Content by Samuel Ridout
Samuel Ridout biography
Childhood's days were spent in Annapolis until about the age of 12, when Samuel was sent to Tennant's School in Penna. From there in due course he returned to enter St. John's College in Annapolis, and graduated from this Institution when 18 years old. About this time his state of health gave cause for grave concern and it was arranged for him to go to sea. He entered the U. S. naval service under Capt. Carter of the "Alaska," one of the old wooden type of naval vessels. Captain Carter was a close family friend, and the young man was ranked as a midshipman with the duties of Captain's yeoman. In this capacity he served for about three years, until Mrs. Carter died in Europe while her husband's vessel was cruising in Mediterranean waters. The body was to be laid away in American soil, and Mr. Ridout was charged with its care! This brought him back to America and also terminated his period of service on the sea. He would then be about 22 years of age.
During these three years on the sea he passed through deep exercise as to his soul. This led him to seek Christian company whenever the opportunity presented itself, and so be attended meetings at various ports of call. During this period he warn bereft of his only sister and her death seemed to crystallize his soul-exercise. With this settled, he manifested a growing interest in and desire to have part in the Lord's work. For a short time he taught school in Western Maryland in the coal mining districts. Here, working among many poor and comparatively illiterate people, and often having as scholars there of his own age lacking in all those qualities which would appeal to his sensitive and intellectual nature, he had many tests and trials which doubtless helped to develop in him those characteristics which in later years endeared him to all who made his acquaintance. While thus engaged be devoted his vacation time to Colporteur work in the mountain sections of Virginia and Maryland.
It was after this that more definite plans were made for the future, and encouraged by his godly grandfather, he determined to enter Princeton Seminary, where he graduated in 1880. He filled several vacancies in Pennsylvania and received his first permanent charge in Baltimore. Here he laboured for a year or more. About this time he became acquainted with those meeting in separation from the recognized religious systems. This led to much exercise as to the path he should take. He accepted, at great personal sacrifice, the principles of truth according to which those known as "Plymouth Brethren" gather for the worship and service of God, separating from the Presbyterian Church to enter upon what he now firmly believed was the path of faith for God's people. He identified himself with the assembly then meeting in Baltimore, and took his place in a lowly humble manner, waiting upon the Lord to open the way for him as to service and ministry, never for a moment considering that the place he had previously filled was a title to any special recognition on the part of his brethren.
He took a position as a clerk in the service of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad at $80.00 a month, and also tutored in spare time.
It was not long before his presence and ministry was realized to be of great benefit to the assembly, earning for him the affection of the Lord's people and the early recognition of his marked gift from Christ, the Head of the Church.
In 1883 he married Anna Elizabeth Newark, and continued living in Baltimore until 1903.
Here three children were born, Anna Mary, Samuel who died, and Seth. In 1903 our brother removed his home to Boyertown, Pa., and continued there until 1912, when he came to reside in Plainfleld, N. J.
The record of his service among the assemblies, lasting for over forty years, is too well known to need any lengthy comment. He followed F. W. Grant in the Editorship of "Help and Food," and was associated with him in the work of the Numerical Bible. In 1900 he suggested and made possible by his work the issuing of the Sunday School Visitor, and for many years wrote the Bible Class lessons. For nearly 30 years he compiled the Treasury of Truth Almanac and Counsellor, and in the work of the Bible Truth Depot his help and counsel were ever a source of inspiration and comfort. These varied activities were carried on along with extended trips in the course of his ministry to the Lord's people and in the Gospel. In all this labour he consistently sought to set forth and maintain those principles of truth as to the Church of God, its path and testimony in the world, which led him to separate at the first. This he did quite apart from the least shadow of spiritual pride or sectarian spirit, with a heart ever open to and full of warm affection toward all the people of God, and with constant endeavour never to weaken or compromise by act or word what he firmly believed was the only right place for the children of God amid the failure and confusion which abound in these days.
Our brother's beloved wife and companion in labour departed to be with Christ, Jan. 1, 1924, while visiting at Chicago where her husband was attending a conference for the ministry of the Word. During the following years, Mr. Ridout increasingly suffered from ill health, but between these seasons he ever gave evidence of the same spiritual vigor and happy spirit that had proved so great a blessing to the Lord's people through all the years of his ministry. Early in 1927 he made an extended visit to the Pacific Coast. - a visit long anticipated, and when finally realized much enjoyed.
For the last three years lengthy trips were beyond his strength, and apart from brief visits to nearby places, he devoted his time to ministry in Plainfleld where he lived with his son Seth. About the middle of November last he suffered a severe heart attack, but spite of this kept his promise to visit Schenectady, N. Y., at Thanksgiving time. There he spent a few days in ministry. When returning his heart again gave him serious trouble, but from this too he rallied and was at the New Year Conference in Passaic.
