ORGANIZATION OF A NATIVE EVANGELICAL CHURCH (1848)

The Oriental Churches - Their sects and peculiar beliefs - Their reform hopeless - The native demand for organization - Wisdom of the step - Protest of the Anglican Church - The Greek Church and baptism - Ikons.

THE Oriental Churches may be divided into six great classes, comprising fourteen different sects :

1. The Monophysite, Eutychian or anti-Chalcedonian sects, who reject the decrees of the Council of Chalcedon held in 541. These are four; the Armenians, Jacobites (or Syrians), Copts and Abyssinians. They all have their own distinct ritual and calendar, are hostile to each other and all other Christian sects, have a married parish clergy and reject the primacy of the Pope.

2. The anti-Ephesian, who reject the Council of Ephesus in 431. These are the Nestorians or Chaldeans. These have a married clergy and a high reverence for the Scriptures, and but little picture- worship.

3. The Orthodox Greek, who accept the seven General Councils. The Greek Church is Rome decapitated, a priestly system without a pontifex, an exclusive traditional church which allows the Bible to the people. In the Turkish Empire, its patriarch and the most of its bishops are foreigners, speaking only Greek and ignorant of the wants and customs of the people, though of late the Syrians of the Greek Church have obtained bishops of the Arab race. The parish clergy are married and generally most illiterate. The present Anglican bishop in Jerusalem, Dr. Blyth, remarked to a traveller in 1890, that,"no one but those who lived in the East could be aware of the gross ignorance and immorality of the Greek priests." Ordinarily, the practice in appointing priests is that of Jeroboam, who "made priests of the lowest of the people."

4. The Maronites, a papal sect, the ancient Monothelites, who accepted the papacy 1182 A. D., during the Crusades. They get their name from John Maron monk, priest and patriarch, who died 707 A. D. They adhere to the Oriental rite, conducting service in the Syriac, a language not understood by the people. The only sin unpardonable by the priests is reading the Bible. The people are chiefly peasants, in Northern Lebanon, an illiterate people, and an educated priesthood, sworn to allegiance to Rome and yet like all the above, having a married parish clergy. Their head is the Patriarch of Antioch, living in Lebanon, and regarded by the people as hardly inferior to the Pope.

In the days of Bird and King, the patriarch vented his wrath on the family of Lattoof el Asshy of Ehden for having leased his house to Mr. Bird in 1827. "They are therefore accursed, cut off from all Christian communion: and let the curse envelop them as a robe and spread through all their members like oil, break them in pieces like a potter's vessel, and wither them like the fig tree cursed by the mouth of the Lord Himself: let the evil angel rule over them by day and by night, asleep or awake. We permit no one to visit them or employ them or do them a favour, or give them a salutation or converse with them in any form or manner, but let them be avoided as a putrid member and as hellish dragons."

5. The six ORIENTAL PAPAL SECTS, who are converts from six of the above sects to the Church of Rome. They are: the Papal Greek, Papal Armenian, Papal Nestorian, Papal Coptic, Papal Syrian, Papal Abyssinian. They maintain their own calendars and saint's days' the marriage of the parish clergy, and various ancient prerogatives, which the papal legates are now striving most assiduously to abolish.

6. The Latins, a small community, composed chiefly of attaches of the French and Italian monasteries, and foreign European residents who have conformed in all respects to the Church of Rome.

These sects all agree sufficiently both in the common truth and the common error which they hold to be classed as one-one in their need of reformation, one in being an obstacle to the Christianization of the Mohammedan world. They all hold the doctrines of transubstantiation, of baptismal regeneration, priestly absolution, Mariolatry and saint worship, image and picture worship, auricular confession and prayers for the dead. Their patriarchs and bishops are celibate, chosen from the monastic orders, but the parish clergy are allowed to marry once. Instruction in the Scriptures is virtually unknown. The members of these sects in Syria, Palestine, Egypt and Persia, not including Russia and Greece, are as follows:

