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Letter from Pliny Fisk to Isaac Bird, April 29, 1822
Malta, April 29. 1822.
Dear Br. Bird, For several reactions & especially for the sake of meeting with Br. L Sister Temple & have come to reside a short time at this place. Your letter of Nov. 13. reached me a month ago. I will now attempt to answer some of your enquiries. The first anguage to be learned is Italian. Next, if Smyrna is to be your station, modern Greek, but if Syria, Arabic. Whatever your field may be the more you know of neb. the better. If you read some in the Targums & the Talmud it will be useful, also in the writings of the Rabbis & of the Greek & Latin Fathers. As to a library I would not advise you to purchase many miscellane= =ous works. Take what you have & accept such as are given you. Purchase anything you may find that will be particulary useful in dating with Musselmans, Jews or these Oriental Christians. As it respects medicine I know not how to answer your enquiry without knowing what is to be your field. If you are to go to Smyrna it will be of little or no use. There are good European Physicians there. But if you are to join me in Syria, as I hope you are, a tolerable knowledge of the Theory & Practice of Schysic would be very desirable & might be of great use. I ap= =prehend few able physicians are found there. Nothing perhaps would give a man more
more influence & safety in that region thats ap= pearing in the character of Hakeensor Doctor. It might mable him to do something at heart to have so much skill in practice that if you should happen to be called for by a Pasha or man of rank you would be able to answer his expectations. There are a few disorders in this countries with the nature a treatment of which some particular knowledge would be desirable. The first is the Plague. It may be well to have what you can respecting it x other disorders that reremble it as yellow fever &. The small Pox often prevails in Turkey. The knowledge of this disorder & the mode of treating it woul as well as the methods of preventions would be desirable. Disorders of the liver & bordels are very common & often fatal, especially to For= =eigners. In Egypt, where you may possibly have occasions sometimes to go, the Oph= =thalmia is very frequent. In this country more probably than in any other on carth would a Physician be employed in business that concernd directly or indirectly the propagation of the human race. Should you spend some tie here or at Smyrna as probably you will before going o Syria you will have opportunity to improve your knowledge of medicine & to learn something of the diseases of these countries
It would no doubt be better to come into the Mediterranean in the autumn than in the spring or summer, There is however no seriuos objection against coming at any season. Merchants and travellers come & go wherever they have occasion without regard to the seasons of the year. At Smyrna particularly you will become acquainted with several families who are rich, fashionable & gay & friend of amusement & pleasure, who will be very friendly to you. In your intercourse with them you will perhaps have occasion to remember Gal. 2.2. At this place you will find some just such society as your soul loves, but you must not expect it elsewhere until God shall be pleased to pour out his spirit on went on which all our hopes of usefulnes de= =pend, an went for which we cannot pray too often or too earnestly.- I need not tell you, my dear Br., what are the qualifications that a Missionary needs, but it is never amiss to remind each other of them. We need piety, faith, & benevolence, firmness, & humility, seal, & prudence, activity & diligence, perserverance & discretions, a pure heart, spiritual views, a spirit of self-denial & con= =stant love to God & man. May we be fur= =nished more & more for the work before us.
P.S. I congratulate you sincerely on your happy prospects as to a help-mat. May I re= =request a particular remembrance to your friend. I recollect distinctly some interviews with her & shall be very happy in an opportunity by to revive our aquaintance. - May I take the liberty to say that if she finds it convenient to study Italian before having America it will be of great use to her?
Rev. OP. Fisk Malta Ap. 29.' 22 R. S. Sept. - Boston
Rev. Issac Bird
Letter from Pliny Fisk to "Brethren", February 28, 1824
Feb. 28 Recd. Mar. 23
Rev. Messrs Fisk, King, & Bird, Jerusalem
W. G. Feb. 28, Bairout Jerus. March. 23. 1824
Wm. Goodel the writer signed his name only in Arabic.
Isaac Berdahan makes the note "W. G." and dates.
Letter from Pliny Fisk to "Brethren", May 7, 1822
8. Confession to Priests & Absolution by the Priests.
9. Is baptism regeneration? What says the Bible? What said the Fathers? The oriental Christians I believe generally if not universally say yes.
10. Is there any criminality in making the sign of the cross?
11. Is it best to wage war with these churches or endeavour to keep on good terms with them? Is it best generally to introduce the above topics in conversation with them, or rather lead them to read the Bible, urge [home?] on their hearts & consciences the doctrines & duties which they admit &c?
