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in his bed, nearly cold: as the bed clothes were not at all discomposed, nor his features in the least distorted, it is probable, that he died without a struggle. The manner of his departure appears to have been that to which he had often expressed a preference. It was his desire to die “ softly,
suddenly, and alone.” Many eminent christians have expressed a similar desire, and have, by their heavenly father been taken to himself in a similar manner. It is, perhaps, best for the christian, with resignation and cheerfulness to leave it to infinite wisdom and goodness to determine by what death he shall glorify God. The death bed of the righteous not unfrequently presents a spectacle replete with instruction, more particularly to surrounding relatives. Were it not for this consideration, it is natural that sudden death should, by those who are habitually prepared, be an object of desire. Lingering sickness, dying agonies, the severe pangs of separation felt by those who have been connected by the dearest and closest ties--all these most distressing circumstances are avoided. The soul of the believer suddenly throws off mortality, and puts on immortality!
Mr. Robinson closed his mortal career, at the house of William Russell Esq. at Showell Green, near Birmingham: he was interred with every mark of respect in the dissenters' burying ground, several of the dissenting ministers of the town attending his funeral. On the following Sabbath Dr. Priestley improved the mournful event in a
funeral discourse, which he afterwards printed. Dr. Toulmin, then residing at Taunton, paid a similar tribute of respect to the memory of his friend. On the 27th. of the same month Dr. Rees of London preached two sermons to the congregation at Cambridge; the afternoon discourse turned on that delightful, that animating subject-The union of good men in the future world; from a text peculiarly calculated to impress the audience, as it was one of the last on which their deceased pastor had discoursed to them :-). Thes, ii. 19. For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing ? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming ?
To the disgrace of those ministers both of the baptist and independent denominations; with whom Mr. Robinson had long been in the habits of friendship, and who with their congregations had been often edified by him from their respective pulpits, not one was found to offer to his memory a similar token of respect! No--the task was universally shunned by the orthodox,, and left to be performed solely by the heterodox!
A glance at Mr. Robinson's character, in private and public life, with a few remarks, shall close these Memoirs.
In his FAMILY his conduct afforded a bright display of the amiable virtues. Some of Mr. Dyer's observations on this part of his character
are so beautifully expressed, that it would be injustice to omit laying them before the reader.
“ Of filial affection he was a model. It is say ing little to observe that he supported his mother
[who survived him*] to a very advanced age: “this he thought his highest honour. Nothing af“ forded him so much pleasure as to administer to “ her consolation in affliction, and to smooth the
path of her declining years. He knew how prone old people are to dwell with delight on
former transactions. Robinson met this natu"ral inclination, by frequently conversing with “ his parent on subjects that engaged her early
life; and the sight of an old friend, as it admi“ nistered to his mother's gratification, was a cor6 dial to his own bosom.
“ In the conjugal relation, he was attentive and " affectionate : and insinuations to the contrary “ have proceeded from mistakes, or were raised " by insidious and designing men: by transient “ visitors his pleasantries may, sometimes, have “ been misinterpreted into severities; but the “ ruder passions were strangers to his heart. He “ might, indeed, to some, appear to keep too far " aloof from the endearments of domestic life: “and it is true, that various pursuits might, frequently, divide his attentions, and diterary la
bours occasionally absorb his regards. But his “ breast could not be the seat of indifference;
* Mr. Robinson's mother died! Sep. 1790, aged 93 years. His widow is still living.
no man was more capable of fixing the female " heart by manly affability, and by unaffected sweetness.”
In confirmation of these observations, I beg leave to mention the affectionate manner in which I have heard him speak, when absent from home, of his aged parent, his wife and his children, and the fervour with which he always prayed for them in public; tears at times accompanying his prayers. The letters which he wrote on the illness and death of his daughter Julia, finely demonstrate his sensibility, and parental affection.*
Mr. Dyer adds" attentive to young people, “ he was fond even to weakness of children, parti“ cularly his own :" a remark which may be readily excused in a bachelor, who has none of the warm blood of a parent flowing round bis heart. If however, this parental fondness be a weakness, it is what the greatest and the best of men have been subject to: even wise and powerful monarchs have, by statesmen and ambassadors, been surprised rolling on the carpet with their children.
With respect to education, he was of opinion that young people acquire the most useful knowdedge, and retain it longer, when discovered by their own observation and sagacity, than by the common modes of instruction. The walls of several of his rooms were covered with pictures, of no
• Vol. IV. p. 251, 264-268.
great pecuniary value, but replete with principles of instruction.-" Children,” he would observe, "catch the most useful hints in their most un
guarded moments.” One of his favourite methods of instructing young people in religious knowledge was, by hearing them read a portion of sacred history, and then asking them questions, and conversing with them respecting its meaning: how much more useful such a method, than by teaching catechisms, containing dogmas, little better understood by the teacher than the learner; confirmed by pretended proofs from scripture, that is, detached scraps, too frequently forced from their proper place, and wrested from their original design.
Impartiality demands that it should be added, Mr. Robinson in his ideas of education was too romantic: he was apt to consider young people as formed of pure intellect, and to lose sight of the frailty of human nature. His system inclined to excessive indulgence, and the ill effects of it were not unobserved by his friends. The consciousness however, of his own superior powers, rendered him inattentive to hints which might have proved advantageous. A parent, whose affection is tempered by wisdom, ought constantly to bear in mind the absolute necessity of childhood and youth being subjected to a course of discipline; such a course as is laid down, and enforced by the wisest of men-Solomon; who, I should imagine, was as capable of judging on this important subject as some of our modern writers, who affect to