Orthodox Greeks - 1,000,000
Maronites - 300,000
Nestorians - 140,000
Armenians - 3,000,000
Copts - 200,000
Abyssinians - 4,500,000
Nestorian Catholics - 20'000
Greek Catholics - 50,000
Jacobite Syrians - 30'000
Other papal sects - 300'000
Nestorians in India - 116,000

Total 9,656,000

Thus we have about ten million of nominal Christians scattered throughout the great centres and seats of Mohammedan power. These Christian sects have never felt the impulse of such an awakening as shook all Europe in the days of the Reformation. About thirty years after the death of Luther, the German Protestant divines opened correspondence with the Patriarch of Constantinople, but he rejected their overtures with contempt. The Greek Church " knew not the day of its visitation." For three hundred years after that time, with the exception of the sending of papal legates, hardly a movement was made in Europe towards modifying the state of the Eastern Churches.

It was not the intention of the early missionary pioneers, nor was it the policy of the Board of Missions, to set up a new church organization in the East. It was hoped that the heads of the Oriental Churches might be induced to reform their churches. To this end, Fisk, Parsons, King and Bird visited the patriarchs, bishops, abbots and priests in their houses and convents and at first were received cordially. But as soon as they began to distribute the Scriptures and preach, "to the law and to the testimony," and that salvation is through faith in Christ alone, the whole power of ecclesiastical persecution was turned against them. They were excommunicated, cursed, reviled. The people were warned against them. Bonfires were made of Bibles and tracts. All were forbidden to harbour them, sell to them or buy from them. The Maronite patriarch, being virtually lord of the Lebanon' compelled emirs, begs and sheikhs to persecute these Bible men or be themselves deprived of office and excluded from heaven. The Jesuits obtained, through political intrigue, a firman from the Sultan, forbidding the import or sale of the Scriptures and all other books and ordering all existing copies to be destroyed.

But the light had begun to shine. The leaven was working in many minds. One after another joined themselves to the missionaries openly or secretly, and attended the preaching services, Yet when they asked for the administration of the sacraments, baptism and the Lord's Supper they were referred to their old traditional churches. But they would not confess to a priest nor accept the idolatrous ceremonies growing out of the doctrine of transubstantiation. The Maronites taught that inasmuch as the priest in the mass converts the bread into the perfect divinity and humanity of Christ, therefore he creates God, and as he "who creates is greater than him who is created, therefore the priest is greater than God." Yet the missionaries had been instructed "not to interfere with the Oriental Churches, but to visit the ecclesiastics and persuade them, if possible, to abandon their errors, which are repugnant to the Word of God."

The missionaries accordingly gave themselves to the work of education, Bible distribution and the press. But in 1832 the Greek bishops in Latakia' Tripoli, Damascus and other places, gathered the Arabic Bibles (printed in London from the version of the Roman Propaganda) and burned them in the courtyards of the churches. In 1829 file Maronite patriarch put to death Asaad es Shidiak for reading the Bible and rejecting the errors of Rome.

It, September, 1935, Rev. Drs. Eli Smith and William M. Thomson and other missionsaries, in reply to the request of a papal Greek priest from Acre to profess the Protestant faith, adopted the following minutes: "(1) It is not an object with us to draw individuals from other native Christian sects and thereby increase our own denomination. (2) Yet according to the principles of the churches which have sent us hither, when a member of any native sect, giving satisfactory evidence of piety, desires the sacraments of us, we cannot refuse his request, however it may interfere with his previous ecclesiastical relations." On this basis, individuals of the various Oriental Churches, including bishops, priests and others, were received to the Lord's table, together with baptized converts from the Druses. But the number of enlightened men and women increased in various parts of the land and they demanded the right to be organized into a distinct Evangelical Protestant Church of their own. This request was finally acceded to, and the first Protestant Native Syrian Church was organized in 1848. Since that time twenty-eight other churches have been organized in this mission, with about 2,600 communicants (4,364 since the beginning) from among the Moslems, Jews, Druses, Greeks, Maronites, Nusairiyeh and Bedawin Arabs.

