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النشر الإلكتروني

220

NESTORIAN PRAYERS.

village, two hours distant; about 150 population; fifteen can read; they very much desire a Bible. Send also a Bible and Gospel by the priest Isaiah to the Nestorian bishop, Mar Joseph, at Shah, a village six hours distant, 200 population; send also a letter to testify that American Christians love much the Nestorians, and desire them all to receive the Bible and gospel of salvation. We dine upon a young kid of a goat. A girl sits at the outer door with a dish of porridge in her hand, to give some from a spoon to all the poor who come to receive it. Shemmas Eremiah is very entertaining in conversation. verb, 'If he see me, I am friend; if he not see me, I am thief.' Nestorian prayer in church, glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, good will to men, then the Lord's Prayer. Cry from the minaret, 'Alla hou achbar,' twice repeated, Allah la il Allah,' &c. The Catholics come in the evening, and we preach the truth to them.

Koordish pro

"MONDAY, Dec. 1.

"Attend the Nestorian prayer in the morning before sunrise. The priest alone, in a dark room, repeats them from memory; two prayers and five or six psalms. He can repeat all the psalms by heart. One old woman comes, none of the people. We ride to Jesireh, have much detention in crossing the river; find there a new Moodir, Sadik Agha, a fine-looking, energetic man, who receives us with much politeness. The Medghis come in, Cadi, and various dignitaries, ten in number; 2000 population, 1500 Moslems, 500 Christians.

"Meet with Lord Henry Ker, of the English embassy to Persia, travelling by post, and bearer of despatches to Diarbekir and Aleppo. He dines with us in Anglo-Turk

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ish style. We then bid farewell to our friends, Shemmas and the Doctor, and ride in company with his lordship two hours upon the road. He is a very affable and pleasant gentleman, twenty years of age, and has travelled much in the East. We ride two hours longer over a very stony road, and arrive just at sunset at the Koordish village of Hemdik-10 houses, 50 population; situated in the midst of the plain, bounded by snow-crowned mountains.

"TUESDAY, 2d.

"Have a splendid sunrise view from our house-top over Mount Judy, where tradition relates that Noah's ark rested, and the dove plucked the olive branch from the plain.

"In one hour came to the village of Babin, an old ruined town. The Onbashi refuses us a horseman. We continue our way past two small Koordish villages, over a wretchedly rough, rocky road, and lunch at noon on a little green spot in sight of the village of Ainser. Just before sunset arrive at Deir Ona. The Moodir is holding his medghis. in the open air, clothed in a scarlet cloak. He is very civil-says he will give me horsemen, and begs me not to report the Onbashi to the Pasha, who dishonoured the Sultan's firman. One hundred and fifty population, Moslems and Jacobites. Hadji Suleiman Agha, very civilcomes himself on his fast horse, one half hour, to make ready a konak for us.

"We spend the night at the Koordish village of Atim— forty population; ten Jacobites.

"WEDNESDAY, 3d.

"We are in the saddle at sunrise; in one hour we cross the plain with the Sinjar hills on our left, and the Marian

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mountain on our right, and the vast (chul) desert stretching before us, we come to the village of Bannet, on a little mound. One hundred and fifty Jacobites, Armenians, and Moslems. The villages are all upon raised mounds; peasants are ploughing and sowing in the fields, and the land is productive.

"The white church of Nisilin is seen in the morning sunlight far away.

"We lunch at noon in sight of the snow-crowned mountains just rising above the wide-spreading plain-like peaks of light and purity, exceedingly beautiful. A raised mound gives us a splendid view in all directions; stop at the village. The Kahyah Shukuro is very polite and cordial in his greetings and attention. We then gallop on across the plain, passed several mound-built villages, and in two hours come in sight of the large barrack of Nisilin. Mule falls sick on the way; treatment and tears of muleteers. Meet several troops of soldiers, a Koordish chief with his guard; see the women coming to the wells with their rope to draw water; arrive at sunset across the river Chebar at Nisilin. Again we see another river, where the prophet Ezekiel is said to have seen the sublime visions of Jehovah and His glory. We find a curious room, full of soldiers seated round a good fire, smoking and drinking coffee. Call upon the Nakie of Moodir; send for the Usbashi, and despatch two horsemen for our mules. Have a long konak, and comfortable quarters for the night.

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"THURSDAY, 4th.

See the ancient river Chebar from the house-top winding far through the plain. We ride two hours over the plain. On the left partly desert, on the right cultivated

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land, and arrive at the ruined barracks, Russer Sercha Rhan. A few miserable Arabs are quarrelling over their measures of barley; a half dozen stone huts filled with women and children are inclosed within the ancient walls.

"We lunch to-day upon the open plain. Then in two hours we come to Dara. It is well situated on a hillside, in front of the great plain, and beside a stream of pure

water.

"Here are extensive old Roman ruins, temples, theatres, bridges, immense blocks of hewn stone, and all the marks of their ancient power. Also many tombs and sepulchres cut in the rock. Two hours more over hill and valley bring us at sunset to the village of Harin; three hundred and fifty population-all Arabs, who spend- the winter in their houses here, and in summer take their tents and flocks, and go out into the desert. The Kahyah Seid Hassein is a good specimen of the Arab character; invite him to come to England; have a pleasant talk with him in the evening. The Shammar Sinjar and Anasee occupy the whole of the desert to Bagdad and Damascus. He says the Sinjar are no more; they have become Yezidee. The village is situated near an old mound, and beside a well and running water. See a large caravan of camels coming in the evening to rest here.

"FRIDAY, 5th.

"Beautiful morning; see women and girls drawing water from the well with their own ropes, to water the mules and camels, as in Scripture days, in ancient Mesopotamia.

"We then ride across the fertile plain to the mountain side. Mardin rises high above us with a castle fortress

224

RELIGIOUS SERVICES.

higher still. The air is pure and bracing. The son of the Kahyah, mounted on his fine Arab horse, performs feats of horsemanship in curves and circles around us. Climbing over the rugged, rocky ascent, in one hour we come to the convent Deir Zaferran, the residence of the patriarch of the Jacobite Church in the East, Patriarch Jacob. It is beautifully and securely situated, commanding a wide view over the plain and desert. There is good water, cistern, well, fountain, springs. Grapes and figs are cultivated, and wheat and barley. The patriarch and his vakel are absent. Two of his Rahab and Shemmas (priests and deacons), receive us very kindly, and provide us with eggs, cheese, and bread for refreshment. They shew us through the convent, and to the church. with red-coloured paintings of the Saviour, the Apostles, Saints, and the Virgin, upon the walls. They do not worship these as do the Catholics, but pray to Christ alone. They have a large silver-gilt Gospel before the high altar. I find a copy of the Bible in Arabic and Syrian here.

It is adorned

"They pray seven times a day, and spend the remainder of their time in writing manuscripts. They pray at midnight and before sunrise, mid-day and sunset; three times in the church. The wooden bell, struck with a large stick, sounds the hour for prayers at noon. We attended the service in the church. They cross themselves, bow down, chant their prayer from a book, then draw aside the curtain from before the high altar where a lamp is burning, then cross and prostrate themselves, and chant a short prayer again. The chapel is hung round with glass and gilded lamps. They all go forward and kiss the cover of the Gospel, and the stone of St John. They listen with much interest, and with tears in their eyes, to our

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