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Biographia Scoticana Scots Worthies by John Howie

The Lives of Messrs. ROBERT TRAILS.

Messrs. Robert Trails, the father and son, deserve a place among the Scots Worthies, as they were brought to much trouble for their faithfulness and zeal for our reformation-principles. Old Mr. Robert Trail, one of the ministers of Edinburgh, along with Mr. James Guthrie and others, met in a private house in Edinburgh, and assisted in drawing up a humble address and supplication to the king; but before it was finished, they were apprehended by the managers of the times, and committed prisoners to the castle of Edinburgh, without a hearing; matters went so high at that time, that a simple proposal of petitioning the king for a redress of grievances was reckoned criminal. Mr. Robert Trail was brought Aug.1661. before the lords of articles, and afterwards before the parliament, where he delivered an excellent speech in his own defence, and pointed out the cruelty and injustice then exercised, and the many false accusations that were exhibited against him and his reverend brethren at that time. This excellent speech of his may be seen in Wodrow's history, vol. I. page 73. After seven months imprisonment he wrote to Mr. Thomas Wylie minister at Kirkudbright. He says, |I need not write to you how matters do here. This I must say, your imprisoned brethren are kindly dealt with by our kind Lord, for whose cause and interest we suffer; and if any of us be straitened, it is not in him, for we have large allowance from him, could we take it. We know it fares the better with us, that you and such as you, mind us at the throne. We are waiting from day to day what men will do with us; at best we are expecting banishment, but our sentence must proceed from the Lord; and whatsoever it shall be as good from him; and whithersoever he shall send us, he will be with us, and shall let us know that the earth is his, and the fulness thereof.| This was the resigned Christian temper of these worthies. He was afterwards banished, and took refuge in Holland. On the 19th of July 1677, their persecuting fury also broke out against his son Mr. Robert Trail. Being accused with holding field-conventicles, he was brought before the council, where he acknowledged, that he had kept house-conventicles. But being asked, if he had preached at field-conventicles, he referred that to proof, because the law made it criminal. He owned he had conversed with Mr. Welch when on the English border, and that he was ordained to the ministry by Presbyterian ministers at London in 1670. But refusing to clear himself by oath, he was therefore sent to the Bass; major Johnston got 1000 l. Scots for apprehending him. We have no account at what time he was released; but he was afterwards an useful minister to a congregation of dissenters in London; where he continued many years and laboured with great diligence, zeal and success. Here he published his vindication of the Protestant doctrine of justification, prompted thereto by his zeal for that distinguishing doctrine of the reformation; and his sermons on the throne of grace and the Lord's prayer, at the earnest desire of those who heard them. His sermons on Heb. x.20, 21, 22, 23, 24. intitled, A stedfast adherence to the profession of our faith, were published after his death, at the request of many of his hearers. The simplicity and evangelical strain of his works have been savoury to many, and will ever be so, while religion and scripture-doctrine are in request.


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