Obrázky na stránke

under the superintendence of the government, he The ecelesiastical head of the Syrian Catholics and his party fought their way to the fortress- in Rasheiya was a remarkable man: able, and convent of Saidenaiya, and were instrumental unscrupulous, and bold, he had much influence in saving it from the fate of all other strongholds with the government officials. He was one of assailed by the Druzes. The butchery complete those astute Syrians who had made a tour to in the castle, the Druzes plundered all the houses Europe, for the ostensible purpose of raising of the Christians, and then burned them. One funds for benevolent purposes in his own land, Druze family alone, Beit 'Uryan, saved many and had ever after become an object of envy to Christians alive.

all who saw his wonderfully improved condition. During the horrible massacres of 1860 in On his first tour he made a great blunder, as he Syria, the British Foreign Minister continued to took an Armenian interpreter with him as clever repeat the apologies of Fuad Pasha, who, with as himself, and he, Gehazi-like, used to double the object of becoming himself Viceroy of Syria, back on the munificent Naamans of Europe with is now known to have brought about the evil; some after-thought of his master. He also rebut when the French division was sent to occupy turned a rich man to Damascus, but soon lost Syria, the English fleet was sent to look after nearly all he had in reckless speculation. The the French. When the French arrived, Fuad old bishop once more returned to Europe, but Pasha arrived, and the massacre was counter- alone, and has ever since been in very comfortable manded. Then a Commission was appointed and circumstances. To this shepherd the hungry sat, and Fuad Pasha, having bought over two of sheep looked up, but looked in vain for food. the Commissioners, he was able to thwart Lord The flock also complained that compensation Dufferin and his more honourable colleagues moneys found their way into the wrong pocket; whenever he pleased. The commission, how- and perhaps they were right. ever, effected much good, chiefly through the As soon as the Christians began to return to perseverance and tact of our accomplished country- their homes in Damascus, the missionaries reman, the present Governor of Canada. The turned too, and the people, during their melanChristians, who had lost everything but their choly absence from the city, had ceased to put lives, were to be compensated for their losses. implicit belief in the priests' tales--that the misBut the compensation was to be paid through sionaries were fire-worshippers, or devil-worshipthe ecclesiastical chiefs of the different sects; pers, or even infidels—for in the interval they had and loud and bitter were the complaints of the seen the Protestant missionaries and merchants poor people, when their spiritual leaders grew in Beyrout keep the Lord's-day, and assemble

, rich and powerful, built splendid houses and decorously for public worship. Many Nicodechurches, and they themselves remained in the

muses came to the missionaries by night and by most destitute condition. At the same time stealth, but there were some also who came they saw British funds for the relief of the suf- openly and by day. ferers distributed by Protestant missionaries In March 1863, a large deputation from Rashwithout partiality. A report, however, was cir- eiya trudged down thirty miles to see the misculated, by a Jesuit priest named Palgrave, now sionaries at Damascus. They were members of a British Consul, that the funds were being used the Syrian Catholic Church, but were in almost by the Protestants for proselytizing purposes, heathenish darkness, and were entirely ignorant and this report having been looked into by a of the truths of the gospel. Notwithstanding Commission of natives and foreigners, and found some of them could read, they did not know to be false, the Protestants began to be looked the Bible when it was placed in their hands. upon at least as honest mien. From that time They said they only came to ask the missionaries forward they were constantly appealed to, and to take them under their care, and to instruct many a tale of clerical villany they were compelled them in the truths of the gospel. No missionary

. to hear. These events brought the missionaries work had ever been done in their village, and no into more intimate relations with the people. direct Protestant influence had ever been brought

[ocr errors]


we are now asse

to bear on its inhabitants; but they had become neighbour's daughter in marriage. This was the thoroughly dissatistied with their spiritual leaders, first rite ever celebrated in Rasheiya axording whom they had come to believe were ignorant to the Presbyterian form. The bridegroom was and ungodly men, and whom they knew to be the man who was chief of the deputation that only using their power and authority among the first waited on the missionaries, and it was by people for their own aggrandizement. In Rash- his importunity that they were first prevailed eiya they had heard of the missionaries, had been upon to visit Rasheiya. He was the young told that they were upright and honest men, Syrian Catholic who three years previously, at labouring for the good of others, and after much the head of a small band of fellow-townsmen, deliberation they had come to place themselves aided in routing and chasing down the mountain under their instruction and guidance. The mis- the victorious and valorous Druze host; and sionaries, having learned from experience that would probably have saved his native place, but such applications are often made from purely for the short-sighted folly of his compatriots. worldly motives, and seeing the great ignorance He was our travelling companion to-day from of the applicants, did not feel very hopeful of Damascus, and he is now our generous host for any good or permanent results springing from the night. The Prophet's Chamber,” in which the Rasheiya case, but thought it probable that,

