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.





His Family Attempt His Liberation His Return To Mr Bird facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Feedback