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His Family Attempt His Liberation








19. Phares brought us a letter, which had just been received by the
family at Hadet, from the patriarch, wishing them to come immediately to
Cannobeen. Tannoos and his mother have gone, and intend, if possible, to
bring Asaad away, either to Kesroan, or to Hadet. The mother insisted on
going, and wished to pass through Beyroot on her way, that she might
consult us before she went; but this was not permitted her.

The above mentioned letter, in English, runs thus:--"After telling you
how much I desire to see you in all health and prosperity, I send you
news respecting the wretch Asaad Esh Shidiak, otherwise called lord of
hell. His obduracy, with which you are acquainted, has exceedingly
increased. It is not unknown to you, how much care I have bestowed on
him for his good, how much I have laboured for his salvation, and under
what severe discipline I have put him; and all to no effect. And now, as
might be expected, he has fallen ill, and therefore can no longer run
away, according to his custom, and we have been thus constrained to take
off the severity of our treatment. But fearing lest his disease should
increase upon him, I have sent you word, that you may come and see how
he is, and consult what is best to be done with him. Make no delay,
therefore, in coming, and the apostolic blessing be upon you."

This attempt of his family to effect his liberation failed, for some
reason unknown; and he continued immured in prison, suffering
persecution. He was confined in a small room with an iron collar round
his neck fastened to the wall with a strong chain. In October, 1826,
another attempt was made to effect the liberation of Asaad. The civil
authorities were consulted, but could not be prevailed upon to enlist in
his behalf. In November, 1826, however, he effected his escape, but was
soon arrested, and treated more cruelly than ever.

In the Herald for April, 1828, we find the following history of Asaad
from the time he was betrayed into the hands of the patriarch till the
spring of 1826. It is thus prefaced by Mr. Bird, one of the
missionaries.

"This account of our suffering friend, though by no means complete, may
nevertheless be relied on as authentic, and is by far the most full and
satisfactory account which we have been able to obtain. It was sent us,
as you will see in the journal, by the friendly young shekh, Naami
Latoof, who, some time previous, spent a few weeks in our families, and
whose heart seems to have been touched with the truths of the gospel.
The priest, who has proved so great a benefactor to Asaad, is a relative
of the shekh, and they have grown up together from childhood on the most
intimate terms of familiarity and friendship. Many of the occurrences
here related, the priest found written among the monks, who pass their
time idly with the patriarch, and to many he was an eye-witness. The
account was drawn up under his own inspection. He seems a man unusually
conscientious for an Arab, unusually open to conviction in argument, and
has promised to do his utmost to save Asaad from further abuse, and in
the end to deliver him from his state of confinement. Thus, while all
our own efforts have failed of essentially benefitting the poor man, the
Lord, without any of our instrumentality, has raised up a friend from
the midst of his persecutors, who has already saved him from impending
death, and we hope and pray, will soon open the way for his complete
deliverance from this Syrian Inquisition."





Next: Brief History Of Asaad Esh Shidiak From The Time Of His Being Betrayed Into The Hands Of The Maronite Patriarch In The Spring Of 1826

Previous: Great Difficulties In The Way Of Asaad's Release



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