Imágenes de páginas
PDF

SKETCH OF MONASTIR STATION, EUROPEAN TURKEY.
BY REV. J. W. BAIRD, OF MONASTIR.

MoNASTIR is a city of about 40,000 inhabitants, situated near the eastern skirts of one of the highest peaks of the Pindaric Alps, in latitude 41° and longitude

i

21° 20' east of Greenwich, being nearly 4oo miles directly west of Constantino ple, and about 1oo west by north from Salonica. It is on the old Roman road the Egnatian Way, a little nearer to Salonica than to the Adriatic. Ten minutes to the southeast are the ruins of a small city called Heraclia. It is said that, when the Turks took this region, the site of the present city, in a valley more than a mile wide with hills on the north and mountains on the south, was occupied by a monastery, whence the name. The Christians almost always call it Bitola, which in Slavic has the same meaning. Evidently the city is of recent growth, a good part of it built during this century. It is the headquarters of the third army corps, for which large barracks and a fine hospital have been built. It is also the seat of a vilayet comprising parts of Macedonia and Albania, containing, it is said, more than 900,Coo people. The government buildings, shown in the cut on the preceding page, are unusually good, but the residences of the people are rather inferior, though better than they were ten years ago. The streets are well paved for a Turkish city. The people, coming from many towns and villages, are a heterogeneous mass. Nearly one half are Moslems, though very few of them are of Asiatic origin. Then come Bulgarians, Roumanians, Jews, Albanians, Gypsies, and Greeks. The Bulgarians have their own schools, which, receiving not a little pecuniary aid from Bulgaria for the last ten years, have been growing rapidly in number and efficiency, not only in the city but all over Macedonia. The other Christians, with some of the Bulgarians, hold to the Greek Church. Their schools (in Greek), though liberally aided by funds from abroad, are not increasing. Greekspeaking villages are not found in lorthern or in central Macedonia. There are several Roumanian schools in and around Monastir, supported by funds from Roumania. Turkish schools are numerous, but are inferior in quality. Monastir is the youngest and most westerly of the stations of the American Board in Turkey. The station was first occupied in 1873. The following persons have been connected with it as missionaries : —

[graphic]

Rev. G. D. MARSH . . . . 1873 to 1874 Miss S. CRAwford . . . . 1880 to 1884 Rev. E. W. JENNEY and wife . 1873 to 1882 Miss L. E. Spoos ER . . . . 1882 to 1885 Rev. W. E. LOCKE and wife . 1885 to 1886 Miss H. L. Cole . . . . . 1884 till now Rev. J. W. BAIRD and wife . 1873 till now Miss M. L. MATTHEws . . . 1888 till now Rev. L. BOND and wife . . . 1882 till now

The field left to Monastir station, not counting Salonica and the neighboring Greek villages, contains at least 40,000 square miles and about 2,000,000 people. Its eastern part includes all that is left of Philippi, where Paul first preached to Europeans, while its western border is not only “round about unto Illyricum,” but contains that province which the Christian Church has left to this day unevangelized. Has this been in imitation of the Apostle to the Gentiles? Though church services have been, and are, held in many places, and schools 2xist here and there, both are in tongues never well known in those regions. The only religious literature in their language has been given them by the British and Foreign Bible Society. Its agents are doing an excellent work, and they desire that this station should press the work also in Epirus, which is a part of Monastir field.

Until a year ago missionary work has been done entirely in the Bulgarian language. In Monastir preaching and Sunday-school were held, first in the house of a missionary, and afterward in the school-building. A lot for a chapel has been bought and paid for, and means are now sought for erecting this muchneeded building. So far no church has been organized, though seventy-five persons have been received to communion, a few of whom have fallen away. Not only are the communicants poor in this world's goods, but many of them have removed to other places. Five of them are agents or colporters of the Bible societies working in this field, four others are preaching the gospel, five are now teaching, and four are in school preparing for the ministry. Work by missionaries or native helpers has been attempted in Resen, Krushevo, Perlepe, Velles, and Uskub ; but not being productive of desired fruit, the workers have gone to more distant and promising fields. Kafadartsi was occupied fourteen years with some fruit gathered, but is now without a preacher. Radovish (thirty hours east by north of Monastir), though visited occasionally, was not occupied till 1887. Since that time the Lord's work has advanced quite encouragingly. There is a church of fifty-two members, and it has a new building that answers well for chapel, parsonage, and schoolhouse. Strumitsa (five hours south of Radovish) was occupied in 1881. Here is a church of over thirty members, including several from neighboring villages. A lot has been bought for a chapel, but for more than three years persecution and litigation have prevented their enclosing it with a wall. Monospitovo (two hours east of Strumitsa) was occupied in 1885. Though this village has seen much persecution, the Lord's work has grown. It has a church of about thirtyfive members, and a building that serves them for chapel and schoolhouse. With some much-needed repairs it will answer them for some time. Some of the church members are from a village, Murtino, about one and a half miles distant, who are so anxious to have preaching in their own village that they bought a place and put up a small chapel. In Kelkish (eight hours north of Salonica) new work has just been opened, and a preacher has removed there. He is well received by some, but it is too soon yet to report any permanent success. There is a boarding school for girls in Monastir, having now eleven boarders, besides about thirty day scholars. Besides the American ladies, it has three native teachers. In Radovish there is a common school with thirty pupils, and one in Monospitovo with twenty-five. The teachers in these last two places are doing a good work also among the women. The present force of native Bulgarian helpers is one ordained and four unordained preachers and five female teachers. New work has just been begun among the Albanians, the ancient Illyrians and Epirots who seem especially open to the gospel. Though more than one half of them are nominally Moslems, they are less bigoted than other Moslems. Not only are these brave mountaineers ignorant and superstitious, but violence and lawlessness abound in their country as in no other corner of Europe, or even perhaps in Asiatic Turkey. Rev. Dr. A. Thomson, agent of the British and Foreign Bible Society, has done much for the evangelization of the Albanians. and Rev. G. D. Kyrias, of the same society, now living at Kortcha (eighteen hours southwest of Monastir), has preached to appreciative audiences of his countrymen for a year. His sister is there in the employ of the station, and finds all that she can do teaching girls and women. Efforts to secure an Albanian preacher have not been successful as yet. This new work is peculiarly promising.

