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to the north the river Cayster, and on the eastern side are the fragments of a wall that ran southward over Mount Prion.
As we stand at the base of Prion and look upward at its precipitous cliffs, we observe openings which lead into vast artificial caverns in the mount. On one of them are the ruins
of an ancient Christian church, and here, it is said, are the sepulchers of St. John and Timothy.
The Christian traveller is filled with strange and deep emotions as he pauses here in a place hallowed by associations so sacred.
From the epistle of St. John it would seem that the Ephesian, like some of the other churches, was troubled with a class of teachers or heretics called the "Nicolaitanes,” for the spirit says: “But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which also I hate.” The Christian church still exists, but the modern town has usurped the old, and the ancient landmarks are fast disappearing.
Ephesus was always a great commercial city. Perhaps, owing to this fact, Paul made it the scene of his labors for three years, thinking such a center of heathen civilization a fit arena for the gospel. Here he consecrated Timothy bishop (1 Tim., i., 3), under whose co-operation the infant church grew and prospered.
THE EPISTLE TO THE CHURCH OF SMYRNA.
(REV. II. 8-11.)
And unto the angel of the Church in Smyrna write: These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;
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 those 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: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. He that overcometh shall not be hurt of a second death.
There are two Smyrnas, the old and the new. Two and one-half miles from the present city, on the banks of the sacred Melest, the ruins of old Smyrna lie.
This city, though about ten times destroyed by fire and earthquake, has been rebuilt each time with surpassing splendor, and has always been a populous city and commercial centre of the Levant, and an ornament of Asia Minor from the Apostolic ages to the present day.
Here it was, according to tradition, that Homer was born, and the traveller is shown a cave, the very spot, so say the natives, where the father of poets composed his immortal lays. But since other cities of Asia Minor make similar claims, it is somewhat difficult to place any great credence in this assertion.
Old Smyrna is said to have been built by Thessus, an Amazon, and named after his wife, so accordingly the architecture of the place is called “Amazonian.” Most of the city is built on the crest of a hill and probably so placed for purposes of defense. This view is further strengthened by the fact that the walls were made unusually substantial, some of the blocks being eight and ten feet in length. But two and one-half miles eastward, on the slopes of Mount Pagus, with its two miles of seacoast, is the new Smyrna of to-day, the largest and most important commercial city of all Asia Minor, the "Crown of Ionia,” the ornament of Asia.
Tradition tells us that Alexander the Great, tired and weary with a day's hunt in the vicinity, went to sleep beneath a plane tree and dreamed a dream. In the vision Jupiter appeared and commanded him to build a city for the scattered Smyrnans on Mount Pagus. Accordingly a city was built on the summit of the hill, and the ruins of an ancient castle, said to have been built as a fortress by Alexander's generals, still remain.
Of more historic interest, however, especially to Christian investigators, is the immense stadium on a spur on Mt. Pagus. It was once a magnificent structure, but much of the marble, of which the seats were constructed, has been carried away by the Turks and used in building residences. It was in this stadium that the famous martyr Polycarp, "seed abounding," was burned (167 A. D.), and his example is considered such a means of edification that the story of his trial and heroic death is frequently read in the churches.
Three times was he asked to reproach Christ, but his
faith was not shaken, and he answered still firmly: “Eightysix years have I served Him, and I will not forsake Him now." His tomb is still shown, designated by a fine old cypress tree.
Smyrna will ever be remembered for the life and death of this illustrious defender of the early Church. In the vast cemetery on the face of the hill, the great city of the dead is the glory of the Smyrna of old. Indeed, in our travels, as we gaze upon broken arches, marble fragments and monuments of memorial, we feel that Asia Minor is one vast, solemn cemetery of men and nations. “Westward the star of empire takes its way," and, as the dead ashes of watchfires are left behind an advancing army, so nations in their westward march have left these traces of their visitations.
The city to-day extends from the foot of Mount Pagus, where the Turkish quarter is located, to the coast, where most of the European population lives. The Armenian portion is in the center of the city, and is the only portion where the streets are straight and wide. The Armenians form the wealthiest class in the city, and live in fine residences, usually built around an open court beautified by numerous shrubs and flowers.
The passerby can see and admire these courts through the hallways and corridors that open into the street, and sometimes (woe to our failing hearts) we catch a glimpse of an Armenian female, dressed in rich attire, gazing at us with those dark, lustrous eyes so common to the race. The streets in the Turkish quarter are very narrow and badly