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murderer is a decrepit powerless old man, and the swindler young, active, and vigorous, it would be the fondest infatuation to fear the murderer's violence as much as the rogue's machinations. In the mysterious providence of God, the creed of Mahomet is rapidly hastening to decay. If it is likely still to survive for ages, it must be as one among the crowd of effete religions which still keep a hold on the lives of hereditary votaries, but which can make no proselytes and can persecute no more.
In the hands of the Russian Czar, on the contrary, the name of Christ and the glory of the Cross are but the cloak for a principle which is as directly antagonistic of Christianity as the monstrous inventions of Mahomet. In faith, as in morals, a man may keep the whole law save in one point, and so may be virtually guilty in all. A dead fly makes a whole vessel even of the sweetest ointment to stink. Grant that the Greek Church is every thing that the widest charity can suggest, and the damning spot remains. It is the slave of the temporal power. It abdicates the sovereignty which Almighty God has conferred upon His Church. It places itself as a tool in the hands of the secular sovereignty; to do its bidding, to aid in enthralling the bodies of men, to see with the eyes of the Czar, to hear with his ears, and to repeat his manifestoes as the voice of God. We are in the habit of taunting the Anglican Establishment with its Elizabethan origin, its parliamentary creed, and its subjugation to the ministry of the day; but, compared with the Greek Church, the English Establishment is free. Its fetters allow it just so much liberty as permits it to kick with one or two of its limbs, to protest that it is its own master, and to demand fair treatment from its superiors. In Russia these recalcitrations and remonstrances are not even thought of. A kick would be quelled with the knout, and protesting priests would be sent to discourse to the icy gales of Siberia. Nicholas would make short work of an Archdeacon Denison; and a Philpotts would hardly survive to publish a second pamphlet against the imperial supremacy.
Practically, then, our great enemy in this nineteenth century is the sovereign who claims to represent, and who actually holds in his hands, the spiritual influences of the Greek schism. All that tempts man to pride, and to a life-long resistance to the humbling precepts of the Gospel, combines to make the Russian monarchs the deadliest foes of the Catholic faith. Nicholas himself is stimulated by personal motives to wage war against Catholics to the knife. Whatever humiliations may be in store for bim from the fleets of England and France, none can be more bitter than that which he has already experienced from the successor of Peter. Years ago, when his name was great in this country, and he was regarded as the invincible arbiter of the destinies of Europe, he one day paid a visit to the reverable and almost dying Pontiff Gregory, and left the old man's presence trembling like a beaten hound. Has Nicholas, do we think, forgotten that day of dishonour? Does he hate England or the Emperor Napoleon with one-tenth of the bitterness with which he hates the possessor of that invisible power, in whose mysterious presence he, the lord of one-sixth part of the globe, was abashed, silenced, and overcome? As Englishmen, or as Frenchmen, we may view the approaches of the Czar upon the territory of Turkey with dismay, as destroying the balance of power in Europe; but as Catholics we view them with a still more vivid alarm; for we know what we have to look for from him who uses the holiest names for the vilest purposes, and who can invoke the protection of the Cross itself for the furtherance of schemes for subjecting alike the bodies and the souls of men to his absolute sway.
Whatever, then, be the doom of Turkey, our first desire is to curb the power of Russia. When Turkey falls to pieces, Russia, if she is not checked beforehand, will seize the lion's share of the splendid prize; and the cold bloodthirstiness of the Czar will be substituted for the fiery passions of the Mussulman. We should rejoice indeed to see the Russian empire shorn of its recent acquisitions. Stripped of his rich Tartar and Polish provinces, the Muscovite might possibly learn wisdom, cease from aspirations after conquest, and acquiesce in the great truth, that his duty is to civilise his people, rather than to raise millions of soldiers to fight and die in the service of his personal ambition.
Supposing, therefore, that Russia receives a complete and permanent check in the present struggle, what can we reasonably anticipate with respect to Turkey? Is it possible to preserve the integrity of the Turkish empire ? And if it is possible, is it desirable ? We think it neither possible nor desirable. Setting aside the decorous conventionalities of politicians, and “clearing our minds of cant,” what is to be done with our "ancient ally” and his magnificent possessions ? What ought to be our real aim, in the expenditure of blood and treasure to which we have now committed ourselves ? Should we bolster up the Sultan's sovereignty as long as we can? or only until the time is come for such a division of his territories as may best further the interests of Christianity? We do not, of course, advocate any violent seizure of his kingdom, or any measure of such a description as might even look like conquest and injustice. Whatever might be abstractedly and strictly lawful in such a case, we are willing to waive all theoretical rights. We will suppose that the Turks are the lawful possessors of Constantinople; and that if the Latins again take possession of the imperial city, it must be because circumstances destroy the Turkish sovereignty, or render its existence incompatible with the safety of the other nations of Europe. We have no hesitation in saying, that we believe the Turkish sovereignty is thus tottering to its foundation, that this present war will probably hasten on and finally produce that downfall,--and that the sooner it takes place the better, in order that a partition of its entire territories may be made while France, England, and Austria, are on terms of friendship.
