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conqueror. But the people were not to be permitted to attribute the infamy of such a massacre to the prophet. He had his justification; for the Almighty directed his arm, and authenticated the deed. In this manner the Deity is degraded to subserve the passions of his pretended minister; in this manner he is exhibited as the abettor of the worst and foulest crimes; and, when we consider him as thus accommodating himself to the vile and vicious propensities, and the cruel and unmitigated barbarity, of an ambitious Arab, we are averted with painful emotion from a Being so devoid of goodness and of wisdom, and we may scarcely be allowed to prefer him either to the Jupiter of the Greek, or to the Brama of the Hindu *

But the divinity of Mahomet is not merely exhibited as the friend of grossness, ferocity, and corruption. He is represented as descending to the meanest and most contemptible employments. With precepts for the moral regulation of the world, he mingles rules for the correction and restraint of female perversity, and for the use and mode of female ornamentst. His laws, sometimes directed to the best interests, frequently minister to the illegitimate appetites, of men, and he may be said to announce with the same care, the permission and order of impure enjoyment, and the discipline which is necessary to train mankind for eternityI.

* Appendix, Note I.

+ “ Those whose perverseness ye shall be apprehensive of, rebuke, and remove them into separate apartments, and chastise them. 'Kor. ch. iv. p. 100. Let them throw a veil over their bosoms, and not shew their ornaments, nor make a noise with their feet, that the ornaments which they hide may be thereby disclosed. Kor. ch. xxiv. vol. 2. p. 192.

1 White. Bampton Lect. Serm. ix. See also Koran, ch. ii. p. 40. The passage may not be quoted.

“ In God there is no variableness, neither shadow “ of turning. He is the same yesterday, to-day, and “ for ever.” The divinity of the Koran is a different Being. Mutable as the policy, or the fortunes, of the prophet, he varies his laws with the facility with which he utters them, and varies them for the accommodation and indulgence of the impostor. The doctrine which was given as an eternal rule, is soon, if occasion require, to be abrogated as pernicious or absurd. Stability of purpose and of will is lost in the frailty of change; and the decrees of an omniscient Divinity are announced, confirmed, or repealed, according to the revolutions in the views and passions of a scheming, corrupt, and ambitious mortal*.

The Deity of Mahomet is, then, an inconsistent and contradictory Being.' He is the High and the Mighty, whose wisdom never fails; and the degraded abettor of brutal incontinence and lust. He is the living and self-existing, whose throne extendeth over the universe ; and the merciless preceptor of massacre and of spoliation. The perfect source of goodness and truth, and the author of precepts and injunctions favourable to the worst purposes of hypocritical licentiousness. The immutable and omniscient God, and the flexible, the varying, and the facile Deity, who is obedient to the whims or appetites of " the last and best of the prophets."

“ The last and best of the prophets !”—How has he justified, in such a tablet of the divine nature, the haughty assumption of such a title? He was endowed with many talents, and he enjoyed many advantages. He possessed distinguished sagacity and eloquence. He could enforce his tenets with great magnificence and felicity of language. He derived illumination from the lights of the Jewish and Christian dispensations. Yet he, too, in framing a religion, afforded only another evidence of the multifarious deficiency of human legislation ; and if, in his wiser and better moments, he embellished his page with beautiful and imposing imagery, or enriched it with sound and salutary truths; he became, in the moment of the misrule of his appetites and passions, the selfish adyenturer who was to render the Deity himself ministerial, as far as possible, to his libertinism and his power. What has been the result? His system of faith has been vitiated in its fundamental and most essential doctrine. Instead of being instructed by just and holy views of the Sovereign of the Universe, we are taught to look up to a being of almost human frailty; and the Koran has been rendered the depository of inconsistencies and of contradictions, offensive to the purity and majesty of God, and degrading, in the highest degree, to the faith by which they are embraced.

* The passages abrogated in the Koran are of three kinds. The first, where the letter and sense are both abrogated; the second, where the letter only is abrogated, and the sense remains; and the third, where the sense is abrogated, though the letter remains. Yet all the passages so abrogated were equally communicated by God. Sale's Kor. Prelim. Disc. p. 89. sect. iii.

SECT. IV.

The character of Christ as a religious legislator-His mode of

teaching - Views of Deity> His purity, ubiquity, omnipotence, and sovereignty-His moral and relatire attributesThe object of reference, of hope, and of trust --The harmony of his attributesHis unchangeableness and consistency- The condescension and mercy with which he risits the affiicted, the poor, and the forlorn Comparative estimate- From whence had Christ the wisdom which so far transcended, on the subject of the divine nature, that of the most distinguished legislators of the earth!

FROM the bard, the moralist, and the sage, of the most civilized nations of former days, and from the Arabian legislator, who enjoyed admission to the founts of Jewish and Christian wisdom, we now turn for the truths which they have so utterly failed to supply, to the volume of the Gospel.

He who would found a pure and salutary religion, not for a period or a people, but for all nations and all times, must speedily prove himself inadequate to the work, if he do not possess an assemblage of faculties, of virtues, and of powers, such as, hitherto, appear not to have existed in unaided man. evil design, no licentious passion, no selfish ambition, must he be subject or sensible. All those frail and feverish desires, which have so perpetually marked the legislators of the world, must be utterly excluded from his bosom. He must exhibit in his life the precepts of righteousness which he announces with his lips. For views of personal advantage he must substitute those of universal good. No concession must be made to the fleshly appetites, or ignorant prejudices, of men, for the purpose of conciliating popular favour. The prepossessions of sects,

To no

of tribes, or of nations, must not reach him, or reach him only when they are innocent. He must address himself not to the Jew or the Gentile, but to man; not to the few of a time or territory, but to the species, present and to come. With these qualities he may proceed to build up the structure of his religion; without these he will exhibit but a new instance of human incapacity for so sublime a work.

In announcing the doctrines on the Being and Attributes of God, which distinguish and dignify the Christian dispensation, it would appear that Christ, and, under him, the teachers whom he had chosen for the purposes of his mission, exercised the virtues and graces which have been here enumerated. To the truths which they uttered, and the manner in which they taught, we look for the evidence of this assertion.

I. In the academies of the learned, our applause may be sometimes extorted by the logical subtlety. and acuteness of the sophist; but we are often confounded by nice and disputable distinctions, and by the gloomy abstractions of a sceptical metaphysic. Whereas in Christ, and his disciples, we discover nothing of this pride of science, nothing of this jargon of disputation, nothing of this skill in the weapons of debate. Whether God indulge in the useless felicity of eternal repose; whether he be an ethereal flame which pervades and animates the universe ; or å golden circlet which embraces the world; or a Being composed of parts perpetually emanating from his person, and destined finally to return to it; are questions utterly different from those which they discussed. What they conceived of the divine nature, they uttered with that soberness and simplicity, which truth so easily prefers to the tricks and garniture of

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