The Armenians. 1864-1866.
A reactionary movement took place among the Mohammedans of the capital in 1864. The government had encouraged the introduction of European science. Men high in civil positions had delivered courses of lectures on history and other topics, in a surprisingly liberal spirit, and to audiences embracing hundreds of Turks. A "Literary and Scientific Gazette," published monthly under the auspices of a native "Oriental Society," discussed questions of political and social economy from an occidental stand-point; and the press was active in issuing pamphlets and books by native writers, indicating and promoting a new intellectual life. All this the devotees of the "Old School" regarded with suspicion. They were even more alarmed by the religious liberty, which had been successfully claimed for converts from Mohammedanism, who had been openly baptized, and lived unmolested as Christians. The government had some time before been led to discourage Christian education by missionaries and other foreigners, when they could do this indirectly and under plausible pretexts; and they were somewhat rigid in their censorship of the religious press.
The Scriptures, however, were allowed to be printed and circulated in the Arabo-Turkish, or sacred character, and no objection was made to simple expositions of Christian truth in that language.
But when copies of Dr. Pfander's book were brought to Constantinople, which defended Christianity against Mohammedanism, and assailed the latter, it was detained at the custom-house; yet copies got abroad in some way, without foreign agency, and were sought by Mohammedans who were interested in the great question it discussed. A Moslem published a bitter reply; and in July, the manifest increase of both Christian ideas and pantheistic infidelity among the people, and the growing excitement among the fanatical party, began to alarm the government. There was believed to be a somewhat large body, who wished to reform the Mohammedan faith; and it was said that a petition was presented to the government, by some Moslems calling themselves Protestants, for a mosque in which to worship in their own way.
Dr. Pfander, was a highly respected missionary of the (English) Church Missionary Society. The work was printed in London.
The fears of the Sultan were aroused. For several weeks spies beset the missionaries at every step. Finally, on a set day, several Turkish converts were arrested, and cast into prison, some of them being treated with great indignity. On the next day, the printing presses used by the missionaries were seized and put under seal, and rooms occupied by English missionaries, and the bookstore of the American mission and the two Bible Societies were also closed by the police.
These proceedings, being in direct violation of rights secured by treaty, were at once met with a decided protest from Mr. Brown, who, in the absence of the American Minister Resident, was the representative of his government; and after some delay, the British Ambassador, Sir Henry Bulwer, also sent in a remonstrance. An examination of the bookstore discovered no prohibited publications; and after two days it was allowed to be re-opened. The printing offices were likewise restored. A correspondence followed between Sir Henry Bulwer and the Turkish authorities, and between him and the missionaries resident at Constantinople. The Mohammedans professed not to oppose their people's embracing the Christian religion, but only such reckless proselytism, as endangered the public peace; and they declared their willingness to release the imprisoned converts if it could be done consistently with their personal safety. But the missionaries believed that the intention of the Turks, and also the tendency of Sir Henry's movements, were seriously to curtail their own liberty and that of their converts, and greatly to embarrass the propagation of the Gospel, as well among all the nominally Christian sects, as among the Moslems.
The immediate effect of these things was to prevent attendance by the Turks on preaching, the circulation of Christian books, and personal intercourse with the missionaries.
