Page images
PDF
EPUB

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. To day 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? Lord God thou knowest.”

CHAPTER V.

RESIDENCE IN SMYRNA AND SCIO IN CONNEXION WITH

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

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 interest you 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

erted in our favor, and in favor of our object. We dined with him. Our next visit was with the Rev. Charles Williamson, an Episcopal minister from England, who is sent out as chaplain to preach to the English living here. He has resided here about two years, expresses great joy at our arrival; and he will assist us in procuring a place of residence, and whatever else we may need. It is a great consolation to find one such man. He preaches every Sabbath in a small house or chapel, to the few English residents in Smyrna.

“We called next on Mr. Perkins. There are two merchants here by this name, who are brothers, from Boston; one however has lived here about twenty years, and the other a longer time. Here too we were kindly received. Such was our first visit in Asia. About nine o'clock in the evening we returned to the ship. The men I have mentioned all live near together, in Frank-street, which is inhabited principally by merchants from Europe; English, Scotch, Dutch, Russian, Austrian, Spanish, and Portuguese.

"This is a place of extensive trade. There are perhaps 100 vessels now in harbor. Three are American. We expect to hire a room, and live here for the present to study languages. The prospect is, that we shall find our situation pleasant. Surely the goodness of God calls for our gratitude, and our entire devotedness to his cause.'

TO REV. DR. WOODS, ANDOVER.

Smyrna, Junuary 30, 1820. "Rev. and Dear Sir.-It has long been my earnest desire to have a regular correspondence with some experienced Christian, who can assist me in forming my religious and missionary character; a correspondence which shall be peculiarly free and unreserved; in which I can communicate frankly all that I wish, about my temptations and dangers, my struggles,

failures and successes, my doubts, fears and hopes; and in which I may receive the results of longer experience. My present situation makes such a correspondence peculiarly desirable, shut out as I am from Christian society, and deprived of the ordinary means of grace; in danger from irreligious European society, and the influence of a moral atmosphere wholly corrupt. I feel the need of a friend who will look at me from America, faithfully tell me all his heart, and raise the warning voice, when he sees me in danger.

“Your letters would be peculiarly profitable, because written by one who has already had opportunity to know my character and disposition, my weaknesses and dangers.

“Here I think it proper to make one remark concerning my religious state. Though I have been for a long time a professor of religion, and have been much engaged in active duties;

yet I have not by any means that assurance which I wish to have, of the genuineness of my religious experience.

"Most of the time I have indeed a comfortable hope, but not without some distressing fears that my religion may be accounted for on natural principles. This has been my state, with very little change, for about twelve years. What am I to think of this?

“While I request further favors, I beg you will be assured, that I entertain a very grateful sense of those already received."

On the first Monday in February, Messrs. Fisk and Parsons united with the Rev. Mr. Williamson in the Monthly concert of prayer. Probably this was the first meeting of the kind ever held in Turkey.

Without recurring to the journal,* which furnishes a minute detail of visits and observations during the first few months of Mr. Fisk's residence in Smyrna,

* Missionary Herald, vol. 17. p. 185 and 201.

it will be sufficient to give a selection of extracts from his correspondence, which will show in general what his situation and engagements at this time were, with his observations thereon.

TO ONE OF HIS MISSIONARY BRETHREN.

Smyrna, March 6, 1820. “The Christian is a citizen of Immanuel's kingdom, and as such ought to cultivate patriotism, to a high degree. What could be more suitable, than the glowing fire and the burning zeal of political enthusiasm consecrated to Christ, and baptized into his spirit? How ought we all to be ashamed of ourselves, that we have so little holy patriotism, that we love our kingdom so little; while they, who belong to earthly kingdoms, are so completely devoted to the perishing interests and carnal objects of their respective kingdoms? Sometimes I love to think of the glory of Christ's kingdom, and of its progress from step to step, till it shall fill the earth. But I stand in great need of having my views rendered more spiritual.

“This is the day of the Monthly concert.--A precious day to the friends of missions. We have thought it proper to devote the day to religious services. We conversed sometime about our need of more acquaintance with the Scriptures, and with the nature of Christ's kingdom, and more purity and spirituality of mind, as qualifications for our great work; and then cried to God, that he would fit us for his own work.. We spoke of the multitudes, who are engaged in this Concert; of Christians, who through ignorance, or indifference, neglect it; and of the great importance of having the whole strength of all God's people united in this work, that the whole family of Christ may come on this day with one petition, and with all earnestness of intercession plead for the conversion of the world. We then made it a subject of prayer, that the presence of

« PreviousContinue »