Page images

We shall not attempt a description of the various scenes pertaining to the breaking up of her many associations in her native land previous to her embarkation. In her letters and journal about this time, there are, as might be expected, many rich, solemn, joyous, mournful feelings in anticipation of the coming separation from home, which remind us of broken clouds that throng the sun-set, and Aing forth their dishevelled, yet quiet rays. There are times in the lives of all who are called to great sacrifices, in which, as all do in the event of death, they can understand something of the intermingling pathos and sublimity in those words of Christ, • Father the hour is come !' The moment when a missionary, and especially a female missionary, feels that she is leaving home, for ever,—the moment, and there is always such a moment,--when it breaks upon the mind, with full force, that the departure is at hand, and the excitements of preparation which had diverted the feelings subside, and a

twilight gray,' Has“ in her sober livery all things clad,' there is a rush of feelings around the heart, a rapid, anxious, trembling inquiry into the motives and the principles by which this solemn juncture of retrospection on the whole of a previous life, and anticipation of a new world of thought, and experience, and labor, has been occasioned. Images of past scenes and friends glance in hurried confusion before the mind; chimes of departed hours and years sound out full many a tale ; the future throws its great shadows across into the past, and existence becomes, for a time, a blending together of the past, and the future. It is almost like the turn of a century to a departed soul :-like old and new year, where years are ages. It is not sufficient at such times that our motives are good, to keep the emotions at regular tides. A cup is put into the hand, which, in transient moments of misgiving, it is almost wished might pass away.—Here are some of the feelings which Mrs. Smith recorded upon the eve of her departure.

“ Monday morning we bid a final adicu, the sorrows of which were somewhat alleviated by the possibility of meeting again, before our embarkation. It really threw around our aged parents a dignity which angels might admire, to see them thus relinquish the object of their fond regard, to the cause which angels love, and angels serve. May the

P. 144.

p. 114.

richest blessings of God's grace rest upon them, and upon you, my dear parents, who make the same cheerful surrender.” p. 143.

“ You will naturally imagine that dear P. has been brought to mind, and that many tender associations are connected with him. There stands the rocking-chair which he occupied, and when I lie down upon the bed, I can almost imagine that I hear his sieps in the adjoining chamber. But while that precious form moulders in the grave, the released spirit is in far higher and holier society above, from whence I would not recall him, if I could.

"There entertain him all ye saints above,
In solemn troops and sweet societies
That sing, and singing in your glory move,

And wipe the tears furever from his eyes “ Many times during the day I closed my eyes, and said to myself, can it be that I shall behold those loved faces no more, until we meet in eternity ?!"

“ And now, my dear father, I take my pen for the last time, and address anyself to you. Nature struggles hard, and I stop to wipe the tears which gather fast, and intercept the traces of my pen. But I must not indulge myself in saying what is in my heart. God only knows those deep, deep fountains of feeling which he has created there." p. 150.

But some have said : Men can leave home and friends for earthly treasure, without such feelings. They can spend years in foreign climes, nay, with their immediate families, they can exile themselves for life, to obtain wealth. Why should it be considered, and why, to the individuals themselves, should it prove such a trial of feeling, and such a sacrifice, to go upon a foreign mission ?

We think the answer is given in the statement of the case. The love of gain is such an all-absorbing passion, that it drowns the best affections of the heart. The insensibility with which men bear long exile from home for the sake of gain is no virtue. So that one reason why foreign missionaries find it a sacrifice of feeling 10 leave their country and kindred, is, no cancerous passion, like the love of money, kills their natural affections, and benumbs their sensibilities; but on the contrary, the benevolent feelings which lead them to a foreign land, strengthen the whole current of their good affections :-as the fountains feel the effect of the shower, as well as the earth for which it was intended. An illustration of the paralizing effect of the love of money upon the affections, and a confirmation of what we have now said, is the fact, that when men go forth upon

secular expeditions which have a virtuous or purely benevolent object, they manifest reluctance and regret, and suffer pain proportionably as great as foreign missionaries, who leave their native lands for life.

In passing through a scene which has been the object of long and intense expectation, we sometimes wonder that we are so insensible, compared with what we supposed would be the case. But we have for so long a time imagined all the possible feelings incident to the scene or the event in prospect, that, when it comes, nothing new occurs to affect the sensibilities with a higher excitement. This, no doubt, oftentimes proves a merciful arrangement of Providence, the trial of feeling being permitted to occur when alleviations of grief are at hand. Accordingly, we find that notwithstanding Mrs. Smith's acute feelings in breaking away from her friends, when the hour of embarkation came she was composed and happy. By the pilot, she wrote as follows:

“I stood upon deck till I saw the waving of the last handkerchief, and Mr. E.'s white hat, as he stood alone upon the shrouds."

" From first stepping on board, my heart has been stayed up with the Scripture which I repeated this morning~ For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life; nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers; nor things present, nor things to come ; nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.'

God's kingdom seems more glorious than any thing else ; thanks to his grace.

