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ineffable glory * Before that judgment seat all hearts shall be laid open to unerring inspection. The sentence shall then be heard, and “it shall

say “ to the keepers of hell, Take those guilty who be“ lieved not in God, and were not solicitous to feed “ the poor; and bind them and cast them into hell, “ and put upon them chains of seventy cubits, for “ they shall have no friend, nor shall they taste of “ food but that which floweth from the body of the “ damned, which none shall eat but the sinnerst.' But for you, ye righteous, awaits the decree of grace

“ You shall be delivered from all evil.” All that ye have done aright upon earth shall be counted in your favour, and be repaid in glory; for “God shall cast on you the brightness of his coun" tenance,” and reward your patient perseverance with a full measure of unfailing joy.

Then shall be renewed the punishment of the guilty. Retribution had already visited them in the grave. Their temples had been bruised by the iron maces of Manker and Nakir, the most obdurate of spirits; and they had been ceaselessly gnawed and stung by dragons with seven heads, the worthy auxiliaries of the interrogating angels. But they shall

and mercy

• Kor. ch. lxix. + Kor. ch. Ixix. * All men, according to a tradition from Mahomet, and the ex. planation of the texts of the Koran, ch. viii. and ch. xlvii. by the best commentators, are examined in the grave on the night of sepulture; and they who do not satisfy the interrogating angels by their answers, are punished as here described. The orthodox Mus. sulmen, in consequence of this tenet,“ direct their graves to be made hollow, that they niay be able to sit up in them the more easily when they shall be examined.” The number of dragons which are to gnaw the bodies of the guilty is ninety-nine. Sale, Prelim. Disc. p. 101.

now depart to a more grievous punishment. Placed on the bridge Sirat, which is built over hell, and is sharper than the edge of a sword, they shall be precipitated, in their endeavours to pass it, into the gulfs below * “ And they shall be chained to “ devils, and dwell amidst burning winds, and scald“ ing waters; and they shall, moreover, abide in the “ darkness of a black smoke, which shall cast forth

sparks as big as towers, and shall in no wise shel“ ter them from the heat, nor be of service against “ the flame t.” “ Then shall they drink, as the thirsty “ camel drinketh, of boiling waters, and their bowels " shall burst with the same I;" and they shall be beaten with maces, and clothed in garments of fire; and as often as they shall attempt to escape from their torments, they shall be dragged back again by evil spirits, who shall say unto them—“Taste ye the pain of burning ||!”

These horrors are vividly contrasted by the joys of Paradise. If the just also shall be placed on the bridge Sirat, they shall pass it with the swiftness of lightning under the guidance of Mahomet and his Moslems g. Then shall they enter the regions of promise, lavishly embellished for their reception, and abounding with whatever may minister to their delight, and indulge the most ardent and the least governable of their passions. Delicious fruits are to be tendered to their hand; they are to wander in vales watered by a thousand rills; their unfailing goblet is to sparkle and overflow with the richest juice of the grape ; and the gentlest breezes,

* Sale, Prelim. Disc. sect. iv. p. 120. + Koran, ch. Ixxvii. 477. ch. I. 393. I Kor. ch. lvi. p. 415.

|| Kor. ch. xx. Sale, Prelim. Dissertat. p. 121.

loaded with fragrance, are to breathe perpetually around them, while the virgin Houris, black-eyed nymphs of immortal beauty, are to be transferred, in ample shares, to enliven and adorn their feasts, and to become for ever the promoters and companions of their joys *.

The Koran delights to dwell yet more minutely on this Paradisaical felicity. From the tribunal of God, it is said, the righteous shall be dismissed “ to gardens of eternal verdure and unrivalled “ beauty. Therein they shall rest upon couches;

a pleasant shade shall spread over them; the “ fruit shall hang so low from the bough as to be

easily gathered ; they shall be served by youths “ of unfading bloom with vessels of silver and of

gold, from which they shall be given to drink of " wine cooled with the water of the fountain of Pa“ radise; they shall be clothed in garments of fine green

silk and brocades, and adorned with brace“ lets of silver, and the Lord shall say, Verily this “ is your reward, and

your

endeavour is gratefully " accepted. And, moreover, green carpets and beau“ teous cushions shall be spread for their delight;

and rivers of milk, and of clarified honey, and of “ wine that sateth not, shall flow around them; and “ celestial nymphs, created of pure musk, secluded “ from public view in spacious pavilions of hollow pearl, a most peculiar race, having complexions “ like rubies and pearls, and refraining their eyes “ from all but their espoused,” shall devote to them, with exclusive fidelity, their cares and their

In the Gothic Elysium the same provision was made for the recompence and indulgence of the warrior and the hero.

loves, and delight to obey them for ever as masters and as lords *

Over these regions of felicity, angels, the friends of the elect, are appointed to preside. They vested with powers adequate to their duty as guardians of paradise; and it is for them to see that the measure of reward is full; to conduct the righteous perpetually to new pleasures in gardens of pomegranates, or by rivers of pure and refreshing waters; and to execute the divine will by perfecting and perpetuating the felicity of the blest.

In this singular romance of reward and punishment, we discover many lofty details and many high conceptions, mingled with the most palpable and puerile absurdities. Virgil would not have admitted “ witnesses,” and '“ sunimoners,” and “ angels “ armed with iron maces,” and “ winged camels “ with saddles of gold,” and “ beauteous damsels " of organized musk," and immortal beings “ clothed “ in green silk ;” but his admirable work t, though it may not betray such wantonness and wildness of imagination, is far surpassed in the horror and the beauty which Mahomet has so profusely scattered over his scenes of retribution and of joy. The dull and shadowy Elysium, in which the discontented shades indulge their melancholy in myrtle groves, and fling the javelin, or harness the steed';, will not be compared with the rich and vivid paradise through which the Mussulman is to wander at will under the guardianship of spirits of heaven, and in which he is to enjoy for ever, and with unsated appetite,

* Koran, ch. Iv. ch. xlvii. + The sixth book of the Æneid, one of the most splendid monuments which the Muse has ever dedicated to immortality.

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all the delights of the goblet and the feast, which his most ardent and most voluptuous passions can require. If the Paradise be sensual, the Elysium is sensual also; but the scenery and enjoyments of the last are gloomy and languid; while the scenery of the first is bright and gorgeous, and the enjoy, ments are sufficient to the fruition of the beings who are to share them. The fiction of the Roman bard was not calculated to excite, in the bosom of the living, a wish to merit, or to procure, the posthumous rewards which it describes; but that of the prophet, as we know, kindled the highest emotions in the mind of the Arab, and not only sustained him in the toils and dangers of war, but in the sufferings of martyrdom. Nor is the hell of Tartarus equal, in sublimity and horror, to the hell of the Koran. In the former the lash resounds, the furies rage, the stone is heaved, the wheel revolves, and the parched and famished lips in vain endeavour to taste the coolness of the stream, or refresh themselves with the mocking and fugitive fruit. But the regions to which the guilty Islem are devoted, are far more terrifying to the sinner; and the punishments which the angel of retribution is here to impose, cannot be surpassed in the vividness with which they are described, nor in the anguish which they are to inflict. To live for ever amidst “ burning winds and scalding waters, to feed on " that which floweth from the bodies of the damned, “ to be chained in eternal association with devils, “ to be clothed in garments of fire,” to be mocked by the tormenter—“Taste ye the pain of burning !are denunciations which we may not compare with the feebler menaces that remind the sinner of the labours of Sisyphus, the wheel of Ixion, or the hunger and thirst of Tantalus; and we do not

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