« EelmineJätka »
As a CHRISTIAN PHILANTHROPIST, his character shines with peculiar lustre. His mind was habitually employed in devising plans for the benefit of society, and of individuals; his life was one continued labour for the good of others: the wants, both temporal and spiritual, of the poorest, the very lowest rank of society tay near his heart : nothing appears to have afforded him greater der light than preaching in villages, barns, and cottages; on these occasions he would regale himself with the most humble fare of his poor brethren, taking care at the same time that they should lose nothing by their attentions. It was with him a maxim “ that if a child but lisped to “ give you pleasure you ought to be pleased." What a display of exalted goodness is exhibited in his conduct on his visits to the metropolis ? Amidst his numerous engagements, when his com pany was courted not only by his own peculiar friends, but by the learned of different denominations ; in the height of his popularity as a preacher, we find him attentive to the little errands of the poor. Amongst his papers were found a list of commissions to be executed on his visits to the metropolis; with several for his more wealthy friends were found the following-“Gown for
poor M. M. M's. son to be seen. H. wishes “ Mr. H. to be merciful. W. thinks his son's
wages are too small. Watts's hymns for T. H. “ Testament for Č.” No man could appeal with more confidence to the great “shepherd and bi
shop of souls," in the language of Dr. Doddridge. (Hymn 246.)
“ Hast thou a lamb in all thy flock
" I would disdain to feed ?" From the concise but awful account given us by our Saviour of the day of judgment, (Matt. xxv.) it appears, that fine abilities, great literary attainments, and splendid professions, will be deemed of no other account than as having occasioned greater responsibility in their possessors. The works that will then be produced as witnesses of the sincerity of our christian profession, are works of mercy, performed from a principle of love to God and to Christ. Verily I say unto you, in as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren ye have done it unto me !
Mr. Robinson was a man remarkable for his strict INTEGRITY, On his setting out in life, he, for the sake of a good conscience, lost the favour of a wealthy relative, and sacrificed all his worldly prospects. In his more advanced years, when his family was large, and his income slender, he had handsome offers of preferment frequently pressed on him, by certain dignitaries of the established church; and could his conscience have acquired a little of that clerical elasticity so conspicuous in her members; could he have been satisfied with the paltry plea—“The points of diffe
rence between conformists and nonconformists are only trifles about which wise and good inen
“ differ," he might have been raised to a state of easy affluence, if not of high dignity: but his grand ruling principle of action to his dying hour, appears to have been that, inculcated by one of our great moral poets:
“ What CONSCIENCE dictates to be done,
Or warns me not to do:
“ That more than heaven pursue.” Few ministers of religion have been so well acquainted with the foundation principles of GOOD GOVERNMENT, or have inculcated such just sentiments of CIVIL and RELIGIOUS LIBERTY, as Mr. Robinson. His writings on these subjects, which evidently shew he had studied in the school of those great masters, MILTON and Locke, were enforced by his own example: he was ever ready to assist in public schemes for the promotion of those grand objects : he had the principal hand in forming, and was an active member of a Society for Constitutional Information, established at Cambridge, and which with many societies of a similar nature in different parts of the kingdom, whose principles were equally loyal and patriotic, continued to flourish, till they were slandered, discouraged, and at length overthrown under the PITT administration. With all the other friends to the best interests of mankind, he was a warm admirer of the French revolution, at the period when it slone in all its glory, under the direction of the national constituent assembly. He did not live to witness those crimes by which it was afterwards obscured, the principal share of the guilt of which, rests on the heads of the coalesced sovereigns of Europe, for their most unprincipled attempt to destroy the liberties of France, and to invade, devastate, and divide the country; which attempt maddened the whole kingdom, and gave opportunity to a set of men assuming the name of republicans, but who were the enemies of all good government, to vie with the invaders of their country in criminality. Mr. Robinson was a warm admirer of the American constition, and of its illustrious head-General Washington. The pleasure he experienced in the visit of some statesmen from that land of civil and religious freedom, he expresses in one of his let: ters. His talents and worth were so well known, that very
handsome proposals were made to him to settle in the United States: but his attachment to his native country, was similar to that of our admired poet Cowper :
“ England, with all thy faults, I love thee still!" Mr. Robinson's LITERARY ATTAINMENTS, more especially if we consider the disadvantages under which he laboured in his early years, were considerable, and afford an extraordinary instance of talent and industry. He was well acquainted with the classical, and the French languages : his knowledge of the Hebrew language was comparatively superficial. Previous to his undertaking
* Vol. IV. p. 234.
the History of Baptism, he thought it necessary, for the sake of consulting different original authors, to study the Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, and Dutch languages. He had an extensive acquaintance with history in all its branches. His knowledge of theology, morals, and politics, is displayed in his various writings. The two hyinns which he composed in early life, and which have been since published in almost every collection, shew that he was not destitute of the genius and fire of poetry.* His industry was almost incredible: exclusive of his constant labours, the letters he received and wrote were numberless. With all his talents and acquirements he abhorred pedantry. Coxcombs in black he delighted to ridicule. When persons who were in no wise remarkable for their knowledge or industry, and whose whole time was employed in visiting, gossipping, and preaching two or three sermons a week, would talk of the laborious work of the ministry, and make wonderful pretences to application, he would reply with a look of gravity, and an archness so peculiar to himself:-“ God help me, and my
children, we have not so much time to study as
you gentlemen of literature !" He would at other times address such men in the most flattering terms, and when they appeared proud of his encomiums," would attack them with all the “poignancy of raillery. Indeed so much did he
* Vol. IV. p. 346.