In India, the Christian Church is the only organization which gathers men of all the warring castes into one harmonious body. And here, the Evangelical Church is the only place where converts from all these warring sects sit together as brethren. The whole number of Protestant Churches in the empire is now about 200, with 20,000 communicants and nearly 100,000 adherents.

The wisdom of thus erecting a separate Evangelical Church has been demonstrated. It is an object-lesson to all the Christian and non-Christian sects, and an exhibition of the Christian faith in its simplicity and New Testament purity. An honest attempt to reform the Oriental Churches was made and failed.

This powerful, intelligent, well-educated and upright element in the population is a living rebuke to ignorance, superstition and ecclesiastical assumption. It has weakened the tyrannical power of the priesthood, and in fact, today shields tens of thousands of adherents of the old Churches from extortion and oppression, through fear lest they break away entirely and join the Protestant ranks. An old Maronite priest once complained to me, "You Protestant missionaries have ruined us. Our people will not pay for masses as they once did, and if we threaten them with excommunication they laugh at us and threaten to become Protestants."

The majority of the Protestant communities are from the Oriental Churches, just as the apostles made the most converts at first among the Jewish synagogues. But the question arises now, Are we justified in keeping up the work of evangelization among these Oriental Churches? The consensus of the non-Episcopal Churches in Europe and the United States would, no doubt, answer in the affirmative. But the high ecclesiastical party in the Anglican Church protests that this whole movement is a mistake. It is denounced as proselytism, as an attempt to build up one Christian Church at the expense of another. It is said that these Greeks and Maronites and others have the "creeds of Christendom," and we have no right to receive their followers into our churches. We might reply to this charge by the "et tu Brute " countercharge, that these same high sacerdotalists do not hesitate in England and America to receive scores of Methodists and Baptists, Congregationalists and Friends to their own church without feeling that they have committed the heinous sin of proselytism. The work of missions in the East can be justified without such an "argumentum ad hominem."

Let us consider the whole question calmly in the light of God's Word and Providence. The chief and ultimate object of missionary work in Western Asia is the conversion of the Mohammedans to the Christian faith. They number 200,000,000 in Asia and Africa, and constitute one of the great influential factors in the future religious history of the race. The Gospel is to be given to them. All the Christian Churches which have any missionary zeal admit this. Thus far, they are almost unaffected by the great missionary movements of the nineteenth century. They believe in one God and in the divine origin of the Old and New Testaments (et Tourah w'el Injeel) but regard the Scriptures as corrupted, deny the divinity of Christ, His crucifixion and resurrection, ignore the spirituality of religion, and look upon Christians as their inferiors and hereditary enemies. Having seen only the Oriental type of Christianity, they despise its immorality and idolatry and protest against the creature worship and image worship of both the Greek and Latin Churches. Images and pictures are the abomination of the Mohammedan world.

The pagans of the second century objected to Christianity that it had neither altars nor images: the Moslem of the twentieth century objects to Christianity that it has only images and altars. The Christian missionary today urges a Mohammedan to accept Christianity. He is met with the derisive reply, "Thank God we are not idol-worshippers as are you Christians, and, God willing, we never will be. We have lived among Christians twelve hundred years, and we want none of your creature worship. There is no God but God." The missionary may protest and explain, but until he can show the Moslem a pure Christianity in life and doctrine, and illustrate by living examples the Bible ideal of a Christian Church, his appeals and argument will be in vain.

This state of things confronted all Christian missionaries in Oriental lands eighty years ago, and it confronts them today. These Oriental Churches are among the greatest obstacles to the conversion of their Mohammedan neighbours.

Protestants will generally admit this with regard to the Church of Rome and at the same time there are those who contend that the Greek Church is purer, and hence should be entrusted with the work of evangelizing the Moslems and Jews in Western Asia. As this question is now a "burning" one in the Anglican Church, let us ask, "What is the teaching and practice of the Greek Church in Western Asia to-day?"

