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room for a difference of opinion. Infidelity itself must be staggered by the exact and circumstantial coincidence between the prediction and its accomplishment, which is in itself sufficient to attest the inspiration of the book.”
The Ottoman power has long since ceased to be formidable to Europe. “ Since the middle of the seventeenth century,” says Mr. Faber, “ the empire of the Crescent has been every where on the wane.” “ The peace of Carlowitz (in the year 1697) forms a memorable æra in the history of Europe. Leopold (of Austria) secured Hungary and Sclavonia, which, for a period of almost two hundred years, had been occupied by the Turks, and consolidated his empire by the important acquisition of Transylvania. At the same time the Sultans lost nearly half their possessions in Europe; and from this diminution of territorial sovereignty, the Ottoman power, which once threatened universal subjugation, ceased to be formidable to Christendom.—From the battle of Zenta, the Turks may be said to have run an almost uninterrupted course of adversity: and after accumulating loss upon loss, so far from being any longer a victorious and overbearing woe to the Roman empire, now precariously subsist.”
The power of Mohammedism, as a system of religion, is greatly dependent on the sustaining energies of political and military rulers. If, therefore, in any country, the secular power declines in vigour and in influence, it may be expected that there will be a correspondent relaxation of strength and spirit in the religion itself. Such appears to be the present state of Mohammedism among the greater number of those Asiatic territories over which it has boasted of an absolute sway. Recent accounts of Mecca represent it as “ a city fast sinking into ruin.” Its population has been reduced from 100,000 to 18,000 souls; and the number of its pilgrims annually decreases. It is no uncommon thing for one of the Arabian sects to charge another with infidelity; and the Bedoweens are said to be “ as licentious in their religion as in their politics.” The Mohammedans in general have relaxed in their zeal for proselytism. In Persia, Mohammedism is professed, and its ceremonies are practised; but its influence over the mass of the population is supposed to be less powerful than in Turkey. In India, the religion of the Arabian Impostor appears to be in a declining state. Its professed votaries indeed may not be diminished in numbers, but according to recent communications, its energies are impaired, its enthusiasm is almost extinct, and its very ceremonies are falling gradually into disuse. Does not this state of things already form a contrast
with the aspect which Mohammedism once presented, and does it not seem portentous of an approaching fall ?
It is impossible to contemplate the present struggle between Turkey and Russia, without feelings of the most intense interest. It is not surprising that secular politicians should tremble at the contemplation of the aggrandizement of Russia, and should endeavour to rouse the potentates of Europe to unite for the preservation of the Ottoman power. But can we repress the desire that our favoured nation may be preserved from identifying its interests with the cause either of the Eastern or the Western Antichrist? The interests, both of the one and of the other, are in direct and determined opposition to the truth, and to the reign of Christ. The destruction of both is decreed by Him who changeth not, and even now “ their judgment of a long time lingereth not, and their destruction slumbereth not.”
If there be the parallelism presumed between the destinies of the Western and of the Eastern delusions; if to both is to be applied the prophetic period of 1260 days; if those 1260 prophetic days, denote 1260 years; and if the commencement of that period is to be found at the time when the Papal supremacy was completed, and the Mohammedan imposture
commenced, then the termination of this important and eventful period cannot be very far distant.
If the synchronism be established, then the history of Mohammedism seems to present greater facilities for the general calculation than even the history of Popery. Its dates are readily determined. The epoch of the Hegira, in the year 622, was the point of time from which the Impostor of Mecca dated the commencement of his triumphant career; and by this epoch the Mohammedan nations still continue to regulate their chronology. If the prophetic period of 1260 years be computed from that date, little more than half a century has yet to elapse before its completion. If these prophetic years are to be regarded as lunar and not as solar years, then only about five and thirty years of that period now remain. In attempting however to compare and to adjust the various elements of computation which pervade the prophecies of Daniel and of John, such difficulties are to be encountered, and such discordancies of interpretation are to be found among the learned, that caution in forming and hesitancy in expressing an opinion appear to me more indicative of wisdom than dogmatising confidence.
In the mean time never let it be forgotten, that precept and not prophecy is to be the rule of our conduct. The grand and universal commission, given by our Lord to his disciples, was to “ go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” To this comprehensive rule of guidance there is no exception, and consequently from its obligation there is no escape. It includes Mohammedans as well as Pagans; and, therefore, on this broad principle it is a christian duty, an imperative and absolute duty, binding on the whole community of the christian church, to labour and to pray for the conversion of the deluded Mohammedans. Our duty is not to be ascertained by estimating the gradations of difficulty or of facility, apparently attaching to the enterprise. They are men ; they are dying men; they are men hastening to the dread tribunal with a lie on their tongue, and with enmity against Jesus rankling in their hearts. In life and in death they are blending an eternal truth with a soul-destroying delusion; perpetually exclaiming—“ There is one God, and Mohammed is his Prophet.” Oh! that by the blessing of the Most High, on the exertions and the prayers of Christians, thousands may learn to say—“ There is one God, and one Mediator between God and men—the man Christ Jesus.” Millions of these deluded men, equal in number, it is supposed, to the entire population of England