- REV. JOSEPH T. NOYES, OF THE MADURA MISSION.
BY REW. GEORGE H. GUTTERSON.

FIFTY-EIGHT years ago a small company of brave and earnest men and women went over from Ceylon to the mainland of India. They were missionaries of the American Board and their object was to preach the gospel to the Tamil people in some part of the Madras Presidency. After many days of journeying they found their way to Madura, an ancient city of much renown, a liter a ry centre, writ. ten about by Pl in y; a stronghold of H in duism, fought for by king s, and having behind it more than twenty centuries of continuous history. Here with the corłial consent n d written ermission of he English over In In ent hey planted h a t might e termed, in he language to-day, the A merican ttlement” the “Ameran house ’’; =y called it simply the “Madura Mission.” But it was an illustration in all sential points of what the college settlements, the “Toynbee Halls” and the Andover Houses” are doing so nobly before our eyes: that is, they built their mes alongside of the pagan man, they learned his language, they studied his inners and customs, they looked into the face of his difficulties, they faced 21era and cobras, smallpox and tigers, and by daily sympathetic contact they rned something of his human nature and found in him a material out of ich to build Christian manhood. Day by day they preached the gospel, ht the cholera, built the schoolhouse hard by the church. To them He the leper and the blind man, the despised Pariah and the proud Brahman. Freely they had received, freely they gave ; with little money but large faith and earnest effort they strove to lay the foundations of the Kingdom of God. In 1879 there were in this Madura Mission seven veterans, worthy successors in the line of those earlier heroes; the youngest of them had seen nearly two decades of service, with pen or lancet, or spoken word ; three of them are in active service to-day. In many ways these were remarkable men. Honored in their service long ago, they had won their spurs. If you studied their character. you would be impressed with their wisdom in dealing with the difficult problems constantly before them, with their knowledge of Oriental life and Hindu charac. ter, with their broad views concerning the work of foreign missions; you would be struck with their statesmanship as they planned and builded not for a day but for generations. Some of them had been preaching to the Hindu and Mohammedan before I was born, yet I am sure it would have been hard to find any body of men who would have received their younger and altogether inexperienced brethren with that measure of sympathetic, loving, and manly fellowship which these men showed. They were broad-minded men; they did not say much about what they had borne or what they had done, but with might of heart and hand and brain they labored to add to the efficiency of their beloved mission. Rev. Joseph T. Noyes, tidings of whose death at Madras on the ninth of August have just been received, was one of these seven. He was born in Newburyport, Mass., March 4, 1819; graduated at Amherst College in 1845; at Andover Seminary in 1848; was married, September 12, 1848, to Miss Elizabeth A. Smith, of Amherst, and together they embarked at Boston, October 1 o of the same year, for India, arriving at Jaffna, March 6, 1849. After four years in the Jaffna Mission they were transferred to the Madura Mission. Mrs. Noyes died in India, April 10, 1880. On the thirtieth of May, 1881, Mr. Noyes was married to Miss Martha J. Mandeville, of the Arcot Mission, Southern India, still a missionary of the Board. Mr. Noyes spent the greater part of his mission life in one of the largest stations of the Madura Mission, and the name Periakulam became almost synonymous with his. He was a guide and leader of his people in spiritual and in temporal things. He not only planned largely for them, but he taught them to help themselves; he was generous and liberal-hearted toward all with whom he came in contact; he had that amount and quality of business sagacity which undoubtedly would in this country have secured great wealth, had he chosen that object in life. Early in his missionary history he was placed in charge of the mission sanitarium on the Pulney Hills, a difficult place to fill. Here he used his thrift and business ability in the improvement and development of one of the finest sanitariums in India, a great boon to the mission and a saving of money to the Board. For some years it has been nearly, if not quite, self-supporting. This work he did in addition to the multiform and perplexing cares of a large mission station. If Mr. Noyes had limitations, they were along the line of strons elements of character which he strove to use for the highest end. He had grea: elasticity of spirit and of physical constitution. Obstacles only stimulated as: aroused him to more determined effort. He was often cast down, but no destroyed. Again and again he arose from physical shocks which would hav. destroyed many a man, and, never willing to be idle, would again take up to

[graphic]
« AnteriorContinuar »