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Christ may be every where enjoyed to day, and that this Concert may be extended."
TO THE REV. DR. P., OF SHELBURNE, MASS.
Smyrna, March 17, 1820. “Smyrna would be a good missionary station. It is full of souls bound to eternity, but enveloped in the most dreadful moral darkness. You cannot, I apprehend, very well conceive what emotions it excites, to stand and look at such a city. The people are dying daily in the most dreadful ignorance of the Saviour, and of the true God. There are around the city immense burying grounds, some of them containing, I presume, twenty or thirty acres; filled with tombs and overshadowed with Cypress trees. What a scene will it be when these unnumbered congregations of the dead, shall rise again!
"l'hough this land is full of superstition, cruelty and ignorance, yet we find our situation by no means uncomfortable. The house in which we live is two stories high; though, like many others in the city, its walls are of mud, and it has no chimney. We are near the north-east corner of the city, and have a good place for morning and evening walks; though the streets are generally very dirty, and very narrow, being from six to perhaps fifteen feet wide. I believe there are only two carriages in Smyrna, and these both belong to Englishmen. All burdens are carried on the backs of camels, mules, asses, or men.
“The costume of the people is truly amusing. One is clothed with long robes coming to his feet; another with large pantaloons coming only to his knees;-one has a turban on his head, another a calpak,—black, white, or green, sometimes globular, sometimes cubical, and often very large. They have no brim, are made very light, set close to the head, the hair being generally all shaved off, unless it be a little on the crown; are worn in the house, as well as abroad, in company, at chureh, and every where.
“The catholic priests wear hats with broad brims; the Greeks, a small black hat without any brim. It is common to meet men with beards, that hang down on their breasts.-- Jews, Turks, Priests, &c. The Turkish women are seldom seen abroad, and never except with their faces completely covered. The Armenian women have their faces nearly or quite all veiled; but the Greek women seem quite willing to have their faces seen. Their dress is generally very much like that of the English ladies.”
TO THE REV. D. H., OF W.
“March, 1820. You will not expect to hear, at present, that we have met with much success. While you labor in a field where you may spend one part of the day in sowing, and the other part in reaping, we have come to a field which needs not a little preparatory labor before the seed can be sown with much prospect of a crop.
We do indeed drop now and then a seed, and cherish a faint hope that some fruit may be the result. But the land is so covered with rocks and hedges, with swamps and marshes; so overrun with briers, thorns, and poisonous weeds; so infested with birds and beasts of prey; so blasted by the curse of the Almighty, that our hopes of a speedy or an abundant harvest are exeeedingly faint and wavering. Yet we know, and wish always to remember, whose blessing it is, that can give success even here.
“Visionary as our undertaking may seem to worldly spirits, and disheartening as our prospects sometimes appear to ourselves, yet we rejoice, that we are sent hither, and thus far are very happy in our work. Yes, small as our forces are, we will, trusting in Him, who is mighty, confidently besiege this great empire of sin. We may perish in the
siege before the first stone shall fall from the wall. But it is not more certain, that the walls of Jericho fell before the ancient people of God, than it is, that the whole Mahommedan world will be subdued by the Gospel. But, my brother, you know something of the treachery and the weakness of the human heart: and though these prospects are certain, yet the time may come, when our faith, courage, and resolutions, will fail. Think of us sometimes in your devotional moments, and especially in reference to the danger of our fainting, and proving unfaithful in our work."
The letter, which will next be inserted, was written on the fourth anniversary of the death of his mother, and addressed to his father. It will exhibit, what was peculiarly strong in Mr. F., filial affection.
Smyrna, April 15, 1820. “Dearly beloved Father.-It will probably be a long time before I shall have an opportunity to send you this letter; but I have a special reason for writing to you to-day. It is four years this day since the death of my dear Mother. Four years ago my father, brothers, and sisters, were watching with painful anxiety the symptoms which indicated her approaching dissolution. In the evening the appointed moment arrived. Your hopes vanished. Her breath ceased. Her immortal spirit departed. How painful was that event to those who survived! Even at this distance, and after the lapse of four years, my heart is alive to the affecting scene. The letter which gave me the mournful news is now open before me, and a perusal of it has, in some measure, revived the sensations which at first it excited.
"Alas! how uncertain are all earthly connexions! Ilow liable we are every moment to be deprived of the objects that are dearest to our hearts!
"Happy are they who have grace given them to make a wise improvement of the afflictions which they are called to endure. To them these momentary trials will be productive of eternal joy. That this may be the happy effect, we need the influences of the Holy Spirit, to produce in us submission and love.
"After having for many years lived in the domestic state, and experienced the trials and comforts, the hopes and fears, connected with it; my father is now left in lonely widowhood. Four years of this solitude have already passed. It is indeed a great blessing, and one which, I trust, affords you much happiness, and is enjoyed with many thanksgivings, to live in the society of children, especially of children who have devoted themselves to the service of Christ. Does not this in some measure compensate for the loss of a still dearer friend?
“When I reflect on the changes which have taken place within four years in my father's family; it excites a train of melancholy reflections.
“But these changes have all been ordered by Infinite wisdom. Why then should we not cheerfully acquiesce? Why should we not adore our God for all his dispensations?
s“After our afflictions have passed by, we may very properly inquire, what effect they have produced. Are we excited to more prayer? Are we weaned from the world? Are we fitted to die?
“My circumstances seem to render it peculiarly important, that I should be always ready to leave the world. And, my dear father, you undoubtedly reflect very often on your age, and that you must before long put off this tabernacle. O may the grace of God prepare us for the change whenever it may come. May my father enjoy the inestimable comforts of an unshaken hope, and wait with patient expectation the hour which shall call him to endless rest. I shall always remember the happy death of my good mother.
What a blessing to enjoy such comfort, and such hope on a dying bed. May we live the life, that so we may die the death of the righteous. Your absent, but dutiful son, Pliny."
Scio, an Island about 70 miles from Smyrna, was considered an eligible summer residence. It also afforded superior advantages for the study of modern Greek, which might be pursued under the direction of Professor Bambas, the Principal of a flourishing Seminary then in the Island. Accordingly arrangements were made by Mr. F., and his fellow laborer, to go to that place, at which they arrived May 12th, after a passage of forty-eight hours. They were introduced to the Greek Bishop, as Americans; who immediately inquired, whether they were WashingTON's countrymen. On the 15th they were introduced to Professor Bambas by letters from Messrs. Jowett and Williamson. They found him reading Sophocles with a class of pupils. He proposed to devote his time to instructing them in Modern Greek, inviting them to come to his study daily for the purpose.
The obliging Professor assigned as a reason for devoting such special attention to his missionary pupils, his regard for the employment, in which they were to be engaged. He took, it was found, a lively interest in the benevolent operations of the day, and proved to be a man of correct religious sentiments, and a faithful teacher. Mr. Fisk, in a letter to his father, dated Scio, June 5, 1820, thus speaks of his situation and employments.
“About four weeks ago we left Smyrna and came to Scio, (the Chios mentioned in Acts) It is inhabited almost wholly by Greeks. We came here to learn the Greek language. I am acquainted with but two persons on the Island who speak English, and we do not very often see them. Many speak Italian, in which we are now able to converse with considerable ease; and we begin to stammer a little in Greek. We have hired a small house, for