HERVEY, JAMES (1714-1758), English divine, was born at Hardingstone, near Northampton, on the 26th of February 1714, and was educated at the grammar school of Northampton, and at Lincoln College, Oxford. Here he came under the influence of John Wesley and the Oxford methodists; ultimately, however, while retaining his regard for the men and his sympathy with their religious aims, he adopted a thoroughly Calvinistic creed, and resolved to remain in the Anglican Church. Having taken orders in 1737, he held several curacies, and in 1752 succeeded his father in the family livings of Weston Favell and Collingtree. He was never robust, but was a good parish priest and a zealous writer. His style is often bombastic, but he displays a rare appreciation of natural beauty, and his simple piety made him many friends. His earliest work, Meditations and Contemplations, said to have been modelled on Robert Boyle's Occasional Reflexions on various Subjects, within fourteen years passed through as many editions. Theron and Aspasio, or a series of Letters upon the most important and interesting Subjects, which appeared in 1755, and was equally well received, called forth some adverse criticism even from Calvinists, on account of tendencies which were considered to lead to antinomianism, and was strongly objected to by Wesley in his Preservative against unsettled Notions in Religion. Besides carrying into England the theological disputes to which the Marrow of Modern Divinity had given rise in Scotland, it also led to what is known as the Sandemanian controversy as to the nature of saving faith. Hervey died on the 25th of December 1758.
A " new and complete " edition of his Works, with a memoir, appeared in 1797. See also Collection of the Letters of James Hervey, to which is prefixed an account of his Life and Death, by Dr Birch (1760).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)