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ronite, showed them special attention, and introduced them to comfortable lodgings in the house of Aboo Ibrahema, a Maronite.
As one object which Mr. F. had in view in going to Damascus, was to avail himself of the favorable opportunities there enjoyed for studying Arabic, he soon employed an instructer, at whose feet he and Mr. K. sat in oriental style, and received their les
On the afternoon of July 10th, they rode out to Mount Kaisoon on the north and north-west to Damascus, and ascended to a station near where, it is said, Mahommed took his first view of the city, with which he was so enchanted, that he would not enter it; observing, that there was but one paradise for man, and he was determined not to have his upon earth.
Damascus, which Mr. Wolff calls “the fanatic town,” as seen from the elevated position taken by the missionaries, is thus described by Mr. K. “You see a great city thickly set with houses of a whitish appearance, which have very little to distinguish them from each other. The minarets, of which there may be seventy or eighty, with here and there a tall cyprus, rising above the houses, are the only things which break in upon the uniformity. This whitish city you see in the midst of a large wood, about fifty miles in circumference, with little variety except what arises from the dark green of the chesnuts, and the dark mournful appearance of the poplars and olives. In the skirts of the wood is to be seen here and there a little village, with a mosque. This wood, which actually consists of an immense number of gardens and orchards, lies in a great plain, surrounded by chains of hills and mountains."
According to the best information which could be obtained, the population of Damascus amounts to 150,000; of whom 10,000 are nominally Christians, and about 3,000 Jews, the rest Mussulmans. Mr.
Wolff when there, estimated the population at 200,000. While in this city opportunities occurred for discussing religious subjects with Jews, Greeks, and Mussulmans; and for the circulation of the Scriptures, notwithstanding the interdiction of the pope and the opposition of his priests.
July 17, 1824. Mr. Fisk with his companion left Damascus for Aleppo;—Mr. Cook having previously returned to Beyroot. They went with a caravan, which consisted of about 200 persons and 250 animals. At night they encamped on the banks of a small river in open air. The following day they proceeded on their jour
till the intensity of a summer heat obliged them to stop; and as they could not be accommodated with a house where to rest, they entered an enclosure of mulberry trees, which'afforded a small shade, and there they sat down and spent the remainder of the day. In conversation with a moslem from Damascus it was found that an impression prevailed with some Mussulmans, that Constantinople is to be taken by the Christians in 1240 of the Hegira.*
They arose on the 19th at 12 A. M. to avoid the heat, and travelled till half past nine o'clock, A.M.
when they encamped near a village, called Nebeck, I by the side of the tomb of a shekh, where they found
a large, clear, cool stream of water. After considerable debate, they were permitted to enter the enclosure of the tomb, and rest under the shade of a
tree, which was preoccupied by Turks. In the afi ternoon the pasha of Tripoli arrived with a retinue
of about 200 persons, on his way to meet the pilgrims who return from Mecca, in order to supply them with provisions. As he encamped likewise near the tomb, Mr. Fisk and his company concluded, it was best to remove. They were now obliged to take seat in the open air, which was filled with sand
and dust, and heated with the intense rays of the 1
* A.D. 1862.
sun. Early on the 20th they resumed their journey, and lodged the night following at Kara, where, after having encamped, they were visited by a number of Mussulmans, with whom they had a discussion about the Mahommedan faith. In the night they were disturbed by the firing of guns, and the cry of "robbers,” which proved however to be a false alarm.
On the 21st and 22d they proceeded as usual, setting off from their encampment very early in the morning, and resting during the hours, when the heat was most oppressive. They had spirited religious discussions with the principal Mahommedans in the caravan, feeling it to be their duty to vindicate before all the cause of Christ.
They left Hooms on the 23d, which they speak of as being a pleasant city, and favorable for a summer residence. After five hours ride they encamped on the banks of a river in a deep
valley, not far distant from an encampment of Bedouins. At half past four the next day, they resumed their journey, and by ten o'clock arrived at Hamah, supposed to be the Hamath of the Scriptures, a little distance from which they set themselves down in the dust. Here they called on the principal Greek priest, who was found friendly to the distribution of the Scriptures. According to his statement it was judged, that there were 25 or 30,000 inhabitants in that city, a thousand of whom were Christians of the Greek church.
On the 25th, their caravan was increased by one from Tripoli, so that the whole consisted of between three and four hundred persons. While on their way the cry, "Auwafee! auwafee!" (safety) was set up by some of the men, and the whole body stopped. It was rumored, that horsemen were seen on the distant hills, and that there was danger from robbers. After some delay they moved, and soon were visited by two Bedouins, who on their feet
horses rode backward and forward by the side of the caravan, as if to take the number, and then giving reins to their horses, returned to the hills without disclosing the object of their excursion. After a tedious journey they encamped at Shekhoon, where they found a caravan from Aleppo. There was neither tree nor rock to shelter them from a burning sun, whose rays were reflected from all quarters, while the wind, almost as hot as that of the desert, whirled clouds of dust and sand over them, with which they were soon covered. In this dreary situation they sat down to spend the day. Finding it almost impossible to remain thus, they endeavored to screen themselves in part from the dust and wind, by fastening sheets to one side of their tent. Here they their dinner, which consisted of bread and leban; but soon their dishes were covered with dust. It was the Sabbath;--and their thoughts reverted back to their native land, where the happy multitudes were going up to the house of God; while they like exiles were sitting in the sand, scorched by the sun, weakened by burning winds, with nothing to eat but sour milk; and bread dried by the heat of eight or ten days.
On Monday they proceeded on their toilsome way, and stopped at a village, where they witnessed the ruins of the great earthquake, which happened two years previous to that time.
On Tuesday 27th they travelled about four hours, and finding a comfortable place to rest for the day in the house of a Mussulman, they stopped, and availed themselves of the opportunity. Here they obtained some fresh provisions. Early on the following morning they set off on their journey, and soon were joined by a large caravan from Lattakia. An addition to their number at this time relieved them from the fears, which they would have had during this day's journey, as it was considered the most perilous part of the way, they had to travel.
Travellers in the vicinity, through which they were passing that day, were often attacked and robbed by Arabs. After twelve hours ride they had the satisfaction of reaching Aleppo, where they met with a very kind reception from Mr. Barker, the British consul, at whose house they remained several days.
The arrival of these missionaries produced in that city an immediate alarm among the Mussulman authorities; and on the very next day the consul received a message from the pasha, stating that a firman had been received by him, prohibiting the distribution of the Holy Scriptures among the grand signor's subjects. This was supposed to have been done through the agency of Roman Catholics. And thus was accomplished the apocalyptic prediction, that the Beast and the False Prophet would form an alliance. Rev. xvii, 14; xix, 11-21.
August 4th Mr. Fisk took lodgings in the house of an Arab of the Greek church. As soon as a suitable instructer could be procured, he resumed the study of Arabic.
TO REV. MR. TEMPLE, MALTA.
"Aleppo, Sept. 11, 1824. “Mr. King and myself are now living quite among Arabs, he in one family and I in another, busily engaged in learning the language, and in conversing with individuals and families. I have had a slight attack of fever since my arrival here, but am now in tolerably good health. The heat has been very oppressive; the thermometer for a considerable time from 949 to 96o. Now it is only at 849 or 85%, and we begin to think this very comfortable weather.
"Possibly you may have heard, before this reaches you, of the extraordinary firman which has been issued by the sultan relative to the distribution of