Larger font
Smaller font
  • Results
  • Related
  • Featured
No results found for: "".
  • Weighted Relevancy
  • Content Sequence
  • Relevancy
  • Earliest First
  • Latest First
    Larger font
    Smaller font

    June 22, 1896

    “The Eastern Question. What Its Solution Means to All the World. No. 6.—Is the Trouble Religious or Political?” The Bible Echo 11, 24, pp. 187, 188.



    IN studying the career of Turkey as set forth in the Bible, we have seen that it is an exceedingly short-sighted thing to do to call, as many have lately been doing, for the abolition of the Ottoman power. In looking at it also from the side of this world only, and as the situation is in reality, we have seen likewise that it is a most unwise thing to demand of the great powers that the Turkish power shall be obliterated without any further question.BEST June 22, 1896, page 187.1

    From every consideration of Scripture, and the best interests of the whole world, we have seen that the mere setting aside, or bringing to an end, of the Ottoman power, is the smallest part of the great subject involved. We have seen that beyond this and wrapped up in it lie, both in the word of God and in the fate of the nations, events of infinitely greater importance than that thing in itself could be, considered in and by itself alone.BEST June 22, 1896, page 187.2

    All this we have seen is strongly emphasised in the repeated statements of the Scriptures of truth and in the plain statements of the leading authorities among the nations. And yet there are other questions that may be asked, and other points that may properly be considered, in this connection.BEST June 22, 1896, page 187.3

    There is no room for any sort of denial that particularly in England and America there have been made for a number of months, loud and repeated calls for the “blotting out,” “the wiping off the earth,” etc., of the Ottoman power, without any kind of delay, and without regard to any other consideration.BEST June 22, 1896, page 187.4


    OF course none of those making such call, expected for a moment that the thing could be done without war. Yet the most urgent of these demands for the employment of armies and navies in such war, have come from churches, from pulpits, and from professedly Christian papers. We have in former articles called attention to the serious incongruity in professors of the gospel of peace calling for war. We have pointed out what an awful reversal of things it is, and what a sad perversion of the right way, when the professed representatives of the gospel and the Prince of Peace, to whom the sword is forbidden, should be calling for war; while warriors, emperors, and rulers, to whom the sword is committed, were employing every possible means to preserve peace.BEST June 22, 1896, page 187.5


    BUT now aside from all this, why should war be made upon Turk above all other powers? It is said that Turkey is making war, and killing many people? Granted. But will making more war, and killing a great many more people, be any better? Is it wrong for the Turkish power to make war, yet perfectly right for “Christian” powers to make war? is it wrong, and a dreadful thing, for some or many people to be killed in a Turkish way; but perfectly right, and a blessed thing, for more people to be killed if only it be done in it “Christian”? This seems to be the theory upon which those “Christians” proceed who are demanding that war shall be made on Turkey.BEST June 22, 1896, page 187.6

    But there is no Christian way of killing people. There is no Christian way of making war. The Author of Christianity who was ushered into the world with the proclamation of “Peace on earth, good will to men,” has declared that “The Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” One of the greatest warriors of this age, declared that “War is hell.” And as he himself lived in it for years, certainly he was qualified to express an opinion. Is there, then, not enough of that kind of “hell” in the world but, that professedly Christian people shall be loudly demanding that “Christian” powers shall make more of it, with prospect of its engulfing all the world?BEST June 22, 1896, page 187.7

    A year and more ago, and for a long time, France made war on the people of Madagascar, and the people of Madagascar are “Christian” too. There was no demand that the French power should be “wiped off the earth.” At this present time, and for some time back, Italy has been making war in Abyssinia. And the Abyssinians are “Christian” too. Yet nobody is calling that the Italian Government shall be wiped off the earth.BEST June 22, 1896, page 187.8

    But, is it said that Turkey is making war on its own subjects?—Granted again. At this hour Spain is making war on her own subjects in Cuba, and has been doing so for a long time, Yet who is calling for the Spanish power to be blotted out?BEST June 22, 1896, page 187.9


