PROGRESS AND REVIVAL - THE CHURCH CURTAIN
THE CHURCH CURTAIN
When the new church was finished the question arose, Shall the old red broadcloth curtain of time-honoured use in the old chapel for thirty years be hung in the new church to separate the women from the men? We missionaries declined to settle the question and left it to the native brethren. After long and serious discussion they decided that if the curtain were not hung in the new church no Moslem woman would ever enter it and many Christian women would not, and parents of the schoolgirls might object to their being stared at by men and boys. So the curtain was hung with hooks on an iron rod extending from the front pew back to the organ. It hung there for several years and was finally removed by the Syrians themselves without our knowledge and presented to a church in the interior which is still under the sway of old Oriental customs.
The church bell and clock had arrived from New York, but the tower was not finished and so eager were the people of Beirut to see and hear the striking of the clock that with one accord Moslems, Jews, Greeks, and Maronites contributed liberally and the work was completed. By an agreement with the Jewish Mission's Committee of the Church of Scotland the missionaries of that church have maintained the English preaching at 11 A. M. On Sunday from that time until the present, thirty-nine years. Rev. Dr. Jas. Robertson and Rev. Dr. G. M. Mackie have been the incumbents with other temporary supplies and their Catholic spirit and faithful labours have been and are a blessing to the entire Anglo-American community.
On the 2d of April Theodore Booth, son of Wm. A. Booth of New York, died at Hotel Bellevue in Beirut. Owing to the warm friendship of Mr. Booth and family for many members of the mission we all felt deeply the death of this lovely young man cut off in the spring time of his life.
His remains were embalmed and taken to America. His brother Frederick, who was summoned from Jerusalem, was detained by a storm in Jaffa and unable to come to the funeral.
Mr. Booth founded, as a memorial of his son, the "Theodore Fund" of the Syrian Protestant College, the income of which was to be used for the publication of works needed in the course of instruction, and Mrs. Booth gave the chandeliers for the new church also as a memorial of her son.
On August 17th Dr. and Mrs. Post were greatly afflicted in the death of their infant son Robert, in the Saracenic building in Baalbec. Dr. Bliss and Mr. Stuart Dodge hastened thither, riding all night and returned with the sorrowing parents to Beirut and Mr. Calhoun went down by night to Beirut to conduct the funeral.
In October with the aid of Dr. Eddy's son William I made a collection of the specimens of the rocks in all the strata from the summit of the Metaiyyar Mountain above Abeih to the bottom of the valley below, measuring each stratum and recording its thickness and wrapping the specimens in cloth bags made for the purpose. These were presented to the cabinet of the Beirut College.
The theological class closed in Abeih October 30th and the students went to their fields of labour for the winter. Mr. Calhoun had the chair of Theology; Mr. Eddy Bible Exegesis, and I had Church History, Homiletics, and Evidences of Christianity. It became necessary to prepare lectures at once in Arabic in the two former and for the latter we used Alexander's Evidences. As my preference has always been for preaching, this settling down and preparing lectures was a new and difficult task, but I have kept it up to this day (1907) and have had the satisfaction of aiding in the training of about ninety young men for the ministry.
We decided to teach the theological students English. It was felt that Syria cannot be kept to the standard of Eastern Turkey. The land is full of European Jesuits and European infidel literature. Our young brethren will be derided unless they are able to cope with the arguments of Voltaire and defend even the text of the Holy Scriptures. Even in Hums books are in circulation which few men in a Christian land could satisfactorily answer. And the young men of that church and community have spent weeks trying to answer the old objections of Celsus, Arius, Voltaire, flume, and Renan, revamped and eloquently stated in the recent Arabic Mohammedan book entitled "Izhar el Hoc."
But recently (1904) this book has been triumphantly answered in an Arabic work (the "Hedaiyet") written and printed in Cairo. But none the less the Arabic pastors of this generation need a good knowledge of English.
We returned to Beirut where I once more took my turn with Dr. Thomson in the Arabic preaching. The Scotch preaching service was conducted by Rev. Mr. Fenwick.
On November 14th Mrs. J. Bowen Thompson died in London and on Sunday, November 28th, I preached funeral sermons in English and Arabic commemorative of her nearly nine years of faithful service for the women and girls of Syria.
