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were ready to hand when the mission had need. The saddest thing about our mission work, however, is that through ill-health so many are forced to relinquish their loved employ and return to the home land again; but still the Master carries on His work and will not suffer His cause to fail of its magnificent purpose.
There is an almost continuous chain of Methodist stations all the way from one end to the other of the main islands. But the crying need is for union. We want, not five Methodist Churches, but one, in order to make ourselves felt as are the great Congregational and Presbyterian Churches.
The numerical strength of the Japan Conference of the Canadian Church is twenty-eight native ministers and probationers, twenty-four circuits and stations, and a membership of 1,981. The five bodies of Methodism have a total membership of upwards of seven thousand.
Concerning the final outcome of this grand missionary movement in the Land of the Rising Sun, there can be no doubt. The fortress of Gospel Truth has sunk her foundations and reared her battlements so firmly that the gates of hell can never prevail against her. The Sun of Righteousness is rising with healing on His wings, and the new day that knows no eventide will fill the whole land with light and blessedness.
THE day we left Baalbec, April 29th, was the festival that marked the close of the long fast of Ramadan. The whole town was abroad in gala dress, and the throbbing music of drums and tomtoms filled the air. We rode first to the fountain of Ras el Ain, on which the ancient city Heliopolis must have depended for its water supply. It was a spot of ideal loveliness. A placid pool of purest water was surrounded by ancient masonry, with stone steps leading down to its surface. In its crystal depths the springs could be seen bubbling up through the sand. A group of weeping-willows overshadowed its surface, reminding one of the -Scripture," He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water." On a stone of the ruined mosque was inscribed a very devout Moslem prayer.
The whole population of the town apparently had gone on a
picnic to the top of a neighbouring hill, where was a tomb of a very holy sheikh. The Moslem idea of enjoyment seemed to be to climb on a hot day a high hill and picnic amid the rude plastercovered tombs of the shadeless, sandy cemetery. The men drank black coffee and smoked their hubble-bubble pipes apart by themselves. The women and children partook of their humble lunch also by themselves. All were dressed in their gayestcoloured robes-the fair-faced Syrian women chiefly in white and pale blue, the men in yellow silk gowns with crimson girdles. The multitude looked like a great bed of tulips and poppies covering the whole slope of the hill.
As we rode up, I uttered the salutation "Neharahsaid,"—" May your day be pleasant "-and instantly a smile, half an acre in extent, passed over the entire group as they responded, “May yours also, O traveller," most of them rising to their feet at the salutation. They were very courteous and made room for our horses at the best point of view, and forthwith began to feed them with leaves of lettuce from their own lunches, with an eye keenly expectant of backsheesh. A procession of dervishes on donkeys, with a rabble retinue of boys and men carrying green flags and beating drums, came up the hill, and began their chanting and dancing and weird incantation.
It was a strange sight, a perfect kaleidoscope of colour, a living bouquet of people swaying to the music like poppies in the wind. Like a map lay far beneath the village of Baalbec and the solemn ruins of the Temple of the Sun. To right and left stretched the slopes of Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon, covered with gleaming snow, the green valley of Colo-Syria spreading between.
Mr. Read and I lingered long after the rest of the party had descended the hill, and had to follow in a headlong gallop amid scattered ruins of half-buried capitals and columns. About half an hour's ride from Baalbec is a rude Moslem shrine, "probably," says Dr. Thompson, "once the tomb of some great saint or sinner." An empty stone coffin served as a prayer niche. The shrine is known either as the bed of Adam and Eve or the Tomb of Darius --one legend is about as authentic as the other.
We rode on through a fertile country, clothed with vines and mulberry trees, studded with good stone farm-houses two stories in height the best we had seen in Syria. About mid-afternoon we passed the so-called Tomb of Noah. It is a low structure, one hundred and thirty-two feet long, covered with a crumbling arcade, with a dome at one end and a small mosque at the other. The Moslem tradition avers that the patriarch was so tall that even this tomb was not long enough and that his legs, from the knee
downwards, were sunk in a perpendicular shaft. Noah was evidently a man to be looked up to.
As we rode through the Moslem village it was an unexpected pleasure to be greeted in good English by an American missionary, the Rev. Mr. Hotchkiss, from the neighbouring town of Zahleh. This thriving town covers the slopes of a vast amphitheatre and with its bright white and blue walls is exceedingly picturesque and beautiful. It numbers about sixteen thousand. people, chiefly Greek, Catholic, Maronite and Protestant Christians, and gives evidence of great thrift and industry. Our entrance was like a triumphal procession. The people left forge and loom, swarmed in the streets, thronged the roofs of the houses, and the children bade us welcome in both English and French, which they had learned in the Protestant or Catholic mission schools.
So steep is the slope on which the town is built that to keep it from sliding down the mountain great arcades of buttresses are -constructed beneath the walls. During the late Druse massacre the town was captured, plundered, and every house burned. The thrift and energy of the inhabitants, however, have obliterated every trace of that disaster.
Our camp was most picturesquely situated on a green knoll across the valley. Tall and handsome women wearing blue gowns and white izzars, and children dressed in red, yellow and blue, brought us water, flowers and confectionery-a very striking contrast to the curses, sticks and stones with which we were
assailed at the fanatical Moslem towns of Hebron and Shechem. The explanation of this is the successful Christian missions of which Zahleh is the centre. Messrs. Hotchkiss and Jessup, the latter the son of Rev. Dr. Jessup, of the Beyrout mission, have here a thriving church, which we visited. Out of respect to Oriental usage the women sit apart from the men, and between
the men and women runs a high partition. For the same reason the Christian women when they go abroad are closely veiled.
In the neighbouring mountains and valleys are a number of Christian churches, with twenty-three schools having thirty teachers and fifteen hundred scholars. Several thousand of the natives of the Zahleh, with the born instinct of the old Phoenician