January 1-8, 1812. Spared by mercy to see the beginning of another year. The last has been in some respects a memorable year; transported in safety to Shiraz, I have been led by the particular providence of God to undertake a work, the idea of which never entered my mind till my arrival here, but which has gone on without material interruption, and is now nearly finished. To all appearance the present year will be more perilous than any I have seen, but if I live to complete the Persian New Testament, my life after that will be of less importance. But whether life or death be mine, may Christ be magnified in me. If he has work for me to do, I cannot die.
9. The first fall of snow.
13. Most of the day with Aga Mahommed, Hassan, and Mirza Seid Ali, explaining to them the reason why all bodies must fall in the same time in an exhausted receiver, and why a light body ascends in a fluid. They had many objections, and it was along time before I could make them understand; but at last they were convinced.
14. Aga Acber came and asked whether we believed the air to be indefinitely high. I said that according to our calculations it is, and its density at every altitude bears some proportion to the density at the circumference. He said he could prove that there could be no such thing as quantity indefinitely great. He proved it in this way. 'Take two parallel lines, then according to me, the point where they meet is at an indefinite distance; that is, one of the lines at least is infinite. Let the other supposed finite have now an inclination towards the infinite one, then it will meet it if produced, and the less the inclination is, the further off the point of coincidence; now, if this point of coincidence could ever be at an infinite distance, the motion of the finite line, by which it was made to incline to the other, must have no beginning, which is absurd, for every thing not eternal, must have a beginning.' I said first, that he either destroyed his own supposition, or else there was no absurdity, for the point never would be at an infinite distance, till the motion had no beginning, that is, till the lines were parallel. And again, if he gave the line no motion, it will be as impossible to assign the beginning of it, as it is to assign the end of the infinite one. But he understood nothing.
19. Aga Baba coming in while we were translating, Mirza Seid Ali told him he had been all the day decrying the law. It is a favourite tenet of the Soofies, that we should be subject to no law. Aga Baba said that if Christ, while he removed the old law, had also forborne to bring in his new way, he would have done still better. I was surprised as well as shocked at such a remark from him, but said nothing. The poor man not knowing how to exist without amusement, then turned to a game at chess. How pitiable is the state of fallen man! Wretched, and yet he will not listen to any proposals of relief; stupidly ignorant, yet too wise to submit to learn anything from God. I have often wondered to see how the merest dunce thinks himself qualified to condemn and ridicule revealed religion. These Soofies pretend too to be latitudinarians, assigning idolaters the same rank as others in nearness to God, yet they have all in their turn spoken contemptuously of the Gospel. Perhaps because it is so decisively exclusive. I begin now to have some notion of Soofism. The first principle is this;--Notwithstanding the good and evil, pleasure and pain that is in the world, God is not affected by it. He is perfectly happy with it all; if therefore we can become like God we shall also be perfectly happy in every possible condition. This therefore is salvation.
21. Aga Boozong, the most magisterial of the Soofies, stayed most of the day with Mirza Seid All and Jaffier All Khan in my room. His speech as usual--all things are only so many forms of God--paint as many figures as you will on a wall, it is still but the same wall. Tired of constantly hearing this same vapid truism, I asked him, What then? With the reality of things we have nothing to do, as we know nothing about them. These forms, if he will have it that they are but forms, affect us with pleasure and pain, just as if they were more real. He said we were at present in a dream; in a dream we think visionary things real--when we wake we discover the delusion. I asked him how did he know but that this dream might continue for ever. But he was not at all disposed to answer objections, and was rather vexed at my proposing them. So I let him alone to dissent as he pleased. Mirza Seid Ali read him some verses of St. Paul, which he condescended to praise, but in such a way as to be more offensive to me than if he had treated it with contempt. He repeated again how much he was pleased with the sentiments of Paul, as if his being pleased with them would be a matter of exultation to me. He said they were excellent precepts for the people of the world. The parts Mirza Seid Ali read were Titus iii. and Hebrews viii. On the latter Mirza Seid Ali observed, that he (Paul) had not written ill, but something like a good reasoner. Thus they sit in judgment on God's word, never dreaming that they are to be judged by it. On the contrary they regard the best parts, as they call them, as approaching only towards the heights of Soofeism. Aga Boozong finally observed, that as for the Gospels he had not seen much in them, but the Epistles he was persuaded would make the book soon well known. There is another circumstance that gained Paul importance in the eyes of Mirza Seid Ali, which is, that he speaks of Mark and Luke as his servants.
