Page images

guide lost his way, and we were obliged to stop and wait in the open field, while the rain fell in torrents. We could find no shelter and had no idea of the direction in which we ought to move. Making the best use we could of our umbrellas and cloaks, we waited for the morning. Our situation gave me a lively impression of the force of David's words—My soul waiteth for thee, more than they that wait for the morning. At last the morning came, and the rain ceased.

“Resumed our journey, and about noon arrived at Zahle, a finely situated village at the foot of Mount Lebanon. The bishop says, there are here about 1000 families, chiefly Christians."

On the 11th Mr. Fisk went to Mar Ephraim, the residence of the patriarch, Peter Jarwy, who is well known in England, having visited that country and solicited donations to enable him to print, as he pretended, and circulate the Scriptures on Mount Lebanon. But he proves to be a bigoted Catholic, opposed to the operations of Bible Societies, and missionaries.

The excursion, of which some account has been just given, occupied Mr. Fisk about two weeks, after which he returned to Antoura. The day following his return he visited Kraim, a college-convent, containing twenty-five or thirty priests, monks, and students. In the library, which consisted of Italian and Latin books, he found four folio volumes of the pope's bulls. From this institution he proceeded to Ain Warka, the Maronite college, in which the Syriac and Arabic languages are taught. The number of pupils was about twenty. In the evening he had a long religious discussion with two bishops. The next day he returned to Antoura terminated his residence there, October 22d., and proceeded to Beyroot. On the 25th he sold 400 Psalters to a Catholic who purchased to sell again. His journal, from which the foregoing account of

his travels and researches in Mount Lebanon, has been selected, concludes with some remarks on several singular clans of people which he there found.* He speaks of the country as being very interesting, worthy of missionary investigation, and a hopeful field of missionary labor and enterprise.

He also gives a brief account of the languages and dialects spoken by the Syriac Christians and others, from which it appears that a confusion of languages and alphabets is common in that country—"This chaos of dialects,” he says, serves to multiply labor and expense for missionaries, and Bible Societies. All these classes of people must be furnished with the Bible, and must have the Gospel preached to them. The harvest is plenteous but the laborers are few. May the Lord of the harvest send forth more laborers.”




MR. Fisk went to Beyroot in September, as has been noticed, to welcome the Rev. Mr. Jowett, who had just arrived from Egypt. Mr. Jowett returned with him to Antoura, and accompanied him in some of his excursions among the mountains. As he was about to set off from Beyroot for Je

* For information respecting these singular classes of people, see Missionary Herald, vol. xx. p. 274–-articles, Druses, Metonalis, and Ansareeah. Also Jowett's Christian Researches--articles, MetawaJies, corresponding to Metonalies, p. 34; Druses, p. 35; Ansari, corresponding to Ansareeah, p. 49; Boston edition. The orthography of proper names in that country does not appear yet to be fettled among different travellers.

rusalem, Mr. Fisk proposed to be his companion to that city. An account of this journey will here be inserted.

Oct. 28, 1823. Left Beyroot for Jerusalem in company with the Rev. Mr. Jowett. After riding about eight hours on asses, we stopped for the night at Nabi Yoanas, (the Prophet Jonah.) Were welcomed by Abdallah, a Turkish dervish, and conducted to a good room, that is to say, a room in which, by putting stones against the wooden windows and door, we were able to exclude company, and in a great measure the outer air. The only article of furniture was a mat thrown on the floor. The house was built by the Emeer Besheer for the accommodation of travellers. It is near the tomb of a Turkish saint, and at the head of a fine little bay; and the place is called Nabi Yoanas, because tradition says it was here that the fish ‘vomited out Jonah upon the dry land. We talked with the dervish about the Prophet. He told most of the story correctly, but added, that God prepared two trees to shelter him when he was thrown upon the dry ground. We showed him the book of Jonah in the Arabic Bible. He read, kissed the book, read again, kissed the book again, and so on eight or ten times. Mussulmans often treat the Bible thus when we show it to them, thus acknowledging it as a sacred book. But they are, like the nominal Christians who live among them, more ready to acknowledge its authority by kissing it, and putting it to their forehead and their breast, than by reading it, and receiving its doctrines, and obeying its precepts."

They rode on the 29th to Sidon, and reached Tyre on the following day.

“30. The road from Sidon to Tyre is almost a perfect level. The soil seems excellent, but as in many other parts of Turkey, it is good land lying waste. We saw a few villages east of us; but on

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

the plain we saw no village, and I think only three or four little miserable habitations, for a distance of near thirty miles.

“31. In the morning we sold a few Psalters. The Psalter is much more eagerly sought after, than any other part of the Scriptures, because among the Christians of Syria it is the universal, and almost the only school-book. The education acquired at school, generally amounts to no more than ability to read the Psalter.

“South and west of the peninsula, on which Tyre stands, you see ledges of rocks near the shore, and ancient columns scattered on the rocks. The harbor is north of the town. A small harbor, in which boats lie, is surrounded by a wall. At a distance from the landing there is a reef of rocks, which must make the entrance dangerous in bad weather, but which, by breaking the waves, forms the security of the harbor. We counted more than one hundred columns lying in one place on the rocks. In that small harbor we saw many at the bottom several feet under water."

On the 3d of November Mr. Fisk was at Acre, and visited the principål mosque, which he describes.

“The mosque is near the pasha's palace, and was built by the infamous Jezzar. It resembles, in its general form, a Christian church, but is without seats or pews. The floor is covered with carpets, on which the worshippers sit, or kneel. In one corner is a reading desk, and in another part is a pulpit. Stairs at two corners lead up to a fine gallery, and thence to a second, which is very narrow. In front of each gallery are places for rows of lamps. The upper gallery seems to be designed merely for the purpose of illuminating. There is a large chandelier suspended from the lofty dome, and a multitude of lamps hang about the mosque. The windows are also numerous, so that when illu

[ocr errors]

minated, the appearance must be splendid. The mosque, according to Mussulman taste, is ornamented with paintings, in which different colors are fantastically intermixed. The execution is far from being elegant; yet the effect is on the whole agreeable. A few Turks were present reading from the Koran.

“Before the mosque is a large court paved with marble of different colors, shaded with rows of palm trees, and containing two elegant domes with fountains under them. On three sides of this court, are rows of cloisters for the accommodation of students and travellers. In one of them is a library. The effects of a late siege were visible. In several places the walls of the mosque and of the cloister had been seriously injured by cannon balls. This court with its shades and fountains is quite in oriental taste, and certainly for a hot country it is a delightful spot. My imagination was filled with the idea of the learned Mussulmans, in the times of the caliphs of Bagdad and Cairo, passing their time in such places. I was dressed after the oriental manner, and fancied that in such a place, surrounded by Mussulman doctors, I could soon become familiar both with their manners and their language. Had I the faith, the wisdom, the learning, and the courage of Martyn, I might perhaps find access to such places, and tell these men, who are so wise in their own conceits, that truth which they are so unwilling to hear, namely, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

“My mind dwells with deep interest on the question, 'How is the Gospel to be preached to the Mussulmans'

. According to the established law, and a law which to the extent of my information is rigidly executed, it is immediate death for any Mussulman, of whatever rank, and in whatever circumstances, to renounce his religion. Undoubtedly God can so pour out his Spirit upon men, that they shall embrace his Gospel by multitudes, even with the cer

« PreviousContinue »