WHAT memories cluster around the names of ancient cities of the East, especially those we read of in that dear old book, the Bible! How eagerly, too, do we grasp for everything that will give us information concerning them. 

Sometimes, no doubt, most of us have wished that the Bible contained a history of all these places, that we might know more about them. But this could not well be; for when that holy volume was written, the most of these places had no history of importance to the people then living. Such a history would have seemed to them about the same as a narration of the common occurrences of today in the villages or towns where we live, would to us not worth preserving.

And had the trivial occurrences of these days been thought worthy of preservation, they could have found no place in the Bible, as there were so many things pertaining to our future well-being to be recorded, that, had the Bible given only a brief notice of them all, it would have been to us what the Hindoo Shasters are to the people of India so large that few would own a copy, much less read it through. The most, then, that we can learn of the history of these places must be gleaned from sources outside of the Bible; and the events composing this history become especially interesting to us only as they make up a part of the great history of Christianity. These, as they are handed down to us, not only form connecting links between that time and ours, but connect us by living faith to Him who is the Author of our salvation.

The accompanying cut represents the city of Smyrna, one of the most ancient towns of Asia Minor. It is situated near the mouth of the River Meles, on the shore of a gulf bearing the same name. But little is known of its very early history. It did, however, along with other cities, claim to be the birthplace of Homer, the blind old Grecian poet so well known to classical readers, and who lived about the time of Isaiah the prophet.

We are told that the old city was destroyed by Alyattes, a Lydian king, and lay waste for four hundred years. It was rebuilt by Antigonus, one of the generals of Alexander the Great, and greatly beautified by Lysimachus, and was known as "the lovely the ornament of Asia" till after the time of Christ. A Christian church was formed there at an early day, and is mentioned by name in the book of Revelation, in the address to the seven churches. (Chapter 2:8-11.) Tradition also speaks of one Poly carp, who was a disciple of the apostle John, and by him appointed bishop, or elder, of the church in Smyrna. During the persecution of the Christians under Marcus Aurelius, Polycarp suffered martyrdom with most heroic fortitude, in A. D. 169.

The city was destroyed by an earth-quake in A. D. 177, but being rebuilt by the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, it once more became a very populous town. On the hill southeast of the city, as shown in the background of the picture, are some remnants of the massive walls, and fragments of the early magnificent buildings. There is also pointed out the site of the stadium, or ancient theater, in which Polycarp is said to have suffered martyrdom.

The city, after passing through various vicissitudes, fell into the hands of the Turks during the Middle Ages, and has remained in their possession ever since. We look forward, however, to a time in the near future, when, with all earthly kingdoms, it will become subject to Him who will be King of kings and Lord of lords.