Abeih, 1846 - Dr. DE Forest's school for girls, 1847 - Simeon H. Calhoun, "The Saint of Lebanon" -Cornelius Van Alan Van Dyck.
TWO institutions were begun during this period, the Abeih Seminary for boys under Dr. Van Dyck, November 4, 1846, and Dr. De Forest's family boarding-school for girls, in Beirut. The Abeih Seminary passed under the care of Rev. Simeon Calhoun, in 1849, and continued to flourish as the highest literary institution in Syria, until the Syrian Protestant College was opened in 1865.
DR. H. A. DE FOREST
The family boarding-school for girls in the home of Dr. and Mr. H. A. De Forest began in 1847 and continued until Dr. De Forest returned to America in 1854. He and Mrs. De Forest had proved the capacity of Syrian girls to pursue a liberal course of education. Their cultivated graduates became wives and mothers, whose homes were distinguished in Syria for piety and high culture. Dr. De Forest insisted on teaching the English language to the young women, in order to open up to them the rich treasures of English literature. For years one could pick out the girls taught by Dr. and Mrs. De Forest, and some of them became eminent as teachers.
In 1854 Dr. De Forest was obliged by failing health to relinquish his work, and return to the United States. A nobler man never lived. Tall of stature, courteous and genial, with a voice of great depth and sweetness, a natural orator and a skillful physician, he was universally beloved and admired. During my first interview with him, in 1854, he gave me wholesome advice with regard to caring for health. He said, "Beware of exposure to the Syrian sun. It Is your enemy. Protect your head and the back of your neck. I went to Syria with an iron constitution. I was wont to walk long distances at home without fear of sun or storm. I thought I could do it in Syria. As a foreign doctor I was in great demand, and walked through the narrow lanes in the suburbs of Beirut, in the deep sand and under a blazing sun with a small black hat and no umbrella. One day after a long, hot walk, I felt a strange sensation in the back of my head, and soon found I had a sunstroke. From that dreadful stroke I never recovered. For twelve years I have studied and taught and preached and practiced medicine, and never a week, without that agonizing pain in my head. Even now I cannot converse or read long without a return of the agony. I warn you never to trust the Syrian sun." I have now for fifty-three years acted on that advice, and have always carried an umbrella, and in summer worn also a pith helmet hat. I have tried to pass on Dr. De Forest's advice to successive generations of young men who have come to Syria from America and Europe. In three cases the advice was indignantly rejected. "I am not afraid of the sun. I have always been accustomed to walk in sun and rain with only a small cap on my bead," etc. These three men all died in a very short time of sunstroke and brain fever. (These were volunteer English missionaries. One died at Bagdad, and two in the Lebanon.) The direct rays of the Syrian sun on the back of the head of a European seem to act like the X-rays or radium.
Dr. De Forest and his accomplished wife were admirably fitted to train young women in piety, intellectual knowledge and a beautiful domestic life. The lovely Christian families in Syria, whose mothers were trained by them will be, their monuments for generations to come. In 1850, a report of Beirut station said, "Unhappily, only one of our native brethren is blessed with a pious wife." At the present time there are nearly 1,300 women who are church-members in the bounds of the Syria Mission, and the girls of all sects are being taught in all the cities and many of the villages of Syria. All honour to the men and women who gave the first impulse to female education in Syria. Their labours have aided as much if not more than any others in the elevation and enlightenment of Syrian society. Dr. De Forest died in the United States in November, 1858, greatly beloved and regretted.
REV. SIMEON H. CALHOUN, 'THE SAINT OF LEBANON'
Mr. Calhoun was born in Boston, of Scotch-Irish parents, August 15, 1804, and graduated at Williams College in 1829. While in college he was a skeptic and indifferent to religion, but the prayers of a godly mother who had consecrated him to Christ and to the missionary work at his birth, followed him, and in 1831 he was converted. While engaged as tutor in college he was noted for the peculiar simplicity and ardour of his piety, and for the great influence he exerted on the students. "His delight in the Scriptures was exceptional, and his remarks on the truths therein revealed were uncommonly suggestive and stimulating." He did not enter a regular theological seminary, but studied theology with those two giants, Drs. Griffin and Mark Hopkins, who constituted a theological faculty rarely equalled. In 1836 he was ordained, and left the United States in November as an agent of the American Bible Society for the Levant. In 1843 he was appointed a missionary of the American Board, During the eight years of his work in Smyrna, Constantinople, Asia Minor, the Greek Islands and Greece, he cooperated with the missionary bodies, preaching in English and modern Greek and was indefatigable in teaching, touring, and distributing the Word of God.