24. Found Seid Ali rather serious this evening. He said he did not know what to do to have his mind made up about religion. Of all the religions Christ's was the best, but whether to prefer this to Soofeism he could not tell. In these doubts he is tossed to and fro, and is often kept awake the whole night in tears. He and his brother talk together on these things till they arc almost crazed. Before he was engaged in this work of translation, he says he used to read about two or three hours a day, now he can do nothing else; has no inclination for any thing else, and feels unhappy if he does not correct his daily portion. His late employment has given a new turn to his thoughts as well as to those of his friends; they had not the most distant conception of the contents of the New Testament. He says his Soofie friends are exceedingly anxious to see the Epistles, from the accounts he gives of them, and also he is sure that almost the whole of Shiraz are so sensible of the load of unmeaning ceremonies in which their religion consists, that they will rejoice to see or hear of any thing like freedom, and that they would be more willing to embrace Christ than the Soofics who after taking so much pains to be independent of all law, would think it degrading to submit themselves to any law again, however light. We had some more conversation ahout Soofeism, but as usual I came to nothing like a clear understanding of the nature of it.
February 4. Mirza Seid Ali who has been enjoying himself in idleness and dissipation these two days, instead of translating, returned full of evil and opposition to the gospel. While translating 2 Peter iii. "Scoffers, saying, Where is the promise of his coming?" he began to ask 'Well, they are in the right, where are any of his promises fulfilled?' I said the heathen nations have been given to Christ for an inheritance. He said no; it might be more truly said that they are given to Mahommed, for what are the Christian nations compared with Arabia, Persia, India, Tartary, &c. I set in opposition all Europe, Russia, Armenia, and the Christians in the Mahomedan countries. He added, at one time when the Abbasides carried their arms to Spain, the Christian name was almost extinct. I rejoined, however, that he was not yet come to the end of things, that Mahomedanism was itself rather a species of heretical Christianity, for many professing Christians denied the divinity of our Lord, and treated the atonement as a fable. They do right, said he; it is contrary to reason that one person should be an atonement for all the rest. How do you prove it? it is no where said in the gospels. Christ said he was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. I urged the authority of the Apostles, founded upon his word, "Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth," &c. Why, what are we to think of them, said he, when we see Paul and Barnabas quarrelling; Peter acting the hypocrite, sometimes eating with the Gentiles, and then withdrawing from fear; and again all the Apostles, not knowing what to do about the circumcision of the Gentiles, and disputing among themselves about it. I answered, the infirmities of the Apostles have nothing to do with their authority. It is not every thing they do that we are commanded to imitate, nor every thing they might say in private if we knew it, that we are obliged to attend to, but the commands they leave for the church, and here there is no difference among them. As for the discussions about circumcision, it does not at all appear that the apostles themselves were divided in their opinions about it, the difficulty seems to have been started by those believers who had been Pharisees. Can you give me a proof, said he, of Christianity, that 1 may either believe, or be left without excuse if I do not believe--a proof like that of one of the theorems of Euclid? I said it is not to be expected, but enough may be shewn to leave every man inexcuseable. Well, said he, though this is only probability, I shall be glad of that. As soon as our Testament is finished, I replied, we will, if you please, set about our third treatise, in which, if I fail to convince you, I can at least state the reasons why I believed. You had better said he, begin with Soofeism and shew that that is absurd;--meaning, I suppose, that 1 should premise something about the necessity of revelation. After a little pause, I suppose, said he, you think it sinful to sport with the characters of those holy men. I said, I had no objection to hear all their objections and sentiments, but I could not bear any thing spoken disrespectfully of the Lord Jesus; --and yet there is not one of your Soofies, I added, but has said something against him. Even your master, Mirza Abul Casim, though he knows nothing of the gospel or law, and has not even seen them, presumed to say that Moses, Christ, Mahommed, &c. were all alike. I did not act in this way. In India I made every inquiry, both about Hindooism and Mahometanism. I read the Koran through twice. On my first arrival here I made it my business to ask for your proofs, so that if I condemned and rejected it, it was not without consideration. Your master therefore spoke rather precipitately. He did not attempt to defend him, but said, You never heard me speak lightly of Jesus. No, there is something so awfully pure about him that nothing is to be said. Every new Epistle he comes to gives rise to similar remarks. 'Any thing here,' he says, 'about the poor saints in Jerusalem?' alluding to the collection to be made for them. Peter's Epistles he did not like. I used to like him in the Gospels, said he, but in his Epistles he uses terror. The beginning of John's Epistles he was delighted with. There is something mysteriously grand in him, he observed. It is evident he understood more than all the rest. He was particularly taken with this sentiment--"These things I write unto you, that ye sin not; and if we sin we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." Of all St. Paul's Epistles, that to the Hebrews he received with most respect, as most instructive. It struck me today that the style of the Epistle to the Hebrews bears a far greater resemblance to St. Peter's Epistles than St. Paul's. The sentences are all grand and harmonious, much in the way in which Peter writes.