She was a woman of earnest piety, great courage and resolution, undaunted by obstacles, a good organizer, and in the few years of her life in Syria had founded a system of day-schools for girls in about ten towns in Syria, and a Central Training Institutetion in Beirut. With her sisters Mrs. Mott, and Mrs. Smith and Miss Lloyd, who succeeded her, she worked in entire harmony with the American missionaries, and her teachers and pupils were received to the communion in our native churches. In this she had to resist repeated overtures from the high church party in England, but although a member of the Church of England she would not consent to bring about a schism in the native Evangelical Church. We of the American Mission acted as pastors for her Christian teachers and pupils, and from the day of her arrival in October, 1860, I extended to her a warm welcome and stood by her when not an English resident in Beirut would recognize her. Their conduct was, to my mind, based on misrepresentations, and I saw in her a strong and consecrated character, capable of great usefulness and in the end she won the confidence and cooperation of all.
In February a deputation from the village of Mezraat Yeshua near the Dog River came to Beirut stating that sixty families of Maronites had "turned" Protestants, or, as they say, wished to "nuklub Protestant" and wanted a preacher. After long questioning and sifting their stories we learned that there was it deadly feud between two families in the village, that one man had been killed but that the government had settled the quarrel. Nukhly, one of my two guests, wanted to be made priest and the other party opposed it. We had little confidence in the sincerity of the men but it seemed a call of God to enter in while the door was open and preach the Gospel. The result, however, was the same as in another case I have instanced at length.
Near this village on the mountainside there was formerly a stone statue of Diana or Artemis. The Arabic name is Artameesli. The monks ages ago built a monastery and called it the Monastery of St. Tameesh, so they are praying to Diana. Higher up is the convent of Bellona, sister of Mars, the goddess of war. She is reputed a saint by the people and offerings are made at her shrine in the convent. There are nearly fifty convents within fifty miles along the coast of Lebanon and some 2,000 monks live on the fat of the land. By terrors of purgatory the priests and monks have for ages extorted from the dying their houses and lands until nearly all the fine fountains, rich arable land, forest groves, and fruit trees belong to the monks and the poor fellahin or farmers are mere tenants at will. And those not tenants have generally borrowed money from the monks and priests so that they are held by a grip of iron. This state of things has made the Kesrawan district of Lebanon a byword and a hissing throughout Syria. The people are in a state of physical and ecclesiastical bondage.
I mention this incident as one characteristic of the Maronites of Lebanon and of some other sects. I have known of about a dozen villages in which from fifty to 500 people have declared themselves Protestants and continued so for weeks and months and then suddenly all gone back except perhaps two or three, and that without a blush or sense of shame. Such movements took place in Aindara, Ain er Rummaneh, Deraun, and many other places. They had expected foreign consular protection and when that failed they slipped back in their socket like dislocated bones. The threat to turn Protestants or Jews or Moslems is a with which the people threaten their priests common weapon without any thought of a sincere change of faith. An honest movement to evengelical Christianity in masses is unknown in Syria. It is different among the Armenians. The popular movement in Aintab and Marash in 1851 arose from a sincere desire to know God's Word and to follow its teachings, and as a result stable evangelical churches of true, honest men and women were speedily organized and have continued to this day. In Syria the popular conscience has been so warped and corrupted by the confessional and the easy condoning of sin, that men can profess to change their religion with no idea of a real change and with only a sinister object. As a consequence, the Protestant movement in Syria has been chiefly that of individuals, one here and another there, so that the organization of churches has been a slow work and the want of a large membership rendered self-support impossible in the early decades of the mission.
In Safita, Northern Syria, 300 Greeks and Nusairiyeh declared themselves Protestants in 1866, and only a dozen held out to the end. In Wadi Shahroor 250 came out as Protestants in 1876 and not one proved to be sincere. In B'teddin-el-Luksh 150 declared themselves Protestants in 1861 and had a preacher for a year, and all then turned back again. If all the people who have "turned" Protestants in Syria had remained steadfast, the land would soon be Protestant. In the most of these cases, the so-called Protestants present a petition, signed with their seals, declaring that they will live and die Protestants, calling God to witness their sincerity. And yet in a few weeks they violate the pledge without the least compunction, assured that their priests will condone their perjury.
Every man in Syria has a seal with his name and title engraved on brass or agate or carnelian, and even his signature is of little account without his seal. Placing one's seal on a document is equivalent to an oath and is regarded as sacred.
Mezraat Yeshua was a specimen of the way in which popular movements in Syria towards Protestantism collapse. Such a thing as a village asking for the truth in the love of it has not been heard of in modern times. They generally ask for a preacher to spite somebody or get even with the tyrannical priesthood.