On reaching Syria, in 1844, although forty years old and having passed the age when men can readily master a foreign language his familiarity with the modern Greek aided him in studying the difficult Arabic language; difficult on account of its guttural sounds and peculiar idioms. Dr. Van Dyck, in his "Reminiscences," states that, "When the American Board deputation (Dr. R. Anderson and Dr. Joel Hawes) reached Smyrna, they found Mr. Calhoun quite ready to relinquish the work of Bible agent, and persuaded him to join the Syria Mission He came to Syria with them on a tour of inspection. They recommended the opening of a seminary to be managed by Mr. Calhoun when he should join the mission, and after he had learned the Arabic. Mr. Calhoun took up his residence in Bhamdoun and so steadfastly and perseveringly applied himself to the study of Arabic, that although somewhat advanced, he was, in a little over two years, able to teach and preach in Arabic." His teacher was Abu Selim, Yusef el Haddad of Tripoli, who knew nothing of Arabic grammar, but was a fine penman and full of anecdote and a great talker. If the deputation did nothing more than secure Mr. Calhoun for Syria it was worth all the expense involved.
During the civil war of 1845 between the Druses and Maronites, Mr. Calhoun summered in Bhamdoun, and used to ascend the high mountain ridge above the village and from under a walnut tree count the villages in flames. That jowz tree became known as "Jowz Calhoun," just as a conical marl hill, cast of the village, where Mr. Beadle discovered a famous locality of fossil Ammonites, was known as Bustan Beadle, or "Beadle's Garden."
In 1846, he visited the United States, and at Braintree, Massachusetts, was married to Miss Emily Reynolds, a niece of Dr. Storrs. This estimable lady was the worthy companion of so noble, godly and consecrated a man, and made his home in Abeih a fountain of blessed influence for thirty years. She recently, November 4, 19oS, died, in Natal, South Africa, where, with her daughter, Mrs. Ransom, she was labouring to lead souls to Christ.
In 1849, he was called to succeed Dr. Van Dyck as principal of the high school or seminary in Abeih. To this work he gave the best years of his life. In the summer of 1864 he visited England, but did not return to the United States until June 10, 1875. His lecture-room in Abeih was the centre of a mighty influence, which is still felt all through Syria and the East. He was clear in statement, gentle in manner, dignified, yet in sympathy with the poorest and most ignorant lad, patient and persevering. He was a scholar. His attainments were high as a classical scholar and as a mathematician.
He was a theologian. He was a "Doctor in Divinity," whether made thus by the universities or no. When this degree was conferred on him, he hesitated about receiving it, and finally wrote declining it, stating as a reason that it was at variance with the parity of the Christian ministry. His letter declining it was published, but by a typographical error, he was made to say that it "was at variance with the 'purity' of the Christian ministry." This error caused him great distress, and he said to me, "Brother Jessup, perhaps I had better have kept silence than to seem to make such a charge as that against my bretheren."
His depth and breadth of views on the great doctrines of Christian theology have been attained by few, and can be attained only by those who, like him, draw from the fountain-head of the sacred Scriptures, and are taught by the illuminating Spirit. He often startled us with his fresh thoughts on old familiar subjects. Yet he had nothing about him of the dogmatic theologian. His own wide views of the many phases of truth kept him far from any approach to bigotry. On essentials he was firm as a rock and uncompromising; in non-essentials his was the largest charity and the full liberty of the New Testament.
He was an effective preacher. His commanding presence, his pleasant voice and his earnestness of manner, were all calculated to give force to his words: but there was something in his preaching beyond presence, or voice, or earnestness. The simplest truths, enunciated in the simplest way, seemed to fall from his lips with power.
