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whom they supposed to be located in the , silent forbearance and endurance which so stars, and in the case of another, the Magi- characterized him, and which appear partly ans, at first adoring Jehovah in his sup- to have led to his prominent doctrine of preposed residence, the sun, lost “the divine destination. She also gave him that slightly principle in the symbol,” and gradually melancholy tone of mind, the existence of became worshippers either of graven images, which he evidenced in after times. How or of the subtle element, fire-were now vast is a mother's influence in those early. sunk in a universal and debasing idolatry; years over the mind of a son! A sono a new and spiritual religion was required;
" Who, with his soul, the tribes were scattered and isolated; deadly | Drinks in the feelings of his mother's eye. feuds prevailed; and one ruling mind was
For him, in one dear presence, there exists
A virtue which irradiates and exalts wanted, which should reconcile the discord- |
Objects through widest intercourse of sense." ant elements, which should stir them up to lofty deeds, mould them to its will, and lead
On the death of his mother, Mahomet came them forth, daring, enthusiastic, and deter- |
to live in the house of his uncle, Abu Taleb, mined, “conquering and to conquer.”
| There he dwelt for some years among the In April, A.D. 569, Mahomet entered the
rites and ceremonies of the holy Kaaba. In world. His father, Abdallah, son of Ab- ||
a position well adapted for the attainment of dal-Motallib, the principal man of Mecca,
knowledge, “ he was a thoughtful child, and guardian of the Kaaba, was of the noble
quick to observe, prone to meditate on what line of Koreish, and so remarkable were his
he observed, and possessed of an imagination personal attractions, that, as Arab historians
fertile, daring, and expansive." His eager- · tell, on the day he married Amina, the
ness for information was wonderful; he felt..
themother of the prophet,"two hundred virgins
“Happiness to live, of the tribe of Koreish died of broken When every hour brings palpable access hearts.” Awful prodigies, we are told, Of knowledge; when all knowledge is delight; · accompanied their son into the world, and
And sorrow is not there." presaged his future greatness. His father Ansious for knowledge, eager to behold dying while he was an infant, Mahomet was new peoples and new lands, Mahomet prevailed confided to the care of Halema, a Saadite upon his uncle to allow him to accompany nurse, who took him to her mountain home. the caravan to Syria. He went, and at the In a lovely, fertile country he spent his desert resting-places would sit and listen to infancy, while the Tayef heights rose grandly the Arab story-tellers. His youthful mind all around him. His intellect was cer- was fed with awe-inspiring tales of genii taidly precocious, and, it being so, we might and olden nations, God's wonders and God's guess how far this country life bore upon judgments—tales which biassed him in no the tone of his mind
small degree. At Bosra, the inquiring, “How Nature, by extrinsic passion, first intelligent youth attracted the attention of
Peopled the mind with forms sublime or fair.” Bahira and Sergius, two Nestorian monks,
At an early age, and when, according to from whose conversations he gained a knowMoslem legends, Mahomet displayed “a ledge of some of the doctrines of Christianity wisdom astonishing to all who heard him," |—a knowledge which was turned to account Halema, frightened at a miraculous visita in after days. tion of the angel Gabriel to the child (as He went on several trading expeditions zealous Mahometans affirm), carried him to with his uncle, and at length became the Mecca, and delivered him to his mother. factor of Kadijah, a wealthy widow, who, One kind of influence was exchanged for much pleased by his business capabilities, another. He left the grandeur and the employed him on several occasions. At beauty of his mountain home, to rest in the length, struck with his handsome person, fostering arms of a gentle woman. We can his upright conduct, his agreeable manners, imagine her share in forming the mind of and mental powers, she commissioned her her son. She gave him that womanly ten- slave to make him an offer of her hand. derness só often displayed in his after career, A happy marriage was the result of the though sometimes overpowered by fanaticism. negotiation. She must have aided in giving that spirit of Now begins the critical part of Mahomet's
career. Are there sufficient grounds for at last, by pondering incessantly on this one believing bim to be sincere in assuming the idea, -the idea of a religious reform,-his prophetical office? We shall address our conclusions on the subject should no longer selves to answer this question. He was be the results of pure reason? To win the intelligent, inquiring, and thoughtful to a Arabs from their idolatry, he saw that a high degree. He had the amplest means prophet was required, like Moses, and Elijah, for acquiring knowledge,—not from books, and all the sacred line down to Isa or Jesus. not from his fellow men, but from obser- He knew that prophets had been sent in vation and reflection. His mind was former times for this purpose, and be wonalways open to receive the rich stores of dered why one did not come now. His knowledge — which an intercourse with sagacious mind saw that this was exactly nature, men, and