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consumption that is obvious and inevitable, that is no reason why the Autocrat should strike it down, and why nations that are Christian should stand by and suffer the tyrant to inflict the blow.
It is singular enough that the Turks themselves are almost universally persuaded that the hour of their doom has struck. At this moment the dead that die in the European part of the city are carried across the Bosphorus and buried on the Asiatic side, where they think they will rest in peace. They have also a tradition amongst themselves, that 1854 ends the dynasty of the Turk in Europe; and Napoleon Bonaparte in St. Helena, forty years ago, with that extraordinary sagacity with which that great man's mind was characterised, said: “In the natural course of things, in a few years Turkey must fall to Russia. The greatest part of her population are Greeks, who, you may say, are Russians. The Powers it would injure—and who could oppose it? — are England, France, Prussia, and Austria. Now, as to Austria, it will be very easy for Russia to engage her assistance by giving her Servia, and other provinces bordering upon the Austrian dominions, reaching near to Constantinople. The only hypothesis that France and England may ever be allied with sincerity will be in order to prevent this. But even this alliance will not avail. France, England, and Prussia united, cannot prevent it. Russia and Austria can at any time effect it. Once mistress of Constantinople, Russia gets all the commerce of the Mediterranean, becomes a
great naval Power, and God knows what may happen. She quarrels with you, marches off to India an army of 70,000 good soldiers, which to Russia is nothing, and 100,000 canaille, Cossacks and others, and England loses India. Above all the other powers, Russia is the most to be feared, especially by you. Her soldiers are braver than the Austrians, and she has the means of raising as many as she pleases. In bravery, the French and English soldiers are the only ones to be compared to them. All this I foresaw. I see into futurity further than others, and I wanted to establish a barrier against those barbarians by re-establishing the kingdom of Poland, and putting Poniatowski at the head of it as king: but your imbéciles of ministers would not consent. A hundred years hence I shall be praised, and Europe, especially England, will lament that I did not succeed. When they see the finest countries in Europe overrun, and a prey to those northern barbarians, they will say, “Napoleon was right.'” Now, at this moment the Greek and Armenian Christians are, many of them, being translated from darkness into light, and from the kingdom of Satan into that of God's dear Son. At present many of the Greek and Armenian Christians, as a body, are much less truthful, much more depraved, than even the worst of the Turks; but is it impossible to suppose that these degraded Christians shall be the subjects of a new and a noble resurrection ?- that the Crescent shall not wane till it disappears before the Cross, –
that the moon of Islam shall not set, till it is merged in the rising splendour of the Sun of righteousness ? and a nation Christian to its core take the place of the Mahometans, and form a stronger barrier to Russian ambition and Russian domination than a dying, exhausted, and decrepit empire? But is the Mahometan himself impervious to light? The predicted decay of Mahometanism as a power may be the prophecy of her resurrection as a Christian dynasty. Everybody knows that Turkey of 1854 is not the same as Turkey in the days of Napoleon Bonaparte. The paddle-wheel now disturbs the silence of the Dardanelles; the scream of the railway whistle echoes from the walls of St. Sophia; the printing-press is busy in Constantinople; our newspapers are read by the Turks; a spirit of reform is sweeping the Divan that will end in a grand reformation; and, mainly through the instrumentality of American missionaries, the Turks begin to discover that the Christian faith is not that degraded and brutish superstition which has hitherto been embodied in the miserable specimens that have dwelt in the midst of them; and the ancient savage law, which made it death for a man who had become a Mussulman and was once a Christian to revert to his Christianity again, is now abolished; and so late as 1846 the Armenian patriarch, according to usage, sent in the names of thirteen Protestants to the Sultan, praying that, according to custom, at his bidding, they might be banished from the land. The Sultan replied, that “henceforth no subject of his should suffer for his religious opinions.” The greatest persecutors in Turkey for the last hundred years have not always been the Mahometans, but, I say it with shame, the professed followers of the Lord Jesus Christ have been too often intolerant; and at this moment the greatest advocates of liberty are the Sultan and his Grand Vizier, not perhaps from principle, but policy; and, a thousand times sooner, as far as secular and personal freedom is concerned, let me fall into the hands of the Sultan and his Grand Vizier, than into the hands of Pio Nono and his Grand Vizier in Golden Square.
The prophetic decay of the Turk, as the bulwark of Islam, does not necessarily mean the extinction of the Turk, but the exchange of his errors for everlasting and glorious truth. Not the destruction of the man, but the departure of his superstition, may be the fulfilment of the prophecy. This is the existing course of things in the East. Christianity is not a religion of annihilation, but of amelioration, elevation, improvement; and when the present dark and tainted streams of the Euphrates, that have so long overflowed the fair lands of Eastern Christendom, shall have retired, or rolled back to their ancient channels, or rather evaporated beneath the beams of the unsetting sun, the lands from which those floods have ebbed away shall be covered with the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters of the ocean cover the channels of the great deep; and that river whose streams make glad the city of our God shall roll where the Euphrates had rolled its tide before; and
“With anthems of devotion,
In tribute at His feet.
O’er river, sea, and shore;
Or dove's light wing can soar.” What is called the “Eastern question” may be lulled for a little, but only to be resuscitated with more terrible results. The source of its protracted agitation lies in the moral condition of the East. The age, also, in which we live has for its awful and its ominous motto — “ Overturn, overturn, overturn." This is the partial destiny of the good; we trust it is the doom of all that is unholy and evil. What comes from God is sustained by him. What is evil is weak. The Crescent is doomed to wane; the Tiara trembles on the head of him that wears it; and superstition, in all its aspects, will soon flee before the approach of an unsetting sun: and while statesmen in their official capacity, and nations in their national capacity, are doing their duty to the oppressed, and trying to stay the oppressor, let us as Christians do ours, by extending missions, circulating God's word, urging onward into every land that blessed kingdom which conquers by truth, not arms — reigns by love, not force-and is not meat nor drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.”