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ART. III.-1. Ueber das Verhaltniss des Islams zum Evangelium. Von DR. J. A. MÖHLER. Ed. LÖLLINGER. Regensburg.


2. Essai sur l'Histoire des Arabes avant l'Islamisme, pendant Epoque de Mahomet, et jusqu'à la réduction de toutes les tribus sous la loi Musulmane. Par A. P. CAUSSIN DE PERCEVAL, Professeur d'Arabe au Collège de France, &c. Tomes 3. Paris: Didot Frères. 1847-48.

3. Mahomet et les Origines de l'Islamisme. RENAN. Rerue des deux Mondes. Paris. p. 1063.

Par M. ERNEST 1851. Tome xii.

4. Lettres sur la Turquie, ou Tableau Statistique de l'Empire Ottoman. Par M. A. UBICINI. Première Partie. Les Ottomans. Deuxième Edition. Paris. 1853.

5. Lives of Mahomet and his Successors. By WASHINGTON IRVING. New York and London. 1850.

6. History of Arabia and its People. By ANDREW CHRICHTON, LL.D. New Edition. London and Edinburgh: Nelson and Sons.

7. Lectures on the History of the Turks in its Relation to Christianity. By the Author of Loss and Gain. Dublin. 1854.

IF, gazing upon the shelves of a well-stocked modern library, we should observe a large and increasing proportion of volumes, which, more or less directly, bore reference to the person and the creed of Mahomet; and if, further, we were informed that their general tendency was more favourable to the Arabian teacher than were, for the most part, those of an earlier age; the first and most obvious mode of accounting for this circumstance would be the existence of the War in the East. Nor indeed would it be difficult to point out many volumes, for whose tone and for whose very appearance our new arned alliance would sufficiently account. But this solution would before long find its limit. After glancing at the contents of numberless books of travel, and of biographical and historical sketches, professing to throw light upon the all-absorbing topic of the day, we should arrive by a retrograde course at rows of volumes upon the same theme, prior in point of time to the outbreak, or even the expectation, of the present war, yet often partaking of the same lenient tone in all that respects Mahomet

and Mahometanism.' It was long before the Anglo-French support of Turkey that Mr. Carlyle exclaimed, that Mahomet's creed was a kind of Christianity-I should say a better kind 'than that of those miserable Syrian sects, with their vain jang'lings about '-we rather shrink from finishing the sentence, since the words are those of the Nicene Creed and the Arian heresy respectively, concerning the nature of Him who is the object of Christian worship. It was in the days of European peace, that Sir Charles Fellowes, ignoring, if we mistake not, all reminiscences of the Seven Churches in Asia Minor, produced the account of his travels, as a panegyrist of the Mahometan conqueror, Mahmood, and his people. The ponderous tomes of Mahomet's latest German biographer, Weil, were published some three or four years since. Of the works given at the head of this article, one only (that of Dr. Newman) can, we believe, be said to have been originally prompted by the stirring events occurring round us.


We must seek, then, some more adequate solution. causes of these phenomena are probably manifold and varied: enough for us to indicate a few.

The mere appearance of fresh works upon Islamism and its founder may have originated, partly in the love of book-making, partly from the discoveries made by honest, student-like research. The book-making tribe is ever on the look out for a hero who is not worn threadbare, a theme which is not yet exhausted; and certain of its members seem to have become aware (even before the powerful impulse since imparted to their labours) that such a theme and such a hero were yet to be found in the past history and present condition of Arabia and Asia Minor, Turkey and Hindostan. On the other hand, the truly learned Orientalist, the critical and philosophic investigator, has alighted upon manuscripts hitherto undeciphered in the West, or detected

1 Lest any purist should be shocked in limine at our employment of the popular corruption, Mahomet, we beg to observe with M. Caussin (for the remark applies to Englishmen quite as well as Frenchmen)-'cette altération du mot Mohammed est consacrée parmi nous.' The same might be asserted of the term Mahometanism, as applied to his creed. The reader who dislikes either form may mentally substitute another. In the latter case, there is abundant choice. He may adopt the German word Islam, or the French Islamisme; may, with Mr. Hallam and others, speak of Mohammedism; with Dean Prideaux and others, of Mahometism. The last two coinages are, we presume, as lawful as that of Irvingism and the like


2 Heroes and Hero-Worship, Lect. ii. p. 98. We trust that neither Mr. Monckton Milnes, nor Mr. Kingsley, in endorsing this lecture with the mark of their approbation, intended to include this sentence. There are, as will be seen, some positions in the lecture of Mr. Carlyle which we are very far from controverting. On the other hand, there are some which Mr. C. all but controverts himself, and half unsays where he is speaking of the hero as poet. Pp. 175, 176.

