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not now been tracing the progress, and describing the labours of its missionaries: but I see in it a the prevalency, of an opinion, founded upon philo strong proof of the Divine origin of the religion. sophical or critical arguments, upon mere deduc- What had the apostles to assist them in propagatson of reason, or the construction of ancient ing Christianity which the missionaries have not? writings; (of which kind are the several theories If piety and zeal had been sufficient, I doubt not which have, at different times, gained possession but that our missionaries possess these qualities in of the public mind in various departments of a high degree: for, nothing except piety and zeal science and literature; and of one or other of could engage them in the undertakingIf sancwhich kind are the tenets also which divide the tity of life and manners was the allurement, the various sects of Christianity;) but that we speak conduct of these men is unblamable. If the adof a system, the very basis and postulatum of vantage of education and learning be looked to, which was a supernatural character ascribed to a there is not one of the modern missionaries, who particular person; of a doctrine, the truth whereof is not, in this respect, superior to all the apostles: depends entirely upon the truth of a matter of fact and that not only absolutely, but, what is of more then recent. “To establish a new religion, even importance, relatively, in comparison, that is, amongst a few people, or in one single nation, is with those amongst whom they exercise their a thing in itself exceedingly difficult. To reform office. If the intrinsic excellency of the religion, some corruptions which may have spread in a re- the perfection of its morality, the purity of its prehigion, or to make new regulations in it, is not cepts, the eloquence or tenderness or sublimity of perhaps so hard, when the main and principal various parts of its writings, were the recommendpart of that religion is preserved entire and un-ations by which it made its way, these remain the shaken ; and yet this very often cannot be accom- same. If the character and circumstances, under plished without an extraordinary concurrence of which the preachers were introduced to the councircumstances, and may be attempted a thousand tries in which they taught, be accounted of imtimes without success. But to introduce a new portance, this advantage is all on the side of the faith, a new way of thinking and acting, and to modern missionaries. They come from a country persuade many nations to quit the religion in and a people to which the Indian world look up which their ancestors have lived and died, which with sentiments of deference. The apostles came had been delivered down to them from time im- forth amongst the Gentiles under no other name memorial, to inake them forsake and despise the than that of Jews, which was precisely the characdeities which they had been accustomed to reve- ter they despised and derided. If it be disgraceful rence and worship; this is a work of still greater in India to become a Christian, it could not be difficulty. The resistance of education, worldly much less so to be enrolled amongst those, “quos policy, and superstition, is almost invincible.” per flagitia invisos, vulgus Christianos appellabat.”
If men, in these days, be Christians in conse- If the religion which they had to encounter be quence of their education, in submission to autho considered, the difference, I apprehend, will not rity, or in compliance with fashion, let us recollect be great. The theology of both was nearly the that the very contrary of this, at the beginning, same: “what is supposed to be performed by the was the case. The first race of Christians, as power of Jupiter, of Neptune, of Æolus, of Mars, well as millions who succeeded them, became of Venus, according to the mythology of the West, such in formal opposition to all these motives, to is ascribed, in the East, to the agency of Agrio the the whole power and strength of this influence. god of fire, Varoon the god of oceans, Vayoo the Every argument, therefore, and every instance, god of wind, Cama the god of love."* The sawhich sets forth the prejudice of education, and cred rites of the Western Polytheism were gay, the almost irresistible etfects of that prejudice festive, and licentious; the rites of the public re(and no persons are more fond of expatiating upon ligion in the East partake of the same character, this subject than deistical writers,) in fact confirms with a more avowed indecency. “In every functhe evidence of Christianity.
