Biography - 11 - Leornard Strong

LEONARD STRONG


Biography - 11 - Leornard StrongLEONARD STRONG was born in 1797. His father was Rector of Brampton Abbots, in Herefordshire. He entered the Navy at the age of 12 years and served as a midshipman in the French and American wars, and was many times in action.
Once when on duty in the West Indies he was all but drowned owing to his shore-going boat upsetting in a squall. This brought his sins before him, and he cried to God for mercy. Being saved, he left the Navy, went to Oxford, where he was converted, and desired to be a missionary. He was ordained in the Church of England as curate of Ross-on-Wye.
But the West Indies called him and he went out to British Guiana in 1826 as Rector of a parish there. His preaching and ministry were greatly blessed, and he devoted himself to work amongst the slaves, braving the wrath of the planters, who threatened to shoot him, and eventually got him removed.
He went to Peter’s Hall and Georgetown and began his work again. Meanwhile his diligent and independent study of the Scriptures was teaching him some practical truths as to worship and service that he found impossible to reconcile with his position in the Church of England. Years before Anthony Norris Groves and his friend, Leonard Strong read the same Bible and found the same principles. So he gave up his living, worth £800 a year, and his manse, and met simply for worship amongst his converts, many hundreds of whom followed him. The first meeting was held in a large shed used for drying coffee, about 2000 being present.
Another start was made in Georgetown, and the assemblies continue to the present day. They were “breaking bread” in Georgetown earlier than in Dublin or Plymouth.
Mr. Strong left Demerara for good in 1848 or ‘49. He settled at Torquay, where his ministry was much valued. He wrote several beautiful tracts and books, including some on prophetical subjects, notably one on “Daniel.” He was always a welcome speaker at the meetings held in London and elsewhere on Prophecy.
He was one of the first writers to the well-known missionary periodical of “brethren,” the Echoes of Service in Many Lands. The claims of perishing souls in the regions beyond ever had a warm place in his heart. A man of rich gifts and rare grace, he was greatly beloved. He died in London in 1874, aged 77, but was buried in Torquay, where he had lived and laboured so faithfully since leaving the West Indies.