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Meditations among the Tombs, | Contemplations on the Night,
BY THE LATE
REV. JAMES HERVEY, A. M.
To which is prefixed,
A PARTICULAR ACCOUNT OF THE LIFE, CHARACTER, AND
WRITINGS OF THE AUTHOR.
I will meditate of all thy works, and talk of thy doings.
Psalm lxxvii. 12.
PUBLISHED BY W. W. WOODWARD, NO. 52, SOUTH
W. M'Culloch, Printer.
A REGARD to eminent writings, which display genius, learning, orthodoxy, and piety, naturally excites a desire to be acquainted with the writer; and this desire is the stronger, when these writings are not only truly excellent in themselves, but are universally admired, eagerly read by good people of all denominations, and calculated to promote the best interests of mankind. Hence one is fond to know the author in private life, how he spent his time, how he sustained his character as a public teacher of religion, what influence the doctrines of grace, which he so warmly inculcated on others, had on his own heart and conversation; and finally, how he closed the last scene. Abundant satisfaction as to all those particulars will be obtained from the following
Mr. JAMES HERVEY was born on Friday the 26th of February, 1713-14, at Hardingstone, a country village, one mile from Northampton, his father being then minister of the parish of Collingtree, within two miles of Hardingstone. His first instruction was from his mother, who taught him his letters, and to read. Under her tuition he continued till he was seven years of age, when he was sent as a day-scholar, to the free grammar-school at Northampton, of which the Rev. Mr. Clarke, vicar of St. Sepulchre's in the said town, was at that time master.
At this school he remained till he was seventeen years old, and learned the Latin and Greek languages; in which his genius and memory would have enabled him to have made a much earlier progress, if it had not been prevented by his
schoolmaster, who would not suffer him, or any other of his scholars, to learn faster than his own son. Whilst Mr. Hervey was at school, though he showed a remarkable dexterity at all the innocent games usual among children, yet he had a perfect indifference for the acquisitions he made by his skill in these games, which he practised only for exercise and
In the year 1731, at the age of seventeen, he was sent by his father to the university of Oxford, and entered of Lincoln college there, under the tuition of the Rev. Mr. Hutchins, now Doctor, and rector of that college. He resided in the university seven years, and took the degree of Bachelor of Arts. The first two or three years were spent by him with some degree of indolence, or rather less application to his studies than he afterwards used. But in 1733, about his nineteenth year, becoming acquainted with some persons, who began to distinguish themselves by their serious impressions of religion, and their zeal for the promotion of it, he was engaged by their influence, in a stricter attachment both to piety and learning. He made himself master of Dr. James Keill's Anatomy, Dr. Derham's Physico-theology and Astrotheology, the Spectacle de la Nature [Nature Displayed] as translated by Mr. Humphreys; which last work he read with a peculiar satisfaction. Nor was he less delighted by the Essay on Pope's Odyssey, written by the Rev. Mr. Spence, now prebendary of Durham; to which elegant and judicious discourse Mr. Hervey often acknowledged that he owed more of his improvement in style and composition, than to any other which he had ever read.
In 1734, at the persuasion of a much valued friend, he began to learn the Hebrew language without any teacher, by the Westminster grammar itself, but soon found that grammar too concise and difficult for the instruction of a learner; and therefore then despaired of ever attaining a competent knowledge in the Hebrew, though he afterwards made himself so thorough a master of that sacred language.
appears from his letters to his sister in 1733 and 1734, that though he then shewed a pious and serious turn; yet these letters either speak a language different from free grace, for which we find he was afterwards so powerful an advocate; or at least they treat very confusedly of it. The truth is, he was then a stranger to, and had strong prepos