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vacancies as it -presents , only with ridicule , that they are not merely con * sistent with sincere piety , but that they may be the errors of a mind gifted with natural powers far beyond the common lot . While he was preaching among the Methodists * he had an opportunity of giving proof of his Christian integrity . A rich relation who had promised to provide liberally for him , and had bequeathed him a considerable sum in his will , threatened to withdraw his favour altogether , unless he quitted the
Dissenters . The threat was unavailing ; Robinson persevered in what he believed his duty , and suffered the forfeit . Soon after he became a Baptist ; and in the year 1759 , when he was twenty-three years of age , began to preach to a small congregation of Baptists at Cambridge , with which he remained connected during the rest of his life . While yet among the Methodists , though almost without means of support , he had married . His wife ' s maiden name was Ellen Payne .
After preaching to his congregation for two years , he was regularly settled as their pastor in 1761 . He had then , as he himself informs us , no prospect of assistance from his family . His wife's fortune , originally a hundred pounds , was partly gone . He had never inquired what his congregation would allow him , nor had any body proposed any thing . Their numbers , it is said , were only thirty-four , and most of them were poor villagers . They had been quarrelling together about the question of free
communion ; and the libertinism of many of the former members had given a bad character to the whole society . They paid their future pastor for the first year that he was with them , three pounds twelve shillings and five pence . " We lived , " he says , " in bare walls , and they fit to tumble about our ears , " His salary , however , gradually increased , till , in 1770 , with nine young children , a wife , and an aged mother to support , he received ninety pounds , a sum which at that time was far from being equal in value to forty pounds when the Deserted Village was flourishing .
But " the love of his people , " he says , " was worth a million . " For them and for his family he laboured without respite . He was constant in his attentions to them , particularly to the poor and to children . Of the latter he used to say , " that if a child but lisped to give you pleasure , you ought to be pleased . " He preached extempore twice , and occasionally three times , on the Sabbath ; and delivered several lectures during the week
among his scattered congregation , preaching sometimes m barns , and sometimes in the open air . He took the hours before they had commenced , or after they had ended the labours of the day , —the evening , or the early morning , and intermitted his lectures in hay and harvest times . But these were not his only labours . The sum which he received from his people being so inadequate to his support , he was obliged to provide necessaries and comforts for his family by other means . He accordingly engaged in agriculture , first renting some land , then purchasing it , and afterwards
making additional purchases , till he became a busy , successful , thrifty farmer . There is a long letter written in gay spirits , in which he describes , evidently with a little exaggeration , the multiplicity of labours and duties that came upon him in one day , in the latter part of May , 1784 . He thus relates his occupations before bjteakfast : " Rose at three o'clock—crawled into the library—and met one who said , < Yet a little while is the light with
you : walk while ye have the light—the night cometh when no man can work—my Father worketh hitherto , and I work . '—Rang the great bell , and roused the . girls to milking—went up to the farm , roused the horsekeeper—fed tUe horses while he was getting up—called the boy to suckle
MemVir of Rdberl Rvbmsdrt * 515
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Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Aug. 2, 1828, page 515, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2563/page/3/