minds discovers to him the time for the annunciation of a prophetwho seeks for them. He was a lover of that the Arabians were prepared for a new nature. She, in her beauty, her grandeur, revelation. her adaptedness, her regularity, told him of a Perceiving all this, and seeing no one to one, single, and almighty Creator. Man, by come forward, can we wonder that he came his formation, preservation, affections, facul- to suppose that he who had found the one ties, and destiny, taught him the same. God — he who had discovered the true reliThe records of the earth—that it had been gion- he who had seen the need of a procreated by an Infinite One for finite mortals; phet—he who was ready to act as one-he the universal distribution of beauty as an who had enjoyed frequent communion with element to elevate and instruct the mind; God in those mountain solitudes-was the the subserviences of matter to mind; the chosen one, destined to redeem the world, laws of humanity; all the great verities of and bring it back to God? The result was being, were stored up by him with the his- (and we conceive the effect was no more tories of the past, fact and fiction; with im- than EQUAL to the cause), as we are told, perfect notions of Judaism and Christianity; that at last, in Mahomet's fortieth year, and with the ideas gained by hourly inter- while he lay asleep in one of the Haran course with his fellow men. He thought caves, the angel Gabriel appeared, pouring deeply, and tried to look into
upon his eyes and mind natural and mental « The indestructible and infinite,
illumination, stamping upon the tablets of The mighty march of the immeasurable, his soul some of the decrees of the Koran, The policies of Heaven, and the life,
and exclaiming, “Mahomet, verily thou art And soul, and centre of all being."
the prophet of God!” His gathered ideas were reflected upon. Any candid mind will acknowledge that The result of reflection on such ideas must this was naturally to be expected to result have been that Mahomet rose to the con- from his state of inind. The vision was the ception of a one God, who was to be wor- embodiment of his waking thoughts. It shipped by men. Then, being possessed of was likely to be hailed by such a mind as an unusual degree of benevolence, the his. Yet he doubted; but being encouraged thought of ameliorating the spiritual con- by his friends, he at last came to beliere in dition of his fellows became the prominent the reality of his mission, and perhaps never i dea of his mind. He saw their pitiful afterwards doubted that he had been sent condition, and grieved for them; but more, of God. he endeavoured to discover the means for He began to promulgate his doctrines. their redemption. He gave himself up to He met with the bitterest opposition, and meditation, being relieved by his marriage his life was frequently endangered. We with the wealthy Kadijah from the necessity need not follow him in all the details of his of labouring for a livelihood. He sought career, in his perils, and escapes, and aftersolitude, wandered about in the mighty wards in his triumphs. stillness of the Haran mountains. There, He received the decrees of the Koran at that he might think the better, he fasted, different times. His revelations, like many subdued the influences of the body, and of those dirine revelations vouchsafed to sharpened the mental activities to an un- Moses in the wilderness, were suited usually natural degree. Can we wonder, then, that to the occasion. This has been taken as an argument to prove the impostorship of homet must have known that his appearMahomet. It is not one, but rather tends ance as a prophet would deprive him of his to prove the opposite. When a thing was influence, his property, and his friends, and required, it of course became the object of would necessarily endanger his life; por his thoughts. Being, then, as has been could there be the most distant supposition ascertained as a matter of fact, of an excit- in his mind of the prosperous future. How able and imaginative temperament, his can the idea that he was an impostor be visions in his sleep, or in the paroxysms to reconciled with his blamelessness of life (if which he was subject, as in the case of his we except bis inordinate affection for the first great revelation, were toned and fair sex), his forbearance, unselfishness, and coloured by his waking thoughts. Every charity; his justice, so admirably tempered one's experience can tell of cases in which with mercy; his humility, notwithstanding the subject which engrossed the mind imme- his rich qualities of person, heart, and mind; * diately before slumber has borne a relation" his rejection of all merit in works; his steadto the after dreams. Moreover, the purport fast confiding trust in the mercy of God; of these revelations was directly contrary to the elevation and gospel-like character of the wishes of the prophet.
I his precepts; and the uniform consistency The revelation of the duty of enforcing of his whole career? Islamism by means of the sword does not As one of the richest of the children of appear to our mind inconsistent with his the East in personal, moral, and mental former forbearance. His religion was to be gifts, but as the victim of a monster selfspread in spite of all things; therefore, as delusion, do we regard this gentle, honest, soon as he had the opportunity, he wielded striving man--the Warrior-Prophet, Mathe sword, and he had allowed its use to bis homet.
