May 14

John Leland was born on this day (May 14) in 1754, about 40 miles west of Boston. In time the Lord saved his soul and called him into the ministry. That ministry took him south into Virginia, where he was invaluable in guiding some of the founders of this country in the subject of liberty. But his work was primarily spiritual, not political. Throughout his life of service, God blessed with periods of revival. For example for 18 months beginning in October 1787, Brother Leland baptized about 400 new believers.

His life was filled with interesting anecdotes. For example: after a dancing school opened in his neighborhood, at the close of a morning service he announced that he too was going to open a dance studio. He said that he would fiddle the tune while the angels of God sang, if the people of his community would dance repentance on their knees.

On one occasion a man consented to allow his wife to be immersed, but then he changed his mind. On the day of the baptism, he brought a gun, threatening to shoot the preacher. Leland and the woman went ahead into the water while the husband glowered at them, but he never pulled the trigger.

At another time, a lady invited Leland to her home to preach the gospel to her friends. When her son, a captain in the militia heard about it, he blocked the doorway, demanding that the preacher leave. Leland asked if he had any authority to make that demand, and the man said he didn’t, but he was going to stop the service anyway. Leland eventually got around the man and into the house, but when he arose to preach, the captain pulled his sword and started to move forward. At that point the Mrs. Leland grabbed the attacker’s arm and the sword went into his own leg. There was blood, screaming and total disruption, drawing a large crowd to the doorway. But after the man was carried out, lanterns were lit, and Leland moved outside where he preached Christ as if nothing had happened.