Page images
PDF
EPUB

voyage. Such was the strictness of the quarantine laws, that no one was permitted to land on the Island, except at certain places near the shore, and this for the purpose of receiving such articles as were brought and laid there for them. While lying in harbor an opportunity was enjoyed to form an acquaintance with the Rev. Mr. Jowett, Dr. Naudi, and others, from whom valuable information was obtained, and marked proofs received of their cordial interest in the Palestine Mission. By these gentlemen they were furnished with letters of introduction to persons of influence in Smyrna and Scio. While in Malta harbor, he writes to a brother in Shelburne.

Dec. 29. There are two missionaries on this Island from England, Mr. Jowett and Mr. Wilson. They come every day to see us; and though we are not allowed to touch each other, yet we may stand in different boats, or at a little distance in the Lazaretto, and converse. They seem to be excellent men, have given us considerable information, have requested us to correspond with them, and have offered us letters of introduction to some gentlemen, with whom they are acquainted at Smyrna.

“We have twice seen Dr. Naudi, native of Malta, who is much engaged in circulating the Scriptures, and Tracts, and expresses great interest in our object. There is a Bible Society here, consisting of these three men and a few others, principally foreigners, merchants, and officers residing here. Thus a little light begins here to glimmer. Though we shall be more than a thousand miles from these men, yet we shall consider them our neighbors. Your affectionate brother,

PLINY."

TO REV. DR. PORTER, OF ANDOVER. Dec. 30. Dear Sir.-Your parting letter increased our obligations which have been accumulating for years. It shall be our endeavor to approve our

selves not unworthy of the affection and confidence, you have bestowed. A parting visit at Andover, after the members of the Seminary had returned, we with reluctance relinquished. The goodness of God, however, is manifest in providing for us so favorable a passage to these regions. We have encountered no dangerous storms; yet we have sometimes read with deep interest Psalms, 91, and 121, to which you referred us. How precious the support they yield in the hour of sorrow or of danger. We had often heard it said, that it must be impossible to judge, what feelings are excited on leaving one's country, unless we experience them. This remark is never well understood, till it receives a practical illustration.

"A voyage at sea in some respects is favorable to piety. It is calculated to produce confidence in God, patience under little troubles, and compassion towards those who are in danger, or in want. But on many accounts it is unfavorable. We have no apartments for uninterrupted retirement. We find, however, much comfort in reading John iv. 21 -24. On the whole, our voyage has been as pleasant as we could expect; our accommodations much better than we anticipated. We often think, often speak of the Theological Seminary. We hope to hear that every thing there prospers; and especially that the spirit of the Gospel prevails. Nothing prepares for encountering trials, or performing labors, like the habit of walking with God, and drawing motives and consolations from the cross of Christ. O that we may be thus qualified for our work. We hope you will not cease to pray for us.”

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

Jan. 3. To-day I preached from Acts xxviii. 1. After rehearsing the story of St. Paul's voyage, shipwreck and escape, I endeavored to show what instruction and admonition a storm at sea is calcu

lated to afford. Some of my hearers had suffered shipwreck, and all knew very well the dangers of the sea.

They appeared considerably interested. Still, preaching to them and talking with them, sometimes seems like blows on the water, which yields to the stroke but retains no impression. Whether any fruit will be produced from the seed we have sown, must be left with Him who can give the increase. Probably they, with whom we must labor hereafter, will be still more insensible to divine truth. I need more faith and patience, and I need the prayers of Christians. Above all, I need the supporting aids of divine grace.”

On the 9th of January, the ship proceeded on her voyage, and on the 15th, entered the harbor of Smyrna. As the day following was the Sabbath, Mr. Fisk and his colleague remained on board till Monday. Some of his reflections during the Sabbath will be found in a letter written to the Rev. A. B. of S.

Smyrna, January 16, 1820. “Dear Brother.-It was our happiness to keep Sabbaths together. Now the Atlantic and Mediterranean lie between us. Distance and oceans, however, cannot wholly interrupt the communion of Christian brethren. Will it afford you any gratification to know how I have spent my first Sabbath in Asia.

“We arrived in this harbor yesterday. Mr. Parsons and I thought it not best to go into town until to-morrow, and we therefore remain in the ship. The Sabbath has been very different from one at Andover. Nearly a hundred vessels lie in the harbor, whose boats have been passing and repassing all day; guns have been heard frequently, which, with the ringing of catholic bells in town, and the shouts, yells, murmurs, and gabbling of Turks, Greeks, and almost every kind of people, in every direction, and

once

To day

in their different languages, have made this a noisy day.

“This is our eleventh Sabbath at sea. Except two, the crew have been regularly collected in the cabin or on deck to attend a religious service. Mr. Parsons preached to day from Matt. xxiv. 44. “Be ye also ready.'—This sermon was occasioned by the sudden death of one of the sailors who fell from the main top, and survived only about two hours. The event has had some effect on the survivors. they were very attentive, though we have strong reason to fear, that no permanent impression is made. Mr. P., was very affectionate and faithful in his address to the men.

“In the morning I read Daniel, to see what I could find about the kingdom of Christ. It is a valuable, a precious book. Some of it is very easily understood, and affords much ground for animated hope, and zealous efforts in regard to religion. In the afnoon I read the Memoir of Henry Martyn. This is a work of rare excellence. Mr. Martyn was an eminent Christian. He walked with God. He loved the Bible. He read with much interest and evident advantage, Brainerd, Edwards, Hopkins, Baxter, Milner, and Bunyan. The aged Mr. Newton, Mr. Richard Cecil, and H. K. White, were among his Christian friends, and what perhaps was of more importance still, he had a sister who had made high attainments in the divine life, and whose faithful and tender efforts contributed not a little to the purity and elevation of his piety.

“Just before dark we walked some time on deck, conversing about Henry Martyn, and then looking at Smyrna, turned our conversation to the work before us.

What would be your feelings in looking at a city of 150,000 souls, the greater part Mahommedans, and the rest little or no better. "Can these dry bones live? O Lord God thou knowest.'”

CHAPTER V.

RESIDENCE IN SMYRNA AND SCIO IN CONNEXION WITH

MR. PARSONS, AND VISIT TO "THE SEVEN CHURCHES OF ASIA.”

interest you

The civility and cordiality, with which Mr. Fisk was treated on his arrival in Smyrna, particularly from the gentlemen to whom he had letters of introduction, he acknowledges in a letter to his father, dated January 18, 1820.

Honored and beloved Father.-When I recollect how much you have done for me, and how much

felt for me when I left you last, I am certain you will be comforted, and will unite your thanksgivings with mine for all the goodness of God to me, while on the ocean, and while exposed to many dangers.

“We lodge as yet on board the vessel, and have been on shore only once. Yesterday we spent the whole day in town. It will comfort you to know, that we have already found a few friends. Capt. Edes went with us first to Messrs. Van Lennep's. There are two brothers of this name who live together. They are merchants, were born in Smyrna of Dutch parents, are respectable and rich. They received us very kindly; offered us every assistance in their power; told us they kept horses, which we could have to ride at any time. We called next at Mr. John Lee's. He is a native of Smyrna by English parents; his wife is a French lady. He is also a rich merchant, and a man of extensive knowledge. Mr. Langdon of Boston had some time since written to Mr. Lee respecting our mission; but Mr. L. says, he began to fear that we were not coming. He owns a large library, and has offered us the use of it; and assured us that his influence shall be ex

« PreviousContinue »