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none: the Girls learn nothing in this country; and he was astonished, when he heard that in England almost every poor Girl learns at least to read her Bible, and to write and cipher.
Mr. Lieder mentions, that the Copts evinced great readiness to receive the Scriptures and Tracts; but their poverty prevented their purchasing them. On this subject he writes in June
My house has been, for some days past, like a marketplace, with people coming and going. Children and Young Men of the Copts come, and wish to be presented with Tracts : almost all come without money, for the greatest part of the Christians here are extremely poor; and it is impossible to send them away empty-handed." Yet I do not give to any one, before I have taken him into my room, and tried his knowledge in reading. Some, who had not courage to enter my house to ask for a Tract, waited at the door till they saw me; when they came, kissed my hand and pressed it to their forehead, and kept silence till I asked them their business. There came also Young Men with two or three little Boys, or Fathers with their Children, and entreated me for Tracts for the little ones, promising to teach them to read these little books. Money is very seldom to be met with in the Faioum; and I hope, that, if I have done too much, the Society will pardon me.
I sell very few Bibles and Testaments: though the price is very low, the people have not so much money as to enable them to purchase. There came, among others, a Clerk to a Turk, who wished to speak to me alone. He told me that he wished to possess the Gospels, but that he was at present unable to purchase them, for his master had not paid him his wages for some months: this I heard was true. I told him that I could not give him this book gratuitously; but he took my hand, and begged so earnestly, that I found it impossible to refuse his petition.
During their stay at Beyrout, the Missionaries availed themselves of the frequent opportunities afforded them of meeting with their American Brethren for the purposes of consultation and prayer. The present state of that Mission, and the hostility against the word of God displayed by the Anti-christian Powers at Rome and Constantinople, are thus noticed by them :
Formerly the Missionaries had many prospects of success; but now the Lord permits them to be tried; for the Arabs, Greeks, and Roman Catholics are excommunicated, if they happen to speak with the Missionaries, or to visit them; and
by the repeated excommunications of the Maronite Patriarch and the Greek Bishop at Beyrout, several Schools have been dissolved: but what is most painful, the Firman of the Sultan against the distribution of the Scriptures has been renewed; and the Roman Catholics in particular keep a watchful eye over the Missionaries in this respect: nor are Bibles permitted to enter Beyrout. There are, however, some persons who begin to open their eyes a little : for, besides the few who have renounced the errors of the Church of Rome, and are obliged to seek protection either in the service of Englishmen or in flight, there are some who frequently come late at night to converse with Mr. Bird. Among their Converts are some very interesting Armenians.
The people were at first very kind and polite; but, when they saw us read in the Bible, they began to go about the room, and to make so much noise, that we could scarcely understand each other: they thought, probably, that it was a bad book, as the Arabs usually think that the English have no religion; because when they saw us kneel down and pray, their noise was at an end at once, and then they were as kind as before. We have generally remarked, that the Turks like those persons who shew that they have religion, more than those who do not manifest any care about it. Before we leave the mountains, it will not be out of place to tell you what a converted Maronite, who is with us, tells us frequently concerning the state of religion in the mountains: “The Maronites,” he says, " are not so much against the Gospel as they now appear to be: but they have been told that the English have no religion, and that the Bibles which they give are full of errors; therefore, when they see a Bible bound in the usual mode, they would not even
There are, however, many who have not given up their Bibles to be burned; but, if they were known to possess them, they would be immediately excommunicated, and all their neighbours and relations would be prohibited having any intercourse with them. Notwithstanding the Priests have discredited the English, there are many who have much respect for them, and who hate the Pope; but they have not the courage to speak: not that they would be so much afraid of the excommunication of the Patriarch; but the latter being a relative of the Emir Bechir, they are afraid because of the Emir. Moreover, they who do not like the Pope, fear him, because he is their temporal protector: many say, that if the English would only take them ander their protection, they would become English. English is the name in the Levant of all those who follow the Bible. The Patriarch of the Maronites calls them Biblishin (biblical), to which the people give the meaning of Atheist.
The following extract from the Journal of the
Brethren Gobat and Kugler will shew the course of their proceedings in the Holy City :
We had many opportunities of preaching the Gospel to all classes of people, but more especially to the Greeks. Brother Kugler, having suceessfully administered medicine to a sick person, was very soon known in the whole city as a skilful physician: and thus he had opportunity of going from house to house, and of exhorting the people to flee from the wrath to come, and to look for salvation only in the merits of a Crucified Saviour; while Brother Gobat read the Bible, and spoke about the salvation that is in Christ, with those who came to us and were waiting for the physician, from morning till night. We are sure that many Greeks loved us, and began to doubt about their form of religion and the state of their souls: they told us every day, that we should stay at Jerusalem.
