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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