March 18. Sat a good part of the day with Abulcasim the Soofie sage, Mirza Seid Ali, and Aga Mahommed Hasan, who begins to be a disciple of the old man's. On my expressing a wish to see the Indian book, it was proposed to send for it, which they did, and then read it aloud. The stoicism of it I controverted, and said that the entire annihilation of the passions, which the stupid Brahmin described as perfection, was absurd. On my continuing to treat other parts of the book with contempt, the old man was a little roused, and said that this was the way that pleased them, and my way pleased me. That thus God provided something for the tastes of all, and as the master of a feast provides a great variety--some eat pilaw, others prefer kubab, &c. On my again remarking afterwards, how useless all these descriptions of perfection were, since no rules were given for attaining it, the old man asked what in my opinion was the way. I said we all agreed in one point, namely, that union with God was perfection; that in order to that we must receive the Spirit of God, which Spirit was promised on condition of believing in Jesus, There was a good deal of disputing about Jesus, his being exclusively the visible God. Nothing came of it apparently, but that Mirza Seid AH afterwards said, there is no getting at any thing like truth or certainty. We know nothing at all; you are in the right, who simply believe because Jesus had said so.
21. After reading to Zachariah, Acts vii. and telling him about Joseph, he related to me a story which he thought somewhat similar to it. A young man named Alenionos, the son of rich parents, could not be prevailed upon to marry; he hated the society of the world, and passed most of his time in a desert. At last by repeated efforts his parents overcame his reluctance so far that he allowed the marriage ceremony to be performed, but on the same day, after leaving the bride a ring to keep for him, on some pretence he went out, and fled, and wandered far away to a foreign country, where he continued fifteen years. Wishing to go away still further, he went on board a ship for that purpose, but the ship happening to be bound to his own country, he was landed near his father's house. He found his parents grown old, and recognised them, but they did not know him. Finding he was come from the country where it was supposed their son was, they asked if he had never seen or heard of such a person. He wept, and on their asking him why, replied it was only from sympathy. On entering the house he saw his wife, who, however, did not recognise him, so much had hardship and travelling altered his appearance. She had been often solicited by suitors, but continued faithful. With them he remained in the same wild state, never altering his way of life nor discovering himself. At the end of seven years he died, and in his hand was found a paper revealing the secret. His dying request was to lie buried on the very spot where he died, which was done, and his wife was buried in the same grave, over which a church was afterwards built.
22. These two days I have been thinking from morning to night about the incarnation; considering if I could represent it in such a way as to obviate in any degree the prejudices of the Mahommedans; not that I wished to make it appear altogether agreeable to reason, but I wanted to give a consistent account of the nature and uses of this doctrine, as they are found in the different parts of the Holy Scriptures. One thing implied another to such an extent, that I thought necessarily of the nature of life, death, spirit, soul, animal nature, state of separate spirits, personality, the person of Christ, &c. that I was quite worn out with fruitless thought. Towards evening, Carapet, with another Armenian, came and conversed on several points of theology, such as whether the fire of hell were literally fire or only remorse, whether the Spirit proceeded from the Father and the Son, or from the Father only, and how we are to reconcile those two texts, that 'for every idle word that men shall speak,' &c. with the promises of salvation through faith. Happening to speak in praise of some person who practised needless austerities, I tried to make him understand that this was not the way of the Gospel. He urged these texts--"Blessed are they that mourn." "Blessed are ye that weep now," &c. While we were discussing this point, Mahomed Jaffier, who on a former occasion had conversed with me a good deal about the Gospel came in. I told him the question before us was an important one, namely, how the love of sin was to be got out of the heart. The Armenian proceeded, if I wish to go to a dancing or drinking, I must deny myself. Whether he meant to say, that this was sufficient I do not know, but the Mahommedan understanding him so, replied, that he had read yesterday in the Gospel, "that whosoever looketh upon a woman," &c. from which he inferred that obedience of the heart was requisite. This he expressed with such propriety and gracefulness, that added to the circumstance of his having been reading the Gospel, I was quite delighted, and thought with pleasure of the day when the Gospel should be preached by Persians. After the Armenians were gone, we considered the doctrines of the Soofies a little. Finding me not much averse to what he thought some of their most exceptionable tenets, such as union with God, he brought this argument--You will allow that God cannot bind, compel, command himself. No, he cannot. Well if we are one with God, we cannot be subject to any of his laws. I replied, our union with God is such an union as exists between the members of a body. Notwithstanding the union of the hand with the heart and head, it is still subject to the influence and controul of the ruling power in the person. We had a great deal of conversation afterwards on the incarnation. All his Mahometan prejudices revolted. 'Sir, what do you talk of? the self-existent become contained in space and suffer need!' I told him that it was the manhood of Christ that suffered need, and as for the essence of the Deity, if he would tell me any thing about it, where or how it was, I would tell him how the godhead was in Christ. After an effort or two he found that every term he used implied our frightful doctrine, namely, personality, locality, &c. This is a thought that is now much in my mind;--that it is so ordered, that since men never can speak of God but through the medium of language, which is all material, nor think of God but through the medium of material objects, they do unwillingly come to God through the Word, and think of God by means of an incarnation.