The same things said by another would have made little if any impression, This has been remarked by comparative strangers, as well as by those who knew wherein lay the secret of his great strength. Christ seemed to be in him and to be seen through him.
He was a great teacher. In America or England be would have been a Mark Hopkins or Dr. Arnold. Whether the subject was algebra or astronomy or Greek or the Bible, he taught his pupils. They grew under his teaching. His object in teaching was, first, to make wise unto salvation, and then fit for usefulness. And he succeeded, as is proved by the large number of native labourers now in the field.
He was a loving, sympathizing friend and brother, and the sorrowing and troubled, whether foreign missionaries or native Christians looked to him for comfort in the day of trouble.
He was a wise and prudent counsellor in our mission affairs. With excellent business capacities, executive power and natural shrewdness, He could foresee with acuteness, advise with wisdom and conduct with decision. He was mission treasurer for many years and used to say that he was not aware that there had ever been a discrepancy of five paras (half a cent) it, his annual accounts.
After the massacres of 1860, when Colonel Frazier was British commissioner in settling the new regime of government in Lebanon, he made Mr. Calhoun literally the man of his counsel. And when Daood Pasha, the first Christian governor of Lebanon, entered on his duties, he often visited Mr. Calhoun in his house, to consult him on questions pertaining to the Druse nation.
And the Druses, that brave, hardy, warlike, courteous yet mysterious people, trusted Mr. Calhoun implicitly, asked his advice, and sent their sons to him for education. During the summer of 1871, when I was in Abeih teaching in the theological class with Dr. Eddy and Mr. Calhoun, a young Druse sheikh was killed by falling from a roof. A stately funeral was given him. Hundreds of white turbaned Druse sheikhs from villages miles away came to condole with the family. I went with Mr. Calhoun to express our sympathy. That great multitude were seated in concentric circles under a great oak tree. As we approached, they all arose and stood until we were seated. Then they all saluted us over and over again, "Allah grant us your life instead of the deceased." "Allah spare to you your children." "The will of Allah be done," etc.
No people can be more effusive in courteous and elaborate salutation than the Druses. When they were all seated there was a great silence and all eyes turned to Mr. Calhoun. At length he spoke, "Whenever I see the dead body of a brother man, I am filled with indignation, yes, I may say hatred." All seemed startled at this unusual remark from a man noted for calmness and self-control. "Yes," he continued, "with hatred of sin, which brought death into the world and is the cause of all our sorrows, troubles and woes. Why should we not hate sin, and love Him who knew no sin, but tasted death for every man?"
Then there was silence. At length a venerable sheikh began to discourse on the duty of patience and resignation, and the duty of entire submission to the will of Allah, in eloquent and beautiful Arabic, reminding one of Job or Moses or Abraham.
When the war of 1860 began, I was a guest in Mr. Calhoun's house in Abeih and the Greek Catholic, Maronite and Protestant men all fled to Beirut. The women and children remained and brought all their valuables, money, jewelry and silks tied in bundles and threw them at the feet of Mr. and Mrs. Calhoun. They asked no receipt and did not even seal the packages and we took them and piled them in a closet. Two months later when the French army came up into Lebanon the Druses fell into a panic and brought all their treasures to Mr. and Mrs. Calhoun in the same confiding way, until all the treasures of Abeih were in "safe deposit" in their humble, unprotected house. During all those days of war and pillage, burning and desolation, I never, up to the time of my leaving for Beirut, saw Mr. Calhoun perturbed or anxious. His placid face showed no sign of fear. The very peace of God filled his soul and the light of God shone in his face though "be wist not that his face shone."
