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means.

but the history of the Christian miffion in other countries, where the efficacy of the mission is deft solely to the canviation wrought by the preaching of Atrangers, presents the same idea, as the lo. dian million does, of the feebleness and inadequacy of human

About twenty-five years ago, was published in Enge Jand, a tranflation from the Dutch of a history of Greenland, and a relation of the mission, for above thirty years carried op in that country, by tbe. Unitas Fratrum or Moravians. Every: part of that relation confirms the opinion we have: ftated. Nothing could furpass, or hardly equal, the zeal and patience of the missionaries. Yet their historian, in the conclusion of his narrative, could fod place for no reflections more encoura- . ging than the following :-"A person that had known the heathen, that had seen the little benefit from the great pains hitherto taken with them, and considered that one after another had abandoned all, hopes of the conversion of those inhdels: (and fome thought they would never be converted, till they faw miracles wrought as in the apostle's days, and this the Greenlanders expected and demanded of their instructors) one that confidered this, I say, would not wonder at the paft unfruitful. ness of these young beginners, as at their stedfalt perseverance in the midlt of nothing but distress, difficulties and impediments, internally aod externally ; and that they never desponded of the conversion of those poor. creatures amidst all seeming ima. poflibilities.”

From the widely disproportionate effects, which attend the preaching of modern missionaries of Christianity, compared with : what followed the ministry of Christ and his apostles, uoder circumstances either alike, or not so unlike as to account for the difference, a conclufion is fairly drawn, in support of what our histories deliver concerning them, that they poffefied means of

conviction, which we have not ; that they had proofs to appeali to, which we want.

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Sect. III:

Of the Religion of Mahomet. THE only event in the history of the human species, which admits of comparison with the propagation of Christianity, is the success of Mahometanism. The Mahometan institution was

a Hin. Greenlaod, vol. ll. p. 376,

ture.”

rapid in its progress, was recent in its history, and was founded upon a fupernatural or prophetic character assumed by, its anthor.In these articles the resemblance with Christianity is confeffet Bat there are points of difference, which separate, we apprehend; the two cases entirely.

I. Mahomet did not found his pretenfions upon miracles, properly so called ; that is, upon proofs of supernatural agency, capable of being known and attested by others.

Christians are warranted in this aftertion by the evidence of the Koran, in which Mahomet not only does not affect the power of working miracles, but expressly difclaims it. The following passages of that book furnish direct proofs of the truth of what we allege : “ The infidels say, Unless a sign be sent down unto him front his lord, we will not believe ; thou art a preacher only." Again," nothing hindered us from sending thee with miraclės, except

that the former nations have charged them with impof

And lastly; "they say, Unless a sign be sent down unto him from his lord, we will not believe ; anfwer; · Signs are in the power of God alone, and I am no more than 2 public preacher Is it not fufficient for them, that we have : sent down unto them the book of the Koran to be read unto them ??? Beside these acknowledgments, I have observed thir: teen distinct places, in which Mahonet puts the objection (utless a fign, &c.) into the mouth of the unbeliever, in not one of which does he allege a miracle-in reply. His anfwer is," that God'giveth the power of working miracles. when and to where he pleafeth ;?!d that if he should work :miracles, they would not believe ;?€ "that they had before rejected Mofes; and Je-sus, and the prophets, who wrought miracles ;"F" that the-Koranı itself was a miracle.!'!.

The only place in the Korán, in which it cần be pretended that-a sensible miracle is referred to (for I do not allow the lecret visitations of Gabriel, the night journey: of: Mahomet-to heaven, or the presence in battle of invisible hosts of angels, to? deserve the name of fenfible miracles) is the beginning of the fifty-fourth" chapter. The words are these : « The bourt of judgment approacheth, and the moon hath beenSplit in fundaer, but if the unbelievers see a sign, they, turn aside, sayinga: This is a powerful charm." The Mahometan expositors disap gree in their interpretation of this paffage; some explaining it to be a mention of the splitting of the moon, as one of the future signs, of the approach of the day of judgment; others referring it to à miraculous appearance which had then taken place. It seems to me not improbable, that Mahomet may have taken advantage of some extraordinary halo, or other unusual appearance of the moon, which had happened about that time, and which supplied a foundation both for this paffage, and for the ftory, which ia after times had been raised out of it.

a-Sale's Koran, c, xiii. p. 201:edquarto.

d'c. xvii. p. 2320 célb. c. xxix. P. 328.

dc. v. X. xiii. twice Cc. vir

f. So ifi, xxi.xxviih,

& c. xvir

After this more than filence; after these authentic confeffiones of the Koran, we are not to be moved withr miraculous fories related of Mahomet by Abulfeda, who wrote his life above fix undred years after his death, or which are found in the legend of Al Jannabi, who came two hundred years

later: On the contrary, from comparing what Mahomet himself wrote and faids with what was afterwards reported of him by his followers, the plain and fair conclufion is, that, when the religion was established by conqueft, then, and not till theng, came out the stories of his miracles.

