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Arabic Bibles have recently been collected in the convent, and burned by the Catholic priests. As the leaves were crackling in the flames, they shouted, 'This is the voice of the devil.' Notwithstanding, there is an increased desire for the Scriptures among all classes. Even the Catholics would have the Bible, but for the prohibition of the priests. Nazareth has a population of about 4,500, as follows: Moslems, 2,300; Greeks, 1,000; Latins, 500; Maronites, 200; Greek Catholics, 250; Protestants, 100.
SEA OF GALILEE.
"We set out on our journey the next day, crossing the summit of Mount Tabor, and in the evening arrived at Tiberias, on the Sea of Galilee.
"This was, to me, one of the most interesting localities in the Holy Land. Around these shores the Saviour loved to dwell, and here most of his mighty works were done. Simon Peter, and Andrew his brother, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, were fishermen of this sea, and were called thence by our Saviour to follow him. On this lake he came walking to them on the water; and here, when the winds and waves arose, he stilled the tempest with his word, saying, 'Peace, be still;' and suddenly there was a great calm. On a mountain near by he miraculously fed the multitude of 4,000 men with 'seven loaves and a few little fishes;' and upon another delivered his sermon on the mount to his disciples.
Here stood Capernaum, Chorazin, and Bethsaida, whose terrible overthrow the Saviour predicted because of their unbelief, and their ruined sites only remain to attest the truth of his prophecy. We spent a delightful Sabbath on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and joined in the worship of our Divine Redeemer, who walked here clothed in humanity. Tiberias is one of the holy cities of the Jews, and they are miserable and bigoted in the extreme. No missionary lives among them, and no Scriptures have been distributed. I called upon a Greek priest, and had a pleasant interview. He wished a few copies of the Scriptures for his people.
"In two days more across the hills and along the valley of the Jordan, we came to Banias, the ancient Cesarea Philippi. Here we traced the last footsteps of our Saviour in the north of Palestine. It was pleasant, also, to leave the Holy Land with the scene of the transfiguration impressed last upon the mind; for it was doubtless upon one of these mountains near by that this sublime event occurred. 'When Jesus came into the coasts of Cesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, Whom do men say that I, the son of man, am?' 'Then he showed unto his disciples that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day;'
and he also spake of his coming 'in the glory of his Father, with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.' Immediately following this conversation as related by Matthew, it is said: 'And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them: and his face did. shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. . . . Behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear ye him.' Such was our last view of the Saviour in the Holy Land-transfigured, glorified, as he will come again to judge the world, and bring his redeemed ones to reign with him in heaven.
"Then we crossed the Anti-Lebanon range of mountains, and in two days more reached Damascus. Here I met with two missionaries of the Irish Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Messrs. Robeson and Porter, and three American missionaries of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, Dr. Paulding and the Rev. Messrs. Frazer and Lansing. They are laboring harmoniously, side by side, in the same field, to spread the Bible and preach the Gospel among the vast multitudes of
this city. Miss Dales of Philadelphia, is also associated with them in the missionary work. Damascus is said to contain a population of 125,000; viz. Moslems, 100,000; Greeks (speaking Arabic), 8,000; Jews, 5,000; Greek Catholics, 8,000; and a few Armenians, Maronites, Druses, and Syrians.
"There have been sold during the last year 259 Arabic Scriptures, and thirty-seven copies in Hebrew, Turkish, and English. The school for boys numbers thirty-seven, principally from the Greeks. I was much gratified in attending a Bible class of Greek boys instructed by the Rev. Mr. Porter. He examined them in their regular course of lessons on the seventeenth and eighteenth chapters of Isaiah, upon the subject of the burden of Damascus and Egypt. They appeared very intelligent and much interested in the Scriptures. I also visited the girls' school under the charge of Miss Dales: they repeated portions of the Psalms and New Testament very readily and well, and seemed delighted to study their lessons from the Bible. The Greek Patriarch has also a large school, in which the Scriptures are taught. I called upon him in behalf of the Bible cause, and he appeared much interested to hear of the Bible work and the progress of religious liberty at Constantinople.
"There is a new interest with regard to the
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