28. The same person came again, and we talked incessantly for four hours upon the evidences of the two religions, the Trinity, Incarnation, &c. until I was quite exhausted, and felt the pain in my breast which I used to have in India.
April 7. Observing a party of ten or a dozen poor Jews with their priest in the garden, I attacked them, and disputed a little with the Levite on Psalms ii. xvi. &xxiv. They were utterly unacquainted with Jesus, and were surprised at what I told them of his resurrection and ascension. The priest abruptly broke off the conversation, told me he would call and talk with me in my room, and carried away his flock. Reading afterwards the story of Joseph and his brethren; I was much struck with the exact correspondence between the type and antitype. Jesus will at last make himself known to his brethren, and then they will find that they have been unknowingly worshipping him while worshipping the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel.
8. The Prince dining to-day at a house on the side of a hill, which commands a view of the town, issued an order for all the inhabitants to exhibit fireworks for his amusement, or at least to make bonfires on the roofs of their houses, under penalty of five tomans in case of neglect. Accordingly fire was flaming in all directions, enough to have laid any city in Europe in ashes. One man fell off a roof and was killed, and two others in the same way were so hurt that their lives were despaired of, and a woman lost an eye by the stick of a skyrocket.
July 9. Made an extraordinary effort, and as a tartar was going off instantly to Constantinople, wrote letters to Mr. Grant for permission to come to England, and to Mr. Simeon and Lydia, informing them of it; but I have scarcely the remotest expectation of seeing it, except by looking at the Almighty power of God. Dined at night at the Ambassador's, who said he was determined to give every possible eclat to my book, by presenting it himself to the king. My fever never ceased to rage till the 21st, during all which time every effort was made to subdue it, till I had lost all my strength, and almost all my reason. They now administer bark, and it may please God to bless the tonics; but I seem too far gone, and can only say, "having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better."
Tebriz, July 12, 1812.
MY DEAREST LYDIA,
I have only time to say that I have I'eceived your letter of February 14. Shall I pain your heart by adding, that I am in such a state of sickness and pain, that I can hardly write to you. Let me rather observe, to obviate the gloomy apprehension my letters to Mr. Grant and Mr. Simeon may excite, that I am likely soon to be delivered from my fever. Whether I shall gain strength enough to go on, rests on our heavenly Father, in whose hands are all my times. Oh, his precious grace! His eternal unchanging love in Christ to my soul, never appeared more clear, more sweet, more strong. I ought to inform you that in consequence of the state to which I am reduced by travelling so far over-land, without having half accomplished my journey, and the consequent impossibility of returning to India the same way, I have applied for leave to come on furlough to England. Perhaps you will be gratified by this intelligence; but oh, my dear Lydia, I must faithfully tell you, that the probability of my reaching England alive, is but small; and this I say, that your expectations of seeing me again may be moderate, as mine are of seeing you. Why have you not written more about yourself? However, I am thankful for knowing that you are alive and well. I scarcely know how to desire you to direct. Perhaps Alexandria in Egypt will be the best place; another may be sent to Constantinople, for though I shall not go there, I hope Mr. Morier will be kept informed of my movements. Kindest love to all the saints you usually mention.
Your's ever most faithfully and affectionately
Tebriz, July 12, 1812.
