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"all they who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks," Ephesus is first addressed by the Evangelist: his charge against her is a declension in religious fervour,t and his threat in consequence, a total extinction of her ecclesiastical brightness. After a protracted struggle with the sword of Rome and the sophism of the Gnostics, Ephesus at last gave way. The incipient indifference, censured by the warning voice of the Prophet, increased to a total forgetfulness, till at length the threatenings of the apocalypse were fulfilled, and Ephesus sunk with the general overthrow of the Greek empire, in the fourteenth century.
A more thorough change can scarcely be conceived, than that which has actually occurred at Ephesus. Once the seat of active commerce, the very sea has shrunk from its solitary shores; its streets, once populous with the devotees of Diana, are now ploughed over by the Ottoman serf, or browsed by the sheep of the peasant. Its mouldering arches and dilapidated walls merely whisper the tale of its glory; and it requires the acumen of the geographer, and the active scrutiny of the exploring traveller, to form a probable conjecture as to the very site of the First Wonder of the World." Nothing remains unaltered save the "eternal hills," and the mazy Cayster, the stream of which rolls on still changeless and the same.
No vestige of Christianity is preserved except the ruins at Ayasalook, whither many of the inhabitants of Ephesus retired, at the time of its destruction, from their desolated and irreparable city. After this period, Ayasalook suffered numerous vicissitudes during the wars of Timourlane and Solyman; but as its importance gradually died away with the departure of commerce and
other causes, it at length fell to Time, the resistless conqueror of all, and now retains but a faint inscription on the page of history, and a mutilated skeleton of its edifices entombed in a sepulchre heaped around them by their own decay. It consists of about thirty or forty wretched houses, chiefly built of mud and broken marbles or fragments from the wrecks of Ephesus. Around it in every direction spread extensive ruins of former edifices, prostrate columns and desolated walls, whilst its castle in mouldering pride crowns the summit of a neighbouring hill; and these, to gether with the vestiges of a church dedicated to St. John, and the remaining arches of its splendid aque duct, bespeak the former extent and importance of the widowed city.
The present inhabitants of Ayasalook are chiefly Turks and a few miserable Greeks, who have long forgotten the language of their na tion, but retain the name of its religion, and earn a wretched subsistence by tilling the unhealthy plains beneath. The castle, erected about the year 1340, is now in total ruin, its tottering buttresses encompassing merely a mass of overthrown buildings and heaps of decayed walls, embedded in high rank weeds, where the cameleon and the green metallic lizard lie basking in the sun, and where the snake and the jackal find a secure and seldom disturbed retreat. Its summit commands a superb and extensive view of the plains of the Cayster, the site of Ephesus, the windings of the river, and the distant hills of Galessus and Pactyas. It is impossible to conceive a more depressing or melancholy prospect; on every side the speaking monuments of decay, a mouldering arch, a tottering column, or a ruined temple. Solitude seems to reign triumphant; the wretched inhabitants of the vil lage are seldom to be seen, save in
Acts xix. 10.
+ Nevertheless I have something against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Rev. ii. 4.
I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of its place, unless thou Rev. ii. 5.
early morning, or in the cool of the evening, when they sally from their muddy habitations to labour in the plain, which would be impossible during the burning meridian heat. Neither motion nor sound is discernible, save the cry of the sea-bird on the shore, or the tinkling of a sheepbell amid the ruins: all, all is silence and decay. Ayasalook possessed no object to interest us: a large building at some distance from the town, formerly a Christian church dedicated to St. John, and latterly a Turk ish mosque, is now a heap of rubbish and grass-grown walls; its halls deserted, its doors and windows torn out, rank weeds springing in its aisles, while in its courts a few lofty trees add by their mournful waving to the solemnity of its desertion. Some large columns of granite are still left standing, and are said to have once belonged to the temple of Diaua. In the walls are inserted certain inscribed marbles taken from a former building, which are now hasting to that destruction, from which they had before been snatched; and the inteterior, after having served Diana, Christ, and Mahomet, is now abandoned to the owl and the jackal. A marble sarcophagus, almost shapeless from the effects of time, stands in the town, near the door of the coffeehouse; its inscription and ornaments are obliterated, and from once enshrining the dust of some warrior, or chieftain, it is now degraded into a watering-place for cattle. Ephesus is no more, and such is its modern successor. Thus all the wealth of Croesus, the genius of Ctesiphon, the munificence of Alexander, and the glory of Lysimachus, (to each of whom Ephesus was indebted,) have no other representative than the mouldering castle and mud-walled cottages of Ayasalook!
