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Scriptures springing up at Damascus. A resolution was taken at their last station meeting to establish a Bible dépôt in the principal street of the city. This surely is encouraging in the ancient stronghold of Moslem intolerance and fanaticism.
Returning by way of Baalbeck, the ancient temple of Baal, I arrived at Beyroot in time to attend the annual meeting of the Syrian mission, and present the subject of the Bible interests before the brethren of all the stations assembled in their general council. They gave me a very kind reception, and assigned a special hour for listening to statements respecting the Bible work at Constantinople, in Egypt, Palestine, and Syria. They also, on their part, presented encouraging reports from each of their fields of labor.
“The population to which their missionary effort is directed, in the towns and villages on and around Mount Lebanon, consists of the following classes: Moslems, 51,000; Greeks, 45,500; Maronites, 24,000; Druses, 15,500. Their principal success, however, is attained among the Greeks, They have established Protestant schools at the different stations, in which 550 boys and 250 girls are taught the Scriptures.
"There have been distributed and sold by this mission during the last year, 532 Arabic Scriptures, five Turkish, nine Hebrew, and two Syriac. The American Bible Society have in press at Bey
DR. SMITH'S TRANSLATION.
root a new and complete translation of the whole Bible in Arabic, by the Rev. Dr. Eli Smith. The printing of the Old Testament with references has proceeded as far as Exodus, and the New as far as the eighth chapter of Matthew. The work must necessarily progress slowly by reason of the extreme accuracy of the translator and editor. Dr. Smith gave me the following account of the thorough system he pursues with regard to it:
"The translation is first made directly from the original by one of the native helpers, to give the style of the Arabic. This Dr. Smith works over with all the critical assistance of books he can command. He then calls in another native helper, and they criticise together. A fair copy of this is made. He then goes over the whole de novo with the assistance of a third native helper; after which another copy is transcribed, and the work is put in press. Twenty or thirty proofs of this are struck off, and sent to the bishop of Jerusalem, to Cairo, Damascus, to all the stations in Syria, and several natives for examination. By this means the translator learns what words or phrases may not be understood in any of the sectional dialects. In twenty or thirty days these proofs are all received, their suggestions examined, and a corrected copy prepared for printing. Two important points are thus gained—the correctness of the version, and the approbation of all the different
DR. SMITH'S TRANSLATION.
societies concerned. The Arabic, like other Eastern languages, has both a classic usage and modern dialect. The doctor follows the classic style in language and grammar, but only so far as it is intelligible to the common people. It will, consequently, be understood by the immense Arabic-speaking population of Syria, Egypt, Mosul, Bagdad, and India.
“He places various readings in the margin, as in the English version. Such is the carefully elaborate and accurate system pursued, to make this the most perfect translation of the Bible in any language in the world. The first translation has already been made of the Pentateuch, the seven minor prophets, and the entire New Testa. ment. It will, however, require five or six years to complete the whole at the present rate of progress. Yet the demand is so urgent, that a resolution has been taken to suspend for the present the Old, and hasten forward the New Testament as fast as possible. I deeply regret to inform our Board that the health of Dr. Smith is very much impaired by his arduous labors, so that he will be obliged to discontinue his duties for the summer. The earnest prayer of all is that he may be speedily restored and spared, by the blessing of God, to complete this great work of his life.
"I also had the pleasure of meeting with my excellent predecessor, the Rev. S. H. Calhoun, at
Beyroot, and conferring with him in regard to the Bible work. He sends his kind remembrance to all his old friends.
“My visit to Egypt, Palestine, and Syria, bas thus been of the greatest interest, and I trust will be productive of the most lasting and important results in behalf of the Bible Cause in the East.”
“ Affectionately, yours,
"C. N. RIGHTER."
On Thursday, April 19, he notes in his journal, "In sight of the domes and minarets of Stamboul, and thankful for a safe return from a long and happy journey."
The spring and summer were spent at Constantinople in the work of Bible distribution, and in laying and carrying out his plans for spreading it over the East. He visited the hospitals as before, taking with him the word of life for the poor soldiers. There was no difficulty in gaining access to them, and his visits were most gratefully received. On one of these occasions he accompanied the philanthropist, Miss Dix, who was then in the East, on her mission of mercy to the asylums of the unfortunate. During the month of August he had an attack of fever which confined him to his room for many days, and pre
vented much active service during the month. The physician pronounced the seat of his disease to be his liver, and it is impossible to say what connexion it may have had with his subsequent fatal illness.
During all his residence at Constantinople his intercourse with the missionaries was a source of the highest mutual pleasure, and his relations to the Hon. Mr. Spence, Minister from the United States to Turkey, were of the most friendly and agreeable character, as will appear from the letters which will be found in the concluding part of this volume, and which bear the highest testimony to Mr. Righter's worth, and to the estima. tion in which he was held.