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• tenants.'-- In the exercise of political govern,"ment, Mohammed was compelled to abate of the
‘stern rigour of fanaticism, and to comply, in ‘some measure, with the prejudices and passions
of his followers, and to employ even the vices of men, as the instruments of their salvation.The use of fraud and perfidy, of cruelty and ' injustice, were often subservient to the propa
gation of the faith : and Mohammed commanded ' and approved the assassination of the Jews and 'idolaters, who had escaped in the field of battle.
By the repetition of such acts, the character of • Mohammed must have been gradually stained ; ' and the influence of such pernicious habits, 'would be poorly compensated by the practice • of the personal and social virtues, which are necessary to maintain the reputation of a prophet, among his sectaries and friends. Of his last years, ambition was the ruling passion ; and a politician will suspect, that he secretly smiled
(the victorious impostor,) at the enthusiasm of • his youth, and the credulity of his followers. In 'the support of truth, the arts of fraud and fiction
may be deemed less criminal; and he would " have started at the foulness of the means, had 'he not been satisfied of the importance and jus' tice of the end.'—(Gibbon.) The reader will know how to appreciate such a confession as this, from the infidel author of · The History of the · Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire ;' and how to allow for his base insinuations. Let the reader compare the apostles's words, “As we are “slanderously reported, and as some affirm that
“ we say, Let us do evil, that good may come; “ whose damnation is just;”] and learn the principles of our holy religion, so opposite both to the conduct of Mohammed, and the insinuations of Gibbon.
After the death of Mohammed, many most absurd miracles were said to have been wrought by him : but, if his successors had used no other “ weapons of warfare,” than either his Koran or his miracles, Mohammedism would soon have expired with its departed founder.
Such a sensual and worldly religion, however, enforced by the sword of numerous, victorious, and disciplined armies, full of enthusiastical devotees of their new faith, had little need of miracles to secure its success among the adjacent nations; considering their enfeebled and distracted state. Indeed, it must have been a most stupendous miracle, which could have , arrested its progress : and it is most wonderful, that with such means, and such armies and commanders, it did not, as an overwhelming deluge, spread far more extensively its most destructive effects. But he who said to the ocean, “ Hitherto shalt “thou go, and no further, and here shall thy proud “waves be stayed,” limited and stopped its progress ; exactly at the time and in the manner that had been predicted by the apostle many ages before. Since that period, the cause has at least been stationary for some ages : and there are at present (directly contrary to the prospects which Christianity presents, at a far later period of its
existence, many symptoms of its declining influence, and indications of its approaching ruin.
I shall rejoice, if this compendious statement may excite younger, and more learned men, who have access to books, which in my retired situation I have not, to investigate this subject more fully. For, though Christians have hitherto seemed little aware of it, Mohammedism, with the superficial (that is, with a vast majority of mankind,) is the most specious and dangerous rival of Christianity on earth ; and requires far greater study and labour to expose it, than have yet been employed. The most of what has been done has been done by papists : but
Non tali auxilio, nec defensoribus istis,
Tempus eget. Compare then the state of the nations in which Christianity triumphed, and in which Mohammedism triumphed, as to learning, policy, and religion ; the opposite nature of the holy religion of Jesus, and of the unholy imposture of Mohammed; and the means by which each succeeded : and, I trust, it must be allowed, that the success of Mohammedism does not afford so much as the shadow of an argument against the divine mission of the holy Jesus.
I believe, I might now leave the whole of what Mr. C. says on this subject, (p. 29. I. 30.) to its doom, as requiring no further answer. The doctrine of the Trinity, (p. 29. 1. 31.) and that of antitrinitarians, cannot be disposed of, or the controversy settled, by such remarks. The Jew
laughing at Christians and Turks ; (p. 30. 1. 6.) the
The Christian indeed, heartily believes that the
I John v, 45, 46.
Pandora's box, than in Mohammed's history of Joseph.
In fact, of all the books which I ever attempted to read, the Koran contains the fewest ideas, and the most wearying sameness. I suppose they who, fully understanding Arabic, read it as, in some respects, a living language, find the periods and cadences sonorous and pompous. But it is the dullest book I ever opened : and I turn from it with a sort of anticipated satisfaction, not only to the sacred scriptures, or to the writings of Christians, or to heathen moralists; but even to the entertaining and ingenious fictions and trifles of the Latin and Greek poets.
P. 30. 1. 30. Good fortune attended both.' What is the meaning of 'good fortune,' in the vocabulary of a Jew or a Christian? I read nothing of it, either in the original scriptures, or in our translation of them. In our Prayer Book translation of the Psalms, 'good luck 'thrice occurs ; and it would be an improvement if it were changed for some other term: but, as it is good luck in the name of the Lord,' it does not lead us to erroneous sentiments.-The heathen considered Fortune as a sort of independent goddess, in some respects superior to their other gods ; and they built temples and altars, and offered sacrifices, to her: and the clause,
good fortune attended them both,' savours of the same heathenism. It has been seen how God made Christianity successful : but, as to Mohammed's success, we may write as one did under Pope Adrian's inscription, ` Hic Deus nihil fecit.' Indeed the same reprehension is far more justly due to all Mr. C.'s language in this passage.