* Adieu, dear, dear friends. My heart feels what I cannot express." p. 153.

The date of the embarkation is inadvertently omitted. The same is true of some other interesting events in the memoir. If the dates can be given in another edition, it will add to the interest of the book.

Mrs. Smith had a correct eye for the beauties of creation, a talent at describing them naturally, a perception of little things, and characteristic features, unnoticed by a common eye.

“ As I was taking dinner to-day, a sweet little land bird, which had been hovering around the deck, perched in the window. Its size that of a robin, its plumage black and white. But it had not the calm and buoyant look of the sweet songsters aniong my native hills. It seemed wearied and ruffled, like some solitary wanderer. It was five hundred miles from its home, the Western Islands." p. 155.





To this we would add, if we had room, her description of a sunrise scene at sea, and several other passages of exquisite beauty.

The mission to which Mrs. Smith went forth is the mis. sion in Syria, which includes the mission in the Holy Land. Her designation was to the Syrian mission proper, the seat of whose operations is Beyroot. This place is interesting for its ancient history, and for its present and prospective importance in missionary affairs. Its ancient name is Berytus, derived, as some suppose, from Beroe, a nymph of the ocean. It was a town of Phænicia. The kings of Egypt originally possessed it, but by the conquests of Antiochus the Great, it became subject to the kings of Syria, till the time of Dio. dotus, who destroyed it, B. C. 140. After their conquest of Syria, the Romans rebuilt this place near its original spot. Agrippa, the grandson of Herod the Great, lavished his wealth upon it in the erection of a theatre, amphitheatre, porticoes and baths. Josephus speaks of the splendid games established there by Agrippa. To this place the celebrated Titus came, after his capture of Jerusalem, to honor the birthday of his father. (Josephus de Bello.) Berytus was noted for the celebrated academy of law established there, by which it was as famous in the east for its advantages in the civil law, as Rome was in the west. It is not known when this Academy was established, but a decree of Dio. cletian concerning it exists, which makes it more ancient than A. D. 384. It is believed to have flourished from the 3d to the 6th century. Law was taught there in the Greek tongue, and Justinian called it the mother and nurse of the laws. He allowed no academies but those of Rome, Berytus, and Constantinople, to explain the laws, and he brought two men from the academy at Berytus, to join with others in preparing his Digests. In the 25th year of Justinian, A. D. 551, July 9th, the city was overthrown by an earthquake. The Ottoman Turks became the masters of Syria nearly three centuries ago, under whom it was divided into five pachalics, viz. Aleppo, Tripoli, Damascus, Acre and Palestine. Beyroot is in the pachalic of Acre. The extension of the Egyptian power, now under Mohammed Ali, to this region, has changed its political relations. Beyroot is situated in a plain which extends from the foot of Mount Lebanon into the sea. It is surrounded by a wall of the same material with which the houses are built, and which, when taken from the quarry, can be cut with an axe. It can be pierced by a cannon ball without breaking or crumbling. From this place the Maronites and Druses export their cottons and silks, chiefly to Cairo. It is the commercial centre of a large extent of country, and a most interesting point of future radiation in the missionary enterprise. A moment's inspection of the map of Syria and the countries adjacent will show its interesting relations in a moral view. Antioch, Damascus, Mesopotamia, and other places of sacred interest, may one day be evangelized from this missionary establishment. As yet we can only say of it, in relation to these places, and through them again to others :

(The mountain looks on Marathon,
And Marathon looks on the sea !"

We have already referred to Mrs. Smith's love for natural objects. The associations, and the scenery of her field of labor, gratified her tasteful sensibilities, and employed her talent at description.

She made a journey of nine days to the ruins of Baalbeck, and the top of Sunneen, the highest peak of Lebanon.

“ Just after sundown I stepped out of my tent, and going a few paces towards the west, upon the brink of a deep valley, one of the most sublime views met my eyes that I ever saw. A rich bed of superb white clouds, rolling together, and curling their tops in the air, in the most fantastic forms, filled the valley, occasionally breaking froin each other sufficiently to discover to me the grandeur of the depth below. Beyond them stretched the glorious sea, its outline nearly obscured by the blending of its waters with the brilliant tints of the western sky. As I stood alone, gazing upon this almost unearthly scene, the distant voices of the mountaineers, pursuing their occupations upon the declivities below, came up through this magnificent array of mountain drapery, and produced a most singular effect upon my senses. I almost imagined myself to be the inhabitant of another sphere, stooping down to discover the pursuits of an inferior world, whose occupants little imagined what glories were above them." p. 205.

“ Evening - Mr. Smith and myself took a walk at sunset, the air being mild,

and the clouds brilliant. The foliage of the distant grove of palm trees gave surpassing beauty to the scene. Unlike other trees, when viewed from a distance, their outline is distinct but graceful. Pompey's pillar, in its simple beauty, rose behind these elegant clusters. We stood upon a slight elevation, just as the sun dipped his last lines

« PreviousContinue »