The position of the entire field, at the opening of 1864, from Constantinople to Diarbekir on the East, and to Antioch on the south, was one to interest the intelligent observer. The laborers employed in this wide and populous region, not including the Bulgarians, were--
Missionary Physicians 2
Female Assistant Missionaries 41
Native Pastors 20
Licensed Native Preachers 43
Other Helpers 58
The printing was done at Constantinople for all the missions; and that reported for the year 1863 was as follows:
In Armenian 1,821,000 pages
In Armeno-Turkish 1,128,000 "
In Arabo-Turkish 264,000 "
In Greek 6,000 "
In Bulgarian 1,896,000 "
Total 5,115,000 "
Of Turkish Scriptures twice as many copies had been distributed as in previous years. More than twenty-five thousand copies of the Word of God went into circulation, in at least twenty different languages. The following is a statement of the Scriptures prepared and printed, under the supervision of the missionaries of the Board, from 1840 to 1863:
In Modern Armenian 37,500
In Ararat 8,000
In Armeno-Turkish 6,500
In Greco-Turkish 55,000
In Koordish 13,000
In Bulgarian 4,000
In Hebrew-Spanish 23,000
Armenian Psalms 14,000
Of these, there were published at the expense of the British and Foreign Bible Society, 100,000; of the American Bible Society, 54,000; and of the American Tract Society (New York), 7,000. In addition to the above printed in Turkey, 10,500 copies of the modern Armenian version were printed in New York, from electrotype plates of the American Bible Society; and 5,000 copies of the same version were printed in London, by the British and Foreign Bible Society.
The number of churches was forty-seven, with one thousand nine hundred and thirteen members. There had been received from the beginning two thousand three hundred and thirty-seven. The efforts to bring the churches to the point of self-support were not always appreciated. The people were poor, and sometimes felt their poverty more than they should, and in almost every church there were members who were ready to resent any transfer of pecuniary responsibility from the mission treasury to themselves. Moreover, it was sometimes not easy for a native pastor, with the tastes acquired during his education, to live in a manner that would put him in sympathy with his people, and encourage the hope of their soon assuming his support. Nor was it easy for the native pastor, from his different stand-point, to appreciate the responsibilities of the missionary. A union of the churches was needed, but had been delayed by their distance from each other and their poverty.
It has been already stated that the Western mission resolved, in 1862, to remove the two seminaries from Constantinople to Marsovan. Mr. Leonard and his wife and Miss Maria A. West were already there. Mr. Dodd and family, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and Miss Fritcher now removed thither. The delightful harmony and Christian zeal which existed at this station when the mission passed the resolution, had been followed by painful disagreements. Through the mistaken zeal of a young school-teacher, anxious to effect some changes in the school, the community were betrayed into an attempt to obtain exclusive control of the funds of the Board appropriated to education. This eventually led to a struggle with the mission for the possession of the meeting-house and a dwelling-house connected with it, which had been purchased by the Board a few years before. Much ill feeling existed both in the church and the community while this was in progress, and for about six weeks a large number withdrew, and set up public worship in a private house, with the teacher at their head.
This separate movement was then given up, and there was soon a return of peace and mutual affection; but neither of the schools were opened before the next year.
The accessions to the missions in Turkey, in the time now under review, were Messrs. Walter H. Giles, Henry A. Schauffler, Lucien N. Adams, and Albert Bryant, with their wives; also Miss Clarissa C. Pond.
The working force of the mission at Constantinople, consisting of Drs. Goodell and Riggs, and Messrs. Trowbridge, Herrick, and Washburn, was quite too small for the demands of that great metropolis, and for the general work of the mission which had to be performed there. The Rev. Isaac G. Bliss, agent of the American Bible Society, rendered valuable assistance in the care of the book department. Dr. Hamlin was no longer able to render the services he had performed. Robert College was allowed the use of the Seminary building at Bebek, belonging to the American Board, until another building could be erected. Its twenty students paid forty pounds each year for board and tuition. Its successful beginning in 1862, under the munificent patronage of its founder, and the care of its President, Dr. Hamlin, and Professors Perkins and Henry A. Schauffler, was a subject for general congratulation.
The unhappy dissensions of the Protestant civil community had in some degree subsided; but the Pera church, maintaining its attitude of disaffection, sought patronage from the English Bishop of Gibraltar, offering to receive Episcopal ordination for the pastor, and to become a "Reformed Armenian church," which should reject the grossest errors of the Armenian Church, while it approximated closely to it in government, worship, and usages. Inquiries were instituted by the proper ecclesiastical authorities, and encouragement was withheld from the movement.