It often happens that when a man is at law, and the priests and bishops take sides with his adversary, he will turn Protestant as a menace, and thus bring over the clergy to his own side, and then drop his Protestantism. So many suspicious characters come to us offering themselves as pillars to the cause of the Gospel, that I not unfrequently ask a man, as the first question after the usual salutations, "Have you committed robbery or murder, or are you in a quarrel with your family or priests, or do you wish to marry a person forbidden by your religion, or what is the reason of your coming to me? Did you ever hear of a man's leaving his religion without a cause? Now tell me plainly, what have you done?" Sometimes it turns out that a man really wants instruction, but the case is generally otherwise. If fifty men turned Protestants in a village, one ordinarily counts upon about ten as likely to stand, but every movement of the kind loosens the grasp of the priesthood and prepares the way for a more thorough work in the future.
In 1835-1836 members of all the Druse feudal families of sheikhs in Lebanon declared themselves Protestant Christians and asked for preachers and teachers. For a time they were steadfast, some of them even going to prison, but the missionaries felt that they were not sincere and when the hope of political protection was cut off they politely bowed the missionaries and teachers out of their villages. On the other hand, the Protestant churches in Syria have grown up gradually from individuals or small bodies of men who have endured persecution from priests and sheikhs, suffering social ostracism and political disabilities, yet standing firm in their faith.
One of the first Protestants, Asaad es Shidiak, suffered martyrdom rather than yield to the patriarch and return to Mariolatry and creature worship, and every little church throughout the land has originated with men who have suffered for Christ's sake. A full account of some of these men would make a valuable chapter in modern church history.
Up to the present time about ninety-five young men have been taught in the theological class, of whom fourteen have been ordained (1908). The poverty of the churches has greatly hindered the ordination of native preachers as the mission first, and afterwards the presbytery, decided to ordain no one unless at least half his salary was paid by his church.
I am almost amazed at the extent to which evangelical light pervades the nominally Christian communities here. The Greek Church in Beirut will go over some day to Protestantism en masse, if the light continues to spread in the future as it has in the past ten years. A prominent Greek said a few days ago, "You Protestants need not trouble yourselves about converting Syria. Our children are all going to be Protestants whether you will or not. The Bible is doing the work."
Another Greek was visited recently by a priest who came to receive the confession of the family, previous to the sacrament. The priest said, "My son, I have come to hear you confess."
"All right, your reverence, I have a big score to confess today." - "Go on, my son." "Well. I do not believe in the worship of pictures." (This is a cardinal point in the Greek Church) "No matter about that, as long as you are an Orthodox Greek."
"But I do not believe in the invocation of the Virgin and the saints." - "Ah I you do not? Well, that is a small matter. Go on." - "Nor do I believe in transubstantiation." – "No matter about that, it is a question for the theologians." - "Nor do I believe in priestly absolution." - "Very well, between you and me there is room for objection to that, so no matter as long as you confess." - "But I do not believe in confession to a priest." Here the priest became somewhat confused, but finally smoothed the matter over, and said, "No matter about that." The man then replied, "What business have I then in a Greek church? Good-morning, your reverence. I have done with the traditions of men."
The growing enlightenment of the people is greatly alarming the priesthood of all sects, and they are setting themselves and taking counsel together how to check the growth of Protestantism. Every species of annoyance and petty private persecution is resorted to, but where the truth has taken root nothing will avail to check it. Were there entire liberty of conscience here and were the power of persecution and oppression taken out of the hands of the clergy, there would be an astonishing movement towards Protestant Christianity.
Two young men, of good families in Beirut, and both of the Greek sect, have been turned out of their houses within a fortnight by their own parents for attending our church and prayer meetings but they both stand firm and have now been asked to return home again. One of them brought his father to church last Sunday and his sister to the Sabbath-school.
At a recent meeting of our church session, a letter was sent in, written by a young man who was suspected a year ago of a gross sin and had persistently denied it, but in this letter he acknowledged his sin in bitter anguish of repentance, and begged the church to watch over him and help him in his efforts to live a new life for Christ.
But not all who call upon us as inquirers can be implicitly trusted. A German Jew turned up recently who wished aid, stating that he was inquiring and was therefore entitled to pecuniary aid. He is still here, having been baptized in another part of the country, and says he will be content with six piastres for working half a day as he wishes to study the other half.
