Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 07.djvu/117

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Bruce
Bruce
111


the right improving of the Gospel; or the substance of a sermon, &c.,’ 4to, n.d. (text, Matt. vii. 24; printed about 1700). 4. ‘Soul Confirmation; or a sermon preached in the parish of Cambusnethen in Clyds-dail,’ Jac. 1709, 4to (text, Acts xiv. 22). 5. ‘A Collection of Lectures and Sermons, preached mostly in the time of the late persecution,’ &c., Glasgow, 1779, 8vo (edited by J. H., i.e. John Howie; reprinted as ‘Sermons delivered in times of persecution in Scotland,’ Edin. 1880, 8vo, with biographical notices by the Rev. James Kerr, Greenock; contains three sermons by Bruce on Gen. xlii. 25, Ps. cxix, 133, and Mark ix. 13). 6. A manuscript collection by Daniel Mussenden, merchant of Belfast, 13704, contains a sermon on Matt. xxviii. 1-4, ‘preached in Scotland’ by 'Mr. Mihail Bruce.’

[Hew Scott’s Fasti Eccl. Scot.; Woodrow's Hist. vol. ii. and Analecta; Reid's Formal Christians, Belf. 1729, pref.; Original Letters to R. Belf. Dublin, 1828; J. S. Reid, in Orthod. Presbyterian, February 1831; Grubs Eccl. Hist. of Scotland, 1861, ii. 247; Adair's True Narrative (Killen), 1866, pp. 258 sq.; Reid's Hist. Presb. Ch. in Ireland (Killen), 1867, ii. 219 sq.; Witherow's Hist. and Lit. Mem. of Presbyterianism in Ireland, lst ser. 1879, pp. 46 sq.; Cuming-Bruce's Fam. Records of the Braces and the Cumyns, 1870, pp. 362, 384, Kerr’s biog. notice, 1880 ut sup.; Porter's Seven Bruces, in N. Whig, 6 April 1885; information from a descendant.]

A. G.

BRUCE, MICHAEL (1686–1735), Irish presbyterian minister, eldest son of James Bruce, minister of Killeleagh [q. v.], born 27 July 1686, was licensed by the Doom presbytery at Downpatrick on 27 Oct. 1708, after subscribing the Westminster Confession, and promising not to ‘follow any divisive courses all the days of my life.’ He was ordained minister of Holywood, co. Down, on 10 Oct. 1711, and acquired the reputation of a quiet, solid preacher. He was a member of the ministerial club, founded in 1705, and subsequently known as the Belfast Society. This body, of which the mainspring was John Abernethy of Antrim [q. v.], exercised a powerful influence in liberalising the presbyterian theology of Ulster. When, in 1720, the nonsubscription controversy broke out, his father, James Bruce, became a subscriber. Bruce, who broke with Calvinistic orthodoxy, became a decided nonsubscriber, and in 1723 was one of the four ministers accused by Colonel Upton at the Belfast sub-synod as ‘holding principles which opened a door to lst all heresy and error into the church.’ In 1724 he protested against the exclusion of Thomas Nevin of Downpatrick for alleged heresy. He preached what was intended as a healing sermon, on 5 Jan. 1725, before the sub-synod. That same year he was placed with the other nonsubscribers by the general synod of Ulster in a separate presbytery (Antrim), and in 1726 the Antrim presbytery, of which Bruce was clerk, was excluded from the general synod, and became a distinct ecclesiastical body. A subscribing congregation was soon formed at Holywood, under William Smith, and most of Bruce's hearers deserted him. Woodrow says he had only ten or twelve families left, yielding a stipend of scarcely 4l. To improve his position, a fortnightly evening lecture was established in First Belfast, and Bruce was appointed lecturer, at 20l. a year. His reputation as a minister was high, but he wrote so little that it is difficult to form a judgment of his merits. He is believed to have had a principal hand in the nonsubscribers’ historical statement, ‘A Narrative of the Proceedings of Seven General Synods of the Northern Presbyterians in Ireland,’ &c., Belfast, 1727, 8vo (the preface is signed by Samuel Haliday, moderator, and Michael Bruce, clerk). He died 1 Dec. 1735, and was buried at Holywood, where Haliday preached his funeral sermon (Ps. xxxvii. 37) on 7 Dec. In 1716 he married Mary Ker, and had four children. Samuel Bruce [q. v.] was his son. He published only, ‘The Duty of Christians to live together in religious communion, recommended in a sermon,’ &c., Belfast, 1725, 8vo.

[Halliday's Funeral Sermon, 1735, Appendix to Duchal's Sermon for Abernathy, 1741, pp. 36 sq.; Bible Christian, 1841, p. 111; Witherow's Hist. and Lit. Memorials of Presbyterianism in Ireland, 1st series, 1879, pp. 295 sq.; Porter’s Seven Bruces, in N. Whig, 16 April 1885]

A. G.

BRUCE, MICHAEL (1746–1767), poet, the fifth of eight children of Alexander Bruce, weaver, was born at Kinnesswood, a hamlet in the parish of Portmoak, on the eastem shore of Lochleven, Kinross-shire, on 27 March 1746. His father was an elder of the seceding church which adhered to Thomas Mair of Orwell, Kinross-shire, elected from the anti-burgher synod for holding that ‘there is a sense in which Christ died for all men.’ Bruce, who was a quick and delicate boy, was early taught to read and write, and was made useful as a ‘wee herd loon’ in tending sheep. At the village school his great companion was William Arnot, to whose memory he wrote ‘Daphnis’ in May 1765. At the age of eleven he had resolved to be a minister. When he was about sixteen his father received a bequest of 200 merks Scots (11l. 2s. 2d.), which he devoted to his son’s education. Bruce was enrolled