Elder Samuel Trott has laid off his armor, received his passport, and gone, as we fully believe, to the bosom of his God and Savior. For several months his strength has been gradually declining; so much so as to prevent him from visiting the churches, as he has been confined to his house or immediate neighborhood ever since last May. At that time we met him at the Baltimore Association, where we heard him for the last time, preach a short but very impressive sermon from John 3:3, “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” His voice was feeble, and his physical power scarcely sufficient to support his debilitated frame. He remarked that that was in all probability the last time he should ever attempt to preach to us. But the ardor of his spirit arose to an irrepressible earnestness, in solemnly impressing upon the brethren the important doctrine of his text, that whatever amount of human wisdom, literary acquirements, or human talent a man may possess, or however sound in theory, none are competent to preach the gospel of Christ, who have not seen the kingdom; and none can possibly see that kingdom who are not born of the Spirit. His last solemn admonition to the saints on this important subject fell upon our ears, and sank deep in our hearts, as our dear aged father was summing up in a few words what had been the burden of his ministry for more than sixty years. His stand point, bordering on the verge of the eternal world, with the eye of faith uplifted to the glory of the upper skies, and wings expanded for his rapturous flight from earth, only waiting to pronounce the finishing sentences of the ministry which he had received of the Lord, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. If we mistake not that was the last time he in a formal manner attempted to preach. But as long as he continued in the flesh, he ceased not, as opportunity presented and his receding strength would allow, to speak of his Redeemer’s kingdom, and to talk of his power.
We called on and spent a night with our dear brother in August last, in company of Elders Leachman and Durand, after the close of the Corresponding Meeting in Loudoun County, Va.
In our last interview, as far as strength would permit, he reaffirmed the position he had so long held, and the testimony he had so long and faithfully born to the truth of prophecy, and of what he had understood to be its import.
To us, his clear and lucid interpretation of those prophecies concerning the twelve hundred and sixty days of the papal beast, and the corresponding time of the two witnesses prophesying in sackcloth, was wonderful. And that he should have published his views nearly forty years ago, and that he lived to see that his views were correct, in the literal humiliation of the pope, and extinction of his temporal, or secular power, just twelve hundred and sixty years after the inauguration of that power in the year 606, is evidence that he was endowed with more light upon these subjects than had ordinarily been enjoyed by his contemporaries.
We have been personally acquainted with our dear departed brother about 45 years, and from our earliest acquaintance, have looked up to him as to a father, for counsel, and instruction, which he has been enabled to give. We have always found him ready to speak a seasonable word to us when occasion has required. Like David and Jonathan, we have loved each other; facing the same foes, bearing the same testimony, engaged in the same conflicts and participating in the same victories, suffering the same reproaches, encountering the same persecutions for the truth’s sake. Is it strange, now that he is taken from us, that we should exclaim, as did Elisha, when he saw Elijah taken up to heaven in the fiery chariot? “My father! My father! the chariot of Israel, and the horseman thereof.”
More than an ordinary tribute to the memory of this dear servant of God is due from us, and a very large space in our columns should be devoted to a becoming notice of his departure. No other correspondent has contributed so liberally to our columns from the first number of our first volume, until prevented from writing, first by the late war, and since the war, for debility. Indeed it is doubtful if we could have succeeded in sustaining our publication had he withheld his support; and now that his pen shall no longer write for our edification, it is meet that we should record how greatly we have been aided by him, and how sadly the announcement of his departure has fallen on us.
Elder Daniel L. Harding, who was present with our dear brother R. C. Leachman at the funeral of brother Trott, has brought the sad tidings to us, that on Tuesday, October 30, 1866, brother Trott breathed his last, being about 83 years of age.
An appropriate obituary will be prepared by brother Leachman, as we understand, which will be inserted when received.
Brother Trott leaves a widow and one daughter, and has one surviving son residing in Texas. His first wife and all his children, except the one son and one daughter, had been called away before him. With our dear bereaved sister Trott, and the surviving daughter, who were with him to the last, we most sincerely sympathize in this, their deep affliction, and may their sore bereavement be sanctified to their good, and may they, with the absent son, be divinely sustained by the strong arm of the Lord. To the churches of our order, especially those who have enjoyed the labors of the departed, we would speak words of consolation. It is the Lord, and he is able to comfort you, in this and in all your sorrows. Look up to him and pray him to send forth faithful laborers into his harvest.
To the readers of the “Signs of the Times”: we shall greatly miss that familiar signature and those deeply edifying epistles of love, which, for thirty-four years have afforded so much instruction and comfort. But our God hath raised up many other witnesses, and has assured us that he will not leave himself without witnesses. Long will you cherish the memory of our dear departed brother.
To our brethren in the ministry: a valiant soldier has laid aside his armor; a veteran has received his passport to his mansion in the skies; our hearts are saddened, because the places that knew him once shall know him no more; but he is not dead, but sleepeth. His trials and conflicts are over, and all his tears are wiped forever away. A few more days of trial, temptation and conflict remains for us to fill up, and then, like him, shall we close our weary eyes on all the vanities of earth, and go to dwell forever with the Lord.
The 1252 hymn, of our Baptist Hymn Book, seems to us so very appropriate, we are constrained to copy it, in the conclusion of this article.
