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effect, if we consider the opposition that was overcome in bringing it to pass. Christianity was propagated against all the opposition that could be made by man's carnal dispositions, strengthened by inveterate general custom, principles, habits, and practice, prevailing like a mighty flood. Mahometanism was propagated, not in opposition to those inclinations, but by complying with them, and gratifying them, in examples, précepts, and promises, as STAPFERUS observes, (Theo). Polem. tom, iii. p. 292.) Speaking of Mahomet's laws, he says, “The law which he published, was, above all others, accommodated not only to the opinions of men, but also to the depraved nature, manners, and innate vices of those nations among whom he propagated it ; nor did it require much more than external exercises, of which, to a carnal man, are much more easy to be performed, than those spiritual exercises which the sacred pages prescribe. He allowed of revenge for injuries ; of discarding wives for the slightest causes ; of the addition of wives to wives, which must have served only as so many new provocatives to lust. At the same time he indulged himself in the greatest excess of promiscuous and base lasciviousness. He placed the true worship of God in such external ceremonies, as have no tendency to promote true piety. In fine, the whole of that religion which he instituted, was adapted to no other end, than the shedding of human blood."
5. This religion is particularly adapted to the luxurious and sensual disposition. Christianity was extremely contrary, to the most established and darling notions of the world ; whereas Mahomet accommodated his doctrines to all such notions as were most pleasing at that time, among the Heathen, Arabians, Jews, and the several most prevailing sects of Christians; as STAPFERUS observes :
" Mahomet retained many of the opinions of the ancient Arabians; he mixed his doctrine with the fables of the Jews, and retained many of the ceremonies of the other religions prevalent at that time. The religion of Mahomet favoured the prejudices of the Jews, and of the Heathens; and was suited to the desires of the flesh, and to the allurements of the world. But the religion which Christ taught, did not, in the least instance, favour the depraved affections of men, and the indulgence of the flesh; but was diametrically opposed to them ; nor was it suited to the prejudices of either Jews or Gentiles; but it was plainly contrary to the preconceived opinions of men. Whence the apostles, in preaching this religion, immediately opposed both the religion of the Jews and of the Gentiles." (ibid. p. 340.) Christianity was propagated under the most violent, universal, and cruel persecution of all the powers of the world. Mahometanism was not so ; it never made its way any where, in any remarkable degree, against persecution. 96. The difference will appear great, if we consider the time when each of these were propagated. Christianity was propagated at a time when human learning and science was at its greatest height in the world. But Mahometanism was broached and propagated in ages of great darkness, after learning had exceedingly decayed, and was almost extinguished in the world.
§ 7. The difference will farther appear, if we consider the places from whence these religions were propagated.-Christianity was first begun in a place of great light, the greatest light with regard to religious knowledge then known, and in a very publie part of the globe; whither resorted innumerable multitudes of people three times every year, from almost all parts of the then known world. And beside the vast resort of Jews and proselytes thither, it was a country that was at that time under the inspection and government of the Romans, where they had a governor, and other public officers constantly residing. It was propagated especially from Jerusalem, the chief city in that country, and one of the greatest and most public cities in the world; and, indeed, all things considered, was next to Rome itself, nay, in some respects, even far beyond Rome. And the nations among whom it was first propagated after the Jews, were not the more ignorant and barbarous, but—the most knowing and learned in the world ; as particularly the Greeks and Romans. And the cities where it was very early received, and from whence it was promulgated to other parts, were the greatest, most public and polite, such as Antioch, Ephesus, Alexandria, Corinth, Athens, and Rome : And some of these were the greatest seats of learning and philosophy on earth.—Whereas, Mahometanism was broached in a dark corner of the earth, Arabia ; and the people among whom it first gained strength, who sent out armies to propagate it to the rest of the world, were an ignorant and barbarous sort of people ; such as the Saracens and Turks, who originated from Scythia,
s 8. The difference appears in the means and method of propagation. Christianity was propagated by light, instruction and knowledge, reasoning and inquiry. These things were encouraged by the gospel ; and by these means the gospel prevailed, But Mahometanism was not propagated by light and instruction, but by darkness; not by encouraging reasoning and search, but by discouraging knowledge and learning; by shutting out those things, and forbidding inquiry; and so, in short, by blinding the eyes of mankind. It was propagated by the power of the sword also; by potent sultans, absolute tyrants, and mighty armies. Christianity was propagated by the weakest of men, unarmed with any thing but meekness, humility, love, miracles, clear evidence, most virtuous, holy, and amiable examples, and
the power and favour of eminent virtue, joined with assured belief of the truth, with self-denial and suffering for truth and holiness. By such weapons as these was it propagated against the power, authority, wealth, and armour of the world : against the greatest potentates, most absolute and cruel tyrants, their most crafty counsels, and greatest strength, utmost rage and cruelty, and determined resolutions to put a stop to it. propagated against all the strength of the strongest empire that ever was in the world.
§ 9. One principle way wherein the propagation of Chris. tianity is a proof of its truth, consists in its being an evidence of the facts that are the foundation of it. Christianity is built on certain great and wonderful visible facts; such as, Christ's resurrection from the dead, and the great and innumerable miracles wrought by him and his apostles, and other his followers, in Judea, and many parts of the world.
These facts were always referred to as the foundation of the whole ; and Christianity always pretended to be built on them. That Christianity, which, in effect, is no other than the belief of these facts, should be extensively propagated in, and near the places and time when the facts were said to be wrought ; when and where there was so much opportunity and advantage to know the truth of the matter ; is a great, standing everlasting evidence of the truth of the facts. But as to Mahometanism, it pretends to no facts for its proof and foundation, but only Mahomet's pretences to intercourse with heaven, and his success in rapine, murder, and violence.-Belief of sensible miracles, or public attestations of heaven to Mahomet's authority and doctrines, was no part of his religion ; and was not employed in its propagation.