The Nineteenth Article of Faith of the Church of England declares that "as the Churches of Jerusalem, Alexandria and Antioch have erred, so the Church of Rome hath erred, not only in their living and manner of ceremonies, but also in matters of faith." And in Article Twenty-two, "The Romish doctrine concerning Purgatory, Pardons, Worshipping and Adoration as well of Images as of Reliques and also Invocation of Saints, is repugnant to the Word of God."

The Greek Church teaches in its Catechism and Synnaxar the following doctrines:

1. That salvation is merited by good works.

2. That baptism, the holy chrism and communion, are indispensable to salvation.

In 1886, I wrote to Rev. Dr. Schaff as follows:

Beirut, Syria, Jan, PROF. P. SCHAFF, D. D.,

Dear Brother: I have at length secured the facts and Information with regard to the mode of baptism among the various Christian sects in Syria, for which you ask in your letter of September 14, 1885. The "statement of Dr. Hitchcock, based upon the authority of Dr. Van Dyck" as to the word "amamud," is evidently a misunderstanding. I sent the letter to Dr. Van Dyck, and he replies:

"There is no such Syriac word as amamud. It is evidently mistaken for the Arabic word ma'mud The passive participle of Syriac 'amad (Arabic 'amada) is 'amid. The Arabic word ma'mud has been mistaken for a Syriac word. But that does not at all affect the argument. Immersion, in whole or in part, supplemented by pouring if necessary, is the Oriental mode of baptism. A Greek priest in Hasbeiya rebaptized a Copt by immerson in the river of Shiba, i. e., in one of its pools formed among the rocks."

In addition to what Dr. Van Dyck here states, it is well known that the Orthodox Greek Church insists upon trine immersion as essential to salvation, whether in the case of infants or adults. Yet some. times, in case of necessity, they baptize by pouring water three times upon the head.

An adult woman, born a Druse, and baptized by Mr. Calhoun when a young girl, was rebaptized by a Greek priest near Tripoli, on being married to a Greek. The priest's wife took her to a pool of stagnant water, stripped off her clothes, the priest standing with averted face. The priest then walked backward into the water, and immersed her three times, turning his head the other way. The father, a native preacher, was so outraged in his feelings by the act, that he left the Protestant sect, on the erroneous idea that the Protestants could have prevented it.

A Greek priest in Munsif, in Mount Lebanon, had a child eight months old brought to him for baptism. It was too large for the stone baptismal font, so he held it on his left arm, and poured the water three times over its head.

In a village near Tripoli, a mother took her child to the abbot of a Greek monastery to be baptized. The abbot baptized it by holding it on his left arm and pouring the water three times over its head. The mother protested that this was not baptism, and complained to the Greek bishop. He rebuked her, telling her that the baptism was perfectly legitimate and sufficient.

A Maronite teacher has given me a statement about the mode of baptism among the Jacobites or Syrians.

The priest strips the child to the waist, holds him under his left arm, uses neither salt nor oil; then pours water three times, with his right hand, on the bead, in the name of the Father and the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

In the Syrian-Catholic Church (Jacobite Catholic) the baptism is similar to that of the Maronites. The priest takes the child from the hand of the godfather and godmother in the door of the church and carries him into the church, lays the child on a white veil on the floor, then prays over a handful of salt, puts salt into the child's mouth. Then he pinches the child's nostrils, saying: " Open, ye nostrils, and inhale the heavenly odours." Then he takes the child to the font, and hands him to the godfather, who repeats the creed. Then the priest asks him: "Do you repudiate the devil and all his works?" Ans. "yes." "Do you believe in God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost?" Ans. "Yes." "Do you believe in the incarnation and death of Jesus Christ, and in the articles of faith of the Roman Catholic Apostolic Church?" Ans. "Yes."

He then asks the name of the child, and does he wish to be baptized? Ans. "Yes." Then he prays over the water in the font. Then he drops three drops of melted wax from the lighted taper into the water, for the three persons of the Trinity. Then he makes the sign of the cross with the candle in the water, saying: "God commanded four rivers to water the four quarters of the globe. Thus God blessed you, O waters of the wedding in Cana of Galilee," etc. Then the priest puts his hand into the water three times, then drops three drops of oil into the water. Then he repeats the question: "Do you wish to be baptized?" Ans. "Yes. I wish to be baptized according to the baptism of the Catholic Apostolic Petrine Church, and unite my intentions (purposes) with yours."

