« السابقةمتابعة »
Through such agencies as these at work, and the Scriptures introduced and taught in all the government and public schools, there is much hope for the future of this ancient classic land-Most sincerely yours,
"C. N. R."
VISIT TO EGYPT.
AFTER completing the object of his visit to Athens, Mr Righter returned to Constantinople, reaching the latter place October 30. He resumed his labours here with the same earnestness with which he had pursued them before his departure; and having made arrangements for the prosecution of the work of Bible distribution during his absence, with the advice of friends who were interested in the cause, he determined upon making a journey to Egypt and the Holy Land, to inquire into the condition of those countries with reference to the Word of Life, and to provide for the supply of their destitution as far as it could be done. Accordingly, having all things ready, he took his departure again from Constantinople December 27, on board the steamer Emily, bound for Alexandria. The account of his voyage is given in his own words :—
"In company with an American friend, I set sail from the Golden Horn just as the sunset was gilding the domes, minarets, and palaces of Constantinople. On our right was the wide-reaching Bosphorus, lined with kiosks and country seats, stretching far to the Black Sea; on the left, the Golden Horn, spanned with bridges, and filled
with the shipping of all nations, winding to the valley of sweet waters; before us was Pera, the chosen residence of Franks, crowned with the Russian, French, and English palaces; on one side was Stamboul, the old Turkish city, crowned with mosques, minarets, and monuments, and fronted by the Seraglio Palace, the proud home of the ancient Sultans, ornamented with gardens and evergreen shade-trees; and just opposite, Scutari, in Asia, overlooked by its immense military hospital, and forest cemetery of cypress; and the Princess Isles beyond, standing out in the Sea of Marmora as a citadel to guard the entrance to all of these.
"We sailed all night across the Sea of Marmora, and in the morning were passing through the Dardanelles, with the shores of Europe and Asia on either side. We glided by the modern castles of Europe and Asia, and the ancient Sestos and Abydos, where Leander was wont to swim the Straits to visit his Hero; and came to the ruins of old Troy, on the shore, and the island of Tenedos, near by, and on past the picturesque shores of Mytilene, the landing-place of the Apostle Paul on his voyage to Athens, and cast anchor for the night in the broad and beautiful harbour of Smyrna.
"The next day was the Sabbath. We called upon the Rev. Mr Ladd, American missionary, and attended his Turkish service at the chapel in the morning. Though the language is a strange tongue, yet the gospel always sounds delightful to a Christian traveller in a strange land. A little congregation of the natives, Armenians, Greeks, and Jews, were assembled, and listened to the earnest discourse of the preacher with marked attention. It is pleasing to find the good work prospering here under
the faithful labours of our missionaries; and Armenians, Greeks, and Mussulmans, receiving the Bible and the faith of Christ in simplicity and in truth; thus rekindling anew the pure light of the gospel in the ancient church of Asia, which had centuries since gone out in darkness, whose golden candlestick has long been removed out of its place.
"The next morning, accompanied by the Rev. Mr Morgan, we visited the old Greek church where the Bishop Polycarp is said to have preached. Over the door, I read the inscription in ancient characters, POLYCARPION SE THEION POMENA (Polycarp the divine shepherd). It is elegantly decorated within, and nine silver lamps are kept burning night and day. A large screen stands before the high altar, elaborately carved in oak, representing all the various scenes in the New Testament connected with the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Christ-the work of many years of diligent labour, all cut by the hands of one who was deaf and dumb. Then we mounted the old Genoese castle upon the hill, which commands a view of the city, harbour, mountains, and country round. Here, underneath a tall cypress tree, stands the tomb of the good Bishop Polycarp, and near by is the amphitheatre where he suffered martyrdom for the witness of Jesus and the Word of God. How inspiring it is to the Christian faith to visit such a spot sealed by the blood of one who bore such testimony to the truth as it is in Jesus! When called upon by the slaves of the Roman Emperor to curse Christ and do sacrifice, he replied, 'Eighty and six years I have served Him, and He has done me nothing but good; how can I curse my Lord and Saviour?' Then he freely gave himself up to his persecutors to kindle the flames
THE SEVEN CHURCHES.
around him. Mussulmans now come up to this place every year to offer their sacrifice of sheep at the great festival of Bairam. Within the bounds of the amphitheatre we saw the caverns whence the wild beasts were let loose upon the Christians in the arena, to tear them limb from limb, and we could distinctly trace the outline of the seats where the pagan multitude assembled to witness this bloody spectacle.
"From a ruined tower of the Castle we enjoyed a lovely panoramic view of the villages, valleys, and surrounding country of Asia Minor. Here is the site of ancient
Smyrna, the Crown of the East, and near by the River Mylis flows to the sea, on whose banks the ancients claimed that Homer was born; beyond lie the valley and River Hermes, celebrated in classic song, and the broad Mediterranean stretches far in the distance-all spread out like a picture before us. From this point, too, we could trace distinctly the location of the seven churches of Asia, in the precise order in which they are mentioned in the Revelations Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea, whose ruined sites still remain to attest the truth of Scripture, and the terrible fulfilment of the prophecy of Him that liveth and was dead, and is alive for evermore.' Descending thence, we visited a large Armenian church in the centre of the city. It was newly built, and contained a painting of the Trinity, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and the single Eye of Omniscience over all, to guard the purity of His house and worship, much fitted to impress the ignorant and bigoted multitude.
On the following day we embarked again on board our steamer for Alexandria, and in the evening passed the