The following weeks were spent quietly at home until he was asked to preach at the conference of the Prophetic Testimony of Baltimore on Thursday evening, February 20th. Mr. Ridout left Plainfield that afternoon to keep this ap - pointment, and then to be with the saints at the all-day meeting on the 22nd. He suffered a heart attack on the train, but received immediate care from friends who met him. They urged him to give up his appointment for that evening, but feeling somewhat better, he went to the meeting, and those privileged to attend said they never heard him better as be broke the bread of life to believers and tenderly urged sinners to accept the Saviour. During Friday, he experienced much difficulty in breathing, and he suffered until Saturday morning at 11:30 when, during sleep, he went to be with his Lord, whom be had loved and served so long. In the mercy of God this occurred at the home of Mr. Alfred Tinley, where he was accustomed to stay and had every comfort.
A good number gathered at Baltimore at 8:30 p. m. on Lord's Day, to express sorrow and sympathy, but to thank our Lord for the gift to the Church of a life so richly filled with love and service. The precious body was brought to Plainfield on Monday morning, and laid in the Meeting Room where so much of his valued ministry was given. The funeral service was arranged for the following afternoon, Tuesday, at 2 o'clock.
There was no pre-arrangement as to the order for this service, for we believed our brother himself would have wished it conducted in dependence upon the Lord for the Holy Spirit to guide in whatever was said or done.
A large company gathered, some from quite distant places, and at the hour appointed the service was opened by Bro. Marty of Passaic, who gave out hymn 26 ("Little Flock"). P. D. Loizeaux followed with prayer. Hymn 65 ("Grace and Truth") was given out, it being recalled that after one of our recent Lord's Day morning meetings when this hymn had been sung, that our beloved brother mentioned his desire to have it sung at his funeral.
Mr. Geo. McCandless then spoke, reading 1 These. 2:4 - 12; 3:8. He touchingly showed how through many long years, God had spoken to our hearts through our dear brother in a service in which God's heart had breathed out in love and faith, drawing how many to the feet of the Lord Jesus. When we think of it, how precious it is to find the love of our gracious Lord thus flowing through the heart of a man! He referred to the scriptures read as calling to mind what we had seen in our dear brother. To him we might rightly transfer those words of the apostle - "I was gentle." in him, too, we found the energy and faithfulness of a father (v. 11), but ever entwined with the tenderness and consideration of a nurse (v. 7), while readiness, not only to impart the gospel but even his own soul, marked his service (v. 8). This, as with the apostle, was because the Lord's people were dear to him, for he lived in the atmosphere of the love of Christ for his brethren. He spent his soul as well as ministered his gifts. "For now we live if ye stand fast in the Lord," may well be used to express the deep exercise of heart that ever accompanied his service to the saints. We need not expect the place left vacant by our brother's homegoing to be filled by another servant of Christ, but may our loss draw us closer to the Lord, and closer together for the little while that remains. Only in this way may the gap be filled in some measure, and along with this may the example of our departed brother lead us to be more marked by prayer and intercession.
Mr. F. C. Jennings, of Plainfield, followed, voicing the affection of many not so closely asso ciated with our brother in one way as others, but who would permit no superiority in their affection, respect and esteem, for him. Mr. Jennings referred to the Lord's words in John 11: "Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go that I may awake him out of sleep," and applied them to our brother, in a message of real comfort to all our hearts. He called attention to the first word "Our." The Lord associates others with Himself in mutual affection. What wonderful condescension! We say, "Our brother," and the Lord says, "Our friend." Some words lose their sweetness in the cold atmosphere of this world. Among men the word "friend" has a very modified degree of affection, and it is used without any idea of deep feeling. But the word used by the Lord means, "beloved" - "our dear one," "our closely affectioned one," "our beloved one" - "our friend." The sweet gentleness and affection, so marked a characteristic of our beloved brother, makes us all feel that we have lost just such a friend. "Our friend Lazarus sleepeth," and our dear friend Samuel Ridout has fallen asleep through Jesus. Then, as a closing thought,"I go that I may awaken him out of sleep." Can this fail to suggest to us that great hour of awakening when all the beloved ones who have passed on a little before shall rise at the bidding of Him who called Lazarus forth from the tomb? Perhaps as the years pass it is a little difficult to maintain that hope in brightness, yet everything points to it, and as it were, cries aloud, "He comes!" Let us cheer our hearts, and remember that precious word in another chapter, "I will come again and receive you." Let us hold fast this precious hope. Mr. Jennings asked that we might sing part of a hymn composed by Brother Ridout, - 166, in "Grace and Truth," verses 3 and 4.