2. To Smyrna the message of St. John conveys at once a striking in
stance of the theory I am illustrating, and a powerful lesson to those who would support the shrine of Omnipotence by the arm of impotency, and fancy they can soothe the erring soul by the balm of persecution, and correct its delusions by the persuasions of intolerance. To this church is foretold the approach of tribulation, and poverty, and suffering, and imprisonment; whilst the consequence of their endurance is to add permanency to their faith, and to reward their triumphs with the crown of immortality. Since the first establishment of Christianity at Smyrna, since the murder of Polycarp, down to the massacre of the Grecian Patriarch, and the persecutions of to-day, the history of Smyrna presents but one continued tale of bloodshed and religious barbarity; the sabre of the Ottoman promptly succeeding to the glaive of the Roman, in firm, but bootless attempts, to overthrow the faith of "the Nazarene ;" but centuries of oppression have rolled over her in vain, and at this moment, with a Christian population of fourteen thousand inhabitants, Smyrna still exists, not only as the chief hold of Christianity in the East, but the head quarters from whence the successors of the Apostles, in imitation of their exertions, are daily replanting in Asia those seeds of Christianity which they were the first to disseminate, but which have long since perished during the winter of oppression and barbarism.
This fact is the more remarkable, since Smyrna is the only community to which persecution has been foretold, though to others a political existence has been promised. It would seem, however, that in their case, ease and tranquillity had produced apathy and decay; whilst, like the humble plant which rises most luxuriantly towards heaven the more closely it is pressed and trodden on,
I know thy works, and tribulation and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.
Fear none of these things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried, and ye shall have tribulation ten days. Rev. ii. 9, 10.
Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. Rev. ii. 10.
the church of Smyrna, in common with the persecuted tribes of every age and of every clime, has gained strength from each attack of its opposers, and triumphs to-day in its rising splendour, whilst the sun of its oppressors is quickly gliding from twilight to oblivion.
3. Against Pergamos is adduced the charge of instability; but to its wavering faith is promised the allpowerful counsel of the Deity. The errors of Balaam and the Nicolaitanes have been purged away; Pergamos has been preserved from the destroyer, and three thousand Christians now cherish the rites of their religion in the same spot where it was planted by the hands of St. Paul.
4. To Thiatyra a similar promise has been made, and a similar result ensued. Amidst a horde of infidels, and far removed from intercourse with Christendom, the remnant still exists, to whom has been promised "the rod of iron" and "the star of the morning."
5. But by far the most remarkable is the catastrophe of Sardis; and the minuteness with which its downfall corresponds with its prediction cannot fail to strike the most obdurate sceptic. A lengthened accusation of formality in doctrine, and the outward show of religion without its fervour, leads to the announcement, "I will come on thee as a thief in the night; thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee;" but "thou hast a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments, and they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy." It is needless to trace the gradual decay of Sardis. Once the capital not only of Lydia but of Asia Minor, its boasted pre-eminence intellectually and politically gave the first impulse to its decline. I am not sufficiently versed in theological lore to trace the gradations of its fall; but its overthrow came, "like a thief in the
night," during that earthquake,which, in the reign of Tiberius, levelled its proudest compeers with the dust. It did certainly undergo a temporary and sickly recovery; but it was only to relapse into a more slow but equally fatal debasement; and the modern Sart scarcely merits to be called the dust of Sardis. A great portion of the ground once occupied by the imperial city is now a smooth grassy plain, browsed over by the sheep of the peasanty, or trodden by the camels of the caravan. An ordinary mosque rears its domes amidst the low dingy dwellings of the modern Sardians; and all that remains to point out the site of its glory are a few disjointed pillars and the crumbling rock of the Acropolis. The first emotion on viewing these miserable relics is, to inquire, "Can this be Sardis?" Occasionally, the timeworn capital of a ponderous column, or the sculptured surface of a shat tered marble, appear rising above the weeds that overshadow them; incongruous masses of overthrown edifices are uncovered by the plough, or the storied inscription of some hero's tale is traced upon the slab imbedded in the mud of the cottagewall: but Sardis possesses no remains to gladden the prying eye of the tra veller, and no comforts to requite his toilsome wanderings in their search. The walls of its fortress, that bade defiance to the successive arms of Cyrus, Alexander, and the Goths, are now almost level with the surface of the cliff on which they were once proudly reared; the vestiges of the palace of the Lydian kings are too confused to suggest the slightest idea of its form or extent; and the area of the amphitheatre is silent as the voiceless grave.-So far for the first clause of the prophecy; and the second is not less striking, if we may consider the little church of Tartar Keuy as that remnant "who should walk in white." The modern ham
Vide Rev. ii. 14, 15.
I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. Idem, 16.
Vide Rev. ii. 26, 27, 28.
§ Rev. iii. 3, 4.
let of Tartar Keuy has sprung up within the last twenty years at about three miles distance from the wreck of Sardis, the remnants of its Christian population having retired hither to seek protection for themselves, and a refuge for the unmolested exercise of their persecuted faith, from which they had been unceasingly prohibited by the tyranny of Kara Osman, or Karasman Oglou: the little community now consists of about one hundred members, who main tain for themselves a priest, and contrive to keep in repair the unadorned walls of their primitive church.Such literal instances are seldom to be paralleled.
