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The Gospel prefers its claims to our reception on far different and much higher grounds. St. Paul, speaking of his mode of propagating the faith, says, “I, brethren, when I came unto you, came not with excellency of speech, or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God; for I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ and him crucified. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and power:
faith should not stand in the wisdom of man, but in the power of God."
The Koran carries within itself decided marks of fallacy, and may be refuted out of its own mouth ; but in examining those far more ancient writings, from which Mohammed has so largely borrowed, yet endeavours still to depreciate, it
be justly affirmed, that
b See 1 Cor. ii. 1, &c. &c.
the materials of which they are composed, the divine enthusiasm, simplicity, grandeur of sentiment and figure, the moral lessons, doctrines and prophetical predictions, proclaim aloud,
When any system of belief arrogates decided superiority to itself, it is reasonable that the grounds and evidences should be clearly stated, in order that the truth
may examined, and placed beyond the fear of reasonable doubt and exception. Amomentous question presents itself on the threshhold of inquiry, whether Revelation affords criteria by which pretensions to a divine origin may be ascertained. Reasoning a priori, as it is termed, it is impossible to say what kind of
evidence God might be pleased to bestow in any particular case; but, judging from analogy, and what has been the usual method of the divine procedure, it may be fairly inferred, that a revelation from himself would be accredited in the usual
Miracles and prophecy have ever been regarded as the grand seals of Heaven. The miracles of Moses
operated as so many incontrovertible proofs of his legation; and Jesus also received attestation among
the Jews by the signs, miracles, and wonderful works which he performed.
In submitting Islamism to this test, the result must prove a death-blow to its pretensions. Mohammed, in the Koran, expressly disavows the
power of working miracles, and lays claim to none, but the intellectual one, as it is called, of the Koran, professing himself to be only a Teacher, Warner, or Admonisher. The importunity of the Arabians on this head
gave him particular uneasiness, and it required all
his presence of mind and ready wit to furnish specious answers and objections to such a requisition. He repeatedly affirms that miracles did not form a part of his mission, which was restricted to preaching the joys of Paradise and torments of Hell, together with the submission due to his character as an Ambassador from God: but when this would not satisfy the pertinacity of his objectors, insisting that God would send no man on such an errand with
a Gibbon observes, “ The Mission of the ancient Prophets and of Jesus, had been confirmed by many splendid prodigies; and Mahomet was repeatedly urged, by the inhabitants of Mecca and Medina, to produce a similar evidence of his divine legation, to call down from heaven the angel, or the volume of his Revelation, to create a garden in the desert, or to kindle a conflagration in the unbelieving city. As often as he is pressed by the demands of the Koreish, he involves himself in the obscure boast of vision and prophecy, appeals to the internal proofs of his doctrine, and shields himself behind the Providence of God, who refuses those signs and wonders that would depreciate the merit of faith, and aggravate the guilt of infidelity. But the modest or angry tone of his apologies betray his weakness and vexation : and these passages of scandal establish, beyond suspicion, the integrity of the Koran," Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.