It is painful to state that Vertanes, so often favorably mentioned in the early history of this mission, and frequently actuated by a zeal which the missionaries judged too ardent, became now disaffected, and it was necessary to dismiss him as a helper.
The Pera church, at the time of writing this history, is in full fellowship with the missionaries and its sister churches.
The Protestant community at Broosa suffered severely in a conflagration, which consumed nearly the whole Armenian quarter of the city. The neat Protestant church edifice, and the dwelling of the native pastor, happily escaped.
A railway connects Smyrna with Aidin, a city of about fifty thousand inhabitants, eighty miles distant. A church had been formed there previous to 1865; four persons were added to it in that year, and the brethren were grateful for their native pastor, but desired a missionary who could preach in Greek, as they could reckon up scores of Greeks who seemed ready to receive the truth.
Adana remained unoccupied after Mr. Coffing's death, until March, 1863, when Mr. Goss arrived, and, afterwards, Dr. and Mrs. Goodale. The native pastor was faithful and intelligent. Though neither church nor congregation was large, there was an advance in the observance of the Sabbath, also in self-support and general benevolence. The increased price of the cotton grown on its magnificent plain, as the result of the war in America, had given an extraordinary impulse to the business of the place, and to the spirit of commerce. There was much to encourage hope in respect to this important station.
Dr. Nutting, being transferred from the Eastern to the Central mission, was stationed at Oorfa, where his brother was laboring; Mr. and Mrs. Montgomery were added to the Central mission; but the return home of Mr. and Mrs. White and of Dr. and Mrs. Goodale, by reason of a failure of health, made the number of missionaries in that field less than it had been the year before.
Yet such was the advance in Aintab, that the mission resolved, at its annual meeting in 1864, that there was no longer a call for the residence of a missionary in that city. The church had increased to three hundred and fifty members, and had two native pastors, both of decided ability, sound judgment, harmonious views, and deep-toned piety; and it was thought that the proper development of the pastoral relation, and the most economical disposal of missionary strength, would be promoted by leaving the station to native cultivation, with occasional visits of missionaries. As, however, a second church was to be formed, and a new house of worship to be built, mainly with funds from England placed under Dr. Schneider's direction, the mission approved of his remaining there till these things were done, when he was to go--as he has since gone--to another field, where he might hope, with his uncommon power as a preacher in the Turkish language, to reap a harvest like that which had resulted in the truly wonderful ingathering of souls at Aintab.
The division of the church took place in the following year. When the time had fully come for it, the senior pastor proposed that each head of a family choose between them. The result was, that the two churches, thus formed, each contained about one hundred and fifty members. The number in each congregation, small and great, was between eight and nine hundred. The preponderance was slightly in favor of the first church and congregation, of which Baron Avedis was pastor. Baron Krikore became the pastor of the new church.
On the Sabbath when the formal separation took place, the customary services were exchanged for addresses suited to the occasion by the pastors and Dr. Schneider, and there was the same intermingling of joy and sorrow which is sometimes witnessed on similar occasions in our own land. Those who went out made the sacrifice cheerfully. In the afternoon they assembled in their place of temporary worship, which was filled to its utmost capacity. "Though uncomfortably crowded, pleasure beamed in every countenance. The Confession of Faith and the Covenant were read and adopted anew by the church, all the members standing. Then they were addressed on subjects appropriate to their circumstances, with a view to rousing them to new zeal and activity. When all was over, little groups were engaged in lively conversation over the whole house, showing that all were especially interested in what had transpired."
The Female Boarding-school at Aintab, under the care of Miss Proctor, was now firmly established, having overcome much prejudice against female education, and against the regulations necessary in such an institution. It had fourteen pupils, who acquitted themselves well at a public examination in the presence of a deeply interested assembly.
