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“In my last two letters I have spoken of the remarkable interest the Turks are beginning to manifest in the Bible. This is increasing. Three Turks recently came to the depository at Stamboul, and bought each a Bible, saying that they regarded it as a treasure above price;' and two others, upon receiving the Bible, kissed it devoutly, and pressed it to their bosom, to express their love for it as the only true revelation from God, and opening to them the only true way of salvation. And another, as he bought the Bible, remarked that it was a very excellent book, but it came from the Turks.' They still persist in believing that nothing good can come from the Christians. Said he, Many hundred years ago, when we conquered the city, we found this book here in one of the magazines, and we did not value it very much. A short time afterwards an English traveller came along, and we sold it to him for a trifle. He took it home, and translated it into English. And this is the same Bible in Turkish, which you Christians have brought to us. It is our book, and we prize it highly.'
“Also, another Turk has, of his own accord, proposed to open a shop for the sale of Turkish Bibles and Testaments, in the midst of the other bazaars of the city, which would attract the attention of all. This is surely very wonderful, when we remember that, according to the Mohammedan law, for a Mussulman to receive the Bible and become a Christian, is still punishable with death; which penalty has been executed within the last year at Adrianople, only three days' distant from the capital.
"A few days since I called upon Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, English ambassador at the Sublime Porte, who has always been the firm friend of the Bible cause and
Protestantism in the East, and expressed to him the acknowledgments of our society for the aid his protection and influence have always afforded us in publishing and distributing the Bible in the Ottoman empire. 'He received me very kindly, and replied— Our cause and interest are the same.
We are always glad to protect Americans and American missionaries where our consular authority extends, and yours does not. The American missionaries are most excellent men. Said he-To what church do you belong ?' I said that I was a Presbyterian, but that our society embraced all evangelical denominations. wish,' said he, that we could all adopt the apostles' creed, and have no further divisions into churches and sects. I replied. That was precisely the creed and spirit of the American Bible Society.'”
“ The Turks still continue to manifest a remarkable interest in the Bible and New Testament, and are calling for these at our magazines. As I was sitting in the depository a few days since, my attention was attracted to an old Turk with a long beard, who was reading very intently in the open Bible through the window. He afterwards came in, and asked to have one shewed to him, saying* Eyi, chok eyi' (Good, very good).
Also, a Softa, one of the readers of the Koran at the mosques, came and begged that a Bible might be given him, which was accordingly done, with the prayer that his eyes might thereby be opened, and he be led to renounce the corrupt system of the false prophet, and embrace the truth as it is in Jesus.”
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:4182 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