    BUT it is said that Turkey is unlike all these, and worse than all these, in that it is making war on its subjects on account of their religion—because they are Christians. It is not true that Turkey is making war on its subjects—on the Armenians—because they are Christians. Of this there is abundance of evidence,—in fact, all the evidence. Let us examine this evidence as it is.BEST June 22, 1896, page 187.10

    1. There are thousands of other subjects of Turkey who are Christians as much as the Armenians, yet none of these are molested. If it be true that Turkey is making war on the Armenians because of their Christianity, why does it not make war on all Christians alike? Why does it make this marked distinction of one people only? There are thousands of Greeks who are born subjects of Turkey—Greeks who have never been subject to the Greek kingdom, but are descended from the ancient Greeks of Asia Minor, and have been subject to the Turkish power ever since its conquest of that country. These Greeks all profess the Christian religion, yet they are not warred upon nor molested by the Turkish power on account of their religion. These Turkish subjects are as free and as safe under Turkish rule as they would be if they were ender British rule.BEST June 22, 1896, page 187.11

    2. I myself aid another Christian minister went to Turkey last September, arriving at Constantinople September 10, and remaining there till October I7 (except five days in the neighbourhood of Nicomedia). It will thus be seen that we were there at the time of the riot and the great disturbance in that city. We went to preach Christianity there, and we did it all the time we were there.BEST June 22, 1896, page 187.12

    We went under the protectorate of no earthly power. No ambassador and no consul knew we were there until we were ready to come away. We not only went ender the protectorate of no earthly power; but we went without any intention of calling for the protection of any such power.BEST June 22, 1896, page 187.13


    WE went expressly to hold a Bible school in Constantinople for six weeks; and we held it as intended, the full length of time, including the five days’ meetings near Nicomedia. We asked no governmental permission, even from Turkey, to bold the Bible institute in Constantinople, nor to hold the meetings near Nicomedia.BEST June 22, 1896, page 187.14

    We held our Bible School in the Armenian quarter in Stamboul, and in the house of an Armenian family. Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, and Jews—whosoever chose—attended the school throughout. The school was held daily, forenoon and afternoon, and some of the time in the evening also. It was held on the first floor of a house, whose door opened into the street; and in a room whose bay-window overhung the street with a large former window on each side of the bay-window. And as the weather was warm and pleasant so that the win- dows were open most of the time, the room in which the Bible school was daily held was practically open upon the street. This house was within three minutes’ walk of the Armenian Patriarch’s church where the mischief was hatched which culminated in the riot of September 30, where those who started the riot took refuge and shut themselves in when they fled from the Turkish troops, and where Turkish troops were stationed round the church and passing to and fro day and night from the day of the riot until we had regularly closed the Bible school and departed from the city according to our original purpose.BEST June 22, 1896, page 187.15

    In such a room, in such a house, in such a place, and at such a time, we held a Christian Bible school openly and daily for fifteen days before the riot, on the day and at the hour of the riot itself, and eleven days after the riot, and all without any sign of molestation on the part of the Turkish authorities or anybody else, except one Armenian woman who was opposed to her daughter’s attending the school, and who came one day into the street in front of the house and delivered a long tirade, shaking her fists and beating her breast, and acting generally as if she were mad. She succeeded in attracting quite a crowd, and the Turkish police came down, but some one succeeded in getting her to go away barely in time to escape the police. And even then, when the police inquired at the house as to the cause of the disturbance, they neither then nor at any time afterward made any attempt in any way to molest us or to interfere with our school.BEST June 22, 1896, page 182.1

    Now, if the Turkish Government is so much opposed to Christians as is so much declared in England and America, how could all this be as it was?BEST June 22, 1896, page 182.2


    3. AS BEFORE stated, the house in which our Bible school was held was only about three minutes’ walk from the Patriarch’s church, where was the centre of all the trouble, and on a street traversed by the troops as they went to and from that church on guard duty.BEST June 22, 1896, page 182.3