An old Maronite papal priest called, about sixty-five years old, and "pressed great interest in the truth." Suspecting that something was wrong, I asked him to tell me the whole story in the outset, and then we could get on better together. So he said his wife had died and that he had two grown up daughters who were about to be married and the patriarch was about to divide the large family property between the daughters. "Now," said he, "I wish to marry again and raise up sons, who will be my heirs and preserve my name, but the patriarch forbids my remarrying, so I threatened to turn Protestant. He imprisoned me in Deir Meifuk but I escaped and fled to Beirut. I want protection from your government to enable me to marry again."
I gave him some books, explained the Gospel to him and advised him to go home and live in peace with his daughters and let the marriage question alone.
Five men called one day from a distant Maronite village, deeply interested in the truth, profoundly impressed, as they said, and they wanted a preacher and a school. After an hour's crossquestioning and probing, I learned that they were deeply in debt, and wished us to buy their heavily mortgaged property and build a boarding-school so that they could pay their debts or use us as a shield in repudiating their debts.
Another aged priest came and offered to become Protestant, if I would guarantee him a salary of twelve dollars a month with or without work.
Then a monk came and said that he loved me very much and loved the Gospel, and wanted to know if I would advance to him the sum of 6,000 piastres ($240) on a note he held which had no date nor witnesses. He said that in case he could get the money, he and his abbot could buy the control of a better monastery than their present one and have a good opportunity to preach the Gospel! The man had some light and had read many of our books, but lacked the simplicity of the Gospel. I told him that we never dealt in mercantile affairs and he had better sell his note to the brokers.
Such cases as these are constantly occurring, but never discourage us, for we always anticipate a certain percentage of similar cases, and take it for granted that every professed inquirer has some sinister design unless we have previous knowledge of the person, or he gives proof of honest intentions.
Two of my missionary correspondents at this time were prodding the Syria Mission for not having native pastors, and several in America were insisting on our forming at once a presbytery. Mr. Williams of Mardin declared that we were putting education in the place of evangelization. Dr. Lansing of Egypt urged, that we go ahead and form a presbytery. The New School Presbyterian Foreign Mission Committee in New York, which was then connected with the American Board, insisted that the Presbyterian missionaries in Syria under the American Board "have something to show in the shape of presbyteries on mission ground after all these years of labour."
Now I would yield to no one as to the importance of a living native church with its own native pastors, and this has been the aim of the Syria Mission, amid difficulties innumerable, for sixty years. But although I am a Presbyterian by birth and conviction, I cannot put Presbyterian polity above the interests of the native churches in the mission. A presbytery consists of the pastors and elders of churches in a given district. Foreign missionaries are not pastors and should not be. A presbytery in Syria composed of foreign missionaries only, would not be a legal presbytery. Nor is it desirable that a presbytery in Syria should be composed of mixed American and Syrian pastors and Syrian elders. We therefore postponed the organization of a presbytery in, Syria until 1883 when Sidon Presbytery was formed and afterwards the Presbyteries of Mount Lebanon and Tripoli. The missionaries here all retain their connection with their home presbyteries in America, and sit as corresponding members of the three presbyteries in Syria; that of Sidon, Beirut and Mount Lebanon, and Tripoli. We decline to vote, but the Syrian brethren entreat us to sit with them and at times even to accept the office of moderator. The twelve ordained missionaries in Syria would, if legal members of the native presbyteries, be able to override and outvote their Syrian brethren.
In the three Syrian presbyteries, where the churches have no pastors, the licensed preacher, if acting as supply, has a, seat in presbytery with his elder. This enables the presbytery to cover the field and these young preachers are trained to transact business and to enter into spiritual sympathy with their fellow workers throughout the land. After long discussion and full study and consideration, all the presbyteries have adopted the form of government of the Presbyterian Church.
There has thus far been no attempt to unite in one body the American Presbyterian Mission, the Irish Presbyterian Mission of Damascus, the Scotch United Free Mission in Tiberias, and the Reformed Presbyterian or Covenanter Mission of Latakia, Cyprus, and Mersine. When these three branches of the Pres. byterian Church at home unite, the missionaries on the foreign field will no doubt respond with enthusiasm. At present I understand that there is not material enough in the way of ordained pastors and organized churches to warrant the formation of a presbytery in either of these three missions. The close communion principles of some of these churches make it difficult to have even a union evangelistic service. One rather exceptionally radical devotee of psalm singing in Northern Syria requested the Brummana Conference of some 120 Christian workers from all parts of Syria, Palestine, and Asia Minor, to forego hymn singing and to sing only psalms in order to enable him to come. The secretary, Dr. Mackie, replied kindly to this assumption by suggesting that he could refrain from singing altogether and yet enjoy the benefit of a conference led by the saintly Rev. F. B. Meyer. But he refused to come. The non-possumus of a pope could not be more unfraternal.