MY DEAREST FRIEND AND BROTHER,
The Tartar courier for Constantinople who has been delayed some days on our account, being to be dispatched instantly, my little strength also being nearly exhausted by writing to Mr. Grant a letter to be laid before the court: I have only to notice some of the particulars of your letter of February of this year. It is not now before me, neither have I strength to search for it among my papers; but from the frequent attentive perusals J gave it during my intervals of ease, I do not imagine that any of it has escaped my memory. At present I am in a high fever, and cannot properly recollect myself. I shall ever love and be grateful to Mr. Thornton for his kind attention to my family.
The increase of godly young men is precious news. If I sink into the grave in India, my place will be supplied an hundred-fold. You will learn from Mr. Grant that I have applied for leave to come to England on furlough; a measure you will disapprove; but you would not, were you to see the pitiable condition to which I am reduced, and knew what it is to traverse the continent of Asia in the destitute state in which I am. If you wish not to see me, I can say that I think it most probable that you will not; the way before me being not better than that passed over, which has nearly killed me.
I would not pain your heart, my dear brother, but we who are in Jesus have the privilege of viewing life and death as nearly the same, since both are one; and I thank a gracious Lord that sickness nevcv came at a time when I was more free from apparent reasons for living. Nothing seemingly remains for me to do but to follow the rest of my family to the tomb. Let not the book written against Mahomedanism be published till approved in India. A European who has not lived amongst them cannot imagine how differently they see, imagine, reason, object, from what we do. This I had full opportunity of observing during my eleven months residence at Shiraz. During that time I was engaged in a written controversy with one of the most learned and temperate doctors there. He began. I replied what was unanswerable, then I subjoined a second more direct attack on the glaring absurdities of Mahomedanism, with a statement of the nature and evidences of Christianity. The Soofies then as well as himself desired a demonstration from the very beginning, of the truth of any revelation. As this third treatise contained an examination of the doctrine of the Soofies, and pointed out that their object was attainable by the Gospel, and by that only, it was read with interest and convinced many. There is not a single Europeanism in the whole that I know of, as my friend and interpreter would not write any thing that he could not perfectly comprehend. But I am exhausted; pray for me, beloved brother, and believe that I am, as long as life and recollection lasts,
Tebriz, August 8.
MY DEAREST BROTHER AND FRIEND,
Ever since I wrote, about a month I believe, I have been lying upon the bed of sickness for twenty days or more; the fever raged with great violence, and for a long time every species of medicine was tried in vain. After I had given up every hope of recovery, it pleased God to abate the fever, but incessant head-aches succeeded, which allowed me no rest day or night. I was reduced still lower, and am now a mere skeleton; but as they are now less frequent, I suppose it to be the will of God that I should be raised up to life again. I am now sitting in my chair, and wrote the will with a strong hand; but as you sec I cannot write so now. Kindest love to Mr. John Thornton, for whose temporal and spiritual prosperity I daily pray.
Your ever affectionate friend and brother,
August 20. A day much to be remembered for the remarkable recovery of strength with which it pleased God to favour me. I immediately began to gird up my loins and prepare myself for my journey. Learned from Mirza Aga Meer that my work had been read by Mirza Abdoolwahab to the king, who observed to Mirza Boozong, visir of Abbas Mirza, that the Feringees' government and army and now one of their Moollahs was come into the east. He then directed Mirza Boozong to prepare an answer. Inconsequence of this information Sir Gore told Mirza Aga Meer not to bring me a certain Moollah, who had a great wish to be introduced tome. One day a Moollah came and disputed awhile for Mahomedan, but finished with professing Soofie sentiments.
21-31. Making preparations for my journey to Constantinople, a route recommended to me by Sir Gore as safer, and one in which he could give me letters of recommendation to two Turkish governors. With such advantages held forth, I could not but adopt this plan, and the delightful thought of being brought to the borders ofEurope without sustaining any injury, contributed more than anything else, I believe, to restore my health and spirits. Sir Gore wishing me not to travel in the same unprotected way that I had done, procured from the prince a mihmander for me, together with an order for the use of chuprar horses all the way to Erivan. These post-horses I was told were nothing else than the beasts the prince's servants levy on every village; on which I determined not to use them, and began to look out for a muleteer and cafila.
Telrix, Aug. 28, 1812.
