Brethren Archive

Memorials of Mrs. A. W. P. Strong.

by Ann White Pearson Strong

SADLY, we record the removal from the earthly sphere of service of another "sweet singer in Israel"—Mrs. A. W. P. Strong, over whose initials many beautiful poems have appeared in our pages and in other magazines during a period of over twenty years.
Born on 26th December 1848, in the parish of Dundonald, Ayrshire, she was converted, at about twelve years of age, at Balbeggie, being brought under the influence of the great spiritual "Revival" of i860.  On 5th March, 1864, she records: "I was baptised on this day—'buried with Him in baptism'—at Blythswood Hall, Glasgow."  And next day: "I this day for the first time, joined the saints in the 'breaking of bread' "—in the same hall.  She habitually devoted a good portion of time to prayerful reading of and meditation upon the Word of God, her mind thereby becoming embued with its precious truths, and her heart increasingly enraptured with Him who is revealed therein, with the result that her character acquired a divine impress, and her poetical writings were enriched by those "treasures of wisdom and knowledge" thus drawn upon. Workington, in Cumberland, where she resided for 37 years, was the scene of most of her life-labours for Christ, and where "much fruit" remains, her godly life and testimony being enshrined in the hearts of very many in undying memories.  She excelled as a hostess, it being the joy of herself and her husband to entertain the Lord's servants, visiting the assembly at Workington, and where were dispensed to and exchanged with them in goodly measure the treasures—"things new and old"—of those instructed in the mysteries of the Kingdom.
As a poetess, her conceptions were always deeply spiritual; her compositions being much valued and proving helpful to many.  Not the least of these are her contributions to magazines for the young, these being often used as recitations at Sunday School annual and other gatherings.  Her last composition, "Thoughts in the Valley," appeared in The Witness for July, [1903] and, penned as it was from her sick-couch, is valuable as exemplifying the power and love of Christ to sustain and comfort, yea, and even to cause to triumph, in view of approaching dissolution.
For over thirty years, our beloved sister was engaged as a Sunday School teacher, in which work she was much blessed, and also in that of visitor to the sick and poor, and in writing letters ministering spiritual help and scriptural instruction to many.
During the closing days of her pilgrimage, her marvellous memory for Scripture and hymns poured forth its treasure store, and, as bodily strength diminished and infirmities increased, many were her utterances of faith and hope undimmed, and of testimony to the faithfulness of Him in whose promised presence to the end, "even over death," she believed and rejoiced.
After an illness of many months, during which she was much sustained and cheered by the ministrations and prayers of fellow-saints, both near and far removed, she quietly "fell asleep" on the afternoon of Thursday, September 3rd, [1903] at Southampton—whither she had gone with her husband to reside about 15 months before—and where she had become endeared to many.
Her closing testimony was: "I am very low now, but I shall soon be up higher."  The precious, worn-out "tabernacle" was laid to rest in Southampton Cemetery on Monday, 7th September, amid a large company of sorrowing fellow-saints and others.  The hymns "Till He come,"  "Sleep on, beloved, sleep and take thy rest," and "Now the silent grave is keeping," were sung, and the Word ministered by brethren Hawley, Popplestone, and Captain Hehslowe, Major Thompson concluding with an affecting tribute to the memory of our departed sister.
"The Witness" 1903

