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ed in English. In the afternoon I reached in Arabic. In my discourse, made some remarks on the manner of St. Paul’s preaching, and the manner in which he was received, and drew a comparison between him and modern preachers generally in the East.
Distribution of Bibles and Tracts.
Mr. King gives a summary view of the Bibles find Tracts, distributed in Syria, Palestine, and Egypt, from 1822 to 1825.
From 1820 to 1822, Messrs. Fisk and Parsons distributed 13,800 Tracts, in English, French, Italian and Greek—the greater part in Greek. They also gave away 218 Bibles and Testaments, and sold 293, for $195-total 511 Bibles and Testaments; in Greek and Arabic.
From 1822 to 1825, Messrs. Wolff, Fisk, King, Goodell and Bird, sold 2,622 Bibles and parts of the Bible, for $626, and gave away '707;-total, 3,329. In Syria, 3,050 Tracts were distributed, and in Egypt, 3,700,—total, 6,750.
In all, nearly 4,000 copies of the Bible, and parts of it, and about 20,000 Tracts, were distributed.
Mr. Temple has, also, distributed many thousands of Tracts.
In the above computation, those books are not included, which Mr. Wolff distributed when alone.
Defiarture of Mr. King from Syria.
26. I took leave of my friends in Beyroot, and went on board the Sardinian brig Achilles, chartered by the Rt. Hon. Lord Viscount St. Asaph, who had very politely invited me to go with him to Antioch, from thence to Tarsus, and then to proceed in his vessel to Smyrna, as it was his intention to proceed from Tarsus to Smyrna over land.
Messrs. Fisk and Bird accompanied me to the ship. On our way, the conversation turned upon the dangers, to which we were likely to be exposed; the little probability of our ever meeting again in this world; the importance of being faithful, while it is called to-day; and the hope of meeting each other with joy, when our labors and trials should be finished. After remaining a little time with me in the ship, we bade each other farewell!
It is now three years, within three days, since I set out on this mission. They have passed away like a dream of the night. Whether any good has been accomplished, through my feeble instrumentality, the last, great day will disclose. The account is sealed up in the books of heaven, and when they
shall be opened, I feel that I must surely confess, that I have been but a very unprofitable servant. My joy is, that I have been permitted, in some degree, to aid, in a divine and glorious work, men, whom I consider as far more worthy than myself, to proclaim the unsearchable riches of Christ. The mission, I doubt not, will prosper, though it be in the land where the crescent and the red banner wave, and where ignorance and superstition and vice have combined to make a mighty stand.
The passing traveller may ask, what have you done? what can you do? and we will only say, The Lord is great in Zion, high above all the people, mighty in battle, and, through faith in his name, kingdoms may be subdued, lions’ mouths stopped, the violence of fire
uenched, weakness made strong, and . armies of the aliens put to flight.
The true missionary acts from a higher policy, than that which sways the kingdoms of this world. He reckons not the victories he is to win, by the numbers he can bring into the field, or from the single strength of his own right hand. ith meekness he looks up towards heaven, and hears the consoling promise, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” With the eye of faith, he sees round about him, as about the prophet of old, multitudes of horses and chariots of fire, and he fears not the host of the Syrian king. The host of Amalek may press sore upon him, but he holds the “rod of God” in his hands, and is sure that Israel will prevail. He looks continually to him, who was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood, and whose name is called the Word of God. He sees upon his vesture, and upon his thigh, a name written, “. King of Kings, and Lord of lords,” before whom the beast and the false prophet must inevitably fall. The true missionary walks by faith, and not by sight. He endures as seeing him who is invisible, who is the high, the living, the mighty; before whom, the kings, princes and potentates of the earth, and all the nations, are as nothing, and less than nothing, and vanity. Let not missionaries, or missionary societies, be discouraged, because they see no present fruit of their labors. Seed time and harvest seldom meet together. They shall reap in due time, if they faint not.
PUBLIC STATEMENT or ASAAD SHIDIAK.
