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instinct extends through all the grades of possess both the former and the latter. animal life, from the highest to the lowest; Volumes might be filled with well authentiit compels them to perform certain actions cated facts of animals acting as rational necessary both for their existence and well-beings. Of such facts as these “ Persona" being. The garden spider weaves her cir- thinks very lightly; but in default of any cular web of “attenuated thread” without direct evidence, they are, in our opinion, ever having seen one before; yet its radiating sufficiently conclusive. How do we deterlines and concentric rings of silken tissue mine the sanity of man? All men have are as geometrically correct as if formed by not reason ; it is by observing their actions the aid of a pair of compasses. Her first that we decide whether they possess it or production is in as exact geometric arrange- not. So with the lower animals : examine ment as the last-she profits nothing by their actions, become acquainted with their esperience. The coral insect for centuries modes of life, and we shall find enough to has been at work deep down in the ocean show us that they are gifted with reason, caverns of the Pacific, building up a conti- though, perhaps, only to a slight extent. nent that will outlast the proudest monu- The proverb that “old birds are not to be ments of man. Hills and chains of bills are caught with chaff” indicates the popular now rising up from the bottom of that ocean, belief that birds learn by experience. Now formed by this diminutive insect, undirected instinct never benefits by experience, thereby experience or practice, without foreknow-fore some other power must come into operaledge, but under the influence of an irresistible tion, and that power can only be reason. propensity. With reason it is different: It is well known that old foxes will spring means are adapted to ends, and these means the trap set for their capture and steal the vary according as experience and observation tempting bait. The numerous expedients suggest. As men differ in their observant they have recourse to when pursued by the faculties, so the means pursued are different; hounds are certainly not the result of mere each works according to the best of his instinct. They profit by observation, and, judgment. Thus continual improvement is therefore, must possess some reasoning power. obtained, and from living in caves and wig- Rooks are reasoners, for when young they wams, man, guided by reason and the expe- may be approached without evincing any rience of those who have preceded him, has sign of fear; but let them once see the surrounded himself with comforts and lux- effect of the murderous gun, and they take uries, and fashioned for himself habitations, care for the future to keep at a respectable both beautiful and replete with every con- distance from that weapon; and, though ordivenience, but still not equal in finish to nary persons may still approach near to them, those of the mere instinctive workers. The at the sight of a sportsman they fly away. handiwork of the one is gradually approach- In a recent number of “ Chainbers' Jouring, but never will attain perfection; that of nal” there is a well authenticated story to the other is perfection itself.
the following effect :- A gentleman residing We thus see that the distinction between in a rectory, under the eaves of which some instinct and reason is marked enough. In- swallows had built their nests, was aroused stinct is that faculty which prompts man one morning by an unusual clatter. On and the lower animals to perform certain running out he found the stronghold of the actions which are invariably the same under swallows attacked by a troop of sparrows, the same circumstances, and in every indi- who seemed determined to gain possession of vidual of the species. Reason is that noble the ready-built nests. In spite of a gallant endowment which guides the possessor to defence on the part of the lawful proprietors, perform certain acts, the result of some the object disputed for received considerable previous intellectual process, the method damage ; and although the besiegers were pursued varying according to the greater or always driven back, they returned again and less cultivation of the powers of observation again to the attack. The swallows were at and skill.