Of the wretched superstitions which are practised at the Holy Sepulchre at Easter, Mr. Mueller gives the following account:
Soon after sun-set the Copts and Syrian Christians began
their processions round the Holy Sepulchre; which the Roman Catholics would not permit, because they wished to be first; notwithstanding, they went on, but very hastily. There was not much pomp about them, because they are very poor. At 9 o'clock the Roman Catholics began. Six or eight Boys went before, singing; after them came the Monks, carrying a crucifix, nails, hammer, &c. Thus they went on very slowly, to the place where Christ is supposed to have been nailed to the cross: there they performed the act of crucifixion; and after that, a sermon was delivered on the subject in Italian. After this, they fastened the cross in that hole in which the cross of Christ is supposed to have stood, and a sermon was again delivered in Italian. Thus they went through the whole history of the Crucifixion, Burial, and Resurrection of Christ; maintaining the outward form of religion, but denying the power of it. After the Roman Catholics had finished, the Greeks began their ceremonies; which I did not attend, but retired to the room which the Greeks had provided for us in the church, and slept.
April 15, 1827. This day I witnessed a scene which I shall never forget. There is an old Greek Bishop in Jerusalem, whose business is, exclusively, to perform the ceremony of the so called) Holy Fire. About two hours before the Bishop and Priests came, the poor people were crying and running round the Chapel of the Holy Sepulchre, as if insane : when I first came in, I thought they were boxing each other, and was much surprised to hear, afterwards, that this means the joy of the Holy Ghost. Almost all were half
naked, carrying each other on their shoulders, and crying, “ There is only one religion,” viz. the Christian: “The Jews are now sad, but we are joyful.” When the Bishop and Priests came, the Turks had to strike with all their power in order to make way for them. After going in procession three times round the Holy Sepulchre, the Bishop entered alone into the Chapel of it. The Greeks believe, that by the prayers of the Bishop, fire proceeds out of the Sepulchre; which the Bishop takes, and conveys, out of a hole made for that purpose, to the people. We took our Abyssinian friend Girgis with us, though he was not quite well, in order to convince him of the folly of it; because he firmly believed that this fire does not burn. He is now thoroughly convinced that it is only a trick of the Bishop, because we were all in danger of burning our clothes by this Holy Fire. The Bishop lights several tapers together, in order to make a large flame, and reaches it to the people out of that hole; and afterwards he came out with a large burning taper in each hand, and was carried on a man's back into the Greek Church, which is just opposite to the Sepulchre. This fire is also called “The light of this world ;" and every one who kindles his taper with this fire has a part of this light. May the Lord have mercy upon them, and enlighten their hearts, and bring them out of darkness into His marvellous light!
On these scenes the Missionaries remark
This has been one of the most painful weeks we ever passed in this world. It would be impossible for a man to suppose that the system of lying could be carried to such extremities, as is witnessed in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. May the Lord soon have mercy on Jerusalem, and guide the poor pilgrims in the way of eternal life!
Mr. Kugler's medical reputation obtained for him constant access to the house of the Governor of Je. rusalem; and he had thus frequent opportunities of declaring the great truths of the Gospel.
While the Missionaries were at Jerusalem, they had almost daily intercourse with some Abyssinians, 25 in number, whom they met there, and who afforded them much encouragement, connected with their intended visit to that country.
Although the present unsettled state of affairs renders it doubtful when the Missionaries may have a door of entrance opened for them into Abyssinia, they notice a combination of circumstances which encourage them to hope that God is preparing the way for the accomplishment of this part of their plans.
Mr. Gobat, in his last communication, mentions the arrival of a Letter from Girgis, who set out on his return to Abyssinia in the Autumn: he states, that he has been informed, on his journey, that Amhara is the scene of war; recommends the Missionaries, on account of the state of the country, to defer proceeding to Abyssinia for a year; and expresses his affection for them.
CALCUTTA AND NORTH-INDIA MISSION Ir is gratifying to the Committee to state, that the present Bishop of Calcutta, in an interview which they had with his Lordship before his departure from England, assured them of his cordial attachment to the great object of the Society, and avowed his intention of acting on the same principles as his lamented predecessor.
The Committee cannot contemplate the approaching departure for India of their dear brother and fellow-labourer, the Rev. T. Thomason, without assuring him of their earnest and affectionate prayers, that he may resume the labours of his important station in the fulness of the blessing of the Gospel of Christ.
The departure of the Rev. John Latham and Mrs. Latham, with that of the Rev. Ralph Eteson and Mrs. Eteson, and the Rev. Charles Friend, has been already mentioned; and the arrival of Mr. and Mrs. Latham at Calcutta has also been noticed. Some circumstances which have occurred in connection with the NorthIndia Mission render this additional strength peculiarly seasonable.
The Third Anniversary of the Calcutta Church Missionary Association was held in the Town Hall, on the evening of the 15th of December; the Venerable Archdeacon Corrie, President, in the Chair. The Receipts of the Year, including the balance in hand, were 6144 rupees : the Payments amounted to nearly that sum, and exceeded the actual contributions of the year. On this subject it was reported