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guide and direct man in the right way, or the probability that God would vouchsafe such a boon to his erring creatures; these propositions, or arguments a priori, though fundamentally important, would be out of place here; because by admitting the claims of Judaism and Christianity to a divine original ; and arrogating only superiority to itself, Mohammedanism recognises and concedes these as first principles, which are therefore taken for granted: the main contest consequently depends on a third proposition, viz., which of the systems, now under consideration, best supports the character and marks of a divine revelation. This involves various considerations respecting the genuineness and authen, ticity of what are termed “ the canonical Scriptures ;” and whether they afford criteria by which the question may be tried.
be tried. Respecting which, and similar topics, thus much may be premised, that as far as the subject partakes of a literary character, it must be dealt with accordingly, by reference to the testimony of cotemporaneous writers, and the uniform consent or agreement transmitted from the earliest times to our days; while the sense of Scripture must be determined either from its positive declarations, or fair and legitimate inference. In enquiries of this nature, reason has a high and momentous duty to discharge, viz. to ponder well all the evidence of which the case is susceptible, and to decide impartially. No intention exists of unduly exalting the intellectual faculties, or decrying the office of the Spirit in directing truth with saving power to the heart; all that is here contended for is, that reason should act in its proper sphere. Whatever is clearly revealed must be received on the authority of God himself, but the evidence by which it is accompanied, is open to fair discussion and enquiry. In this line the full exercise of all
the powers of the mind is required, and its decisions must be regarded; because no system is worth contending for, the evidences of which will not abide this powerful and effective test!
The religion of Mohammed, has, like that of Jesus, its great and leading sects, which branch out into numerous' subdivisions : the principal are the Turks, who are called Sonnites or Traditionists ; and the Persians, who in consequence of rejecting the traditions, are termed Shiites or Sectaries; between these rival dissidents an implacable animosity pre
· The deadly feuds of the Turks and Persians will remind the classical reader of an apt allusion, Juv. Sat. 15. v. 33, &c.
“ Inter finitimos vetus atque antiqua simultas
Immortale odium, et nunquam sanabile vulnus
Abul-feda, Prince of Hama, by nation a Turk, an author of great repute in the East, for two books which he wrotethe first a general geography of the world, after the method
vails; but it would be incompatible with our plan to enter into mere differences of opinion, as involving a separate and distinct branch of argument, and withdrawing the attention too much from the main points on which the merits of the case depend. If the citadel be indefensible, the outworks must fall. The authorities here principally relied on are beyond fair exception, viz. Sale and Gibbon: the former of whom has been styled half a Musulman and the latter not half a Christian". Their references, it is well known, besides the best modern authors, include the names of Abul-feda.° and Abul-pharagius ; to which may be added, Beidawi, Elmacin, Jallaðddin, Jannabi, Zamacshari, and others of acknows ledged celebrity in questions of this description; though, after all, it is remarkable, that they cannot appeal to any writers within the first century of the Hegira'.
of Ptolomy: the other an Epitome of the History of Nations. He died A.D. 1345, aged 72 years.
Abul-pharagius, an author of cminent note, for his History written in the Arabic, and divided into dynasties. This celebrated work begins from the creation of the world, and reaches to the
year of our Lord 1284, about which time he flourished. Bidawi, a famous Commentator of the Koran: he chiefly copied from Zamacshari: he died A.D. 1293.
Elmacin, author of a History of the Saracens, or rather a Chronology of the Mohammedan empire, was born in Egypt about the middle of the thirteenth century. His history comes down from Mohammed to the year of the Hegira 512 (i. e.) A.D. 1118.
Jallalo'ddin. The two Jalals wrote a Commentary on the Koran; the first began, and the second finished it, A.D. 1466. and was also author of a History called Mez-har.
Jannabi, an historian of Jannaba, in Persia, author of a history which reaches to the year of our Lord 1556.
Zamacshari wrote a large Commentary on the Koran, of the highest esteem amongst the Moslems. He died A.D. 1143. See Prideaux's Life of Mohammed.
After the expiration of two hundred years,
Gibbon, who is certainly entitled to the praise of sparing no pains to collect the earliest and most authentic materials, fairly allows, that both Abul-feda and Jannabi are modern historians, and that they cannot appeal to any writers of the first century of the Hegira.–See Maltby's Illustrations.