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Is Visited By His Mother








This letter had been gone scarcely time sufficient to reach Hadet, when
the mother herself was announced at the door. We welcomed her with all
cordiality, and treated her with all the respect and attention we could.
But all we could do or say did not alter her resolution to get her son
away, if in her power. She besought him by the honour he owed her, by
the love he professed for her, by his regard for the reputation of her
family, for religion itself, and for his own personal safety, that he
would immediately accompany her home; and when she found him inflexible,
she declared she would never stir out of the house unless he went with
her.

To all this Asaad replied, "To what purpose would it be, that I should
go home? You wish me to go, you say, that people may be convinced that I
am not mad. But you, who come hither, and see, and converse with me,
say, after all, that I am mad. How can it be expected that I should
convince others that I am not mad, when my own mother will not believe
it. Or do you think that if I once get out among you, the air of Hadet
will change my opinions, or induce me to be silent? All these are vain
expectations. I see no object to be gained. If I should go to Hadet, and
be constantly disputing with the people, and telling them, that you are
all going astray; that you are worshipping idols instead of the living
God; that I could wish to tear down every picture in your churches; that
the bread and wine of the Lord's Supper are not Jesus Christ; that I
believe the pope to be the beast in the revelation,[I] whose business is
to deceive the people and ruin their souls;--by all this, I should
injure your feelings, enrage the people, excite the opposition of the
emirs, and bishops, and patriarchs, and then return here just in the
state I am in now."

The youngest brother, Phares, who accompanied his mother, conversed
freely and in good temper, and listened with attention to all Asaad's
arguments, by which he endeavoured to justify his views and
determinations. But no argument or evidence could convince the
disconsolate mother. Asaad had repeated the name of Christ, and the word
of God so often, that she, at last, in a fit of impatience exclaimed,
"Away, with Christ, and the word of God; what have we to do with them!"
and when we pointed out to Asaad some text of Scripture, which we
thought applicable in any case, she would endeavour to close the book,
or catch it from him, as if it taught paganism, or witchcraft. During
her stay we dined, and as Asaad took the meat upon his plate, and ate it
without a scruple, in this season of Lent, it was remarked with what a
gaze of wonder she regarded him. She seemed to say in her heart, "All is
over--my son is lost!"

After some hours of troublesome expostulation and entreaty, during which
Asaad once said he could bear it no longer, and rose, and shook my hand
to go, it was finally settled that the mother should go home without
him, but that to save the family from the insupportable shame, which
threatened it, Asaad should give her a paper, stating, in effect, that
he was not a follower of the English. When the paper was finished,
"Now," said Asaad, "go to your home in peace;" and walked away; but
suddenly recollecting himself, he called his brother back, and said,
"Phares, I wish you fully to understand, that I love you, and I have one
request to make of you, which is, that you will take the New Testament,
and read it attentively."--"Give me a New Testament," said Phares,
quickly. We gave him the book, and he went his way, evidently affected
and softened by the interview.

9. The shekh before mentioned communicated to Asaad, through the medium
of a priest, the offer of his daughter in marriage, on condition he
should leave the English.

10. Set apart a day of fasting and prayer on Asaad's account. He was
observed not to be in a happy temper. Towards evening he spoke of going
home. I hoped he would finish writing the statement we had requested of
him, "for," said I, "if you go home I shall not see you again for
months." "No," said he, "perhaps not for years." His manner was very
peculiar. I knew not what was the matter, till, in the evening, after a
long conversation on the evidences of inspiration, he said, "I have been
in deep darkness to-day. My heart has been full of blasphemy, such as I
have scarcely ever known. I have even doubted the existence of God. But
now I am relieved, and I would just say, I shall not go home to-morrow,
as I hinted."

This temptation seems to have arisen chiefly from a discrepancy in the
scriptures, which I had shewed him, and which I knew not how to
reconcile. He begged that, for the present, I would by no means shew him
another such.





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Previous: Correspondence With His Family



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