3 Mohammed der Prophet, sein Leben und seine Lehre. Stuttgart, 1843.

what appear to him mistakes in the ordinary estimate of Mahometanism by Europeans; and out of the fulness of his knowledge and strength of his convictions, imparted to us, as became him, the fruits of his study and meditations.

Thus much for the mere existence of this class of books. The greater tenderness displayed towards Mahomet is a distinct and somewhat more complicate affair. We are not ignorant that in venturing to assert it as a fact, we are speaking with some degree of vagueness and generality. Among the studious writers of the present century may be found those who have dealt severely with the creed of Islam. Our travellers, too, have, in many instances, been unsparing in their criticisms upon Turkish character and manners. And so, again, among authors of an earlier generation there are partisans, as they may be fairly termed, of Mahomet. The most learned English translator of the Koran, Sale, is pronounced, even by Gibbon, no harsh judge, to be half a Mahometan; and a French biographer, the Comte de Boulainvilliers, seems to have composed his untrustworthy Vie de Mahomet, as an attack, and hardly a covert one, upon Christianity.1

Nevertheless, if the least favourable of our list of books be compared with the earlier comments of Prideaux,2 Maracci, White, the compilers of the Universal History, or even of Professor Smyth, it will be allowed, we think, that the balance is in Mahomet's favour. Such modification of views, be it greater or less, as has really taken place, will be probably found to have arisen from an admixture of causes, some most honourable and generous, some very treacherous and malignant. If, for instance, any deeper research into the original sources of history, or calmer meditation upon facts already known, has led to discoveries which lessen the burden of charges against Mahomet, what lover of truth will hesitate to accept such results with cheerfulness? If, again, the changed circumstances of the Ottoman Empire-once keeping all Europe at bay, now reduced

1 Boulainvilliers, who died A. D. 1722, is said to have ended his days as a Christian. He seems to have asserted that this, and other sceptical productions of his pen, were written in aid of religious truth from a conviction that Divine Providence would raise up defenders of sound doctrine. (Art. Boulainvilliers, Nouvelle Biographie Universelle. Paris, 1853.) It would be equally easy to believe that the Czar intended the present war as a boon to Turkey, and under the conviction that powerful supporters of her cause would be vouchsafed to her.

2 Life of Mahomet, by Humphrey Prideaux, D.D., Dean of Norwich.

A.D. 1708. (Fourth Edit.)


3 Maracci, Professor of Arabic at Rome, published his Latin translation of the Koran, with the Prodromus and Refutatio Alcorani, at Padua, in A.D. 1698. It is said to have been the result of forty years' labour. (See Chrichton, p. 227.) Professor White's Bampton Lectures were preached at Oxford, A.D. 1784. 5 Lectures on Modern History, vol. i. lect. iii.

to beg Christian support against her powerful antagonist of the North-throw a different hue over the aspect, not merely of her present condition, but even of her past history, who will deny but that such alteration in the mental vision of men, arises from a noble sentiment, which may occasionally need to be checked and moderated, but seldom or never to be repressed? We too often behold, on the part of men in power and authority, a reversal of that grand old Roman rule:

Parcere subjectis et debellare superbos.

