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absurd to be admitted, even by natural religion. Even where Christianity is very imperfectly known, and where it is obscured in the darkness of superstition, its influence is sufficient to relax, though it may not wholly remove, the chains of absolute power. The most absolute court in Christendom knows something of freedom, when contrasted with the despotism of Turkey.
Christianity fosters, enlightens, and directs the exertions of the minds of men; and communicates to them a vigour, by which they noť only bud and blossom in science, but also produce the richest and the most mellowed fruits. In every Mohammedan country, the progress of knowledge is arrested by the hand of power; and the faculties of the human mind are depressed and sunk into the most abject state of servility. “ Throughout every country where Mohammedism is professed,” says a very respectable writer, “ the same deep pause is made in philosophy; and the same wide chasm is to be seen between the opportunities of men to improve, and their actual improvement. Knowledge is not only neglected, but despised; not only the materials of it are banished, but the very desire of recovering and applying them, is totally extinguished. Hence, the bold sallies of invention are checked, the patient efforts of industry are unknown, and they who contribute not by their own discoveries to the common stock, are at the same time, too perverse to adopt, and too proud to revere, what has been discovered by other men. The evil is, indeed, hopeless, when the remedy itself is rejected with loathing and contempt; for how can the Mohammedans emerge from that ignorance, which they are accustomed to consider as meritorious ? What power of reason will be sufficient to break the magic spell, which now holds them in bondage to the tyranny of the despot, the policy of the priest, and the bigotry of the vol
“Under the influence of Mohammedan belief, the human mind appears to have lost somewhat of its capacity and power; the natural progress of mankind, whether in gov. ernment, in manners, or in science, has been retarded by some secret principle of private indolence, or external control; and over the various nations who have either assented to the faith, or submitted to the arms of the impostor, some universal, but baleful influence seems to have operated, so as to counteract every diversity of national character, and restrain every principle of national exertion."*
The injunctions of the prophet, and the maxims of his followers, are utterly incompatible with universal benevolence. Wbatever acts of justice or of mercy Mohammedans may practise to one another, neither the Pagan, the Jew, nor the Christian can expect that these shall be extended to him. They are taught by their prophet to hate and despise, and to wage continual war with all the rest of mankind, whom they consider as infidels. Of their re. ligion, persecution is an essential part; and though they do not, like the church of Rome, carry it to extirpation, they subject to insult and oppression, or to a capitation tax, all who do not conform to their religion. Such is their zeal for proselytism, that every slave who embraces the doctrines of their prophet, is immediately manumitted. The last particular, indeed, is worthy of our approbation. It has been objected to Christianity, that persecution has always borne up its train, and has been employed by its
• Adams's Religious World Displayed, Vol. I. p. p. 280, 281.
disciples to fill up its ranks, and to thin those of an opposite religion. It must be admitted, that there are on record, a few instances of Christianity's being disgraced by the conduct of its professors, who have called in the aid of this demon, to settle religious disputes with heathens. The church of Rome has generally employed it against the Protestants, and the Protestants have too often employed it against the church of Rome; but much oftener against one another. But, so far as Christianity is concerned, we have an answer of the most satisfactory kind. With whatever violation of the sacred rights of conscience, the professors of the Gospel may have been chargeable, these outrages were committed, in direct opposition to the example and to the doctrine of our Saviour, and of his apostles, and to the whole spirit of Christianity; and could the same thing be aflirmed of the successors of Mohammed, that they had acted, in this respect, in opposition to the example of their prophet, and the doctrines of his Koran, the shaft aimed at their religion must be rebutted, and fall pointless to the ground. The truth, however is, that the worst of Mohammed's successors, in their tyranny and persecution, have only trodden in the footsteps, and breathed the unrelenting spirit of their prophet; and have never exceeded either his example, or his instructions.
Mohammedism, (part of it having been stolen from Judaism, and part of it from Christianity,) has certainly contributed something to the decline and fall of that polytheism, which overspread the Pagan world; but to the sanctification of men, it has contributed nothing. It not only leaves man, as it found him, the slave of his sensual appetites, but it gives him a licence, in the name of God, to pursue their almost unbounded gratification. When it finds man serving divers lusts and pleasures, instead of pointing out holiness as necessary to his happiness, it bids him God-speed, and directs him to a happiness destruetive of all holiness, both of heart and life. To those passions and appetites which, in a creature designed for a higher state of being, require to be perpetually checked and circumscribed, it gives the supreme dominion. While it promises to admit him into a paradise, it has prepared for him neither intellectual nor spiritual pleasures.
There is scarcely an irrational animal, that is not capable of relishing, with as keen an appetite as he, those delights in which it places the supreme happiness of man. The love of God which it teaches, is not the love of his moral attributes and character. The love of man which it enjoins, is not the love of the whole species, but of those only who are believers in the prophet. It is a persecuting religion, and no such religion can embrace this grand maxim, “whatsoever things ye would that men should do unto
ye also the same unto them.” It neither teaches its votaries to pity, nor to pray for those, who do not embrace its tenets. It has ever been at war with the great principles both of political and civil liberty. Though it bears witness to the truth both of Judaism and Christianity, it has no atoning sacrifice, to the necessity of which, not only these, but even Paganism, in every state of its progress,
, has borne witness. It has no Sanctifier to purify the hearts of men; but of such a Divine Agent, the disciples of a religion which requires no sanctification, cannot be supposed to feel the want. It has indeed hopes sufficient to interest the wicked; but none that can communicate any satisfaction to the pure in heart. It is a religion that has not a point of rest, on which a rational and immortal being can place the sole of his foot. In fine, it is a religion that neither provides for the glory of God, nor for the
happiness of men; a religion which, when compared with Christianity, is as the darkness of midnight contrasted with the splendour of the meridian sun. It is a religion that bears witness to the truth, while it teaches men to believe a lie, and to trust to the most awful deception. Like Paganism, its tendency is to depress and sink the condition of females, from the rank of rational beings, into the mere instruments of sensual pleasure ; and consequente ly, to cut off one half of mankind from all rational and dignified enjoyment; to snap asunder the links of that golden chain, by which husbands and wives, parents and children, are bound together in the mutual intercourse of sensibility, trust, love, and gratitude. Its tendency is, by multiplying the desires of sensual, to subtract from the capacity of rational and spiritual enjoyment, in this world ; and, by inflaming those appetites, for the gratifi. cation of which, the eternal world has prepared no objects, to render the future state of man, a state of everlasting misery and disappointment.
The decline and fall of this abominable imposture, is a subject in which every lover of literature, as well as every lover of religion, every friend to the temporal, as well as every friend to the eternal interests of men, will feel the most animated pleasure. The impostor, it is worthy of our remark, began to assert his claim to the prophetical office, in that very year in which Boniface, the Bishop of Rome, by a grant from Phocas the tyrant, assumed the title of universal bishop. The commencement of the reign of antichrist, and of the delusions of the false prophet, do, there. fore, exactly synchronise; and it is evident from scripture, that as they rose, they will fall together. The Rev. Dr. Buchanan, having made some observations with respect to Arabia, proceeds in this manner :-“ Arabia is also re