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STATE OF THE CHRISTIANS OF BEIROUT.
remarks which I made on my return hither at the the deserts of Arabia, which are to the south-east: close of the year.
but it is most probable, that Beirout and the whole The population of Beirout I endeavored to es of this line of coast is screened from such a quality timate as nearly as possible, by the enumeration of south-east wind by the high range of Lebanon, of houses. Within the walls of the city, there now (January 1824) covered with snow. And may be about three thousand souls. Without the thus the direction of the Sciroc influence veers a walls, to a distance of half a mile in various direc- few points, coming from south, and even southtions, are many country houses, some of which west. It has here precisely the same effect as consist of but one or two rooms: yet su a dwel- in Malta, moistening and softening every thing, Jing often suffices for the residence of a whole rendering the spirits languid, and detecting every rustic family. In summer, they scarcely seem to weak point in the body. I am now speaking of need the covering of a house; and, in winter, its operation in the winter months. I do not retheir only plan to keep themselves warm, is to member to have noticed it in autumn. crowd many into a small space.
These countryhouses I as nearly as possible counted; they may be in number about three hundred, and probably contain a population of two thousand souls. Thus During the former part of my residence of fifty the whole of Beirout would give a population of days, from December 22d, to the following Febfive thousand. The houses in the city are exceed- ruary 9th, in Beirout, which was spent in the house ingly close, dirty, and ruinous; and the streets of the friendly American missionaries we had a
visit of many days from Hanuja Doomani, from Besides the English consul, there are vice con- Deir el Kamr. It was our daily practice to read suls, or agents, representing the French, Austrian, the Arabic. Scriptures in the family circle. In Russian, Neapolitan, and Prussian governments. the evening, frequently, some neighbors would
They have a curious method of tanning leather drop in; and, on what we read, much interesting here, making every passenger contribute to the conversation ensued. Yet it was affecting to see operation. The skins of animals are first stretch- among professing Christians, who were otherwise ed, and then laid fat upon the bare ground or rude intelligent enough, a great deal of ignorance on pavement. Thus the rain, the mire, and the feet most essential points of Christian theology. Some. of the passenger, of the camel, of the horse, and times, the prevailing superstitions of the country of the ass, all contribute to cure them. It becomes fell under the censure of the passage which we necessary to step with caution; and, indeed, not read; or these native Christians, of their own ac. withstanding the utmost care, a few slips, and even cord, brought them into discussion. It was not falls, are the consequence of this public nuisance. always easy to keep them calm, for they disputed After this seasoning, the skin becomes a rude kind against one another. The only method which of leather, fit for ordinary uses.
ever succeeded, and indeed it would be difficult to The houses in the suburbs are, in general, more find any other which would succeed, was to bring slightly built, than those in the city. In summer, them round again to Scripture. the inconvenience of this is not felt; and their One of our visiters was father Simeon, an aged airyness is extremely grateful. I occupied a room, Maronite priest, who lived in a neighboring house. the dimensions of which were about ten feet by His account of the state of the Christians in this seven, and which had six windows, and was enter- place was, that there are about a hundred faed by a trap-door. In winter, however, I found, milies of Maronites in Beirout; of whom thirty or by bitter experience how much these flimsy struc- forty reside in the city, and the remainder in the tures must contribute to fever, ague, and rheuma- country-houses without the walls: for these, there tism. Being constructed of only one thickness of are four priests, three of whom (himself being one stone, and that of a very porous quality, and very of them) are married; one lives in the city; the thinly if at all stuccoed within, they absorb the rest in the suburbs. He has three sons and one moisture greatly. When the heavy rains from the daughter; this last is entered at the nunnery at south set in, the whole of the south side of the Antoura. This priest was, for many days, very house in which we were living became, in the friendly-read in the sacred Scriptures with uscourse of three tempestuous days, soaked through and received copies for the purpose of selling like a sheet of blotting paper.
them; but a painful circumstance, at lengtli, interrupted the distribution of these books, although not his friendliness.
