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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 Testament. 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, has 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,
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 testi. mony to Mr. Righter's worth, and to the estima. tion in which he was held.
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.