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it stops. Moslem humiliation has no tears; and as it does not reach the depths of a heartfelt repentance, so neither is it cheered by that gratitude which springs from the consciousness of pardon. No sluices of sorrow are opened by its devotions ;-the affections are not softened : there is a feverish heat among the passions, but no moisture. Faith and confidence toward God are bold rather than submissive, and the soul of the believer, basking in a presumption of the divine favour, might be compared to the scorched Arabian desert, arid, as it is, and unproductive, and liable too to be heaved into billows by the hurricane.
No other religious system has gone so far in quashing that instinct of guilt and shame which belongs to man as a transgressor, and which impels him to look for some means of propitiation. The divine favour is secured by the Koran to whoever makes hearty profession of the unity of God and the apostleship of Mohammed. Almsdeeds, punctuality in devotions, and above all, valour in the field, exclude every doubt of salvation. No sentiment found a place that could open the heart to the upbraidings of conscience. Islam is the Religion of Pride ;the religion of the sword."2
12 “O prophet! God is thy support, and such of the true believers who follow thee.- prophet! stir up the faithful to war: if twenty of you persevere with constancy, they shall overcome two hundred,"&c. Koran, chap. 8. “Verily God loveth those who fight for his religion in battle array." Chap. 61.
We should not omit to notice the contrast which presents itself between the Moslem and Christian systems on this capital point. All religious history may be challenged to produce an exception to the rule, that the Christian doctrine of forgiveness of sins is the only one which has generated an efficacious and tender-spirited philanthropy. - It is this doctrine, and no other, that brings into combination the sensitiveness and the zeal necessary to the vigour of practical good-will toward our fellow-men. Exclude this truth, as it is excluded by sceptical philosophy, and then philanthropy becomes a vapid matter of theory and meditation. Distort it with the Church of Rome, and the zeal of charity is exchanged for the rancour of proselytism. Quash it, as the Koran does, and there springs up in the bosoms of men a hot and active intolerance. The Christian (and he alone) is expansively and assiduously compassionate; and this, not merely because he has been formally enjoined to perform the “seven works of mercy;" but because his own heart has been softened, throughout its very substance-because tears have become a usage of his moral life, and because he has obtained a vivid consciousness of that divine compassion, rich and free, which sheds beams of hope upon all mankind.
The correspondence is natural and real, though it may not be obvious, between the notions entertained of the joys of heaven, and the conceptions that are formed of the world of punishment;—the latter article of belief takes its quality inversely from the former. Is it not seen in every country that the Palace and the Dungeon are correlatives? Wherever the one is filled with extravagant and shameless debauchery, the other is found to be furnished with racks, and will be the abode of forgotten despair. And so the sensualities of Mohammed's paradise are borne out by parallel horrors—gross and barbaric, which, in the speciality of the description given of them, could not fail highly to inflame the malignant passions. This irritating influence reached a pitch of frenzy upon the field of battle ; for there the question of salvation or damnation lay on the ground between the marshalled armies, to be fought for and carried by the stronger arm. Never perhaps in the history of mankind have the appalling ideas of the invisible world so much and so distinctly mingled with the fury of mortal strife as in the instance of Moslem warfare. To the eye of the Saracen the smoke of the infernal pit appeared to break up from the ground in the rear of the infidel lines, and its sulphurous steam obscured the embattled field. As the squadrons of the faithful moved on to the
charge, that pit yawned to receive the miscreant host; and in chasing the foe, the champions of God and his prophet believed that they were driving their antagonists down the very slopes of perdition. When at length steel clashed upon steel, and the yell of death shook the air — the strife was not so much between arm and arm, as between spirit and spirit; and each deadly thrust was felt to pierce the life at once of the body and of the soul.
Hatred, which is softened by contempt toward a fallen and unresisting foe, is embittered by the same feeling so long as opposition is offered. To respect our adversary is to admit those sentiments of generosity which spring from the interchanged sympathies of virtue; but to loathe him, is to resent his hostility as an impudent presumption that assails our personal honour. The Arabian armies, after the Peninsula itself had been conquered, scarcely encountered an enemy that they did not look upon with a just disdain. The prophet had already told them that misbelievers were dogs ;- and every excursion they made beyond their native deserts served to verify his words. The human race had become in that age effeminate and debauched in an unexampled degree. Superstition, with its idle solicitudes, its mummeries, and its despotism, had at length thoroughly worked itself into the mind of the Conce) Christian nations,
both of the east and west. The profligacy which attends a decaying empire, and the hypocrisy of monkish virtue had joined together in the work of debasing and enfeebling every principle of human action. The common sense and the virtue proper to that “common life” against which all the doctors of the Church, during four centuries, had inveighed, and from which they had effectively removed every corroborative and elevating motive, had disappeared; no healthy mean, no sound and solid foundation remained to support the social structure :- The objects that met the eye in the countries swayed by the Byzantine emperors were the cowled tenants of the monastery—the debauched retainers of palaces, or the faithless and insubordinate soldiers of the mercenary legions.
When the princely men of the Arabian desert, great as they were in a steady physical couragegreat in a condensed and sententious energy of understanding, and great in simplicity of manners—a simplicity not rude but poetic; when these heros-born, broke their limits and trod the open world, their feeling must have been like that of a veteran garrison which, having believed itself to be hemmed in by superior
1 Mohammed, it is certain, drew his knowledge of Christianity and of Christians chiefly from the neighbouring country—Egypt, where perhaps more than any where else, superstition had vilified humanity, and had converted every principle of religion into a preposterous folly. The conquest of Egypt fixed upon the minds of the Caliphs their contempt of the professors of the Gospel.