1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Haldane, James Alexander

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HALDANE, JAMES ALEXANDER (1768-1851), Scottish divine, the younger son of Captain James Haldane of Airthrey House, Stirlingshire, was born at Dundee on the 14th of July 1768. Educated first at Dundee and afterwards at the high school and university of Edinburgh, at the age of seventeen he joined the “Duke of Montrose” East Indiaman as a midshipman. After four voyages to India he was nominated to the command of the “Melville Castle” in the summer of 1793; but having during a long and unexpected detention of his ship begun a careful study of the Bible, and also come under the evangelical influence of David Bogue of Gosport, one of the founders of the London Missionary Society, he abruptly resolved to quit the naval profession for a religious life, and returned to Scotland before his ship had sailed. About the year 1796 he became acquainted with the celebrated evangelical divine, Charles Simeon of Cambridge, in whose society he made several tours through Scotland, endeavouring by tract-distribution and other means to awaken others to some of that interest in religious subjects which he himself so strongly felt. In May 1797 he preached his first sermon, at Gilmerton near Edinburgh, with encouraging success. In the same year he established a non-sectarian organization for tract distribution and lay preaching called the “Society for the Propagation of the Gospel at Home.” During the next few years he made repeated missionary journeys, preaching wherever he could obtain hearers, and generally in the open air. Not originally disloyal to the Church of Scotland, he was gradually driven by the hostility of the Assembly and the exigencies of his position into separation. In 1799 he was ordained as pastor of a large Independent congregation in Edinburgh. This was the first congregational church known by that name in Scotland. In 1801 a permanent building replaced the circus in which the congregation had at first met. To this church he continued to minister gratuitously for more than fifty years. In 1808 he made public avowal of his conversion to Baptist views. As advancing years compelled him to withdraw from the more exhausting labours of itineracy and open-air preaching, he sought more and more to influence the discussion of current religious and theological questions by means of the press. He died on the 8th of February 1851.

His son, Daniel Rutherford Haldane (1824-1887), by his second wife, a daughter of Professor Daniel Rutherford, was a prominent Scottish physician, who became president of the Edinburgh College of Physicians.

Among J. A. Haldane's numerous contributions to current theological discussions were: The Duty of Christian Forbearance in Regard to Points of Church Order (1811); Strictures on a Publication upon Primitive Christianity by Mr John Walker (1819); Refutation of Edward living's Heretical Doctrines respecting the Person and Atonement of Jesus Christ. His Observations on Universal Pardon, &c., was a contribution to the controversy regarding the views of Thomas Erskine of Linlathen and Campbell of Row; Man's Responsibility (1842) is a reply to Howard Hinton on the nature and extent of the Atonement. He also published: Journal of a Tour in the North; Early Instruction Commended (1801); Views of the Social Worship of the First Churches (1805); The Doctrine and Duty of Self-Examination (1806); The Doctrine of the Atonement (1845); Exposition of the Epistle to the Galatians (1848).