« السابقةمتابعة »
during the last year:-Armenian Bibles, twenty-three; Testaments, thirty-five; Psalms, sixty-seven; Turkish Testaments, twenty-three; Græco-Turkish Testaments, ten; making 158 copies of Scriptures.
"They likewise wished a large additional supply for the coming year. I then called upon the Armenian bishop at the monastery. He is an amiable, venerable-looking man, and received me with the greatest politeness: 'Safa guelduig; khos guelduig;'-(You are welcome; most welcome.) I explained to him the object of the American. Bible Society-to furnish the Bible in all the languages of the East; stating, that 'in America, every family who desires it has a copy of the Bible; and American Christians desire that every family in the East may also receive the Word of God.' He says, 'This is a very good work. Every family of my people also has, or can have the Bible if they wish. They can receive it both in the ancient and modern languages.'
"This was regarded as a most important admission by an Armenian bishop in the presence of the missionariesthat the Bible should have free circulation among his people.
"In the afternoon a public meeting of the Protestant community was held at the mission chapel. The Rev. Mr Jones, from England, addressed them in relation to his society, and I, from America, in behalf of the Bible. cause. They were greatly interested in the account of our New Bible House at New York, and all the operations of the Bible Society, of which they had never before heard. And it was most pleasing to receive their warm expressions of gratitude for thus receiving the Bible and the gospel of Christ at our hands. The next day was the
Sabbath. We attended service in the native languages, and then administered the communion of the Lord's supper to the little church gathered here; and it was an occasion of deep interest to sit around the table of our Lord with these brethren in a strange land.
"In the afternoon, two of the Kuzelbash a village twelve hours distant, called upon us. son of the sheik, or chief man of the village. They expressed a desire to become Protestants, and embrace the gospel of Christ. I asked them why they wished to change their religion. They replied, 'We formerly worshipped a cane, (or staff,) with which the sheik (or priest) beat us, to drive away our sins. We used to meet once a week and receive this beating, and repeat certain incantations. Then we confessed our sins to the sheik, and once We no
One is the
a year offered a sacrifice of sheep to this cane. longer believe that this can save us. A kitab (good book) taught us better.'
'Whence did you receive this book?'
"We know not,' they say. 'It teaches us that Christ
is alive, and the other prophets are dead. It teaches us to love our enemies, and pray for them. It is ten years since we began to learn these truths.'
'What is the name of this book?'
"We call it Boyurook,' (book of authority or command,) they answer. 'A khojah (or teacher) reads to us from this book, the sheik explains it, and we then pray to God through Christ, as His Book teaches.'
"I tell them we also have the same book in America, and call it 'Ingil"" (Gospel of Salvation).
They answer, 'We would be delighted to have a good missionary from America come and live among us, to in
struct us in this way of salvation. We are called Protestants by the Koords, and our enemies beat us and drive away our flocks because we will not worship idols as they do.'
"We tell them they must expect to suffer persecution for believing in Christ; but if they are faithful, God will deliver them from the hand of their enemies; that they must return to their village, and preach this same gospel of love and salvation even to their persecutors.
"Inshallah' (God be praised)! they both exclaim. They tell us that five hundred others are ready to receive the gospel with them, but for fear of the savage Koords. We then promised to call and represent their case of persecution to the Turkish authorities, that they might enjoy liberty of conscience to believe in the Bible and gospel of Christ, as the late firman of the Sultan declares to all the subjects of his empire. Such is the influence of a single unknown Testament, to teach these poor Kuzelbash, in the interior of Asia Minor, the folly of their idol worship, and lead them to believe in Christ as their only Saviour from sin. On the morrow we set out on our journey. The brethren accompanied us some distance on the plain, and then bade us farewell, commending our way to the Lord. We spent the night at the small Armenian village of Oolash. The priest and chourbagi (chief man of the village) called to see us, and the conversation soon turned upon the Bible and Testament. Our dragoman, who is a zealous Protestant, at once enlisted, and preached the gospel to the little company for two hours with much earnestness. We trust that some fruit may spring from the good seed sown by the way in that quiet village. In another village where we passed the night, the moodir, or Turkish gover
nor, inquired if we were travelling through the country to make all the people Protestants. We answered, that 'our object was to give the Bible and preach the gospel to all who were willing to hear and receive it.' To our great surprise he replied, 'This is according to the Sultan's decree.' We were delighted thus to find that such liberal ideas were gradually penetrating into the interior of the empire.
"In four days more we reached Arabkir, a city of gardens in the midst of the mountains. It contains a population of 30,000; of whom 20,000 are Mussulmans, and 10,000 Armenians. There are also 300 enrolled in the Protestant community. This is a most important centre of missionary operations. Twenty-two native helpers are employed; of these, six are preachers, two are engaged at the Bible depôts, two are colporteurs, and twelve are teachers. All are more or less engaged in the work of circulating the Scriptures. There are six schools, containing one hundred pupils, in which the Bible and Testament are made the chief books of instruction. I also visited the Bible shop in the midst of the business bazaars of the city, and found there a large Armenian and Turkish Bible lying open, that any who passed by might read the Word of God. There have been disposed of from thence, within the last five months, eighteen Bibles and one hundred and three Testaments. I likewise visited two of the schools, and found the children diligently studying the Bible and Testament, and learning the way of salvation. Then I called upon the chief vartabed of the Armenian Church. He received me very cordially, and said, 'he taught all his people that they must have the Bible and read it. He had a copy of our Modern Armenian Bible, and would examine
it, and if the translation were correct, he would at once recommend it to his people.' He was desirous also to have the Word circulated among the Kuzelbash. It was our duty to endeavour to enlighten and Christianise them. He wishes to preach only what is found in the Bible, and prays that Koords and Mussulmans may all receive the truth as it is in Jesus, and be made happy in the love of Christ.
"As I leave, he presses me warmly by the hand, and says, 'If we both live in the faith of the gospel, we will meet again in heaven.' He seemed to be a man of excellent liberal spirit for a chief ecclesiastic in the Armenian Church.
"We afterward visited the school under his direction, and found a class of larger boys translating the Bible from the ancient to the modern language, which they can understand. The teacher says that ours is a correct translation, and does not differ from the ancient version. Thus the Bible is penetrating among the Armenians in their schools and families, and we trust will soon bring them from the darkness and deadness of superstition to the light and life of the gospel of Christ. I was much interested in the experience of one of the native preachers. He first obtained a copy of the ancient Armenian Bible at Aleppo : with this he retired to a cave for two years, and fasted and prayed. Then Christ revealed Himself to him, and told him to go forth and preach repentance, and keep the Sabbath-day holy. In obedience to this command he would hold up a serpent, and in the name of the Lord beseech all men to repent. At that time he suffered much persecution; now, these old things have passed away, and all things become new. He is an earnest and devoted preacher