« السابقةمتابعة »
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. 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. 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.' 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
ing them the Bible and gospel to teach them of Christ and the way of eternal salvation; and it was a scene of deep interest, as Syrians, Chaldeans, Greeks, and Armenians all came forward to express their gratitude in the name, and for the love of Christ.
“In the afternoon, we celebrated with them the communion of the Lord's supper, and truly sat together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, calling to mind His sufferings and death upon the cross for our salvation.
"One hundred and sixty copies of the Scriptures have been sold and distributed from this station during the last nine months. They also send out native helpers to sell and distribute the Scriptures in the towns and villages around, and to make tours in the mountains of Koordistan. Thus, through various means, the Word of God is having free course, and is glorified in this ancient land.
"At Hassankeefa, the city hewn in rock, I counted seven large mosques, in the finest style of Saracenic architecture, now crumbling to ruins near the city. As I sat among these ruins reading the Bible, one of the Turkish soldiers, who had taken passage with us upon the raft, stepped up to me, and asked if it was the 'Ingil Sheriff' -(the holy Gospel.) I answered, 'Yes, and I also have one in Turkish, if you wish.' Immediately on my return he came to me, and begged a Testament; and as I gave it to him, he began at once to read it aloud, that all his companions might hear; and every day since, upon the raft, I have heard him reading his Testament aloud to himself and his fellows with much earnestness. Our earnest prayer is that it may lead him to renounce the religion of the false prophet, and sincerely receive the truth as it is in Jesus."
MR RIGHTER kept a journal or diary, containing brief notes of the events of each day, during all the time of his second absence from home, until his last illness. Several volumes of such notes were returned to his friends, but they are so brief as not to admit of being transcribed. They were more full on this last journey than they had been before, and it is the source of very deep interest to those who were acquainted with him, and it will be to all into whose hands this volume may fall, that his last records were so full. They shew more conclusively than the testimony of others, how truly his heart was devoted to the great work in which he was engaged-how untiring he was in its prosecution, and how cheerfully and even joyfully he arose each day to enter upon its duties and toils. This journal is given entire from the day of his reaching Mosul :
"NOVEMBER 8, 1856.
'A splendid clear morning, and are rejoiced at the prospect of reaching Mosul in a few hours, and meeting with our excellent Christian friends there.
“At noon we came in sight of the minarets and walls of Mosul and Nebby Jonas, the tomb of Jonah, covering the ruins of ancient Nineveh, on the opposite side of the