Page:A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen, vol 6.djvu/224

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18 JAMES MELVILLE.


emergency, James Melville was despatched to Edinburgh and the other princi- pal towns, with letters from the king and the ministers, urging a liberal con. Intuition for their assistance. His services on this occasion, and the spirit in- fused by Andrew Melville into the royal councils, materially contributed to the success of the expedition.

We have mentioned, that at the interview at Stirling, James Melville had regained the favour of the king ; but it is probable that that and subsequent exhibitions of the royal confidence were merely intended to gain him, in an- ticipation of the future designs of the court relative to the church. In the af- fair of David Black, Melville had used his influence with the earl of Mar, to procure a favourable result ; and, although the king did not express disappro- bation of his conduct, but, on the contrary, commanded him to declare from the pulpit at St Andrews, the amicable termination of their quarrel, he observed that from that period his favour uniformly declined. Finding, after two years' trial, that his conduct towards James Melville had not induced him to compro- mise his principles, the king probably considered all further attempts to gain him quite unnecessary.

In May, 1596, the Covenant was renewed by the synod of Fife, and in the following July by the presbytery of St Andrews ; on both which occasions, Mel- ville was appointed " the common mouth." After the last meeting, the barons and. gentlemen resolved that he and the laird of Reiras [Hires?] should be sent to the king, to inform him of the report of another Spanish invasion, and of the return of the popish lords ; but Melville's interest at court was now on the de- cline, and his mission met with little encouragement. Returning home, he ap- plied himself assiduously to the duties of his parish. He drew up a " Sum of the Doctrine of the Covenant renewed in the Kirk of Scotland," in the form of question and answer. Upon this the people were catechised during the month of August ; and on the first Sunday of September, the Covenant \vas renewed, and the sacrament administered in the parish of Kilrenny.

During the next ten years, the life of Melville was spent in a course of op- position, as decided as it was fruitless, to the designs of the court for the re- establishment of episcopacy. While some of his most intimate friends yielded, he remained firm. There was but one point which he could be induced to give up. He was urged by the king (1597) to preach at the admission of Gladstanes, the future archbishop, to the church of St Andrews, from which David Black had been ejected ; and he did so, in the hope of benefiting some of his distressed friends by the concession ; but it afterwards cost him much uncomfortable re- flection. In the month of October he visited, along with others appointed for that purpose, the churches in the counties of Aberdeen, Moray, and Ross. He had entered upon this duty under considerable mental depression and bodily suffering ; and it may be supposed to have been but little diminished, when he detected, during the journey, the plans of the court for the re-establishment of the episcopal order. Finding that his labours on behalf of the church had been attended with so little success, he would willingly have retired from public life, and shut out all reflection on so unsatisfactory a retrospect in the performance of his numerous parochial duties : but a sense of what he owed to the church and to his friends in adversity induced him to continue his discouraging labour ; and, accordingly, till he was ensnared into England, whence he was not al- lowed to return, he made the most unwearied exertions in behalf of presby- tery. Except the gratification the mind receives from marking the continued struggles of a good man against adversity, the reader could feel little interest in. a minute detail of circumstances, which, with a few changes of place and date, were often repeated. Vexation of mind and fatigue of body at length