Let us rejoice at any proofs that it still abides in the hearts of Englishmen, for it is one which used to be deeply enshrined in their better nature, and has frequently shone forth amidst the fermentation caused by great events. Let any one, to take a modern example, look at the judgments passed by our countrymen upon Napoleon, at the time when he stood forth as the conqueror at Austerlitz or Wagram, and Napoleon as the exile of Saint Helena; it will hardly seem that the same person is being spoken of. Moreover, in such cases, there is apt to be a reaction, inasmuch as it is probable that enmity and alarm have unduly exaggerated the faults of a foe. And thus, too, the somewhat excessive anti-Mahometan zeal of a Prideaux, a Maracci, and in later times a Frederick Schlegel, was of itself calculated to provoke a counter-demonstration of feeling from tolerably unbiassed by-standers.


And here we would gladly close our list of causes for the phenomena in question. We wish that we could think that such motives had in all cases been the leading ones. But there is that about some writings of the day which forbids us so to think; suspicions of the existence of a very different element from those above-named will occasionally force themselves upon the mind, and it were no true charity to conceal them. fear that, in some cases, the panegyrists of Islamism are, with more or less consciousness of purpose, again trying to employ it as a weapon against Christianity, or, at any rate, in support of the worst species of latitudinarianism. They fancy, and possibly not without reason, that infidelity has not yet availed itself to the utmost of the specious arguments deducible from the origin and progress of the Arabian religion; that it may yet be made to perplex the evidence for the divinity of the Christian faith just in the point where Christianity appeared most strong, namely, its extension and adaptation to the different races of mankind; and that thus, if Mahometanism can no longer hope to subdue Christendom by force of arms, it may yet become an intellectual cause of its decay and ultimate overthrow.

Vain hope! vain as ever the expectation of the Mussulman forces on the eve of their meeting with Charles Martel at Poitiers, or Don John of Austria at Lepanto, or Sobieski under the walls of Vienna! He who hath promised to His Church that the gates of hell shall not prevail against her, can, whensoever it pleases Him, raise up champions in the arena of discussion as bold, as true, as victorious as those who erst contended for His kingdom upon earth with sword and spear, and jeoparded their lives unto the death. Vain hope! yet not, therefore, to be contemned and disregarded by such as desire the glory of God and the highest welfare of their brethren. For even as the power of the Crescent, though doomed to wane and fade before the Cross, has yet been proved a source of sore trial and perplexity, and caused torrents of human blood to flow: so too the reasoners on its behalf, though never fated to enjoy any real and lasting triumph, may yet win for a season some mental realm of Spain, some moral Constantinople, and help to injure, if not slay, the souls, of many, as their prototypes maimed and destroyed their bodies. We seem to detect some traces of such mischief even in quarters where deliberate hostility to revelation was certainly not intended by the writer.'

These considerations are, of course, open to controversy. As, however, we cannot afford to dwell upon them, for the present, at any greater length, they must be left to the judgment of the reader; but, whatever be the reason, it is at least plain matter of fact, that the theme of Mahometanism has received much illustration since the time of Gibbon. Those who, like that distinguished historian, must profess their total ignorance of the Oriental tongues,' may not only enjoy the advantage of

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1 The following illustration of our meaning is one of the least offensive that we could select. A living biographer, speaking of the commencement of Mahomet's career, remarks: The good old Christian writers, on treating of the advent of one whom they denounce as the Arab enemy of the Church, make superstitious record of divers prodigies which occurred about this time, awful forerunners of the troubles about to agitate the world. In Constantinople, at that time the seat of Christian empire, were several monstrous births and prodigious apparitions, which struck dismay into the hearts of all beholders.' [The italics are ours.] Some details are given; as moving crosses, hideous figures rising from the Nile; the sun diminished in appearance, and shedding pale and baleful rays; furnacelight on a moonless night, and bloody lances glittering in the sky. Now, we do not pretend to have examined the evidence for the appearance of these prodigies, and are quite ready to admit, that very possibly it might not bear a searching examination. But, for his own sake, and the sake of others whom he may influence, a Christian writer should be careful how he indulges in anything like sneers at assertions so closely resembling the promises made by our Lord with reference to events of which Mahomet's coming may be fairly considered partly typical. (S. Matt. xxiv. 11, 21-24, 29.) As for the words, whom they denounce,' &c., they are almost ridiculous. Mahomet's hostility to the Church (whatever be thought of his degree of consciousness or guilt in the matter) is a simple historic fact, quite independent of any one's denunciation, or any one's denial.

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