Various Essays and Entries
ANDREW MELVILLE, Principal, Glasgow, 1545-1622.
Melville arrived in Scotland from Geneva in 1574, two years after the death of Knox, and at once took up the mantle which the Scottish Elijah had dropped. He put himself at the head of the Presbyterian movement, and withstood the pertinacity of the Regent and the nobility in their attempts to introduce Episcopacy. So well did he fulfil this task that he got the name of the slinger-out of bishops.
He was one of the first scholars of his day, and taught with eclat in foreign universities when he was driven out of Scotland. He died at Sedan. For a complete list of his writings, see MCries Life, pp. 447-450.
(Treasury of the Scottish Covenant)
His learning and painfulness was mickle admired, so that the name of the college [Glasgow] within two years was noble throughout all the land, and in other countries also. Such as had passed their course in St. Andrews came in numbers there, and entered scholars again under order and discipline, so that the college was so frequented that the rooms were nocht able to receive them.
(Diary of James Melville.)
Master of a great wit, a wit full of knots and clenches; a wit sharp and satirical, exceeded I think by none of that nation but their Buchanan
(Izaak Walton, "Life of Herbert.")
The career of such a man was in itself a noble addition to any nations history; but if he were asked what claim besides that of his marked heroic character Melville had to be remembered, he should say - first, that he revived the flickering flame of learning in Scotland, renewed the nations intellectual life, and implanted in its mind a high educational ideal; second, that he perfected the incomplete framework of the Reformed Church, gave it the character which, under all vicissitudes, it had ever since retained, and successfully vindicated its spiritual independence; third, that in an age when society was but emerging from feudal anarchy, he taught it the principles of liberty and order, checked the violence of the nobles and the tyranny of the Crown, and asserted the civil and religious rights of the people. Melville died in exile, but his cause triumphed in the end. The liberties for which he contended were ultimately gained, and the system which he opposed was overthrown. The real battle which he waged was between autocracy and freedom. James sagacity, such as it was, was proved by the event. He was right in believing that his theory of government and that of the Scottish Reformers were incompatible. The price that the inevitable Nemesis exacted for Melvilles defeat and exile was not yet paid in full when James son and successor laid his head upon the block at Whitehall
CARMEN Mosis, ETC. 1574.
Melvilles first publication consisted of a poetical paraphrase of the song of Moses, and of a part of the Book of Job, with several poems - all in Latin. This was followed by several other poetical compositions, and it was for an epigram in caustic Latin, provoked by the ritualistic display which he witnessed in the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court (p. 61), that he was thrown into the Tower. Melville was a man of many accomplishments. Among their fruit his poems hold a respectable place in the Deliciae Poetarun; Scotorum, and that collection ranked well among the Deliciae of other nations. The accepted writers of the Latin period of European literature appealed to a splendid audience - the whole learned world of Europe.
(J. H. Burton, LL.D.)
INTERVIEW BETWEEN KING JAMES AND ANDREW MELVILLE, AT FALKLAND. 1596.
A Popish plot having been discovered, the Assembly took alarm and sent a deputation to Falkland to the King. James Melville was appointed spokesman, but hardly had he begun his address, when his Majesty accused the Presbyterian ministers of sedition. He was about to reply calmly, when his uncle Andrew, seeing that it was now or never, stepped forward, and taking the King by the sleeve, compelled him to listen to these memorable words :- Sir, there are two kings and two kingdoms in Scotland: there is King James the head of this commonwealth, and tbere is Christ Jesus, the King of tIme Church, whose subject James the Sixth is, and of whose kingdom he is not a king, nor a lord, nor a Head, but a member. We will yield to you your place, and give you all due obedience; but again I say you are not the head of the Church; you cannot give us that eternal life, which we seek for even in this world, and you cannot deprive us of it. Permit us then freely to meet in the name of Christ, and to attend to the interests of that Church of which you are a chief member.
The MS. of Melvilles Commentary on the Romans came into the possession of Dr. David Laing, and was printed in the original Latin for the Wodrow Society in 1850, under the editorship of the Rev. W. L. Alexander, D.D., Edinburgh. It will be welcomed by the members of the Wodrow Society, not only as a valuable relic of an illustriwis and venerable man, but for its intrinsic merits, as expository of the words of the Apostle.
(WL Alexander, .D.D.)
Andrew Melville, second to none in learning, and hardly second to Knox in power and influence, has left us only one theological treatise, a short commentary on the Epistle to the Romans. We have his hand, however, as is well known, in the Second Book of Discipline, probably, too, in the papers belonging to the contention between the State and Church in 1596, which Calderwood has preserved, and which, brief though they are, bear the unmistakable indications of a clear and powerful intellect; and we can only regret that we have so little from him.
(Dr. James Walker.)
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