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sessions against the doctrine of justification by faith in imputed righteousness: and he acknowledges, in a note on his Descant upen Creation, that Mr. Jenks excellent treatise, entitled, Submission to the righteousness of God, was the instrument of removing his prejudices, and reducing him to a better judgment. He entered into holy orders, as soon as his
and the canons of the church would allow. And though the precise time of his taking orders cannot be ascertained, yet it appears to have been in the end of the year 1736, or beginning of 1737; at least it appears from one of his letters, that he had a curacy in the beginning of the latter year. Whilst he was at Oxford, he had a small exhibition of about £20 a-year; and, when he was ordained, his father pressed him very much to take some curacy in or near Oxford, and to hold his exhibition : but this he would by no means comply with, thinking it an injustice to detain it, after he was in orders, from another person, who might more want the benefit of that provision. On his leaving Oxford in 1736, he went to his father, and became his curate. He afterwards went to London; and, after staying some time there, became curate at Dummer. Here he continued about twelve months; and, upon his leaving that curacy, in the year 1738, he was invited and went to Stoke-Abbey, in Devonshire, the seat of his worthy friend, the late Paul Orchard, Esq. Here he lived upwards of two years, in great esteem and friendship with that worthy gentleman, who valued him very much for his piety. A remarkable proof of the great regard he had for him on that account, he shewed on the following occasion. When his eldest son, the present Paul Orchard, Esq. to whom the second volume of the Meditations is dedicated, was to be baptized, he insisted that Mr. Hervey should be one of his god-fathers, that he might have an eye to his Christian education; and this he did in preference to many gentlemen of large estates in the neighbourhood, who would have thought themselves honored to have stood sponsors
for Mr. Orchard's son.
In the year 1740, he undertook the curacy of Biddeford, Refourteen miles from Stoke-Abbey, where he lived greatly be
loved by his people. His congregation was large, though his stipend was small: his friends, therefore, made a collection yearly for him, which raised his income to £60 per an
says, in his
num, so highly did they esteem him. At Biddeford, he was curate about two years and a half, and remained so until there was a new rector of that church, who dismissed Mr. Hervey from his curacy, against the united requests of his parishioners, who offered to maintain him at their own expense. During the time that Mr. Hervey lived in the West, viz. from 1738, till the latter end of 1743, his family heard
very little of him, by reason of the great distance he was from them; though he laboured diligently in the service of his master. Here it was that he planned his Meditations, and probably wrote some part of them. He first volume of Meditations, that it was on a ride to Kilkhampton, in Cornwall, that he went into the church, where he lays the scene of his Meditations among the Tombs.
In August 1743, or thereabouts, he returned from Biddeford to Weston-Favel , leaving behind him many
disconsolate friends, and officiated as curate to his father. Here he paid the greatest attention to his duty, and faithfully preached the gospel of Christ.
The first of his writings, which raised the attention of the public, was his Meditations among the Tombs, Reflections on a Flower-garden, and A Descant upon Creation, published in Feb. 1745-6. Of this kind of writing, we had before an example from no less a man than the great philosopher Mr. Bovle, * in his Occasional Reflections on several Subjects, written in his younger years.
Mr. Hervey's performance was so well received by the public, that it has already passed through about twenty editions in London, besides many surreptitious ones in Scotland and Ireland. A second volume, containing Contemplations on the Night and Starry Heavens, and A WinterPiece, was published in December 1747.4
* See Boyle's Life, by the late Dr. Birch.
† There are few books in the English language, which, in so short a time, have ever passed through such numerous and very large editions as Mr. Hervey's Meditations, which not only please but improve us; and were wriiten with a view of famili. arizing to our minds those sublinie objects, which will be the STUDY and Delight of a glorious ETERNITY. How many have they transportingly entertained in their retirements and lonely walks ; and how often elevated them to those lofty heights, from whence they could look down on all things below
In June 1750, his health being much impaired by his great attention to duty, and his family and friends judging that the change of air might be of benefit to him, they formed a design, which they executed, of conveying him to London, under a pretence of his riding a few miles in a friend's post-chaise, who was going thither, and of which he pleasantly complains in a letter, dated June 28, 1750, to a friend, upon his arrival there.
He staid in London until April or May 1752; during which time he was visited with a severe sickness, which had well nigh put a period to his painful life. But he recovered;
his father's death in 1752, he returned to Weston, where he constantly resided till his death.