THRELKELD. followers for self-defence from the first.
Impostors have some end in view. Ma- * See Gibbon's " Decline and Fall," chap. 1.
THE PRESENT WAR WITH RUSSIA?
NEGATIVE ARTICLE.-IV. “Let the Porte weigh well the difference be- misdeeds by right only to be visited upon tween independence on the one band, and pro- those who have committed them and tection on the other, for the two are eternally in compatible, and let Turkey know that on the day securing a place in the world's history she is protected, Turkey in Europe is no more." humiliating to the nation's honour and -The Times, 17th Sept., 1853.
greatness. Whoever has taken the trouble WE question whether the whole range of to consider this question, and who is at all speculative philosophy could furnish a sub- conversant with English history, cannot fail ject more replete with matter for serious to be reminded that this is one of those consideration than the one before us, for it series of blunders, into which this nation abounds with material that can well chal- appears unconsciously and unconcernedly lenge the attention of the deep and serious impelled. Not content with the incalcuthinker. A great nation and free, pro- lable expense incurred, we are now,fessedly cognizant of the difficulties of legis- even according to the opinion of Mr. Gladlation, has plunged into a war in which it stone, who contended that we were right at should never have engaged-is saddled with first-protracting the war, although we have expenses which posterity only can repay~ achieved the object for which we took the is branded with odium for sanctioning the sword. He declares, further, that we are proceedings of an imbecile ministry—is lay- now endangering the alliance, creating new ing an embargo on future generations for enemies, and bringing further evils upon this country. We can scarcely expect any there was here a feasible opportunity for revulsion of popular feeling on this head, him to evince his sincerity, and it appears until oppressive taxation alone awakens the that he was not slow to do so. The French people to a due sense of the ruin and misery minister, through his government, demanded which they have, in their zeal for the the immediate restoration of the silver star “national honour,” (?) deservedly entailed to the Latins, and at the same time preon their own land.
sumptuously insisted on a change in the Despite the many attempts made to the arrangements of the two churches with contrary, it is a fact which cannot be denied, respect to the holy places. In May, 1850, that this war is one of religion only. Mr. the French ambassador then at ConstanBright has well said, “ These troubles sprang tinople demanded, on behalf of the Latin, out of demands made by the French ;” and or Romish church, the entire and exclusive it is not a little amusing (if that term can possession of the edifice which had been be fairly used in a question of such great shared by the Greeks and other christian moment) to reflect how unwittingly we are sects. To quote from an experienced author assisting the Emperor of the French to re- on this subject:-" This demand was proestablish, in plain terms, the Roman Catho- fessedly based on a treaty 160 years old. lic religion in the East. On the other hand, As compliance with such a demand involved the Russians, animated by a deep and severe the abolition of the privileges which the belief in their creed, are not the less zealous Greeks had long actually possessed, and to defend that faith, now insulted on all their transfer to the Latin church, it was sides, and to vindicate their supremacy-at not surprising that the Czar of Russia enany event, their right to the holy places. tered his protest against the demand, so far On this subject we will quote the opinion of as it interfered with the status quo." The an eminent individual, who says, “ But, reli- Latins consisted of a few thousand persons giously, France is the immediate author of at this time, whilst the Greeks numbered the troubles, as the Manchester represen- ten or eleven millions, under the sovereignty tative has said, and I introduce this episode of the Sultan. Furthermore, the Pope had of religious diplomatic intrigue, that you not forgotten “Holy Mother Church," and may see the subtle element which must glide consequently we hear of Lord Stratford de into the ingredients of peace, whenever the Radcliffe, our ambassador at Constantinople, treaty shall be concocted; it lets us see also thus addressing Lord Palmerston, on May into the relation which subsists between the 20th, 1850:-" It appears that the Pope has Latin and Greek churches."
been moved to exert his influence in furtherThe bloody conflict now raging between ance of the views adopted by France, and Russia and the Western Powers arose in a that all the Catholic powers will be engaged dispute respecting the holy places at Pales- by his Holiness for the same purpose." tine, which were the scene of our Saviour's Blue Book, part i., page 1. At page 2 ministration. A silver star (denoting the we are told that “the Spanish, Sardinian, spot where the star first appeared in the and Neapolitan representatives have severally East, which indicated the place where our given in notes to the Porte, seconding the Lord was born) having been removed from French demand;" and at page 3 we learn the Grotto of the Nativity,-a place at that the Austrian Chargé d'Affaires which christian sects alternately worshipped, has recently received instructions to sup-a conflict arose, the Latins charging the port the Latin view of the question." Lord Greeks, and vice versâ, with this act of Stratford says, “ that the friends of Turkey sacrilege and plunder.
