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expressed a great desire to have also Tourat and Ingil' (the Bible and Gospel). I tell them that I have some at the steamer if they wish. They answer, “Taib, and say
' they will come immediately to the river for them. They invite me first, however, into a large house near by, where several of their elders are seated. I join their circle after the Oriental manner, and tell them that 'I am American Inglese, that we love the Bible and the Copts, and I have come to give them this Book of God.' •Taib keteer,' they exclaimed, Americani, gepti Christiani, sawa, sawa, sawa' (the Americans and Copts are Christian brothers), said they, putting the forefingers of their two hands together to express close friendship. I could speak but few words of Arabic, and one or two of them could speak only a few words in Turkish, so that we were obliged principally to employ the language of signs. As I spoke still to them of
. the Bible and Gospel, one of their number remarked, 'Allah var' (God is here). They then brought me coffee for refreshment, and the whole party came with me to receive the Scriptures. They formed quite a little procession of venerable men, headed by their old priest, Abraham, and his young assistant, John, and followed by a number of their children. I gave them a Bible and two Testaments. They expressed much gratitude, and said they would both read it, hide it in their hearts, and teach it also to their children. The priests, unlike the Catholics, were very desirous to have their people receive the Bible, and thanked me cordially for it in their name, An intelligent little boy, ten or twelve years of age, now came forward, and entreated me for an 'Ingil' (Testament). I asked if he could read it. A Testament was handed him, and he read it as fluently as a grown person. He kissed my hand, and
begged me for a book by holding out his two hands before me; but I had no more to spare, and was obliged to refuse him. I thought, however, a 'backshish' would satisfy him as well, and placed a small piece of money in his hand. He at once gave it back to me with a smile, and put out his hands again entreating me for a book. I much regretted that I must deny him and others begging for 'Ingil Tourat,' and could only promise that I would send them more from Cairo by the first opportunity.
“ Their priests are allowed to marry, and the Copts have one wife, and live together in families as Christians. They do not worship images, pictures, or saints, or pray to the Virgin Mary, as the Greeks and Catholics, but only to God, through Christ alone. They have four churches, and number 1500 in Esne. More than one-third, or 500, are able to read. At Assouan, the ancient Syene, I found the acting American consul was a Copt, and twenty or thirty others resided in the village. They have no church or priest among them, but have a service every Sunday, and an address or sermon from one of their number. They desired much to have the Scriptures, and I gave them two copies of the New Testament, for which they brought me presents of ebony wood to express their gratitude in return. I requested the consul to assemble them all at his house in the evening, and in company with several English and American friends made them a visit, and told them of our faith and worship in England and America. They heartily assented to all, and were delighted to receive instructions from us, as Christians from distant lands. They had never before received any visit from missionaries or Christian friends, and it was indeed encouraging
to preach the gospel to these simple-minded Christian people, and give them the New Testament, far on the borders of Ethiopia. May the Lord bless His Word, that the desert may in truth bud and blossom as the rose, and Ethiopia stretch forth her hands unto God!
On our return, I learned that at ancient Thebes there is a large community of Copts, and a bishop living among them. The American consul, though a Mussulman, said that his family and the bishop's were like brothers, and he would immediately send for him to meet me at his house. The bishop very soon came, and I was much pleased with his venerable, patriarchal appearance. I spoke to him of the Bible and Gospel, and related to him what I had already done for the Copts. He thanked me sincerely, and said, 'It is very kind in the Americans to remember the Copts; and I am exceedingly glad to have my people receive the Scriptures.' I then made an appointment to visit his church with him on the following day. The next morning I called upon him at his house. He gave me the Christian salutation, and a welcome to his home. After the ordinary Oriental entertainment, we visited the two schools for boys which the bishop has instructed in his house, and then set out for the church. Having crossed the Nile, we rode on horseback for an hour across the sandy plain, quite to the base of the Lybian mountains, and came to the ancient Coptic church that stands alone on the edge of the desert. Here they were driven by Moslem persecution, and here they now toil up every Sabbath to worship God. It is a plain and simple edifice, built of plaster, and supported by old Corinthian columns from the ruins of a Christian church of the age of Con
stantine. As we sat upon the matting, resting from the heat of the sun, I asked the bishop what was the belief of his Church respecting the Bible and Saviour. He answered, We believe that the Bible is from God: Christ is the Son of God. Glory be to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.' I said to him that we would be glad to have him come to America, and tell us all about his people. He smiled and replied— Yes, the Copts are very poor, and I would like much to visit America, and get money to build another church in the village, as it is so far to come across the sandy plain under a burning sun.' We then returned, and at his house I found a number of the principal Copts assembled to meet me. I presented them with a copy of the Bible, and told them that we loved this Bible in America, and I had come to give it to those who have it not in the East. They gathered around me, and exclaimed, “Mashallah'(God be praised). I asked the bishop if he wished to have American missionaries come and live among his people, to instruct them in the Scriptures and preach the gospel, as they had done among the Armenians. He replied, 'I would be very happy to welcome American Christians among my people.' He then gave me his parting salutation, as they all did, in the name of God; and I returned on board our steamer for Cairo. I have thus been much interested in exploring the Coptic field, and distributing the Scriptures among this ancient Christian people."
At Constantinople Mr Righter had become interested in the objects of the Evangelical Alliance, of which he was made the corresponding secretary, and he was charged
with a special commission to advance the objects of the alliance, by organising similar associations in other places. He makes frequent mention in his notes of travel of organising committees among those who loved the cause of Christ, after having explained to them the purposes aimed at in the alliance.