This was an order which was read, under the In this country, the same general rule holds, as authority of the Maronite patriarch, on the 6th of was declared more than three thousand years January, prohibiting his flock from purchasing or ago—The north wind driveth away rain. (Prov. using the Arabic Bibles or Testaments, printed in xxv. 23.) Tempestuous weather, on the contrary, London. This has embarrassed the priest, and is from the south and west. The south-west wind many others; who are favorable, in the main, to seems here to have the same effect, as, in Malta, the distribution of the sacred Scriptures : and, for the south-east; so well known to every resident in a season, it may retard their circulation ; only, the Mediterranean by the name of the Sciroc however, for a season. It seemed to me not a wind. Whether it may be that the African con- little remarkable, that the festival, on which this tinent mainly contributes to this hazy and dispirit- patriarchal order was appointed to be read in the ing wind, and therefore in Syria it comes from a churches, should be that which celebrates in their direction westward of south, is doubtful; for there church, as in ours, the manifestation of Christ to seems good reason to expect a similar effect from the Gentiles.
STATE OF THE WINDS AT BEIROUT.
DECAYED STATE OF THESE MISSIONS.
MANNER OF READING IN SYRIA.
What connection there may have been between prus. At Aleppo, I was informed, are four Frank this public order and a visit which we had the convents, belonging to as many different orders, next day, I know not; but, in the afternoon of viz. Franciscans, Capuchins, Carmelites, and JeJanuary the 7th, three Maronites, one of them a suits : these last-the order of Jesuits having, at youth, came and sat in the court of the house two its dissolution, changed its title to that of Lazza. hours ; the chief part of which time they spent in rists—are under the immediate cognisance of reading aloud to themselves, all together-one in Monseignior Gandolfi. the Arabic Old Testament, the other in the New Testament, and the boy in the Psalter. They came several times afterward, being neighbors ; and, in this way, neighbors often are willing to Although it is somewhat an anticipation of recome. They said that they possessed the Testa- marks subsequently made in various parts of the ment at home : the entire Bible they occasionally Holy Land, I cannot forbear noticing, in this place, begged leave to borrow for an evening.
the surprising decay of missionary spirit and learn ing in these establishments.
I met with one of the Latin friars, who has re
sided between twenty and thirty years in these Their way of reading aloud brings to my mind countries, and yet knows only sufficient of Arabic some remarks which I have often made on the to converse on common topics, but can neither customs of the Levant. Generally speaking, peo- read nor write the language: and this, more or ple in these countries seem not to understand a less, is the actual state of nearly all. book, till they have made it vocal. They usually But that which is to be noticed with the greatgo on reading aloud, with a kind of singing voice; est concern, is the spirit of worldliness, and even moving their heads and bodies in time, and making of infidelity, manifested by some of them. They a monotonous cadence at regular intervals—thus sometimes also speak so freely against their own giving emphasis ; although not such an emphasis, church, that I have instantly checked myself with pliant to the sense, as would please an English the thought—“What encouragement can we have ear. Very often they seem to read without per- given to them to speak thus ? Indifference to the ceiving the sense ; and to be pleased with them- religion which they profess is surely at least as selves, merely because they can go through the blameable as bigotry. They appear to be far mechanical act of reading in any way. They run less supported than formerly by the countries over a full period, as if they had no perception of which they have left, and yet not much attached it; and stop in the middle of a sentence, wher- to the foreign country in which they reside-occuever they may happen to want to take breath. pying convents, built in other times and by men On one occasion, when I was showing some per- of a different stamp. sons from an English book how we read, inartifi How many temptations to sloth, trifling, and cially and naturally, they laughed, and said, “You sin, does this monastic system furnish! In the are not reading : you are talking.” I might re-performance of their multiplied rites, it is to be tort upon an oriental reader_“You are not read- feared, the mind can enjoy very little pure and ing; you are chanting.” I can very well under- heavenly delight: from the genial influence of stand how it was that Philip should hear at what friendly and social prayer they are in a manner passage in Isaiah the Ethiopian Eunuch was read- debarred; for every thing must be done by rule ing, before he was invited to come up and sit with and form, and according to book : the office of him in the chariot. (Acts viii. 30, 31.) The preaching not being practised by them, or at the Eunuch though probably reading to himself
, and most very rarely, they are deprived of that powernot particularly designing to be heard by his at- ful impulse to cultivate habits of furnishing and tendants, would read loud enough to be under- improving their minds, and of cherishing and pourstood by a person at some distance.
