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was

his own principles, success denoted the divine approbation, the dazzling height to which he

exalted might affect his mind : after endeavouring so long to deceive others, he might end in self-deception, or be given over to strong delusion. Many have evin the master-passion strong in death. Cromwell, who with high religious professions, like him

“ Waded through seas of slaughter to the throne,"

employed his last prayer in intercession for his country. Previous to his dissolution, Mohammed tendered restitution to all whom he had injured, and is said to have expressed his lively confidence, not only of the mercy,

but favour of the Supreme Being. When his faculties were visibly impaired, he called for pen

and ink to write or dictate something of importance, but Omar observed that his cepts were engraven on their hearts, and no further revelation was necessary. Having

pre

year of his

mentioned that the Angel of Death could not take his soul without his permission, the request was granted, and he expired in the apartment of Ayesha, A.D. 632, in the 63d

age.

For some time his followers were inconsolable, and almost incredulous to the reality of their loss, but their love was manifested in paying the last tribute of respect to his remains, which were honourably interred at Medina, in the room where he died'. We are told " that the innumerable pilgrims of Mecca often turn aside from the way to bow in voluntary devotion before the simple tomb of the Prophet m.'

Thus from small beginnings, aided by a peculiarly favourable concurrence of circumstances and a rare combination of talent, this extraordinary personage reached the pinnacle of earthly power, having united the various independent tribes in one faith, and under one

1 Gibbon.

m Gibbon, Mills.

E

particular form of government, and laid the foundations of an empire which, under the Caliphs, his immediate successors, surpassed imperial Rome in extent of territory and population; and still continues at this day, in one part of Europe and in most parts of Asia and Africa !

CHAPTER II

SUCCESS ABSTRACTEDLY CONSIDERED AFFORDS NO CRI

TERION OF A DIVINE ORIGINAL: CHRISTIANITY AND

ISLAMISM CONTRASTED: THE SUCCESS OF THE FORMER

SHEWN TO BE MIRACULOUS, THAT OF THE LATTER ACCOUNTED FOR ON ORDINARY PRINCIPLES, WAS CONSONANT WITH PROPHECY, AND WILL ULTIMATELY

PROVE BENEFICIAL TO TRUTH.

There is something more imposing than substantial in a series of successful enterprises, the imagination is led captive and the judgment too often biassed, so that there is danger of losing sight of the merits of a cause, through impressions created by adventitious circumstances. History and experience, however, concur in establishing the fact, that talents and events, suitably directed and improved by individuals or states, will, in the

ordinary operation of cause and effect, lead to temporary or more permanent advantages; whilst the abuse or non-improvement of talents and opportunities will prove detrimental to individuals or states. In the providential administration of the world, according to the best judgment we can form, the means and end are inseparably connected; and therefore when success may be accounted for on ordinary principles, to ascribe it to the direct interposition of heaven is an illogical and unsatisfactory mode of arguing, for if such a proposition were admitted, even truth would be variable and dependent on the ever fluctuating vicissitudes of human affairs, rather than grounded on the impregnable basis of internal and external evidence.

Since, however, this argument has frequently been urged in favour of the claims of Islamism to a divine original, its fallacy

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