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ing with goodness and benevolence. His suit of black, and his soft white 'kerchief, would have proclaimed, if his appearance had not been sufficient, his sacred function. We entered into conversation-first the Englishman's topic, the weather, and this led on to some remarks on the other topics of the day. I discovered before long that his destination was the same as my own, a certain quiet midland town. We talked of what was doing there, and then he told me the purpose of his journey. A meeting of a district Bible Society was to be held there that evening, and this he was going to attend as a deputation from the Society in London; to state its claims, and to tell its success during the past year, and its prospects for the next. I resolved to attend the meeting and hear his statement.
At dusk that evening-and a foggy, sloppy evening it was-I picked my way across the ample market-place. The wet pavement reflected long sheets of glare from the flaring gas-lights in the shambles, and the droppings from the eaves fell with a sullen splash upon the flags. I arrived at the lobby of the town-hall, where numbers of decently dressed people were pouring in, and depositing their dripping umbrellas. And then into the room. Our readers will be so used to such scenes that description will be needless. The usual features of such a meeting—the brilliant gas—the benches—the expectant assembly—the platform, with its chairs and their reverend occupants -a scene familiar to all.
Then the meeting opened. A few words of gratulation from the chairman. Then the speakers. First, an aged divine, who told us his recollections of the infancy of the society-how he had watched its gradual growth, from the day of small things, from the day of feebleness, but of hope, and faith, and trust, to the present, when the society enfolded the world in its gigantic arms; when it numbered as many branches as it then did members; when it counted its issues by millions and by millions, and when its yearly revenues exceeded those of some sovereign European states. Then he sat down.
Next stood up a young and ardent brother of the cloth, empassioned in feeling and in utterance, glowing in his language. Like Butler's hero,
“He could not ope His mouth, but out there flew a trope."
Then rose my
He began by adverting to the retrospections of his aged friend, and from them took occasion to exhort his hearers to look forward rather than backward, to consider what might be, rather than what has been; to look onward to a glorious period of the renovation and refreshment of all things; when puny ecclesiastical squabbles and differences should be swallowed up and merged in an overwhelming consciousness of higher and deeper and nobler things, and, warming with his subject, he prophesied that the season was coming—was at hand, when the golden law of love should be supreme, and when “ the earth should be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” And he sat down.
old friend of the railway carriage. He looked milder, and kinder, and more benevolent, even than before ; and he spoke of how far the theories and aspirations of the last speaker had been carried into effect; of the practical and the practicable, of what had been done, and what was actually doing. And he told of a host of barbarous tongues, strange, uncouth dialects, which a few years back possessed no written language, but whose Babel-sounds had been tamed into submission to the fetters of an alphabet; which, from a fluctuating jargon, had become a written, nay, a printed speech ; for next he told of the devoted laborers who had translated the Scriptures into the new-formed language, and had printed them, and had taught the savage child of desert and of mountain to read " in his own tongue the wonderful works of God.”
And next he spoke of countries nearer home-of European lands, barred hitherto by popish tyranny from the knowledge of the light, but where the chains of Rome were snapping, and the rusted time-worn fetters giving way. There, too, was the word of God, the herald of a brighter era. And then he went on to speak of an interesting topic. “In that land,” he said, “where the dying energies of the empire of Romem-of that empire which once grasped the world—retired to breathe their last—in the capital of the eastern Cæsars—where the crescent once triumphed over the cross, where the Koran had expelled the Bible; even there,” he said, “ an opening had at last been made. A large edition of the Scriptures in modern Greek has recently been sent out to Constantinople, and is now in circulation among the native Greek population of that city.” After a few more remarks-glances at other regions of the globe, the good man resumed his seat.
He was followed by a somewhat dull and prosy speaker, and his sleepy composing voice, together with the early hour at which I had risen, and my long journey by train, had the effect of lulling me into a sound nap. So it was, I fell asleep, and dreamed.
And I was gliding in a round-prowed bark over the glittering waters of the Bosphorus. The cool Etesian blew in our facesthe rowers' oars dipped lightly in the waves. Behind were the pinnacles of Calchedon, and the mountains of Asia; and in front, Byzantium, the capital of the world, crowning with her myriad roofs the gentle slope before us.
We touched the shore. I paced the streets of the city of palaces. The buildings, on which had been squandered the wealth of three continents, were around me. I passed the forum -then the hippodrome, with its statues, its obelisks, and the famous golden tripod. What pageant is that which enters it? *First a body-guard of spearmen, their spears filagreed with gold, their shields with a golden boss surrounded by golden eyes. Then followed Arcadius, the emperor, ruler of the eastern world, in a chariot plated with gold, and drawn by snow white mules,t their harness covered with gold and gems. A purple silken robe embroidered with golden dragonsg descended from his shoulders to his heels; on his brow a diadem gleaming with priceless jewels; on his breast was a large cross, wrought in pearls, and his feet were encased in slippers of a brilliant red. Behind him followed a crowd of nobles, vying with their master in the profuse magnificence of their attire. He passed into the hippodrome there to behold the sports. I went on. side were palaces and temples. At every corner some exquisite statue met the eye, from the quarries of Paros or Pentelicus, from the chisel of Phidias or Praxiteles. Then I entered a spacious court; on one side was a marble pile, the imperial
* See Chrys. Op. Ed. Par. 1836. Tom, vi. page 348. D. + Chrys, Op. i. 21. D.
