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ascribed to the Arabian traveller. He compares the nations and the religions of the earth; discovers the weakness of the Persain and Eoman monarchies; beholds, with pity and indignation, the degeneracy of the times; and resolves to unite under one God and King the invincible spirit and primitive virtues of the Arab. Our more accurate inquiry will suggest, that instead of visiting the courts, the camps, the temples of the East, the two journeys of Mahomet into Syria were confined to the fairs of Bostra and Damascus; that he was only thirteen years of age when he accompanied the caravan of his uncle, and that his duty compelled him to return as soon as he had disposed of the merchandise of Cadijah. In these hasty and superficial excursions the eye of genius might discern some objects invisible to his grosser companions; some seeds of knowledge might be cast upon a fruitful soil; but his ignorance of the Syriac language must have checked his curiosity; and I cannot perceive in the life or writings of Mahomet that his prospect was far extended beyond the limits of the Arabian world. From every region of that solitary world the pilgrims of Mecca were annually assembled by the calls of devotion and commerce; in the free concourse of multitudes, a simple citizen in his native tongue might study the political state and character of the tribes, the theory and practice of the Jews and Christians. Some useful strangers might be tempted, or forced, to implore the rights of hospitality; and the enemies of Mahomet have named the Jew, the Persian, and the Syrian monk, whom they accuse of lending their secret aid to the composition of the Koran. Conversation enriches the understanding, but solitude is the school of genius; and the uniformity of a work denotes the hand of a single artist. From his earliest youth Mahomet was addicted to religious contemplation; each year, during the month of Eamadan, he withdrew from the world, and from the arms of Cadijah; in the cave of Hara, three miles from Mecca, he consulted the spirit of fraud or enthusiasm, whose abode is not in the heavens, but in the mind of the prophet. The faith which, under the name of Islam, he preached to his family and nation is compounded of an eternal truth and a necessary fiction,
THAT THEBE IS ONLY ONE GoD, AND THAT Mahomet IS THE
Apostle Of God.—Gibbon.
Mahomet was in his fortieth year when, having withdrawn to a cavern in Mount Hara, near Mecca, during this Ramadhan, to pass the month in prayer, and meditation on those great questions, he one day told his wife Kadijah, who with his
household was with him or near him this year, that by the
unspeakable special favour of Heaven, he had now found it all
out: was in doubt and darkness no longer, but saw it all.
That all these idols and formulas were nothing—miserable bits
of wood; that there was one God in and over all; and we
must leave all idols and look to Him. That God is great; and
that there is nothing else great! He is the Reality. Wooden
idols are not real; He is real. He made us at first; sustains
us yet; we and all things are but the shadow of Him; a
transitory garment veiling the eternal splendour. "Allah
akbar, God is great;" and then also "Islam," that we must
submit to God. That our whole strength lies in resigned
submission to Him, whatsoever he do to us. For this world
and for the other!
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Such light had come, as it could, to illuminate the darkness of this wild Arab soul. A confused dazzling splendour as of life and heaven, in the great darkness which threatened to be death; he called it revelation and the angel Gabriel;—who of us yet can know what to call it? It is the "inspiration of the Almighty" that giveth us understanding. To know, to get into the truth of anything, is ever a mystic act,—of which the best logics can but babble on the surface. "Is not Belief the true god-announcing miracle?" says Novalis. That Mahomet's whole soul, set in flame with this grand truth vouchsafed to him, should feel as if it were important, and the only important thing, was very natural. That Providence had unspeakably honoured him by revealing it, saving him from death and darkness; that he therefore was bound to make known the same to all creatures: this is what was meant by "Mahomet is the Prophet of God:" this too is not without its true meaning.—Carbjle.
Notes.—Noblest race. — The tribe of —A city of Palestine, south of the Dead
Koreish. Mahomet. — Born, A.d. 670; Sea, now, for ages, deserted and ruined,
died, 632, aged sixty-two. Abdallah.-^ Damascus.—A Syrian city, on the eastern
Mahomet's father, died in his son's spurs of Lebanon. Older than the days
infancy. His uncle, Abou Taleb, who of Abraham, and still a city of from
brought the boy up, employed him in S0,000 to 100,000 inhabitants. Cadijah.—
conducting his caravans from Mecca to A rich widow of Mecca, whom Mahomet
Damascus, at which he continued till he afterwards married. Secret aid. — The
was twenty-five. Persian and Roman Koran, or Bible, of Mahomet has been
monarchies.—The former sinking under said to have been written by him by the
the attacks of the Turks and Romans, aid of the Bible, and Jewish ideas, of
who themselves were sinking under ideas borrowed from the Persian religion
those of tho Northern Barbarians. of Zoroaster, of ideas of Christian sects
The capital of the Roman empire was and heretics, and of the enthusiastic
then Constantinople. Bostra or Bozrah. monks with \\ hom Syria then abounded.