work by the earliest dawn in repairing the By attentively bearing in mind this dis- breaches in their earth works ; but as soon tinction between instinct and reason, we as this was accomplished the sparrows were have no hesitation in saying that animals upon them again. The brave swallows were much harassed; but by-and-by they had cold and motionless. Supposing the sentinel recourse to an engineering expedient, which died at his post, he removed the nest gently, evinced an extraordinary degree of intelli- and, bringing it down, he found the tail in gence. They knew the sparrows had no it, and nothing more! Three feathers, archance with them in personal conflict—the ranged so as to represent exactly a swallow's object of the assailants was to get possession tail, were firmly fixed in the threshold of of their fastnesses ; and in order to render the door! How is the conduct of the swalthis more difficult, the swallows actually low that placed these feathers to be exbuilt up the door of their nests in front, plained according to instinct ? This strataand made an opening behind, where they gem is equal to any of the most celebrated joined the wall. The chagrin of the as- artifices of the great commanders. Napoleon sailants, when they discovered this clever | the Great, with all his intelligence and manæuvre, was ludicrously evident; but, military skill, never baffled an enemy more nevertheless, they continued the attack with successfully or more strategetically than did unabated vigour, repeatedly attempting to this little hero of a swallow. Instinct could take the place by storm, and being as re- never have taught it to act thus ingeniously, peatedly repulsed. The conduct of one for, if it had have done so, the whole of the swallow was the special subject of the gen- swallow tribe would have acted likewise. tleman's admiration. This champion posted In conclusion, we must say, that we behimself within one of the newly made doors, lieve none amongst the ranks of our opfrom which his tail-feathers protruded; and ponents have ever watched attentively the well knowing that the sparrows would not actions of the lower animals. They are not hazard a personal conflict, there he remained, imbued with a love of natural history; they with incredible perseverance, morning, noon, look on animals as enemies, and not as and night. Day after day the siege con- friends; the gun is, perhaps, the only medium tinued. till the appearance of the young with which they hold intercourse with the swallows showed the assailants that all hope birds of the air and the beasts of the field; was over. But the champion was not so they have no desire to consider that the liteasily moved; whenever the gentleman tle partridge they so remorselessly slaughter chanced to look at the nest, there was he, has any feelings in common with themselves. as alert as ever, with the tail feathers stand- We believe that all those who, like ourselves, ing out in triumph from the door. Week have taken a delight in examining the wonafter week passed away, but not so the tail. derful actions and ways of life of the smaller September came, but the tail did not go; and lower animals, will support our side of and when the colony fitted away, he re- the question. They will be able to call to mained behind. The gentleman's curiosity mind scores of acts corroborating the opinion was raised to the highest pitch, and, placing that the sagacity they show oversteps the a ladder against the wall, he crept cautiously bounds of instinct, and can only be explained up. The tail feathers did not stir; he by determining that reason is not confined touched them with his finger-they were to man.
AFFIRMATIVE ARTICLE.-11. THERE is much to admire in the cha- factor to many millions of the human race, racter of Mahomet, as well as much to con- few, we think, will deny; for Mahometandemn; and his extraordinary career furnishes ism, to say the least of it, is far preferable us with a striking illustration of what man to the gross idolatry which prevailed in the can achieve by the mighty force of mind East before its establishment. Yet, that he within him. That Mahomet was a bene- I was the promoter of many deeds of blood and barbarity is also equally clear from his his coffers were constantly drained to torical records.
furnish money for his wars, and for the Mahomet presents a phenomenon which relief of the poor among the faithful,-bat is only surpassed by the acts and results of anxious, and even greedily endeavouring, to the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth; and obtain a complete dissemination of his reliwhen we consider the vast work he under- gion by whatever means were at his disposal, took, and the success which attended his whether good or evil. It was with this efforts, we cannot help according to him a spirit that he commanded his followers to tribute of admiration for that unswerving use the sword in propagation of the faith, perseverance and determination of character and which, commencing with the period of he so remarkably displayed. But, much as his ascendency over the inhabitants of we may admire his talents, and much as we | Medina, continued, throughout his whole may respect him as a man, we are compelled after life, to have increased influence over to believe that, in his assumption of the him. Many acts of his life display a redignity of a prophet, he was in act, perhaps vengeful and even . barbarous disposition, not in design, an impostor.
