The people leave their red slippers at the door, keeping on their yellow boots only; but they do not uncover their heads as Christians do.
Was Christ ever known in this Mahomedan land? Yes, long before he was known in England. Turkey in Asia used to be called Asia Minor, (or Asia the less,) and there it was that Paul the apostle was born, and there he preached and turned many to Christ. But at last the Christians began to worship images, and the fierce Turks came and turned the churches into mosques. This was the punishment God sent the Christians for breaking his law. In some of the mosques you may see the marks of the pictures which the Christians painted on the walls, and which the Turks nearly scraped off.
How dreadful it would be if our churches should ever be turned into mosques! May God never send us this heavy punishment.
One corner of Turkey in Asia is called Armenia. There are many high mountains in Armenia, and one of them you would like to see very much. It is the mountain on which Noah’s ark rested after the flood. I mean Ararat.
It is a very high mountain with two peaks; and its highest peak is always covered with snow. People say that no one ever climbed to the top of that peak. I should think Noah’s ark rested on a lower part of the mountain between the two peaks, for it would have been very cold for Noah’s family on the snow-covered peak, and it would have been very difficult for them to get down. How pleasant it must be to stand on the side of Ararat, and to think, “Here my great father Noah stood, and my great mother, Noah’s wife; here they saw the earth in all its greenness, just washed with the waters of the flood, and here they rejoiced and praised God.”
I am glad to say that all the Armenians are not Mahomedans. Many are Christians, but, alas! they know very little about Christ except his name. I will tell you a short anecdote to show how ignorant they are.
Once a traveller went to see an old church in Armenia called the Church of Forty Steps, because there are forty steps to reach it: for it is built on the steep banks of a river.
The traveller found the churchyard full of boys. This churchyard was their school-room. And what were their books? The grave-stones that lay flat upon the ground. Four priests were teaching the boys. These priests wore black turbans; while Turkish Imams wear white turbans. One of these Armenian priests led the traveller to an upper room, telling him he had something very wonderful to show him. What could it be? The priest went to a nacho in the wall and took out of it a bundle; then untied a silk handkerchief, and then another, and then another; till he had untied twenty-five silk handkerchiefs. What was the precious thing so carefully wrapped up? It was a New Testament.
It is a precious book indeed: but it ought to be read, and not wrapped up. The priest praised it, saying, “This is a wonderful book; it has often been laid upon sick persons, and has cured them.” Then a poor old man, bent and tottering, pressed forward to kiss the book, and to rub his heavy head. This was worshipping the book, instead of Him who wrote it.