Halyburton, Thomas

, a pious Scotch divine, and professor of divinity in the university of St. Andrew’s, was born at Duplin in the parish of Aberdalgy, near Perth, Dec. 25, 1674. His father had been minister of that parish, from which he was ejected after the restoration, for nonconformity. He died in 1682, and as the country was still unsafe for those who professed the presbyterian religion, his mother went over to Holland with her son, then about eight years old. During their stay there, he was educated at Erasmus’s school, and made great proficiency in classical literature. On his return to Scotland in 1687, he resumed his studies, and was also sent to the university. When he had finished his philosophical course there, he entered upon the study of divinity; and being, in June 1699, licensed to preach, he was in May 1700, appointed minister of the parish of Ceres, in which he performed the part of a zealous and pious pastor; but his labours proving too many for his health, the latter became gradually impaired. In April 1710, he was appointed by patent from queen Anne, professor of divinity in the college of St. Leonard at St. Andrew’s, through the mediation of the synod of Fife. On this occasion he entered on his office an inaugural oration, in qua, post exhibitam | rationem suscepti muneris, examinatur schedula nupera, cui titulus ' Epistola Archimedis ad Regem Gelonem Albae Graecae reperta anno serae Christianas 1688, A. Pitcarnio, M. D. ut vulgo creditur, auctoreV Pitcairn’s reputation as a deist was at that time very common in Scotland, however justly he may have deserved it; and Mr. Halyburton’s attention had been much called to the subject of deism as revived in the preceding century. He did not, however, enjoy his professorship long, dying Sept. 23, 1712, aged only thirty-eight. It does not appear that he published any thing in his life-time; but soon after his death two works were published, which still preserve his memory in Scotland. 1. “The Great Concern of Salvation,1721, 8vo. 2. “Ten Sermons preached before and after the celebration of the Lord’s Supper,1722. But the work which proves his ability as a controversial writer, and the great extent of his reading, although it is less known than the preceding, is his “Natural Religion insufficient; and Revealed necessary to man’s happiness,Edinburgh, 1714, 4to. This was written in confutation of the deism of lord Herbert and Mr. Blount. In this elaborate performance he largely and distinctly shews that the light of nature is greatly defective, even with respect to the discoveries of a Deity, and the worship that is to be rendered to him with respect to the inquiry concerning man’s true happiness with respect to the rule of duty, and the motives for enforcing obedience, &c. Dr. Leland says that “whosoever carefully examines what this learned and pious author has offered on these several heads, will find many excellent things; though the narrowness of his notions in some points has prejudiced some persons against his work, and hindered them from regarding and considering it so much as it deserves.1


Life written partly by himself, 12rao. —Leland’s View of Deistical Writers