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Anthony Robinson , Esq . " Were the Supreme Being to appear before me and say—Mortal ! lo , in / my right , haud is all truth , and in my left hand the love of truth : choose between them : I should make answer—Lord ! give me the contents of thy left hand , those of thy right hand can be held by
none but thee . "—Lessing , Anthon y Robinson was born in July , 1762 , at Kirkland , near Wigton , in Cumberland . His father , John Robinson , and his direct ancestors during several centuries , had resided on their paternal inheritance , and were , in the language of the Northern counties , Statesmen . In the happy mediocrity of his birth Mr . R . took pleasure , but rather in accordance with the prophet ' s prayer than as a
modification of family pride . He received his education at the endowed grammar school of Wigton , where mathematics and the higher classics were taught . Being the youngest of three sons , he was designed by his father for trade , and his education was therefore probably limited
by that object . Of his attainments in school learning little is known . It was a peculiar feature of his mind to hold in too little estimation every thing purely ornamental . Neither the fine arts nor polite literature had any value in his eyes , except in subserviency to serious truths and important duties . His avowed indifference to classical learning must have manifested itself both as cause and
effect in the direction of his studies . He served an apprenticeship at Cockermouth , in Cumberland , but his father's death having left him in the possession of a small property and master of his own actions , on attaining his majority he availed himself of his liberty by becoming a pupil of Dr . Caleb Evans at Bristol , the head of an academy belonging to the Calvinistic Baptists . We are unable to account for Mr . R . ' s abandonment of
the Church of England , in which he was brought up , or his preference of a community so widely different from the Establishment . But we find , that having submitted to the rite of baptism , he pursued his studies for the usual period of three years ; and at the end or that period accepted , under the auspices of his respected tutor , aii invitation to supply
for six months an orthodox Baptist Church at Fairford , in Gloucestershire ; he had , however , scarcely assumed the ministerial office before his sensitive and scrupulous mind was disturbed by the discovery that he was not universally
acceptable to the congregation . On this he wrote to the chnrch , inviting his own dismissal . In answer , he was informed , in respectful and kind language , that some members found his ministry * * not adapted to their edification . " And he was released from his engagement .
He now returned to the North , and even then contemplated resuming his first pursuits as a man of business . From this he was diverted by an invitation through his friend Mr . Job David , then a General Baptist Minister at Frome , who had recommended him to the church
of that community , assembled at Worship Street , London . And it is worthy of remark , as shewing how early Mr . R . had made known to his friends that peculiar mode of thinking , which afterwards gave occasion to such notable productions from his pen , that Mr . David urged as a reason for his friend ' s remaining in the ministry the intolerance of their churches . As if a correction of this
vice was a fitter object for the labours of an ardent and vigorous mind than the support of any system of abstract metaphysical opinions . In no other way , propably , could Mr . R . have been brought to adopt the ministry as a profession . A rapid and : striking change had taken place in his opinions and feelings , when he first assumed the ministerial office at
Fairford . No sooner was the duty imposed on him of accurately defining the articles of the creed he was to promulgate , than , his faculties being sharpened by that sense of duty , he felt his inability to fathom the mysteries of orthodoxy , and he trembled before the responsibility of being an assertor dogmatically of any doctrines . He was informed that the
learned Mr . Bulkeley , who preached in Worship-Street Meeting , was " in some sort a Unitarian . " In fact , neither Mr . B . nor Mr . Noble , the last pastor of the church , had deviated further from popular opinions than Arianism . The unfixed state of the ' church on the dogma concerning the person of Christ , - was a recommendation to the young divine ,
( 288 )
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), April 2, 1827, page 288, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct1795/page/56/