Nevil(Le), Thomas, Dd

Nevil(le), Thomas, D.D.

an English theologian of the Elizabethan period, noted for his strict adherence to the Calvinistic doctrines in a sharp and decisive form, was born at Canterbury, educated at the University of Cambridge, and became a fellow of Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, in 1570. Ten years after we find him proctor of the university, and in 1582 presented to the mastership of Magdalen College. In 1590 he was promoted by the queen to the deaniery of Peterborough. In 1593 he was appointed to the mastership of Trinity College, and in March, 1594, resigned the rectory of Doddington, on being presented to that of Teversham, near Cambridge. In 1595 he was concerned in the controversy which originated at Cambridge from the public declaration of William Barret, fellow of Caius College, against the doctrine of predestination and falling from grace. On these points, the general persuasion being then favorable to the system of Calvin, Barret was called before some of the heads of the Church, and compelled to retract his Arminian opinions. The dispute, however, which was referred by both parties to archbishop Whitgift, occasioned the well-known conference of the divines at Lambeth (1595), where they agreed on certain propositions, in conformity with Calvin's principles, commonly called the Lambeth Articles (q.v.). Dr. Neville and his brethren soon after had to complain of Dr. Baro(n), lady Margaret professor of divinity, for maintaining some doctrines respecting universal salvation diametrically opposite to those of the Lambeth Articles, in consequence of which he was removed from his station in the university. (For a full account of this, see the life of Peter Baro(n); Collier, Eccles. Hist. 2:647; and Strype, Annals, 4:322.) In 1597 Neville was promoted to the deanery of Canterbury. He was in this position on the accession of king James to the throne of England, and was by archbishop Whitgift, in his, own name and of all the bishops and clergy, sent into Scotland to give his majesty assurance of their unfeigned duty and loyalty, and to know what commands he had for them to observe concerning ecclesiastical causes; recommending also the Church of England to his favor and protection. The Puritans had always hoped much for the Presbyterian cause from this king, and the Anglican clergy were therefore doubly anxious as to the result of this mission,which was evidently intended to win him over to the support of the Anglican establishment. It proved that Dr. Neville was the right man for this mission. He impressed the king favorably, and was given the assurance that he (i.e. James) would uphold the government of the late queen as she had left it. This answer was quite in conformity with king James's recent action in Scotland, SEE JAMES I. He was inclined to Romanism, but fearing to offend by such an extreme departure, he halted in the Anglican camp, and from henceforth favored Episcopalianism. Neville himself was the frequent recipient of king' James's favor. Thus the king, when on a visit to Cambridge in 1615, accepted the hospitality of Dr. Neville, then at Trinity College. Dr. Neville died in 1615, shortly after king James had visited him. By his munificence to Trinity College Dr. Neville has secured to himself the gratitude and admiration of posterity. He expended more than £3000 in rebuilding that fine quadrangle which to this day retains the name of Neville's Court. He was also a contributor to the library of the college, and a benefactor to Eastbridge Hospital in his native city. See Hook, Eccles. Biog. 7:402-404; Stoughton, Eccles. Hist. 1:19; Soames, Elizabethan Religious History, pages 454, 471-473, 517; Froude, Hist. of Eng. (see Index in volume 12). (J.H.W.)

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