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prising and persevering. They made many inquiries about the expense that would attend the purchase and establishment of a press. From their inquiries I infer that the establishment of a press is a part of their plan.”
On the following day Mr. Fisk, accompanied by Messrs. Wolff and King set out for Tripoli, having previously sent a camel load of Bibles there to the care of the consul. After a ride of six hours he reached Gibail, and as it was evening, the gates of the town were shut, and he was obliged to lodge under an open shed, with a single blanket to spread upon the ground for a bed.
"Oct. 1. Left Gibail, and in five hours arrived at the village Batroon, and were hospitably received by the Maronite priest, Istafan (Stephen). At his house we sold and gave away twenty-three copies of the Scriptures to those who called upon us. We had religious conversation with them--they remarked: “We never heard Englishmen speak of such things before. When they come here, they call for wine, aqua-vitae, and good food, and talk of nothing else.""
The next day after a ride of eight hours Mr. Fisk came to Tripoli, where he and his companions were kindly entertained by the English vice consul. The place he supposed might contain about 15,000 inhabitants, principally Mussulmans.
664. At half past nine we left Tripoli, rode over a plain, and ascended the mountains, till we reached a lofty summit, with a valley before us, which I cannot better describe, than by calling it a frightful chasm in the earth. We dismounted, and descended literally by winding stairs, nearly to the bottom of the ravine, and then, after various windings and gentle ascents among shrub-oaks, we reached the convent of Mar Antonius at Khoshiah, situated on the side of an almost perpendicular mountain. We were nine hours on our way from Tripoli to the .convent. It is a Maronite establishment, and contains about 100 monks. They were dirty, stupid and igno
rant. One of the priests told me, that not more than one-fourth of the whole number could read. They have a press in the convent, and print their church books in Syriac and Carshun. The books are printed and bound by the monks. I could not learn from them that they had printed the Bible, or any part of it, except in the form of church lessons. We asked the Superior of the convent something about his belief in the Scriptures, and he said, - I believe what the Church believes.' He then inquired about our faith, and we replied,
“We believe what the Bible teaches.'
“It is the standing rule of these convents, that all assemble for religious worship an hour before day every morning, and on certain occasions at an earlier hour.
“On the next day," says Mr. Fisk, "we looked at the printing establishment, which is a small one with none but Syriac types.” Towards evening he with his companions left Khoshiah for Kannobeen, the residence of the Maronite patriarch. He ascended a very steep mountain, and then descended one, which he speaks of as the steepest he ever attempt
“We often crossed narrow ways with a stupendous precipice above us of immense rocks, piled up almost perpendicularly, and a similar one below us.”
From the observations which Mr. Fisk was able to make, he gives it as his opinion, that there are about 100 convents in Mount Lebanon belonging to the Greeks, Syrian Catholics, Armenian Catholics, Greek Catholics, and Maronites, of which 60 or 70 belong to the latter sect. The population is reckoned at from 100 to 150,000.
Leaving Kannobeen he passed through Ehden,which he describes as "a delightful, fertile spot, with fine streams of water and rich fields. The houses are at some distance from each other and surrounded with trees, of which a large number belongs to the species of the walnut."
ed to pass.
57. Taking a guide, we set out for the cedars. In about two hours we came in sight of them, and in another hour reached them. Instead of being on the highest summit of Lebanon, as has sometimes been said, they are situated at the foot of a high mountain, in what may be considered as the arena of a vast amphitheatre, opening to the W. with high mountains on the N. S. and E. The cedars stand on five or six gentle elevations, and occupy a spot of ground about three-fourths of a mile in circumference. I walked around it in fifteen minutes. We measured a number of the trees. The largest is upwards of forty feet in circumference. Six or eight others are also very large, several of them nearly the size of the largest. But each of these was manifestly two trees or more, which have grown together, and now form one. They generally separate a few feet from the ground into the original trees. The handsomest and tallest are those of two or three feet in diameter, the body straight, the branches almost horizontal, forming a beautiful cone, and casting a goodly shade. We measured the length of two by the shade, and found each about 90 feet. The largest are not so high, but some of the others, I think, are a little higher. They produce a conical fruit in shape and size like that of the pine. I counted them and made the whole number 389. Mr. King counted them, omitting the small saplings, and made the number 321. I know not why travellers and authors have so long and so generally given twentyeight, twenty, fifteen, five, as the number of the cedars. It is true, that of those of superior size and antiquity, there are not a great number; but then there is a regular gradation in size, from the largest down to the merest sapling.