In November, 1869, Dr. Norman McLeod of Scotland passed through Cairo on his return from India. Meeting Rev. Dr. Barnett, a stiff United Presbyterian of the American Mission, Dr. McLeod asked him what he thought of all Christians uniting in foreign fields to form an evangelical church on the basis of the New Testament.
"Not at all," he replied, "as long as so many of these churches will follow 'will worship' in singing human productions (meaning hymns)." "What," said Dr. McLeod, "do you mean to say that you would make a schism in the Church of Christ for such a reason?" "Yes," said Dr. Barnett. "Then," said Dr. McLeod, "I wish your whole church was in the bottomless pit."
That was severe language and too strong and too much like bringing fire from heaven as James and John wished to do, but Dr. McLeod was a man of broad sympathies and strong convictions and could not bear intolerance. We were at that time corresponding with all the missions in Asia Minor, Syria, Palestine, and Egypt with regard to holding I Union Missionary Conference in March, 1870, and we had strong hopes of a delegation of the United Presbyterian brethren in Egypt, but none came, and the Covenanter brethren of the North did not even answer the circular invitation. Since that time a much broader and more fraternal spirit has prevailed and we exchange pulpits with our saintly brethren in Egypt and our "mutual love is fervent."
We can explain to the people the difference between presbytery and prelacy, but I have not been able to make an Arab understand why missionaries labouring to lead pagans and Moslems to Christ should refuse to commune with other missionaries because in their church service they sing "Jesus, Lover of my Soul" and other inspiring Christian hymns of prayer and praise.
In writing on this subject to dear Dr. Lansing in December, 1868, I said, "Really, should our two branches of the church at home unite to-morrow on a basis allowing the singing of both psalms and hymns at pleasure, I don't believe that your mission would refuse to enter into the union."
In those days I found great comfort and inspiration in reading, every night before retiring, from George Bowen's "Meditations." It is the most pithy, terse, and sententious book of devotional reading I have ever read. The author was once a New York infidel lawyer, was converted, studied in Union Seminary, went to Western India as a missionary, where he supported himself by teaching and conducting a journal. He was a remarkable man and has written a remarkable book.
In January, 1869, the mission thanked God and took courage. The Bible had been printed in various attractive editions; thousands of people have heard the Gospel message; numerous deputations had come from different villages asking for teachers; towns and villages long scaled against us are now open and asking for missionary labour; baptisms have begun to take place among the Druses; even the Mohammedans are sending their children to our schools; several Christian churches have been organized; and the mission has now set apart three of its members to the work of training a native ministry, while in the department of higher education, the college and girls' boarding-school in Beirut will accomplish all that Syria will need for many years to come.
Yet we had not a single self-supporting church or school. This money question is the bane of all missions. The whole system of paying native Christian teachers and preachers out of foreign funds is an unmixed evil. The "Native Element," as it is called in educational institutions, is important, but only most effective when paid by natives. Every cent of foreign money paid to natives is misunderstood by the native population, puts the employees thus paid in the attitude of hirelings, injures their character for sincerity (and most of them are truly sincere), and weakens the self-respect of the people. It tends to demoralize them.
The Emir Mohammed Smair Ibn ed Dukhy of the Anazeh Arabs said once to me while on a visit to Beirut, "Yes, we would like to have a teacher come to our tribe, but he must be willing to live as we do, travel as we travel, and eat as we eat." Once a Bedawy sheikh, after hearing the Sermon on the Mount, exclaimed, "That command to turn the 'other cheek' may do for you dwellers in towns, but it will never do for us Arabs. We must punish offenders and retaliate for outrages, or we could not live." The fact is that the old Ishmaelitic spirit is wrought into the very fibre of their being, "his hand shall be against every man and every man's hand shall be against him." Though professedly Moslems they waylay and plunder and kill the Moslem pilgrims en route from Jeddah to Mecca. While in one sense they are simple-minded, hospitable, true children of nature, they show that they are also the children of Adam, superstitious, suspicious, and revengeful to the last degree. The system of "do ghazu," or midnight raids upon hostile camps, is a part of their very being, and is as cowardly as it is cruel. When Kamil and Jedaan spent a summer among the Anazeh in 18go, they read and preached to them for two months, and since then Jedaan has induced a body of young sheikhs to agree to give up the 'gliazu." Some day, when the present political and military barrier is removed, the Gospel will again reach the Arabs as it did in the early Christian centuries.