On one occasion later on, his face did betray real agony. Twenty-two hundred men had just been massacred through Turkish treachery, by the Druse army at Deir el Komr The only men left alive were thirty Protestants of Ain Zehalteh who bad taken refuge in Rev. William Bird's house. Mr. Bird, much against his will, had been compelled by the United States consul to come away to Abeih with his family. The next day, Thursday June 21st, was the massacre. That night the Druse begs in Abeih came to Mr. Calhoun and Mr. Bird and said, "Deir el Komr is gone - the men all slain. None remain but those in Mr. Bird's house, You must go at once and bring them away. We will go with you, and hasten, lest the Hauran Druses, knowing that Mr. Bird's house is full of Christian treasure, should break in and kill your Protestants." Long before light they set out. It was an agonizing three hours' ride to both these brethren, and more agonizing when they entered the town and rode over the corpses of Mr. Bird's old neighbours and friends. They arrived just in time. Those wild Druses of the Leja had brought a huge beam and were ramming the door. But the Druse commander, Bushir Beg, and his men drove them off, and Mr. Calhoun and Mr. Bird entered and found the thirty men alive. The Druses then took all of Mr. Bird's furniture and all the deposits and carried them to the Druse Khulweh or assembly house and guarded them securely. Then the two missionaries headed the procession and with a Druse guard, conducted these rescued men over to Abeih. The next day, Saturday, Mr. Calhoun alone, with a Druse guard, took these thirty brethren to Beirut. He came to my house, and as he opened the-door, with a look of weariness and pain such as I never before saw in his face, exclaimed, "Brother Jessup, what does all this mean? Truly God is speaking to us." He returned at once to Abeih and with Mr. Bird made daily trips to Deir el Komr bringing away on mules Mr. Bird's furniture and library and such women and children as had not been conveyed by the Druses to the seashore whence English gunboats carried them to Beirut. On the 26th, Mr. Calhoun wrote me, "I am weary."
Years afterwards, Ali Beg Hamady, one of the leaders of the Druse attack on Deir el Komr, told me why Mr. Bird's house was spared on that dreadful day of wrath. Ali Beg was a haughty warrior. He led a regiment of rough-riders to the Crimean War and had the rank of colonel in the Turkish army. Twenty-five years after the massacre of Deir el Komr, in 1885, I called on Ali Beg in Baklin, his home He was a tall, stately man, with a white turban, a long beard, flowing robes, and received us with that beautiful courtesy for which the Druses are so famous. A young man of the family was then in the college in Beirut. He asked me, " Do you know why Mr. Bird's house was not attacked during the massacre of 1860? It was because of the character of Mr. Calhoun and Mr. Bird. I saved that house and set guards to protect it."
Years afterwards in Beirut, a Druse called at my house one day before sunset, and said he brought a message from Ali Beg who was ill and wished to see me. The messenger said, "Bring your New Testament (Injeel) with you." I hastened to the house with my Arabic Testament. He was lying on a bed on the floor, bolstered up with cushions. Fixing his piercing eagle eye on me he said, "I am a dying man. I honoured and loved Mr. Calhoun, and he loved the Injeel. Read to me the passages he loved." I read to him the sweetest of the gospel invitations and promises. He listened like one hungering and thirsting. "Read more," said he, "Read more. Is there pardon for a great sinner like me?" I was deeply affected, and pointed him to the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world. I led in prayer, asking God for Christ's sake to forgive him, and be repeated the words after me. After a long interview, at his request, I left the New Testament with him, promising to call in the morning, and earnestly praying that the Saviour would reveal Himself to this dying warrior. The next day I went down to call on him, and met a long procession in the street. "What is this?" I asked. "The funeral of Ali Beg." Mr. Calhoun had been dead for nearly fifteen years, but I doubt not he welcomed to glory this aged man of war and blood, ransomed through their common Saviour Jesus Christ.
Mr. Calhoun went to the United States in 1875 on furlough. He spoke with great power at the General Assembly in Brooklyn, May, 1876. He had always expressed the hope that he might rest on Mount Lebanon, but he fell asleep in Buffalo, December 14, 1876. A return to Syria was fully expected but disease developed, and his fond desire of sleeping his long last sleep beneath the shade of the Lebanon cypresses was not granted. The return in the culminating years of his life to his native land and the Christian Church of America was not, we are sure, without meaning in the plan of an unerring Providence. Mr. Calhoun was able, before his health seriously failed, to travel to a considerable degree in the United States, to make many visits, and to address a number of the large and important assemblies of the Church of Christ at home. He thus gave the rich garnerings of his long and fruitful experience and the benefit of his profound wisdom to the Christian public in his native land, and cast the impress of his Christlike personality upon multitudes who listened to his words and looked upon his benign countenance. It has seemed to us that the sphere of his life's usefulness was widened in this summing up of his career by his personal presence in the homeland at its close.
