Immagini della pagina
PDF

satisfaction to find, that many of those who had had their attention directed to the Scriptures by Mr. King and myself,' during my former visit, have continued to study them: and, though I should hesitate to pronounce them converted Christians, it must be acknowledged that they have at least attained to some degree of light, and have been brought in some measure to feel the importance of the subject. I shall bring forward the conduct and character of a young Greek, as a proof that truth does not fail of producing some effect in Smyrna. I had been in the habit of reading the New Testament and of praying with this young man, during my former visit; and I was glad to find, on my return, that he had remained stedfast to what he had learned and heard. Having had his mind awakened to the pursuit of truth, he has read with great diligence the books with which I have furnished him; and, by the Divine Blessing, he has been saved by this means from infidelity on one hand, and superstition on the other. Not long ago, he came to inform me that he was going to take the Communion in the Greek Church. “What,” said I, “can you reconcile it with your conscience to partake of that Sacrament, when you know that its celebration is coupled with the most gross idolatry, and when you are totally at variance with the ideas which are entertained in the Oriental Church on that subject?” “I have spoken my mind freely to the Priest,” he j. “In compliance with our Lord's injunction to do this in remembrance of Him, I go to partake of the symbols of His body and blood. I told the Priest most positively that I did not believe it right to worship pictures, or to pray to saints; and therefore, after such a declaration, I conceive that I have nothing to do with any such performances. The Priest did by no means, in consequence, refuse to administer the elements to me, but made use of expressions which shewed that my conversation had produced considerable impression on him.” It was with these views that he partook of the Sacrament; and I was far from feeling at liberty to condemn his conduct.

Towards the close of September, Mr. Hartley left Smyrna; and, accompanied by Mr. Brewer, made a tour among the Islands of the Archipelago and in the Peloponnesus. He visited Mycone, Tino, Delos, Syra twice, and Hydra; afterwards landed at Napoli di Romania, and thence proceeded by land to Argos and Corinth; crossed the Isthmus at Cenchrea; and at the date of the last accounts was at Egina, where he purposed passing the winter, and appeared to have a wide field of usefulness. He was joined by Dr. Korck early in January.

Mr. Hartley writes from Egina in November—

‘Our travels have not been without benefit, and they hold out the prospect of still greater. We have established depôts for the sale of the Scriptures in almost every place of importance which we have visited; and we are glad to find that there is an encouraging demand for them. In the island of Mycone we left 35 copies of the New Testament: They were ALL sold The very first DAY. The Malta Publications we have also distributed to some extent, and I feel confident that I never before dispersed books with such good effect. Finding of what great importance it is at this moment to present the greatest possible check to the progress of infidelity, we have made great use of Bishop Porteus's Summary of Evidences, of Lord Lyttleton's Treatise on the Conversion of St. Paul, and of Leslie's Easy Method with the Deists. I find such books as these not only extremely suited to the present exigencies of Greece, but also much more readily and attentively read than works of a less argumentative character. A work of infinite value for Greece would be a good History of the Reformation. In connection with this last subject, Mr. Hartley writes from Syra– We have made most interesting acquaintance with Theophilus, whom you will remember as Professor at Haivali; and with Eustratius, and many other well-informed Greeks. Almost all seem favourable to the work of Reformation, though deficient, at present, in those qualities which are requisite for carrying on such a work with vigour: it is not improbable, however, that it may please God to prepare some of them for this so great an undertaking. By a Letter addressed by Mr. Hartley to Mr. Brewer from Egina, it appears that there was a considerable demand for the Scriptures there: Mr. Hartley had sold all the copies which he had taken with him, and had written for two hundred more.

Egypt and Abyssinia. In the last Report it was stated, that the German Brethren had all assembled at Cairo, and had adopted the following plan for their proceedings: the Rev. W. Krusé and the Rev. J. R. T. Lieder, with Mrs. Krusé, were to remain in Egypt; and the Rev. S. Gobat, Rev. C. Kugler, and Rev. T. Mueller, with Girgis the Abyssinian, had proceeded as far as Beyrout, on their visit to Syria and Palestine. Mr. Lieder spent from the 19th of May to the 20th of June in a visit to the Province of Faioum, in the Desert to the west of the Nile.

It was also stated, that, on the 6th of March, the Brethren Gobat and Kugler left Beyrout for Damascus, with the Armenian, Seignior Carabet, and Mr. Nicolayson, Missionary from the Jews' Society: they reached Damascus on the 9th, left it on the 15th, and arrived at Safet on the 19th. Mr. Mueller and Girgis left Beyrout on the 19th, and joined their friends at Safet on the 23d. They all left on the 26th; and, on the 1st of April, entered Jerusalem. Mr. Mueller left Jerusalem on the 20th with Mr. Nicolayson; intending to pursue with him, at Safet, the study of Arabic: they arrived there on the 25th, and at Beyrout on the 1st of June: the plague prevailed there, especially among the Mussulmans; and indeed throughout the land, except at and near Jerusalem. The Brethren Gobat and Kugler, with Girgis, left Jerusalem on the 25th of June ; and, by way of Jaffa and Damietta, reached Cairo on the 5th of August: they thus gratefully acknowledge the good hand of God over them—

After an absence of six months from Egypt, we have the pleasure to inform you, that, though we have followed uproars in Damascus and Jerusalem, and preceded others in the Mountains of Lebanon, and have been surrounded by the Plague on all sides, yet the Lord has been pleased to watch over us

and keep us from all danger, so that we have met with no unpleasant circumstance during the whole of our journey.