Mr. V. Pennington, of Newark, read Rev. 8:11 - 12. He spoke of how our brother had been an overcomer, and how every memory of him gave a sweet savour of Christ, for he spent himself in service for the saints of God, he could not get too low at their feet to serve them. He was a true minister of Christ, never dominating the Lord's people, but rather taking the lower place, much like the apostle who said of himself, "less than the least of all saints." He delighted in the loveliness of Christ, and throughout his career sought to make Him the One for whom he lived. He ever sought to hold up Christ before the saints and the world. As we look back over his ministry, we recall how the fragrance of Christ ever accompanied it, and that as the Holy Spirit used him to unfold the beauties and perfections of our blessed Lord, the flesh withered, the world faded away into nothingness, and the saints were renewed in spirit and built up. No selfish aim actuated him, but forgetfulness of himself and his own comforts ever marked his service. Our brother has been as a pillar in the Church of God, holding up Christ, hiding behind His glory. These are memories which remain of a fragrant life lived in devotedness to Christ, and spent serving his people. What must it be for him to be with the Lord he so loved and served? Shall we not find him in eternity as a pillar in the temple of God?
Oh, that we might be encouraged to follow in his steps, seeking to have more of his patience, more of his loyalty to Christ, giving the flesh no place, living in separation from the world, our affections set upon our Lord with whom we are to be very soon.
Mr. P. D. Loizeaux In a few remarks called to mind how on one occasion Brother Ridout said to him, "Haven't you sometimes felt as if you could put out your hand and touch Him?" This served at the time to emphasize his close intimacy with the Lord. This is what we need, and what our beloved brother would press upon us. At another time, when giving a series of addresses to expose Millennial Dawnism, before one of the meetings he remarked that it seemed as if he could feel the presence of Christ and felt that the Lord had given him what he had to say. His life took its character from this close contact with the Lord. May we know more of its blessedness.
Mr. H. Yorgey, of Pottatown, Pa., spoke of knowing Brother Ridout for 45 years, and that he ever found him all that had been said of him. We would all say, "How he loved the Lord !" but he would rather have us speak of that in which he lived - the Lord's love, the love of God in the gift of His Son, those unsearchable riches of His grace and glory! He was always quiet, tender, forgiving, ever seeking to be very much like the Master Himself, ever urging us to be occupied with Christ alone.
Mr. McCandless prayed.
Mr. S. A. White then spoke from Ezek. 33:30 - 83, recalling the last time he heard Bro. Ridout speak, in an affectionate appeal, particularly to the young, not to go down into Egypt, but to live in separation from the world, and rather, as Peter enjoins, show forth the praises of Him who has called us. May the revival in our memories of that message awaken a fuller response in all our hearts.
A poem by Mr. Pentecost was read, and then a request for prayers expressing our need in view of our felt loss. J. C. Manahan, F. L. French, R. Builman, Albert Mayer, and G. W. Heffelfinger responded in earnest intercession mingled with much thanksgiving for the life and ministry of our brother as a gift to the Church from the Head in glory. This concluded the service in the Meeting Room, and then the body was taken to Hillside Cemetery to be laid beside that of his beloved wife.
At the grave, Dr. Shope of Philadelphia gave a tribute from the medical profession with a number of whom Bro. Ridout had been acquainted.
The hymn, "Asleep in Jesus, blessed sleep," was sung and Mr. Bloore prayed. In closing Mr. Dixon, of Kenilworth, N. 3, requested that we sing verses 3 and 4 of hymn 316 in the "Little Flock" Hymn Book.
WHO died for sin, Who rose to save, Tells us, o'er this the opened grave, "I died that ye might live."
And as we're gathered round the bier, We hear Him say, "Be of good cheer, Eternal life I give."
E'en as the wan autumnal sun But tells us of the Spring to come, His promise is to thee;
So gazing on the fallen leaf, in this our bitter loss and grief, Our blessed hope we see.
He, whom not having seen we love, is waiting in His home above To welcome you and me;
E'en now upon that loving breast Our brother has found perfect rest, From care and sorrow free.
We who've found refuge at the Cross Wince not, nor fret at this our loss - 'Tis his eternal gain -
We know one friend is added more To those upon the distant shore Whom we will meet again.
