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a pride in having, as far as possible, the most express and lively images of the most remarkable circumstances that occurred at the birth of their religion, they never forget to serve up at table on this day a cake made moderately thick, which they call the CAKE OF Sinal. This is to remind them of Mount Sinai, on which God gave them the law.
The Jews formerly called Pentecost the feast of the Harvest, and day of First Fruits, because the first of their corn and fruit was at that time offered in the temple, which was the close of this solemnity ; but this can never be in Europe, harvest falling always much later than Whitsuntide. It might, however, bear this name in the land of Canaan, Arabia, and in the neighbourhood of the Red Sea.
Upon this day their tradition assures us that the law was given on Mount Sinai ; for which reason they adorn their synagogues, the HECHAL, or Ark, the reading-desk—also their lamps and candlesticks, and even their houses, with roses and other gay and odoriferous flowers and herbs, beautifully wreathed in the form of crowns and festoons. Of these decorations they are very profuse.
Their prayers are adapted to the feast, and they read the account of the sacrifice made on that day out of the Pentateuch : also the AFTARA, out of the Prophets, and the benediction for their prince. In the afternoon there is a sermon preached, in commemoration of the law. When the second day of the feast is over, the ceremony of the HABDALLA is performed in the evening, as at the close of the Passover, to denote that the feast is concluded.
A TABLE OF OFFICES AND CONDITIONS OF MEN.
Patriarchs, or Fathers of Families—Such as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and his sons. Judges—Temporary Supreme Governors, immediately appointed by God over the
children of Israel. Kings_And they either of the whole nation, or, after the falling off of the ten tribes, of
Judah or Israel. Elders–Senators, the LXX., or Sanhedrin. Judges—Inferior Rulers, such as determine controversies in particular cities. Israelites --Hebrews, descendants from Jacob. An Hebrew of Hebrews-An Israelite by original extraction. A Proselyte of the Covenant-Who was circumcised, and submitted to the whole law. A Proselyte of the Gate-Or stranger, who worshipped one God, but remained uncir.
OFFICERS UNDER THE ASSYRIAN OR PERSIAN MONARCHS. Tirshatha—Or Governor appointed by the kings of Assyria or Persia. Heads of the Captivity-The chief of each tribe or family, who exercised a precarious
government during the Captivity.
UNDER THE GRECIAN MONARCHS.
Maccabees—The successors of Judas Maccabeus, high-priests, who presided with
UNDER THE ROMAN EMPEROR. Presidents, or Governors–Sent from Rome with imperial power. Tetrarchs-Who had kingly power in four provinces. Proconsulsm-Or Deputies of Provinces.
ECCLESIASTICAL OFFICERS, OR SECTS OF MEN. High Priests—Who only might enter the Holy of Holies. Second Priests, or Sagan, who supplied the high-priest's office, in case he were disabled High Priests for the War-Set apart for the occasion of an expedition. Priests—Levites of the sons of Aaron, divided into twenty-four ranks, each rank
serving weekly in the temple. Levites-Of the tribe of Levi, but not of Aaron's family : of these were three orders, –
Gershonites, Koharthites, Merarites, several sons of Levi. Nethinims-Inferior servants to the priests and Levites, not of their tribe, to draw
water and cleave wood, &c. Prophets-Anciently called Seers, who foretold future events, and denounced God's
judgments. Children of the Prophets—Their disciples or scholars. Wise Men—So called in imitation of the Eastern Magi, or Gentile Philosophers. Scribes-Writers and expounders of the law. Disputers—That raised and determined questions out of the law. Rabbins or Doctors—Teachers of Israel. Libertines-Freedmen of Rome, who, being Jews or proselytes, had a synagogue or
oratory for themselves. Gaulonites, or Galileans-Who pretended it unlawful to obey a heathen magistrate. Herodians-Who shaped their religion to the times, and particularly flattered Herod. Epicureans-Who placed all happiness in pleasure. Stoics-Who denied the liberty of the will, and pretended all events were determined by
fatal necessity. Simon Magnus-Author of the heresy of the Gnosticks, who taught that men, however
vicious their practice was, should be saved by their knowledge. Nicolaitans—The disciples of Nicolus, one of the first seven Deacons who taught the
community of wives. Nazarites-Who, under a vow, abstained from wine, &c. Nazarenes-Jews professing Christianity. Zelots, Sicarii, or murderers—Who, under pretence of the law, thought themselves
authorised to commit any outrage. Pharisees Separatists, who, upon the opinion of their own godliness, despised all
others. Sadducees – Who denied the resurrection of the dead, angels, and spirits. Samaritans—Mongrel professors, partly heathen, and partly Jews, the offspring of the
Assyrians sent to Samaria. Apostles-Missionaries, or persons sent; they who were sent by our Saviour from their
number were called The Twelve. Bishops-Successors of the Apostles in the government of the Church. Deacons—Officers chosen by the Apostles to take care of the poor.