Fallen Asleep:
MRS. A. W. P. STRONG, Southampton, (Formerly of Workington, Cumberland), September 3rd, 1903.  Another of the Lord's sweet singers and diligent workers has been called to rest—our beloved sister Mrs. Strong, for many years of Workington and latterly of Southampton.  Our readers have for long been familiar with her name, as the writer of some precious hymns and pieces which have appeared in our Magazines.  She was a chosen vessel in this particular service, and being a reverent and diligent student of the Sacred Word, her writings abounded in Scriptural and spiritual truths, which richly dwelt in her own heart and soul.  Her "Scripture Stories in Verse"—which appeared in The Young Watchman twenty years ago, have been memorised and repeated in home and school by young folks in all parts of the world, and are all but unequalled in their diction and full flow of direct and definite Gospel teaching.  Most of these have been issued in leaflet and booklet form, for permanent use in home and school.
Converted in her early years in the North of England, the daughter of godly parents, she gave herself diligently to the study of the Word, which all along her Christian course was her daily companion and counsellor.  For many years, she, with her devoted husband, Mr. W. E. Strong, had an open home for all the Lord's servants in Workington, where chiefly by their devoted service and under their godly care, the Lord's work grew and prospered, and the little assembly gathered in the Lord's Name increased.  In the will of God, they removed from Workington to Southampton a few years ago, not without feeling keenly the loosing of so many sacred ties, as may be gathered from one of her sayings shortly before she fell asleep.  Remarking on the text "Lo, I am with you alway," she said, "He has been with me for over 40 years of wilderness journeying.  How heartsore I was at leaving Workington.  When coming down High Street there and taking what I then felt was my last look at the dear old streets and houses, but I am going to my native home—Heaven—for that is the true home and country of the heaven-born one."
During her illness, which was a very painful one, she greatly enjoyed the power of the Blessed Hope of the Lord's Coming, finding much joy in holding fast the confidence of the Hope, firm unto the end.  "The glory shines before me," and "When we reach our peaceful dwelling" were favourite hymns, sung or repeated during her passage through the valley.  Wonderfully was she sustained by the Word, long loved and treasured in her heart, ministered freshly by the Spirit throughout the weary days and nights of pain and weakness!  Text after text flowed from her lips, expressing the deep untroubled calm of her soul within.  Quoting the words— "Because Thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of Thy wings will I rejoice.''  She remarked—"It is a joyful place."  Death had no alarms to her; she was ready, joyfully ready, remarking, "I am not afraid to cross the Jordan, for you know the Ark has gone before."  "If you have Memorial cards printed, I would like the texts on—as to the body—"My flesh shall rest in hope" (Psa. xvi. 9 ): as to the spirit—"With Christ, which is far better" (Phil. i. 23).  
On September 2nd, she said, "I am very low now, but I shall soon be up higher."  In the evening, her husband read to her Rev. xxi. 1-5, xxii. 1-5, God's own description of the homeland to which she was slowly but surely passing, and soon after, she sank into a comatose state, and at 5.45 p.m. the following day, she fell asleep.  Her remains were laid to rest by a large company of fellow-saints, in the beautiful Southampton Cemetery, to wait the resurrection morning.  Much prayerful sympathy goes forth for the bereaved husband, who deeply feels his loss.
"Thus pass they onward to the rest above,
The Father's Home—the dwelling place of love."
The following: lines, written by our departed sister some years ago, aptly express the longing of her heart in life's latest days:—
"Let me go for the day breaketh" (Gen. xxxii. 26).
Let me go for day is breaking,
See the hill-tops tinged with gold,
Morning sounds the vale is waking:
Let me go, no longer hold.
Let me go to peaceful Salem,
Where the Lamb is all the light,
Where with psalm and song they hail Him,
Serving Him both day and night.
Let me go for day is breaking—
Here I can no longer stay;
Hark! His voice the morn awaking:
"Rise, my fair one, come away."
"The Believer's Magazine" 1903

LOOSED is the silver thread,
Silent the tuneful chord;
Thy happy, ransomed spirit fled,
Now "present with the Lord,"
Swelling the anthems of the blest,
Whilst here in hope thy flesh doth rest.

Called early in thy youth
God's gracious voice to hear,
Thy soul He stored with grace and truth:
Thine was th' anointed ear.
Thy heart was lowly, gentle, kind;
Thine was the holy, Christ-like mind.

Early thou didst lay hold
Of Jesus' parting word (John xiv. 3);
That promise made thee strong and bold
To serve and own thy Lord;
And as years fleetly rolled along
Thy soul flowed forth in joyful song.

Our Elims have been sweet
Along the desert road;
We've sat together at His feet
And heard the voice of God.
Before us stretched the heavenly sheen—
Where Jesus dwells our hearts have been.

That hope no tears shall dim,
Nor gloom of death obscure;
We live in Him, we die to Him,
In life or death 'tis sure.
His saints from every Age shall rise
To meet the Saviour in the skies.

The members with the Head
Await that joyful day,
When He, the Firstborn from the dead,
Shall call His own away.
Thy sleeping dust shall then awake:
"Farewell!'' until that morn shall break,
T. R. 
“The Witness” 1903


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