ing forth their best affections toward all around them. On those festivals which lead them more peculiarly into contact with the Frank residents
of the principal towns, an easy convivial temper It may be well here to notice, in detail, the state is found to be a greater recommendation, than of the Roman Catholic missions from Europe. spirituality of mind and conversation. The holy
Beirout, Jerusalem, and Aleppo appear to be the rest of the Sabbath is, moreover, universally procentral stations, with which the Latin convents faned to purposes of visiting, and amusements of correspond. The Superior in Beirout is of the every description. If to all this it be added, that Franciscan order; and has under him Beirout, the spirit of infidelity, in its gradual course from Saide, Hareesa, Abiene, Selimi, and one of the the west and south of Europe into the Levant, two convents at Damascus; with one or two more finds not much purity of manners to discountein Mount Lebanon, the names of which I have not nance, or power of learning to refute it, we shall correctly taken down; on subjects of religion, have a tolerably complete picture of the melanchothey refer directly to Rome; but, for civil protec- ly condition of this region. tion, look to the French consuls. The convent The decay of the Romish missions is certainly in Jerusalem has under its jurisdiction Bethlehem, opening the way for the labors of Protestant ChrisNazareth, Ramla, Acre, and the other of the two tians : but how loudly does it teach the members Frank convents at Damascus : these, also, on re- of all our rising institutions to fear, lest they, in ligious subjects correspond directly with Rome; their turn, should become secular, corrupt, and but, for civil matters, are under Spanish protec- inefficient! It is, indeed, a solemn call upon us, tion. There is also a Latin establishment in Cy- to look well to our motives and our measures-to
FRANK ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONS.
DEPARTURE FROM BEIROUT FOR JERUSALEM.
endeavor “To approve ourselves in all things as trees. Saide is very nearly the boundary, to the the ministers of God; by pureness, by knowledge, north of the Holy Land. (See Joshua xix, 28.) by long-suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, A mile before we reached it, we had to cross a by love unfeigned, by the Word of truth, by the river, which at this season was fordable ; but in power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the winter is not so, being passed by a bridge a the right hand and on the left."
little higher up.
We lodged at the house of the English agent, Yagoub Aga, who was formerly an Armenian
bishop in the convent at Jerusalem, but having Tuesday, Oct. 28, 1823.-After having furnish- chosen to marry, and having thus violated ecclesied ourselves with a supply of the Scriptures to astical rules, he was severed from that body, and distribute on our way to Jerusalem, four heavy is now living more after the manner of a layman boxes of them having been sent forward by sea than of an ecclesiastic. I had already seen bim to Acre, Mr. Fisk and myself took our departure au Beirout. He professes much friendship for the from Beirout this morning. Our road lay over Bible Society, and is very ready in turning to the the hills south of Beirout, which, running to the passage in 1 Timothy, iii. 2, which condemns the westward, form a promontory by which this part celibacy of his church, and justifies his own conof the coast is distinguished by mariners, as their duct. On the strength of this he says, that the guide to the harbor of Beirout. Our passage over English church and he are in accordance. But these hills, which are of red colored sand, was to his language is not that of an humble and pious me very oppressive ; and, as soon as we reached man; and not every professed change of party, a small miserable khan on the sea-coast, I gladly opinion, or custom, is conversion. He has, at prethrew myself down to rest while some provisions sent, in his house a French gentleman, who was were prepared.
proceeding about two years ago, with the French Charge d'Affaires to Bagdad: he is an ecclesiastic, but he so little liked his enterprise, that, when
he had reached Aleppo, he gave it up. We then coasted all the way to Nabyoonas, or We visited also the French vice consul, M. Nabi Yunas, a very commodious khan, kept by a Regnaud; and in his khan called also on Namet dervish, who entertained us hospitably for our Alla, (the name signifies the grace or favor of God,) money. We observed at sea, not above two a Greek Catholic priest, very simple in his manmiles from us, a Greek cruiser, which had picked ner, and intelligent. While we were makiny up four small vessels as prizes, and was keeping these visits, the Greek cruiser which we had seen them together till the next morning.