HISTORY AND RELIGIOUS CUSTOMS OF THE
LIFE OF MAHOMET.
It is an often-repeated, but just remark, that“ Great effects frequently proceed from little causes." This is pre-eminently true when applied to
Mahometanism; since there appears to be scarcely any Mahometanism.
ground of comparison between its author and the changes which his system has wrought in the world; changes by far greater than any others introduced into the civilized world by a single cause, if we except those wrought by Christianity.
Mahometanism has now existed for more than twelve hundred years. It has spread its delusions over some of the fairest portions of the globe. At the
present time, it may be found holding an almost undisputed where it exists. sway throughout the Turkish dominions in Europe, Asia,
and Africa ; in the Barbary states, in the interior of Africa; the eastern coast of Africa, and the island of Madagascar; in Arabia ; the Persian states; the Russian states of Little Tartary, Astrachan, Kazan, Kirghis, Kazaks, &c.; amongst the independent Tartars ; in a great part of Hindoostan ; many of the Eastern islands, as Malay, Sumatra, Java, &c. &c.; and may be traced in different parts even of the vast empire of China. Its blinded and deluded votaries are estimated at from one hundred, to one hundred and twenty millions.
That Mahomet was a remarkable man in many respects must be admitted. He had doubtless native talents of a superior order, and an
ambition for power and authority which scarcely knew any The success of bounds ; but these are insufficient to account for the reMahometanism not to be attri- ligious and political ascendency which he gained, or the buted entirely to wide diffusion and enduring permanence of that system of the genius of its
imposture which he palmed upon the world. The means author.
employed by him were entirely disproportioned to the success which crowned his efforts. How theu shall the problem of his success be resolved ? The state of
the Eastern world, where this imposture began, was indeed Not to the state of the Christian favourable to its spread. For several centuries following world, although the apostolic age, the Christian religion subsisted in a that was favour great degree in its original purity and simplicity. But a
gradual decline of the spirit of Christianity took place.
Ignorance, superstition, and corruption prevailed to an alarming extent ; and by the commencement of the seventh century, the state of the Christian world had become gloomy and appalling. In the eastern parts of the Roman empire, especially Syria and the countries bordering upon Arabia, as well as in some parts of Arabia itself, these evils were aggravated by the numerous sects and heresies that prevailed, and by the incessant controversial wars which they waged with each other. The church was torn to pieces by the furious disputes of the Arians, Sabellians, Nestorians, Eutychians, and Collyridians, by whom the great doctrines of Christianity were so confounded with metaphysical subtleties and the jargon of schools, that they ceased, in great measure, to be regarded as a rule of life, or as pointing out the only way of salvation. The religion of the Gospel, the blessed source of peace, love, and unity among men, became, by the perverseness of sectaries, a firebrand of burning contention Council after council was called - canon after canon was enacted-prelates were traversing the country in every direction in the prosecution of party purposes, resorting to every base art, to obtain the authoritative establishment of their own peculiar tenets, and the condemnation and suppression of those of their adversaries. The contests also for the episcopal office ran so high, particularly in the West, that the opposing parties repeatedly had recourse to violence, and, in one memorable instance, the interior of a Christian church was stained by the blood of a number of the adherents of the rival bishops, who fell victims totheir fierce contentions. Yet it is little to be wondered at, that these places of preferment should have been so greedily sought after by men of corrupt minds, when we learn that they opened the direct road to wealth, luxury, and priestly power. Ancient historians represent the bishops of that day as enriched by the presents of the opulent, as riding abroad in pompous state in chariots and sedans, and surpassing in the extravagance of their feasts the sumptuousness of princes; while, at the same time, the most barbarous ignorance was fast overspreading the nations of Christendom, the ecclesiastical orders themselves not excepted. Among the bishops, the legitimate instructors and defenders of the church, numbers were to be found incapable of composing the poor discourses which their office required them to deliver to the people, or of subscribing the decrees which they passed in their councils. The little learning in vogue was chiefly confined to the monks. But they, instead of cultivating science, or diffusing any kind of useful knowledge, squandered their time in the study of the fabulous legends of pretended saints and martyrs, or in composing histories equally fabulous.
