« السابقةمتابعة »
THE SEVEN CHURCHES.
multitude assembled to witness this bloody spectacle.
“From a ruined tower of the Castle we enjoyed a lovely panoramic view of the villages, valleys, and surrounding country of Asia Minor. Here is the site of ancient Smyrna, the Crown of the East, and near by the River Mylis flows to the sea, on whose banks the ancients claimed that Homer was born; beyond lie the valley and River Hermes, celebrated in classic song, and the broad Mediterranean stretches far in the distance -all spread out like a picture before us. From this point, too, we could trace distinctly the location of the seven churches of Asia, in the precise order in which they are mentioned in the Revelations: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea, whose ruined sites still remain to attest the truth of Scripture, and the terrible fulfilment of the prophecy of 'Him that liveth and was dead, and is alive for evermore.' Descending thence we visited a large Armenian church in the centre of the city. It was newly built, and contained a painting of the Trinity, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and the single Eye of Omniscience over all, to guard the purity of his house and worship, much fitted to impress the ignorant and bigoted multitude.
“On the following day we embarked again on board our steamer for Alexandria, and in the
evening passed the celebrated Island of Scio, another reputed birth-place of the great poet, Homer.
6. Seven cities claimed the birth of Homer dead,
Through which the living Homer begged his bread.'
"Then come Nikaros and Samos, just beyond, and now we sail among
« The Isles of Greece, the Isles of Greece,
Where burning Sappho loved and sung,
Where Delos rose, and Phoebus sprung,
Here is Tinos and Delos, Coos, Naxos and Paros, all famed in classic history and poetry. The morning sun rises over the isle of Patmos in the distance, and in two hours more we are passing just beside it. With a good glass I could discern the houses in the village, and the convent that marks the place where the beloved disciple received the sublime revelations of the Apocalypse. It indeed filled the mind with sacred emotions to feel that we were gazing upon the precise spot where angels and the Saviour himself descended to reveal the things which must shortly come to pass.' Here also a door was
opened in heaven, and the future glories of the spiritual world, the golden streets of the New Jerusalem, the City of our God, the great white throne and Him that sat upon it, whose face was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone, and cherubim and seraphim, and a multitude that no man can number, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation, with palms in their hands, clothed in white robes, washed and made pure in the blood of the Lamb, were all made to pass in heavenly vision before the mind of the inspired prophet. I took my Bible, and read again and again these divine scenes, and realized as never before their full and glorious truth and power.
“At evening we enjoyed a gorgeous sunset in the sea, such as one rarely sees, even in the orient, as if to give effect to the impressions of the day, ever changing ever new, such as no artist can pencil. Rising just above the horizon yonder, Patmos seems floating in the distance, like an island of the blest. Two days more of sailing in the open sea brought us safely to our destined port, Alexandria.
“At Alexandria I called upon the Rev. Mr. Brown, missionary of the Free Church of Scotland, and conferred with him in reference to the interests of the Bible Cause. He informed me that there was no Bible dépôt established in the
city, and until recently very little had been accomplished in circulating the Scriptures. Within the last three months, however, a zealous young man from Beyrout, Mr. Spillman, had labored with much success as Bible colporteur, selling the Scriptures in the streets, from house to house, and among the shipping of all nations in the harbor. Mr. Spillman gave me the following list of Scriptures he has thus sold in twelve different languages: 27 Arabic, 39 Italian, 25 Greek, 8 French, 6 Hebrew, 4 Turkish, 6 English, 2 Swedish, 2 Coptic, 2 Armenian, 2 German, 1 Danish; making together 124 copies, for 960 piastres. He has also the encouragement that his labors are attended with immediate good results. He related to me, among others, the following interesting incident: A Greek of Damascus, living at Alexandria, became convinced, by reading the Bible, of the errors of his church and the truth of the Protestant faith. He immediately began to instruct others, and through · his influence six were persuaded to renounce the Greek religion. They suffered much persecution from the bigoted Greeks, and one night, while at their devotions, they were attacked by a party of forty or fifty, armed with knives and sticks, but were delivered from their hands by the Turkish police. He has since sold eight Bibles in that very room; one of the first persecutors has himself become a devout believer, and now a goodly
number assemble there to read the Scriptures together, and have prayers in the name of Jesus Christ. Through the humble labors of this one colporteur, so much interest is beginning to be manifested in the Bible work, that Mr. Brown thought the time had already come for opening a Bible depository in the central street of the city, similar to that established at Constantinople, which would bring the Scriptures in every language publicly before the notice of all, and thus greatly increase their sale and circulation. Alexandria has a population of 150,000; say Moslems, 110,000; Greeks, 6,000; Jews, 4,000; Europeans and other foreigners, 30,000.
"I also visited the ruins of the Alexandrine Library, where our Septuagint translation of the Old Testament was made by order of Ptolemy Philadelphus, two hundred and eighty-four years before Christ, and the spot where it is said St. Mark the Evangelist suffered martyrdom, now occupied by a Turkish mosque of a thousand and one columns.
“Learning from the American Consul that a steamer would sail on the following day from Cairo for the upper Nile, accomplishing the voyage in seventeen days, which requires sixty in a Nile boat, I decided to improve this favorable opportunity for exploring Upper Egypt, as a field for circulating the Scriptures, and also to investi