the day before, sent on shore the four small vesThe spot called Nabi Yunas is a pleasant re- sels which she had captured, after having taken tired beach ; where, as the tradition of the coun- from them all that was valuable; adding a mestry says, the prophet Jonas was cast upon dry sage that they had on board a Turk, for whose land, after being three days and three nights in ransom they would accept six hundred piastres, the belly of the whale. The dervish, a Moham- (about fifteen pounds sterling;) but there was litmedan, who received us, owns this tradition, as ile probability that the Turks in Saide would give well as the Christians. In the evening he sat that sum for the liberty of their countryman. with us half an hour, while we produced our Ara- Such is the miserable warfare now going on in the bic Bible and read, partly we to him and partly Levant! a widely extended civil war, embittered he to us, the story of Jonah, out of the book of that i by religious animosity. prophet. He kissed the book, and exclaimed, We had not much encouragement here for the “The English know more about their religion, sale of the Scriptures. than we do about ours !” On his leaving our Some of the houses in Saide, and especially the room, we had prayers with our servant ; reading great khan which formerly was occupied by the the second chapter of Jonah in Italian. We did French factory, still serve to remind us of the not omit to pray that we might be preserved from flourishing state in which their commerce was Jonah's unfaithfulness, and have grace to go whi- about a hundred years ago, and even still later. thersoever it might please God to send us. Together with their commerce was united a very
effective Jesuit mission, of which the following account will not be unacceptable to the reader.
After mentioning various circumstances which Wednesday, Oct. 29.-We arrived at Saide led them to establish their mission at Saide, the about ten o'clock in the morning.* This city has writer, who was the Superior General of the
1 very noble and picturesque aspect at the distance Jesuit missions in Syria and Egypt, proceeds to of about two miles ; standing boldly out into the describe the formation of a French congregation, sea, on rather high ground, and embosomed in among whom one of their missionaries exercised
the office of chaplain, in the following terms :*"The Christians lost the city of Saide in 1111. had been the assiduous hearers of Father Rigordy
“ The gentlemen of the French nation, who ! They took it again from the Saracens, and St. Louis during advent and lent, were so much touched by repaired it, in the year 1250: but the Saracens made his discourses, that they formed the resolution of 1289; and the Emir Fakredin judged fił to block up retaining him for the purpose of establishing at the harbor, and that he might for ever keep at a Saide a mission, similar to that at Damascus. distance his enemies.”—Letires Edif. el Curieuses, They gave him an apartment in the vast house vol. I. p. 214.
which several of them occupied; and provided for
his maintenance and that of two other missiona The remarkably simple air of this level tract of ries, whom he was to obtain to share with him the land suits with that touching portion of the gospel, labors of the mission.
which records the interview of our Saviour on * This father, who knew by experience how this very spot, the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, with much good or evil is done among foreigners by the Syro-Phenician woman. This is, indeed, the the good or bad example of the French out of first place, in which we have had occasion to draw their own country, judged fit to commence his out our New Testaments to trace the course of mission, by laboring for the religious benefit of our Saviour's history. those French who were collected for purposes of commerce at Saide. The method most proper for and Tyre) are very extensive ruins of towns,
About half-way between Saide and Sour (Sidon succeeding in this was the establishment of a which once connected these two cities : but, of congregation, on the model of those which our these ruins, there is now scarcely one stone left society has always taken pains to establish in all our houses, in order to bring persons of different show, raised even with the soil, the foundations of
upon another. They consist chiefly of lines which conditions and ages to the practice of the duties houses—many stones irregularly scattered a few and virtues of their state.
cisterns with half-defaced sculpture on them; and, “ He proposed this to the most ancient and dis- at a considerable distance from the path, there are tinguished of the merchants; assuring them, at
at one spot several low columns, either mutilated the same time, that the erection of a congrega. or considerably sunk in the earth. The animal on tion in honor of the Holy Virgin would give them, which I rode set his foot on a very small piece of in this august mother of God, a powerful protec- Mosaic work, but it was too paltry to deserve the tress, who would draw upon them, their families,
pains of stooping down to pick it up. These and their commerce, abundant benedictions.
relics show, what it needed indeed no such evi** These assurances from a man who had gain de ed their esteem and confidence, produced the ef- times, on this road between two such considera
dence to prove, that, in peaceable and flourishing fect desired by father Rigordy. They not only ble cities as Tyre and Sidon, there must have consented to this establishment, but they co-ope- been many smaller towns, for pleasure, business, rated with the father, in preparing a commodious and agriculture, delightfully situated by the seachapel, and in associating with themselves other side : but peaceful security has long been a blessFrench merchants to begin with them the exer- ing unknown to these regions; and we may apply cises of the congregation.