    In a house next to the Patriarch’s church, there were about eight men—Armenians and Greeks—who had come to Constantinople from the provinces to attend the school. They rented this building and boarded themselves there. And these men passed from that house to the school and back twice a day, on the day of the riot and afterwards in the presence of the troops, just as before the disturbances began, and no Turk ever challenged them nor offered any of them any molestation at any time.BEST June 22, 1896, page 182.4

    Our school faced one of the streets along which the troops passed, and the windows of the classroom opened on the street. And as the troops were always on horseback they could look into the windows and see at least the teacher as he stood at a table in the bay window. Yet no one of them ever made any sign either by look or motion that would suggest any dissatisfaction at what was going on there.BEST June 22, 1896, page 182.5

    4. There was a Greek, a Christian—not of the Greek Church, but of “a sect”—who came to our school and meetings frequently, who is a decorative stone-worker. On the day of the riot he was working on a building with a company of Turks, and continued to do so on days following the riot, and he told us that no one offered to molest him in any way, or at any time.BEST June 22, 1896, page 182.6

    While our Bible school was held, and in the “restless times” following the day of the riot, two persons were baptized in the sea not more than five or six minutes’ walk from the Patriarch’s church, in the daylight too, and though there were Turks who saw it, not one of them showed any disrespect for it nor attempted to molest the administration of this Christian rite.BEST June 22, 1896, page 182.7


    IF the Turks are so desperately opposed to Christians and Christianity as is represented by so many in England and America, how is it that all this work and these people could pass along there without any molestation or disrespect?BEST June 22, 1896, page 182.8

    Certainly these points of actual experience are evidence that the Turkish Government is not opposed to Christians or to Christianity as such. Confirming this is the statement by Sir Philip Currie in the latest Blue Book up to February 18, that “Non-Armenian Christians were spared.”BEST June 22, 1896, page 182.9

    6. It is yet further true that the Turkish Government is not opposed even to all Armenian Christians. I personally know it to be a fact that there is a Christian sect there, composed largely of Armenians, and who are Christians only, taking no part whatever in politics, either Armenian or Turkish, nor yet of the great powers. They believe and follow the Scripture instruction, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers.” They therefore are subject and respectful to the Turkish power, paying the tribute and respecting the laws.BEST June 22, 1896, page 182.10

    They are not only largely Armenians, but the leading teacher and preacher of them is a native Armenian, a born Turkish subject. Yet these Armenians are neither persecuted nor opposed by the Turkish power. On the contrary the Turkish authorities have more than once protected them from the violence of the Armenians.BEST June 22, 1896, page 182.11

    When one of them was stoned nearly to death by Armenians, and bruised and bleeding was making his painful way to a neighbouring village, the Turkish soldiers learning of his ill treatment went out on the road and met him and helped him into the village where other friends cared for him. At other times when some of these have been arrested by mistake, they have been released immediately upon learning who they were.BEST June 22, 1896, page 182.12


    AMONG the publications of this sect is a lithograph chart of the ten commandments with several other Scripture verses concerning faith in Christ, etc., printed in a decorative way around the ten. These they sell in the streets of Constantinople. One Armenian who was selling them was arrested by the police and put in jail. As soon as the chief of the Imperial Police learned of it he ordered him instantly released, saying to the superintendent, “That is a good document to be circulated, even in such a time as this.” This occurred about the month of October or November, 1895. More than once when by false representation the professed Protestant Christians there had compassed the arrest of the leading teacher of this sect, the Turkish authority has released him upon mere inquiry.BEST June 22, 1896, page 182.13

    I shall occupy no more space with facts such as these, though there are more. These points show plainly enough that the Turkish Government is not only not opposed to Christians or Christianity, but that it is not opposed to Armenian Christians. In its actions it not only distinguishes between Armenians and other Christians but it distinguishes between Armenians and Armenians. And all this makes it plain enough that the Turkish-Armenian difficulty and troubles are not on account of religion at all. The evidence establishing the real origin of the trouble will be our next and concluding article on this subject. A. T. JONES.BEST June 22, 1896, page 182.14

    Larger font
    Smaller font