This woful corruption of doctrine and morals in the clergy was followed, as might be expected, by a very general depravity of the common people; and though we cannot suppose that God left himself altogether without witnesses in this dark period, yet the number of the truly faithful had dwindled down to a mere remnant, and the wide-spreading defection seemed to call aloud for the judgments of heaven.*
Although the state of the Christian world was thus favourable to the spread of the Mahometan imposture, this is by no means sufficient to account
* Bush's Life of Mahomet.
But to the spe
for its mighty results, and especially for its continuance, through sucli
a lapse of time. We are forced, therefore, to look for a cial providence more adequate cause, and that cause can be nothing less
than the special providence of God. Indeed, the appearance of the Arabian prophet in the world, and the rise, progress, and results of his imposture, are clearly foretold in the sacred volume, as the reader
The rise and may see, Daniel vii. 8–26. Revelation ix. 1-19. All progress of Ma- the reasons which the Infinite Mind may have had in perbiometanism fore- mitting this arch-heresy to find a dwelling-place on earthtold in the scrip- to spread its branches so widely—to take such deep root
--to bear such deadly fruit for so long a period—all the moral ends in view may be unknown; but the wisdom of God in this as well as every other dispensation of his providence, will ultimately stand forth as clearly as if the sunbeams shone upon it, and the now inscrutable mystery will be justified by all his children.
We shall conclude these introductory remarks with the following quotation from Dr. Prideaux, on the moral ends of Providence, in suffer
ing this desolating scourge to arise at that particular period ends of it, ac. of the world which gave it birth. “At length," says he, cording to Dr. “having wearied the patience and long-suffering of God, he
raised up the Saracens to be the instruments of his wrath to punish them for it; who, taking advantage of the weakness of their power, and the distraction of counsels which their divisions had caused among them, overran, with a terrible devastation, all the eastern provinces of the Roman empire; and having fixed that tyranny over them which hath ever since afflicted those parts of the world, turned everywhere their churches into mosques, and their worship into a horrid superstition ; and instead of that holy religion which they had abused, forced on them the abominable imposture of Mahomet. Thus those once glorious and most flourishing churches, for a punishment of their wickedness, being given up to the insult, ravage, and scorn of the worst of enemies, were on a sudden overwhelmed with so terrible a destruction as hath reduced them to that low and miserable condition under which they have ever since groaned; the all-wise providence of God seeming to continue them thus unto this day under the pride and persecution of Mahometan tyranny, for no other end but to be an example and warning unto others against the wickedness of separation and division."
Mahomet, the founder of the Moslem* or Mahometan religion, was
* The following list of names and titles, some of which it will be convenient for us to use
in the present article, and all of which frequently occur in accounts relating to the East, together with their etymological import, is taken from a highly-celebrated work, “ Bush's
Life of Mahomet." МлноМЕТ, , MOHAMMED, , From HAMED; praised, highly celebrated, illustrious, glorious. AHMED. MOSLEM, MUSSULMAN, All from the same root, Aslam; signifying to yield up, dedicate, consecrate ISLAM,
entirely to the service of religion. ISLAMISM. Koran.—From Kara, to read; the reading, legend, or that which ought to be read. Caliph.-.d successor ; from the Hebrew CHALAPH ; to be changed, to succeed, lo pass
round in a revolution.