« ElőzőTovább »
dreamed of, opened upon the dying testation of his claims, he angrily eyes of the soldier, who thus ex- replied that the visible world was changed a miserable existence on full of miracles, and that strong the parched desert for the endless" : faits needed: no: Factitious aids. If joys of heaven.
:::: he had a deep conviction of his own In his quest for lay-figures for his succesą,:it: was the extent of any heroes, Mr. Carlyle has fixed upon Mo- "faiththat: he possessed. But we hammed as the hero-prophet. Isaiah nust jinderstand : Carlyle before we or Jeremiah did not furnish the perceive thir Mohammed was a proproper heroic qualifications. The sphet-betause he was sincere; because patience of Daniel, the rapt vision he smote down idols, and displayed of Ezekiel, or the consummate virtue the same rough energy and strength of Elias do not seem to find favor in of will that made Frederick the the eyes of the hero worshipper. Of Great a prophet, too, after the order course we need not be surprised at of Carlyle. It is a sign of what his choice of Mohammed, when he Carlyle himself would call the mockselects the beery monk of Witten- heroic to see him building a sacred berg as the type of the perfect priest. shrine to a man who must be viewed Around Mohammed he marshals his either as an impostor or enthusiast. troop of splendors, infinities, eterni. Why take him as a hero-prophet ties, and actualities, which do such when, from every nook in Christenservice in all the themes he writes dom, there starts out a man filled upon, from a suit of old clothes, to with the purest and holiest love of the galaxies of the universe. He God and his glory? Why pass over scouts the idea that Mohammed thė St. Bernards and Xaviers to becould have been an impostor. “His spangle with tawdry praise the garheats were all burnt out” at forty, ments of one who set himself over though Gibbon's prurient imagina- the Lord Jesus Christ? tion finds ample material in the If religious enthusiasm is to be numerous amours of the Prophet, the form of religious truth and sinwho so roused his wives' jealousy that cerity, we find ourselves at sea at nothing but a timely revelation from once, in the unsaie keeping of all the angel Gabriel preserved the do- sorts of harebrained apostles and mestic peace. Carlyle congratulates prophets. Happy for the Church if, the Prophet upon “swallowing up” as Macaulay surmises, we have a prothe innumerable sects and idolatries cess of turning Joanna Southcotes that afflicted Arabia, and he indulges into St. Theresas. All the operations in very flippant comments upon the of the Spirit of God are peaceful, words by which the Council of Nice profound, unspeakable. There is determined for all time the consub- none of the frenzy of the Pythoness. stantiality of the eternal Son of God The spiritual life tends rather to with the Father.
calm and modify our natural imWith that exquisite coolness and petuosity, while the discipline of the indifference to the norma loquendi, Church soon checks abnormal dewhich the Scotch Diogenes shows velopments of zeal. If Carlyle's in the manufacture and use of words, rules for discovering a prophet are he employs in every and any sense to be accepted, we must place the the appellation “Prophet,” which prophetic mantle upon the shoulders has a fixed and distinct meaning. A of Emanuel Swedenborg and Joseph prophet is one who foretells the hid- Smith. Nothing is more contagious den future by the divine assistance. than religious excitement. No deMohammed was neither a prophet lusions are more frequent and incurnor worker of miracles. When able than religious callings and misbesought to work prodigies in at- sions. But Mohammed was not car
ried away by an excitement which outburst of chivalry and Christian unfitted him for the camp or the love known as the Crusades? In cabinet. He was a remarkably cool that glorious enthusiasm the Chrisprophet, and he regulated his pro- tian Church showed forth its full phetic ecstasy with surprising con- beauty and power, the noblest obvenience, and with marked attention ject for which a man could fight and to the exigencies of certain situa- die; Europe felt no wild spasm of tions.
fanatic rage, but the strong feeling Carlyle says that Mohammed of conviction that it was God's will wrought good, inasmuch as he de. to reclaim the holy places from the stroyed Arabian idolatry. Moham- pollution of the infidel. To die for medanism, says he, is a half Chris- the Cross, to expire upon the field tianity. So much the worse, say we. over which the Son of God had A lie which is half the truth is ever walked, to behold the vision of the the worst of lies. It is this horrible heavenly Jerusalem from the walls aping of Christianity which is so of its earthly namesake, to draw revolting. Mohammed artfully dis- sword in the cause of God against places our Redeemer and makes him his enemies, here was a theme to one of the satellites that revolve satisfy the greatest hero-worshipper around himself. It is absurd to under the sun. But Carlyle, notclaim for Mohammed the credit of withstanding his study of Gaethe, destroying idolatry in nations which has still to learn the “open secret." either had received or were on the Dr. Johnson has remarked the point of receiving the Christian striking similarity, rather designed faith. Besides, Arabia was a land and formed by the Prophet, between in which the patriarchal traditions 'the rise and progress of Christianity still survived. Mohammed really and the origin and success of Islamopposed the spread of the true ism. The whole train of circumLight which enlightens every man stances attending its first promulgathat comes into this world. He bor- tion is extraordinary. Its dominion rowed from the Nestorians and the over the human mind, both as conDocetæ heretical errors, and added quering and conquered, and its to his doctrine many of the absurdi- power to change the character of ties of the Talmud. He thus closed nations, are facts still more extraorto his people all the pure reforming dinary. Its progress in quarters where influences of Judaism and Christi- it resorted only to the arts of peace anity by his parody of both.
