TRAVELING directly northward from Ephesus, we come, after a distance of fifty miles, to Smyrna, the commercial center of Asiatic Turkey. This city is very pleasantly situated among the surrounding mountains and opens out upon one of the finest harbors in the world. It stands at the foot of a high hill, up whose sides it has part-way climbed. Its rounded domes and tall minarets, framed against dark green cypress trees, present a picturesque appearance from ship-board; but, like most Turkish towns, it will not do to give it too close an inspection. The streets are narrow and dark, and the unpretentious houses are for the most part made of wood, with roofs more after the European style than any usually found in the Orient. Each race living here has its own district. Near the shore are the quarters of the Franks and Greeks; up on the slope of the hill are the Armenians and Turks; and between them the Jews have a small quarter. The population is variously estimated at from one hundred and fifty thousand to one hundred and eighty thousand, of whom the greater part are Turks and Greeks.

The summit of the hill is crowned with the ruins of a fine old castle that can be dimly seen in the picture. All through the year the magnificent harbor at Smyrna is crowded with shipping from America and Europe. But not to shipping solely does the life and bustle of the town belong. Large caravans and long lines of camels pour in from all parts of central Asia, Arabia, and Syria, bringing the merchandise of the Orient to the sea, and carrying back the products of the great West. So many nationalities meet here, that, on hearing the confused speech of the people, a stranger might almost persuade himself that he was in the very Babel of olden times. Smyrna is a city of such ancient date that its early history is lost in fable. It has suffered many changes of fortune from earthquake and hostile nations, sometimes lying in ruins, then again rebuilt populous and prospering. In the fourteenth century it was taken by the Turks, in whose hands it still remains. In the early days of Christianity, this city contained an important church, said to have been founded by the apostle John. Over this church, Polycarp was placed as bishop, and he continued in this office more than eighty years, till, in a persecution raised against the Christians, he was, in A. D. 166, led to the stake. You have doubtless read of his trial, and how, when tied to the stake, the flames curved outward, leaving his body un-harmed, so that he was at last put to death by the axe of the executioner. His grave stands on the side of Castle Hill, under a tall cypress tree, and on the tombstone are engraved these heroic words, uttered by him when urged by the proconsul to blaspheme the name of the Holy One: "Eighty-six years have I served him; during all this time he never did me an injury; how then can I blaspheme my King and Saviour?" There are now, in this ancient city that once enjoyed the perfect freedom of the gospel, a body of Christians who are striving to introduce a pure religion into this dark land.


W. E. L.