Hervey, James

Hervey, James an English divine and popular writer, was born at Hardingstone, near Northampton, Feb. 26, 1714. At eighteen he was sent to Oxford, and there, becoming acquainted with John Wesley, he became seriously impressed with the importance of religion. He afterwards became a Calvinist. At twenty-two he became curate of Weston Favel, and a few years after curate of Biddeford. During that time he wrote his celebrated Meditations and Contemplations (1746, 8vo), which obtained immense circulation. It was followed by Contemplations on the Night and Starry Heavens, and A Winter Piece (1747, 8vo). In 1750, on the death of his father, he succeeded to the livings of Weston and Collingtree; and he devoted himself earnestly to his clerical duties. In 1753 he published Remarks on Lord Bolingbroke's Letters on the Study and Use of History, so far as they relate to the History of the Old Testament, etc., in a Letter to a Lady of Quality (1753, 8vo). In 1755 he published Trieron and Aspasio, or a Series of Dialogues and Letters on the most important Subjects (1755, 3 vols. 8vo), which was attacked by Robert Sandeman, of Edinburgh, on the nature of justifying faith, and other points connected with it, in a work entitled Letters on Theron and Aspasio. SEE SANDETIAN. John Wesley wrote a brief review of his Theron and Aspasio, and Hervey wrote in reply Eleven Letters to John Wesley, but before his death he directed that the MS. of this work should be destroyed. "His brother, however, judged that it would be a desirable pecuniary speculation to publish it, and placed it in the hands of Cudworth, an erratic dissenting preacher, to be finished, giving him liberty 'to put out and put in' whatever he judged expedient. Cudworth's Antinomian sentiments led him to abhor Wesley's opinions; he caricatured them relentlessly by his interpolations of Hervey's pages, and sent forth in Hervey's name the first and most reckless and odious caveat against Methodism that ever emanated from any one who had sustained friendly relations to it. It was republished in Scotland, and tended much to forestall the spread of Methodism there. Wesley felt keenly the injustice and heartlessness of this attack, but his sorrow was mitigated by the knowledge that the most of the abuse in the publication was interpolated, and that Hervey, who had delighted to call him his 'friend and father,' knew him too well to have thus struck at him from the grave. He answered the book; but time has answered it more effectually — time, the invincible guardian of the characters of great men." He died Dec. 25, 1758. Mr. Hervey s writings are viciously turgid and extravagant in style. "He was eminently pious, though not deeply learned; habitually spiritually-minded; animated with ardent love to the Savior; and his humility, meekness, submission to the will of God, and patience under his afflicting hand, exemplified the Christian character. and adorned his profession." His writings were collected and published after his death (London, 1797, 7 vols.). His correspondence was published separately (1760, 2 vols. 8vo). See Ryland, Life of Hervey; Letters of Hervey, and Life prefixed; Chalmers, General Biog. Dict.; Jones, Christian Biography; Stevens, History of Methodism, 1, 372; Wesley's Works, 6, 103, 125; Jackson Life of Charles Wesley, ch. 21: Coke and Moore, Life of Wesley, 3, 2.

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