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over his shoulder, and said, 'I have appeared to thee twice; thou didst not know Me. Behold my hands ; be not faithless like Thomas, but believe. Thou hast spoken evil of my servant; go and ask his pardon, and tell him to rear me a church in this place.'

" The merchant said, 'I know not the name, nor to whom to go;' and the visitant replied, 'Go to my faithful servant,

; one of thy sons shall be like him. Thou hast not the Spirit to discern which it is, but he has, and he will tell thee.' The merchant, cold and trembling with the vision, came and told our missionary, who at once told us. After a while he introduced the merchant, a quiet, gentlemanly man, who reiterated the above statement to my husband in the presence of a friend. We then read to him Peter's vision on the housetop, and prayed with him for the Holy Spirit's teaching. The merchant, calm, quiet, and collected, yet awestruck, carried away a Bible with him, and promised to read it. Dear Christian friends in England, pray the Lord for a blessing on this merchant.

“ Yours, &c.,

“ A. M."

January 19, 1872. “I must now give you some further information respecting the man who had that remarkable dream. You will remember he was a Maronite, and inveterate against Protestants.

“ The effects of the dreams of Ibrahim seem as remarkable as the dreams. A few days ago we had a visit from a native gentleman and lady, the lady being his mother-in-law. She has become very anxious about her soul. She can read ; so they bought a Bible and a Testament, and our Bible-woman had a long and earnest talk with her especially. The gentleman related that when he had been first told by the merchant of his remarkable dreams, he said, “That is a got-up story, I am sure;' but that he soon after felt convinced of the truth of the statements; that he had since then become very unquiet, and himself knew not what to do; they lived at one end of our city, and we at the other. No missionary had ever visited them except once, and

that missionary is now in heaven. But now they came to offer us a meeting-room in his house and another in his motherin-law's, and they entreated that we would at once send some one to teach them, and earnestly prayed that we would give them a good school for their daughters. They would pay for them, but did not know how to get teachers. I promised at once to write to friends in England and see what could be done under these circumstances.

“ Last night again the same visitors called here. In the afternoon we had driven out there, and found the mother-in-law seated at a table reading the Bible. "This,' she said, “is the room at your service to have Sunday meetings and to teach us.' Surely we cannot pass them by. Who will not help in this strange, this remarkable case? I want two Biblewomen at once for that district, and if we could help them with a school I believe we should only be following what is the Lord's will. We will get Selim to take a Sunday service there next week, and do what we can ; but I earnestly beg of you let us enter into this path, or at all events open it for others to take up ; yet it has been so strikingly brought before us that I feel the work is given us to do.

January 31.—This same Maronite gentleman (Nicola) came to us again for advice and teaching.

He bought a Bible and a Testament, and as far as man can judge he has been converted from death unto life. We have now occupied for two Sundays the room in their house offered for a prayer-meeting. The service will be taken by turn by some of our people. Our friend Mr. J. held a meeting there on Monday, when nearly fifty persons were present. He has also hired a room in the district, so that the Word of the Lord will have free course and be glorified. I am very anxious for a Bible-woman for that district, but it is so difficult to find one. I have therefore arranged that our tried woman E. S shall for the present go there once a week (the distance is too far for her to go oftener, and then she must ride), and I have engaged the services of a dear widow, the daughter of one of your Bible-women. She is pious, but not yet accustomed to work of the kind; so I have arranged that at present she shall visit with E. S. I

hope our dear friends of the “THE MISSING LINK’ will place her also on their list." *

WHAT WAS THE EARLIEST ALPHABETICAL

WRITING ?

Introductory to Articles on the Successive Translations of the

Bible, and their influence on the World. It is a remarkable fact and worthy of all consideration in estimating the condition of the world, that before the last 500 years of our Era, few except the priests and learned men of any nation whatever were able either to read or write; and another fact of equal importance is the following, that inquire, criticise and reason as we may, we can find no sufficient evidence to induce belief in the existence of written alphabetical characters previously to the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, and the laws written for them on Mount Sinai.

