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we say that the Alcoran was never promulgated to us by persons duly commissioned, it may be answered, perhaps, that the Alcoran is as well published to us, as the Gospel is to them; which has some appearance of an answer, though the fact is indeed otherwise; for even the Alcoran owns Jesus for a true prophet.

"But with respect to this instance, I persuade myself it can be no very distracting study to find reasons to determine our choice. Go to your natural religion; lay before her Mohammed and his disciples arrayed in armour and in blood, riding in triumph over the spoils of thousands, and tens of thousands, who fell by his victorious sword; show her the cities which he set in flames, the countries which he ravaged and destroyed, and the miserable distress of all the inhabitants of the earth. When she has viewed him in this scene, carry her into his retirements; show her the prophet's chamber, his concubines and wives; let her see his adultery, and hear him allege revelation and his divine commission to justify his lust and his oppression. When she is tired with this prospect, then show her the blessed Jesus, humble and meek, doing good to all the sons of men, patiently instructing both the ignorant and the perverse. Let her see him in his most retired privacies; let her follow him to the Mount, and hear his devotions and supplications to God. Carry her to his table, to view his poor fare, and hear his heavenly discourse. Let her see him injured, but not provoked; let her attend him to the tribunal, and consider the patience with which he endured the scoffs and reproaches of his enemies. Lead her to his cross; and let her view him in the agony of death, and hear his last prayer for his persecutors: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.'

"When natural religion has viewed both, ask, which is the prophet of God? But her answer we have already had; when she saw part of this scene through the eye of the centurion who attended at the cross, by him she spoke and said, Truly this man was the Son of God."*

Mohammedans divide their religion into two parts, Faith and Practice; the first of which is divided into six distinct branches: Belief in God, in his Angels, in his Scriptures, in his Prophets, in the Resurrection, and in final Judgment. The points which relate to practice are, Prayers, including Washings, Alms, Fasting, Pilgrimage to Mecca, and Circumcision.

The Mohammedans certainly believe in the divine Unity, but that sanctity of the moral character of God, which both Judaism and Christianity preserve inviolate, the representations of their prophet have foully stained and contaminated. He represents God as sanctioning both adultery and perjury ;† and when he violated the liberties, or took away the lives of men, because they would not acknowledge his prophetical character, or because they refused to submit to his usurped power, he perpetrated these crimes with a forged commission from God.-The existence of angels is the second point of their faith, and the Koran requires a belief in their purity. He is reckoned an infidel who denies there are such beings, who hates any of them, or who asserts that there is any distinction of sex among them. They believe them to have pure and subtle bodies, created of fire, that they neither eat nor drink, nor propagate their species. They believe also that they have various forms and offices; some adoring God in different

• Vol. 1, Sect. 9.

+ "God hath allowed you a dissolution of your oaths."-Koran, Chap. 66.

postures; others singing praises to him, or interceding for mankind. Some they believe to be employed in writing down the actions of mankind; others in carrying them to the throne of God. The last ideas seem to imply, that God becomes acquainted with our actions and principles, only through the intervention of other created beings; and will not easily be reconciled to the doctrines of his Omnipresence and Omniscience.

In the third place, with respect to the Scriptures, the Mohammedans are taught to believe, according to the testimony of the Koran, that God, in divers ages of the world, gave revelations of his will, in writing, to several prophets; the whole and every one of which it is absoThe lutely necessary for a good Moslem to believe. number of these sacred books was, according to them, one hundred and four. Of these, they say, ten were given to Adam, fifty to Seth, thirty to Edris or Enoch, ten to Abraham, and the other four, being the Pentateuch, the Psalms, the Gospel, and the Koran, were successively delivered to Moses, David, Jesus, and Mohammed, which last being the seal of the prophets, these revelations are now closed, and no more are to be expected. All these divine books, except the four last mentioned, they acknowledge to be entirely lost, and their contents to be unknown. With respect to the Pentateuch, the Psalms, and the Gospel, they say that they have undergone so many alterations, and have been so corrupted, that though some part of them may possibly be the true word of God, yet no credit is to be given to the present copies in the hands of the Jews and Christians. If God gave one hundred and four sacred books to men; if the hundred be lost, and only the four remain, the wreck of sacred books has certainly been enormous. For the hundred, we have

VOL. I.

he prophet's word, that they ever existed; and, unwedly be who can receive his testimony for his noc

ual excursion through the seven heavens, will be very audious if he cannot receive the other also. The charge brought against the copies of the Bible, in the hands of the Jews and Christians, the credit of his Koran rendered absolutely necessary. Either these copies are more corrupted than any other book ever was, or the greater part of the Koran is nothing better than a fable.

Fourth. The number of the prophets, which the Mohammedans believe, to have been, from time to time, sent into the world by God, amounts to no less than Two Hundred and Twenty-four Thousand, according to one of their traditions; or, according to another, One Hundred and Twenty-four Thousand. There certainly has been a goodly number of them, if we can believe either of the traditions; and though the discrepancy of the two be very considerable, it must be allowed that traditions are uncertain, and therefore we must leave the Mohammedans to settle, in the best way they can, this article of their faith.

Fifth. The Mohammedans believe in a general resurrection, and in a future judgment. The time of the resurrection they allow to be a perfect secret to all but God alone. So far their faith is correct. The angel Gabriel, they say, acknowledged his ignorance in this point, when he was interrogated on the subject by Mohammed. However, they say, the approach of that day may be known by certain signs which precede it.

After the examination is past, (the account of which is too tedious to be inserted here) and every one's works are weighed in a just balance, they say that mutual retaliation will follow, according to which, every creature will take vengeance one of another, or have satisfaction made him

for the injuries which he has suffered. And since there will then be no other way of returning like for like, the manner of giving this satisfaction will be, by taking away a proportional part of the good works of him who offered the injury, and adding that to those of him who suffered it. Which being done, if the angels (by whose ministry this is to be performed) say,

"Lord, we have given to

every one his due, and there remains of the person's good works, as much as equals the weight of an ant," God will, of his mercy, cause it to be doubled unto him, that he may be admitted into Paradise. But if, on the contrary, his good works be exhausted, and there remain evil works only; and if there be any who have not yet received satisfaction from him, God will order that an equal weight of their sins be added unto his, that he may be punished for them in their stead, and he will be sent to hell, laden with both. This will be the method in which God will deal with mankind. With respect to brutes, after they shall, in the same manner, have taken vengeance of one another, he will command them to be changed into dust; wicked men being reserved unto more grievous punishment, so that they shall cry out, hearing this sentence passed upon brutes, "Would to God that we were dust also." As for the Genii, many Mohammedans are of opinion, that such of them as are true believers, will undergo the same fate as the irrational animals, and have no other reward than the favour of being converted into dust, and, for this opinion, they quote the authority of their prophet.

• It appears that the absurd idea of God's weighing, at the last audit, men's virtues and vices in opposite scales, and assigning eternal bliss, or eternal misery, as the one scale or the other preponderates, (a doctrine taught by many who are called Christian divines) is of Mohammedan origin.

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