« السابقةمتابعة »
JOURNEY TO NINEVEH.
ON the first of September he became acquainted with the Rev. Mr. Jones, Secretary of the Turkish Missions Aid Society, who was about to visit the interior stations of Asia Minor. Mr. R. almost immediately determined on joining him in furtherance of the great object which had called him to the East. Accordingly he made his arrangements for the departure, which, owing to the detention of the vessel, was deferred until the 16th. In the meanwhile he mentions in his journal, under date of September 14, attending at Pera the baptism of the first Christian Mohammedan child, Henry Julius Williams, by Rev. Dr. Goodell, at the chapel of the Dutch Embassy, as an occasion of deep interest. He took his departure from Constantinople for the last time, as it afterwards appeared, September 16th. A beautiful rainbow marked the morning on which he set sail, and hastily bidding his friends farewell, he went on board the steamer Imperial Eagle, with the Rev. Mr. Jones.
Mr. R. gives the following account of his journey:
"We left Constantinople on the 16th and sailed two days across the Black Sea to Samsoun upon the coast. Here we took horses and rode three days to Marsovan, for several years a missionary station of the American Board. The Protestant pastor, Hohanes, and one of the native brethren came out to meet us two hours before our arrival, and gave us a cordial welcome. And as we reached the city, many Armenians hastened to give us their salutations as brethren in Christ. It was most pleasant to be thus kindly welcomed as Christians in a strange land.
"In the evening a special meeting was held, and I stated to them the object of my visit-to furnish the Bible in every language to all who desired it in the East. They expressed their thankfulness very sincerely, and wished me to convey their gratitude to the American Bible Society for giving them the pure Bible and Gospel in the modern Armenian language, which all can understand, that each one for himself may read God's Word and be instructed in the way of everlasting salvation. The next day I visited the bookstore, near the bazaar, in the central street of the city. Here the Scriptures are publicly kept for sale in Armenian, Turkish, and Greek. There
have been sold during the last year, twenty-four Armenian and eleven Greek Bibles and Testaments. The demand for the Scriptures is also increasing. I received an order for the following: Sixty Græco-Turkish Testaments; twenty Turkish Bibles; twenty Turkish Psalms; thirty large Armenian Bibles; thirty Armenian Testaments; forty Armeno-Turkish Testaments, making 200 copies of the Scriptures for the ensuing year. We then visited the Protestant school, which numbers forty children. We found them reading and studying the Scriptures. At morning and evening prayer also, the Old and New Testaments are read and explained. I likewise made a visit to the native Armenian school. The teacher received me very politely, said he had the Bible and Gospel in the Armenian language, which he taught daily to his pupils; and also, that he desired an additional supply.
"We afterwards enjoyed a very interesting visit with a sheik or chief of a sect of Dervishes (Mohammedan monks), who have a convent near Marsovan, to which many pilgrims resort. He received us very politely in his library room, and first presented his little boy to us, in token of mutual friendship. He says he has the Bible and Testament, and has carefully read and studied both. He himself copied the gospel of Matthew in manuscript several years since. He borrowed
it by night from a friendly Turk in the seraglio, wrote it as he could, and returned it in the daytime for fear of discovery. I asked him, 'What is your opinion of the Bible?' Said he, 'It would take me two days to tell you. The Word of God is everlasting. You cannot cut it, cannot burn it, cannot destroy it. It is in the world for It teaches Christ, the Gospel of love-love to God and love to man. In Jesus we love one another as brothers. There are three kinds of love: first, common friendship; second, to lay down one's life for his friends; third, to love your enemies. All these are taught in the Bible. There is a hidden treasure in the gospel that will be brought to light more and more in coming time, till it is known and prized by all the world.' I told him that many Mussulmen in Constantinople are at present seeking for the Bible and valuing it much, and we hope soon all will have it. He replied, 'I must not speak publicly my sentiments now, or my head will be taken off at once.' It was most gratifying to find him so enlightened and imbued with the spirit and love of the Gospel. He says, 'I love the gospel of John, the beloved disciple, who fully unfolds the tender love of Jesus. That iron yonder is cold, but when you put it in the fire it becomes warm and heated. So when we come together we may be strangers at first, but our hearts soon grow warm
with the love of Christ.' And as we came to separate he embraced and kissed us affectionately, and with tears in his eyes expressed the hope that we might meet in heaven. He is but one of a large class of Mussulmen in the East who are becoming enlightened by studying the Scriptures, but are kept from embracing Christianity through fear of persecution and death.
"In a town named Soungoloo, twenty hours distant from Marsovan, a hojah, or Turkish teacher, not long since became possessed of a copy of the Scriptures. He continued to study it with much interest, and then began to explain it to others; and now, it is said, as many as one thousand are interested in seeking after the truth. As we left Marsovan, the pastor, the children, and the native brethren accompanied us some distance on our journey, and then took leave of us with much thankfulness and gratitude for our visit in behalf of the Gospel and the Bible Cause. We arrived the same day at Amasia. Here I called upon the Armenian archbishop, and stated to him the object of my mission-to furnish all, who desire it, with the Word of God, without note or comment. He received me with great politeness, but said that all his people were supplied with the Scriptures.
"In two days more we reached Tocat, and were again welcomed by a delegation of the mis