I wrote to you last, my dear Lydia, in great disorder. My fever had approached nearly to delirium, and my debility was so great, that it seemed impossible I could withstand the power of disease many days. Yet it has pleased God to restore me to life and health again; not that I have recovered my former strength yet, but consider myself sufficiently restored to prosecute my journey. My daily prayer is, that my late chastisement may have its intended effect, and make me all the rest of my days more humble, and less self-confident. Self-confidence has often let me down fearful lengths, and would, without God's gracious interference, prove my endless perdition. I seem to be made to feel this evil of my heart, more than any other at this time. In prayer, or when I write, or converse on the subject, Christ appears to me my life and strength, but at other times, I am as thoughtless and hold, as if I had all life and strength in myself. Such neglect on our part works a diminution of our joys; but the covenant, the covenant stands fast with him, for his people evermore. I mentioned my conversing sometimes on divine subjects, for though it is long enough since I have seen a child of God, I am sometimes led on by the Persians, to tell them all I know, of the very recesses of the sanctuary, and these are the things that interest them. But tft give an account of all my discussions with these mystic philosophers, must be reserved to the time of our meeting. Do I dream that I venture to think and write of such an event as that! Is it possible that we shall ever meet again below? Though it is possible, I dare not indulge such a pleasing hope yet. I am still at a tremendous distance; and the countries I have to pass through, are many of them dangerous to the traveller, from the hordes of banditti, whom a feeble government cannot chastise. In consequence of the bad state of the road between this and Aleppo, Sir Gore advises me to go first to Constantinople, and from thence to pass into Syria. In favour of this route, he urges, that by writing to two or three Turkish governors on the frontiers, he can secure me a safe passage at least half way, and the latter half is probably not much infested. In three days, therefore, I intend setting my horse's head towards Constantinople, distant above thirteen hundred miles. Nothing I think, will occasion any further detention here, if I can procure servants who know both Persian and Turkish; but should I be taken ill on the road, my case would be pitiable indeed. The ambassador and his suite are still here; his, and Lady Ouseley's attentions to me, during my illness, have been unremitted. The Prince Abbas Mirza, the wisest of the king's sons, and heir to the throne, was here sometime after my arrival; I much wished to present a copy of the Persian New Testament to him, but I could not rise from my bed. The book will, however, be given to him by the Ambassador. Public curiosity about the gospel, now for the first time, in the memory of the modern Persians, introduced into the country, is a good deal excited here, at Shiraz, and other places; so that upon the whole, I am thankful for having been led hither, and detained; though my residence in this country has been attended with many unpleasant circumstances. The way of the kings of the east is preparing. Thus much may he said with safety, hut little more. The Persians also will probably take the lead in the march to Zion, as they are ripe for a revolution in religion as well as politics.
Sabat, about whom you inquire so regularly, I have heard nothing of this long time. My friends in India have long since given me up as lost or gone out of reach, and if they wrote, they would probably not mention him, as he is far from being a favourite with any of them.-------, who is himself of an impatient temper, cannot tolerate him; indeed I am pronounced to be the only man in Bengal who could have lived with him so long. He is, to be sure, the most tormenting creature I ever yet chanced to deal with--peevish, proud, suspicious, greedy; he used to give daily more and more distressing-proofs of his never having received the saving grace of God. But of this you will say nothing; while his interesting story is yet fresh in the memory of people, his failings had better not be mentioned. The poor Arab wrote me a querulous epistle from Calcutta, complaining that no one took notice of him, now that I was gone; and then he proceeds to abuse his best friends. I have not yet written to reprove him for his unchristian sentiments, and when I do, I know it will be to no purpose, after all the private lectures 1 have given him. My course from Constantinople is so uncertain that I hardly know where to desire you to direct to me; I believe Malta is the only place, for there I must stop in my way home. Soon we shall have occasion for pen and ink no more; but I trust I shall shortly see thee face to face. Love to all the saints.
Believe me to be yours ever,
most faithfully and affectionately,
September 1. I appointed this day for my departure, and the horses were ready, but there were no saddles; so I Waited till the evening of the 2nd, when all things being ready I set out for my long journey of 1,300 miles, carrying letters from Sir Gore for the governors of Erivan, Cars and Erzerum, and the ambassador at Constantinople, from Mr. Morier, for his father there, and from Cajo Aratoon, Sir Gore's agent, for the Patriarch, arid Bishop Nestus at Ech-Miazin, and near three hundred tomans in money.
10. Arrived early in the morning at Erivan.
11. I alighted at Hosyn Khan, the governor's palace * ####*# He ordered for me a Mihmander, a guard and four horses, with which a Turk had just come from Cars.