tion performed in the pagodas, as well as in every But, in order to judge of the argument which is public procession, it is the office of these women drawn from the early propagation of Christianity, (i. e. of women prepared by the Brahmins for the I know no fairer way of proceeding, than to com- purpose,) to dance before the idol, and to sing pare what we have seen on the subject, with the hymns in his praise; and it is difficult to say whesuccess of Christian missions in modern ages. ther they trespass most against decency by the In the East India mission, supported by the So gestures they exhibit, or by the verses which they ciety for promoting Christian Knowledge, we recite. The walls of the pagodas were covered hear sometimes of thirty, sometimes of forty, being with paintings in a style no less indelicate.”+ baptized in the course of a year, and these princi On both sides of the comparison, the popular pally children. Of converts properly so called, religion had a strong establishment. In ancient that is, of adults voluntarily embracing Christian- Greece and Rome, it was strictly incorporated 'ity, the number is extremely small. “Notwith- with the state. The magistrate was the priest. standing the labour of missionaries for upwards of The highest officers of government bore the most two hundred years, and the establishments of distinguished part in the celebration of the public different Christian nations who support them, rites. In India, a powerful and numerous cast there are not twelve thousand Indian Christians, possess exclusively the administration of the estaand those almost entirely outcasts.”+
I lament, as much as any man, the little pro * Raghvat Geeta, p. 94, quoted by Dr. Robertson, Ind. gress which Christianity has made in these coun- Dis. p. 306. tries, and the inconsiderable effect that has followed Others of the deities of the East are of an austere
and gloomy character, to be propitiated by victims, • Jortin's Dis, on the Christ. Rel. p. 107. ed. iv. sometimes by human sacrifices, and by voluntary tor:
† Sketches relating to the history, learning, and man. ments of the most excruciating kind.- Voyage de Genners of the Hindoos, p. 48; quoted by Dr. Robertson, til, vol. i. p. 244–260. Preface to Code of Gentoo Laws, Hist. Dis. concerning ancient India, p. 236
p. 57, quoted by Dr. Robertson, p. 320
blished worship; and are, of consequence, devoted | forth the expectation of a future state, derived any to the service, and attached to its interest. In great advantage, as to the extension of their sysboth, the prevailing mythology was destitute of tem, from the discredit into which the popular any proper evidence : or rather, in both, the origin religion had fallen with many of their heathen of the tradition is run up into ages long anterior neighbours. to the existence of credible history, or of written We have particularly directed our observations language. The Indian chronology computes eras to the state and progress of Christianity amongst by millions of years, and the life of man by thou- the inhabitants of India : but the history of the sands ;* and in these, or prior to these, is placed Christian mission in other countries, where the the history of their divinities. In both, the esta- efficacy of the mission is left solely to the convicblished superstition held the same place in the pub- tion wrought by the preaching of strangers, prelic opinion; that is to say, in both it was credited sents the same idea, as the Indian mission does, by the bulk of the people, but by the learned and of the feebleness and inadequacy of human means. philosophical part of the community, either derid- About twenty-five years ago, was published in ed, or regarded by them as only fit to be upholden England a translation from the Dutch, of a Hisfor the sake of its political uses..
tory of Greenland, and a relation of the mission Or if it should be allowed, that the ancient hea- for above thirty years carried on in that country thens believed in their religion less generally than by the Unitas Fratrum, or Moravians. Every the present Indians do, I am far from thinking part of that relation confirms the opinion we have that this circumstance would afford any facility to stated. Nothing could surpass, or hardly equal, the work of the apostles, above that of the modern the zeal and patience of the missionaries. "Yet missionaries. To me it appears, and I think it their historian, in the conclusion of his narrative, material to be remarked, that a disbelief of the es- could find place for no reflections more encouraging tablished religion of their country has no tendency than the following :—“A person that had known to dispose men for the reception of another; but the heathen, that had seen the little benefit from that, on the contrary, it generates a settled con- the great pains hitherto taken with them, and tempt of all religious pretensions whatever. Gene considered that one after another had abandoned ral infidelity is the hardest soil which the propa. all hopes of the conversion of those infidels (and gators of a new religion can have to work upon. some thought they would never be converted, till Could a Methodist or Moravian promise himself they saw miracles wrought as in the apostles' days, a better chance of success with a French esprit and this the Greenlanders expected and demanded fort, who had been accustomed to laugh at the of their instructors;) one that considered this, I popery of his country than with a believing Ma- say, would not so much wonder at the past unhometan or Hindoo ? Or are our modern unbe- fruitfulness of these young beginners, as at their lievers in Christianity, for that reason, in danger steadfast perseverance in the midst of nothing but of becoming Mahometans or Hindoos ? It does distress, difficulties, and impediments, internally not appear that the Jews, who had a body of his and externally; and that they never desponded of torical evidence to offer for their religion, and who the conversion of those poor creatures amidst all at that time undoubtedly entertained and held seeming impossibilities."*
From the widely disproportionate effects which “The Suffec Jogue, or age of purity, is said to have attend the preaching of modern missionaries of lasted three millions two hundred thousand years; and Christianity, compared with what followed the they hold that the life of man was extended in that age ministry of Christ and his apostles under circumto one hundred thousand years ; but there is a difference stances either alike, or not so unlike as to account amongst the Indian writers, of six millions of years in for the difference, a conclusion is fairly drawn, in the computation of this era."-Preface to Code of Gen. too Laws, p. 57, quoted by Dr. Robertson, p. 320.
