Brethren Archive

William Trotter

Born: 1818
Died: 5th November 1865

Intro, Biographical Information, Notes etc:

Chief Men Among the Brethren Biography

WILLIAM TROTTER was born in 1818 and died in 1865, at the early age of 47, having done the work of three lives it is said. He was converted at twelve years of age and found peace through the ministry of William Dawson, the Methodist preacher famous in the North as "Billy Dawson." At 14 he began to preach, and at 19 was an ordained minister of the Methodist New Connexion, and was much used of God in a revival at Halifax. He was also a minister at York, where his work was greatly owned of God in the conversion of sinners, and many souls were saved. It was while being so signally used that the Conference, or some such body, conceived the idea that it would be a very good thing to transfer him to London, to a chapel which had gone down in popularity and whose members were dwindling, with the result that his mouth was virtually closed in his ministry, and he shortly afterwards resigned.

He saw what a terrible thing it was for a man, or number of men to come between his work and God, and the thoroughly unscripturalness of it, and henceforth associated with brethren, where his ministry was much owned of God. He was a very kind, loving, and affectionate man, and W. B. Neatby, in his "History of the Brethren, " speaks of him as being "more highly spoken of by every one who knew him than almost any other Plymouth Brother, " and his untimely death, while he was yet under 50, was felt to be a heavy loss, of the kind that Christians can least afford.

He wrote with great vigour at the time of the sad troubles in 1848 about Plymouth and Bethesda, but is best remembered by his excellent works, "Eight Lectures on Prophecy " and "Plain Papers on Prophetic Subjects. " He also edited for a few years a little paper, The Christian Brethren's Journal and Investigator, giving an account of the activities of the "little companies of earnest men who began to meet in the early part of the nineteenth century in various parts of the country, unknown to each other, and under no human leadership, . . . the inception of this movement arising from a new illumination of the Personality of Jesus Christ, and of the essential unity of all who believe in Him, under whatever name they were differentiated" ("Undertones of the Nineteenth Century").

Rodger said ...
I have been looking at Trotter's letter on the "Present State of Controversies on Apocalyptic Interpretation," in the which he makes reference to a friend who has recently written "Outlines of Typical Teaching" in the "London Monthly Review." Further investigation has turned up that this is the "The London Review, and Record of the London Prophetical Society," as mentioned along with the "Outlines.." in The Christian Witness for 1857, page 91.
Can anyone identify Mr. Trotter's friend (is it CHM, also mentioned in the letter?), and the said "Outlines"; and does anyone have that document available to share?
Thursday, Jul 6, 2017 : 05:38
Tom said ...
Not sure, but I see "The London Review, and Record of the London Prophetical Society," is available in the British Library so I could go and look at this sometime if it contains interesting material. Of course the article may be attributed there.
Friday, Jul 7, 2017 : 13:05
Martin Arhelger said ...
Hi Tom and others,
in the magazine "Things New and Old" 1872 the editor wrote on page 215: "If you can lay your hand on a little book entitled "Peace in Believing," by our late beloved and valued friend William Trotter, we feel sure it will help you as it has helped many." The book by Trotter was also advertised in several catalogues by Morrish and Horner in the 1870th.
But I was never able to get this book by Trotter. It is not on Neither does the library in Manchester has an edition, as it seems to me.
A German translation was in the German magazine "Botschafter des Heils in Christo" in 1867 ("Friede durch Glauben"). I have also reprint of the German version (7th edition, 1913) which says that "W. Trotter" was the author. It consists of several letters to a person which was not clear as to her salvation.
Now I think I found the English version in a reprint in the American magazine "The Sower" 4 (1894) which I got from Tom on loan. But perhaps Trotters letters are shortened or altered in "The Sower".
Does anybody have the original book by W. Trotter?
I add the ocr-read first letter in a second note.

Martin Arhelger
Sunday, Aug 20, 2017 : 10:47
Martin Arhelger said ...
Now here the first letter (of 10) from "The Sower" 4, page 12 etc.


