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TRANSFIGURATION.

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.

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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 shewed 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. . . .

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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 Fraser and Lansing. They are labouring 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

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readily and well, and

THE BIBLE.

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 depôt 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 Beyrout 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 labour.

"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, 5 Turkish,

DR SMITH'S TRANSLATION.

163

9 Hebrew, and 2 Syriac. The American Bible Society have in press at Beyrout 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 to 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 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 under

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DR SMITH'S TRANSLATION.

stood 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 labours, 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 Beyrout, 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,

"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."

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