The priest then takes the child under his left arm, and holds his head over the font and pours three handfuls of water on his head, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. He then raises up the child, wipes his head with a towel, and bands him to the godfather. The priest washes his hands and wipes them. He then brings the holy oil of Mairon, bares the breast of the child, and anoints with oil, in the form of a cross, his breast and two shoulders. He then wipes off the oil with cotton then washes off the oil with soap and water, then drains off the water from the font, burns the cotton in the font, and washes out its ashes.

Then the priest gives the godfather a white towel (given by the family), saying: 'Take a pure white towel to meet your Lord in purity."

Then they walk around the church, carrying the child and singing:

"Blessed be thou, now baptized with the baptism of the Spirit."

I do not feel called upon to draw inferences from these statements; but some things are plain.

1. Trine immersion is the baptism of the Greek Church, yet they allow pouring when immersion is not convenient.

2. The Jacobites baptize by pouring three times.

3. The Maronites and Papal Jacobites by pouring three times.

The fonts in the Greek Churches are always small, and in case of large children or adults they must either pour or resort to pools or rivers.

The word 'amad in Arabic means to stand upright; at amad means to resolve, to purpose; 'amud means a pillar; ma'mudiyet means baptism; ma'mud means one baptized, as do mat amad and m'ammad.

Whether the meaning "upright" and "standing" attached to this word has anything to do with the posture of the one baptized, it is not easy to decide.

The Lord grant us all, and especially these dead Christian sects of the East, the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Yours affectionately,

HENRY H. JESSUP.

3. Penances are appointed to "cleanse the conscience and give peace of mind."

4. The communion is a sacrificial mass. In the liturgy of the mass, hardly a vestige of the original institution of the Lord's Supper is preserved. It is a sacrifice "for the believers who are dead, for the primitive parents, for the fathers, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, preachers, martyrs, confessors, hermits and teachers, and for the soul of every just man who died in the faith." During the service of the mass, persons enter the inner temple where the priest is sacrificing, and lay down money to pay for masses for their dead.

5. They believe in a "limbus" where the souls of the departed are received and kept until the Day of judgment.

6. It teaches and requires the worship of "ikons" or holy pictures. They repudiate carved images but devoutly pray to pictures, light candles and burn incense before them.

In the Synnaxar for the first Sunday in Lent is the abominable expression, "As to the impious infidels who are not willing to honour the holy images (ikons) we excommunicate and curse them saying, Anathema." And in the Horologion Beirut edition, 1849, page 696, is the following curse: "May the lips of the impious hypocrites (-el-munafikeen) become dumb, who worship not thy revered likeness, O Mary, which was painted by Luke, the most holy evangelist, and by which we have been led to the faith!"

In the Greek Churches, the worshippers burn incense, light tapers, bow before the filthy painted boards and devoutly kiss them!

7. The Mariolatry of the Greek Church is also a grievous error and a stumbling-block in the way of Mohammedans. The following prayers are from the Horologion (Prayer-Book) page 678: "We are lost through our many sins, turn us not away disappointed, for thou alone art our only hope." "We take refuge in thee." "O thou who alone art the hope of Christians." "Save from future punishment those who do not put their trust in thee."

This last is a plain deification of the Virgin Mary, and led the Mohammedans to charge, as they do to this day, that "the Trinity is a blasphemous elevation of a woman to a place in the Godhead." Space will not allow our giving details as to the worship of relics, the prayers offered to the reputed wood of the cross and the brutal deception of the "Holy Fire" at Easter, annually sanctioned and promoted by the patriarch bishops and priests of Jerusalem as a proof of the orthodoxy of the Greek Church.

It brings a blush to the cheek of every true Christian visiting Jerusalem to know that these ecclesiastics light a torch with a lucifer match and then thrust it through a hole in the wall of the Holy Sepulchre, telling the surging thousands of ignorant pilgrims that this is a miraculous flame lighted from heaven; while Mohammedan military officers and guards, placed there to keep the mob of crazed fanatics from trampling each other to death, look on with disgust and contempt at such a fraud enacted in the name of Jesus Christ!