ssembled, is fitted up with an eye on meeting with opposition or persecution from to the comfort of guests like ourselves. We have their priests, the Rasheiyans would return to a divan filled with straw, and covered with furnitheir former spiritual allegiance. They told the ture cotton, on which we squat ; but there is a deputation their fears on this head. The depu- large table in the middle of the floor, a fer tation had also come at an unfortunate time, for chairs occupy the corners of the room, and several the small body of missionaries who had already other objects are about indicative of civilized man. returned to Damascus were already overworked. There are shelves of books, a rarity in this land. They were open and candid with the deputation. Houses in this country are made up for show. They told them that, with the work in Damascus, One room or two in the best houses are usually Nebk, and Deir Atich, their time was fully adorned with marble, and gold, and precious occupied, and they could only hope to visit them stones, and cheap European ornaments. Barseldom at most, and at present they had no baric effects are produced ; but you seldom see native helper whom they could place among in a house in Syria any food for the mind. them. This only made them more urgent in their Account-books, and I. O. U.'s, in which interest appeals that they and their children should not is included at thirty or forty per cent., are abunbe left in their present state of ignorance. They dant enough, but you miss the casual book laid begged the missionaries not to come to a sudden aside to be taken up again; and you seldom, conclusion, and implored that one of them should except in a Protestant house, find such a shelf of visit them, give them some instruction, and be- books as you see in this poor man's dwelling. come better acquainted with them, before they Many English travellers have enjoyed the hospifinally rejected their petition; and they would tality of our host; and this comfortable room is not leave until they obtained a promise to that much sought by Plymouth Brethren, who, in effect.

addition to the self-imposed task of railing at all In the following month the Rev. John Frazer organized Christian effort as “ Babylon," give made the promised visit to Rasheiya, and brought their entertainer a fine opportunity of learning back a very encouraging report. He found about practical lessons of hospitality and liberality. a dozen families earnestly asking for religious in Our host is a poor man, though I cannot conceive struction. Another visit was paid them in June of him asking his guests for remuneration ; but a by Mr. and Mrs. Crawford, who went a second man should always in Syria give an equivalent time in the end of July, and spent the month of for what he receives, and it is very acceptable i August among them. During his second visit properly administered to the wife or daughter. Mr. Crawford united Mousa Dawoud and his Every Englishman who travels in this country


is supposed to be a gentleman, and if, in addition, owing to them Christ is often preached out of he be a Protestant, his religion gives him access envy and strife. A good instance of this occurred to the best accommnodation and food that such a shortly after my arrival in Syria. We were man as our host can provide. With such men spending the summer in Bludan, a mountain Plymouth Brethren will settle down for weeks village in which one half of the population is of and months-eat their sheep, and honey, and the Greek Church. We commenced an Arabic cheese, generally affecting touching humility by service, and had a very good attendance. The eating with the fingers in native fashion ; and old priest—who was just one of the peasants, having unsettled their minds about the imperfect with the additional qualification of being able to form of Christianity which they have embraced, read and write, which latter qualification he

, finally take their leave with a few unctuous sometimes turned to account by forging docuwords, and a present of a Plymouth Hymn-Book ments--became uneasy. A happy thought struck in English. A teacher in one of our schools, him, that he should have a service too, and preach when demanding a rise of salary, urged his claim a sermon like the missionaries. An important on the ground of having to entertain Plymouth question for him was, how to get a sermon. In Brethren.