In the last volume of our work, and in the first number of the present volume, repeated mention was made of an interesting Arab
convert, of the Maronite church, named Asaad Shidiak;--of his hopeful conversion—of the consequent persecutions, which he experiented—and of the statement, which he drew up, of his reasons for leaving the Romish cominunion. A farther mention of him, may also be found in that part of Mr. King's journal, which introduces this number. We feared, that the document, above alluded to, had been lost, while on its way from Syria to this country. Very recently, however, two copies of it have come safely to hand; so that we are now able to lay before our readers an article, which, considering its origin, and its inherent merits, must prove in the highest degree interesting to the intelligent and reflecting. Whoever reads it, will be struck with the ability of the writer, with his love of truth, and with his profound regard for the Scriptures, as the only basis of religious faith. The first paragraph shows, that the statement was made with a view to the members of that Church, from which the writer had felt himself bound to dissent. Of course, what follows is a translation, which, being in the hand-writing of Mr. Bird, was doubtless made by him, from the original Arabic.
Asaad Shidiak, or Asaad Esh Shidiak, is talled, by Mr. Bird, a “young man,” and once, "a youth,” but his age we do not know precisely. Mr. King calls him Sheik Asaad; “Sheik” being a title of honor, or of office, or of both. He was educated at the Maronite tollege of Ain Warka, and, before becoming the instructor of Mr. King, was private Secretary to the Patriarch of the Maronites.” This Patriarch having issued an order against the circulation of the Scriptures among his People, (which we may notice more particularly in a future number,) and the missionaits having published a reply to it, this young man prepared an answer to their reply, and sent it to the Patriarch, to be promulgated; which, for some reason, he did not think proper to do. It is pleasing to see him now preaching the faith, which he once attempted to destroy. Subsequently to publishing the following statement, Asaad fell into the hands of the Maronite Patriarch, who resorted to the most violent and cruel measures to bring him to an abandonment of his belief. Fears were entertained by the missionaries, that he would even be put to death. Probably he was living, at
the latest dates from that quarter; and possi. |bly was near being liberated, on the ground that he was incorrigible. But we should recollect, that it would be no unparalleled event. in ecclesiastical history, if, to be relieved from torture, or to save his life, Asaad should sign a recantation. How many have done this, of maturer years, and profounder knowledge, and after a much longer practice of the Christian virtues! Our hope is in the supporting grace of God, which will not be withdrawn without a good reason. Asaad Shidiak is to be carefully distinguished from the youth, named Asaad Jacob, a letter from whom to the Corresponding Secretary, was published in the number for January.
Beyroot, JMarch, 1826.
Respected Brethren and Friends,
SINGE many have heard a report, that I have become insane; and others, that I have become a heretic; I have wished to write an account of myself in few words, and then let every reflecting man judge for himself, whether I am mad, or am slandered; whether following after heresy, or after the truth of the orthodox faith.... Every serious man of understanding will concede, that true religion, is not that of compulsion, nor that which may be bought and sold; but that which proceeds from attending to the word of God, believing it, and endeavoring to walk according to it to the glory of God; and that every one, whose object is solely contention, and whe does not obey the truth, but follows after unrighteousness, is far distant from the true religion. This is the standard, by which I would be judged by every one who reads this narrative.
