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expands with his success ; his power is the measure of his intolerance
; hence the strong contradictions in the Korân, the alternating tone of hatred and of tolerance, of contempt and of respect, with which are treated the authors and votaries of other religions. He is a gentle preacher until he has unsheathed the sword; the sword, once unsheathed, is the one remorseless argument.
The Korân was a declaration of war against mankind. The world must prepare at once for a new barbarian invasion, and for its one great universal religious war. This barbarian invasion was not like that of the Teutons, the Huns, or even the later Mongols of the North and East, wave after wave of mutually hostile tribes driving each other upon the established kingdoms of the civilised world, all loose and undisciplined; it was that of an aggregation of kindred tribes, bound together by the two strong principles of organisation, nationality, and religious unity. The Arab had been trained in a terrible school. His whole life was a life of war and adventure. The Arabians were a nation of marauders, only tempered by some commercial habits; the Arab was disciplined in the severest abstemiousness and endurance ; bred in utter recklessness of human life. The old romance of Antar may show that the Arabs had already some of the ruder elements of chivalry,—valour which broke out in the most extraordinary paroxysms of daring, the fervid and poetic temperament, the passion for the marvellous ; their old poetry displays their congeniality both with the martial life and the amatory paradise opened by the Korân to true believers. For to all this was now superadded the religious impulse, the religious object, the pride of religious as well as civil conquest. Religious war is the duty, the glory, assures the beatitude of the true believer. The Islamites who stood aloof, either from indolence, love of ease, or cowardice, from the holy warfare, were denounced as traitors to God. The souls of more faithful believers were purchased by God : paradise was the covenanted price if they fought for the cause of God : whether they slay or be slain, the promise is assuredly due. The ties of kindred were to be burst : the true believer was to war upon the infidel whoever he might be ; the idolater was even excluded from the prayers of the
; faithful. The sacred months were not to suspend the warfare against unbelievers. Victory and martyrdom are the two excellent things set before the believer. What may be considered the dying words, the solemn bequest of Mohammed to mankind, were nearly the last words of the last-revealed Sura : 'O true believers ! wage war against such of the infidels as are near you, and let them find severity in you, and know that God is with them that fear him.'
The most important consequence of the outburst of Mohammedanism in the history of the world and of Christianity was its inevitable transmutation of Christianity into a religion of war, at first defensive, afterwards, during the Crusades, aggressive. Religious wars, strictly speaking, were as yet unknown. Christian nations had mingled in strife, religious animosities had embittered, or even been a pretext for wars between the Arian Goths or Vandals and the Trinitarian Romans or Franks. Local persecutions had been enforced and repelled by arms; perhaps in some instances bishops, in defence of their native country, had at least directed military operations. In ancient history the gods of conflicting nations had joined in the contest. But the world had not yet witnessed wars of which religion was the avowed and ostensible motive, the object of conquest the propagation of an adverse faith, the penalty of defeat the oppression, if not the extirpation, of a national creed. The appearance of the Crescent or of the Cross, not so much over the fortresses or citadels as over the temples of God, the churches or the mosques, was the conclusive sign of the victory of Christian or Islamite.
Hence sprung the religious element in Christian chivalry, and happily, or rather mercifully, for the destinies of mankind in which Christianity and Christian civilisation were hereafter to resume, or, more properly, to attain their slow
preponderance (it may be hoped, their complete and final triumph), was it ordained that the ruder barbarian virtues, strength, energy, courage, endurance, enterprise, had been infused into the worn-out and decrepit Roman Empire ; that kings of Teutonic descent, Franks, Germans, Normans, had inherited the dominions of the Western Empire, and made, in some respects, until the late conquest of Constantinople by the Turks, common cause with the Christian East. Christendom, thus assailed along its whole frontier, and threatened in its very centre, in Rome itself, and even in Gaul, was compelled to emblazon the Cross on its banner, and to heighten all the impulses of freedom and patriotism by the still stronger passion of religious enthusiasm. Christianity had subdued the world by peace, she could defend it by war. However foreign, then, and adverse to her genuine spirit ; however it might tend to promote the worst and most anti-Christian vices, cruelty, licentiousness, pride, hatred, and to establish brute force as the rule and law of society ; however the very virtues of such a period might harmonize but doubtfully with the Gospel ; it was an ordeal through which it must pass. The Church must become militant in its popular and secular sense ; it must protect its altars, its temples, its Gospel itself, by other arms than those of patient endurance, mild persuasion, resigned and submissive martyrdom.
The change was as complete as inevitable. Christianity in its turn began to make reprisals by the Mohammedan apostleship of fire and sword. The noblest and most earnest believer might seem to have read the Korân rather than the Gospel. The faith of Christ or the sword is the battleword of Charlemagne against the Saxons; the Pope preaches the Crusades; and St. Louis devoutly believes that he is hewing his way to heaven through the bleeding ranks of the Saracens.
H. H. MILMAN.
KING ROBERT OF SICILY.
ROBERT of Sicily, brother of Pope Urbane