When Abraham made a covenant at Beersheba (Gen. xxi. 30) the witnesses were seven ewe lambs and the planting of a grove of trees. When he bought the Cave of Machpelah the contract was not in writing, but in the presence of the children of Heth. When Jacob made a covenant the witness was a heap of stones. Joseph, Governor of Egypt, 200 years before the Exodus, was installed only with Pharaoh's ring. Many of these earliest rings or signets may now be seen in the British Museum, each with its symbol or hieroglyphic, but without any writing.

According to the Mosaic chronology, 777 years intervened between the Flood and the birth of Moses. At the age of eighty we find him in conflict with all Egypt's learned men. But who were they? The Scripture tells us “magicians, soothsayers, and astrologers”; whom we should call only men of mystery, subsisting on the ignorance of the unlearned ; and Moses, though learned in all their wisdom, probably found not included in it the power of alphabetical writing, or he would not have needed to receive it direct from God after he

This request is already granted, in joyful faith of its support.

had left that wisdom for forty years and exchanged it for the education of the desert and the occupation of a shepherd.

Then came the forty years of action, and Moses was “king in Jeshurun ;” and alone with the Creator upon Sinai, the chosen leader of the people receives from God himself the first alphabetical characters, from which all other alphabets were likely to be derived. The date of this new gift of God to man is about 1,500 years B.C. The Scripture testimony to this statement is as follows :

Ex. xxiv. 12.—"And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there : and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.”

Ex. xxxi. 18. “ And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.”

Ex. xxxii. 15, 16.—“The tables were written on both their sides ; on the one side and on the other were they written. And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables.”

Ex. xxxiv. 1.4"And the Lord said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first : and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest.”

Deut. v. 22.—“ These words the Lord spake unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice : and he added no more. And he wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me.”

Deut. iv. 13.—“ And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone."

Dr. Adam Clarke remarks " that had Moses known the art of alphabetical writing the Lord might have said, Write thou these words, of which several instances are recorded in the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy after the giving of the law.''

Mr. Mills, who resided with the remnant of the Samaritans at Nablus in the years 1855 and 1860, and inspected their Ancient Roll (seen by so few), concluded that the old written Samaritan alphabet of this roll was the one given to Moses. At any rate, no older alphabet was then known. A rebel world entombed by the Flood had left no records that we are aware of, and the Almighty had chosen a new race from among the erring and sinful families of mankind, and was about to educate them by a Law which should survive through all their generations; therefore it must be made more than oral—it was to be read in the audience of the people, doubtless for the benefit of the multitudes who could not read.

MOABITE STONE.

This Law, contained in the 20th chapter of Exodus, is really the beginning of our Bibles in order of time, though it reaches us embedded in the introductory history of the world and the people of Israel, comprising a space of over 2,500 years. The tables of stone on which it was written were to be laid

up

in the side of the Ark, and we read of these remaining there at the Dedication of the Temple built by Solomon, about a thousand years before Christ, or 500 years after their inscription.

1 Kings viii. 9.—There was nothing in the ark save the two tables of stone, which Moses put there at Horeb, when the Lord made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt.”

Neither the Ark of the Covenant nor the Tables of Stone can be traced beyond the taking of the Temple by Nebuchadnezzar, but that brings us down to 588 B.C.; yet meanwhile a Stone more ancient than this era has been recently discovered in the land of Moab, concerning which the learned seem to differ very little as to the fact that it places us face to face with the most ancient known alphabetical characters, their date being about 900 before Christ, and the alphabet, the Moabite, closely akin to the Phænicianso close of kin that there seems to have been little difficulty found in reading the inscription of the ancient Moabite stone either by German, French, or English scholars already acquainted with the Phænician,--so close of kin also to the Hebrew (says Mr. G. Rawlinson) that by means of it we are informed what the characters were in which a contemporary and neighbour of Ahab and Elijah was in the habit of writing, and as all evidence goes

and the same system of written characters was spread over Western Asia, from the borders of Egypt to Assyria, we may fairly assume that the books of the earlier prophets, the correspondence between Hiram and Solomon, Solomon's Proverbs and Songs, David's

to prove

that one

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