In the high school for young men at the same station, under the very competent instruction of Baron Alexan, twelve candidates for the ministry were taught in secular branches, to whom lectures were delivered in the departments of theological study by Drs. Schneider and Pratt. At an examination of this school in the church, in the presence of several hundred persons,--including six Moslems of prominent social positions, most of whom listened for several hours with the deepest interest,--the scholars gave highly satisfactory proofs of mental ability and discipline; while the simplicity of their piety, and their readiness to labor where divine Providence should call them, gave good promise of their future steadfastness and usefulness. It was then resolved to remove the Theological School to Marash, and place it under the instruction of Dr. Pratt and Mr. Goss, assisted by Baron Alexan, and that none but pious young men should be admitted. The course of study was to occupy three years; and so much of their own personal expenses were to devolve upon the students, or their friends, as might test their character, and furnish a healthful stimulus to the Protestant community on the subject of education for the ministry.
The Theological Seminary at Harpoot sent forth its first class of eighteen young men near the close of 1863. Eight of these had been licensed as preachers of the Gospel, and nearly all the rest were employed at out-stations, as catechists and teachers. Some were expecting to be soon ordained as pastors. The demand for additional laborers was urgent, because of the very general increase in the size, as well as number, of the congregations.
Social meetings for the study of the Scriptures were found to be so influential for good in the Harpoot district, that the Armenian ecclesiastics of the Old Church sought to counteract their influence by the same expedient; but the result disappointed their hopes. In Malatia, they appointed a meeting for such readings every evening in the week, in each of the twenty-four wards of their part of the city. Their intention was to have the Scriptures and the church books read in the ancient language; but the people insisted on having the Bible alone read, and read in the spoken language. So every night the Word of God, in the vernacular, was read and commented on in twenty-four assemblies of from forty to sixty persons.
Of more significance was the fact, that many of the local communities, besides the one at Harpoot, were taking upon themselves the support of their pastors and preachers, and were beginning to relieve the Board of the expense of their schools. A missionary spirit was also springing up. The churches in the cities were beginning to care for the villages. Missionary societies were formed. In one of the out-stations of Harpoot, the school boys had an evangelical society. On Saturdays they met and had prayers, singing, and the reading of a tract; and the next day they went out, two and two, to the houses of such Armenians as did not come to the Protestant place of worship, and asked the privilege of reading from the New Testament. Being children, they often found a hearing where older persons could not. A boys' missionary society in Diarbekir bore the expense of a scripture reader in a large Armenian village nine miles distant. A like association of men paid seven eighths of the salary of a helper in another village.
Subsequently, a door being found open in an unhopeful village near the city, the native brethren hired a house, and each Sabbath sent one of their own number to spend the day as a scripture reader. A similar zeal was manifested at Bitlis by a number of young men, who were studying at their own charges.
But there were trials. Some of the young men in the Harpoot Seminary refused to exercise the self-denial necessary to live on the means allowed for their support, and returned to their homes; and a few of the graduating class preferred to enter secular business, rather than accept the salary offered. This was not without its uses, as it confirmed a wholesome principle, and was the means of bringing some men, after a time, into the service under a more just apprehension of the true value of the ministry.
The Eastern Turkey Mission was painfully afflicted in 1865 and 1866. The three families at Harpoot each lost two children; and Mrs. Williams was called to her rest, depriving the mission of a highly valued and beloved member, and leaving her husband alone, in the sole charge of a difficult station. Mr. and Mrs. Richardson were obliged by illness to visit their native land, and the Arabkir field was placed under the permanent care of the Harpoot station.
