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of the gospel in all the towns and villages around, and, from his faithfulness and zeal, is called 'the Apostle to the Gentiles.' I was greatly pleased to find the Bible work of so much interest and importance at Arabkir, on the borders of the ancient Cappadocia.
“The next day we set out upon our journey, escorted the
way by one of the missionaries and several of the native brethren. We passed through a finely cultivated country, abounding in ploughed fields and growing grain, and in six hours came down to the river Euphrates, one of the four rivers that flowed from the garden of Eden. It here runs with a swift current through a rugged gorge, winding among the mountains. Crossing the stream in a primitive scow, with a long rudder that sweeps through the current, we reached the town of Maden, picturesquely situated on the opposite bank. Here a little church of Protestants is gathered through the labours of the American missionaries, and they have a small depôt for Bibles and Testaments in one corner of their chapel. It was the evening for their social prayer-meeting, and they soon all came in to bid us welcome. Then their native preacher conducted the service, reading from the Scriptures and offering prayer.
And afterward we addressed them in behalf of the Bible and mission cause.
They listened with deep interest, and seemed greatly encouraged to feel that Christians in England and America received with them the same pure Bible and gospel of salvation.
“It was a peculiar delight to join in the worship of God with these brethren on the banks of the river Euphrates.
“In the morning early we rode over the mountains filled with silver ore, and came to a fine hill country
abounding in springs of water, and villages perched upon the hillsides. Thence crossing a fertile plain, and ascending the steep hillside, we reached the fortress-built town of Kharpoot, that overlooks the whole plain and the hundreds of Armenian villages around. The view was most beautiful, as we arrived at the hour of sunset and twilight in the East.
“Kharpoot is one of the more recent missionary stations of the American Board, and is in the centre of a large Armenian population. There are thirty cities within this field, and 366 villages on the plain, containing 100,000 Armenians, 20,000 Koords, and 5,000 Kuzelbash, all accessible to missionary effort. The city is the seat of the pashalic, and a mart of traffic from all parts of Asia Minor. I was glad to find the Scriptures kept publicly for sale, in various languages, near the principal business bazaar: here Turks, Armenians, and Koords from the mountains, come to purchase the Bible. There have been sold, during the last year, twenty-two modern Armenian Bibles and seventy-one Testaments; five ancient Armenian and two Turkish Testaments; eight Koordish Gospels ; fifty Armenian and five Turkish Psalms; and four English, one Arabic, and one French Testament; making 169 copies of the Scriptures. I visited the two Protestant schools, numbering thirty-three pupils, in which the Scriptures are daily taught. Their system is to commit verses of Scripture, and repeat them on the Sabbath. One little boy, five years old, recited for me nearly the whole of the first chapter of Matthew correctly and well. Also a blind boy seemed quite in advance of the rest in his knowledge of the Scriptures. It was interesting to know that the Bible is likewise taught to the blind in this far off land.
ORGANISING A CHURCH.
Thus the children are instructed to meet and overthrow the corrupt doctrines of the Oriental churches, and defend a pure faith from the Word of God. It is worthy of remark, that the Bible is always made the standard of appeal in every discussion among the common people. In the evening we attended the examination of candidates preparatory to organising the first Protestant church at Kharpoot. Ten presented themselves for admission. I was much pleased to find all not only sound in doctrine, but also spiritually acquainted with the Scriptures.
“The next day was the Sabbath. In the morning we attended service in the new chapel near Castle Rock. It was filled with a large and attentive congregation ; and
; after sermon, I briefly addressed them in relation to the Bible cause, enforcing upon them the duty of circulating the Bible and preaching the gospel in all the towns and villages around. In the afternoon a still larger audience assembled in the mission chapel, to witness the formation of the first Evangelical church in the city. The ten candidates then came forward, gave their assent to the confession of faith, and were all baptized and received into membership of the Church of Christ. Among the number was a converted Armenian priest, who became convinced of the truth by studying the Bible, and now received the gospel anew, in full sincerity and simplicity of heart. Afterward the Rev. Mr Jones and myself administered to them the communion of the Lord's supper; and it was a peculiar delight to sit down for the first time with these elect ones around the table of Christ, and partake of the emblems of His death and atonement for the sins of the world. We trust and pray that this may be the beginning of kindling again the pure light of the gospel of salvation in all this
land. In the evening a Turkish effendi, wearing a large white turban, called to see us. He said, 'I have a Testament, and am reading it with much interest; but I cannot understand the doctrine of the Trinity. We said to him, that we first proved that the Bible was from God; and as this doctrine was revealed in the Bible, we believed its truth; though it might be above the comprehension of our finite minds. He received the remark in silence, and went his way to read again this wondrous book. The Rev. Mr Dunmore has also a class of ten young men, to whom he is giving a course of biblical lectures, and preparing them to go forth and distribute the Bible, and preach the gospel in all the region round about. We were much interested in the encouraging developments of the missionary work at Kharpoot, and both remarked how entirely it was begun and carried on through the instrumentality of the Bible.
“At Diarbekir the native brethren called in to see us, and one of them related the beginning of the good work in the city.
A case of Bibles was first sent to Mardin. There they were seized by a rich Catholic merchant, and locked up to keep them from being circulated. The pasha afterwards executed this man in order to obtain his property, and the Bibles were thus set at liberty, and brought to Diarbekir for sale. A Syrian dyer bought one of them, and began to read it aloud at night. This interested one of his workmen, who also obtained a copy, and commenced reading it; then others of the people, till the bishop became alarmed, and ordered all the Bibles to be collected and burned. Still, some were not given up, and the good work went forward, until one of the Syrian bishops himself renounced the errors of his church. He afterwards went to England, and brought out a large
number of Bibles, and put them in circulation among his people. Much persecution followed; still the work advanced, in the providence of God, till many were awakened to the truth, and some have remained firm to the end.
“It was most interesting to hear these persecuted ones themselves relate their simple story, and tell what they had suffered for the sake of the Bible and the gospel of Christ. “ I also called upon the Armenian bishop.
He was a venerable old man, with a flowing white beard, and received me with the greatest politeness. I expressed to him the desire of the American Bible Society to furnish every family with the Bible in the modern language, which all can understand. He replied, 'It is eyi, chok eyi'-(good, very good.) “The Bible teaches us the way
— to heaven. There is one Saviour for English, Americans, and Armenians. Through the blood of Christ we all find salvation, and we are brothers in Christ Jesus.' He says, “It is a shame if every family who can read does not have the Bible.' As we leave, he presses us warmly by the hand, and remarks, In Christ, I hope we may meet in heaven.'
" It is pleasant thus to find that more enlightened views are beginning to prevail among the patriarchs and bishops of the Oriental churches, in reference to the circulation of the Bible and fellowship of the gospel. On the Sabbath we attended the large Bible class held in the mission chapel. There were 140 present, seated upon their knees in Eastern style. After the lesson, I addressed them in behalf of the Bible cause. They listened with tears in their eyes, and then crowded around to shake me by the hand, and thank me and our society for send