Now, this difference alone constitutes, in my opinion, a bar. to all reasoning from one case to the other. The success ofą. religion founded upon a miraculous history, fhows the credit svhich was given to the history; and this credit; under the circumstances in which it was given, i. e. by perfons capable of knowing the truth, and interested to inquire after it, is evidence of the reality of the history, and; by confequence, of the truth of the religion. Where a miraculous history is not alleged, no part of this argument can be applied: We admit that multitụdes. acknowledged the pretensions of Mahomet ;; but these pretenfions being destitute of miraculous evidence, we know that the grounds upon which they were acknowledged, could not be secure grounds of perfuafion to his followers, nor their example any authority to us. Admit the whole of Mahomet's authentic history, so far as it was of a nature capable of being known or

a Vide Sale in loc.. It does-pot; I*think, appear, thạc thesc.historians had any written! accounts to appcaļ to more ancient than the Sonnah, which was a cole. lection of traditions, made by order of the Caliphs, two hundred years after Mahomet's death. Mahomet died A. D. 632; Al. Bochari, one of the fix doctors who compiled the Sonnah, was born A. D. 8693. Bridcau's Life of Mahomet, P: 197. ed., 7th...

witnessed by others, to be true, (which is certainly to admit a! the reception of the religion can be brought to prove) and Man homet might be still an impostor, or enthusiast, or an' union of both. Admit to be true almost any part of Christ's history, of that, I mean, which was public, and within the cognizance of his followers, and he must have come from Godi Where mate ter of fact is in question, where miracles are not alleged, I do not see that the progress of a religion is a better argument of its truth, than the prevalency of any system of opinion in natural religion, morality, or physics, is a proof of the truth of those opinions. And we know that this sort of argument is inade niissible in any branch of philosophy whatever.

But it will be faid, If one religion could make its way with Ollt miracles, why might not another ? To which I reply, first, That this is not the question: the proper' question is noty wliether a religious institution could be fee пр without miracles, but whether a religion, or a change of religion, founding itself in miracles, could succeed without any reality to rest upon.

I apprehend these two cases to be very different ; and I apprea hend Mahomet's not taking this course to be one proof, amongst ethers, that the thing is difficult, if not imposible, to be accomplished: certainly it was not from an unconsciousness of the value and importance of miraculous evidence, for it is very obo fervable, that in the fame volume, and sometimes in the same chapters, in which Mahomet fo repeatedly disclaims the power of working miracles hinself, he is inceffantly referring to the miracles of preceding prophets. One would imagine, to bear ' Some men talk, or to read some books; that the setting up of a religion by dint of miraculous pretences was a thing of every day's experience ; whereas I believe, that, except the Jewish and Christian religion, there is no tolerably well authenticated. account of any such thing having been accomplished.

II. Secondly, the establishment of Mahomet's religion was effected by caufes, which, in no degree, appertained to the ori. gin of Christianity.

During the first twelve years of his mission, Mahomet had recourse only to persuasion. This is allowed. And there is fufficient reason from the effect to believe, that if he had con. fined himself to this mode of propagating his religion, we of the present day. Nould, never have heard either of him or it « Three years were filently employed in the conversion of fourteen profelytes. For ten years the religion advanced with flew and painful progress within the walls of Mecca. The number of profelytes in the seventh year of his mission

may

be estimated by the absence of eighty-three men and eighteen women, who retired to Ethiopia. Yet this progres, such as it was, appears to have been aided by some very important advan. Łages, which Mahomet found in his ftuation, in his mode of conducting his design, and in his doctrine.

1. Mahomet was the grandson of the most powerful and honourable family in Mecca ; and although the early death of his father had not left him a patrimony suitable to his birth, he had, long before the commencement of bis misfon, repaired this deficiency by an opulent marriage. A person considerable by his wealth, of high defcent, and nearly allied to the chiefs of his country, taking upon himself the character of a religious teacher, would not fail of attracting attention and followers.

2. Mahomet conducted his design, in the outset especially, with great art and prudence. He conducted it as a politician would conduct a plot. His firft application was to his own family. This gained him his wife's uncle, a confiderable person in Mecca, together with his cousin Ali, afterwards the celebrated Caliph, then a youth of great expectation, and even already distinguished by his attachment, impetuosity and courage. He next addressed himself to Abu Becr, a man amongst the first of the Koreith in wealth and influence. The interest and ex. ample of Abu Becr drew in five other principal persons in Mecca, whose solicitations prevailed upon five more of the same Tank. This was the work of three years, during which time every thing was transacted in secret. Upon the strength of these allies, and under the powerful protection of his family, who, however some of them might disapprove his enterprise, or deride his pretensions, would not suffer the orphan of their house, the relict of their favourite brother, to be insulted,--Mahonet now commenced his public preaching. And the advance which he made, during the nine or ten remaining years of his

a Gibbon's Hift. vol. IX. p. 244. et seq. ed. Dub. b of which Mr. Gibbon has preserved the following specimen :" When Mahvinet called out in an affembly of his family, who among you will be my companion and my vizir ? Ali, then only in the fourieeath year of his age, suddenly replied, O prophet, I am the man; whofoever rises against thee, I will dash out his teeth, tear out his eyes, break his legs, rip up his belly. O prophct, I will be thy vizir over them." Yol. IX. p. 245

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