The Eastern mission had now ten missionaries, with as many female assistant missionaries, six native pastors, seventeen licensed native preachers, twenty-five native teachers, and thirty-two other helpers. The out-stations had increased to forty-seven, eighteen of which were connected with Harpoot. The average attendance at the regular religious services was over two thousand and two hundred; and many more heard the informal preaching of colporters and other assistants. Twenty-two Sabbath-schools embraced one thousand and four hundred pupils. There were sixteen churches, with a membership of four hundred and fifty, of whom sixty-eight were admitted on profession of faith in 1864, and one hundred and twenty were women. The number of registered Protestants was three thousand five hundred and thirty. Besides four hundred adults receiving instruction, there were one thousand five hundred children in fifty common schools, of whom more than five hundred were girls. The girls' boarding-school at Harpoot had forty-two pupils.
The Misses West and Fritcher, from Marsovan, had been very usefully connected for a time with this school, in consequence of the return home of Miss Babcock. Miss Clarissa C. Pond was now connected with the school, and early succeeded in gaining the language. The mission was much encouraged by a growing interest in education, especially among the women. Parents who, a few years before, thought it wholly unnecessary, if not a disgrace, for their daughters to read, and who could hardly be induced to allow them to attend school, now gladly paid considerable sums for their tuition. This advancing spirit of intelligence was seen, not only among those who were brought directly under the influence of missionary labor, but also among the Armenians generally, compelling their ecclesiastics, in some places, to open schools of their own. So, also, to keep the people away from the Protestant chapels, extra services were established in Armenian churches, in which the Bible was read and explained, and prayer was offered in the modern or spoken language.
In the village of Ichme, they even went so far as to open an opposition prayer-meeting, a female prayer-meeting, and an evening meeting; and societies were formed in several places professedly to carry the Gospel to neighboring villages.
There was much suffering from poverty, this year having been one of special trial in this respect, but there was great liberality on the part of the churches. In the Harpoot district, "there was a promptness in paying their pastors, preachers, and teachers," says the report of that station, "which would put to shame some richer and more enlightened communities, even in Christian America. The sums paid by the people for the support of pastors, schools, chapel building, the poor, and for other benevolent objects, amounted during the year to $1,224 (in gold), and would have been larger had not the mass of the people been unusually poor, even for them." Two things are noted that were especially cheering in regard to them: "First; so soon as they become interested in the truth, they earnestly desire a pastor of their own, and, when necessary, are willing to pay according to their ability for his support. Secondly; they are easily pleased, and are not fickle minded; do not desire, but rather oppose change. The preacher who has once been given to them, almost without exception they learn to love; and having learned this, they do not wish to part with him."
Mr. Williams was at Diarbekir in February, and found the church in great prosperity under the pastorate of the Rev. Tomas Boyajian. For a year the station had had no missionary; and it was a year of high prices, almost a famine, and great stagnation in business throughout Eastern Turkey. At the same time, owing to the trouble in Constantinople, the Turkish officials were more averse to Protestants than ever before. Sickness, too, had prevailed, thirty-three having been buried at Diarbekir from the congregation over which the young pastor was settled. "Yet," says Mr. Williams, "the city work is in advance of any one thing at Harpoot. The congregation at the Sabbath-school, three fourths of whom are adults, numbered three hundred and thirty-nine, and I wish those whose contributions have aided in planting this vine, could have looked upon the clusters of faces which were studying the Book of Life, and heard the hum of voices asking and answering questions! They would have felt that there are some places where the missionary work is not a failure.
The figures I have not by me, but since Mr. Walker has been absent, the church has increased, the congregation has increased; and that it is not an idle increase is shown by the fact, that this one congregation has, in the year of the missionary's absence, contributed four hundred dollars for the support and spread of the Gospel; for schools, two hundred and forty; for the poor (a year of high prices and great want), two hundred and seventy-five; and for the national head at Constantinople, forty."