# See the illuminations in a M.S. of Chrysostom, in the Coislin Library, Codex Ixxix. Engraved by Montfaucon in his Biblioth. Coislineana, p. 137.
& Chrys, Op. vi. 368. D.
palace with its porticoes and gardens stretching down to the water's edge; on the other, was the church of St. Sophia.* I ascended to the columned portico, where was standing a crowd of penitents not permitted to enter the building. Rows of pillars divided off two aisles from the nave, these were occupied by the women; where the nave and choir joined were two gorgeous thrones, one for the patriarch, the other for the emperor. The choir was divided from the rest by a gilded balustrade, beyond were the clergy and the singers. The congregation were all standing, attent to the preacher's empassioned tone. He stood upon a low platform near the eastern end of the
before him was a slight wooden stand, tjust sufficient to support a book; he was a tall commanding man in the prime of life, of handsome feature, expansive brow, and luscious but piercing eye. He wore a long seamless robe which descended to his heels; over his shoulders was the pall,ş a band made of white wool, whose ends were worked with large purple crosses. Such was John Chrysostom, or Golden-Mouth, so called from his rich and overwhelming eloquence. All eyes were bent upon
him. At intervals, when he concluded some high-flown burst of eloquence, a loud murmur of applause rang through the vast building; some || tossed their thin garments in the air, others waved their plumes or kerchiefs, the men emphatically laid their hands upon their swords. His discourse was on a subject similar to that to which I had just listened in the town-hall.
“How can we worthily magnify, he said, the excellence of the Holy Scriptures? The Scripture is a rich garden.tf There blossom brilliant flowers of thought; as the warm murmurings of the zephyr, so are the breathings of the Spirit. God's providence guards it like a hedge of thorns, and the sweet singers are heard on every side. In winter, as in summer, is found a rich store of flowers and of fruit. Or we may compare the Scriptures to some odorous gum, which the more it is rubbed and worn, the richer the fragrance it gives forth. Or we may liken them to a deep sea,* though its surface may be ruffled by tempests and by waves, yet in the depths below all is calm and tranquil. And lastly, we may compare them to the clouds which hang above our heads, and refresh us with a rich and fertilizing spiritual dew.
This edifice was burnt down a few years after the time of which we are speaking, and re-edified in a more sumptuous manner by Justinian. The building described was built by Constantine; that built by Justinian forms the present Mosque of St. Sophia. See Socrates ii. 16. Procopius de Ed. Just. i. 1, and Evagrius. Hist. Eccl. iv. 31.
+ See Socrates, Hist. Ecc. vi. 5., also Sazomen and others. # See the Coislin M.S. above referred to.
& This differed in form from that used in the western churches. See the Coislin M.S. Also for its use, by. Chrysostom, see Photius. P. 55. Ed. Par. Synodus ad Quercum.
|| See many passages in his own writings. Also Riddle, Christian Antiq. p. 412. where he quotes George, of Alexandria, as his authority.
++ v. Chrys, Op. ii. 2. B., and iii. 460. c.
“ And how widely has their influence been spread, If you sail to the farther shores of the Euxine sea; if you go to India, the earliest land which the rising sun beholds; if you pass to the southern realms, or to the Scythians, to the Moors, to the Persians, what shall I say? yea, even beyond the boundaries of this our world in the great and unknown ocean, even in the far and savage isles of Britain, even there is heard the name of Christ, and the Scriptures may be found !"I
I started as he pronounced these words, and the start brought me to myself; I found I was still in the town-hall, and not in St. Sophia-in the nineteenth century, instead of the fourth; that the meeting was concluded, and the assembly was dispersing.
When I left the room I found the sky was clear, and the stars shone brightly. I mused as I walked to the inn, on the strange vicissitudes we meet with in the providential government of the world. Strange that the central seat of civilization, of learning, of gospel truth, of the possession and use of the Scriptures, should have been utterly transferred in a few short centuries, from the east to the west, from the Bosphorus to the Thames.
The Byzantines of that age felt their responsibility. Constantinople, at the end of the fourth century, and pre-eminently under Chrysostom himself, was diligent in sending forth to the neighbouring countries ambassadors of the truth. Before the gulf of abuse and superstition had buried the eastern churches
• Chrys. iv. 419. A. + Ibid, i. 962. A.
See Chrys. Op. iii. 86. D. and i, 702. B,