The high Anglicans demand that we leave these ecclesiastics to evangelize the Mohammedans, and get us out of the country! How, then, shall the Gospel in its purity be given to the Oriental Churches? With such doctrines and practices, there is no hope of a union between Protestants and the Greek Church, until Protestants submit to trine immersion at the hands of a Greek priest

Again, there is no hope of reforming the higher ecclesiastics and through them the people. The twelve labours of Hercules were slight compared with such a task. The patriarchs and bishops of the East are, as a class, wealthy, avaricious, masters of political intrigue, unscrupulous, and trained to hierarchical tyranny over the consciences of men, and will probably be the last class in the East to accept the Gospel in its simplicity. No change in liturgies, prayers, doctrines and usages would be possible without a council of the four patriarchs of Constantinople, Antioch Jerusalem and Alexandria, and the Holy Synod of Russia, and such a council for such an object is about as likely as a council at Rome to abolish the papacy or a council at Mecca to abolish Islam.

High offices are bought and sold. In August, 1881, an intrigue was carried on by a high Greek ecclesiastic in Jerusalem to purchase the patriarchal chair of Antioch (in Damascus and Beirut) by the payment of 10,000 pounds and the endowment of the chair with nearly, 90,000 pounds on his death!

A third plan has been to preach the Gospel and give the Bible to the people, leaving them in their own ecclesiastical relations, in the hope of reforming the Church from within. This plan has been patiently tried, as we have stated above, in Syria, Asia Minor and Egypt, without success. For no sooner do men read the Bible and become enlightened, than they make haste to "come out and be separate." Enlightened New Testament students will not pray to a creature or worship a painted board.

The result has been that the people themselves have demanded and compelled the organization of a new Oriental Evangelical Church in Egypt, Palestine, Syria and Asia Minor. It has vindicated the claims of Christianity to be a pure non-idolatrous religion Mohammedans can see the Bible acted out in life in the teaching and practice of the Protestant Churches.

In 1850, in the agreement between Baron Bunsen and Archbishop Sumner with regard to the Jerusalem bishopric, it is said, "Duty requires a calm exposition of Scriptural truth and a quiet exposition of Scriptural discipline: . . . and where it has pleased God to give His blessing to it, and the mind has become emancipated from the fetters of a corrupt faith, there we have no were slight compared with such a task. The patriarchs and bishops of the East are, as a class, wealthy, avaricious, masters of political intrigue, unscrupulous, and trained to hierarchical tyranny over the consciences of men, and will probably be the last class in the East to accept the Gospel in its simplicity. No change in liturgies, prayers, doctrines and usages would be possible without a council of the four patriarchs of Constantinople, Antioch, Jerusalem and Alexandria, and the Holy Synod of Russia, and such a council for such an object is about as likely as a council at Rome to abolish the papacy or a council at Mecca to abolish Islam.

High offices are bought and sold. In August, 1891, an intrigue was carried on by a high Greek ecclesiastic in Jerusalem to purchase the patriarchal chair of Antioch (in Damascus and Beirut) by the payment of 10,000 pounds and the endowment of the chair with nearly 90,000 pounds on his death!

A third plan has been to preach the Gospel and give the Bible to the people, leaving them in their own ecclesiastical relations, in the hope of reforming the Church from within. This plan has been patiently tried, as we have stated above, in Syria, Asia Minor and Egypt, without success. For no sooner do men read the Bible and become enlightened, than they make haste to "come out and be separate." Enlightened New Testament students will not pray to a creature or worship a painted board.

The result has been that the people themselves have demanded and compelled the organization of a new Oriental Evangelical Church in Egypt, Palestine, Syria and Asia Minor. It has vindicated the claims of Christianity to be a pure non-idolatrous religion. Mohammedans can see the Bible acted out in life in the teaching and practice of the Protestant Churches.