support of what our histories deliver concerning " How absurd
soever the articles of faith may be, them, viz. that they possessed means of conviction, which superstition has adopted, or how unhallowed the which we have not; that they had proofs to appeal rites which it prescribes, the former are received, in to, which we want. every age and country, with unhesitating assent, by the great body of the people, and the latter observed with scrupulous exactness. In our reasonings concern. ing opinions and practices which differ widely from our own, we are extremely apt to err. Having been in.
SECTION III. structed ourselves in the principles of a religion, worthy in every respect of that Divine wisdom by which they
Of the Religion of Mahomet. were dictated, we frequently express wonder at the cre. dulily of nations, in einbracing systems of belief which The only event in the history of the human appear to us so directly repugnant to right reason; and species which admits of comparison with the prodo not really gain credit with them. But experience may pagation of Christianity, is the success of Mahosatisfy us, that neither our wonder nor suspicions are metanism. The Mahometan institution was rapid well founded. No article of the public religion was in its progress, was recent in its history, and was cailed in question by those people of ancient Europe founded upon a supernatural or prophetic characwith whose history we are best acquainted; and no practice, which it enjoined, appeared improper to them.
ter assumed by its author. In these articles, the On the other hand, every opinion that tended to dimi- resemblance with Christianity is confessed. But Dish the reverence of men for the gods of their country, there are point of difference, which separate, we or to alienate them from their worship, excited, ainong apprehend, the two cases entirely. the Greeks and Romans, that indignant zeal which is natural to every people attached to their religion by a
1. Mahomet did not found his pretensions upon firm persuasion of its truth."-Ind. Dis. p. 321. miracles, properly so called; that is, upon proofs
That the learned Brahmins of the East are rational of supernatural agency, capable of being known Theists, and secretly reject the established theory, and and attested by others. Christians are warranted contemn the rites that were founded upon them, or ra. ther consider thein as contrivances to be supported for in this assertion by the evidence of the Koran, in their political uses, see Dr. Robertson's Ind. Dis. p. 324.
* History of Greenland, vol. ii. p. 376.