From later communications it appears, that Mr. Mueller returned from Syria to Cairo September the 25th, where he remained with Mr. Gobat, who was suffering from ophthalmia. Political events, and the insurrection of the Wahabees in Arabia, rendered it doubtful whether Messrs. Gobat and Kugler would be able to proceed at present on their Mission to Abyssinia.

The Rev. C. Kugler, who had been brought to the verge of the grave by an inflammatory fever at Cairo, left that city for Alexandria in September; and was followed by Mr. and Mrs. Krusé, and Mr. Lieder, in November. Both Mr. Kugler and Mrs. Krusé were in a weak state of health.

Letters have been received from Messrs. Krusé, Lieder, and Mueller, written from Cairo the beginning of February: they returned thither, from Alexandria, on the 15th of January, and were, at the date of their communications, all in good health. They were desirous of commencing a School among the Copts; but had been prevented hitherto, from the want of a suitable person to conduct it. Mr. Lieder set out on the 8th of February, on a second visit to Upper Egypt, with copies of the Scriptures and Religious Tracts for distribution ; and Mr. Mueller had it in contemplation to visit the Delta. Several circumstances connected with Abyssinia have rendered it expedient, in the judgment of Messrs. Gobat and Kugler, that one of them should come to England previously to their proceeding to their ultimate object. Letters from Alexandria of the 14th of February convey the intelligence that Mr. Kugler had engaged in this service; and a subsequent Letter states that he was on his voyage. Mr. Gobat's health was much improved. During his residence at Cairo, Mr. Krusé pursued the study of Arabic, and endeavoured to open a profitable intercourse with the Copts; but complains greatly of their general indifference. Seven Schools in the Coptic Quarter have 220 Boys, among whom he distributed 185 copies, in Arabic, of the Epistles of St. Peter and St. John. Of their readiness to receive the Scriptures he writes— My Priest accompanied me the first time to these Schools, and intended to exhort the Children diligently to read the Scriptures: but this was not necessary; for when I was distributing them, every one who received a copy sat down and read as loudly as he could; so that, in speaking with the Schoolmaster, we were scarcely able to understand each other. In the last School which H visited, the Children refused to take books, saying they had no money: but when they heard that they were given to them without money, they all rose, making a great noise; and neither the Schoolmaster nor the two Priests which were there could keep them quiet, for every one wanted to be first in receiving a book.

Mr. Lieder was accompanied on his visit to the Province of Faioum by Dr. Klugé, a German, whose mind appears to be under the beneficial influence

of Divine Truth. Besides the capital of the province, Medina, there are twenty-five Villages, which open a wide field for Missionary labour. The following extract from Mr. Lieder's Journal will shew the state of the Coptic Church there:— Abuna Gabriel told me, that about 300 Christians live in Medina—he means families—and, therefore, at least 3000 souls: these are besides the Bishop and Priests. . The Christians have no Church in Medina: formerly they had two, but the tyrannical and rapacious Mahomedans have taken them all away by force, and have changed them into Mosques; the Christians are therefore now obliged to go to church in the country. There are five Deirs, or Monasteries, in the vicinity of Medina, from one to four hours distant; to which are attached twenty-one Priests. These Monasteries are most solitary, in general situated far from the city and from villages; and, I think, out of fear and precaution, because of the rapacious Mahomedans, who would snatch away every Church, if situated near a town or a village. Besides these Monasteries, there are no Churches in the Faioum. The evil consequence of the great distance of the Churches is, that only few are able to attend, because of the heat of the climate; and thereby many remain ignorant in regard to the principles of the Christian Faith, become indifferent, and at last turn Mahomedans. Mr. Lieder visited the Monastery of Deir Assab; where there are two Churches, containing a large number of Coptic and Arabic Manuscripts, but neither of them possessing a whole copy of the Bible. He writes— Almost every Sunday, Divine Service is performed in the Monastery; at which about fifty Christians attend, from Me'dina and some Villages which belong to it: on Holidays, from 200 to 300 assemble. The Priest shewed me, in one of the Churches, a little cross made of silver, and told me, “With this we drive away the devil from our church.” There are two Coptic Schools at Medina, containing about 80 Children; in one of which, as is the case with most of the Schools in the Faiourm, the schoolmaster is totally, and in the other partially blind. Mr. Lieder thus notices the state of the Schools, and the cause which has led to it:— The want of books is the chief cause of the bad state of the Schools in the East; but this I hope will soon vanish, by the help of the benevolent Bible and Tract Societies. I wanted to see the Girls' Schools, but my Teacher told me there were

« IndietroContinua »