Imagens das páginas



A story is current that is so thoroughly characteristic of the Ambassador's breadth of spirit in matters religious as well as political that it is given here at the risk of a lack of diplomacy on the part of the author. In one of his earlier residences in Constantinople, word reached the Embassy that Bible colporters were being interfered with in the interior of the country. The Ambassador secured possession of all the facts, which were placed before him in the form of affidavits, and then called officially, and with all the dignity due his rank, upon the Minister of Foreign Affairs. When received with fitting solemnity, Mr. Straus said:

“Word has just come to me that His Majesty, the Sultan of Turkey, is taking steps which will lead to the dissolution of the treaty between the United States and His Majesty's empire.

“Such a rumor is absolutely absurd! There is no possible foundation for it. It is only a rumor and should be dismissed at once as one of the idle tales which spring up now and then in official circles !”' was the reply of the astonished official, who failed to grasp the attitude of the Ambassador.

“I beg to differ with Your Excellency,” said the American. “I have an abundance of proof for

every word of the statement which I have made. At the proper time I shall be willing to produce it, for it lies before you on the table in this bundle of papers, which

, bear the certified signatures of my informants."

“Pray explain your meaning; you talk in riddles.

[ocr errors]

His Majesty knows nothing of the subject of the matter of which you are complaining, nor do any of his representatives. What do you mean?”

“Well, the country which I have the honor to represent has certain products and manufactures which our treaty with Turkey allows us to bring into Turkish ports and to distribute without molestation or interference of any kind throughout His Majesty's domains. Among our industries, for instance, are the raising of beans, the making of butter and the publication of books, one of them called the Bible. In the name of the Government which I have the honor to represent, I demand that the distribution of the Bible, as well as butter and beans and other articles produced in the United States, shall not be interfered with in any part of the empire. If that is not done, and more complaints come to me, I shall report the matter to Washington, and it is quite probable that the challenge will be met. The American people will not stand for violation of treaty rights."



FLING out the banner ! let it float,

Skyward and seaward, high and wide;
The sun that lights its shining folds,
The Cross on which the Saviour died.



FTER looking at the picturesque minarets tower

ing above St. Sophia and the other mosques in Constantinople, and visiting the Bible House and the colleges carried on in the city by Christian men and women from America, one questions, What has Protestant Christianity done in the Ottoman Empire? What progress has been made by the splendid mission

effort running back nearly a century? What is there to show in return for the scores of noble men and women who have given their lives to Turkey, and for the wealth which has been expended in the translation of the Bible, the education of the youth of the empire, and the erection of churches and hospitals and schools? Are the Moslems being reached by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and if so, is it changing in any form their life or their religious belief? In a word, is the Cross a match for the Crescent in the land where the latter has held sway for centuries?

Questions like these put to missionaries and Bible agents and educators in Turkey brought interesting responses, frank but not rose-colored. The missionaries cannot point like the missionaries of Korea, for example, to thousands of conversions in a single year, but they are in no sense discouraged. They realize the difficulties of the situation, but they believe in their cause and in their Leader; they believe that they are possessors of that which is to revolutionize the peoples of the empire.

The missionaries, moreover, do not attempt to conceal facts nor to minimize the difficulties which confront them in Turkey, and more especially in and about Constantinople. In speaking of the impress made by Christianity upon men holding the Moslem faith, an American missionary who has been more than half a century in the Turkish Empire gave the author this significant statement:

“We come now to the question which is most often asked, the question which has a right to be asked, and to which we are most desirous of offering a reply, namely, Have American missionaries in Turkey done anything for Mohammedans, and what have they done and with what results? Within the three Turkey Missions of the American Board the number of converts from Islam, that is, the number baptized, has been less than twoscore.

The avowed aim of the American Board, as explained by this veteran worker, in the inception of its work in


Turkey, was to reach the Mohammedan population with the Gospel. It was, however, evident from the outset that till Mohammedans could have a better object lesson of Christian living presented to them than had been given by the Eastern Churches, it would be futile to invite them even seriously to inquire concerning the truth and the claims of Christianity. Missionary work was begun, therefore, among the adherents of the Eastern Churches, especially among Armenians, because they were found most accessible.

“What about the results in figures aside from those concerning the Moslems?” the missionary was asked. This was his reply:

“The number of Protestants in the Ottoman Empire, not including Egypt, is about one hundred thousand. In the three Turkey Missions, not including Syria or Bulgaria, there are one hundred and twenty-five Evangelical churches, with 14,174 members, 251 places of regular Sunday service, with 172 preachers, 155 missionaries, of whom 108 are women, 1,045 native laborers, 22,369 pupils under instruction in the seven colleges, 39 high schools and 346 other schools; and native contributions last year for all purposes aggregated $125,434. These statements, however, altogether inadequate. If taken by themselves alone they are absolutely misleading. Influences that do not yield themselves to statistical statement, which have gone out into the life of these Christian races, have been rapidly cumulative and beneficent, purifying, educative


« AnteriorContinuar »