In 1864 the Arab Orthodox Greeks of Deir Mimas, west of Mount Hermon, quarrelled about their ecclesiastical revenues. The income from the Church estates was vastly in excess of former years, and the whole village was rent with violent struggles on the part of the people to secure their share of the prize after giving the Greek priest a meagre portion. They cast about them for an agent to whom they could entrust the care of the funds. They could not trust the priest nor the sheikh nor any one of the old men, and at length by unanimous consent they requested the Rev. J. A. Ford (father of Dr. George A. Ford), the American missionary, to take charge of the revenues of the Greek Church.
This confidence of the Syrian people in the American missionaries has appeared strikingly since the emigration to North America and Brazil began. Prosperous Syrian emigrants in those lands have sent thousands of pounds in drafts and postal orders to the missionaries in Sidon, Beirut, Tripoli, and Zahleh, to be cashed by them and the money to be given to the friends of the senders in various parts of Syria. Men of various sects, many of whom the missionaries have never known, send drafts of large sums payable to the order of the missionary, with perfect confidence that the money will be honestly delivered. One of the missionaries had at one time thousands of dollars in his care, which the owners preferred that he retain and invest for them.
With regard to the material gains to Syria through the missionaries, it is worthy of note that Rev. Isaac Bird introduced the potato in 1827 to Ehden, Northern Lebanon, and it has now become a universal article of food throughout Syria.
Mr. Hurter, our printer, introduced kerosene oil and lamps in 1865 into Syria so that by 1870 it had quite supplanted olive oil for illuminating purposes. Previous to that time olive oil was the only illuminating oil in use in the East. Americans also introduced the first steam printing-press in 1867, photographic camera in 1856, iron building beams in 1871, wire nails, sewing machines, parlour organs in 1854, mimeographs, typewriters, dentistry in 1854, and agricultural machinery; Dr. Hamlin, of Robert College, Constantinople, introduced the Morse telegraph apparatus, and now the empire is netted over with telegraph wires. Telephones have not yet been allowed, owing to some peculiar fear that they might be used to concoct "treasons, stratagems, and spoils," but as electric railways are now constructed in Damascus and Beirut we may hope that the telephone restriction may ere long be removed.
In September, 1869, I wrote to a missionary in Mardin who seemed disposed to denounce the Arabic language as if it were a great sinner in having such rough gutturals and difficult idioms: "I judge from Brother W------'s letter that none of you are very fond of the Arabic language. It is a burden at first, but the Master, while He does not require us to love the burden, does tell us to love to bear it. Every missionary ought to try most earnestly to love the language through which he is to preach the Gospel of Christ to his fellow men, and that, in order that he may learn it well and be able to use it as not abusing it. The perfection of art is to conceal art, and the perfection of preaching in a language is to preach so that the people will not think how you say it but what you say. Correct pronunciation of Arabic is the prime necessity."
By mispronunciation a Greek bishop prayed that the Lord would create a clean dog (kelb, instead of kolb, heart) in each of His people. A missionary lady told her servant to put more donkeys in the bread (using "hameer " instead of "khameer," leaven). A missionary calling on the local governor and wishing to thank him for some act of his, said, "I am crazy to Your Excellency" (using – "mejnoon" instead of "memnoon," obliged). Similar instances might be multiplied indefinitely - notably Dr. Dennis' funeral sermon in which by a mispronunciation of K, he confused "trials" with "roosters" to the mystification of the mourners.
In October brother Samuel made a horseback forty days' tour of 400 miles in Northern Syria, preaching, encouraging all, and rejoicing in signs of progress. He went through historic regions, the land mentioned in Genesis as the land of the "Arkites, the Arvadites, the Sinites, the Hamathites" and when last heard from, he seemed to think that the Nusairi people of that region were very largely "Sinites."
The type of the Beirut Press is becoming more and more widely regarded as the best Arabic type in the world. The distinguished Arabic scholars in Germany, who have hitherto printed the Koran and many other Arabic books in the type made in Germany, have recently written to Dr. Van Dyck asking for specifications as to the price of the various fonts of type, as they have decided to use only the Beirut type hereafter. The Dominican monks of Mosul have purchased $600 worth of type from our press for their Arabic printing work in that city.
Mr. Poole of the British Museum recently visited our press and remarked that this press is the only one in the world which does good Arabic printing. Such testimony confirms the wisdom of Dr. Eli Smith and his coadjutors in basing the Beirut types on the best specimens of Arabic calligraphy.
Since that time the Jesuit Press of Beirut has done admirable work.
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