صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني
[blocks in formation]

sale and distribution of the Scriptures : The mission depository in a large square opposite the great mosque of the city; they sell many Arabic Bibles to caravans from the interior, and have much demand for the ArmenoTurkish Testament: the depôt of the Church Missionary Society, under the direction of the Rev. Mr Walters, in the business part of the town; they sell many Turkish, Modern Greek, and Græco-Turkish Scriptures: and the depôt of the British and Foreign Bible Society, containing Bibles and Testaments in all the languages of the East, and used as a magazine for supplying the interior stations. In addition to these agencies, it is thought that a colporteur is much needed to supply the sailors in the port, and to sell and distribute the Scriptures from house to house.

“A private gentleman, Mr Richard Van Lennep, has recently had printed 1000 copies of the Gospel of John, in Greek with Roman characters, for the benefit of the islanders who speak the Greek, but do not understand the Greek letters. More than 200 of these have already been circulated at his own expense.

I also learned an interesting incident with regard to the Bible at ancient Thyatira, one of the seven churches of Asia, where a new Evangelical church has lately been organised. Considerable opposition was excited against the Protestants on the part of some bigoted Greeks, and they devised the following plan at once to crush the infant church. They sent to Smyrna, and bought a large Bible, and presented it to a Turk, the chief man of the village, that he might publicly condemn the book in which the Protestants believed. He began to read in the New Testament, and instead of finding anything to condemn, pronounced it all good. He

94

OPENINGS FOR THE BIBLE.

a

[ocr errors]

became more and more interested, and invited a number of Turks to listen to the reading of the gospel. All gave it their approbation, and the Christians were triumphantly sustained. It is hoped that a good work may spring up among the Turks there, through the defeat of this wicked device of the Evil One.

Thence I proceeded on the voyage to Athens. We were unfortunately detained six days in quarantine, at the Piræus, as a case of cholera was reported to have occurred at Smyrna, while our steamer was lying in the harbour,

“Immediately after my arrival in the city I called upon Dr King, and had a full interview with him in regard to the Athens edition of the modern Greek Testament, and the prospects of the Bible cause in Greece. He informs me that the edition is very well received, though the style is somewhat elevated for the common people in the country.

“Dr King considers it a most favourable time, at present, to make a new effort in distributing the Bible among the Greeks. The bishops and priests have lost their old prejudice against the Scriptures, the government are entirely well disposed, and the people ready to receive the Word of Life. He has a class of eight theological students, devoted, pious young men; four of whom are anxious to spend their vacation as colporteurs, travelling in Macedonia, Thessaly, and Albania, to sell and distribute the Bible. This seemed to me a most excellent enterprise, but I did not feel authorised to warrant the expense of three or four hundred dollars, without first referring the matter to our committee at New York. Also, the doctor is very desirous that a new Bible and Religious Book Depository be opened in the central street of the city, on the plan of that at Constantinople, which would also be a

[blocks in formation]

centre of religious influence and discussion. This likewise meets with my cordial approbation, and I would at once refer the question to our Board, whether they are disposed to sustain their proportion of the expense of such a depository at Athens. The whole expense of the establishment is estimated at 500 dollars per year.

“I also visited the small depôt which Dr King has under his charge, at his own house. He has sold and distributed from thence, during the last year, 368 Bibles and Testaments. I was quite astonished at the number of Scriptures that have been circulated in Greece, through Dr King's instrumentality, since his residence in the country. They amount to an average of three or four thousand each year, for a period of twenty-five years, making between 75,000 and 100,000 copies, that have thus gone forth through all the land, in their mission of mercy and love.

“I also held a conference with the Rev. Dr Hill, in relation to the Bible interests. His views agreed substantially with those of Dr King, with regard to the Athens edition of the New Testament, and the favourable prospects for the distribution of the Scriptures at present. He said, he knew that 'five, at least, of the archbishops and bishops of the Greek Church were favourable to the circulation of the Bible among their people, and the government were quite ready to have the Testament introduced and taught in all their schools.'

" Dr Hill kindly gave me an introduction to the director of Public Schools, who expressed an earnest desire to have their schools supplied with the New Testament. He stated that there were 550 government schools in Greece -400 for boys, and 150 for girls, embracing 40,000

96

MRS HILL'S MISSION SCHOOL.

children; and if we gave ten Testaments to each school, they would consequently need 5500 copies to meet the demand. Dr Hill, who was present, at once offered to superintend the distribution of whatever number I might choose to designate for that purpose. I then called upon Mr Nicholaides, the agent of the British and Foreign Bible Society at Athens, under whose direction the new edition of the Testament was published. I stated to him the arrangement I had previously made with the officers of that society in London, that the books should be printed expressly for us, and sold to us at cost price. He informed me that 5000 had been published, and 2000 were already disposed of, so that 3000 only remained on hand. Of these, I have ordered that 1000 be placed in the government schools, and 300 in the school under the direction of Mrs Hill. He states that a second edition of 5000 copies can be published here, if desired, in three or four months.

“I was much interested in a visit I made to Mrs Hill's mission school. She has under her charge between three and four hundred Greek girls and children. They are regularly and thoroughly taught in the Scriptures. Indeed, I was quite surprised at the promptness and entire accuracy of their answers to Bible questions. She desired 400 New Testaments and 100 Bibles for her school. Dr and Mrs Hill have been engaged in this mission for more than twenty years, and have done a noble work in the religious education of the daughters of Greece. They are now reaping the reward of their labours, in seeing their pupils occupying positions of honour and usefulness in all the land. I also visited, in company with Dr Hill, the government schools of Athens, for the purpose of ascer

a

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

taining whether the Scriptures were taught, and if they desired a further supply. The first we visited was a school for boys, numbering 450, conducted on the Lancasterian principle. The New Testament, Evangelia, is introduced into the regular course of instruction, and taught morning and evening. I said to the principal, that'we in America were much interested in the Greeks, especially in the schools of Greece, and were desirous to furnish them with the Bible as the basis of all true education.'

“I am well aware of this,' said he ; "the Americans have always done us good, and we feel particularly grateful to you for the Bible.' I was much pleased with the order and efficiency of their system, and the bright, intelligent countenances of the boys. He requested me to send him twenty-five or thirty New Testaments for his school.

“Then we made a visit to a government school for girls, situated in the ancient Agora, where St Paul preached. This numbered 350, under the superintendence of an excellent lady, and was most admirably conducted. It was truly cheering to know that they were all instructed in the Word of God, and taught the way of everlasting life. One of the teachers remarked to me that their Scriptures were quite exhausted, and they much needed a new supply.'

“ We then visited the Normal School for the education of teachers. The instruction here is given by lectures from professors, and one lecture a week is devoted to the Bible. One of the professors spoke English very well, and said to me-You must be very much encouraged by your visit. The Scriptures now have free circulation in Greece. All that we need is a full supply.'

G

« السابقةمتابعة »