strangely at variance with the benign chaAn impostor does not necessarily imply a racter of the Being whose cause he professed man wholly devoid of principles of rectitude, to cherish and espouse. As an instance of swayed only by the desire of deceiving the this, we may notice his conduct with regard world and aggrandizing himself. An im- to the Beni Koraida,* which, considered as postor, we believe, may be a praiseworthy one of the darkest blots in his history, fully character, virtuous in his conduct and sin- displays a mind, however elevated, capable cere in his professions, with a heart keenly of dictating the most ignoble and cruel susceptible to the wants and welfare of his actions; “but we see in this,” says Washfellow men. But a man who, under any ington Irving, “as in other parts of his mental hallucination, assumes an authority policy, in this part of his career, instances and dignity to which he is not entitled, and of that worldly alloy which at times was who strives to maintain it by whatever debasing his spirit, now that he had become means he can command, either by intellec- the apostle of the sword.” tual power or brute force, is properly an We have said that no religion can emanate impostor, whether he be sincere in his as- from God, unless it be perfect in its espressumptions or not. Now Mahomet is un- sion of great truths, and in the character doubtedly of this character. Whatever of its influence. The religion of Mahomet, motives may have actuated him, it is evi- displaying many marks of imperfection, candent, both from the religion he established, not, therefore, have proceeded from the High and from his own conduct as a prophet, that and Holy One who inhabiteth eternity. he claimed to himself the accomplishment Much of his creed is very beautiful, we of a mission which he was not qualified, allow, but it shines with a lustre borrowed either by the appointment of God, or his from the divine teachings of the Founder of own mental powers, worthily to fulfil. Christianity; but much gives evidence of s
No religion can emanate from God which wild, imaginative mind, soaring into the is not perfect; neither can any one be a regions of the unknown, and returning divinely-inspired messenger of the Almighty bewildered and dazzled with the exciting unless he manifest in his life and precepts scenes his faucy had depicted. No mortal the purity of Him whom we believe to be all man, either by the light of Mahometanism pure as well as all powerful. No worldly / or Christianity, can hazard a guess at, mach motive, no mean desires of self, should ever, less detail, the secrets of eternity beyond in the slightest degree, predominate in the the grave. The most that we can arrive at soul; and unless a perfect abnegation of all is the moral conviction of the certainty of earthly considerations accompany the pro future rewards and punishments in accordphet of God, we may rest assured that he ance with the deeds done in the body; and will soon betray the insufficiency of his cre- Christianity has only furnished us with this dentials from the Most High. Now, Mahomet was selfish, --- not selfish in the * See Washington Irving's“ Life of Mahomet, pursuit of wealth, because we read that chap. xxiii.
general idea. Mahomet, however, perhaps | animal nature is exalted above the intellecto give a more fascinating character to his tual, we cannot expect much social, moral, religion, has gone minutely into the enjoy- or religious progress; and herein is a fatal ments of Paradise and miseries of Gehenna, objection to Mahometanism. Look at the detailing, “ with the minuteness of a volup- history of Moslem nations. They seem to tuary,” the bliss of the former place, and have arisen to a certain degree of knowledge describing, with almost disgusting precision, and refinement, and then, enervated by the the torments peculiar to the latter region. luxury permitted by the Koran, to have been He tells his followers, that in the Elysian reduced to a miserable state of external and fields bis fancy has created they shall enjoy internal imbecility. Since the days when the pleasures known to them on earth with- | Mahomet inspired his followers with the out satiety: that beautiful houris, to the fanaticism that led them to the achievement number of seventy-two, independently of of such mighty deeds of conquest, the belief their own earthly wives, will be given to in predestination, which then rendered them them to add to their happiness; that the irresistible in the field, has worked its evil most exquisite viands and wines will be influences upon them. “The crescent has served in dishes and goblets of gold by waned before the cross, and exists in Europe, hundreds of attendants; and that, to enable where it was once so mighty, only by the them to enjoy these pleasures to the fullest suffrage, or rather the jealousy, of the other extent, they will rise from the grave in the Christian powers, probably, ere long, to furprime of manhood, their stature will be nish another illustration, that they that increased to thirty cubits, and their faculties take the sword, shall perish by the sword.?” improved to a preternatural state of per- | The attempts of Russia upon Turkey subfection.