* The principals were M. Andre (afterward lages ceased: they ceased in Israel.” Hence it is, elected Patriarch of the Syrian nation,) Messrs. that, instead of resting pleasantly at shorter inStoupans, Audifroy, Lambert, and Piquet. These tervals on our journey, we are obliged to make first Congregationists did infinite honor to the stretches of a day's length, that we may reach new establishment. All the leisure, which they the different cities by night; a method for us, far had from the occupations of commerce, they employed in good works. They took, 'especially, preferable to travelling with a tent and arms. great care in assisting poor Christians; seeking them out in those obscure places where their poverty lay concealed. God put such honor on their good example, that several other considerable Shortly before we arrived in Sour, we were French merchants desired to be admitted into the overtaken by a party of Turks and Christians. number of the Congregationists. They were one of the Christians was a young priest, from known in the city for their modesty, piety, and the celebrated convent in the neighborhood, Deir charity. Strangers were edified by the sight; Mhalles. I joined conversation with him. He and were the first to praise the good effects pro-spoke only Arabic. They have a bishop from duced by the establishment.--Lettres Edifiantes Rome, who is a learned 'man. The number of et Curieuses : Vol. I. pp. 217—219.
monks belonging to the convent, is, he says, a hundred and one : but of these, about fifty are distributed in various parts of the country, per
forming the parochial duty of the different towns. Thursday, Oct. 30, 1823.–We departed for I have
already noted that there are three of these Sour. The scenery, through the chief part of at Deir el Kamr. They are all Greek Catholics, this day's ride, is remarkably simple. On the or Melchites. right hand is the sea ; on the left, a low modest line of mountains: the intervening country is quite
SOUR. flat, varying in width generally from a hundred and fifty to three hundred yards ; though, nearer On reaching Sour, we took a room in the Sour, it is occasionally a thousand yards, or even Greek Catholic convent, the state of which we a mile in width. About three hours from Saide were surprised to see ; for only the upper rooms is shown, a little way up the contiguous mountains, were occupied by a few monks, while all the lower a small village now called Zarfa, and supposed to rooms round the court-yard were occupied by be the Zarephath or Sarepta, where the widow families. In a schoolroom here, we counted dwelt to whom Elisha the prophet was sent : (1 seventy boys; they were, for the most part, learnKings xvii. 9. Luke iv. 26.) The path on which ing in the psalter: we sold several Arabic psalters we are riding is a pleasant turf; a very agreeable to them, but the price of the New Testament was contrast to the sand and rock, to which we have above their means. The Greek Catholic bishop, hitherto been accustomed.
formerly here, is dead.
FROM BAIDE TO SOUR.
Friday, Oct. 31, 1823.—Early in the morning island, ships might not, through the channel af. we walked out, to survey a little the aspect of terwards filled up by Alexander, shift from one this once far-fained city. Turning to our right, side to the other of the city, so as to have a sewe came to the western part of it, and found a cure birth in every state of the wind, and sea; very large tract totally unoccupied by houses, which, at present, they cannot have. It is diffiwhere animals were grazing: It was skirted to cult to perceive in what way, otherwise, the great the west by a wall: on looking over this to the maritime concerns of this place could, in ancient sea beneath, we saw the breakers freely dashing times, have been maintained. over many a column prostrate among the rocks. On leaving this Greek church, we went to the This was the first memento of Tyrian story which water-side, accompanied by a Christian, an intelwe beheld.
