« EelmineJätka »
despise his admonitions. The example of the Great Parent of mankind in his conduct towards his rational creatures in general, and his favourite children in particular, should to earthly parents, be the constant, the careful object of imitation.
In the sociaL CIRCLE Mr. Robinson displayed all those qualities which render mutual intercourse pleasant and profitable. His memory was stored with anecdote; wit and humour were always at his command. The encomiums, the praises, the flatteries which at times were lavished on him did not appear to displease him: he could both receive and return adulation; and not even a Chesterfield could pay a more finely turned compliment. Dr. Doddridge expressed it as his opinion that, “ The love of popular applause is a meanness, “ which a philosophy far inferior to that of our “ divine master might have taught us to con
quer;"* and yet it is well known that the doctor himself, one of the greatest and best men that ever adorned the christian church, was like Mr. Robinson, subject to what in such men ought to be termed rather a foible, than a “meanness." + But the language of the satirist, it must be confessed, has some truth for its foundation:
“ Though 'tis a maxim of the schools,
Dedication to Dr. Watts, prefixed to-The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul.
+ See Dr. Kippis's Life of Dr. Doddridge.
It may however bé questioned whether in these cases, the flatterers are not chiefly to blame. The religious world has not unfrequently seen, ministers, more especially on their entrance on public life, hurt, if not spoiled, by the extravagant and foolish strains of adulation offered to them by the members of their congregations, and by their friends and acquaintance, male and female. That some apology máy be made for the extraordinary attachment discovered by the ladies, to young, reverend, and single gentlemen, I shall not presume to deny; but I leave this important matter to be settled by those whom it may more immediately concern.
Mr. Robinson, although he might not be free from vanity, was by no means a proud man: on the contrary no one appears to have had so humble an opinion of his own services as himself: the language of deep humility which discovers itself on the most solemn occasions, in his sermons, when his sincerity cannot be suspected, excites in those who consider his great attainments, not only surprise but admiration.
Mr. Robinson had a soul peculiarly formed for FRIENDSHIP: his mind possessed a large fund of quick and refined sensibility: his heart knew nothing of “ a cold medium,” but glowed with zeal for the welfare of those he loved, and with resentment when his services met with an unworthy, or an ungrateful return : yet he never appears to have indulged an unrelenting, or an unforgiving disposition. I have known instances in which, although feeling he was the injured party, he was the first to seek reconciliation. The letters which appear in the fourth volume of these works display his talents at epistolary writing, and are a transcript of his soul.* The following letter which was not put into my hands till the volume was printed off, will be read with delight by every one who has a heart formed for that refined state of friendship, which will be enjoyed in eternity, by the good and the virtuous of all ages and nations.
Chesterton, April 7, 1786. Surprised !--No, I neither am nor ever shall “ be at my friend W-, for appearing even bet“ ter than we had any right to expect. Goodness " of heart I think belongs to the very name:
Forget! no, no; bad as my memory is, I shall never lose a recollection of your country and your family. But why will you irritate my pain
by pressing me to go where my affection would “ first fly, but where my present circumstances
* I have selected some of his letters written on his tour to Scotland, the major part of which were dictated to his amanuensis, his son Robert. Concerning others, I observe with Mr. Dyer;~ " Had we been writing for the amusement of Dr. " Johnson, we should have transcribed Robinson's letters “ from Edinburgh ;" in which certain delicate manners and customs of the old town are related with much humour. The city has since been considerably improved.
Mr. R. during this tour threw off the clerical exterior, and travelled in light coloured clothes, &c.
" will not allow me to indulge my wishes. To “what purpose should I write you a bead roll, a
catalogue of cases to be prayed for! The truth “is I happen to be so engaged at present that I “cannot stir: but if ever I can get an opportu
nity I shall, without ceremony, embrace it with " the utmost pleasure. Not that I think (pardon "me) as you do, that I should do any more good .“ than other folks. This is your complaisance.''
-I feel myself happy that the Village “ Discourses meet with your approbation. They
certainly were never intended for such men as you, who are too well instructed to need them.
They were meant as a sort of poor man's " broom to sweep his almshouse. . I wish I could ".persuade all the poor hereabouts to try to use " them. I have been forced to let go my hold, “ and let them go into the world.
• What I admire (and you shall forgive me for writing an effusion of my heart) what I admire "in you is your generous love to your fellow
creatures. This noble disposition is the founda“ tion of all virtue, the broad bottom on which a
man may erect a fabric of good works, the most
stately and magnificent in the world. This is the “ second excellence. There is but one above it, “ that is love of God. Shall we be in any dan
ger of error by saying-He that loveth his brother, whom he hath seen, with all his poverty,
“infirmity, and disgraces about him, must love
narrow circle: the manor itself, the county, the
kingdom, the world is too little for the love of “our species. This love rolls back through all
past ages, esteems Noah and Abraham, and all primitive characters: this pushes forward, pe
netrates into future times, and wishes all the “ world may grow nothing but saints: this takes " the wings of fancy, quits this globe, calls on the
planets near, and then stretches on to those afar “ off, and hopes every one is a temple where in
telligent beings chant the creator's glory. Af
ter all, his excellencies are above all blessing “and praise. This love is as humble as it is as
piring, and thinks itself honoured when it can
pry out some forlorn, neglected soul, lost to “ the world in some dark hole of distress. On the
sight of such objects, love to man exclaims, who “ is afflicted and I burn not? If you do not feel “something like this, you have lost the family “likeness, and are nothing of a W- but the " shadow and the name. My wife joins in wish“ing every benediction to
“ R. ROBINSON."