Forbes, Patrick

, an eminent Scotsman, was born in 1564, when the affairs of the church of Scotland were in great confusion. He was distinguished by his family, an well as by his uncommon merit, being himself lord of | Corse, and baron of O’Neil, in the shire of Aberdeen. He was liberally educated both at Aberdeen and St. Andrew’s; and having a plentiful estate, a noble alliance, and great credit in his country, he contributed much towards restoring order, by encouraging pious and peaceable ministers, and by instructing the people in set conferences as well as occasional discourses; especially the papists, who would hear nothing from the pulpit. In this laudable manner he acted as a layman; and his abilities became so conspicuous, that he was often solicited to enter into the ministry by eminent persons both in church and state. He at length submitted to their judgment, and was ordained a presbyter at the age of 28. He was admitted minister of Keith, where he continued with the highest applause till 1618; and then, at the earnest desire of the clergy and laity of the diocese of Aberdeen, as well as at the express command of the king, was promoted to the bishopric of Aberdeen, which he had held about seventeen years. “It was,” says Burnet, “with great difficulty, that king James made him accept that dignity; and for several months he refused it, having proposed to himself to live in a less conspicuous state. It was soon seen, how much, he deserved to be a bishop; and that his refusal was not counterfeit, but the real effect of his humility. In all his behaviour he has displayed the character of a truly apostolic man. He visited his diocese without pomp and noise, attended only by one servant, that he might more easily be informed of what belonged to his care, &c.

This excellent man died in 1635, aged seventy-one, after having two days before sent for all the clergy in Aberdeen to receive the sacrament with him. His “Commentary upon the Revelations,” was printed at London in 1613. He was a great promoter and guardian of learning as well as of religion. “He took so much care of the two colleges he had in his diocese, that,” as Burnet says, “they soon distinguished themselves, and became famous all over Scotland.” As he was chancellor of the university of Aberdeen, he improved that seat of learning, by repairing the fabric, augmenting the library, reviving the professions of divinity, canon-law, and physic, and procuring another professorship in divinity to be added. 1

1 Biog. Brit. Gen. Dict. Life by Garden, prefixed to his son’s works,-Burnet’s Lite of Bedell, preface, p. 13, 18,