WITH this year, in my seventy-seventh year, I conclude this sketch of a missionary's life and of the American Mission in Syria. I hardly expected to live to see the granting of a Constitution in Turkey, but it has come in my day, and we are now living in the time of transition between the old and the new, a time, naturally, full of ferment and unrest. The work of Christian education in Syria suffered a great loss by the death, in January, of Mr. Morris K. Jesup of New York, a trustee of the Syrian Protestant College, and one of its most generous supporters.
Among other losses by death was that of Mr. Thomas Little, the head of the boys' boarding-school of the Friends' Mission in Brummana; that of Mrs. Luciya Zaazooah Saiugh, for many years a teacher in the Beirut Girls' School, and an exemplary Christian wife and mother; and, on November 21st, Rev. John Wortabet, M. D., aged eighty-one years. He was widely known as a physician and author. He was ordained May, 1853, in Hasbeiya, and served as pastor there about five years when he visited Scotland and published his invaluable book on the "Religions of Syria." He was then sent out by a Scotch society as missionary to Aleppo where he remained until called in 1869 to a professorship in the Beirut Medical College as colleague with Drs. Van Dyck and Post. He was a man of great industry, an exact scholar and successful physician. He was especially kind to the sick poor, and had a wide reputation throughout Syria. For twenty years he had given up preaching and confined himself to professional and literary work. He was one of the original committee which organized the Asfuriyeh Hospital for the Insane.
Mrs. S. H. Calhoun, the widow of the "Saint of Lebanon," died in the home of her missionary daughter, Mrs. C. H. Ransoin, at Adams, Natal, South Africa, November 4th, aged eighty-four years. She arrived in Syria March 6, 1849, and for twenty-six years until June, 1875, lived in Abeih a beautiful life, the angel of a model Christian household, beloved by Druses and Christians of all sects, and a tower of strength to her noble husband. In June, 1875, she sailed for America with her husband, who died in Buffalo, December 14, 1876. The following May she returned to Syria and laboured among the women in Beirut, Deir el Komr (1878), and Shwifat (1880). In 1885 she returned to America, and afterwards accompanied her daughter, Mrs. Ransom, to the Zulu Mission, Natal, where she remained until her death, having visited Syria in 1901 en route for America.
Mrs. Wm. K. Eddy, feeling obliged to resign from the mission, sailed with her two younger boys and Dr. and Mrs. Nelson for America, in April. Rev. Wm. Jessup and family started on their furlough in July.
The work of the press was a record one, - 44,589,571 pages, of which 30,500,000 were Arabic Scriptures, having been printed. Eighteen cases of Scriptures were shipped to Shanghai, for use among Chinese Mohammedans. In March orders were on file for more than 100,000 copies of Scriptures and parts of Scriptures.
There has been also a marked increase in the number of pupils in all the mission boarding-schools for boys and girls, as well as in the amount paid by them.
Mr. Amin Fehad was ordained in the summer over the Abeih church, in the presence of a crowded congregation, and I was glad to stand in the old pulpit of Mr. Calhoun and Mr. Bird and give him the ordaining charge.
Mr. Tannus Saad was ordained in Beirut in December, during the annual meeting of the Syria Mission, as pastor of the Shwifat congregation.
Early in December, Mr. Antone Hamawy, a stone-mason of Kharaba, in Hauran, east of the Sea of Galilee, was ordained by the Presbytery of Sidon and two of the church-members were ordained as elders at the same time. Helias had no theological training, but has studied the Bible for years, and drunk deep from the fountain of divine truth. These three brethren came to see me in Beirut, came into my sick-room, and I prayed with them. It was refreshing to see these stalwart men, dressed like the Arabs of Hauran, consecrated to the service of Christ in that wild region.
In June, 1908, one month before the fall of the Turkish despotism, I wrote the following forecast of the future of Syria, little thinking that in so short a time such great strides would have been taken towards its ultimate fulfillment.
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