The year 1865 was signalized by the death of two very useful missionaries,--Rev. Edward Mills Dodd, and Rev. Homer Bartlett Morgan. Mr. Dodd died of cholera at Marsovan, on the 19th of August. He was a native of New Jersey, and his first labors were among the Jews of Salonica, commencing in April, 1849. In 1863, he was transferred from Smyrna to Marsovan. Mr. Barnum, of Harpoot, who was there at the time of his death, speaks of him as a sincere Christian and an earnest missionary, working up to and often quite beyond the strength of his feeble constitution. "His first missionary language was Hebrew-Spanish, of which, I have been told, he had a fine command. When he was transferred to the Armenian work he learned the Turkish, which he used with much more than ordinary correctness; and some of the best sermons which I have heard in that language were from him. He devoted considerable attention to Turkish hymnology, and many of the best of the Turkish hymns now in use were contributed by him."
See Missionary Herald, 1865, pp. 380-383.
Mr. Morgan died at Smyrna on the 25th of August, at the age of forty-one. He was from the State of New York, and obtained his education at Hamilton College, and at the Union and Auburn Theological Seminaries. He joined the mission to the Jews at Salonica in 1852. After that mission was relinquished, he removed, in 1856, to Antioch. Seven of the remaining nine years of his life were spent in that place, whence the great Apostle went forth on his first foreign mission; and the last two at Kessab, in a perfectly successful effort to restore unity to a divided church. The failing health of Mrs. Morgan rendered a visit to her native land imperative. Being detained ten days in the malarious atmosphere of Alexandretta by the non-arrival of their expected steamer, Mr. Morgan took the fever. Supposing it to be only an intermittent, they embarked for Marseilles, but on reaching Smyrna he was too ill to proceed farther. There, in a missionary family, he had the best of attendance, and after a week of delirious wanderings, he finished his earthly course, and was laid to rest in the cemetery of the Dutch hospital.
His first wife was taken from him at Salonica, his first-born at Antioch, a second child at Bitias, and a third at Kessab; and the father sleeps in Smyrna, his old home.
"Far from thee Thy kindred and their graves may be,-- And yet it is a blessed sleep, From which none ever wakes to weep."
Repeated bereavements chastened the strong and decided character of Mr. Morgan. He grew in the grace of patience, and in spirituality and self-abnegation. He was an indefatigable worker, and was fitted to exert, as he did, a commanding influence on the policy of the mission. He soon made himself familiar with the Turkish language, and never wearied of studying its beautiful structure, and wrote some of the best Turkish hymns. The well known hymn,--"Not all the blood of beasts"--he clothed with not a little of the strength and power of the original.
See Missionary Herald, 1865, pp. 383-385.
The year was also signalized by the death of Rev. Hohannes Der Sahagyan, pastor of the church in Nicomedia, and widely known as one of the two young men who first attached themselves to the teaching of the missionaries in Constantinople, also for his consistent piety, earnest zeal, and the severe persecutions which he suffered at different periods, as a follower of the Lord Jesus.
A scene at the ordination of a native pastor at Perchenj, a village two hours from Harpoot, graphically described by Mr. Williams, has its chronological place here. It was in a large garden, with the pulpit under the wide-spreading branches of a mulberry-tree, and mats and carpets spread out in front. "Around the pulpit sat the council,--lay and clerical delegates, representing most of the evangelical ministry in this part of Turkey; then the regular Protestants of Perchenj, Harpoot, and the villages about, to whom it was a 'festa,' as was evident from their dress. Outside these were the partially committed ones, who, though they did not 'dress up' for the occasion, seemed to have taken the day for it; and again, outside that company, were men drawn in by the interest of the occasion from their work, with their field dresses on, tools in hand, leaning on their long handled spades, bending forward to catch question and answer, wholly unconscious of the picturesque finish they gave to the scene.
"In the afternoon exercises, the pastor of Ichme and the pastor of Harpoot took prominent parts. The same was expected also of the pastors from Arabkir and Shapik, but unfortunately they were not present. The sermon was by Mr. Allen, and was moving and effective. It was very difficult to count the audience, at least from where I was. If I could have exchanged places with some of the boys, and hung myself among the mulberries, perhaps I could have succeeded better. Nothing in all the exercises seemed so American as the natural way in which the boys took to the trees. We judged there were, in the forenoon, about seven or eight hundred, and in the afternoon, six or seven hundred. To the last, everything was quiet, and all went off pleasantly. As you know, the community furnish half the pastor's salary from the start."