which Mahomet not only does not affect the power then, and not till then, came out the stories of his of working miracles, but expressly disclaiins it. miracles. The following passages of that book furnish direct Now this difference alone constitutes, in my proofs of the truth of what we allege :-“The in- opinion, a bar to all reasoning from one case io fidels say, Unless a sign be sent down unto him the other. The success of a religion founded from his lord, we will not believe; thou art a upon a miraculous history, shows the credit which preacher only."* Again; “ Nothing hindered us was given to the history; and this credit, under from sending thee with miracles, except that the the circumstances in which it was given, i.e. by former nations have charged them with impos- persons capable of knowing the truth, and interture.”+ And lastly; “They say, unless a sign ested to inquire after it, is evidence of the reality be sent down unto him from his lord, we will not of the history, and, by consequence, of the truth believe: Answer; Signs are in the power of God of the religion. Where a miraculous history is alone, and I am no more than a public preacher. not alleged, no part of this argument can be apIs it not sufficient for them, that we have sent plied. We admit
, that multitudes acknowledge down unto them the book of the Koran to be read the pretensions of Mahomet; but, these pretenunto them ?" Besides these acknowledgments, I sions being destitute of miraculous evidence, we have observed thirteen distinct places, in which know that the grounds upon which they were Mahomet puts the objection (unless a sign, &c.) acknoviledged, could not be secure grounds of perinto the mouth of the unbeliever, in not one of suasion to his followers, nor their example any which does he allege a miracle in reply. His an authority to us. Admit the whole of Mahomet's swer is, “that God giveth the power of working authentic history, so far as it was of a nature, miracles, when and to whom he pleaseth ;"Ş "that capable of being known or witnessed by others, if he should work miracles, they would not be to be true (which is certainly to admit all that the lieve;"!! " that they had before rejected Moses, and reception of the religion can be brought to prove,) the Prophets, who wrought miracles;"9 “ that the and Mahomet might still be an impostor, or enKoran itself was a miracle."**
thusiast, or a union of both. Admit to be true The only place in the Koran in which it can almost any part of Christ's history, of that I mean, be pretended that a sensible miracle is referred to which was public, and within the cognizance of (for I do not allow the secret visitations of Gabriel, his followers, and he must have come from God. the night journey of Mahomet to heaven, or the Where matter of fact is not in question, where presence in battle of invisible hosts of angels, to miracles are not alleged, I do not see that the prodeserve the name of sensible miracles,) is the be- gress of a religion is a better argument of its truth, ginning of the fifty-fourth chapter. The words than the prevalency of any system of opinions in are these:—“ The hour of judgment approacheth, natural religion, morality, or physics, is a proof of and the moon huth been split in sunder; but if the truth of those opinions. And we know that the unbelievers see a sign, they turn aside saying, this sort of argument is inadmissible in any branch This is a powerful charm."" The Mahometan of philosophy whatever. expositors disagree in their interpretation of this But it will be said, If one religion could make passage; some explaining it to be a mention of its way without miracles, why Inight not another ? the splitting of the moon, as one of the future To which I reply, first, that this is not the quessigns of the approach of the day of judgment; tion; the proper question is not, whether a reliothers referring it to a miraculous appearance gious institution could be set up without miracles, which had then taken place.tt It seems to me not but whether a religion or a change of religion, improbable, that Mahomet might have taken ad-founding itself in miracles, could succeed without vantage of some extraordinary halo, or other un any reality to rest upon ? I apprehend these two usual appearance of the moon, which had hap- cases to be very different; and I apprehend Mapened about this time; and which supplied a homet's not taking this course, to be one proof, foundation both for this passage, and for the story amongst others, that the thing is difficult, if not which in after times had been raised out of it. impossible, to be accomplished; certainly it was
After this more than silence, after these authen-nc from an unconsciousness of the value and imtic confessions of the Koran, we are not to be portance of miraculous evidence : for it is very obmoved with miraculous stories related of Maho- servable, that in the same volume, and sometimes met by Abulfeda, who wrote his life, about six in the same chapters, in which Mahomet so rehundred years after his death; or which are found peatedly disclaims the power of working miracles in the legend of Al-Janabi, who came two hun-himself, he is incessantly referring to the miracles dred years later. It On the contrary, from com- of preceding prophets. One would imagine, to paring what Mahomet himself wrote and said, hear some men talk, or to read some books, that with what was afterwards reported of him by his the setting up of a religion by dint of miraculous followers, the plain and fair conclusion is, that pretences was a thing of every day's experience; when the religion was established by conquest, whereas I believe, that, except the Jewish and
Christian religion, there is no tolerably well au* Sale's Koran, c. xiii. p. 201. ed. quarto.
thenticated account of any such thing having been Ch xvii. p. 232.