In hope of life eternal given,
Behold, a pardon’d sinner dies;
A chosen blood-bought heir of heaven,
Called to his mansion in the skies.
He left the world, with all its toys,
For better, brighter worlds on high:
His faith embrac’d substantial joys,
Soaring beyond the starry sky.
From Pisgah’s top, by faith, he saw
The land where milk and honey flows;
Nor can the power of hell below,
Prevail to break his sweet repose.
He trod the shades of gloomy death,
Could set his seal that God was true;
Finish’d his course, and kept the faith,
And died with glory full in view.
Methinks I see him now at rest,
In the bright mansion love ordain’d;
His head reclined on Jesus’ breast,
No more by sin or sorrow pain’d.
Why should our eyes with sorrow flow,
Our bosoms heave the painful sigh!
When Jesus calls, the saint must go,
‘Tis his eternal gain to die.
‘Twas through the strength of Israel’s King
He proved a conqueror when he fell;
‘Tis to the praise of grace we sing,
Though of the dying saint we tell.
Fearless he enter’d death’s cold flood,
In peace of conscience clos’d his eyes;
His only trust was Jesus’ blood,
In sure and certain hope to rise.
Since the foregoing was in type, we have received the following obituary, written by brother Leachman, in which he proposes for us to prepare a biography of our deceased brother. We are very certain that such an article as would do justice to the subject would be highly appreciated by all our readers, and if no one more competent shall perform the sad duty, we will, as soon as we can command the time to examine our files and other documents, do the best we can.
November 15, 1866.
Dear Brother Beebe: Our aged and beloved brother, Samuel Trott, quietly and peacefully fell asleep in Jesus on Tuesday morning, October 30th, at his residence in Fairfax Co., Va., in the 83rd year of his age, leaving a widow, (his second wife) and only two living children, one of them in Texas.
Where ever the “Signs of the Times” has circulated, from the commencement of its publication, the name of S. Trott has been familiar to every reader; and generally at the end of some communication worth far more to every lover of truth than the subscription price of the paper. I feel that no language that I can employ can contribute aught to his worth, and I have not the materials at hand to enable me to furnish a correct biographical sketch. But as you are more familiar with his ministerial history than perhaps any one else, and have all the back volumes of the “Signs” to refer to, it is the wish of the family, in which I unite, that you should prepare and publish such an article as to you may seem proper. He has been actively engaged in the ministry for more than sixty years. It was not with him as, alas! it is with too many, a work of convenience or of secondary importance, but regarded as the great and leading business of his life. Through sunshine and storm, winter and summer, he was faithful to his appointments, and seemed to be always laden with gospel treasure. No man seemed to feel more sensibly his dependence upon God, and not seemed to be more constantly furnished unto every good word and work. To a naturally strong and logical mind he had added a liberal education, and a rich endowment of spiritual gifts rarely found combined in the same individual. I remember with virtuous pride and heartfelt pleasure that twenty-nine years ago he buried unworthy me in the baptismal grave; that two years later in connection with others, he ordained me to the work of the ministry; that we have traveled many thousand miles together, and I have heard him preach more discourses than I have any other man, and I think I can truly say that I never heard him preach that he did not say something I had never heard him say before. It was my privilege and pleasure to hear the last discourse he ever publicly preached, which was at the Baltimore Association in May last, from the words, “Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God,” and it seems to me then like a voice from the grave rebuking the foul spirit of fanaticism, and testifying that the boasted and boastful religion of the times amounted to nothing, and was no substitute for being born again.
Brother Trott was in many respects a remarkable man; with the meekness and simplicity of Moses he combined the boldness and independence of Paul.
While always ready and willing to profit by the views of the least, he was yet able to instruct the greatest among the children of God. While such was the simplicity of his character, that the child could approach him, the aged and infirm stood in awe before him. If any man in modern times deserved the appellation of father in Israel, surely he did. Never remarkable for large ingatherings in the church with which he stood connected, yet he has left a record and a testimony which can but tell upon future and unborn generations. He has cast bread upon the waters, which shall be seen after many days.
It is generally known that brother Trott has been looking for important events to transpire, in the course of the present year, in connection with the destruction of the man of sin, and it is a little remarkable that his own death should occur at the very time that he was looking so confidently for the development of some of those mysterious things brought to view in the book of Revelation. Yet it was some satisfaction that he lived to see the published report that the Pope of Rome had about lost all his temporal power. But I will not enlarge upon this and desire not to anticipate the article expected from your much more able pen, but would simply remark that he remained firm to the last, in the conviction that his views upon these important subjects were in the main correct. He might err in some unimportant details, and the changes that have been made in the measurement of time might vary the period, but of the general results, and their speedy accomplishment, he seemed to have no doubt. His last moments were marked by no special demonstration. Yet his death was just such a one as I would wish to die; with no particular disease, his body not racked with pain, his mental powers in full exercise to the last expression he was able to give, he quietly fell asleep like an infant in its mother’s arms.
A discourse was preached at his funeral, to a large and solemn assembly, from Genesis 49:33, “And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people.”
Brother D. L. Harding was providentially present, and made some appropriate remarks. We shall see his face and hear his voice no more, but there are many of the children of God that never can forget him while life and mind endure. Yours lone and sad.
R.C. Leachman. Manassas, Va.
November 3, 1866.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 6
Pages 409 - 415