Had he died in Lebanon the Druses and perhaps others would have made his tomb a shrine of pilgrimage, so greatly was he revered.
He was called "The Saint of Lebanon" and, "The Cedar of Lebanon." From his holy life and noble, commanding figure, God called him to bear the cross and labour in the earthly Canaan, and then called him to wear the crown in the heavenly
DR. CORNELIUS VAN ALAN VAN DYCK
No American name is more revered and loved in Syria and the Arabic-speaking lands today than that of Cornelius Van Alan Van Dyck.
He was born in Kinderhook, Columbia County, New York, August 13, 1818, studied medicine at Jefferson College in Philadelphia, and sailed for Syria as a lay medical missionary in February, 1840, when twenty-one and a half years of age. A Christian woman in Hornellsville, New York, remarked to Dr. Harris in 1903, that when she was a young girl in Kinderhook, she heard a friend say one Sunday, "It is discouraging that at our communion services today, only two persons were received, one a negro woman and the other a young man named Van Dyck." Yet this young man was one day to reflect greater honour on his native church and town than even the famous Martin Van Buren of Kinderhook, and will be remembered and revered when the most of his Kinderhook contemporaries are forgotten.
He was of Dutch descent, and owing to his father's financial misfortunes, was left to gain his education largely through his own efforts. When young he was a lover of nature, and prepared an herbarium of all the plants of his native country. At eighteen he lectured on chemistry to a school for girls.
He sailed from Boston, January 12, 1840, in the bark Emma Isodora, of 200 tons. The vessel was ice-bound in Boston harbour for three days. There were nine missionaries, three married men and Dr. Van Dyck, a bachelor of twenty-one and a half years, and three other passengers. There were no decent accommodations for passengers. The cabin was about ten by thirteen feet. Small pens called staterooms had been I knocked up in the after hold, and five married couples were crowded into this 'Black Hole.' The doctor slept in the deck house over the companionway. The table was over the stairs, resting on the railing, so as to shut off what little air could get down below that way. On a previous voyage to the West Indies, coffee had been spilled in the hold, and decayed, and produced a bilge, the smell of which was simply indescribable. There is nothing vile enough to compare with it. The agent of the Boston mission house had bought as his sleeping outfit a small blanket, too short at both ends, and as thin as a lady's veil, and a thin cotton spread, and this for a winter voyage. But for a buffalo robe he brought with him from home and a thick overcoat, he might have suffered. He was young and in robust health and did not mind matters at all. But the case was different with those five poor ladies, who were shut up below, and compelled to endure the smell of the bilge. A strong current of air drew down from the foresail into the forecastle, whence it drew through the hold to the cabin, taking the whole abominable compound of stinks, and keeping it up, on those poor creatures below, whence it came up through the companionway under the dining table in the deck house. You may imagine the result!
They reached Smyrna February 26, 1840, in forty-five days from Boston, and were received into the families of Messrs. Temple and Riggs. Mr. Adger was absent. Mr. S. H. Calhoun was stationed at Smyrna as agent for the American Bible Society. He was absent on duty in Athens. Some time in March they took Austrian steamer for Beirut, calling at Larnaca, Cyprus, where they met Messrs. Ladd and J. Thomson and also Mr. Hebard, who was en route for Constantinople.
"On the 2nd of April they anchored off Beirut and Were met by Messrs. William M. Thomson and E. R. Beadle, who came alongside. Though they had a clean bill of health, they were landed with all their goods and boxes (which in his case consisted of a small box of books and a trunk) in the quarantine, and kept fourteen days in durance vile in a leaky house. Then at the end of the fortnight some of them were taken into Dr. Thomson's family and some into Mr. Beadle's. Dr. Eli Smith was then in the United States, Mr. Hebard in Constantinople, and Messrs. Lanneau and Sherman in Jerusalem. Miss Tilden was teaching with Mr. Beadle in the Beirut Boys' Seminary." [Quoted from Dr. Van Dyck's " Reminiscences."]