ligent man, a native of Tyre; who had not dared Going round to the left, we arrived at the ruins to ascend with us the highest part of the ruined of the Greek church noticed by Maundrell ; and, stair-case, lest he should incur some penalty from climbing up the broken steps of the winding stair- the Turks. We took a boat for the purpose of case in the turret to the top, we took a full view observing the northern line of rocks; and of exof the city and its neighborhood. We first en- amining what traces of antiquity were to be disdeavored to count the houses ; which we estimat-covered, in that which now constitutes the harbor. ed at about two hundred, but most of these con- There is, first, a very small inner cove, fit only for sist of only one or two rooms : they are like huts, the admission of boats or small craft. Out of it rather than houses; and very few had a second we passed into the general harbor, by a narrow story. Interspersed among them are a few small channel. On the eastern or land side of the hargardens. The houses appear to be rather new-bor, is a small ruined tower; surrounded, at its a circumstance which accounts for the apparent foot, by a great number columns, scattered and discrepancy between this statement and that of thrown in every position : I counted them, and Maundrell. He describes Tyre in his time, as found their number to be about a hundred. The containing “nothing but a mere Babel of broken frequent expression of the prophet—in the midst walls, pillars , vaults, &c.; there being not so much of the seasor
, as the original has it, in the heart as one entire house left. Its present inhabitants of the seas, (Ezekiel xxvi. 4, 26, 32, and xxviii. are only a few poor wretches, harboring them. 2)—led me to suspect that buildings might once selves in the vaults”-all which might very well have existed even on these rocks; but, on going be the case then, and yet it may have a different further out, and examining the first of these appearance now. It may be remarked, also, that ledges of rocks, we were quite satisfied that no the state of the season exceedingly influences our traces of antiquities are to be seen here. It was apprehensions of the condition of the poor towns not possible, on account of the breakers, to go out of the Levant: if seen in bright dry weather like to sea and explore the scattered columns, which the present, their meanness is disguised; if view- we had before seen, over the city wall, at the ed when wet, dirty, and cold, the rain often drip- western side. We consequently returned; and ping through the roofs of the houses—the want the boatman, now understanding that we were in of sensible comfort aggravates all the other dis- search of columns, pointed out, at the bottom of gusts of a European traveller. It was in the the first-mentioned small cove, a great number of month of March, A. D. 1696, that Maundrell visit- / very large size. It is said that the natives of the ed 'Tyre. The narrow neck of land, eastward, country have in modern times, collected these coby which the labors of Alexander connected in- lumns and sunk them-not at Tyre only, but in sular Tyre with the main land, appears to be other parts of Syria; with the desire of destroyabout a mile in width, from north to south: it is ing the harbors, and thus impeding the approach covered with sand. No trace appears of the line of maritime nations to the mountainous and indeof the ancient channel. I have heard the wish pendent country of Lebanon. expressed by a lover of antiquarian research, that From the guide above mentioned, who seemed he might have the privilege of digging in the sand to know well the state of his native city, we rehere, to find helmets, spears, and other warlike ceived the following census of the population; memorials of Alexander : whether such an at one thousand Metawalies, principally soldiers tempt has ever yet been made, I am unacquainted. one hundred Turks-one hundred Maronites—of Looking toward the sea, on the other side of the the orthodox Greeks, only four or five: there were peninsular city, westward, we see a line of broken more formerly, but during the present troubles, ledges of rocks running nearly north and south, they have removed. The principal body of Chrisas a kind of tangent to the projecting western ex- tians, he says, are Greek Catholics, but he did not tremity of Tyre: this line extends on the northern assign their number. His account would lead me side about a mile, on the southern about a quarter to suppose the population to be fourteen or fifteen of a mile. The harbor of modern Tyre is formed hundred souls. From the estimate which we made by the ledges on the north, through the intervals of the number of houses, namely two hundred, each of which there are two or three passages for ves- of which, though meanly built, may be computed sels of small size, as also an open passage to the to hold five persons at least, there should result a north ; from which quarter the harbor is, however, population of full one thousand souls. I should much exposed. The small space, partially shel. rather have given seven to each house, both for the tered by the ledges to the south of the city, does reasons specified in estimating the population of not appear to be used by vessels, but it occurred Beirout, and because, as there are next to no vil. to me, as a point to be ascertained by those who lages near to Tyre, this city is the more likely to shall hereafter have more leisure to explore the be densely peopled. The real number may therestate of the place, whether, when Tyre was an fore be fourteen hundred.