1 Ch. xxix. p. 328. accomplished. & Ch. v. x. xiii. twice.
II. The establishment of Mahomet's religion iT ch. iii. xxi. xxviii.
was effected by causes which in no degree apper# Vide Sale, in loc. 11 It does not, I think, appear, that these historians tained to the origin of Christianity. had any written accounts to appeal to, more ancient
During the first twelve years of his mission, than the Sonnah; which was a collection of traditions Mahomet had recourse only to persuasion. This made by order of the caliphs two hundred years after is allowed. And there is sufficient reason from Mahomet's death. Mahomet died A. D. 632; Al Bochari, the effect to believe, that, if he had confined himone of the six doctors who compiled the Sonnah, was bora A. D. 809; died in 869.-Prideaux's Life of Maho. self to this mode of propagating his religion, we met, p. 192. ed. 7th.
of the present day should never have heard either
of him or it. "Three years were silently em-, habitants of Mecca, in common probably with the ployed in the conversion of fourteen proselytes. Other Arabian tribes, acknowledged, as, I think, For ten years, the religion advanced with a slow may clearly be collected from the Koran, one and painful progress, within the walls of Mecca. supreme Deity, but had associated with him many The number of proselytes in the seventh year of objects of idolatrous worship. The great doctrine his mission may be estimated by the absence of with which Mahomet set out, was the strict and eighty-three men and eighteen women, who re exclusive unity of God. Abraham, he told them, tired to Ethiopia."* Yet this progress, such as it their illustrious ancestor; Ishmael, the father of was, appears to have been aided by some very im- their nation; Moses, the lawgiver of the Jews ; portant advantages which Mahomet found in his and Jesus, the author of Christianity; had all assituation, in his mode of conducting his design, serted the same thing: that their followers had and in his doctrine.
universally corrupted the truth, and that he was 1. Mahomet was the grandson of the most now commissioned to restore it to the world. Was powerful and honourable family in Mecca: and it to be wondered at, that a doctrine so specious, although the early death of his father had not left and authorized by names, some or other of which bim a patrimony suitable to his birth, he had, long were holden in the highest veneration by every before the commencement of his mission, repair- description of his hearers, should in the hands of ed this deficiency by an opulent marriage. A a popular missionary, prevail to the extent in person considerable by his wealth, of high de- which Mahomet succeeded by his pacific ministry? scent, and nearly allied to the chiefs of his country, 4. Of the institution which Mahomet joined taking upon himself the character of a religious with this fundamental doctrine, and of the Koran teacher, would not fail of attracting attention and in which that institution is delivered, we discover followers.
I think, two purposes that pervade the whole, viz. 2. Mahomet conducted his design, in the outset to make converts, and to make his converts solespecially, with great art and prudence. He con- diers. The following particulars, amongst others, ducted it as a politician would conduct a plot. His may be considered as pretty evident indications of first application was to his own family. This these designs : gained him his wife's uncle, a considerable person 1. When Mahomet began to preach, his adin Mecca, together with his cousin Ali, afterward dress to the Jews, to the Christians, and to the the celebrated Caliph, then a youth of great ex- Pagan Arabs, was, that the religion which he pectation, and even already distinguished by his taught, was no other than what had been origiattachment, impetuosity, and courage. He'next nally their own.—“We believe in God, and that expressed himself to Abu Becr, a man amongst which hath been sent down unto us, and that the first of the Koreish in wealth and influence. which hath been sent down unto Abraham, and The interest and example of Abu Becr, drew in Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the Tribes, five other principal persons in Mecca ; whose so and that which was delivered unto Moses and licitations prevailed upon five more of the same Jesus, and that which was delivered unto the prorank. This was the work of three years ; during phets from their Lord: we make no distinction which time, every thing was transacted in secret. between any of them."* "He hath ordained you Upon the strength of these allies, and under the the religion which he commanded Noah, and powerful protection of his family, who, however which we have revealed unto thee, O Mohammed, some of them might disapprove his enterprise, or and which we commanded Abraham, and Moses, deride his pretensions, would not suffer the orphan and Jesus, saying, Observe this religion, and be of their house, the relic of their favourite brother not divided therein.”+ “He hath chosen you, and to be insulted; Mahomet now commenced his hath not imposed on you any difficulty in the republic preaching. And the advance which he ligion which he hath given you, the religion of made during the nine or ten remaining years of your father Abraham.": his peaceable ministry, was by no means greater