Arriving in Syria April 2, 1840, he began at once the study of Arabic which lie kept up all his life, with remarkable success. In May, 1840, he made an extensive tour in Northern Syria with Dr. Thomson, and in July proceeded to Jerusalem to have the medical care of the missionary families. Returning to Beirut in January, 1841, lie made the acquaintance of Mr. Butrus Bistany, a recent convert to the Protestant faith from the Maronite sect. These two young men formed a warm attachment. Bistany was a scholar and an industrious student, and their congeniality of taste bound them together their whole lives. At Mr. Bistany's funeral, in 1883, he was requested to make an address, but was so overcome that he was only able to say with deep emotion, "Oh, friend of my youth!"
Dr. Van Dyck studied Arabic with Sheikh Nasif el Yazigy, the poet, and Sheikh Yusef el Asir, a Mohammedan Mufti, graduate of the Azhar University in Cairo. The former was Dr. Eli Smith's Arabic assistant in Bible translation for eight years, and the latter assisted Dr. Van Dyck also for eight years in the same great work. He soon mastered the best productions of Arabic poetry and literature, and by his wonderful memory could quote from the poetry, proverbs, history and science of the Arabs in a way which completely fascinated the Syrian people. They said, "He is one of us." He had no peer among foreigners in his knowledge of the Arabic language and literature. This taste for language was natural to him, and was a divine gift and a divine preparation for the great work of Bible translation to which in due season God called him.
On the 23d of December, 1842, he was married to Miss Julia Abbott, whose mother, the widow of the British Consul-General Abbott, had married in August, 1835, Rev. William M. Thomson.
In June, 1843, he removed with Dr. Thomson and Mr. Butrus Bistany to Abeih in Lebanon, fifteen miles southeast of Beirut, where he founded the Abeih High School, which was afterwards known as the famous Abeih Seminary, and which was under the care of Rev. S. H. Calhoun for twenty-six years, from 1849 to 1875. During his six years' stay in Abeih, he prepared in Arabic school-books on geography, algebra, geometry, logarithms, plane and spherical trigonometry, navigation and natural philosophy These books, afterwards revised by himself, continue to be standard works in the Arabic language.
His geography of Turkey, Asia Minor, Syria and Palestine, is a thesaurus of graphic description, and full of apt quotations in poetry and prose from the old Arab geographers and travelers. The people delight in it and quote it with admiration. I found it to be one of the best possible reading books in acquiring a knowledge of the Arabic vocabulary.
In 1847 he was a member of a committee with Drs. Eli Smith and G. B. Whiting to prepare the appeal in behalf of anew translation of the Bible into the Arabic language, which we have already quoted in the chapter on Bible translation. From this time until 1857 he lived in Sidon in a house "on the wall," with his father-in-law, Dr. Thompson. Their field extended to Tyre' and Tiberias and to Mount Hermon and even Damascus. And they made extended tours, preaching and healing the sick. Their house in Sidon was open to all, and their evening Bible classes were thronged with young men.
When he removed from Abeih to Sidon, he expressed great joy at the prospect of giving himself more completely to the work of preaching But his linguistic tastes led him more and more to lay up great stores of Arabic learning.
Dr. Eli Smith died January 11, 1857, having laboured eight years in the translation of the Scriptures. In the chapter on Bible translation we have given a full account of Dr. Van Dyck's success in finishing it. It was indeed finished. But few errors, and those of secondary importance, have ever been found in this wonderfully accurate translation. It is the enduring monument of the scholarship, taste and sound judgment of the two eminent men whom God raised up for the work.
In 1865 lie went to New York to superintend the electrotyping of the whole Bible, to save the enormous expense of setting up the type whenever an edition was printed. While in America he gave instruction in the Hebrew language in Union Theological Seminary in New York, and was offered a permanent professorship, which he declined, saying, "I have left my heart in Syria and thither I must return." He returned to Beirut in September, 1867, and in addition to his regular duties as editor of the press and of the weekly journal, the Neshrah, he accepted the professorship of pathology in the medical department of the Syrian Protestant College, and continued in this office until 1883, when he resigned. During the sixteen years of his connection with the college he published a large Arabic volume on pathology, another on astronomy, and a work on chemistry. He aided in the foundation of the observatory, and brought out a telescope which he afterwards sold to the college. Together with Drs. Post, Wortabet and Lewis, he conducted regular clinics in the St. John's Hospital of the Knights of St. John of Berlin.