My dear friend:
In thinking over our conversation of yesterday, I have been struck by certain expressions of yours which reveal more clearly than I had at first seen, the nature of the difficulty which troubles you. You said that "You cannot have peace, unless God speaks peace to your soul" that "Without Him you cannot believe in Christ," and you asked me, "If God was angry with you, since He did not speak peace to your soul. "Will you give me your attention while I seek to put before you some thoughts in connection with these subjects.
It is quite true that God only can speak peace to the conscience. It is also true that our hearts are so little given to believe the witness of God, that it is only by His power and His grace that we all, such as we are, can be led to believe or made capable of believing. But do not by this imagine that God will speak to you by an audible voice, or by some new and special revelation other than that which you have already in His word. Do not suppose that a new revelation or an immediate impression upon your mind is necessary to make you capable of believing, or that this is the way God should use to put you in a state to come to Christ. God has already spoken, and very explicitly in His word, and "Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God. "Fix then your attention upon what God has said in His word, and while meditating thereon, trust Him fully to enable you to comprehend and receive it.
In the tenth of Acts—verse 36, God is spoken of as, "Preaching peace by Jesus Christ." Is that not to "speak peace" by His word? And since He preaches (proclaims openly) can any doubt that He is speaking it? But what is understood by peace? I am not sure that we are of one mind as to that. When you say that you have not peace, that God has not yet spoken peace to you, you mean the sentiment of peace in yourself—the inward assurance of having been pardoned and reconciled to God, and at peace with Him. Now, however desirable and important this sentiment may be, it is only the effect of peace with God by our Saviour Jesus Christ, and not that peace itself, and it is important that you should understand what God has declared concerning it. May the Lord give me the ability to present it clearly before your soul, and that thus the effect which you so ardently desire may be produced, that is to say the inward sentiment of peace, and of reconciliation to God.
You and I have both sinned against God. By nature we are sinners, and during many years we have lived a life of sin and rebellion against God. You can accept that now although a little while ago you could not have done so. Perhaps you have always acknowledged that it was true; but now you know and feel that it is indeed the truth. Well then, God had sufficient cause to be angry with us on account of our sins; and, indeed He is angry against sin, and hates it with a perfect hatred. But while justly angry against our sins, He loved us and regarded us with infinite compassion. His heart was moved with pity for us, and He did not wish that we should suffer the just consequences of our sin against Him But how could these consequences be averted? How could He accept us or receive us into His favour, whilst we were in our sins? and what could we do, you or me, to deliver ourselves from sin, or to turn aside the righteous anger of God? Nothing, certainly. Everything we do is defiled by sin, and could only increase the evil. You have understood this since you have seriously begun to seek the Lord. When you read His word, your thoughts wander, and it is the same when you try to pray, and you told one yesterday how difficult you find it to put your mind upon what God says in His word.
It is evident that we can do nothing worthy to be presented to God, and even if we were able to do good for the future, that could never compensate for past sins. If we only regard ourselves, we are hopelessly lost, but God loved us and desired to see us reconciled to Himself, become the objects of His favour, and made happy under His kindness and care. And although He could not leave our sins unpunished, and we were unable to do anything to deliver ourselves from the burden of them, He has sent His only-begotten Son to be the propitiation for our sins. That having been accomplished, God is free now, if I may express myself thus, to satisfy the love of His heart in receiving us to His bosom. What God sought was to have a righteous and holy motive for pardoning us, for saving us, and for receiving us to heaven in spite of our sins, and He has found it in the death of Jesus, in the shedding of His blood for sin. It is thus that Jesus "has made peace by the blood of His cross." Tt is nothing that can yet be done, it in already done, and God tells us so in His holy word. "As God is true," the Lord Jesus Christ has" made peace through the blood of His cross."(Col. i. 20); and it is thus that God announces the good news of peace by Jesus Christ. Christ also announces it, see (Eph. ii. 17):"And came and preached peace to you winch were afar off, and to them that were nigh."
You have been all your life as to appearances much nearer than many others. Brought up by pious parents, accustomed to read the bible, to hear the gospel, to associate with Christians, you have been near, outwardly, while many people decidedly wicked, have been outwardly afar off. But you have now become conscious that whatever may have been the outward nearness in which you have lived, that inwardly and really you have been far from God. It is then to you that Christ announces peace, peace with God, which He has made by the shedding of His precious blood— God says, that He is satisfied with the blood of Christ, that the blood justifies Him in receiving us, you and me, into His favour. Read, (Rom. iii, 21-26). Why then should it be more difficult to satisfy us than God Himself? That which justifies God in justifying us, may well satisfy our hearts and put our consciences at rest before God. T know that the soul has need of a solid basis on which to stand, but what is there more solid than the word of God? "As God is true" He hates sin, and must punish it. "As God is true," in place of leaving us to perish for ever in our sins, He has delivered Christ to death upon the cross, in order to have us for His friends, for His children, to dwell forever with Him. "As God is true," He is satisfied with what Christ has done and suffered on our account, and He makes you know it, in order that you also may be satisfied, that you may cast yourself into the arms of His mercy and that you may have eternal life. Go then to Him in all confidence, and tell Him that you can no longer put aside His word or doubt His love. However great a sinner, however worthy of hell you may be, it is God who has told you that He is satisfied with the work of Jesus—with the blood of Jesus—with the sacrifice of Jesus ; thus then you cannot but be satisfied with the blessed means of reconciliation between Him and you. In place of doubting, fearing, or reasoning longer, consider that God is satisfied with what Christ has suffered upon the cross, then go to God and confess to Him that it is sufficient! "Lord! it is enough! I am a sinner, without doubt, but Christ has died!" And hold to that dear friend; although you may not feel an immediate change, remain upon that ground. May your soul rest before God wholly on this foundation. He will never tell you that you are wrong in believing His own word and the efficacy of the precious blood of Christ. "By Him, all who believe are justified from all things"; and to rest thus upon Jesus—to be thus satisfied with Jesus—is to believe.
Your sincere friend ...
Sunday, Aug 20, 2017 : 10:49
Martin Arhelger said ...
Would like to add:
1) Trotter's booklet is also available in French:
A Scan of the French edition (year: 1858) is here:

2) It seems that Manchester HAS the English version - but is not aware of Trotter's authorship, see
and look for "Peace in Believing"
Martin Arhelger
Friday, Aug 25, 2017 : 14:32
Tom said ...
Thanks Martin .. amazing what might be found hidden away inside an obscure magazine. Would love to find more of The Sower but it's hard even to search for it with a common title like that.
Wednesday, Aug 30, 2017 : 16:10

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