books? #1'. There were notes upon all the margins, many of which no doubt were devout thoughts...