About eight or nine months ago, I was employed, by an American by the name of J. King, in teaching him the Syriac language. At that time, I was very fond of engaging with him in disputatious conversations, to prove him to be in error; but with none but worldly motives, to display my talents and knowledge, and acquire the praise of men. After this, I applied myself to reading of the word of God with intense interest. Now this person wrote a farewell letter to his friends, in which he excuses himself from uniting himself with the Roman Catholic church. After reading this letter, I found, in the Holy Scriptures, many passages, which made against the opinions of the writer. These passages I selected, and from them and other evidences, composed a reply to him: But when I was copyin the §§ rough draught of the same, an had arrived to the answer to the last
of the objections, which he said prevented his becoming a member of the Roman Catholic church, viz. that the Roman Catholic church teaches, that it is wrong for the common people to possess or to read the word of God, but that they ought to learn from the Popes and Councils, I observed the writer brings a proof against the doctrine from the prophet Isaiah, viz. “To the law and to the testimony, if they speak not according to my word, it is because there is no light in them.” While I was endeavoring to explain this passage also, according to the views of the Roman Catholic church, with no other object than the praise of men, and other worldly motives, I chanced to read the 29th chapter of Isaiah, from the 15th verse to the end. I read, and was afraid. I meditated upon the chapter a long while, and feared that I was doing what I did, with a motive far different from the only proper one, viz. the glory and the pleasure of God. I therefore threw by my paper without finishing the copy, and applied myself diligently to the reading of the prophecy of Isaiah. I had wished to find, in the prophets, pláin proofs, by which to establish, beyond contradiction, that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, so long, expected from ancient days;–proofs that imight be made use of in answer to MosJems and Jews. While I was thus searching, I found various passages, that would bear an explanation, according to my views, but did not find them sufficient to enforce conviction on others, until I finally came to the 52d chapter, 14th verse, and onward to the end of the next chapter. On finding this testimony, my heart rejoiced, and was exceeding glad, for it removed many dark doubts from my own mind also. From that time, my desire to read the New Testament, that I might discover the best means of acting according to the doctrines of Jesus, was greatly increased. I endeavored to divest myself of all selfish bias, and loved more and more to inquire into religious suojects. I saw, and continue to see, many of the doctrines of the Roman Catholic church, which I could not believe, and which I found opposed to the truths of the Gospel; and I wished much to find some of her best teachers to explain them to me, that I might see how they proved them from the Holy Scriptures. As 1 was reading an appendix to a copy of the sacred Scriptures, printed at Rome by the Propaganda, and searching out the passages referred to, for proving the duty of worshipping saints, and other similar doctrines, I found that these proofs failed
ol. established in
, altogether of establishing the points in question, and that to infer such doctrines from such premises, was even worthy of ridicule. Among other things, in this appendix, I found the very horrible, JNeronian doctrine, that it is our duty to destroy heretics. Now every one knows, that whoever does not be| lieve that the Pope is infallible, is a heretic in his opinions. This doctrine is not merely that it is
allowable to kill heretics, but that we
are bound to do it. From this I was the my convictions against the doctrines of the Pope, and saw that they were the doctrines of the ravenous beast, and not of the gentle lamb. After I had read this, I asked one of the priests in Beyroot respecting this doctrine, and he assured me, that it was even so as I had read. I then wished to go to some place, though it might be a distant country, that I might find some man of the Roman Catholic church sufficiently learned to prove the doctrine above alluded to. After this, as I was at Beyroot teaching a few Greek youths the Arabic
grammar, I received a letter from his
holiness the Maronite Patriarch, saying, that if I did not cease from all assistance whatever to the English, and that if I did not leave them within one day, I should, is so facto, fall under the heaviest excommunication. - Thinking, as I did, that obeying my superiors, in all things not sinful, was well and good, I did not delay to leave, and so went to my friends at Hadet; but still thinking very much on the subject of religion, so that some people thought me melanck.oly. I loved exceedingly to converse on religious subjects; indeed I took no pleasure in any worldly concerns, and found all worldly possessions vain. After this, I received a second letter from his holiness the Patriarch, in which he said thus; “After we had written you the first letter, we wrote you a second; see that you act according to it. And if