« AnteriorContinua »
pose, he entered the Grammar School of his native city on the first of November, 1771; at which seminary he continued for five years. Here his natural dispositions more fully displayed themselves, and his habits were gradually formed under the excellent course of discipline which he enjoyed. His temper was naturally mild, benevolent, and cheerful; he was always contented and happy; and some of his young companions found themselves often tacitly corrected by the command which he shewed over himself. His mind was of a sedate and reflecting cast, to a degree not usual so early in life. He appeared to have no delight in the boisterous sports of his class-fellows, for which, indeed, his bodily constitution, being rather delicate, rendered him less fit; and while they were engaged in the ordinary amusements of school-boys, he was generally employed in studying his task, or taking a solitary walk. His regularity of conduct and application to his studies were uniform and exemplary. He was for the most part about the head of his class, and obtained among the highest of the prize books given by the Magistrates to the best scholars of each class. The late Dr. DUN, so long eminent as a teacher of Latin, and Rector of the Grammar School, used to remark to him, when he saw him
at the head of his class, Sic pater solebat Jacobe; his father having been also a scholar of Dr. DUN'S, and equally conspicuous for successful attention to study.
In the course of his attendance at the Grammar School, he one day ventured out with his companions upon a rather dangerous excursion. It had been their practice for some time, on leaving school in the forenoon, one winter, to proceed to the place on the side of the river Dee where Dee Village now stands, and, selecting pieces of ice, to float down upon these in the smooth water along the bank, directing them with branches of trees. Having chosen a piece of ice for this purpose, he pushed off incautiously, and had almost reached the current of the river, where he would have been soon overwhelmed, when one of his companions observing his danger, made an effort to reach him, got him upon his own shoal, and landed him in safety.
In the beginning of November, 1776, he entered as a student at Marischal College, where, at the competition for bursaries, he gained one of the highest. His diligence and progress throughout the advancing courses of study were such as to
commend him to the approbation of his successive teachers. He was distinguished in the Greek class as one of Professor KENNEDY's favourites. He was also taken notice of by Dr. SKENE when in his class, who recommended him after he left College to Lord. FORBES, as preceptor for two of his sons, and in his family he remained for some time.
Soon after he left this situation he went to Borrowstownness, where he taught a private school for about nine years, much to the satisfaction of the parents who employed him, and greatly regretted when he left them. So much were his scholars attached to him, that after he was settled in Aberdeen some of them came to see him, to testify their respect for him; and even to the present day a pleasing remembrance of him exists in that neighbourhood. The branches that he taught were those in which he had been instructed in his father's school, where he had also officiated as assistant to his father; and having acquired the knowledge of them under so good a teacher, he was the better qualified to teach them with benefit to others.
While he was assiduous in communicating instruction on these particular branches of know
ledge, he was also at pains in directing the attention of his scholars to the great importance of religion, and in making them well acquainted with the leading features of Christianity. He had himself enjoyed from infancy the blessing of domestic religious instruction by his parents; and the good impressions that had been thus made on his heart were increased, by the advantages for religious improvement which he possessed at Borrowstownness. While he remained there he had the happiness of lodging successively in two pious and excellent families, in which he had an opportunity of joining in the usual domestic worship, and of occasionally conducting it himself. And thus the habit of family religion was strengthened in his mind, for which he was exemplary through life.
Before leaving Aberdeen, Mr. Ross had enrolled himself at the Divinity Hall as a student of Theology, but without any decided purpose of prosecuting the study as a profession. Indeed at one time he had formed the design of travelling to visit foreign places: a design which seems to have arisen from the occasional conversations which he had with the sailors whom his father and he had been in the way of instructing in the principles of navigation. But, in the course of his residence at Borrows
townness, the purpose of engaging seriously and deliberately in the study of Divinity, and of pur suing it as the business of his life, was gradually matured in his mind, and at length carried into effect. With this view he returned to Aberdeen in the year 1791, and resumed his attendance at the Divinity Hall. The discourses which he delivered there were taken notice of with commendation by the late Dr. CAMPBELL; who remarked, in particular, that a vein of piety pervaded them with which he was much pleased. Dr. CAMPBELL allowed the students to comment on one another's discourses; and Mr. Ross distinguished himself by the frequency and justness of his remarks on these occasions.
Having completed his Theological studies at the Hall, and undergone the usual examinations, he was licensed to preach the Gospel by the Presbytery of Aberdeen, on the thirtieth of April, 1794. He preached his first sermon in the East Church, Aberdeen, from these words, Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace, Such was the impression in his favour throughout