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and no such people there.' "The Rabbins say there is such a country,' said, he, but who knows any thing about it?' I answered, 'It is easy to explain the matter:— The Messiah came 1800 years ago, and your fathers rejected him, and you persist in their course of unbelief; for though the evidence from your own prophets is clear, and abundant, you refuse to believe.' He replied, "That is true. I have been reading the Testament you gave me, with another Jew, and told him that the transactions which we there read, were a fulfilment of what Isaiah and the other prophets had predicted; whereas we had been waiting 1800 years for this fulfilment, and waiting in vain.' He said, 'I am myself willing to believe, but my relatives and friends are all Jews, and they will oppose me.' I then urged upon him the value of truth, preference to every thing else, and the necessity of seeking for it diligently, and embracing it boldly, wherever found, and whatever might be the consequences.
“The population of Alexandria, is estimated, by those with whom I conversed, to be from 10 to 15,000, The great body of the people, are Arabs. It has given me great satisfaction to be able to preach the Gospel, argue from the Scriptures, and circulate the written word of God, in this city, where some of the most eminent primitive Christians lived."
In March following the death of Mr. Parsons, Mr. Fisk proceeded up the Nile to Cairo, having in contemplation a journey through the desert to Judea, or to Damietta and Jaffa. While at Cairo he heard of the arrival of Mr. Temple at Malta, and in view of reasons obviously sufficient, he at length concluded to visit that Island, at which he arrived April 13, 1822.
In a letter to a brother at Shelburne he speaks of his passage to Cairo,
"March 3d. Sabbath.-I am now in a hoat on my passage up the Nile from Alexandria to Cairo. The
Sabbath, I trust, passes very differently with you from what it does with me. You can go to the house of God with the multitude that keep holy time. I am with a company of Arabs who know nothing about Christianity or the Sabbath. They make a great deal of noise in managing the boat; still I can enjoy myself in my little cabin, in which I sit on the floor, and spend the day in reading, writing, and meditation. The room is not large enough to admit of sitting in a chair, if I had one. God may be worshipped, however, as acceptably here, as in a church. It would still be a very great comfort, if I had one Christian brother with me. I have formerly enjoyed this privilege, but you will learn before this reaches you, how my dear friend has been taken from me. He died as he lived, a Christian. To die as he died, is worth a whole life of self-denial and repentance."
He remained at Cairo about two weeks which he speaks of as a great city, containing perhaps two hundred thousand inhabitants.
“I visited the Pyramids, those wonderful monuments of antiquity. The large one is 600 or 700 feet square, and between 400 and 500 feet high. I went to the top of it, and then entered by a narrow passage, and went to three rooms which are in it. There is also a well 180 feet deep in the centre of the pyramid, which we descended by the help of a rope, and at the bottom of which we were at least 150 feet lower than the surface of the earth, and 600 feet lower than the top of the pyramid which
over our head. It is said, that some hundred thousand men were employed twenty years in erecting this stupendous pile which was designed to be the tomb of a king. In one of the rooms there is a sarcophagus, or large stone coffin. There are a multitude of pyramids in Egypt, but this is the largest. They are sometimes built of brick, but generally of stone. They are square at the base and
incline gradually on all sides, till they come nearly to a point at the top. Each layer of stone in this way makes a step, so that we are able to ascend without much difficulty. What an amazing monument of the skill, and of the folly of man! It has been standing at least 3000 or 4000 years, and seems likely to stand as long as the world shall last."
TO REV. DANIEL TEMPLE, MALTA.
"Cairo, March 10, 1822. “Dear Brother,—This morning I had the unspeakable satisfaction of learning by a letter from Dr. Naudi, that you have arrived at Malta. I seize the first opportunity to bid you welcome;-yes, you are most cordially welcome to the fatiguing labors, the perilous enterprizes, the heart-rending anxieties, the mortifying disappointments, and the elevated hopes, unfailing consolations and animating successes, of missionaries.
“You come expecting to see, or at least to hear from our dear brother Parsons. Alas! you will neither see him, nor hear from him, till you finish your work, and go to meet him in the immediate presence of his Lord. It is one month to-day since I closed his eyes, after his immortal spirit had fled. I wept at his tomb, and returned with a heavy heart to my work. I am almost ready to murmur; but I hope I do not. O that I may find it good to be afflicted. You will see, I suppose, my letters to our mutual friends Dr. Naudi and Mr. Wilson, I need not therefore repeat what is in them.
“You cannot tell how much I am rejoiced, that you are come to help me. I am strongly inclined to turn my course and meet you at Malta. pose you will remain, at least for the summer, at Malta. Do all the good you can, and learn languages as fast as you can. Let me say one word
in respect to learning languages. When you begin a language, let the first object be to know the grammar thoroughly, and to commit very many words and short phrases to memory; then commit important texts of Scripture, translate some of your sermons, and prepare some prayers in the language. Probably you will undertake Italian first. Perhaps that, on the whole, is most necessary, though at Smyrna you will have more immediate occasion for French. Do not attempt too many things at once, as I have done.
“I have to-day endeavored to give thanks for your safe arrival, and have thought what blessings you need, and prayed that they may be granted you. My own experience has taught me, that the things you most need are wisdom, perseverance, and the spirit of devotion. I am comforted in the assurance that you will often pray for me. I hope it will be so ordered that we shall meet before long; though I have been lately taught by an affecting lesson, not to anticipate too fondly meeting with my friends on earth. O,
, may we all be prepared to meet at last in heaven.”
RESIDENCE AND LABORS IN MALTA IN CONNEXION
WITH MR. TEMPLE.
The reasons, which induced Mr. Fisk to relinquish his contemplated journey to Judea on hearing of Mr. Temple's arrival at Malta, were the approach of the warm season, which was unfavorable for travelling; the strong probability that but very few pilgrims would venture to visit Jerusalem, owing to the convulsed state of political affairs in the Turkish empire; and a desire to confer with his missionary friends on that Island respecting future proceedings.
The letter, which contains these reasons, was dated Malta, April 18, 1822, and addressed to the corresponding Secretary of the Board of Missions. The following is the conclusion:
"I wish you to understand distinctly, that I have deferred my journey to Jerusalem awhile, not because there were any insurmountable obstacles in the way, nor because my views or feelings have changed at all in respect to the field;—but simply because I thought some important objects might be accomplished by coming to Malta, there being no special reason for going immediately to Syria. I feel more confident, that I shall be established finally at Jerusalem, than when I left America. I have no wish to leave the work for any other on earth, nor to change the field of my labors. But I will not deny that, after the journeys and voyages, the studies and anxieties, the scenes of massacre and plague, the various disappointments, of the last two years, and the seclusion from Christian society, especially after the death of my fellow-laborer, I did feel the need of being for a short time quietly with a few Christian friends, where I might collect my scattered thoughts, review the way in which the Lord has led me, and, as I hope, be prepared to engage in my work with renovated vigor of body and of mind,
"Yours &c. Pliny Fisk.”
"Malta, in quarantine, April 21, Sabbath. After being for a month past in company the whole time without even a single hour for retirement, I enjoy to-day the privilege of being alone. I have had time to look at my heart and life. What weakness, what unfaithfulness! I wish to be holy, to be faithful, to be wholly devoted to God. But alas, I shall not attain to this, while I walk in the flesh. There is, however, a country where sin can never enter, which I hope finally to inhabit forever.”.