12. The horses not being ready for me according to my order, I rode alone, and found my way to Ech-Miazin (or Three Churches), two and a half parasangs distant. Directing my course to the largest church, I found it enclosed by some other buildings and a wall. Within the entrance, I found a large court, with monks, cowled and gowned, moving about. On seeing my Armenian letters, they brought me to the patriarch's lodge, where I found two bishops, one of whom was Nestus, at breakfast on pilaws, kubebs, wine, arrack, &c. and Serafino with them. As he spoke English, French, and Italian, I had no difficulty in communicating with my hosts. After breakfast, Serafino shewed me the room appointed for me, and sat down and told me his story. His proper name, in Armenian is Serope; he was born at Erzerum, of Armenian Roman Catholic parents. His father dying when he was young, his mother entrusted him to the care of the missionaries, to be carried to Rome to be educated. There he studied eight years, and became perfectly Europeanized. At eighteen or twenty he left Rome, and repaired to Mount Libanus, where he was ordained, and there his eyes were opened to the falsehood of the Pope's pretensions. After this he served the Armenian church at Erzerum, and then at Cars, after which he went to Bagdad. Receiving at this time an invitation from the patriarch at Ech-Miazin to join their body, he consented, on condition that he should not be considered as a common monk; and accordingly he is regarded with that deference which his talents and superior information demand. He is exerting himself to extend his influence in the monastery, for the purpose of executing some plans he has formed for the improvement of the Armenians.
16. I conversed again with Serope on his projected reformation. As he was invited to Ech-Miazin for the purpose of educating the Armenian youth for the ministry, he has a right to dictate in all that concerns that matter. His objection to Ech Miazin is that from midnight to sunrise all the members of the monastery must attend prayers. This requires all to be in bed immediately after sunset. The monks are chiefly from the neighbourhood of Erivan, and were originally singing boys. Into such hands is this rich and powerful foundation unfortunately fallen. They have no vows upon them but those of celibacy. Upon the whole I hardly know what hopes to entertain from the projects of Serope. He is bold, authoritative, and very able; still only thirty-one years of age, but then he is not spiritual: perhaps this was the state of Luther himself at first. It is an interesting time in the world; all things proclaim the approach of the kingdom of God, and Armenia is not forgotten. There is a monastery of Armenian Catholics at Venice, which they employ merely in printing the Psalter, book of prayers, &c. Serope intends addressing his first work to them, as they are the most able divines of the Armenians, to argue them back from the Roman Catholic communion, in which case he thinks they would co-operate with him cordially, being as much concerned as himself at the gross ignorance of their countrymen. The archbishop of Astrachan has a press, also an agent at Madras, and one at Constantinople, printing the Scriptures and books of prayers: there is none at Ech Miazin. At Constantinople are three or four fellow-collegians of Serope, educated as well as he by the Propaganda, who used to entertain the same sentiments as he, and would, he thinks, declare them if he would begin.
17. At six in the morning I left Ech-Miazin, accompanied by Serope, one bishop, the secretary, and several servants of the monastery.
24. A long and sultry march over many a hill and vale. In the way, two hours from the last stage, is a hot spring: the water fills a pool, having four porches. The porches instantly reminded me of Bethesda's pool: they were semicircular arches, about six feet deep, intended, seemingly, for shelter from the sun. In them all the party undressed and bathed. The Tartar, to enjoy himself more perfectly, had his calean to smoke while up to his chin in water. We saw nothing else on the road to-day, but a large and opulent family of Armenians, men, women, and children, in carts and carriages, returning from a pilgrimage to Moosk. After eleven hours and a half, including the hour spent at the warm spring, we were overtaken by the dusk: so the Tartar brought us to Oghoomra, where I was placed in an Armenian's stable-room.
25. Went round to Hussur-Quile, where we changed horses. From thence we were five hours and a half reaching the entrance of Erzerum.
29. Left Erzerum, with a Tartar and his son, at two in the afternoon. We moved to a village where I was attacked with fever and ague: the Tartar's son was also taken ill, and obliged to return.
30. Travelled first to Ashgula, where we changed horses, and from thence to Purmigaban, where we halted for the night. I took nothing all day but tea, and was rather better; but headache and loss of appetite depressed my spirits; yet my soul rests in him who is an "anchor of the soul, sure and stedfast," which, though not seen, keeps me fast.
Oct. 1. Marched over a mountainous tract: we were out from seven in the morning till eight at night. After sitting a little by the fire, I was near fainting from sickness. My depression of spirits led me to the throne of grace, as a sinful, abject worm. When I thought of myself and my transgressions, I could find no text so cheering as, "My ways are not as your ways." From the men who accompanied Sir Gore Ouseley to Constantinople, I learned that the plague was raging at that place, and thousands dying every day. One of the Persians had died of it. They added, that the inhabitants of Tocat were flying from their town from the same cause. Thus I am passing inevitably into imminent danger. O Lord, thy will be done! Living or dying, remember me!