2. The author of the Koran never ceases from than what, with these advantages, and with the describing the future anguish of unbelievers, their additional and singular circumstance of their being despair, regret, penitence, and torment. It is the no established religion at Mecca at that time to point which he labours above all others. And contend with, might reasonably have been ex. ihese descriptions are conceived in terms, which pected. How soon his primitive adherents were will appear in no small degree impressive, even let into the secret of his views of empire, or in what to the modern reader of an English translation. stage of his undertaking these views first opened Doubtless they would operate with much greater themselves to his own mind, it is not now easy to force upon the minds of those to whom they were determine. The event however was, that these immediately directed. The terror which they his first proselytes all ultimately attained to riches seem well calculated to inspire, would be to many and honours, to the coinmand of armies, and the tempers a powerful application. government of kingdoms.I
3. On the other hand; his voluptuous, para3. The Arabs deduced their descent from dise; his robes of silk, his palaces of marble, his Abraham through the line of Ishmael. The in- rivers and shades, his groves and couches, his
wines, his dainties; and above all, his seventy-two Gibbon's Hist. vol. ix. p. 244. &c.; ed. Dub.
virgins assigned to each of the faithful, of resplendt of which Mr. Gibbon has preserved the following ent beauty and eternal youth; intoxicated the specimen-" When Mahomet called out in an assembly imaginations, and seized the passions of bis East of his family, Who among you will be my companion ern followers. and my vizir ? Ali, then only in the fourteenth year of his age, suddenly replied, o prophet! I am the man; for those who fought his battles, or expended
4. But Mahomet's highest heaven was reserved whosoever rises against thee, I will dash out his teeth, tear out his eyes, break his legs, rip up his belly. O pro. pbet! I will be thy vizir over them."-Vol. ix. p. 245. Sale's Koran, c. ii. p. 17. Ib. c. xlii. p. 393 1 Gibbon. vol. ix. p. 214.
| Ib. c. xxii. p. 281.
their fortunes in his cause." Those believers / prohibition of wine, till the fourth year of the who sit still at home, not having any hurt, and Hegira, or seventeenth of his mission, when his those who employ their fortunes and their per- military successes had completely established his sons for the religion of God, shall not be held authority. The same observation holds of the equal. God hath preferred those who employ fast of the Ramadan,t and of the most labo their fortunes and their persons in that cause, to rious part of his institution, the pilgrimage to a degree above those who sit at home. God hath Mecca. indeed promised every one Paradise; but God What has hitherto been collected from the rehath preferred those who fight for the faith becords of the Mussulman history, relates to the fore those who sit still, by adding unto them a twelve or thirteen years of Mahomet's peaceable great reward; by degree of honour conferred upon preaching; which part alone of his life and enterthem from him, and by granting them forgiveness prise admits of the smallest comparison with the and mercy.”* Again; "Do ye reckon the giving origin of Christianity. A new scene is now undrink to the pilgrims, and the visiting of the holy folded. The city of Medina, distant about ten temple, to be actions as meritorious as those per- days' journey from Mecca, was at that time disformed by him who believeth in God and the last tracted by the hereditary contentions of two hostile day, and fighteth for the religion of God? They tribes. These feuds were exasperated by the shall not be held equal with God.