Our reasons for thus believing in the imminent fall of the Turkish power we find in the inherent nature of the Turkish creed. Those very peculiarities which conferred upon Mahometanism its first tremendous powers, and which for centuries have insured it a vigorous existence, contain in themselves the natural elements of decay. Adapted to the passions and infirmities of man's nature, as developed in one era and in one climate, it is adapted to that era and that climate alone. It will not bear a collision with the tide of human affairs, as it rolls on from generation to generation. Take away the circumstances which fostered its birth, and it dies of constitutional disease. It needs not even a direct contact with Christianity itself to crumble into fragments. It is sufficient that it encounters those social feelings and political ideas which have grown up under the shadow of the Gospel, though they have ceased to be themselves exclusively Christian. Human life, such as it has become in modern days, brings the deathwarrant to that social and political system without which the creed of Mahomet is but a name. The entrance of modern civilisation into the system of Islamism is equivalent to the explosion of a mine under a fortress already in decay.
If any of our readers are disposed to doubt that such must be the inevitable result of the progress of events, a rapid survey of the principal features of the religion of the Koran will, we think, be sufficient to undeceive them.
The Koran, as every one knows, is the Mahometan Bible. Mahomet pretended that he received it by direct inspiration, and at different periods; an ingenious device, by which he was enabled to escape the criticisms which must have been passed upon so lengthy a production had it been first given to the world in its completeness; for wherever any new revelation
was found inconsistent with what had gone before, the answer was ready,—that the latter revelation abrogated the former. Critics consider that the Koran is a work of considerable literary merit, the Arabic in which it is written being extremely pure; and the style, though occasionally turgid and extravagant, on the whole well adapted to the genius of the oriental mind. It is not to be forgotten, moreover, that the impostor not unfrequently incorporated such passages of the Old Testament as suited his purposes. It is destitute of all method and regularity of construction; statements of doctrine, moral precepts, exhortations, and prayers, being mingled together in admirable confusion. It is divided into 114 chapters, bearing titles adopted from certain words of importance which occur in the several divisions. These titles are often quaint and ludicrous to a Western ear. The 1st cliapter is called “the Cow;" the 6th, “ Cattle ;" the 13th, Thunder;" the 16th, “the Bee;" others, “ the Poets," " the Ant,” “ the Spider,' “Smoke,” “ the Inner Apartments,” “ Iron,” “ He who disputed,” “
." "the Fig,” “ Congealed Blood,” “the Elephant," and so forth.
The creed which this strange volume discloses is commonly described as a combination of Judaism, Christianity, and Arabic superstitions, with sundry crafty inventions of the “ Prophet's” own brain. This idea is only so far true, as that all these elements are really found existing in its composition. As a creed and code, Mahometanism is really little more than a corruption and modification of the Law of Moses. It is Judaism adapted to the infirmities and passions of the Arabians and other orientals of the seventh century. Christianity, as a body of doctrine and a law of morals, has no part in it whatsoever. A few of the external facts of Christianity are added to the Judaic structure, more in the way of historical colouring, and as a plausible deception to the critical eye, than as an element in the faith to be adopted by its disciples. Nor does Paganism, either in its dogmas or its morality, enter more deeply into the Mahometan creed. Its superstitions are worked up into the general fabric as romantic and poetic elements, and as productive of innumerable minute observances, rather than as tending to form the genuine Mahometan mind and character. Whatever was ordained or permitted by Almighty God in the Mosaic law with special reference to the weakness or the hardness of the human heart,--all this the impostor retained. Whatever, or at least a considerable portion of what Moses had taught against the absurdities of Polytheism, this also Mahomet seized and professedly made the foundation of his creed; and thus he conciliated the wiser and better
classes of the nations whom he sought to convert, and gained a weapon against Paganism of the most formidable inoral character. Oriental Christianity being, moreover, frightfully degenerate, and split into endless divisions, especially on subjects connected with the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, Mahomet proposed a ready cure for these harassing subtleties, in sweeping the whole away by a denial of the Trinity in any possible sense whatsoever. Still, Christianity was a great fact; and, as a fact, though not as a revelation, it might serve his purpose. He therefore recognised it theoretically as a revelation ; but practically as so corrupt in its Scriptures, both of the Old and New Testaments, that not the slightest dependence could be placed on any remaining copies. He admitted that our Blessed Lord was a Prophet, whose work had been great and holy in its day, and that His conception and birth were altogether supernatural. Thus armed with one of the most masterly conceptions with which mortal man ever sought to rule his fellows, Mahomet announced that the fulness of time was come, and that the final revelation had been made to himself, in which both Jews and Christians by their own principles, and Pagans through the force of reason, were bound to acquiesce.
To the religion thus promulgated Mahomet gave the name Islam; a word signifying submission to, or reception of, the will of God. Its first doctrine was the unity, spirituality, and eternity of God, the Creator of all things in heaven and earth. To this truth Mahomet added the dogma of predestination in its utmost rigour. Every event, great and small, in this life, he taught to be decreed in such a manner that the elect must be saved and the reprobate damned: and it is one of the most remarkable peculiarities of his religion, that he actually succeeded in impressing a practical fatalism upon the minds of his followers, which has materially influenced their conduct down to the present hour, to an extent which the wildest fatalism of speculators and Calvinists has never elsewhere attained
The doctrine of the Koran on angels is a singular corruption of the truth. It asserts the existence of hosts of good angels, variously employed in the service of God. Two guardian-angels are assigned to every man, to observe and write down his actions, but they are changed every day. There are four chief angels: Gabriel, the angel of revelations ; Michael, the protector of the Jews; Azrael, the angel of death; and Israfil, who will sound the trumpet of the resurrection. They have bodies formed from fire, but no distinction of sex. The devils are fallen angels,--their head