In 1850, in the agreement between Baron Bunsen and Archbishop Sumner with regard to the Jerusalem bishopric, it is said, "Duty requires a calm exposition of Scriptural truth and a quiet exposition of Scriptural discipline: . . . and where it has pleased God to give His blessing to it, and the mind has become emancipated from the fetters of a corrupt faith, there we have no right to turn our backs upon the liberated captive return to his slavery or seek aid elsewhere."

This is high authority, and the 20,000 communicants in the Protestant Churches in the Turkish Empire are simply,, liberated captives." The recent exhibition of iconolatry in Russia, when a whole carload of holy "ikons" or pictures of saints was sent with General Kuropatkin on his departure from St. Petersburg for the war, to insure him victory, was received among the Mohammedans of the Turkish Empire with derision and contempt. They said, "Do the Russians expect that painted boards are going to conquer the armies of Japan?" The fact that the Greek Church allows its people to read the Bible is full of promise, but as long as it makes tradition of equal authority with the Bible, it will hold on to Mariolatry and picture worship.

To place ourselves on a vantage-ground with the Mohammedans, we must let it be thoroughly understood that we are distinct and separate from the idolatrous Oriental Churches. The Moslems look on these "Christians" as creature worshippers. They are now beginning to understand that the Protestants hold to a purer faith. Sheikh Mohammed Smair, of the Anazy Arabs, on entering our simple church in Beirut, stood by my side in the pulpit, and placing his hand on the open Arabic Bible, said, "Truly this is the house of God. There is no image or idol here, only the house of God, and the Book of God."

The Greek Church in the last twelve hundred years has written its own condemnation. Where is the list of its converts from Islam during this long period? If it be replied in apology that the Greeks have during this time been politically subject to Islam and could do no proselyting work, we reply by pointing to the Ottoman Tartar conquest of the Arabs, when the conquerors embraced the religion of the conquered.

Alas, it is too true that the Greek Church in Syria and Palestine has lost all missionary zeal, and has ceased to honour the Holy Spirit while nominally holding to His divinity.

We as Protestants must present the Gospel to Islam in its pristine purity and simplicity. Let us repudiate all alliances with human traditions and anti-Christian idolatries.

The Oriental Churches have lost the spirit which might enable them to evangelize Islam. They care not to do it. They cannot do it. They will not do it. This "kingdom" of privilege and service shall be taken from them and given to another," even to the Churches of the Reformation.

The Evangelical Native Churches in Syria are all Presbyterian in polity and doctrine; those in Palestine, Episcopal in polity and doctrine, but truly evangelical, and not in sympathy with high Anglican assumptions; those in Egypt, chiefly Presbyterian of the United Presbyterian Church of the United States of America; those in Asia Minor and European Turkey; almost all Congregational. In connection with the American Presbyterian Mission in Syria are three presbyteries; that of Mount Lebanon and Beirut; that of Sidon and dependencies, and that of Tripoli and Hums. Their organization is regular but simple, and the annual meetings are largely occupied with religious conference with a view to the promotion of the spiritual life. The Syrian pastors and elders have shown themselves able to conduct deliberative bodies in a grave and orderly manner, and to yield gracefully to the voice of the majority. Thus far, the American missionaries retain their connection with their home presbyteries in the United States, and at the same time, by consent and request of the Syrian bretheren, are regular members of the Syrian presbyteries, and will probably continue so until the native churches are fully self-supporting. There are twenty-eight churches with 2,600 members, and the average congregations are 5,600.

Self-support is making good progress, but its great hindrance is the phenomenal emigration of Syrians to the United States, South America, Australia and the Transvaal. They have been emigrating for twenty years, and tens of thousands of the strong and enterprising young men have left their native land. Many of the churches are depleted and crippled, like the country churches in New England. Should the tide ever turn, and these emigrants return, the churches would soon feel the impulse and enter on a new era of growth and self-support. It is an encouraging fact that five of the educated native preachers who emigrated to North and South America have returned to Syria, more than ever contented to remain here and full of enthusiasm for the cause of the Gospel.