In October, four months later, there was an ordination of much interest at Cesarea, where the churches in Constantinople, Marsovan, Sivas, and Yozgat were represented. It was in one of the most important centres of influence. Gregory the Illuminator was ordained in Cesarea, and he went forth from that place to his great work of Christianizing the Armenian nation nearly sixteen hundred years ago. There were born the great church teachers of Cappadocia, Basil of Cesarea and his brother Gregory of Nyssa. In the middle of the third century, the bishop of Cesarea protested against the usurpations of the bishop of Rome.
"Wednesday morning the council met and organized. The whole day was given to the examination of the candidate, which was held in the church, and was attended by from two to three hundred persons. The candidate occupied three fourths of an hour with a statement of personal experience and reasons for entering the ministry. This he made in a manner so clear, forcible, and satisfactory, that the council felt the need of asking scarcely a question. To the congregation it was especially impressive, showing how far removed from the religion of forms, to which they have so long been bound, is that faith which works by love. Three hours were then devoted to an examination of his theological views, and he gave unmistakable evidence of being a man accustomed to think for himself,--one who has well-defined opinions, and is prepared to defend them."
Missionary Herald for 1866, p. 53.
Mr. and Mrs. Walker, having recruited their health in their native land, were once more at their post in Diarbekir. What a change since the arrival of Mr. Dunmore among that people in the year 1851. Mr. Walker thus describes his reception: "When two or three hours distant from the city, we began to be met by companies on horseback; and farther on by those on slower mules and donkeys, and as we neared the city, a great company of men, women, and children gave us their hearty 'Hoshgelden' (word of welcome); and the children of one of the schools stood in line by the side of the road and sung theirs. Thus we were escorted by two hundred or more, through the gates of the city, and to our own home, which was swept and garnished for our coming."
The church, during a part of Mr. Walker's absence, had been without the services of its native pastor, he being at Constantinople; but one of their own number, who had been educated at the Harpoot Seminary, was engaged to supply the pulpit, and not a service had been omitted. The Sabbath-school never fell below one hundred and forty. Divine goodness spared the lives of the Protestants, with a single exception, while fifteen hundred persons were dying in the city of the cholera. The active piety of the church seemed to be quickened by their trials; and thirty, out of one hundred and one members, were wont to go out two by two, by appointment, to spend Sabbath evenings in religious conversation at different houses. The result was that their place of worship became over-crowded, and a new building was prepared for a second congregation that would seat four hundred and fifty persons.
Miss Maria A. West, of the Western Turkey mission, spent the winter in the family of Mr. Walker, and took a very active interest in the success of the women's weekly prayer-meetings. The attendance at these meetings sometimes arose to seventy, and the results of labor in this direction can hardly be over-estimated.
Ararkel, a very valuable helper at one of the Bitlis out-stations, died in August, 1865. He was a most active opposer of the truth when the gospel was first preached in Moosh, but one of the first to accept it, being convinced by reading the Scriptures. He was persecuted unto imprisonment, but bore all patiently. Being naturally gentle and discreet, he was peculiarly fitted to be a pioneer, and was sent as a helper to Havadorik, a village on the mountains, among Koords, known as the dwelling-place of thieves and robbers. He there labored for two years, until his death, with much success. "His mouth," says Mr. Burbank, "was always full of evangelical doctrines. His prayers were mingled with tears, and his Bible was wet with them." He died of fever, leaving two little orphan boys and an aged mother without any means of support. The Armenians cheerfully granted him a burial in their own cemetery. ("History Of The Missions Of The American Board Of Commissioners For Foreign Missions To The Oriental Churches, Volume II.", Rufus Anderson, 1872)