After his resignation from the Syrian Protestant College, he accepted an invitation from the Greek Hospital of St. George in Beirut and continued to attend its clinics for ten years, and aided largely not only in raising its character, but in inducing the wealthy Syrian Greeks to contribute to its enlargement and its higher efficiency. In 1891, the year of his jubilee of fifty years in Syria, the Greek citizens placed a white marble bust of Dr. Van Dyck in the open court in the midst of the hospital as a proof of their appreciation and gratitude. It was the first memorial bust erected in Syria in modern times, and the Greek Society have shown great liberality and sincere gratitude by setting it up to commemorate the labours and life of an American Protestant missionary physician. Several eloquent addresses were made, and Greeks, Mohammedans Maronites, Protestants, Catholics and Jews united in the celebration.
During the latter years of his life he published in Arabic eight volumes of science primers and a fine volume, "Beauties of the Starry Heavens." His last Arabic work was the translation of "Ben Hur," which was published after his death by two of his pupils at the "Muktataf " Press in Cairo.
Dr. Sarroof states in a brief Arabic memoir, that Dr. Van Dyck was most sensitive with regard to the honour due to Dr. Eli Smith, and would never allow the translation of the Bible to be spoken of as his alone. When Dom Pedro, Emperor of Brazil, called upon him in 1877 he complimented him on his translation of the Bible. Dr. Van Dyck at once replied, "Perhaps Your Majesty has not been informed that I am not the only translator. The work was begun by Dr. Eli Smith, and after his death I completed it." He scorned flattery and once on receiving a visit from a deputation of learned sheikhs and Ulema from Damascus, the leading sheikh, a noted scholar, began to praise the doctor in efflorescent Oriental style, and asked, " What gifts and talents must a man have to attain such learning as you have?" The doctor curtly replied, "The humblest may attain to it by industry. He who strives wins."
On April 2, 1890, his jubilee was celebrated by his friends, native and foreign. Committees had been formed in Syria and Egypt, and subscriptions raised. On the day of his jubilee deputation after deputation visited him, presenting addresses and tokens of esteem. The native committee presented him with a purse of 500 pounds. The American missionaries gave him a Gothic walnut case containing all of his Arabic publications, twenty-six in number, elegantly bound. A photographer presented him a large picture of himself in an Oriental frame. The managers of the Greek Hospital gave him a silver coffee set, and a valuable gift was presented him from the Curatorium of St. John's Hospital.
Among the addresses presented to him on his jubilee were those from the Central Committee, from the Orthodox Greek Patriarch of Antioch in Damascus, Dr. Edward C. Gilman of the American Bible Society, the Curators of St. John's Hospital, the Syrian Evangelical Society, the session of the Beirut Church, the Greek Bishop of Beirut, the Alumni of the Syrian Protestant College, the Syrian Young Women's Society, the Y. M. C. A., the undergraduates of the Syrian Protestant College, and an elaborate address from his brethren of the Syrian Mission read by the Rev' Dr. W. W. Eddy.
In 1892 Dr. Van Dyck received the honorary degree of L. H. D. from the University of Edinburgh.
After a brief illness, he entered into rest on Wednesday morning, November 13, 1895. The public sorrow was perhaps unparalleled in Syria. He had requested that no word of eulogy be uttered at his funeral and the request was strictly complied with. It is an old custom in Syria for the poets to read eulogistic poems at funerals, and no Oriental custom was more distasteful to him, so that literally a score of poets were greatly disappointed But a few days after, on Wednesday, November 30th, by general request, the writer pronounced a funeral discourse to a large congregation. His admiring friends, however, sent to the local press, and to his old pupil, Dr. Iskander Barudi, not less than forty-seven elegiac poems, which were published in a volume.
His old pupil and fellow teacher, Dr. John Wortabet and a few associates, erected over his grave a monument of red Aberdeen granite suitably inscribed in both English and Arabic:
Cornelius Van Alan Van Dyck
Born in Kinderhook, August 13,1818,
Died in Beirut, November 13, 1895,
After labouring 55 years among the sons of the