Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

sed prophet followed, and his creed accepted by the poor and ignorant, than, like most innovators, he was accused of profanation by the rich and the wise. To escape the punishment of the enraged senate at Mecca, he took refuge in Medina; there he first established his temporal, as well as spiritual power, and taught that his doctrines were to be enforced by the sword. The cooperators in his religious imposture might have exposed it, and ruined all the hopes of this aspiring man, and destroyed the very foundations of this monstrous building, had he not soon sacrificed them to his impious ambition ; in order to have no witness of his infernal plot, he bad all those who were confidents in his projects, cruelly massacred. Thus freed froin any inquietudes on that head, he gave full play to every kind of excess. --His power daily increased; he employed arms, eloquence, and artifice, for the purpose of extending his empire ; and he carried his imposition so far as to pretend that an angel dictated to him the oracles of the All Powerful under the semblance of a dove, he having a bird of that kind generally upon his shoulder. The epilepsy to which he was subject, contributed to increase the belief in his pretended mission. He easily persuaded a credulous and ignorant people-struck as they were, with astonishment and admiration, at the pretended prodigies which he wrought before their eyes, that at the sight of the angel Gabriel, he fell into ecstacies which occasioned those convulsions ; while, in truth, they proceeded from the disease. This ingenious deception was itself productive of most of his disciples; and he carried it to the very last. Perceiving his end approach. ing, he dictated the last chapter of the Alcoran as tho he were inspired by God, and when about dying he said, "he was going to repose in the arms of the Eternal.” It is very

seldom that illustrious devastators are deficient in courage and intrepidity when danger menaces them, or that they are wanting: in firmness when reverses of fortune assail them. These in themselves are estimable qualifications when ennobled by principles, but they only serve to increase the criminality of him who degrades them by the purposes he employs. Mahomet, it cannot be disputed, possessed these qualities in a very eminent degree: for without them he certainly never could have attained to the height of power he ultimately reached, altho he had only to fight against and persuade a race of people who were deeply buried in ignorance and superstition.

The dogmas of religion which Mahomet established, gave him an absolute power over the people, and had they not rendered to him a blind obedience, they would have considered themselves guilty of a heavy crime.The profound ignorance in which he kept them, contributed much to make them subservient to his wishes. Hence arose that arbitrary and despotic power which has produced to Mahomet and his successors the riches, the lives, and honor of their subjects, or rather their slaves, springing merely from the will or caprice of their sovereign. The people, entirely given up to the pleasures of the senses, and plunged into voluptuousness, have no other delight than in these enervating gratifications ; even death itself is not painful to contemplate, since they anticipate the possession of celestial beauties hereafter, if they are obedient to the laws of their legislator. This flattering expectation, united with a firm belief in predestination, gives to them a degree of boldness which no other nation possesses, and almost makes them unconquerable. Every thing tended to favor the imposition, and Mahomet neglected no means to secure a belief in his doctrines, and to render his power unlimited.

Mahomet taught his followers "that he who forgives an injury does well, but he who revenges it does better." His reason for inculcating this revengeful doctrine was, that a constant recollection of injuries would in time

make them mone careful in committing ther, and thug advance morality. Confucius, the Chinese philosopher, inculcated more rational precepts: "Acknowledge,” said he, thy benefits by the return of other benefits, but fever revenge injuries." "Do not to another what you would not have done unto you." These pure maxims were inculcated by Confucius, upwards of five hundred years before the Christian era.

One of the most celebrated wonders of the East is the suspension of Mahomet's coffin by the attraction of magnets. The following description of this curiosity is from the pen of Mr. Anderson, who visited the sepulchre in 1804. The vault is in Medina, and situated contiguous to the grand Mosque, through which, and two inferior buildings, termed majets, the passage leads to the vault, the entrance into which is by a small door or aperture, arched at top, in a stone wall seven or eight feet thick. The vault inside is round, likewise arched at the top, tho octagon without; the size in the interior about nine feet wide, and ten or eleven feet high, without aperture to admit light; the loss of which is supplied by lamps which are constantly burning. At the top of the dome or arch is inserted a dove colored stone ør slab of marble, into which is inserted another stone of dark brownish hue, round, about seven or eight inches in diameter, and probably eighteen inches in length, projecting downwards. At the centre of the floor, which is of stone, there is a pile of marble tables or slabs, about eighteen or twenty inches. square, and two feet high, into the top of one of which is inserted similar stone to the one just described as at the top, projecting downwards ;-its diameter, however, does not exceed three inches. From the stone at the top projects, on the right and left, two rods apparently of iron, extending to the side walls, at their extreme height, where the arch springs, thence down the side walls to about midway, where it curves off towards the centre of the whole space inside the vault. At the end of these rods are bulbs resembling a four pound shot, black or dark brown, but not rusty ; between these four points, but detached from all, stands erect, a box or coffin; four feet and a half long, by 18 inches square, how thick or of what metal Mr. A. does not pretend to say, but thinks it not improbable it is steel washed with some composition, as its appearance was white, but not polished. At either end of the coffin or box, was a half round bulb of a similar appearance to those on the ends of the rods. The ends of the rods, come not immediately opposite to the centre of the coffin, but somewhat below it.” Mr. A. passed his sword at either side of the coffin, which sensibly vibrated as the steel approached it.

X

And it came

REMARKS ON THE RICH MAN AND LAZARUS. LUKE XVI. 19–31.-There was a certain rich man, which was

clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day. And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate full of soros, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover, the dogs came and licked his sores. to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom : the rich man also died, and was buried; and in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried, and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy life-time receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and thou art tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed; so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, fatber, that thou wouldst send him to my father's house : for I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went

unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, tho one rose from the dead.

At the request of one of our subscribers we offer the following remarks on the above cited portion of our Savior's communications. If a variety of interpretations are any indication of obscurity in meaning or ambiguity in language, this circumstance would place "the subject before us, among those that are hard to be understood. Christians have been divided in opinion, whether they should understand this subject to be a literal representation of certain present and future events, or whether they should reckon it among the parables. To a literal representation it is objected that such expressions, as Abraham's bosom, carrying water upon the tip of the finger through flames of fire, are altogether inconsistent and wholly sufficient to overthrow such an explanation. But this mode of reasoning cannot be conclusive; for there are many representations, literal in the main, which abound with figurative expressions. Indeed we seldom find any such representation of any considerable length without them.

We may observe again, that it is not always safe to reason by analogy. For there may be a striking coincidence between two events or two things, and yet the one was never designed to represent or be a figure of the other. Should the actions of an insane person be similar to those of one who is mad; it would not conclusively follow that insanity and madness are exactly the same thing, or that they were produced by the same cause. It is, therefore, evident, that to be fully established in any interpretation of scripture, we need the addition of other evidence than barely a resemblance between the interpretation and the literal language of the text, unless that resemblance is the only one that can possibly be found. But where there is a want of analo

« ПредишнаНапред »