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ORDERS FOR BIBLES.
The same inquiry came from various parts of the Turkish empire, and from various tribes and tongues. In a letter, dated in April, he says :
The old depository in Stamboul has also sent increased supplies to the interior. I will mention one order for Kharput, in Asia Minor, where Mr Dunmore has recently been stationed :—182 Armenian Bibles and Testaments, 73 Psalms in ancient and modern Armenian, 32 Turkish Testaments and Psalms, 36 English Bibles and Testaments, 6 Italian Bibles, 18 Greek Bibles and Testaments, 12 Græco-Turkish Bibles and Testaments, 6 ArmenoTurkish Bibles; in all, 365 Scriptures in different languages, and 1462 various religious books; making together, 1828 volumes. Similar orders have likewise been received from Trebizond, Erzeroom, Marsovan, and Tocat; all of which proves that the Word of God is beginning to run very swiftly through this land.”
Under date of May 22, he writes :
“I have been attending the annual meeting of the Armenian Mission at Constantinople, during the last week, for the purpose of becoming acquainted with the missionaries from the interior, and enlisting their interest in the Bible cause.
They report an increased demand for the Scriptures at their various stations, and many interesting incidents of the great influence in some instances of even a single Bible or Testament in their fields of labour. I will mention one from the report of Rev. Mr Clark, of Arabkir, respecting one of the stations in his field.
“The Turkish Governor of the city obtained from us
a copy of the Scriptures, which he is said to read openly, and discuss its truths with Turks, Koords, and Armenians. And his banker, an Armenian, the teacher of the Armenian school, and some others, petitioned us some time since to establish a regular Protestant service on the Sabbath.
“Light has also spread in the villages around and in the region beyond, among the wild Koords of the mountains. A copy of the New Testament which found its way into these wilds some four or five years since, having fallen into the hands of a Koordish chief, he has made it the law of his tribe. All matters are tried by the rules of the gospel. Not only this, they seem to have received the Word in its spirit. They believe in Christ; have a kind of church organisation, and celebrate the Lord's Supper in commemoration of His sufferings and death.'
“Mr Clark also says—There is a large population in our field of Turks, called Ruzzel-bash. They seem to be a distinct party or tribe, and constitute the majority of Mussulmans in all this region. They are all ready to receive the gospel ; they believe in Christ; they observe not the great fast of the Mohammedans, neither do they use their forms of prayer, or practise their various washings. They pray extempore; they meet together once a year, make bread, and eat it, and say this is for Christ.
“Two copies of the New Testament, in Turkish, not long since, were carried to one of their villages. They were eagerly read and listened to. The villagers were amazed at the wonderful truths, and many joyfully received them. At length the villagers became divided among themselves, and many separated from their Mollah, and declared they would receive the truth at all hazards. And these men have already been subjected to much
BIBLES FOR TURKS.
persecution for the gospel's sake, one of them at the same time being the chief man of the village.
“In another village, eight hours from Arabkir, a Ruzzel-bash has a Testament which he reads and preaches to his people ; and he also is suffering much persecution. He is a Turk of some influence. “It is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes.
“Thus are the Bible and the gospel spreading among the Turks throughout the empire.
“We have received the following order for Scriptures from the Jewish station at Salonica :-100 Hebrew Bibles, 25 Spanish Bibles, 100 Hebrew Psalms, 100 Hebrew Pentateuch ; indicating that a good work is also springing up amongst the Jews. And from Adrianople comes a call for 25 Turkish Testaments, and 80 Hebrew Psalms. May the Lord yet more abundantly bless His Word at all these stations, and in all these lands !”
Some extracts are made from his correspondence, shewing what an inviting field the camps and hospitals of the allied nations at Constantinople presented for the distribution of the Scriptures, and how readily it was occupied.
“1176 Bibles and Testaments have been sent to the English army in the Crimea. Lady Canning has generously purchased 200 Bibles and 500 Testaments, to be distributed among the British soldiers and sailors in the hospitals at Constantinople. Seventeen Russian prisoners have been supplied with Testaments. The visits of our colporteur were prevented for a time by authority of a sub-official who had charge of the prisoners; but he applied at once to Lord William Paulet, commander-in
chief of the forces of this station, and received the following order :
“SCUTARI, March 31, 1855. - Mr William Sellers has permission to have access to the Russian prisoners of war confined at the Turkish arsenal, for the purpose of supplying them with books.
“T. W. PAULET, “ «B. General Com’g Troops.””
The French soldiers seemed no less anxious than the English to obtain the Scriptures. He writes from Constantinople, May 22 :
“The twenty thousand French soldiers encamped upon the heights above the Bosphorus, a few miles from the city, have furnished an interesting field for the distribution of the Scriptures during the last month.
We had just begun fully to obtain access to them, however, as they were all ordered to the Crimea for the war; yet many will carry their little Testaments, not only in the camp, but also on the field of battle, and will find these their only consolation at the hour of death.
“I visited the camp a few days since, in company with a son of the Rev. Mr Schauffler, for the purpose of obtaining a general authorisation from the commander-in-chief to distribute Bibles and Testaments among the soldiers. On the way, we stopped at a shop of refreshments kept by a Protestant Armenian, where a few Testaments had previously been deposited, and inquired if he had any remaining on hand. Not one,' said he. Soon as the men found that New Testaments could be had here, they came and called earnestly for them, and my little supply was
almost at once. I could distribute hundreds, if I gave them to all who wished. A commanding officer called here yesterday,' said he, “and asked where these Testaments came from. I told him, a benevolent society had sent them.' He replied, 'Present my thanks to that society for so good a work.'
“ This store, however, was not within the lines, and, according to camp regulation, the sentinels will allow no one to pass without a written order to that effect. And I wished a general permission for distributing the Bible to the soldiers in their tents, where a kind word might also be spoken accompanying the word of Scripture.
“We called at head-quarters, but unfortunately found the general absent at Constantinople. On our return through the camp, however, we gained the following written permission from a colonel, stamped with his seal, freely to enter the lines of his regiment——-32d Regiment of Infantry. It is permitted to a colporteur, by the present permission, to circulate freely in the camp of the regiment, to bring their works for the use of the soldiers.'
Works were of course interpreted to mean Scriptures, and we immediately sent a large supply of Testaments to his soldiers, who received them most gladly. While we were gone, two soldiers came from the hospital to the house of Mr Schauffler, and begged for medicine and Testaments. One had previously received a Testament from there, and now he had brought his sick friend for one also ; and as Mr S. gave it to him, he said, with tears in his eyes, 'This is beyond all price to me. It will go with me till I die.' As there was yet one day before the troops were to embark, and the permission to visit one regiment susceptible of rather a general interpretation, we sent two colpor