THE DEATH OF THE CONQUEEOE.—C. Knight.
Charles Knight was the son of a bookseller, in Windsor, where he was horn, in 1791. He rose to he a leader iu the promotion of cheap, but good literature, so that his name as a publisher marks an era in the spread of education. He was also an admirable writer. His best known labours as an author are his " Pictorial Shakspere," and his "Popular History of England." The following is taken from the Penny Magazine. He died in 1873.
At the end of the year 1086, when he had heen seated nineteen years upon the throne of England, William went over to the
Continent with a mighty army, to wage war with Philip, king of France, for the possession of the city of Mantes. It was soon taken, and consigned to the flames. As the conqueror rode up to view the ruin he had caused, his war-horse put his fore feet on some embers, and then plunged so violently, that the king was thrown upon the high pommel of the saddle, and bruised. He dismounted in great pain, and never more put foot in stirrup. Forthwith quitting the burning town, he was carried slowly in a litter to Rouen, and at once laid in his bed. It was soon, evident to all, and even to himself, that his last hour was approaching. Being troubled by the noise and bustle of Rouen, and desirous of dying in a holy place, he made his people carry him to the monastery of St. Gervas, outside the city walls.
He lingered for six weeks, during which he was surrounded by doctors, priests, and monks. On the nearer approach of death his heart softened, and though he preserved the kingly decorum, and conversed calmly on the wonderful events of his life, he is said to have felt the vanity of all human grandeur, and a keen remorse for the crimes and cruelties he had committed. He sent money to Mantes to rebuild the churches and houses of religion he had burned, and he ordered large sums to be paid to the churches and monasteries in England which he had plundered and impoverished. He released all his state prisoners, as well Saxons as others, some of whom had pined in dungeons for more than twenty years. Robert, his eldest son, who had had many violent quarrels with his father, was absent, but his two younger sons, William and Henry, who were successively kings of England, were assiduous round the death-bed, waiting impatiently for the declaration of his last will.
A day or two before his death the conqueror assembled some of his prelates and chief barons in his sick chamber, and raising himself in his bed, he, with a solemn and ghastly countenance, declared in their presence that he bequeathed the duchy of Normandy and its other dependencies to his eldest son Robert. "As to the crown of England," said the dying monarch, "I bequeath it to no one, as I did not receive it, like the duchy of Normandy, in inheritance from my father, but acquired it by conquest and the shedding of blood with mine own good sword. The succession to that kingdom I therefore leave to the decision of God, only desiring most fervently that my son William, who hath ever been dutiful to me, may obtain it, and prosper in it." "And what do you give unto me, oh! my father?" eagerly cried Prince Henry. "Five thousand pounds weight of silver out of my treasury." "But what can I do with five thousand pounds of silver if I have neither lands nor a home?" Here the dying king put on the look of a prophet, and said, " Be patient, oh Henry! and have trust in the Lord. Suffer thy elder brothers to precede, and thy time will come after theirs." Henry the Beauclerc, and the craftiest and cleverest of the unloving brotherhood, went straight and drew the silver, which he weighed with great care, and then furnished himself with a strong coffer to keep bis treasure in. William Rufus left the king's bedside at the same time, and, without waiting to see his father breathe his last, hastened over to England to seize the royal treasures deposited in Winchester Castle, and to look after his crown.
About sunrise, on the 9th of September, the conqueror was roused from a stupor into which he had fallen, by the sound of bells. He eagerly inquired what the noise meant, and was told that they were ringing the hour of prime in the church of St. Mary. He lifted his clasped hands to heaven, and saying, " I recommend my soul to my Lady Mary, the holy mother of God," instantly expired. His last faint sigh was the signal for a general flight and scramble. The knights, priests, and doctors, who had passed the night near him, put on their spurs, mounted their horses, and galloped off to their several homes to have an eye to their own interests. The king's servants and some vassals of inferior rank proceeded to rifle the apartments of the arms, silver vessels, linen, and royal dresses, and then mounted, and rode away like their betters. Some took one thing, some another; nothing worth the carrying was left behind—no, not so much as the bed-clothes. For about three hours the corpse of the mighty conqueror, abandoned by sons, friends, servants and all, lay in a state of almost perfect nakedness on the bare boards of the chamber in which he had expired. The citizens of Rouen either ran about the streets asking news and advice from every one they met, or busied themselves in concealing their money and valuables. At last the clergy and the monks recovered the use of their faculties, and thought of the decent duties owing to the mortal remains of their sovereign; and arraying themselves in their best habits, and forming in order of procession, they went with crucifix, burning tapers, and incense, to pray over the abandoned and dishonoured body, for the peace of the soul. The Archbishop