Page:A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen, vol 6.djvu/215

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JAMES MELVILLE.


him to lodge at his apartments, and was so much pleased with the sweetness of his disposition, and his anxiety to learn, that he made him the constant object of his care, and had the satisfaction of seeing him leave the university, after having attained its highest honours. During the prescribed period of four years, Melville was taught logic, (including the Aristotelian philosophy,) mathematics, ethics, natural philosophy, and law. At the end of the third year, he, according to the usual custom, took the degree of Bachelor, and, on finish- ing the fourth, that of Master of Arts. One of the most interesting events re- corded by James Melville to have occurred during his residence at St Andrews, was the arrival of John Knox there in 1571: and he alludes with much feeling

T o

to the powerful effects produced on his mind by the sermons of the reformer.

After finishing his philosophical education, James Melville returned to his father's house, where he prosecuted his studies during the summer months. Having finished that part of his education which was necessary for general pur- poses, it was now requisite that he should determine what profession he should adopt. His father had destined him for that of a lawyer ; but although James had studied some parts of tliat profession, and had attended the consistorial court at St Andrews, his heart " was nocht sett that way." Deference to his father's wishes had hitherto prevented him offering any decided opposition to his intentions, but he had at this period taken means to show the bent of his mind. Choosing a passage in St John's Gospel for his text, he composed a ser- mon, which he put in a book used by his father in preparing his weekly ser- mons. The MS. was accordingly found, and pleased his father exceedingly. But James was now luckily saved the pain of either opposing the wishes of a kind, but somewhat austere parent, or of applying himself to a profession for the study of which he had no affection, by an unlocked for accident the arrival of his uncle, Andrew Melville, from the continent. To him his father com- mitted James, "to be a pledge of his love," and they were destined to be for many years companions in labour and in adversity.

James Melville had left the university with the character of a diligent and accomplished student He had flattered himself that he had exhausted those subjects which had come under his attention, but he was now to be subjected to a severe mortification. When his uncle examined him, he found that he was yet but a mere child in knowledge, and that many years of study were still necessary, before he could arrive at the goal which he had supposed himself to have already reached. James's mortification did not, however, lead him to sit down in despair. He renewed his studies with the determination to succeed, and revised, under his uncle's directions, both his classical and philosophical education. " That quarter of yeir," says he, " I thought I gat graitter light in letters nor all my tyme befor. .... And all this as it wer by crack- ing and playing, sa that I lernit mikle mair by heiring of him [Andrew Mel- ville] in daylie conversation, bathe that quarter and therefter, nor euer I lernit of anie buik, whowbeit he set me euer to the best authors."

Endowed with such talents and acquirements, it will readily be believed that Andrew Melville was not allowed to remain long idle. He was soon after his return invited to become principal of the university of Glasgow; an appointment which, after a short trial, he agreed to accept In October, 1 574, he left Bal- dovy to undertake the duties of his office, taking with him his nephew, who was, in the following year, appointed one of the regents. The labours of An- drew Melville at Glasgow, have been already noticed in his life, and we shall, therefore, only extend our inquiries here to the course adopted by the subject of this memoir. For the first year, James Melrille taught his class " the Greek grammar, Isocratis Paraenesis ad Demonicum, the first buk of Homers Iliads