Biblical Name Adopted by This Continent
In Northern Syria is one of the oldest and most beautifully situated cities in the world, very interestingly it still retains the name Damascus by which it was called long before the days of Abraham. It was on the highways and crossroads of commerce and one of its special features was that it had a street called Straight, so called because it ran straight east and west. The street was covered and was about one mile in length and one hundred feet wide with bazaars on each side. We have today at least four things which have names directly derived from the word Damascus. One is the woven fabric known as Damask which is but a shortened form of the word Damascus. Then we have the damask rose; pink in color and a true rose. Also there is a steel known as Damask steel and considered of very high quality. The damson plum also derives its name from Damascus. It may be small, but it is a real plum and none better for jam.
It was on the road to Damascus that Saul of Tarsus had his wonderful vision in which his spiritual eyes were opened and his physical eyes became shut. He saw and talked with Jesus who uttered the singular words, “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest, it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.” Saul was converted, a complete turning around. His friends then led him by the hand to the house of Judas who lived near the street called Straight. A man named Ananias had a vision in which he was directed by the Lord to go to this house and lay his hands on Saul. He obeyed the direction and when he put his hands on Saul, there fell from his eyes as it had been scales and he received sight forthwith and he arose and was baptized. He was no longer a Jew but a Christian. His former comrades were infuriated when they learned of his conversion. His friends, sensing that they would do him bodily harm and knowing that they were watching the gates, in order that he might escape let him down off the city wall in a basket and from there he proceeded to Jerusalem. Afterwards he became known not as Saul of Tarsus but as Paul the zealous Apostle.
We have in Ontario, Canada, a village called Damascus and named for the far off city. If you take a trip from the village of Arthur in the County of Wellington and travel north-east towards the township of Luther, you are on the road to our Ontario Damascus.