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definitions have been carefully collated with those of Meninski, and the errors rectified. Many thousands of words given by the latter, though omitted by Richardson, have been inserted. In all cases of doubt, an appeal has been made from Meninski and Golius to the Camus; from which source likewise thousands of words are added, which were overlooked by Golius. What we have mentioned would be quite enough to set the work immeasurably above the first edition. But the half is not yet told. The whole of Willmet’s excellent lexicon, adapted to the Koran, Hariri, and the Life of Timur, is incorporated here. And as only a small portion of Hariri had been published, when that work appeared, the definitions given in the Arabic Scholia to Hariri, contained in De Sacy's beautiful edition, (1 vol. fol. Paris, 1822,) have been translated and inserted in their places.
A slight comparison convinced us, that the original work had undergone surprising changes; but we must confess that we were somewhat startled by the assertion of such large improvements, especially the incorporation of so great a mass of valuable matter-even of whole books. To satisfy our scruples, we have resorted to experiment, trying the dictionary upon certain passages taken promiscuously from the Koran and Hariri. Though we dare not vouch for the perfection of so large a work, we freely say, that so far as we have gone, the editor's pretensions have been fully verified.
Besides the improvements which have been already mentioned, there is another of considerable moment. Regard has been had in this edition to the forms of Arabic grammar. Roots are given and defined as such, and in various minor points, an effort has been made to render the book subservient to the study of that language, independently of the Persian. Add to this, that many medical, rhetorical, botanical and legal terms, and the peculiar local signification of many others, have been supplied, and we are ready for the Editor's assertion, that “ from various and authentic sources he has been enabled to enrich the present work by the addition of more than thirty-eight thousand words, Persian and Arabic; also to arrange and suppply numerous important meanings that had been overlooked, or purposely omitted, in more than half the words.contained in the second edition."
The confidence of the scholar is further increased by a knowledge of the fact, that this third edition comes forth with the sanction of the celebrated scholar who prepared the second; Dr. Wilkins having examined every sheet before the final impression.
We have said thus much about this sumptuous and colossal book, because the increasing taste and zeal for Oriental studies give an interest to every thing adapted to facilitate and forward them. We have no idea that it will find its way into many private libraries; but we do think that it should have place upon the shelves and tables of those public institutions, where the taste for such pursuits is generally fostered, and sometimes created, by accidental contact with a work like this. A larger supply of philological appliances, and a freer access to them, on the part of students, would, we think, without constraint, or even formal exhortation, do a great deal for the benefit of biblical, classical, and oriental learning. Many scholars, both in Europe and America, can, no doubt, trace their relish for the course of study which they have pursued, to incidents almost too trivial for rememberance; the opening of a book, a casual conversation, or an item of intelligence. Philological reading-rooms have done much good, not so much by direct operation on the intellect, as by their indirect influence upon the taste. Why may they not be multiplied ?
ART. V.-HISTORICAL STATEMENTS OF THE KORAN.*
THE Mohammedan imposture is, in some respects, the most remarkable of all false religions. The specious simplicity of its essential doctrines, and its perfect freedom from idolatry, distinguish it forever from the gross mythology of classical and oriental paganism. But besides these characteristics, it displays a third, more interesting still. We mean the peculiar relation which it bears to Christianity. Whether it happened from a happy accident or a sagacious policy, we think it clear that Islam owes a vast proportion of its vast success, to the fact that Mohammed built upon another man's foundation. Assuming the correctness of the common doc
* The citations in this article are chiefly in the words of Sale, with occasional departures from his phraseology, too minute to need specification. Where there is more than a verbal difference, the reader is apprized of it.
trine that the impostor was a brilliant genius, though a worthless libertine, and that his book is the offspring, not of insane stupidity, but of consummate artifice, there certainly is ground for admiration in the apparent union of simplicity and efficacy in the whole design. The single idea of admitting freely the divine legation of the Hebrew seers, and exhibiting himself as the topstone of the edifice, the Last Great Prophet, and the Paraclete of Christ, has certainly the aspect of a master stroke of policy. Besides conciliating multitudes of Jews and soi-disant Christians, at the very first, this circumstance has aided the imposture not a little ever since. It relieves the Moslem doctors from the dire necessity of waging war against both law and gospel. Whatever can be cited from the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures, without disparaging Mohammed, they admit as readily as any Jew or Christian. Whatever, on the contrary, is hostile to his doctrines or pretensions, or at all at variance with the statements of the Koran, is disposed of, not by an absolute rejection of the Bible, but by a resort to the convenient supposition of corruption in the text. It is not the policy of Islam to array itself against the Jewish and the Christian dispensations, as an original and independent system; but to assume the same position in relation to the Gospel, which the Gospel seems to 'hold in relation to the Law—or, in other words, to make itself the grand dénouement of that grand scheme, of which the Old and New Testaments were only the preparatory stages. Indeed, if we were fully satisfied that the Rasool Allah* had any plan at all, we should be disposed to account for it in this way.
