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ficulty, and felt no shame, in producing'a Sura adapted to the wild Euripus of his passions; and Gabriel was introduced, on innumerable occasions, to amplify or explain, amend or abrogate, as occasion required, the doctrines which had been already proclaimed by the same angelic authority, as the perfect and immutable ordinances of heaven.

Even with the first and most obvious principles of morality, the impostor has intermingled the most vile and selfish doctrines. He legislated not to make men benevolent and wise, but to kindle in them, for his own views, the fires of fanaticism, and to train them to the proselyting barbarity of the sword. We trace bim, in his precepts, through all the climax of ambitious persecution. At first, when he was less experienced in the arts of imposture, and the ground on which he stood was every moment ready to crumble from beneath his feet, he declared, with all the meekness of tenderness and of mercy, that he had no command to extend his religion by violence and force; and that the only influence he was permitted to use, was that of persuasion and of truth. But, in proportion as his followers multiplied around him, he displayed the temper and the spirit which meditated the subjection or extirpation of the infidel. A frantic zeal, a desolating bigotry, a savage crusade against tribes and realms which presumed to deny the authority of his mission, were then to be excited under the sanction of celestial command, and as means of procuring celestial favour. At length, presumption, encouraged by success, proclaimed

* xvi. p. 89. Ludovic. Maracc. ch. ii. pp. 34, 35, 38, 41, &c. The abrogated passages were collected in one volume by the Imam, Abu Hashem Habatallah.

to the unbeliever the terrors of vengeance. Το pillage, to persecute, and to destroy the enemies of Islem, were to be accounted as acts of holiness and of virtue; and the highest privileges and distinctions of this world and of the next, were lavishly promised to provoke in the children of the Koran an eternal enmity to the rest of mankind. “The sword,” such is the language of the prophet of Mecca, “is the

key of heaven and hell; a drop of blood shed in “ the cause of God, a night spent in arms, is of

more avail than two months spent in fasting and

prayer. Whoso falleth in battle, his sins are for“ given at the day of judgment, his wounds shall “ be resplendent as vermillion, and odoriferous

as musk, and the loss of his limb shall be supplied

by wings of angels and cherubims *.—They who “ have suffered for my sake and been slain in battle, “ I will surely bring them into a garden watered by “ rivers. Do ye reckon the giving drink to the “ pilgrims, and the visiting of the holy temple, as “ meritorious as the acts performed by him who

fights for the religion of God? They shall not be “ held equal by God. Do ye give alms ? They shall “ be given only to those whose hearts are recon“ ciled t.”—Of these doctrines the result was analogous to the spirit. As we discover in the Koran no law of justice and of benevolence but for the Mussulman, we discover in the Mussulman no charity but for his sect. “ Hell,” he believed, “was to

encompass the unbelievers;" and, in pursuing the infidel with his vengeance, “one of the two “ most excellent things” was to be his portion, victory or martyrdom. Under the pretence of compelling the heathen to embrace his faith, he was to proceed from the plunder of caravans, and the extermination of tribes and villages, to the overthrow and devastation of states and empires. A bitter, a sanguinary, and an exclusive spirit, was thus fed at the very bosom of the religion, which, in its infancy, had lisped the precepts of equity and of compassion. The Deity himself was represented as communicating the precepts which blasphemed his wisdom by their inconsistency, and arraigned his goodness by their cruelty; and a people were taught, by the preaching of an ambitious schemer, to find, in the very piety and devotion of their faith, the justification and the encouragement of all the crimes of intolerant barbarity *

* Gibbon, vol. ix, p. 256. + Kor. vol. ii. ch. ix. p. 131 ; vol. i. ch. iii. p. 91; vol. ii. chap. ix. pp. 243, 251; vol. i. ch. iv. p. 73.

The whole history of the Mahometan religion demonstrates, by the most decisive evidence, the dreadful efficacy of the doctrines thus uttered by its founder, and thus sustained, as he pretended, by the sanctions of heaven. While he took care to justify, by divine authority, the vile and vagrant indulgence of his own appetites, he called into action the most furious and vindictive passions of his followers, and consecrated them to violence and to crime. A host of barbarous savages were let loose upon the world, to accomplish the divine will by persecution and massacre, and to nourish their religion with the blood of man, till it was to extend over prostrate nations the shadow of death. During the whole of the concluding years of the impostor, and through many succeeding centuries, a holy warfare was

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* Kor. ch. ix. vol. ii. pp. 164, 249.

sustained for the most unholy of purposes. Arabia, Persia, Syria, Egypt, and many of the more distant regions of Africa and of Europe, groaned under the scourge of the most portentous despotism. The Jew and the Christian, perhaps, might be allowed to purchase a vile and galling toleration, embittered by the scorn and detestation of the new sect. But to idolators there was no tender even of this degrading mercy, and they were either to embrace the faith or to die. In the wild and convulsive fury of these pious wars, every principle of justice, of charity and of brotherhood, was disdained and sacrificed; and it seemed as if all bright, and holy, and saving virtue, were supposed, by the disciples of the Koran, to exist in the sacred rage of unrestricted proselytism, and the pious vengeance of unpitying extermination.

The Koran, then, is not to be considered as a system for the moral edification of men, but as an instrúment to be first wielded by the execrable ambition of an impostor, and afterwards by the sanguinary fanaticism of a ferocious sect. It was not, however, solely as a member of an association of warriors and enthusiasts, that the compliant Mussulman was to receive the impress of his religion ; he was also to be moulded by his creed in his individual character; and even if he had not been inflamed and barbarized as a sectary, there was yet enough to taint and corrupt him as a man.

Man, it is a trite but just observation, is a frail and erring being. Often nourishing unholy passions within, and assailed by dangerous temptations from without, he pursues his course through life, under various influences unfavourable to virtue; sometimes with rapidity where he ought to pause, and sometimes with languor where he ought to persevere. Even his best motives are vitiated by impurity; he wanders, not only from want of knowledge, but against knowledge ; and the waywardness of his will, and the weakness of his heart, as frequently leave him without inclination, as without strength, to subdue or to resist the seductions of the world.

To foment the arrogance, and encourage the incaution of such a being, is, in every sense, moral and religious, to corrupt him. He who should be taught to walk humbly, cannot be rendered wise by being instructed to walk proudly. He whose first knowledge should be the knowledge of himself, his weakness, his ignorance and his dependence, cannot be enlightened or edified by doctrines which impress him with superciliousness and presumption. The Arabian prophet seems not to have thought so. If he incidentally required humility of heart, the general tenor of his doctrines afforded a flagrant and pernicious contradiction to the precept. His disciples are perpetually represented as' exclusively the fayoured and elect of God. They are immeasurably elevated in hope and privilege above the rest of the world. They monopolize the grace of heaven, and leave nothing but its curses to the Christian, the Gentile and the Jew The door of Paradise, which is to be closed for ever against the rest of mankind, is open solely for their reception; and, instead of being reminded of their frailty and their transgressions, they are informed that they may not only fulfil, but surpass their duty; that, having entitled themselves to divine mercy by their good deeds, they may also overflow with supererogatory virtues ;

; and that they may redeem from wrath the less righteous disciple of the faith, by transferring to his account a portion of their superfluous and super

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