July 6: William Robinson, Evangelist

His Success Astonished Many
by Rev. David T. Myers

Enter an English Quaker into the celebrated Log College in the seventeen hundreds, and what comes out?  The answer is a Presbyterian evangelist.

His name was William Robinson.  We don’t know much about his early days, but coming to America, he settled in Hopewell, New Jersey as a school teacher. While doing teaching, he began to study at William Tennent’s Log College, where he was recruited to  Presbyterianism. Ordained as an evangelist by the Presbytery of New Castle, he was sent into Hanover County, Virginia.  It was on July 6, 1743 that his voice became the first Presbyterian voice to proclaim the unsearchable riches of Christ in that district.  He continued to North Carolina, where he spent the winter season that year.  Everywhere he went, he enjoyed great success with his spiritual gift of evangelism.

Returning to the eastern parts of the colonies, he arrived at the eastern shore of Maryland where, by the preaching of the Word of God, a great revival occurred under his ministry.  The Synod of New York of the Presbyterian Church desired that he come their way, but he desired to go to St. George’s, Delaware, where a previous revival had occurred under his ministry.  It was there that the Lord of providence took him home on August 1, 1746.

He left his ministerial library to Samuel Davies, urging that this latter preacher take up the work in Virginia.  He did, and became known as the Apostle of Virginia.  But it was William Robinson, who prepared the way with his ringing declarations of the gospel to Virginians.  No wonder Samuel Davies said “That favored man, Mr. Robinson, whose success, whenever I reflect upon it, astonishes me.”

Words to Live By: 
God always prepares the way for a great work of grace.  We may not know who the person was all the time, but God knows, and will bring great blessings upon both he who prepares and they who follow their ministry.  Indeed, some are called to simply prepare the way. Never think that you are unimportant in the great work of the gospel.  God sovereignly uses whom He will to do His work. Think of who prepared you for any work of grace in your heart, and thank the Lord for them now. Indeed, if you can, thank them in person.


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