and persuasion is unexplained. Its Why supplement the eternal truth permanency and inviolable preserof the unity of God with the fiction vation of its original pure theism, of his own apostolate? for, accord- and the mysterious concurrency, uning to him, both dicta are to be re- exampled save in the history of ceived as necessary for salvation. Christianity, of causes and events The extinction of idolatry was a conducing to favor its introduction good which was neutralized by the and establishment, lead the mind to succeeding superstition. The Caaba seek the explanation in some adewith its mystic rites seems prefera- quate source. This resemblance has ble to that horrible formula which given a great deal of uneasiness to links the everlasting truth “ There apologists for Christianity, who imis one God” with the lie “Mo- agine that they can establish its hammed is his Prophet.”
divine origin on simply natural If Carlyle admires the religious grounds and by a process of mere hisidea breaking forth in the flame of torical and critical research. The fact noble deeds of high emprise, why is, Mohammedanism has twice the does he not turn to that marvellous number of merely natural arguments in its favor. The arguments to prove the part of every Scriptural worthy the Scriptures inspired may be ap- from Adam down; but who fails to plied with almost equal force to the see the evidence of laborious design, Koran. When will Protestant di- of studied imitation, aided by the vines perceive the insufficiency of force of circumstances, in this archtheir arguments to establish Chris- deceiver, who fills all the outlines of tianity upon a groundwork of physi- Christ's prediction regarding false cal or literary evidences ? Butler Christs and false prophets, and is the and Paley with their host of imita- very Antichrist of St. John, a man tors have been overthrown a thou- setting himself up as God? The sand times, but they have the happy writers of the middle ages unaniignorance of not knowing when they mously agree that in Mohammed are beaten. Mohammed went to we have the Beast of the Apocalypse. work scientifically, with the aid of Thus we see how easily shaken is heretical works, to frame a religion the cumbrous structure of natural which should supersede Judaism and proofs reared with infinite labor by. Christianity. It is to be supposed those who do not perceive at once that he labored for that end and that the Church of Jesus Christ must with that view. Hence innumerable be regarded as an object of divine analogies, both designed and uncon- and supernatural faith. Of course scious, present themselves between we by no means wish to detract from him and Moses, and even our Lord. the force of those arguments by which His mind was filled with the visions the theologian establishes the authenof the prophets and the Psalmist, ticity of the inspired writings, nor and he was farniliar with both the the proofs of the divine origin of genuine and the apocryphal gospels. Christianity from its sublime docWhat could be easier done than ar- trines, the life of its Founder, the range his life and book in prophetic number of its martyrs, etc. These attitudes and tones ? Like Moses, are cogent and convincing. But he wandered in the desert, and did after all, and before all, the Church not present himself as a prophet till stands as a divine fact and illuminahis fortieth year. He declared him- tion, shining luce suâ, and attesting self to be of the same stock as Abra- its origin by supernatural proofs and ham. Moses received the tables of attestations. Without the authorthe law upon the Mount, Moham- ity and infallible magistery of the med from the hands of an angel. He Church, of what avail is historical placed the Koran in an ark of wood. criticism or hermeneutical knowl. Like Moses, he claimed the power of edge, with Mohammedanism staring conquering and colonizing. Prior usunwinkingly in the face, and pointto entering upon his mission he was ing to the very arguments which driven into exile ; he led forth his Protestantism uses in its own defence people from the desert as their pro- and for its own glory? phet and king; he appointed twelve Our own reading and reflection legislators ; in short, he modelled have led us to the conclusion (which himself upon Moses as the archetype we give for what it is worth) that of the Messiah, upon Christ as the Mohammed, liar and cheat that he fulfilment of the Mosaic type, and became, was originally a providential finally he presented himself as the agent in the hands of God, but that last and greatest of the prophets, the grace of recognizing the truth of improving upon our Saviour in the the divine unity and the promise to establishment of a temporal king- Ishmael became distorted in his mind dom as well as a spiritual supremacy. by the passion of ambition, and perIf we view Mohammed from a Scrip- haps anger at the manner in which tural standpoint he manages to play he was received. He who is true to