cannot close their eyes to the probable These squabbles were of no rare occur- political consequences of that success which rence, but matters of every-day life. The the French government seeks naturally to French emperor having promised (in return obtain at the head of the Roman Catholic for the assistance he had received in securing representatives.”—(P. 8.) the throne of France) to confer numerous That these demands were unjust is shown, privileges on the Romish church, pledging by the following extracts:that everything that lay in his power should | Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, writing to be done to foster and propagate that faith, lthe Earl of Clarendon, from Constantinople, April 9th, 1853,' says:—Your lordship Sultan by threats of physical force.” will perceive that the Russian ambassador “ M. De Lavalette," says Colonel Rose, does not object, by his demands, to such writing to the Earl of Malmesbury, Nov. 20, privileges as are known to have been ob- 1852,"protects his position by announcing tained latterly by France, in favour of the the extreme measures he would take should Latins, and that his principal aim is to fix the Porte leave any engagement to him and secure the present state of possession unfulfilled. He has more than once talked and usage by that kind of formal and of the appearance, in that case, of a French explicit agreement which may preclude all fleet off Jaffa, and once he alluded to a further pretensions on the side of France, French occupation of Jerusalem, when he and make the Porte directly responsible to said, “We shall have all the sanctuaries "" Russia for any future innovation respecting (B. B., part i., p. 47). The Russian consul, the holy places. This is fair and reason- however, in reply, merely contented himself able enough in the view of an impartial with threatening to withdraw from Constanobserver'» (B. B., part i., p. 127).
tinople, if the status quo were disturbed. “Lord John Russell, in a despatch to Sir Respecting the threat of the French amG. H. Seymour, dated 'Foreign Office, bassador, Lord John Russell thus wrote, February 9th, 1853,' says:- The more the Jan. 26, 1853:—“Her Majesty's governTurkish government adopts the rules of ment cannot avoid perceiving that the amimpartial law and equal administration, the bassador of France at Constantinople was less will the Emperor of Russia find it the first to disturb the status quo in which necessary to apply that exceptional protec- the matter rested. Not that the disputes tion which His Imperial Majesty has found of the Latin and Greek churches were not so burdensome and inconvenient, THOUGH very active, but that without some political NO DOUBT PRESCRIBED BY DUTY, AND action on the part of France, those quarrels SANCTIONED BY TREATY.'
would never have troubled the relations of “ The Earl of Clarendon, in a letter to Sir friendly powers. In the next place, if G. H. Seymour, dated ‘Foreign Office, April report is to be believed, the French am5th, 1853,' says:-Viscount Stratford de bassador was the first to speak of having Redcliffe was instructed to bear in mind recourse to force, and to threaten the interthat Her Majesty's government, without vention of a French fleet to enforce the professing to give an opinion on the subject, demands of his country." were not insensible to the superior claims of The next step to be taken was to settle Russia, both as, respected the treaty obliga- satisfactorily the disputed claims to the holy tions of Turkey, and the loss of moral in- places, and the French demanded a comfluence that the Emperor would sustain mission to investigate and report upon the throughout his dominions, if, in the position claims of the Greeks. This was accordingoccupied by His Imperial Majesty with refer- ly granted, consisting of four parties; but ence to the Greek church, he was to yield the French, ever alive to their interests, any privileges it had hitherto enjoyed to the obtained the services of M. Botta, the French Latin church, of which the Emperor of the consul at Jerusalem, and M. Schoeffer, of French claimed to be the protector.'”— the French legation at Constantinople, thus Eastern Papers, part v., p. 22.
| securing one-half of the commission in their The French ambassador next made bold, own favour. This commission decided, of by coercion and threat, to enforce his course, in favour of the Latins, but the demands with greater vigour, seeing, doubt Greeks resisted, and very properly, when we less, that his imprudent and ill-advised consider the constitution of the commission, measures were the subject of condemnation, and the immense preponderance of Greeks both by the British cabinet, and its repre- to Latins. A second committee of investisentative at Constantinople. “The Sultan gation was accordingly appointed, from which was desirous of conciliating both parties, the two contending parties were excluded. and made concessions to each, which, when The result was, that the former decision they came to be compared, were found to be was rescinded, and judgment given in favour divergent and contradictory. But it was of the plaintiffs (the Greeks), a decision France that first attempted to coerce the which gave great satisfaction. “The Latins