Is Forcibly Detained
Feb. 22. Fearing for the safety of Asaad, since hearing that he has
not written to his friends, we this morning sent a messenger with a
short note, to find him, and ascertain his state.
23. The messenger returned, saying, that he yesterday went to the
village, where he understood the patriarch was, and found that he had
just gone with a train of twenty men, and Asaad in company, to Der Alma.
In the morning, he rose, went to that convent, and chanced to find Asaad
alone. After some conversation, in which they were providentially not
interrupted, Asaad handed him a hasty line, and he returned. The line
was as follows:
"Much respected brother,--Your note has reached me, and has added
another proof to the many I have had already, of your kind regard to me.
I now beseech you once more, to pray for me, that I may be delivered
from the dark devices of men. I find myself reduced to quite an
extremity. One or more of three things are before me; either to be
thought mad, or to commit sin, or to offer up my life I call upon God
for deliverance. I cannot now write fully, but the bearer will tell you
The messenger said, that the emir of that district had threatened to
send him to Bteddeen, to be imprisoned. Asaad replied, that he was ready
to go to prison and to death. He was engaged in daily disputations with
the patriarch and others. His countenance wore a shade of melancholy,
and his eyes were red with weeping.
When it was proposed by the messenger to interfere with English
authority for his rescue, he said such a course might exasperate his
enemies, and cost him his life: it would be better to wait a while, and
leave it for Providence to open a way for his escape.
This assurance of his steadfastness was like a cordial to our spirits,
and was not without a good influence on some that are about us. By the
grace of God, he will witness a good confession before the dignitaries
both of church and state, and by the same grace, he may open the eyes of
some of them to the truth as it is in Jesus. To him that was with Daniel
and with the three children in their dangers, we commend him.
24. Called on the consul to inquire what could be done for the
protection or relief of Asaad. He recommended a course of moderation and
forbearance, and said it was not customary to extend English protection
to natives, when abroad on their own business.
26. Two young emirs from Hadet called. I asked one of them "Where is
Asaad Shidiak at present?"
He replied, "He is with the patriarch."
"And is he contented there?"
"Not very well contented. But what should he do, poor fellow, necessity
is laid upon him."
This remark proves to us, that it is not a secret among the priests and
emirs, that Asaad is detained against his will.
March 1. A youth called this morning, and said Asaad Shidiak sent me
salutation. He showed me a line he had received from Asaad the day
before, saying, "If you will pass this way about midnight, I will go
with you to Beyroot." Owing to some circumstance, the young man did not
go to the convent, and now he proposed to take a horse, by which Asaad
may escape to-night.
As we had not perfect confidence in the youth, we did nothing, but
having ascertained his plan, left him to go on as he chose. In the
evening, we had a season of prayer, particularly on his account.
Interview With Several Of His Relatives Is Visited By His Mother