his difficulty he applied to the chief man of our The Rasheiya Mission was now fairly entered church, Dr. Meshaka, and he prepared for him on in August 1863. Mousa Elias, the excellent an excellent sermon, and taught bim to read it. teacher in Nebk, was transferred to Rasheiya to The priest assembled his flock in the ruined teach school during the week, to meet with the convent of St. George; and by way of conciliatpeople, especially on the Sabbath, for religious ing his flock for a late discovered forgery, he instruction and prayer, to sell and distribute gave them a roast sheep to eat, and after they books and tracts, and to do evangelical work disposed of the burnt offering, he read to them generally as opportunity offered. His place at for the first and last time in his life an admirable Nebk was supplied by & very promising but Protestant sermon. less experienced teacher, and Mousa proved him- The priests of Rasheiya, however, did not conself admirably suited for the various and impor- fine themselves to impotent anathemas (which, tant duties of a native helper. He was a man of like chickens, come home to roost) and rival great stature and strength, -plıysical qualities schools, but they began a fierce persecution of rarely despised, except by those who do not pos- the Protestants, which was long carried on with sess them. His zeal and mental powers were of all the ingenuity and malignity for which priests the same large cast as his outward frame. He alone are celebrated. The Protestants had come had admirable powers of conciliation; but often- over from the Papal-Syrian Church, and no man times, when conciliation failed, he shielded effec- was fitter than the bishop of that flock to contually by his great strength the Protestant duct a ruthless persecution against them. The party from the priestly mob. The opening of a Turks rarely persecute on account of religion, Protestant school in a village is an important unless it be a case of apostasy from Islam; but event, as it opens as a rule three other schools; they are easily induced for a consideration to be for the Greeks, Catholics, and Syrians open very zealous on one side or another. The local schools too. The indirect influence of missions magistrate of Rasheiya, according to village reis thus much greater than the direct influence. port, “could be bribed by three eggs,

and Sometimes, instead of opening rival schools, the of them rotten." With this man the Syrian priests merely anathematize those who send their bishop was very influential; for has he not been children to the mission schools; but a few always, twice to Europe to raise funds "for the benefit of Ajax-like, defy the thunder; and the difference his poor, down-trodden flock"? The chief man between the children who attend school and those in the local court was also an arch-enemy of the who do not soon becomes so apparent, that the Protestant heretics. The Syrian bishop thus priests are obliged to open schools in self-defence. saw his heart's desire upon his enemies, who Missions are a sort of conscience in the land, and clared to crave education for their children, and




religious instruction for themselves ; had dared The converts at Rasheiya needed trial, for not. to give up St. George, and the Virgin Mary, for withstanding their pious assertions when they him who was called Jesus, because he should first visited the missionaries, their motives in save his people from their sins. The Protestants becoming Protestants were far from pure, as they were deprived of their rights in the Church, and have since often told me. But the persecution of their vaults in the cemetery. They were was a good plough to deepen the shallow ground. arrested and tried and imprisoned on the most It was a fire to separate the dross from the pure mendacious and frivolous charges. Heavier gold, and to burn up the wood, and the hay, and taxes were laid upon them than upon their the stubble. Some, “who were not of us," were neighbours. They were beaten in their shops driven back to the barren pastures whence they and in the streets at the instigation of members came; but many remained steadfast in their of the law courts, and in the presence of the adherence to the truth of the gospel of Christauthorities, who afforded them no protection most of them learned to read the Scriptures for whatever; and as a refinement in cruelty, the themselves, and have steadily advanced in knowbishop had the mother of our host, Um Mass'ad, ledge—and some of them, we believe, are savingly tied naked on the roof of her own house, smeared converted to Christ. over with honey, and left there a long summer Silently and alone, unseen and uncheered by day to be stung by wasps, and by the venomous admiring hosts of followers, Mousa Elias nobly tongues of her female neighbours of the baser fought the good fight of faith for eighteen sort.”

months, and then laid hold on eternal life. We Trial is one of the conditions of Christianity. have learned to admire the self-sacrifice of the Christ did not pray that his disciples should be missionary going forth, with his life in his hand, taken away from the testing and sanctifying to be “despised and rejected of men," an objec:

“but that they should be kept from the of hatred to those for whose good he labours. evil.” “ All who live godly in Christ Jesus But then the missionary goes forth, cheered by shall suffer persecution ;” and I believe that the his fellow-students, and followed by the prayers rule holds good as well in ordinary life, and in of the Church, and ever borne to a throne of civilized society, as in semi-barbarous places like grace by surviving parents, whose love time and Rasheiya. The “day of the Lord " is not distance only fan into a more consuming flame. antedated by placing the burdens of trial on the If he fails, and returns to his home, he is heartily wicked alone. He will separate the sheep from welcomed, except by the few who are zealously the goats before he metes out his rewards and self-denying by proxy. If he is successful in punishments. In this matter, which seems to drawing men to Christ, he knows that the have disquieted even the prophets of God, the Church of his fathers will rejoice in his joy; and difference between the righteous and the wicked should he see no immediate fruit of his labour, does not consist in the inequality of the burdens the Church is willing to continue to do that which they are given to bear, but in the manner which she knows to be her duty, and leave the in which they bear them. And though we do results to God. And never will the Chureh rise not always see the wisdom of the sore and visible to her true dignity as a Church of Christ, until trials by which some are almost crushed, yet we she has learned to do her duty without the spor can rest assured that “what we know not now of success, and until she removes from her me. we shall know hereafter ;” and I think that sionaries the temptation of writing home fiash generally the man of God may learn the lesson reports to please. And should the missionary of the heavenly Father's will in the passing dis- suffer persecution, he can claim and compel propensation. True, no chastisement for the present tection from even unwilling British authorities