2. Some hours before day, I sent to tell the Tartar I was ready, but Hassan Aga was for once riveted to his bed. However, at eight, having got strong horses, he set off at a great rate; and over the level ground he made us gallop as fast as the horses would go, to Chiflick, where we arrived at sunset. I was lodged, at my request, in the stables of the post-house, not liking the scrutinizing impudence of the fellows who frequent the coffee-room. As soon as it began to grow a little cold, the ague came on, and then the fever: after which I had a sleep, which let me know too plainly the disorder of my frame. In the night, Hassan sent to summon me away; but I was quite unable to move. Finding me still in bed at the dawn, he began to storm furiously at my detaining him so long; but I quietly let him spend his ire, ate my breakfast composedly, and set out at eight. He seemed determined to make up for the delay, for we flew over hill and dale to Sherean, where he changed horses. From thence we travelled all the rest of the day and all night: it rained most of the time. Soon after sunset the ague came on again, which, in my wet state, was very trying; I hardly knew how to keep my life in me. About that time there was a village at hand; but Hassan had no mercy. At one in the morning we found two men under a wain, with a good fire: they could not keep the rain out; but their fire was acceptable. I dried my lower extremities, allayed the fever by drinking a good deal of water, and went on. We had little rain, but the night was pitchy dark, so that I could not see the road under my horse's feet. However, God being mercifully pleased to alleviate my bodily sufferings, I went on contentedly to the munzil, where we arrived at break of day. After sleeping three or four hours, I was visited by an Armenian merchant, for whom I had a letter. Hassan was in great fear of being arrested here; the governor of the city had vowed to make an example of him for riding to death a horse belonging to a native of this place. He begged that I would shelter him in case of danger; his being claimed by an Englishman, he said, would be a sufficient security. I found, however, that I had no occasion to interfere. He hurried me away from this place without delay, and galloped furiously towards a village, which, he said, was four hours distant; which was all I could undertake in my present weak state; but village after village did he pass, till night coming on, and no signs of another, I suspected that he was carrying me on to the munzil; so I got off my horse, and sat upon the ground, and told him, 'I neither could nor would go any further.' He stormed, but I was immoveable; till, a light appearing at a distance, I mounted my horse, and made towards it, leaving him to follow or not, as he pleased. He brought in the party; but would not exert himself to get a place for me. They brought me to an open verandah, but Sergius told them I wanted a place in which to be alone. This seemed very offensive to them; 'And why must he be alone?' they asked: ascribing this desire of mine to pride, I suppose. Tempted, at last, by money, they brought me to a stable room, and Hassan and a number of others planted themselves there with me. My fever here increased to a violent degree: the heat in my eyes and forehead was so great, that the fire almost made me frantic. I entreated that it might be put out, or that I might be carried out of doors. Neither was attended to: my servant, who, from my sitting in that strange way on the ground believed me delirious, was deaf to all I said. At last I pushed my head in among the luggage, and lodged it on the damp ground, and slept.'
5. Preserving mercy made me see the light of another morning. The sleep had refreshed me, but I was feeble and shaken; yet the merciless Hassan hurried me off. The munzil, however, not being distant, I reached it without much difficulty. I expected to have found it another strong fort at the end of the pass; but it is a poor little village within the jaws of the mountain. I was pretty well lodged, and felt tolerably well till a little after sunset, when the ague came on with a violence I had never before experienced: I felt as if in a palsy; my teeth chattering, and my whole frame violently shaken. Aga Hosyn and another Persian, on their way here from Constantinople, going to Abbas Mirza, whom I had just before been visiting, came hastily to render me assistance if they could. These Persians appear quite brotherly after the Turks. While they pitied me, Hassan sat in perfect indifference, ruminating on the further delay this was likely to occasion. The cold fit, after continuing two or three hours, was followed by a fever, which lasted the whole night, and prevented sleep.
6. No horses being to be had, I had an unexpected repose. I sat in the orchard, and thought with sweet comfort and peace, of my God; in solitude my company, my friend, and comforter. Oh! when shall time give place to eternity? when shall appear that new heaven and new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness? There, there shall in no wise enter in any thing that defileth: none of that wickedness which has made men worse than wild beasts,--none of those corruptions which add still more to the miseries of mortality, shall he seen or heard of any more.
At Tocat, upon the 16th of October, Mr. Martyn entered on his rest.