you fulfil all that was commanded in it, and come up to us when we come to Kesran, we will provide you a situation.” But I saw that nothing, in which I was accustomed to take delight, pleased me any longer. I returned again, after sometime, to Beyroot; and after I had been there no long time, Hoory Nicolas arrived, brother to his holiness the Rev. Patriarch, with a request from the latter, to come and see him, which l hastened to do. Hoory Nicolas then began to converse with me, in the way of reprimand, for being in connexion with the English. I replied that, as we ought not to deny the unity of God, because Mussulmans believe it, so we ought not to hate the Gospel because the English love it. He then began to tell me of the wish of his holiness, the Rev. Patriarch, that I should come out to him, and of his great love to me; and said that he (the Patriarch) had heard, that I had received thirty or forty purses of money from the English; and he assured me of their readiness not to suffer this to be any hindrance to my coming out from them. Now if my object were money, as Some seemed to think, I had then a fair opportunity to tell him a falsehood, and say, “I indeed received from the English that sum, but I have expended so and so, and cannot leave them unless I restore the whole.” In this way I might have contrived to take what I wished. Yet I did not so answer him, but declared to him the truth, how much wages I had received, and which was nothing extraordinary. He then gave me a paper from his holiness the Patriarch, in which he says, “You will have received from us an answer, requesting, that when we come to Alma, you will come up and See us. We expect your presence, and, if God please, we will provide you some proper situation, with an income that shall be sufficient for your sustenancz. Delay not your coming, lest the present happy opportunity should pass by.” Knowing, as I did, that many people j my object, in continuing with the English, to be gain, I did not delay fulfilling the request of his reverence, hoping to remove this suspicion, and to enjoy an opportunity of speaking the truth without being hired to do it. So, about the 7th of January, I left Beyroot, with Hoory Nicolas, and arrived at Der Alma the same night. His holiness, the Patriarch, was not there. On the next day, when he came, I met him, and saluted him in the road. In the evening he called me into his chamber, and began to ask me questions, that he might discover what I was; and I answered him telling him the whole truth, although this course was opposed to my personal convenience. At this he seemed surprised, for he must have }. that it was contrary to what e had been accustomed to see in me. Afterwards, when I declared to him, that I never had before been a believer, according to the true living faith, he was probably still more astonished. He then asked me if I believed as the Romish Church believed. I * told him the truth, that I did not. He asked then what was my faith, and I answered to the following purport, “True and living faith must be divine, connected with hope, love and repentance, and WOL. XXIII.
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that all these virtues are the gift of God, &c.; that I believed the truth as God had inspired it; and that it would be but a lie, if I should say that I believed as the Romish Church does, while in fact I do not. I must have. proofs.” After some conversation like this, he told me that this doctrine of mine was heretical, and that as long as I remained in this state of opinion, he would suffer no one to have intercourse with me in buying and selling, &c. This prohibition of his brought to my mind the words in the Revelation, xiii. 17.* Then he gave me to understand, that if, after three days, I did not get back out of this state, I must no more enter the church. At other times, he wished me to swear by the eucharist and by the Gospel, that my faith was like the faith of the Roman Catholic church. He asked me if I was a Bible man; I replied, “I do follow the opinions of the Bible men; but if you think me a Bible man on account of the opinions I have advanced, very well.” The sum of what I said was, that without evidence I could not believe what the Romish church believes. From that time, after three days, I did not enter the church for a space. Some time passed again, and the Patriarch inquired of me my faith. I then explained to him what I believed respecting the unity and trinity of God, and that the Messiah was one person with two natures, and that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and Son. Then arose a disputation about, who is the Vicar that Christ has appointed to explain his law. . I answered in substance as I afterwards did in writing, that by reason, and learning, and prayer to God, with purity of motive, we may know, from the holy Scriptures, every, thing necessary to our salvation. This was the purport of my o which perhaps was not expressed with sufficient clearness, or perhaps I was not able to say it in the manner that was appropriate, for such a tumultand storm were excited in the company, that they seemed to me to be intent on overcoming me by dint of vociferation, rather than by argument, and to drown my voice, rather than to understand my opinions. When, after some days, came Bishop. Abdalla Blabul and Padre Bernardus of Gzir, the Patriarch one day called me to them in his chamber, and asked me what I wished, whether money or office,