6. Philadelphia is the only one of the Seven Churches on whom unqualified praise has been bestowed, and to whom a permanent endurance is foretold. Both its physical and political situation would seem to conspire in counteracting the fulfilment of the prediction; earthquakes and subterraneous convulsions on the one hand, and wars and ruinous invasions on the other; but it still endures, despite of both, and its community, though not the most numerous, is by far the purest in Asia. Her situation has many charms to interest her visitor; her widely-scattered buildings, spreading over an eminence at the base of Mount Tmolus, are thrown into the most picturesque points of view, to which her minarets and cy
GIANNINA was one of the most comely damsels in Calabria, and had many a wealthy suitor. To none, however, did she seem inclined to lend a willing ear. Some, of a
presses give the usual characteristics of Orientalism; whilst the remnants of Christian temples, rising amidst the waving olive-groves which surround the modern representative of the sixth seminary of Christianity, and her associations with time, history and prophecy, confer on her an interest beyond the power of modern incident or adornment to bestow.
7. To Laodicea the most summary of the denunciations is directedthat of total subversion.† It has been awfully accomplished; it now stands rejected of God and deserted by man, its glory a ruin, its name a reproach! No wretched outcast dwells in the midst of it; it has long been abandoned to the owl and to the fox. Not one perfect or very striking object meets the eye; all is alike desolate and decayed. The hill appears one tumulus of ruins, from which the masses of faded buildings that present themselves. seem bursting above the surrounding soil. Alternately under the dominion of the Romans and the Turks, and ravaged by the successive wars and invasions of the generals of the Lower Empire, and the sultans who succeeded them, the history of Laodicea is a mere alternation of vicissitudes; earthquakes and internal commotion have conspired to aid the ravages of man, and centuries have perhaps elapsed since its total abandonment.‡
more timid nature, admired the maiden, and would fain have wooed her, but were kept aloof by the haughty glance of her light blue eye; glance that was rendered more re
*Thou hast a little strength, thou hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. Rev. iii. 8.
Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out. Ib. 12.
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot. I would thou wert cold or hot. So then, because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Rev. iii. 15, 16.
Eski-hissar, a miserable village which has sprung from the ruins of Laodicea, contains about fifty inhabitants, of whom two only are Christians, and possess a small mill in the hamlet.
markable from the tender color of the eye, whose sable fringes formed another striking, but agreeable contrast, with its azure hue, and agreed with the glossy raven locks that shaded her snowy brow.
Giannina's father was by no means a thrifty man. His cottage had a better appearance than most of those in the village, of which it was the furthest habitation. The village itself was on the confines of a wood, which reached half way up the side of a wild, and, in some parts, inaccessible mountain; and dreadful were the tales told of the banditti, by which it was infested. The villagers, however, having little to lose, had also little to fear from their depredations; and indeed, of late, only one instance had been given of any attempt to disturb their tranquillity. This attempt was made on the abode of Giannina's father; and it was supposed to have been thus directed from his being reputed one of the wealthiest inhabitants. By the courage of Giannina it had been defeated. She was roused in the night by an attempt to force her window, when, seizing a hatchet, she struck at a man who was in the act of entering. The robber fell to the ground, as Giannina's father, whom her cries had brought to her assistance, arrived, but only in time to witness the intruder's escape, which he effected, although the blood with which window-sill was inbued testified that he had not escaped unhurt.
Not long after this event, a stran ger made his appearance in the village, and succeeded in obtaining the affection Giannina had so constantly withheld from her rustic admirers. The suitor to whom she seemed thus favourably inclined was about thirty years of age; of handsome, though wild and haughty aspect. His stature was considerably above the middle size, and he would have appeared robust had not his extreme paleness, occasioned by a wound that, he said, he had lately received at the chase, and which still obliged him to wear his arm in a
sling, given a sickly delicacy to his features.
Giannina's father, whose will was entirely subservient to her own, consented to the marriage; but from the day on which it took place, the bride and bridegroom disappeared, leaving the afflicted parent as completely ignorant of their fate as the rest of the villagers.
"Giannina," said Antonio to his bride, as, after the marriage ceremony, they were returning towards their father's roof, "Let us escape awhile from the noisy festivity that awaits us, within the shade of the adjacent wood."
""Tis but a dangerous resort," rejoined Giannina. "Dost thou fear?" said Antonio; and the inflexion of his voice seemed to import more than, "dost thou fear?"-Giannina attended but unto the words. The damsel was proud of her merited renown for courage; and, replying, with a degree of pique, that she would prove her daring, took with him the road that led to the ill-famed forest. They had wandered some minutes in its glades, when Giannina asked Antonio if he could still reproach her with her fears?" What should a sove reign dread within her realm?" he answered, in a sarcastic tone. realm!" แ "Aye, thine, my bandit queen!" and, on a loud whistle, number of well-armed ruffians appear. ed to rise from the earth, descend from the trees, and in a moment to encompass them. "Homage to your Queen!" said the robber Captain, for such he was, and taking his wounded arm from a sling-"My gentle bride !" said he," dost know this nerveless hand! It was not such the night it opened thy casement! But, for this hand of mine, I've now a hand of thine; and the few drops of blood I do forgive thee! Homage to my Queen!" And at this moment Giannina looked a Queen. She turned to Antonio as though he, also, were her subject. "I neither love nor fear thee! Of love thou art unwor thy! and fear-what have left to fear? Deem not I shall attempt to