صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني
[blocks in formation]

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

22+

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. It is adorned 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.

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

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

spiritual conversation, after service. We tell them they must pray for the Holy Spirit to guide them in the way of all truth. The Saviour promised to His disciples to give them the Comforter, to dwell within them unto everlasting life. They must pray, not only with the lips, but with the heart. A very interesting visit. We then came into a smooth, winding path among the hills (stone churches cut in the rocks rise high above), and in one half hour we arrive at the Jacobite village of Kala Mora (Woman Castle). High above is a strong castle held by a woman against Tamerlane the Great, until he retired from its walls. A few minutes more bring us in sight of Mardin, a strong walled city on the mountain side, overlooking the plain and desert that stretches 280 miles towards the south. A strongly fortified and strongly guarded castle commands the whole. Maidin has a population of 10,000

- 5000 Moslems; 2000 Jacobites; 2000 Armenians; 400 Chaldeans; 500 Assyrians; 100 Jews. We are met at the gate by a cavass, who conducts us to the house of Howadji Yuseph, a Catholic Armenian of large wealth. He receives us very hospitably into an elegantly carpeted and cushioned room, and makes every effort to contribute to our entertainment. The Pasha also sends his Usbashi (major) to meet and accompany us to the Ronak, and inquire what is our wish. Then we pay him a visit at the house of Suleiman Agha (Caimakan). Aali Pasha receives us with great courtesy. He is a noble, soldier-like man, of much personal presence. He was engaged in the war on the Danube, and at Kars. He is a great friend of General Williams and the English. We tell him that our journey thus far in the Turkish empire, from Stamboul, has been very agreeable, as we have a great

P

[blocks in formation]

firman from the Sultan. We have been treated with much politeness by all the Pashas, Moodirs, and officers of the Sultan. Only one Usbashi have we met with who said he did not know the Sultan Abdul Medjid or his firman ; neither did he care for the Pasha, and he would give us no guard. He immediately sends for his Usbashi (major), and orders the corporal to be removed from office, arrested, and brought to Mardin in irons. Thus summarily is justice dispensed in Turkey. He was dressed in Frank style, and very

cordial in his manner. Returning thence, the Jacobite bishop (Matran Joseph) calls upon us.

A fine-looking, benevolent, venerable man, very like the archbishop of Mosul. He loves much the Bible, is well instructed in the Scriptures, and desires all his people to have the Bible. It comes from God, tells us of Jesus Christ and the gospel of salvation, and guides us to heaven.

“We tell him if we both pray for the Holy Spirit to dwell in our hearts, we may hope to meet in heaven.

“We then go out to take a Turkish bath. Our host has it all made ready, clean, and scented with incense. We are greatly refreshed, and return with a good appetite for dinner. Our host dines with us at his round table, loaded with various and excellent dishes, pilaff

, meats, peaches, &c. We have pleasant spiritual conversation at dinner; he seems to be a true Christian at heart. He is a noble specimen of an Armenian gentleman, dressed in a fur robe, with black hair and eyes, intelligent and affable. He wishes to send his children to America or England to be educated. He is an adopted son of the Sultan, and all his property falls into his hand when he dies. He is also the head of all the Rayahs in the city.

[blocks in formation]

“Our beds are made in comfortable style, and we retire very agreeably for the night.

SATURDAY, 6th. “A magnificent morning. The Aali Pasha and the Carmakan Suleiman Agha call upon us this morning at our konak. We have a very pleasant visit with his excellency, he is exceedingly courteous and polite. A fine, commanding man. Our host accompanied us on horseback without the walls of the city. The road is more steep, rugged, and rocky beyond description.

In two hours and a half we lunch on the sunny mountain side, near a stream of cool water, and have before us a widereaching view of the surrounding landscape.'

These were probably the last words that Mr Righter wrote. On this day he complained of being unwell, and

. in a few days he was no more.

The following was found in his coat-pocket after his death, and was broken off, like his own career, in the

midst :

[ocr errors]

Mosul, Asia MINOR, Nov. 14, 1856. “MY DEAR MOTHER, -How greatly we have enjoyed our visit to this distant missionary station, on the river Tigris, near the city of Nineveh, to which Jonah preached at the command of the Lord; and they repented in sackcloth and ashes, and God repented of the evil that He had said that He would do unto them; and did it not,' but afterwards overthrew the city for their sins with terrible destruction.

“ The good missionary brethren have given us almost an angel's welcome in this far off land. Yesterday we

« السابقةمتابعة »