Interview With Several Of His Relatives





6. Among those who came to see Asaad to-day, were three of his brothers

and an uncle. Mansoor, the oldest of the brothers, we had never before

seen. He is a furious bigot, and perfectly ignorant and regardless of

the first principles of religion. The second, Tannoos, or Antony, has

lived among us as a teacher, and has good native and acquired talents;

but, though he might be a protestant if he were left at liberty, he

thinks it altogether preposterous to attempt to quarrel with bishops and

patriarchs on the subject of religion.



These two brothers, and the uncle, (the last worse than the first,) came

and conversed together with Asaad in his chamber a considerable time.

Hearing them very earnest, I took the liberty also to go in. They

continued their rebukes and arguments, (especially the uncle,) in so

harsh and unfeeling a manner, that it made me tremble to hear them. They

contradicted Asaad, scoffed at and threatened him, calling him

possessed, mad, under the power of Satan, and so on. Asaad consented to

go home and leave the English, which was the great point they wished to

gain, provided they would get an assurance from the patriarch in

writing, to say, on the faith of a christian, that he would not molest

him.



"But," said they, "then you must hold your tongue, and not broach your

new opinions among the people."



"What," replied Asaad, "must I go and live like a dumb man? No, that I

will never do. My religion binds me not to do it. I must love my

neighbour as myself."



"Why do you not go," said they, "to the Druses, and the Moslems, and

preach the gospel to them? You answer, because there is danger. So there

is danger in the present case; this is not a land of liberty, therefore

be silent."



Asaad.--"Secure me but the free exercise of my conscience, and I will

go with you. My religion is my all, and I must be free in it."



They.--"We can give you no such security. Nobody dares go to the

patriarch with such a request. You cannot be permitted to publish your

notions abroad among the people."



"Then," said Asaad, "there is no more to be said;"--rising, and with

clasped hands walking the room;--"Religion unshackled--Religion

unshackled, is my doctrine."



They rose and left the room in an angry despair. Mansoor returned, and

wished to speak a word with Asaad at the door. In a moment, Asaad

returned. "Do you know what Mansoor has told me?" said he. "His last

words were, 'Even if the patriarch and the emir should do nothing; if

they make no attempts to take your life; be assured, we ourselves will

do the work: so take heed to your self accordingly.'"



Asaad was much affected by the interview. As soon as he found himself at

liberty, he stepped up into the loft where he sleeps, and threw himself

on his couch in prayer.



While in this attitude his next younger brother, Galed, knocked at the

door. I called to Asaad to inform him of the fact; but he gave me no

answer. I then invited Galed to another room, where Asaad soon joined us

with a full and heavy heart. The two brothers saluted each other with

embarrassment. Asaad evidently wished to be alone, and the brother,

after a few mild, unmeaning inquiries, left him.





Begins to converse more pointedly with the People.



7. I yesterday advised Asaad to direct his conversations with the

people, as much as possible to their hearts, and say little or nothing

on the corruption of their church. He objected to the counsel. I

referred him to similar advice he gave me some months ago. "Ah," said

he, "I thought so then, but I now see that you cannot stir a step, but

you meet some of their corruptions." However, he to-day made the

experiment, and held an hour's conversation with two visiters on the

subject of regeneration. They both thought themselves renewed, but took

too little interest in the subject to confine their attention to it.

"You see," said Asaad, after they had gone, "how little they feel on

such a subject. It is painful to talk with such men. I would rather see

them contradict, and dispute, and get angry, or any thing, than to

appear so dead."





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