—They who mutual persecutions of the Jews and Christians, have believed and fled their country, and employ- and of the different Christian sects by which the ed their substance and their persons in the defence city was inhabited. The religion of Mahomet of God's true religion, shall be in the highest de presented, in some measure, a point of union or gree of honour with God; and these are they compromise to these divided opinions. It emwho shall be happy. T'he Lord sendeth them braced the principles which were common to them good tidings of mercy from him, and good will, all. Each party saw in it an honourable acknowand of gardens wherein they shall enjoy lasting ledgment of the fundamental truth of their own pleasures. They shall continue therein for ever; system. To the Pagan Arab, somewhat imbued for with God is a great reward.”+ And once with the sentiments and knowledge of his Jewmore; “Verily God hath purchased of the true ish or Christian fellow-citizens, it offered no believers their souls and their substance, promis-offensive, or very improbable theology. This ing them the enjoyment of Paradise, on condition recommendation procured to Mahometanism a that they fight for the cause of God; whether more favourable reception at Medina, than its they slay or be slain, the promise for the same is author had been able, by twelve years' painful assuredly due by the Law and the Gospel and the endeavours, to obtain for it at Mecca. Yet, after Koran.”+$
all, the progress of the religion was inconsiderable. 5. His doctrine of predestination was applica- His missionary could only collect a congregation ble, and was applied by him, to the same purpose of forty persons.l! It was not a religious, but a of fortifying and of exalting the courage of his political association, which ultimately introduced adherents." If any thing of the matter had hap- Mahomet into Medina. Harassed, as it should pened unto us, we had not been slain here. An- seem, and disgusted by the long continuance of swer: If ye had been in your houses, verily they factions and disputes, the inhabitants of that city would have gone forth to fight, whose slaughter saw in the admission of the prophet's authority, a was decreed to the places where they died.”ll rest from the miseries which they had suffered,
6. In warm regions, the appetite of the sexes and a suppression of the violence and fury which is ardent, the passion for inebriating liquors mode- they had learned to condemn. After an embassy, rate. In compliance with this distinction, although therefore, composed of believers and unbelievers, T Mahomet laid a restraint upon the drinking of and of persons of both tribes, with whom a treaty wine, in the use of women he allowed an almost was concluded of strict alliance and support, Maunbounded indulgence. Four wives, with the homet made his public entry, and was received as liberty of changing them at pleasure,'T together the sovereign of Medina. with the persons of all his captives,** was an irre From this time, or soon after this time, the imsistible bribe to on Arabian warrior. "God is postor changed his language and his conduct. minded (says he, speaking of this very subject) Having now a town at his command, where to to make his religion light unto you; for man was arm his party, and to head them with security, he created weak.” How different this from the un- enters upon new counsels. He now pretends accommodating purity of the Gospel! How that a divine commission is given him to attack would Mahomet have succeeded with the Chris- the infidels, to destroy idolatry, and to set up the tian lesson in his mouth, -"Whosoever looketh true faith by the sword.** An early victory over upon a woman to lust after her, hath committed a very superior force, achieved by conduct and adultery with her already in his heart ?" It must bravery, established the renown of his arms, and be added, that Mahomet did not enter upon the of his personal character.tt Every year after this
was marked by battles or assassinations. The
nature and activity of Mahomet's future exertions • Sale's Koran, c. iv. p. 73. | Ib. c. ix. p. 151. may be estimated from the computation, that, in: Ib. c. ix p. 164.
the nine following years of his life, he commanded Š" The sword (saith Mahomet) is the key of heaven and of hell; a drop of blood shed in the cause of God, a night spent in arms, is of more avail than two months * Mod. Univ. Hist. vol. i. p. 126. # Ib. fasting or prayer. Whosoever falls in battle, his sins 1 This latter, however, already prevailed amongst are forgiven at the day of judgment; his wounds shall the Arabs, and had grown out of their excessive venera. be resplendent as vermillion, and odoriferous as musk; tion for the Caaba Mahomet's law, in this respect, and the loss of his limbs shall be supplied by the wings was rather a compliance than an innovation.---Sale's of angels and cherubim."-Gibbon, vol. ix. p. 256. Prelim. Disc. p. 122. Sale's Koran, c. iii p. 54. IT Ib. c. iv. p. 63. § Mod Univ. Hist. vol. i. p. 100. Ib. p. 85. ** Gibbon, vol. ix. p. 225.
** Ib. vol. i. p. 88. If Vict. of Bedr, ib. p. 106.