, is joyous or pleasant; but when the divine rule, as long as he abstains from breaking the law. not to despise the Lord's chastening, nor faint But should he fall in harness, he knows trith under his rebuke, is complied with, it brings to what genuine sympathy the intelligence will be the believer joy and peace.

received by all who knew him. These are

[ocr errors]



motives not of the highest order ; but it would On a Sunday evening a few weeks ago a dozen be affectation to say that they do not enter of youths assembled in my Leevan to be exlargely into the composition of causes which amined in the Shorter Catechism for prizes.

man to do and bear. Mousa Elias They all knew the whole of the Catechism almost laboured and endured nobly, without almost any perfectly, and it was difficult to decide who knew of these human encouragements. He left his it best. A son of Dr. Meshaka assisted me; own Church for the pure love of truth; and that and it was only by counting stumbles or misproChurch cursed him and hated him with a perfect nunciations that we were able to make å dishatred.' Among those who persecuted him most tinction. When we had completed the Catechism, cordially were his father and mother and wife-three was the greatest number of mistakes made " they of his own household.” British Consuls by any of the boys. One little boy with a large could protect Russian Jews, Afghan Moslems, and head, and clear ruddy complexion, and large Druze assassins, but would be sharply reproved brown sparkling eyes, made only one mistake, for imprudence did they attempt to shield from and got a prize. He was FARHAN Elias, one of outrage the followers of Christ. And when he the boys who had been consigned by his dying died, his death was hailed as a judgment from father to the care of the missionaries. The God on an enemy of the Church. Mousa Elias grandfather having compelled one of his sons by was a hero as much above the world's type of main violence to quit the missionaries, lived to hero, as the deep blue heaven is above the cold, see him become a miserable reprobate. He then sluggish earth on which we tread.

" He rests

came to think better of the missionaries; and from his labours, and his works do follow him.” though he has not yet joined the missionaries With his last breath he bequeathed his two himself, he has surrendered to their charge his infant boys to the missionaries, to be educated orphan grandchildren. The boy Farhan was the for the work of the Lord in Syria; but the briglitest of all the boarders under my care grandfather, with religious horror, came and took during the past winter. We intend to give him possession of the children, and the missionaries the best education Syria cari afford, at the same could not carry out their dying friend's wish time taking care not to unfit him for living without creating a commotion detrimental to the among his own people; and I trust by the blessing cause of missions. Their wisdom in surrender- of God he shall live to do good work in his ing the children has since become manifest. native land.





NE definite result of the adoption by the representing the Old Catholics of Germany, assembled

Vatican Council of the Infallibility dogma, at Bonn, and elected Dr. Joseph Reinkens, a Breslau has been the formation of an independent theological professor, to the exercise of the episcopal

Catholic conimunity which the Church of office among them; and two months later, on the 11th Rome disowns as schismatic. Until recently, that commun- of August, the consecration of Dr. Reinkens took place ity did not possess within itself the means of permanently at Rotterdam in Holland. The circumstances connected providing, according to its own principles, for the ordi- with that consecration are interesting and peculiar, and nances of religion. It had a certain number of regularly the following narrative-half personal, and half historiordained priests; but, as not one of the bishops who had cal— will, we hope, not be unacceptable to the readers valiantly fought against the Syllabus while it was being of the Treasury. discussed, had been courageous enough to carry his con- We are familiar enough, even in this country, with the victions to any practical issue, it wanted the power to stress laid upon the doctrine of apostolical succession. multiply its ministers or to supply the places of those A High Anglican will recognize the orders of no man who who fell. Now, however, this defect in its organization has not been ordained by a validly consecrated bishop ; has been met. On the 4th of June last, a body of mien and as this is an idea wizich is derived from the Church


« PredošláPokračovať »