תמונות בעמוד

brought Mahomet, the friend of God, he was immediately ad mitted. This first beaven, he tells us, was all of pure silver ; froin whence he saw the stars hanging from it by chains of gold, each as big as mount Noho, near Mecca, in Arabia. On bis entrance he met a decrepid old man, who it seems was our first father Adam ; and, as he advanced, he saw a multitude of an, gels in all manner of shapes ; in the shape of birds, beasts, and men. We must not forget to observe, that Adam had the piety immediately to embrace the prophet, giving God thanks for so great a son ; and then recommended himself to his prayers. From this first heaven, he tells us, that he ascended into the second, which was at the distance of five hundred years' journey above it ; and this he makes to be the distance of erery one of the seven heavens, each above the other. Here the gates being opened to him as before, at his entrance he met Noah, who, rejoicing much at the sight of him, recommended himself to his prayers. This heaven was all of pure gold, and there were twice as many angels in it as in the former; for he tells us that the number of angels in every heaven increased as he advanced, From this second heaven he ascended into the third, which was made of precious stones, where he met Abraham, who also recommended himself to his prayers ; Joseph, the son of Jacob, did the same in the fourth heaven, which was all of emerald ; Moses in the fifth, which was all of adamant ; and John the Baptist in the sixth, which was all of carbuncle : whence he ascended into the seventh, which was all of divine light, and here he found Jesus Christ. However it is observed, that here he alters his style ; for he does not say that Jesus Christ recommended himself to his prayers, but that he recommended himself to the prayers of Jesus Christ.

The angel Gabriel, having brought him thus far, told him that he was not permitted to attend him

further ;

and therefore directed him to ascend the rest of the way to the throne of God by himielf. This he performed with great difficulty, passing through rough and dangerous places, till he came where he heard a voice, saying unto bim, O Mahomet, salute tby Creator ;” whence ascending higher, he came into a place where he saw a vast expansion of light, so exceedingly bright, that his eyes could not bear it. This, it seems, was the habitation of the Almighty, where his throne was placed ; on the right side. of which, he says, God's name and his own were written in these Arabic words S; La ellah ellallah Mahomet reful ollah ;" that is, THERE IS NO GOD BUT GOD, AND MAHOMET IS HIS PROPHET,

,” which is at this day the creed of the Mabometans, Being approached to the divine presence, he tells us, that God entered into a familiar converse with him, revealed to him many bidden mysteries, made him understand the whole of his law, gave him many things in charge concerning his instructing men in the knowledge of it; and, in conclusion, bestowed on him several privileges above the rest of mankind. He then returned, and found the angel Gabriel waiting for him in the place


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Temple of Mecca and Assumption of Mahomet. p. 203.

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where he left him. The angel led him back along the seven heavens, through which he had brought him ; and set him again upon the beast Alborak, which stood tied to the rock near Jerusalem. Then he conducted him back to Mecca, in the same manner as he brought him thence ; and all this within the space of the tenth part of one night.

On his relating this story to the people the next morning after he pretended the thing to have happened, it was received by thein with a general outcry; and the imposture was never in greater danger of being totally blasted, than by this ridiculous Table.

It was deemed at first so grossly ridiculous, that it occasioned the revolt of inany of his disciples, and made his stay at Mecca no longer practicable. But what he lost at Mecca he gained at Medina, then called Yathreb, a city lying 270 miles north-west from Mecca ; which was inhabited, the one part by Jews, and the other by heretical Christians. These two parties did not agree at all; and feuds and factions rose at length so high among them, that one party, exasperated against the other, went over to Mahomet. Thus we are told, that in the thir. teenth year of his mission, there came to him from thence seventy-three men and two women. Twelve of these be retained awhile with him at Mecca, to instruct them in his new religion ; then sent them back to Yathreb, as his twelve apos. tles, there to propagate it in that town. In this they laboured abundantly, and with such success, that, in a short tiine, they drew over the greatest part of the inhabitants; of which Mahomet receiving an account, resolved to go thither immediately, finding it unsafe to continue any longer at Mecca.

Having now obtained the end at which he had long been aiin. ing, that is, that of having a town at his command, he entered upon a scheme entirely new. Hitherto he had been only preaching his religion for thirteen years together; for the remaining ten years of his life he took the sword, and fought for it. He had long been teazed and perplexed at Mecca with questions, and objections, and disputes about what he had preached, by which he was often perplexed and put to silence ; henceforth he forbade all manner of disputing ; telling his disciples, that his religion was to be propagated not by disputing but by fighting. He commanded them therefore to arm themselves, and slay with the sword all that would not embrace it, unless they subınitted to pay a yearly tribute for the redemption of their lives. Having erected his standard, he called them all to come armed to it; and his followers being then very numerous, he made several successful expeditions, and finally succeeded in establishing his religion in almost every part of his own country. After his death it spread over a far greater extent of territory than even Christianity itself. Towards the end of the 10th year of the Hegira,* Mahomet * The flight from Mecca to Medida.

took a journey in pilgrimage to Mecca, where a great concourse of people resorted to him from all parts of Arabia, whom he instructed in his law, and then returned to Medina. This pilgrimage is called by his followers, the pilgrimage of ralediction, because it was the last he made ; for after his return to Medina, he began daily to decline, through the force of poison which he had taken three years before at Caibar. It had been working in hiin all the while, and had at length brought him so low that he was forced on the 28th day of Saphar, the second month of their year, to take to his bed ; and, on the 12th day of the following month, it put an end to his life, after a sickness of thirteen days.

He was buried in the place where he died, which was in the chamber of his best-beloved wile, at Medina ; and there he lies to this day.

Mahomet was a man of good stature and comely aspect, and affected much to be thought like Abraham. He had a piercing and sagacious wit, and was extremely well versed in all those arts which are necessary to lead mankind. In the first part of bis life, he was wicked and licentious, much delighting in rapine, plunder, and blood-shed, according to the usage of the Arabs, who have generally followed this kind of life. The Mahometans, however, would persuade us, that he was a saint from the fourth year of his age : for then, they say, the angel Gabriel separated him from his fellows, while he was at play with them ; and carrying him aside, cut open his breast, took out his heart, and wrung out of it that black drop of blood, in which they imagined was contained the fores peccati ; so that he had none of it ever after. His two predominant passions, however, contradict this opinion. They were ambition and Just. The course which he took to gain empire abundantly shews the former; and the multitude of women with whom he was connected, proves the latter. Wbile Cadiga lived, which was till his fiftieth year, it does not appear that he had any other wife : for, she being the origin and foundation of all his fortunes and grandeur, it is probable he durst not displease her by bringing in another wife. But she was no sooner dead, than be multiplied them to a great number, besides which he had several concubines. They that reckon the fewest, allow him to have married fifteen ; but others reckon them to have been one and twenty, of which five died before him, six he divorced, and ten were alive at his death.

One of the main arguments which the followers of Mahomet used, to account for his having had so many wives, is, that be might beget young prophets : he left, however, neither prophet nor prophetess long behind him of all his wives.

The iwo leading articles of the creed of this denomination of religionists are-the unity of God, and the acknowledgment of Mahomet as his prophet : and, in a catechism, said to have been printed at Constantinople a few years ago, some further particulars are added, and the principal articles to which the young

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