* “ He causeth all—to receive a mark,” &c. “and no man might buy or sell save he that had the mark or the name of the beast.” The Patriarch was also ciothed in scarlet, like the woman on the scarlet colored beast. 10
or whatever it might be, promising to gratify me, speaking of his love to me and of his great interest in my welfare. These professions I know to be sincere, but they are according to the world, and not according to the Gospel. I assured him that I wanted nothing of the things he had mentioned; that I was submissive and obedient to him; and that if he thought of me, that I had taken
money of the English, he was welcome
to shut me up in my chamber as in a prison, and take from me every thing that I possessed; that I wished from them merely my necessary food and clothing, and that I would give them this assurance in writing. The bishop and É. then begged me, in presence of the Patriarch, to say that my faith was like that of the Romish church. I replied, that I feared to tell a falsehood by .."; a thing, while actually, in my reason, I did not believe it. “But,” said they, “the Patriarch here will absolve you from the sin of the falsehood.” I turned to the Patriarch, and put the question whether he would so absolve me. He answered, that he would. I said, “What the law of nature itself condemns, it is out of the power of any man to make lawful.” He then again asked me what I wished to do. I said, I wish to go and see the
Armenian Patriarch Gregory, and in
quire of him what I ought to do. He consented, and requested me, when I had done this, to return to him, to which I agreed. I was accompanied by a priest from the station of the Patriarch_to the College of Ain Warka, where I found Hoory Joseph Shaheen, with whom I conversed a considerable time, and with great pleasure; for I found that for himself, he did not believe that the Pope was infallible in matters of faith, that is to say, unless in concert with the congregated church. I then began to confess to him: but when I saw that he held steadfastly some opinions for no other reason than that the Church so believed, and that without bringing any proper evidence of the fact, viz. from councils or from the fathers, and burst out upon me with exceeding bitter words, saying, “Know that the church neither deceives, nor is deceived, and be quiet;” and when I wished him to instruct me according to the word of God, with the simple object of glorifying God and fulfilling his will, I saw that he was not disposed to support any opinion because it was according to the word of God, but because so thought the church; and I saw him also ready to retain these opinions, although I should bring the strongest
evidences against them from the holy ',
Scriptures. . He told me that it was impossible for him to teach any o; contrary to the council of Trent. So found I could not receive his system, because, though you should shew him that it was wrong, he would not give it up, lest with it he should be obliged to give up his office. I therefore told him, you are bound, i.e. shut up as between walls, by the doctrines of the Pope and the council of Trent. In conveysation on the images, he would have proved their propriety from Baronius’ church history. We found this author quoting the sacred Scriptures to prove that our Saviour sent a icture of himself to the king of Abgar. F. that it was false, in so far as he stated that the Gosfiel made any such statement, and on that account I could not believe the story. To this he gave me no answer. After this, as we were reading this book, and found a statement respecting the bishops collected in Constantinople, to the number of 313; that they decreed the abolition of the use of images, because it was idolatrous, and that in the clearest terms, I asked him the question, “If an assembly composed of the bishops of the church were infallible, how is it that this council is said to have committed an error?” About this time, I heard that a certain individual wished to converse with me on the subject of religion, which rejoiced me exceedingly, and I was imatient for an interview. He came on a Sabbath day to Ain Warka, for the study of Arabic grammar, according to his custom, and we had a short conversation together on works unlawful on the Sabbath day, and other subjects. He then excused himself from further conversation for want of time; but promised that when we should meet again, he hoped to have a sufficient opportunity to dwell on these subjects at large. I continued at Ain Warka the whole weck, reading with the rest at prayers and confessing to Hoory Joseph abovementioned ; and on the next. Lord’s day, the Armenian priest aforesaid came again, and I fully expected to have time and opportunity to ascertain his opinions; but I was disappointed again; for he wished to have the dispute carried on in writing, and to have an assistant with him, with other conditions. In these circumstances I failed of my object; but was on the whole more inclined than before to receive the doctrines of the Romish church; since the priest had promised to bring his evidence, on all points, from the word of