Erskine (or Erskyn), John

Erskine (or Erskyn), John a Scotch clergyman, of Dun, knight, son of John Erskyne, of Dun, was born about 1508; studied first at the University of Aberdeen, then on the Continent. Having imbibed the doctrines of the Reformation, he taught them to the son of Alexander Straton, a neighbor who paid the forfeit of his life for his opinions, at Edinburgh, in August 1534. He led many other persons to embrace the new principles, and secured for themsafety and protection. When the English invaded Montrose, in 1548, Erskine, supported by his townsmen, repulsed them with a loss of eight hundred of the invaders. He lived a retired life till John Knox appeared, in 1555, when he joined him at Edinburgh, took part with his followers in their public services, and was coadjutor with Knox till a secession took place. He was one of the eight appointed by parliament, in 1557, to witness the marriage of the queen with the dauphin of France. On his return, in 1558, he assisted informing a Church of the Reformation, became an exhorter, drew up an address to the queen-dowager against the Romanists, with whose dissimulations, in 1559, the people at Perth became so enraged that they attacked the monasteries, and cast down the images, sparing only the places of worship through the influence of Erskine and Knox. He was nominated by the lords and barons, in July 1560, the first minister at Montrose under the Reformation, sat in the first General Assembly, 1560, and was appointed superintendent of Angus and Mearns, in 1561. Of the first fifty-six General Assemblies, he attended forty-four, and was the moderator over five of them, three times in succession. He was a member of the convention at Leith in 1571;. had to summon principals, and three regents of the university, and try them for teaching popery, in 1567 and 1569, and on their refusal to accept the new faith they were deprived by the privy council. He several times offered his resignation, which was always declined, and he died March 12, 1589, having been second only to Knox in accomplishing and securing the work of the Reformation. He governed his portion of the Church with singular wisdom and authority, disallowing all innovations. He was a man of courage, zeal, learning, prudence, generosity, and liberality. He compiled and published part of the Second Book of Discipline. See Fasti Eccles. Scoticanae, 3:887.

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