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Abdallah and the son of Zacharias? Is it to be presumed, by our knowledge of the principles which affect human belief, or is it ascertained by facts, that Mohammedism predisposes its votary to embrace the gospel of Christ? Have tendencies favourable to the reception of the distinguishing peculiarities of the gospel ever been originated or cherished by the system of Unitarianism, either of the school of Mohammed, or of the school of Socinus? Are the tenets of either school favourable to the reception of the atoning sacrifice of the divine Mediator? Are they not, on the contrary, in more direct and determined opposition than even paganism itself ? Have Christian Missionaries had fewer difficulties to encounter among Mohammedans than among the idolatrous heathen? Is there among them less of pride, less of prejudice, less of enmity against the truth, or less of rancorous malignity against its adherents? On the contrary, is there not a more inveterate and a more determined opposition to the name and to the faith of Jesus, than is any where to be found among the unenlightened heathen? As in the days of our Lord the despised publicans and the convicted profligates were more disposed to receive the gospel than the scribes and pharisees; so does it appear, in the days in which we live, that the Taheitians and the Hottentots are more disposed to receive Christianity than the self-complacent and supercilious Mussulman. I need scarcely say, I am not speaking of the power of converting grace, which recognizes no distinctions, which triumphs alike over all impediments; but I am speaking only of the predisposing tendencies of the human heart.
From the considerations already adduced, it is, I trust, sufficiently apparent, that Christianity has nothing to fear from a comparison with Mohammedism, even as regards diffusion or continuance. But, if it can be shown that the Scriptures of the Old Testament and of the New contain predictions of the rise and progress, and also of the fall of Mohammedism, then the very progress of which it boasts, if it be found to correspond with the prediction, will prove a powerful and convincing confirmation of the truth of Christianity, and will prepare us to anticipate with confidence the predicted fall and ruin of the gigantic system. We have strong inducements, then, to enter
III. On the last division of the inquiries proposed:- Can we trace, in the prophetic Scriptures, any disclosure of the rise, progress, and termination of Mohammedism?
In entering on the investigation of the meaning of prophecies comparatively obscure, I deeply
feel the necessity of deliberate discrimination and caution. I desire to enter into the spirit of those seasonable and salutary advices which were recently offered to our regard by a valued friend, on the attention due to unfulfilled prophecy; and I wish to be guided by those sound principles of prophetic interpretation, which another learned and endeared brother recommended for our adoption.
Let me, in the first instance, direct your attention to the emblematic vision described in the eighth chapter of the book of Daniel.
On the banks of the river Ulai, the prophet beheld a ram with two lofty horns. These two horns were explained, by the interpreting angel, to be the symbols of the two dominant kingdoms of Media and of Persia. The ram was overpowered and trampled down by a he-goat. The horn of the he-goat was broken, and four other horns sprang forth in its place. That goat denoted the kingdom of Greece, and the four subsequent horns, its four divisions after the death of Alexander the Great. From one of these four horns, there came forth a little horn, which waxed exceedingly strong. Now it has been observed by Mr. Forster, that the part of Arabia, which included the native country of Mohammed, composed an integral province both of the empire of Alexander, and of the Ptolemæan
kingdom of Egypt. “The empire of Alexander," says Rollin,“ was distributed into four kingdoms; of which Ptolemy had Egypt, Lybia, Arabia, Cælosyria, and Palestine.”
“ The little horn,” it is said, “ waxed exceeding great toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land;" and Mohammedism rapidly obtained domination over Syria, Egypt, and Palestine.
In the vision of the four beasts, recorded in the seventh chapter of Daniel, a little horn is represented as springing up among the ten horns of the fourth beast, that is, of the Roman empire; and that little horn denotes, according to the general consent of enlightened expositors, a spiritual or ecclesiastical dominion—the power of the Papacy. Now it is shown, with great clearness and force, as I conceive, by Mr. Faber, to whom, in the examination of this prophecy, I feel deeply indebted, that unless we depart from the vital principle of homogeneous interpretation, the little horn of the Grecian he-goat must also represent a spiritual or ecclesiastical kingdom. As the first little horn arose in the west, so the second sprang up in the east. Its chronological characteristic is, that it should spring up “ when the transgressors or apostates are come to the full;" — when the apostasy is completed. What is this apostasy? It is
argued by Mr. Faber, and I think with fairness and with force, that it can be no other than the papal apostasy of the Christian church. That apostasy was fully developed at the very time when Mohammed commenced his career. To him Mr. Faber and Mr. Forster apply, and I think with sufficient reason, the description of the King with fierce countenance, that is, of a ferocious and persecuting spirit; understanding dark sentences, or professing to teach and to explain enigmas and spiritual mysteries, in the capacity of a prophet.
The power typified by the little horn, is “ to wax great against the host of heaven; to cast down some of the stars to the ground; and to magnify himself against the prince of the host.” By the prince of the host we are to understand, it is presumed, the divine Head of the Church, who is represented in the Apocalypse as holding the stars in his right hand; and by the starry host themselves, we are to understand those who, in profession and station, were elevated to the office of Christian teachers. The degenerate pastors of the apostatizing church were given up to the Mohammedan scourge.
The power of the little horn is to be mighty, yet not by its own inherent strength. Accordingly, Mohammedism did not prevail by the strength of its own theological system, but by