Robert Robinson was born in Swaffham, Norfolk, on September 27th 1735. He was saved at seventeen, and later became a preacher, first as a Calvinist Methodist, then as an Independent, and finally as a Baptist preacher, which he remained until he lost the strength to preach shortly before his death in 1790. The following excerpt is the unique story of his conversion to faith in Christ.
“…walking out one day with several companions their attention was called to an old woman who pretended to tell fortunes. Robinson was informed among other things that he would live to a very old age and see a long line of descendants.
“And so,” said he when alone, “I am to see children, grandchildren, and great grand-children. I will then,” thought he, “during my youth, endeavor to store my mind with all kinds of knowledge. I will see, and hear, and note down everything that is rare and wonderful, that I may sit, when incapable of other employments, and entertain my descendants. Thus shall my company be rendered pleasant, and I shall be respected, rather than neglected, in old age. Let me see, what can I acquire first? Oh, here is the famous Methodist preacher, Whitefield; he is to preach here, they say to-night; I will go and hear him.”
From these strange motives, as he told the celebrated (preacher) Andrew Fuller, as he went to hear Whitefield preach. That evening his text was, “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?”
“Mr. Whitfield,” said Robinson, “described the Sadducees’ character; this did not touch me; I thought myself as good a Christian as any man in England. From this he went to that of the Pharisees. He sketched their exterior decency, but observed, that the poison of the viper rankled in their hearts. This rather shook me. At length, in the course of his sermon, he abruptly broke off, paused for a few moments; then burst into a flood of tears, lifted up his hand and eyes, and exclaimed, ‘Oh, my hearers, the wrath to come! The wrath to come!’
These words sunk into my heart like lead in the water: I wept, and when the sermon was ended retired alone. For days and weeks I could think of little else. Those awful words would follow me wherever I went: ‘The wrath to come! The wrath to come?’”
“Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Interposed his precious blood.”
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Thank you for these lovely reminders of Hymns and writers from an earlier but most Blessed time. This wonderful hymn beautifully expresses the way of Grace and the longing for continuation in the fold of Christ. Robert Robinson being born in Swaffam, Norfolk county in UK makes him an East Anglian as I am!