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His Relatives Deliver Him Up To The Patriarch








31. Information is received, that Asaad has been taken away against his
will, to the patriarch.

April 4. Phares Shidiak arrived here in the evening direct from Der
Alma, and said he had accompanied Asaad to that convent a week ago, that
Asaad was still there, and that the patriarch, having in the morning set
off for Cannobeen, would send down for Assad after a few days. He then
handed me the following line from Asaad.

"If you can find a vessel setting off for Malta, in the course of four
or five days, send me word; if not, pray for your brother.

ASAAD."

We were disposed to send off a messenger this very evening, but Phares
said it would not be necessary.

Had some serious conversation with Phares, in which I exhorted him to
continue reading the New Testament, and take particular notice of the
general spirit of it; and then to judge, if all this deceit, confining,
beating, and threatening to kill, was consistent with that spirit. We
observed, that we supposed the patriarch and the bishop were well
pleased with all the violence that Mansoor had used in this affair.
"Yes," said Phares, "priest Hanna Stambodi, at Ain Warka, told me
yesterday, that none of us had any religion, except Mansoor."

In a subsequent part of his journal, Mr. Bird records the following
particulars respecting Asaad, during his last visit to Hadet, and when
about to be violently removed from thence. They were received from
Phares.

A neighbouring emir being sick, one day, Asaad carried him a paper of
medicine, on the outside of which he had written how it was to be taken.
While Asaad stood without, a servant took in this medicine, and gave it
to the prince, saying, "This is from Asaad Esh Shidiak, and here he has
written the directions on the paper." The prince, who is not remarkable
for mildness, and perhaps was not conscious that Asaad overheard him,
spoke out angrily, "A fig for the paper and writing; 'tis the medicine I
want." "Your lordship is in the right," replied Asaad, "the truth is
with you. The medicine is the thing; the paper that holds it, is
nothing. So we ought to say of the gospel, the great medicine for the
soul. 'Tis the pure gospel we want, and not the church that holds
it."

After Mansoor, in his catholic zeal, had torn up and burned all his
Bibles and Testaments, Asaad could not remain without the scriptures,
but sent and obtained a copy from the little church, which he daily
read, marking the most striking and important passages.

When his relatives, to the number of twenty or more, had assembled, and
Asaad perceived they were come to take him to the patriarch by force, he
began to expostulate with Tannoos, and besought him to desist from a
step so inconsistent with fraternal love. He besought in vain. Tannoos
turned away from him with a cold indifference. Affected with his
hardness, Asaad went aside, and wept and prayed aloud.

The evening before he was taken away, he said to those who had
assembled, "If I had not read the gospel, I should have been surprised
at this new movement of yours. But now it is just what I might have
expected. In this blessed book, I am told, the brother shall deliver up
the brother to death, and a man's foes shall be they of his own
household. Here you see it is just so. You have come together to fulfil
this prophecy of the gospel. What have I done against you? What is my
crime? Allowing that I do take the Bible as my only and sufficient guide
to heaven, what sin is there in this?" During the evening, he laid
himself down to sleep, as he was to set off early in the morning. But he
was often interrupted; for, whenever he caught a word of false doctrine
from the lips of those who continued their conversation, he would rise
up, refute them, and again compose himself to rest. One of his uncles,
speaking of his going to the patriarch, said in a great rage, "If you
don't go off with us peaceably, we will take your life." Asaad replied,
"Softly, softly, my dear uncle, don't be hasty. Blessed are the meek."

Phares wrote a letter this evening to Asaad, in a hand that had been
agreed on between them, saying, that if he would come to Beyroot, he
need not fear, and that it might be a matter for further consideration
whether he should leave the country.

5. The letter of Phares was sent off by a moslem, who returned at
evening, saying that when he arrived at the convent, he was accosted by
two or three men, inquiring his business, telling him he was a Greek,
and had letters from the English. They then seized him, and took the
letter by force, and, had he not shewn them that he was a moslem, would
have probably sent him to the emir of the district for further
examination. They then asked him some questions about the English, and
assured him that after eight days Asaad would no longer be a living man.
Thus were our hopes of a second deliverance of this sufferer of
persecution, for the present, blasted. After all the threats, which have
been thrown out without being put in execution, we rather hope, that
this last will prove like the rest; yet we cannot tell how far their
hatred of the truth may, with the divine forbearance, carry them. We
leave all with him, in whose hands our life and breath are, and whose
are all our ways, with the humble hope, that light may yet arise out of
darkness, and that much glory may be added to his name, from this
evident work of Satan.

6. Sent word, in a blind hand, on a torn scrap of paper, to Phares
respecting the fate of our message to his brother. He returns answer
that he is coming to Beyroot to-morrow.

7. Phares came, according to his notice of yesterday, saying, that if
the patriarch should get his letter to Asaad, there would be danger in
his staying at Hadet. He should be glad to go to Malta, or almost any
other place out of the Maronite influence, lest his brothers should
seize him, and deliver him up to the fury of the patriarch, as they had
done his brother Asaad. Mansoor, the eldest and most violent of them,
when he heard, yesterday, that a letter had arrived for Phares from
Beyroot, breathed out threatenings and slaughter, not only against
Phares, but against the innocent messenger himself.

8. Wrote to ----, a friendly Maronite bishop, to give me whatever
information he might be able to procure respecting Shidiak.

May 10. A messenger whom we sent to Cannobeen, returned with the
report that he was denied the privilege of seeing Asaad, under pretence
that he was going through a course of confession, during which the rule
is, that the person so confessing, shall pass his time, for a number of
days, alone, and see no company.

14. We were, to-day, credibly informed, that Shidiak is still firm in
his adherence to the gospel, but that he was kept under rigid
inspection, not being permitted to step out of his room without an
attendant.

17. Phares Shidiak informed us to-day, that he had been told that his
brother Asaad had been at the college of Ain Warka. He thought it might
be true, as one object in delivering him up to the patriarch was, to
give the people the general impression, that he had no longer any thing
to do with the English. He had now been a sufficient time absent from us
to give general currency to the report, that he was no longer with us,
and now, perhaps, the patriarch had let him go free.





Next: Asaad Is Cruelly Treated

Previous: Letter From Asaad To Mr Bird



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