his word had declared that he would and its only other positive dogma is make Ishmael a great people. Isaac predestination or absolute fatalism. had received the benediction in Jesus The morality which it inculcates is Christ. The bondsman was to be of a high order, being borrowed made free with his freedom. But from Hebrew and Christian sources. man can frustrate the designs of the The greatest stress is laid upon the Almighty, in spiritual graces, by the necessity and efficacy of prayer, fastfreedom of his will. Arabia cer- ing, and almsgiving, all of which are tainly received through Mohammed compulsory. the temporal blessing, for no richer, The fatalism rigidly advocated by wiser, nor more valiant race ever the Koran has an unhappy effect flourished as did they under the rule upon man. He feels himself bound of the caliphs. The promise to Abra- as by an iron network of circumham was fulfilled. The children of stances, fate, and conditions which Agar saw their standard victorious, he can neither understand nor contheir marts crowded with commerce, trol. Islam means complete subtheir civilization copied and envied mission to God. Carlyle insists that by Europe, and their throne fixed in this is the only true thing in all rethe halls of the Cæsars. Their his- ligions; but his shallow reasoning tory is an illustration of the divine fails to touch the spring of the evils dealings with man. But their hand which result from fatalism. Possibly was against every man, and they his Scotch education received the lived the terror of their neighbors doctrine of Knox as the essence of for centuries. Professing to honor Christianity. Absolute predestinaChrist, they in reality set up perma- tion deadens the heart, unfits it for nently the abomination of desolation virtue, and makes it either selfishly even in the holy city. Onset after complacent or despairing. Our onset did they make upon the bul. more critical understanding rejects warks of Christendom, and if God the horrible incubus; but the Orihad not stretched forth his right ental mind found it congenial to its arm, the Papal power, desolation slow perceptions and its disinclinawould have swept over Europe and tion to think. Mohammed assured the Church. The Popes repeatedly all the faithful of eventual future stemmed the tide of barbarian inva- happiness, though the wicked should sion. The hammer of Charles Mar- be first punished by periods of a tel broke their hosts asunder upon thousand years. There appears to the plains of Poictiers, and it was at be no principle of a spiritual life in the prayer of a Pope that their proud- his teachings. The Turks are as est navy was scattered at Lepanto, as cruel, sensual, and dishonest to-day by the breath of God.
as they were before they embraced Mohammed embodied his doc- Islam. The Bedouin still robs and trines in a book which he called murders the travellers of the desert, Koran, which signifies “reading" and a Persian saying makes the baror “things to be heard.” This is gains of commerce at Mecca synonysupplemented by a work named mous with theft and deception. “Sunna,” a record of the sayings It was not until the Caliphate was and doings of Mohammed, and an thoroughly established that attenauthoritative exposition and inter- tion was given to the arts and pretation of the Koran. The latter sciences. The quick and fertile book is inexpressibly dull and tedi- genius of Arabia then put forth its ous, though its rhythmic form may powers and produced the most enhave beauties in the Arabic original. during monuments of Saracenic Its leading doctrine of course is the greatness. The exact sciences were absolute unity of the Supreme Being, cultivated with ardor; and even
theological speculations became rife. stronghold. The obstinacy of the Schools of doctrine were formed in Turk in all his habits and ideas which professors taught philosophy is the only warrant of its continuand theology; and it was through ance. The union of the royal and them that Aristotle became known priestly character in the Sultan also to Europe. Astrology was cultivated furnishes a prime condition of its to an absurd extent, and the dreams existence—this being Mohammed's of the philosopher's stone and the own ideas. But Turkey, of late elixir of life originated in the labora- years, has been opened out and tories of Eastern chemists. The liberalized by modern thought and earlier Caliphs were either illiterate civilization, and the restless nations or averse to learning. Omar burnt around it have shaken its lethargy. the Alexandrian library, saying that The abandoned lives of its sultans if the books contained anything more have exposed them to the contempt or less than the Koran, they were and ridicule of their subjects, and equally useless. The baths of the made them the tools of designing city were heated for six months with ministers. the fuel of priceless manuscripts and The long-continued reign of Islam massive volumes. Scholars have threatens to close amidst the clouds never ceased to deplore the loss and lightnings of war. Like the which learning sustained at that moving masses of sand in the deserts time, especially in the destruction of from which it sprang, it has long Scriptural manuscripts. It is sup- blinded the eyes of nations, shifted posed that Ptolemy's copy of the Sep with the varying simooms of fierce tuagint version perished in the flames. passions and hot prejudices, but it
We have said that Mohammedan- will break before the life-giving air ism is on the wane. In India, the of rational liberty, enlightened publabors of the Catholic missionaries are lic opinion, and, above all, of Chrisabundantly rewarded. Persia is dis- tian influences. Huge, misshapen, tracted with sects, and Arabia keeps and portentous, its lowering form it rather as a vague tradition than a recedes in the gloom, and its dark vital creed. It finds in Turkey its superstitions betake themselves to only congenial home and its last their native shades.