II. The Jews. 1. Examine Gen. 49.10. Can it be rendered "The Sceptre &c. shall not depart forever, for Shiloh shall come"? How did the Jew's interpret it before Christ came?
2. Examine Daniel 9.23-27.
3. Ira. 9.6. Will it do to render it "The Counsellor, the Mighty God shall call him the Father of the Age, the Prince of Peace?
4. The Jews say the O. Test. predicts a Messiah, who was to be a man, nothing more. Is there any palpable, irresistible proof of the Messiah's Divinity in the O. Test?
5. Are the prophecies of the O. T. fulfilled in the N? Examine carefully Isa. 5.3. To whom does it apply? What does "my servant" mean in Isaiah?
6. Is the N. Test. consistent with the Old? Examine the various quotations. See also. Ps. 16 & Acts. 2, 27. & 13.36 — Acts 7.4. & Gen. 11.26. 32 & 12.4 — Acts 7.6. Gen. 15.16. Ex. 12.40. Gal. 3.17. — Acts 7.14 & Gen. 46.27. —Acts 7.16. Gen 23. 3-20 & 33.19 & 49. 29-32, & 50.13. Mat. 2.15 Hosea. 11.1.
7. Abolitions of the ceremonial law. The Gentiles are not required to adopt it. See Acts 15 Gal. 3. & 4. - Jews who embraced Christianity were originally permitted to adhere still to their ritual. See Acts. 16.3. & 21. 20-26. Gal. 5.6. [??Hos.??] 7.18, 19. Does the N. T. anywhere fobid Jews to observe their law? Does the O. T. intimate that the ceremonial law should be abolished? Jer. 31. 31-34. &c. Does the O. T. predict that the ceremonial law should be perpetual? Deut. [3??.?]. Have Jews, who embrace Christianity now, be permitted to continue still to attend on the worshop of the Synagogue?
8. A familiar acquaintance with the Heb. Bible is desirable. Some knowledge of the Targums & the Talmund & the Rabbinical writings would be useful.
How reconcile the different genealogies of Math. and Luke? Every Jew objects that Christ is not of the Royal family of David according to Matthew for he was only the reputed son of Joseph.
III Mohammedans. 1. Read Sale's Translation of the Koran with his preliminary Dissertation, the Life of Mohammed & any Mohammedan writings that you may meet with, & the history of Mohammedism.
2. An important point is to prove the integrity of the present received text of the O. & N. T. Mahommedans admit the inspirations of the Pentateuch the Psalms, the Prophets & the Gospel but say that Jews & Christians have corrupted the text. Be prepared to prove the contrary.
3. Examine Deut. 18.15. Mahommedans say Mahommed is the Prophet like unto Moses.
4. Examine John. 14.16.17. & 15.26 Mahomedans say their Prophet is the promised comfort. Is there any authority from [??HSS]. for omitting the explanatory words - the spirit of truth?
5. Read again & again the last part of H. Martyn's Life.
Letter from Pliny Fisk to Isaac Bird, June 26, 1824
Damaschus June 26, Sat. 4. P.M.
Dear Br. B.
I wrote to you twice from [?Dev el Kamer]. Thursday we set off for this place at 7 A.M. We descended to the stream that runs between D. el D. & Btedyn, the Emir's Palace & leaving the Palace to the night began to ' ascend. The stream that runs through this valley I take to be the same that empties a little N. of Sidon & is there called Berook. At 8 1/2 we passed the Goat's Fountain [?Ain el Maaza]. At 11 1/2 we stopped to dine & sleep a little while in the shade at Ain Berook. A most delightful spot. The water issues forth at several different places & forms a considerable stream of the coldest, best water I have seen in the country. We rested till 40 min. past one. At 3,40 we reached the highest summit of Lebanon at this part of the Mountain. Then began a tolerably regular descent to the Plain of [?Costo] Syria. The E. side of Mt. Leb. is tolerably well wooded principally with oaks but of a stinted growth. At 5.40 min. reached the Plain. At 6.40 crossed a river & encamped for the night in a little brush hut full of holes & full of vermin. This is the river that rises at Balbeck & runs along between Lebanon & Anti-Leb. &, as I suppose, empties between Sidon & Tyre. About a mile from the place where we lodged is a village called Gib Geneen at the foot of
A a projection from Anti-Leb. Friday started at 5 1/4 leaving