07 October 2020
Friend of William Guthrie of Fenwick, attendant of James Guthrie of Stirling on the scaffold, son of the Greyfriars Church manse where the 1638 National Covenant was signed, Scot ordained in England, exile in Holland, prisoner on the Bass Rock, scholar, preacher, and saint — Robert Traill lived to span the ripest period of the Puritan age.
Distinguished in the classes of Edinburgh University, Trail learly felt the inner constraint to preach Christ. Too intimate an association with the younger John Welsh drew the swift displeasure of the civil arm upon him. Denounced as a ‘Pentland Rebel’ he fled in 1667 to join the bright galaxy of British divines weathering the storm of Stuart absolutism in the Low Countries. Traill’s literary output began there. Assistant to Nethenus, professor at Utrecht, he prepared Samuel Rutherford’s Examination of Arminianism for the press. Back in London in 1692 he took up his pen, as Isaac Chauncy (Owen’s successor) and the younger Thomas Goodwin were having to do, to defend the doctrine of Justification against the new Legalism. After serving Presbyterian charges in Kent and London, he died at the age of 74.