He was acquainted with three forms of religion, Judiasm, Christianity, and Paganism. Disgusted with the latter, he was led, we may suppose, to make some inquiries into the points of difference, between the Jews and Christians. This he could not do, without discovering their singular relation to each otherthe Christians acknowledging the Scriptures of the Jews, but adding others to them, and regarding Jesus Christ as the Mes. siah—the Jews on the other hand rejecting the New Testament, and bitterly denying the Messiahship of Christ.
Christ. This fact might very readily suggest the project of a new dispensation—a third one to the Christian, and a second to the Jew. The impostor would thus be furnished with an argument ad hominem to stop the mouths of both. To the Jews he could say, Did not Moses tell your fathers that a prophet should rise up in the latter days, greater than all before him? I am he. Do you doubt it? Here is a revelation just received from Gabriel. Do not all your sacred books predict the coming of a great deliverer, a conqueror, a king? I am he. In a few months you shall see me at the head of a thousand tribes going forth to the conquest of the world. If this was the ground really taken at first, how striking must have been the seeming confirmation of these bold pretensions, when Mohammed and his successors had in fact subjected, not Arabia only, but Greece, Persia, Syria, and Egypt.
* The Apostle of God. We are not aware that Mohammed ever called him. self a prophet.
To the objection of the Christians, that the line of prophets was long since completed, he could answer, Did not Jesus come to abrogate or modify the law, when its provisions were no longer suited to the state of things? Even so come I, to supersede the Gospel—not to discredit, but to render it unnecessary, by a more extensive and authoritative doctrine. So far from being antichrist (as some no doubt objected) I am the very Comforter whom Jesus promised.
That such sophistry might easily have undermined the faith of renegadoes and half-pagan Christians, is certainly conceivable. Whether this was in fact the course adopted in the infancy of Islam, will admit a doubt. Be that as it may, it is certain, that the impostor considered it expedient to incorporate the leading facts of sacred history into his revelation, so far as they were known to him. That his knowledge of the subject was imperfect, need not excite our wonder. The sources which probably supplied his information, could scarcely be expected to emit a purer stream than that which irrigates the pages of the Perspicuous Book.
Sale's Koran is a very common book, and has passed through a surprising number of editions, considering its character. The text is, however, of necessity so dull, that nobody can read it patiently for fifteen minutes, without taking refuge in the more amusing matter of the notes and preface. Were there any continuity, connexion, consistency, or unity to be discovered in it, this would be of less importance. But in such a jumble of discordant elements, it is hard to get any information by just reading on in course.
Remote parts must be brought together, and arranged, in order to enucleate the mysteries of Islam; a task which most would look upon as vastly disproportioned to the value of the object. And yet it is important that the Koran should be better understood.
It is daily growing more important, and will very soon be thought imperatively necessary. Theological students who look forward to the missionary service, are too apt to underrate one class of difficulties, while perhaps they magnify another. You will find a man hesitating whether he shall run the risk of being bastinadoed, or of dying with the plague, while he forgets that if he had a perfect security against infection, and corporeal violence, he might still be disappointed and defeated in his whole design. That a man should go to convert the Moslems, with an impression on his mind, that they are fools or children, is not merely proof of ignorance on his part, but a melancholy omen for the cause which he espouses. It would be well, therefore, if at this time, when the Mohammedans are objects of so much attention to the friends of missions, a little preparatory study could be spent upon the Koran. It is certainly desirable that he who undertakes the instruction of a Mussulman, should know what the false opinions are which he must combat. If he expects to find the mind of his catechumen a tabula rasa on the subject of religion, he will find himself most grievously at fault Such strength of prejudice has rarely been exhibited, as that which is the product of a thorough education in the doctrines of Mohammed, aggravated, as it must be, by the fixed belief of fatalism. No less erroneous, on the other hand, is the opinion, that the Moslem's creed is wholly false, and must be utterly destroyed before the truth can find admission. There are two questions, therefore, which the missionary should know how to answer : what are the peculiar dogmas of Mohammed's system? and what has it in common with the true religion? It ought to be considered as a great advantage, that the facts of sacred history are not wholly unknown to the Mohammedans. For though they may consider our intelligence as borrowed from their
Book, it is, neverless, something to be able to appeal to striking facts, by way of illustration, confirmation, or induction. This might, as it were, present a vulnerable point, when all the rest is shielded in impenetrable prejudice. A beginning might be made by a judicious use of facts which they believe as well as we, from which occasion might be taken to correct the errors of Mohammed's narrative, and eventually to demonstrate and explain important truths.
What are these facts, then? or, in other words, how large a portion of the sacred history has been wrought into the Ko