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an earthquake in the year 1688. From the effects of this catastrophe the city began to recover early in the 18th century. Tournefort, who visited the place about 100 years ago, estimated the population at about 27,000, of which 10,000 were Mussulmans. The commerce was then principally in the hands of the Dutch, a time when Dutch commerce was unusually prosperous.
The town has often suffered severely from fires, and from the plague. In 1814 the number of deaths by the plague has been estimated at 40,000. Considering how this ancient city has been conquered and re-conquered, burnt and plundered, overthrown by earthquake and scourged by the plague, it is not strange, that so few remains are left even of the town, as built by Alexander and his generals.
The harbor is large and commodious, and the city faces the N. W. In the south part of it the Turks principally live, and the Franks in the north part. There are about 200 protestants in the city, 10,000 Jews, and 4 or 5,000 Armenians. The principal part of the population consists of Turks and Greeks. The whole number of inhabitants is generally estimated at from 100 to 150,000.* The minarets of 20 mosques rise from the ground, where the blood of martyrs was shed, and the superstitions of a corrupt Christianity have been substituted for that Gospel, preached by “the angel of the church of Smyrna;" while the iron-hearted Ottoman, sitting in sullen grandeur, claims the prerogative of holding in his hand the property, liberty, and life of the oppressed people. O rise some other Polycarp to revive the purity and glory of the ancient church.
*A very recent estimation makes tlie population of Smyrna only about 100,000.
PASSAGE FROM SMYRNA TO EGYPT, AND RESIDENCE
IN THAT COUNTRY.
THE feebleness of Mr. Parsons' health, after his residence at Jerusalem, required, as was thought, a voyage to some warmer climate. This measure being recommended by the English physician who had the care of him, it was thought best he should go to Egypt. A passage being engaged in an Austrian brig, Mr. Fisk accompanied him from Smyrna on the 9th of Jan. 1822. After a tempestuous passage of five days they arrived at Alexandria. During the first three or four weeks the attention of Mr. Fisk was principally devoted to his beloved friend.
Two letters from him at this time exhibit the concern he felt for the spiritual welfare of the Jews. One was written to the Society of Inquiry respecting Missions, in the Theological Seminary, Andover.
Alexandria, January 21, 1822. “Dear Brethren,-Permit us to call your attention in this letter more particularly to what concerns that singularly interesting people, the Jews. To you
it is not necessary that we should speak of their origin, history, present state, or future prospects. You undoubtedly observe with deep interest the progress of all exertions made for their benefit. But there is one particular view of the subject to which we solicit your attention. In the United States the Jews enjoy such privileges as they never enjoyed under any other Christian government; yet so far as our information extends, little has been said and little done in respect to the Christian instruction of such Jews as live in that country. Why is this? Christians of the United States are sending mission
aries to the heathen, and are making exertions for the instruction and conversion of Jews in other parts of the world, while to those in their own country no
, them, no one offers them the Gospel. Brethren, these things'ought not so to be. Something must be done. Can you not do something? Will you not do something?
“We would not propose to you any plan which will be very expensive either as to time or money, Still we do earnestly ask, can you not, will you not do something for the Jews in the United States? Say, if you please, that they are not numerous. But they are numerous enough to furnish a large number of missionaries, if they should generally receive the Gospel. Say, that they are ignorant, bigotted, full of prejudice, and unconquerably devoted to gain. So are other Jews, and so are all ungodly men; and these are the very men for whom the Gospel was designed. Do you ask, what is to be done? We might with propriety refer the question to yourselves as better acquainted with circumstances, and more able to devise suitable plans, than we are. We will, however, take the liberty to suggest the following things:
"1. Take it for granted, and resolve firmly, that something ought, and must be done for the Jews in the United States, and then pray for them, and for grace to carry this resolution into effect.
«2. Collect information concerning them, their places of residence, numbers, wealth, occupation, moral character, religious opinions, practices, and feelings; their Rabbies, synagogues, books, schools, &c. We presume that there are in New York, Philadelphia, Charleston, Savannah, and other places, Jews of learning and intelligence, with whom you might hold a correspondence.
“3. Make all practicable arrangements, and improve every opportunity to obtain personal acquain.
tance with Jews. Visit them with hearts filled with Christian kindness. Converse with them about their language, their history, the Old Testament Scriptures, the Messiah, and the difference between Jews and Christians; and when opportunity presents, tell them Jesus of Nazareth is their long expected Messiah. From what we have seen of Jews, in America and in this country, we are sure that whenever one of you shall spend a vacation in a city where there are Jews, he may very easily get acquainted with some of them. Should you engage ever so zealously and prudently in these efforts, perhaps no good will be effected for a long time; perhaps, however, you will find your first efforts successful.
“May God guide you and bless your attempts to do good. We always feel, beloved brethren, a deep interest in the religious state of Andover. How we should rejoice to hear every year, that the Seminary exhibits more and more of the spirit of Baxter, and Doddridge, and Brainerd, and Martyn.”
The other letter was addressed to Mrs. Hannah Adams, of Boston, corresponding Secretary of the Boston Female Jews Society.
“Madam,—My fellow laborer Mr. P. unites with me in expressing our thanks to you for your kind note, accompanied with some Hebrew Tracts and for all the interest you have manifested in our mission. A few days since I put a part of them into the hands of a Jew, who often visits me, and with whom I have frequent opportunities of reading the Hebrew New Testament, and discussing religious subjects. Like most of the Jews in this region, however, he cares very little about the Scriptures, very little about Judaism or Christianity, very little about the Messiah or his kingdom. He listens to whatever we say to him, never contradicts or disputes; because he feels perhaps too little interest
in the subject. At his own request we have given him the New Testament in Hebrew and in Italian.
We have also, since our arrival here, become acquainted with a learned German Jew who is a respectable physician. He rejects in the most contemptuous manner the Talmud, and the whole mass of Jewish traditions; never goes to the synagogue, and probably has much more confidence in the infidel philosophy of the modern Germans, than in Christianity or Judaism either. He seems not at all averse to discussion, and we hope to have frequent interviews with him, and intend to put some suitable books into his hands.
“We have been cheered and encouraged lately by the arrival in this part of the world of a fellow laborer, from whose exertions we hope for great good, especially among the Jews. I refer to the Rev. Joseph Wolff, a Polish Jew, who embraced Christianity some years ago, resided awhile at Cambridge, England, and has lately come to this country to preach the Gospel to his brethren according to the flesh. He left Egypt for Syria just before we arrived here. He has sent to us several times, expressing a wish that our labors might be united in the common cause. We expect to meet him next spring, if Providence permit, in the Holy Land.
“We are most painfully disappointed, in not seeing, before this time, one or two missionaries from our own country. It is desirable one should come, who shall be wholly employed in research and missionary labor among the Jews. The variety of objects to which our attention is directed, prevents us from devoting that particular attention, which we could wish, to what concerns that interesting people. We are however much encouraged in reading the accounts in the Jewish Expositor, to learn how many are seeking the good of Israel, and how many of the lost children of Abraham begin to come to themselves, and say-We will arise and go to our