stantiate, to some extent, this prediction; In this brief summary of the joys of Para- and though the ambition and cupidity of dise, the principal failing of Islamism is the Czar will now most probably be disapparent. We see the wants of the flesh appointed, yet we believe the effeminacy and amply cared for, while the spiritual neces- sensuality of the Mahometan nations, origisities are wholly unthought of and neglected. nally to be attributed to the imperfections Sensuality is the prevailing feature of the of their creed, will ere long accomplish their religion of the Koran, and the carnal appe- destruction. tites of our nature elevated, to the exclusion Whatever might have been the sincerity of that lofty power within us, by which all of Mahomet when he first announced himself our reasonable acts are directed. It is true the Prophet of God, and however he might that many Mahometans believe that this have, under the mental hallucinations to minute description of Paradise is merely which he was subject, believed that revelafigurative in its signification; but this is not tions were made to him from God, as he the orthodox view of the meaning of the became more powerful, so, to discharge the Prophet. Now, when the mere sensual exigencies of the moment, and satisfy the fanaappetites are made so important a part of tic spirit of his followers, did his expedients man, we can discern but a very low estimate become more numerons. If a misfortune of the character and destiny of the human overtook him, a visit from the angel Gabriel race, and one very little removed from the is said to have been made to him to console Elysium of the Greeks and Romans, and the him; if success attended him, then also was Walhalla of the Scandinavians. When we he the favoured object of Heaven's condecompare these with the pure and spiritual scension. In any difficult part of his policy, joys of the dead in Christ, as taught by in which a combination of circumstances was Christianity, our intellect and feelings echo likely to produce unfortunate effects, a timely responsively to the assertion that they are revelation extricated him from the embarbut a very imperfect and inadequate substi- rassment in which he was placed. tute for the felicity of that heaven, which is / The genuineness of these mysterious reveallegorically described as continually resound- látions from supernatural beings is materially ing with the songs of praise, before the impaired by the peculiar nature of the cirthrone of the Almighty, from the spirits of cumstances which called them forth. They the just made perfect. Besides, where the are evidently made to answer a given end, and plainly show, that if Mahomet is not ships, privations, and persecutions, until his entirely the arch-deceiver he is sometimes power becomes extended, and his religion represented to be, he was not always under ruling the minds of many millions of the the influence of that strange enthusiasm human race, who now assemble at the cry which is by some interpreted as a proof of of the muezzim from the lofty minarets of his sincerity. We do not deem it necessary the mosque, to worship the one true God, where to adduce instances of this; the reader will once the knee was bowed to gods of man's find the fact confirmed in various parts of own creation. We deplore the infatuation the history of his life. The Koran being a which led Mahomet to assume the mission compilation of these supposed revelations, is of a prophet, and regret that he did not therefore deprived of that sanctity which, as know enough of pure Christianity to guide a work of divine inspiration, it should pos- him in his endeavours for the religious sess, and, consequently, loses its importance amelioration of his fellow men; but we are, as the revealed word of God.
nevertheless, inclined to believe that he has From the foregoing considerations, we prepared the way for the easier and wider conclude that Mahomet was an impostor, | diffusion of Christianity. For Mahometanism, according to the definition we have already imperfect in its character, and inadequate to given of that term; but he is certainly one satisfy the intellectual cravings of man in of the strangest and most wonderful impos- an enlightened state, will one day cease to tors the world ever produced. Born of a be a rival religion to the gospel of Jesus, wealthy and powerful tribe, yet disclaiming and will eventually give place to the exalted all ties of kindred, he proceeds on what he and humanizing teachings of the Christian calls his prophetic mission, undergoing hard faith.
NEGATIVE ARTICLE.-11. There have been but comparatively few | following him in his career, and discovering of those who have lived upon this earth who how his character was formed. have given birth to great movements, and There is difficulty in our undertaking, exercised an important, extensive, and en- Thirteen centuries have passed away since during influence over their fellow men. first the infant Mahomet opened his eyes to " Great inen stand like solitary towers in the light. Added to this, the Arabian nation is, the city of God”—the earth; sometimes, perhaps more than any European or Asiatic indeed, like the heavenward-pointing spire, people, generally deficient in & written liteand full of lofty thoughts and holy longings; rature; and, moreover, Mahomet is a person but sometimes, alas! like that proud temple whose acts and influence were such, that it which arose in Babylon, threatening high is his inevitable fate to be represented in a Heaven with its presumptuous head. A few dozen different lights, by a dozen different such men have been amongst us, who will persons, friends or enemies, as the case may never be forgotten. They have carved their be. Thus, there is no small degree of diffinames deeply upon the rock of Fame, and, culty in gaining a clear and reliable account though the ocean Time may lave them, they of his life. cannot be effaced.
It would seem that the long intervals Mahomet is one of these. Great has been between the giant men of the earth are his influence upon the destiny of humanity. occupied in preparing for their advent. Vast have been the issues of his advent, Material is being formed for their working, both of good and evil. Necessarily, diverse unfavourable circumstances are vanishing, opinions have been held respecting his cha- obstacles being removed, until the whole racter. While some reverence him as an world is ready and waiting for the coming inspired prophet, others execrate him as an one. impious impostor. Taking as our definition So with regard to Mahomet. The Arabs, – of an impostor one who assumes a character who, in remote antiquity, worshipped the one for the purpose of deception, we will endea living and the true God, but who, in the vour to prove that Mahomet was not such case of one section, coming to worship him a one; and we shall best accomplish this by through the media of inferior intelligences,