EXTRACTS FROM LETTERS
"I hear today that beloved Mr. Ridout has passed to his rest, and feeling something of the greatness of the loss that you have sustained along with all the dear brethren whom I know and love in U. S. A., I must send you a line of true brotherly sympathy. Three things struck me about our beloved brother: First and most, his Christ-like spirit, then his wise, well-balanced judgment, and then his grasp of the truth of God. You will miss him greatly in these things, yet they will leave among you a fragrance that will not soon pass away, and I believe will stir you up to follow his faith. It is a comfort to know that the Lord cares for His saints. It was this care that made Him raise up and lift such an one as Mr. Ridout to love and care for you all, and He can raise up and lift others. Yes, in spite of the increasing declension, He will still care for you all. You were thankful to have such a brother among you so long, but you were not dependent upon him, but upon the Lord who gave him, and the Lord remains, and upon Him and His eternal changeless love, you can cast yourselves in your sore bereavement.
What a welcome our beloved brother would get! How wonderful to think of his joy in the presence of his Saviour! And great will be his reward for all his labors and suffering for the Lord's sake! You will rejoice in these things while we wait for the fulfilment of all our hopes at our Lord's return,"
A. T. MAWSON.
"The sad news caine to us yesterday, of the taking away of our beloved brother, Mr. S. Ridout. But in our grief we also rejoice as we think of him in the presence of the ONE he loved so well, and of whom it could very truly be said, without any question, that like John the beloved, he too lay "on Jesus' breast." Now the Lord has called him out of this scene of suffering and sorrow and strife, to rest in His presence, till that day when all His own shall be called to meet Him in the air.
We feel especially for the dear sorrowing family and the dear saints in Plainfield and vicinity, to all of whom our beloved brother had so endeared himself by a life and testimony patterned closely after his blessed Lord and Master. How his familiar face and voice will be missed by those who, like yourself, knew him so well! The sweetness and strength of a character such as our dear brother sustained through good and evil report can only be possessed through con stant and conscious abiding in Christ. May the Lord graciously uphold you and all the dear saints with you in this great loss and sorrow. May you be able to look up to the ONE who has taken His honoured and faithful servant to Himself, and receive from Him that consolation and comfort needed in an hour like this, when the heart and mind are dazed, as it were, through a sudden blow, in having bad taken from among you one who, more than most, was a living type of Him who said, "Take my yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart."
We know that our blessed Lord, who "loved and gave Himself for the Church," will continue to minister from His own heart of compassion and infinite love all that His saints need in this world. If He has taken His dear servant away from us - one who loved to serve the beloved saints - He will raise up other channels, and our prayer is that this may be so. May the encouragement and cheer and warning and instruction so much needed today by old and young be vouch - safed to us. May our beloved brother's written ministry left behind, as his voice "yet speaking" to us, be much blessed to saint and sinner, and may the memory of a life so fragrant with the love of Christ, so true to His Word, so filled with devoted service to the saints, whom, next to the Lord Himself, he loved dearly - may the memory of it all come to us as a precious reminder of Christ Himself, endearing to our hearts more and more that ONE who indelibly inscribed His own character in the life here below of His dear departed servant. Words fail us in a time like this, but we can look back and remember our beloved brother as we knew him, so patient and loving and true.
And we can look forward and contemplate that bright and glad day when we shall be gathered around our blessed Lord, and meet him again with all of the redeemed."
"Thanks for your letter, but I had already learned of the home-going of our beloved brother.
Our loss is truly great. What a servant he was! Mid how like his Master! Who is there to take his place?
Our debt to him could never have been paid.
My own is great indeed. I have learned much from his ministry of the Word, but I have learned more from his example. His graciousness and patience under provocation, his humility in his attitude toward others, and his readiness to recognize and commend merit in his brethren, however small, marked him as a disciple of Christ and fitted him for leadership among his brethren. He was justly beloved and revered.
May his memory live among us, and let us be thankful that we have known him."
P. P. WAHLSTAD.
"... How sad the tidings! A great man in israel hath fallen. How he will be missed in presence and ministry. What a blank it seems.
He was a "husband" in his spirit and manner, gracious and gentle to all, one of the most Christ-like men I have ever known. How he suffered amid the recent upheaval in the meetings, who shall say? But that is past, and he rests from laborÃ¸ and his works follow. But our Lord remains and never fails His own. 'Certainly I will be with thee,' should encourage us to 'go in and possess' yet more of the goodly land our brother spied out so well."
"Thanks for sending us word concerning the home-call of our dear departed and much loved brother Ridout. It will be a great loss to the whole testimony, and many beyond our small circle will regret his departure. But it is his gain. The cruel treatment which his name received by some who should have commended him, he felt more keenly than most realized. But his work is finished, be has entered his rest. May all of us copy his patience and gentleness, walking softly and lowly until the end."
A.. B. BOOTH.