Mr. Hervey took his degree of Master of Arts, at Cambridge, in 1752, when he entered at Clare-hall; and as he was of sufficient standing at Oxford, he staid only the few days required by the statutes to perform the university-ex
It may be thought strange, that he who had refused to hold his exhibition at Oxford, along with a curacy, should, upon his father's death, accept of the two livings of WestonFavel and Collingtree, and hold them during his life. It was very far from being his choice, and it was what he had for a long time refused to do. He was determined against being a pluralist; and notwithstanding his father kept him at Oxford, with a design that he should take his degree of Master of Arts, and constantly urged him to do it, yet he could not be persuaded to yield to such a request, though he was of a sufficient standing to have taken the same, looking upon
that step as a qualification intended for his future holding both his father's livings. When his father died, he remained determined to have Weston-Favel only; and this he frequently declared to his family and friends, and refused to accept of Collingtree, or to qualify himself for the same ; insomuch
(the delights of good men's friendship excepted) with an easy indifference! A strain of the most serious piety and ardent de votion runs through them, and they tend to inculcate some of the most distinguishing doctrines of the gospel, such as the necessity of regeneration, the utter impotency of fallen man to help himself, the efficacy of the grace of God for that purpose, and the justification of a guilty sinner through faith in the blood of Christ.
that it was in danger of lapsing to the bishop. But at length, through the earnest and constant entreaties of his family, and of his friends, who, unknown to him, had sent to, and procured from Oxford, the necessary certificates of his being a Bachelor of Arts, in order to his taking his Master's degree at Cambridge, he was, after much importunity, prevailed on to comply with their requests, hoping that he might be thereby enabled to do so much the more good. And, when he waited upon Dr. Thomas, the then bishop of Peterborough, for institution to Collingtree, which was near six months after he had been inducted into Weston-Favel, he said to him, I suppose your Lordship will be surprised to see James Hervey come to desire your Lordship to permit me to be a pluralist; but I assure you, I do it to satisfy the repeated solicitations of my mother and my sister, and not to please myself.
In November 1752, he published his 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, and especially to the case of Noah denouncing a curse upon Canaan: in a letter to a Lady of Quality.*
The year following, having been called upon to preach on the 10th of May, the sermon at the visitation of the Rev. Dr. John Browne, archdeacon of Northampton, at All-Saints church in that town, he permitted it, the same year, for the benefit of a poor diseased child, to be printed, under the title of The Cross of Christ the Christian's Glory. He had preached before this another sermon at the same church, which he had been solicited to print; but could not then be prevailed upon to do it; but since his death, it has been published under the title of The Mystery of Reconciliation, &c.f
The same year he wrote a recommendatory preface to Burnham's Pious Memorials; or, the Power of Religion on the mind in sickness and in death; exemplified by the experience of many eminent persons at those important seasons.
• The Rev. Mr. Peter Whalley, vicar of St. Sepulchre's, in Northampton, has published, by way of supplement to this piece of Mr. Hervey's, a vindication of the evidences and authenticity of the gospel from the objections of late Lord Bolingbroke.
+ A defence of this sermon from the groundless objections raised against it by some inconsiderate readers, will be found among Mr. Hervey's tracts.
His Theron and Aspasio, published in January 1755, in three volumes octavo, met with the same approbation from the public as his Meditations; and the demand for this work likewise was very uncommon; it having passed through three editions in one year. *
In 1756, Mr. Hervey being informed of the design of reprinting The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification, by the Rev. Mr. Walter Marshall
, and of prefixing to it, by way of recommendation, what he had said in its favour in Theron and Aspasio, he wrote a letter, dated November 5, 1756, to his bookseller, giving his consent, and enlarging on that recommendation. This he did the more readily, as Mr. Marstiall's book might (for so he has declared) be looked upon as no improper supplement to the dialogues and letters contained in Theron and Aspasio.
His Theron and Aspasio was attacked by several writers, particularly by Mr. Robert Sandeman, a congregational preacher at Edinburgh, in a book, entitled, Letters on Theron and Aspasio; wherein the doctrine of the gospel, under the title of the popular doctrine, is most abominably misrepresented, and its tendency aspersed. The Arminians, too, objected to that work; and Mr. John Wesley in particular wrote against it. Mr. Cudworth wrote a defence of Theron and Aspasio ; and Mr. David Wilson, minister of the Scots congregation in Bow-lane, London, published a book, entitled Palemon's Creed reviewed, &c. in which he vindicates Mr. Hervey's doctrine, and exposes that of Mr. Sandeman.
* This is the most valuable book written in any language, on that grand and distinguishing doctrine of Christianity, the justification of a sinner before God by the righteousness of Christ imputed to him ; which spreads itself through the whole system of divinity; and which Luther justly calls articulus stantis vel ca." dentis ecclesiæ. In Mr. Hervey's own words, · The beauty and excellency of the scriptures----the ruin and depravity of human na. ture....its happy recovery, founded on the atonement, and effected by the Spirit of Christ-...are some of the chief points vindicated, illustrated, and applied in this work.- But the grand article, that which makes the principal figure, is the IMPUTED RIGHT: EOUsness of our divine Lord; from whence arises our justifica. tion before God, and our title to every heavenly blessing: An article, which though eminent for its importance, seems to be ·little understood, and less regarded, if not much mistaken, and almost forgotten.'