Page:A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen, vol 6.djvu/216

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10 JAMES MELVILLE.


Phocylides, Hesiods Egyc* **/ 'H^i^i, the Dialectic of Raraus, the Rhetoric of Taleus, with the practice in Ciceros Catiliuars and Paradoxes." " The second year of my regenting," says James Melville, " I teachit the elements of arith- metic and geometric, out [of] Psellus, for shortnes ; the Offices of Cicero ; Aristotles Logic in Greek, and Ethic, (and was the first regent that ever did that in Scotland ;) also, Platoes Phaedon and Axiochus ; and that profession of the mathematiks, logic, and morall philosophic, I keipit (as everie ane of the re- gents keipit their awin, the schollars ay ascending and passing throw) sa lang as I regented ther, even till I was, with Mr Andro, transported to St Andros." His private hours were devoted to the study of the Hebrew language, and of theology. He had already, upon one occasion, given proof of his talents for public teaching, and he had now an opportunity of continuing his labours. It was a custom that each regent should, for a week in turn, conduct the students to a church near the college, where the citizens also attended, to hear prayers, and one or two chapters of the Scriptures read. The regents had hitherto con- fined themselves exclusively to these limits, probably from a feeling of their in- ability to offer any commentary ; but James Melville, taking a general view of the passages read, gave them a summary of the doctrines enforced, and accom- panied it with an application to the situations of his hearers. " This pleasit and comfortit guid peiple verie mikle."

The routine of academical instruction affords but few materials for biogra- phy. James Melville has therefore recorded little relative to himself at this period of his life, except an attack made upon him by one of the students, and the occurrences consequent upon it. But although this affair originated with him, it belongs more properly to the life of Andrew Melville, who as principal of the college, acted the most prominent part in all the subsequent pro- ceedings.

Andrew Melville had now accomplished nearly all that zeal or talent could effect for the university of Glasgow. Its revenues were improved, its character as a seat of learning raised much above that of any of the other Scot- tish universities, the number of students was greatly increased, and its disci- pline maintained with a degree of firmness, of the necessity of which, however sceptical modern readers may be, the attack to which we have just alluded is a most decided proof. The Assembly which met at Edinburgh therefore or- dained that Melville should remove to the new college of St Andrews, " to begin the wark of theologie ther with sic as he thought meit to tak with him for that effect, conform to the leat reformation of that universitie, and the new college therof, giffen be the kirk and past in parliament" Availing himself of the privilege thus granted of nominating his assistants, he requested his nephew to accompany him. James had for some time resolved upon going to France, but he had too much respect for his uncle to refuse his request. They therefore re- moved together from Glasgow in the month of November, 1580, leaving Thomas Smeton, " a man of singular gifts of learning and godlines," and Patrick Mel- ville, a young gentleman who had lately finished his philosophical studies, as their successors.

In December they entered upon the duties of their respective professions. After his preface, or inaugural discourse, James Melville commenced teach- ing his students the Hebrew grammar. There were, probably, few young men in the country who, either from their opportunities of acquiring knowledge, or their desire to improve under them, were better qualified to discharge this of- fice well; but his natural diffidence caused him a degree of anxiety, which many less accomplished masters have not experienced. ft The grait fear and cear," says he in his Diary, " qiihilk was in my heart of my inhabilitie to vn-