"It was with a sense of a great personal loss that I heard a week ago of the death of my old friend Samuel Ridout. We met often and intimately when, some years ago (it may have been twenty), he was living in active Christian service in Baltimore, the recognized leader of the Assembly on Mosher Street. Since then, I have only seen him at fairly long intervals; once to my great surprise he hailed me from a small motor boat far down among the Keys in Florida where i was collecting lichens and getting impressions of a remarkable new terrain.
My early memories are particularly happy, Including many privileges of attending the weekly gatherings of the brethren and enjoying his ministry at the meetings and his generosity as a teacher in my own home. To him I owe a better acquaintance with the Scriptures, and the works of F. W. Grant, J. N. Darby, Charles Stanley, C. H. Mackintosh, and others.
Mr. Ridout always impressed me, as he doubtless did all his hearers, with his love and understanding of the Bible as in very truth the Word of God; as a teacher he was lucid and winning.
It is a pleasure to think of him as having entered into the presence of that glory so long an ticipated and upon which he was wont to dwell with such persuasive earnestness."
HOWARD A. KELLY.
"It was most considerate of you to send us notice of dear Mr. Ridout's passing and funeral.
We remember him as God's choice saint, who now sees his precious Saviour face to face, and is in that dear, dear country, the mention of whose glory is unction to the breast, and medicine in sickness, and love and life and rest. We can only congratulate him and think how fltttlng it was that he finished his earthly ministry in that city where he began it many years ago.
For you, my dear brother, my heart beats in tenderest sympathy, since I know how loving a friend has been taken away from you for a brief period. It cannot be for long; our eagerly looked-for Lord may come at any time, and even if He tarry, the pilgrim journey will soon be over, and oh, what a blessed meeting! How rich Heaven will be, richer even now because of that dear saint, whose body you are laying to rest while I am writing these lines. The Lord remains, He is sufficient, and by His grace we will work while it is day, looking forward to the Blessed Hope, when "the dead in Christ shall rise first, and when we who are alive and remain, shall be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air."
"Just read the wire apprising me that our beloved S. R. has entered into the presence of the Lord. What a welcome he has had up there! But how he will be missed down here! Wish I were near enough to be at the funeral tomorrow. How I thank God I had ever known him! it seems strange to think that that sweet, patient - yet intellectual - countenance will never be seen again till Jesus comes."
H. A. IRONSIDE.
"Yours received telling us about the homegoing of our dear brother Ridout. Now he is at rest, having fought the good fight. We will miss him daily, but we thnnk God that he is at rest. We will meet again at Jesus' feet."
It is sad news, and creates an aching void in our breasts, and fills us with sadness to think that we will never hear that voice again here, and never again see that face, nor read lines from his pen. Oh, what a loss to the Church of God, and to his dear family, but what a day for him to be at home with the Lord he so longed to see and so loved to serve, and away from these scenes of conflict and strife. Oh, how we will miss him if the Lord further delays His coming!
.. .I feel we shall have to pray in a special way for the whole household of faith, and especially the testimony with which we are connected, desiring that the glorious Head of His Church will be pleased to preserve His people at this time, and that He, the great Shepherd of the sheep, will preserve and shepherd the flock which will so keenly feel this shock. I think especially of our dear young people who were so attached to our beloved brother."
JAS. N. DUNCAN (Detroit).
"We were very sorry to hear of the death of dear brother Ridout. We have lost a good friend and teacher. We are thankful he came to the coast three years ago, otherwise we never should have seen his face in the flesh. For him it is rest from his labour; with Christ, which is very much better. May God raise up others to take the place of these men who have gone home to be with the Lord in the last 3 or 4 years. Though we sorrow, we will not despair, because our Lord has pledged Himself to be with us, even unto the end of the age."
JAMES PAULSEN (San Francisco).
"Thirty - five years, and more, ago, my Heavenly Father placed me in the pathway of life of Mr. Ridout. He immediately gave me a place in his heart - and he began at once to feed me with the "Bread of Life" for I had received the Lord Jesus as my Saviour, but was remaining only a babe in Christ.
Our friendship grew deeper and deeper, and it included my whole family - wife and children - and we all loved him for what he meant to us.
I am so grateful I heard his last message here in Baltimore - which was so wonderfully inspired.
Hoping our Lord will come soon, so we can all be caught up to be together,
ROBERT L. EASLUP."
"I was greatly shocked to hear of Mr. Ridout's death. Surely I know few whose life so reflected his close walk with God. If those of us who admired him from afar, and in a way which he doubtless little realized, will miss him, I know his loss to those who were his intimates will be irre parable. For me Mr. Ridout has always occupied a place above and apart from most men."