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siThe Greek church itself opens the door to missionaries. It has always allowed the distribution of the Scriptures, and has had disputes with papists on this point. The Greek patriarchs, archbishops and bishops, have generally favored the cause of the Bible Society, and have more than once written pastoral letters to recommend its object.
“We have printed many thousand Iracts in Greek: they have been received with pleasure, and ecclesiastics and dignitaries of the church assist in distributing them. Among these Tracts are the Dairyman's Daughter, Young Cottager, William Kelly, Leslie's method with Deists, Watts on the end of time, Dr. Green's Questions and Counsel, and many others translated from the English. To the schools and convents we have free access for the distribution of Scriptures and Tracts, and do not often meet with Greeks who oppose our work.
“Several important errors of the papists have never been admitted by the Greeks, such as papal supremacy, purgatory, selling indulgences, the inquisition, forbidding the Scriptures, and giving the Lord's Supper in only one kind.
"The Greeks, however, pray to saints, and enjoin auricular confession, and pray for the dead, and know of no other regeneration than baptism.
“The present is the time for a mission to Greece. The nation is roused—the elements of national and individual character are all in motion. An impression, a turn of public opinion, the commencement of institutions which at another time would require years, might now be effected at once.
"It is desirable that the time of political revolution should also be a period of religious reform.
"Americans should undertake this mission. The prejudices of Greece are all in their favor, and strongly so in preference to every other nation on earth except the English. There is no time to be lost. It is even now too late. The missionaries
should ere this have been near the field learning the language and preparing to act. Brethren, let no more time be lost. We who have been sent to other parts around the Mediterranean, call to you to come literally into Macedonia and help us. Who would not love to preach in Greek on Mars Hill? Whose soul would not be filled with holy joy and trembling at the thought of writing letters to evangelical churches planted by his own preaching in Corinth and Thessalonica? And methinks the dullest inagination would be fired with a poet's flame on sitting down in sight of Mount Parnassus, or on its summit, to give David's songs a Greek dress. And how ought a Christian from America to feel at the thought of introducing Christianity into such a nation as Greece, at the very commencement of its , political existence.”
It will have been perceived from what has been exhibited, that Mr. Fisk possessed a spirit of benevolence expansive as the spiritual wants of mankind. A thousand hearts, had they been his, would have yearned over the forlorn condition of a world lying in wickedness-and a thousand bodies, had they been at his disposal, would have been devoted to the service of Christ among the dwellers in the dark places. of the earth. As he stood on the mountains of Judea, and "looked northward and southward, and eastward, and westward,” and saw how many people and nations were given to idolatry, he exclaims, “The harvest truly is plenteous.”—He sighed and wept, longing, not only to enjoy the pleasure of welcoming more laborers into the field, and of seeing those already there more holy; but to find the cheering evidence, that some instances of spiritual conversion were among the fruits of his abundant labors. This latter occasion of rejoicing he was not permitted to have, till his work was finished.
“Let us not cease to pray the Lord of the harvest," he says to one of his fellow laborers, "that he
will send forth more laborers into his harvest;—and that he will bestow more abundant grace on those who are already in the field. How gratifying soever it might be to see the number of laborers increase, it would be still more gratifying to discover in our own hearts, and in the hearts of our missionary brethren, an increase of piety. I have lately felt that we are in great danger of being satisfied, at least too much so, in seeing the Scriptures circulated, and some preparatory labors accomplished; while in reality nothing is effected in the conversion of sinners, which should be the main object in the missionary's view. Though the inhabitants of Asia and Africa should become as enlightened and as civilized, as the people of England, or of the United States; yet if their hearts remained in their unrenewed state, they would still be the servants of sin, and children of wrath.
“When we can see but one soul really converted to God, we shall be able to say, that our missionary work is begun. Lately we have conversed on this subject, and made it one of special prayer. I would hope there are some true Christians among the ignorant and superstitious members of the oriental churches;- but it is very difficult to find them. The increase of light may bring forward some who will afford important aid in rekindling the light of true Christianity, where it has become almost extinct; but our dependence must be on the effusion of the Holy Spirit. To procure this, prayer and preaching are, I believe, the principal means. In respect to myself, I feel daily the need of divine influence on my own heart to keep me from sin, to make me humble, to prepare me for my work. Sometimes I almost despair of becoming holy. Is it so with you, my dear Brother, or do you find that sin is sensibly decreasing, and grace triumphing in your heart? I feel interested in your religious trials and comforts, and hope your soul is constantly supported and
cheered by sweet communion with the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen. “Yours in Christian love,
LAST SICKNESS AND DEATH, WITH CONCLUDING
The season after Mr. Fisk's last return to Beyroot was unusually sickly. In a communication to Mr. Temple written in September, he speaks of the season being unhealthy, and of many who had died of fever. He was called about that time to attend the funeral of a European merchant in that place, whose death was sudden. "A solemn admonition to us," he observes, "and to those about us to be also ready."
Speaking of the month of October, Mr. Goodell remarked, that the fever still prevailed and that two English travellers of his acquaintance had fallen victims to it. The oldest Franks did not recollect so sickly a season as that It was in this month that Mr. Fisk was attacked by the fever which terminated his useful life.
A communication from Messrs. Bird and Goodell to the Corresponding Secretary of the Board, dated Beyroot, October 25, 1825, gives the following affecting account of his sickness and DEATH.
“On the 26th ult. the long expected and unwelcome hour arrived for the departure, to our native country, of our beloved brother and fellow laborer, Mr. King. It was with a heavy heart, that we gave him the parting hand. We felt ourselves bereft of one of our firmest earthly supports. We commended our case to God, and prayed him to build us up, and not to pluck us down. We acknowledged our weak and dependent state, and begged that God
would strengthen us by his grace, in proportion as he diminished our number.
“But we did not then feel our dependence, as the providence of God has brought us to feel it since. Our brother Fisk then remained to comfort and counsel us. We leaned upon him. We trusted in him as the chief agent, who was to effect the good we design to this people. Now, this second prop is removed. That dear brother, too, has taken leave of us for another country. Yes, dear sir, the hand of God has touched us, and our tears cannot soon be dried away. You too, will feel and weep, and so will thousands who knew and loved him, with ten thousand others who have never seen his ce in the flesh. But God knoweth our sorrows, for he hath caused them; and into his compassionate bosom let us pour them all.
“It was on Tuesday, the 11th inst. that Mr. Fisk first spoke of being ill. He supposed he had taken cold, but pursued his studies as usual, and in the afternoon walked into the city, and made several calls. In the evening, after uniting as usual in reading the Scriptures in Arabic, he said he felt himself too ill to make any remarks, and requested Mr. Goodell, (in whose family he was) to make a few. He, however, prayed in Arabic with his usual fervency, though not with his usual length. Having bathed his feet in water, he retired to rest, with the hope of perspiring freely, and of being better in the morning. His hopes were, however, disappointed. He passed a restless night, and on Wednesday the 12th had, towards noon, a fit of ague.
A nausea at the stomach indicated, as we thought, the propriety of an emetic. It was accordingly administered. It brought away a profusion of bile, threw him into a free perspiration, and persuaded us all to expect for him a comfortable night. But we were again disappointed. This night was more restless than the preceding.