"Before seeing the cedars, I had met with a European traveller who had just visited them. He gave a short account of them, and concluded with saying, •It is as with miracles; the wonder all vanishes when
you reach the spot.' What is there at which an infidel cannot sneer? Yet let even an infidel put himself in the place of an Asiatic passing from barren desert to barren desert, traversing oceans of sand and mountains of naked rock, accustomed to countries like Egypt, Arabia, Judea, and Asia Minor, abounding in the best places only with shrubbery and fruit trees; let him, with the feelings of such a man, climb the ragged rocks, and pass the open ravines of Lebanon, and suddenly descry among the hills, a grove of 300 trees, such as the cedars actually are, even at the present day, and he will confess that to be a fine comparison in Amos i1,9, “Whose height was as the height of the cedars, and he was strong as the oaks. Let him after a long ride in the heat of the sun, sit down under the shade of a cedar, and contemplate the exact conical form of its top, and the beautiful symmetry of its branches, and he will no longer wonder that David compared the people of Israel, in the days of their prosperity, to the 'goodly cedars.' Psalm lxxx, 10.
"A traveller, who had just left the forests of America, might think this little grove of cedars not worthy of so much notice, but the man who knows how rare large trees are in Asia, and how difficult it is to find timber for building, will feel at once that what is said in Scripture of these trees is perfectly natural. It is probable that in the days of Solomon and Hiram there were extensive forests of cedars on Lebanon. A variety of causes may have contributed to their diminution and almost total extinction. Yet, in comparison with all the other trees that I have seen on the mountain, the few that remain may still be called 'the glory of Lebanon.'
From the cedars we returned to Besharry, a delightful and healthy place for a summer residence. We lodged with shekh Girgis, (George) by whom we were received with special tokens of hospitality.
58. Left Besharry early in the morning for Balbec.
Passed near the cedars, and then ascended the mountain east of them. We saw on our left hand, what I take to be the highest summit of Lebanon. It has often been asserted that there is snow on Mount Lebanon during the whole year. We wished to ascertain the fact. As the heat of summer was now past, we concluded that if we could find snow in October, it was not likely to be wanting at any season of the year. On reaching the summit of the mountain, we left the road, and turned north, in a direction which our guide said would carry us to snow. After riding without a path, and over very bad ground for about an hour, we came to a little valley opening to the south east, in which the snow was about two feet deep. In another valley near it, there was a still greater quantity. In the course of the day we saw snow at a distance in several other places. I strongly suspect, however, that mariners often mistake the white rock of the mountain for snow. At only a short distance it has precisely the same appearance.
“Returning from the snow to the road, we pursued our way down the mountain to Ain el Ata, where is a fountain of good water, and the ruins of an old village.”
From this place they directed their course to Diar el Ahmar, a miserable place, where they lodged for the night, being allowed by the people to select the house that suited them best. The earth was the floor and bushes the roof of it. A small, dark, damp apartment was found, which was occupied as a church,
69. We started early and pursued our way across the plain of Celo-Syria in a south and south east direction. The plain extends between Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon, and runs nearly north east and south west. It is a fine rich plain, but badly cultivated. We passed only one small village, and saw no other houses. Two large flocks of sheep and goats, attended by their Bedouin shepherds, were feeding near our road. Balbec is at the extremity of the plain at the