§ 10. If we consider the propagation of Christianity as a doctrine or belief of wonderful divine facts, Mahometanism is not set up in opposition to it: because the Mahometan religion itself acknowledges the principal facts of Christianity, though it has no facts of its own to urge. And so Mahometanism rather confirms than weakens Christianity; and the propagation of Mahometanism itself, may be considered as one thing belong. ing to the propagation of Christianity, and as a part of that propagation, in as far as it consists in a propagation of a professed belief of those facts. It is so far an instance of the propagation of that which is the foundation of Chistianity, that it proves all the rest. The Alcoran owns Jesus to be a great prophet ; " the messenger of God,” (Surat. v. 84.) that he wrought miracles, healing a man blind from his birth, and the leprous, (Surat. v. 119.) also raising the dead; and that Jesus as born of Mary was himself a miracle, (Surat. xxiii. 52.) He often speaks of Jesus as the servant and messenger of God; (Surat. iv. 158. iii. 152. iv. 169, 170. v. 84.) Now, owning this, is in effect owning the whole. This is the foundation of the whole, and proves all the rest. It owns that Jesus was miraculously conceived and born; (Surat. iii. 47. xix. 20. 21.) and without sin. (Surat. iii. 36. xix. 19.)—Mahomet owns Jesus, and ascribes the conception of Christ alone to the power of God, and the inflation of his Spirit.-In Surat. xxi. 19. are these words, as the words of God; “ And Mary was a chaste virgin, and We inspired her with Our Spirit, and set up her and her son as a miracle to all ages.”—He owned Jesus to be the Mes. siah foretold in the law and the prophets; Surat. iii. 45. “When the angels said, O Mary, certainly God declares to thee his own word ; his name shall be Jesus Christ, the son of Mary :" Surat. xix. 29. Surat. iv. “ Certainly Christ Jesus, the son of
, “ Mary, is the ambassador of God and his word.” He owned Christ's ascension into heaven. “God raised him (Christ) to himself;" Surat. iv. 157. Concerning Christ's miracles, Ma. homet says, Surat. iii. 45. v. 119. “God says, O Jesus, the son of Mary, I have strengthened thee by the spirit of holiness; and thou shalt, by my leave, heal a man blind from his birth; and by my leave thou shalt raise the dead from their
§ 11. In this respect the great propagation of the Mahometan religion is a confirmation of revealed religion—and so of the Christian in particular, which alone can have any pretext to be a religion revealed by God—as this is a great demonstra. tion of the extreme darkness, blindness, weakness, childishness, folly, and madness of mankind in matters of religion, and shows how greatly they stand in need of a divine guide, and divine grace and strength for their help, such as the gospel reveals. And that this gross delusion has continued so long to so great an extent, shows how helpless mankind are, under ignorance and delusion in matters of religion; and what absolute need they have of extraordinary divine interposition for their relief, And besides, such a miserable, blind, helpless state of mankind, is also exactly agreeable to the representation made in the Christian revelation.
The Jewish nation have, from their very beginning, been a remarkable standing evidence of the truth of revealed religion.
§ 1. When every other nation under heaven had forsaken the True God, and was overwhelmed in heathenish darkness, the Jews had among them the knowledge and worship of the True God, and rational and true notions of his being, attributes, and works; of his relation to mankind, our dependence upon him, and the worship and regards due to him. This was upheld among them alone, for so many ages, to the coming of Christ ; while they were surrounded on every side, with nations vastly differing from them, and the worst of idolaters. The whole world beside themselves had forgotten the True God and forsaken his worship, and were all the while involved in gross heathenism. They lived in the midst of the most frequented and most populous parts of the world. They did not live separated from the rest of the world as in an island or a peninsula ; or yet as divided from others by vast deserts, or impassable mountains; but on the continent, in the midst of the habitable world, with populous countries adjoining to them almost on every side. Those nations, who were their next neighbours on every side, were steadfastly gross Pagans, and some of the most barbarous idolaters.
§ 2. They were not a nation that studied philosophy; they had no schools among them under the care of philosophers who instructed their pupils in human science; yet they had most apparently far better, more sublime, and purer notions of God and religion, of man's duty, and of divine things in general, than the best of the heathen philosophers. Nor do they seem to have been a people any way remarkably distinguished from other nations, by their genius and natural abilities. They were a comparatively small people, not a great empire, not a vast and potent commonwealth.
§ 3. Such changes and revolutions frequently came to pass in their nation, and such was their peculiar state from time to time, that they were exceeding liable to be corrupted and overrun with heathenish notions, and the customs of idola. trous nations, and to grow into a conformity to the rest of the world in that respect. They were above two hundred years in Egypt, which may be looked upon as the second nation, if not the first, for being the fountain of idolatry.—And they lived there under circumstances tending the most to their being corrupted with idolatry, and brought to a conformity with the Egyptians in that respect, of any that can be imagined ; especially on these accounts :— They were there in the beginning and rise of their nation. There the nation had its birth. It grew from one family of about seventy persons, with the father of the whole family at the head of it, to be more than a million of people, yea probably (reckoning male and female,) about two millions. And they lived there, not separate and distinct from the Egyptians; but had continual intercourse with them. Yea, they dwelt there as inferiors, in subjection to the Egyptians; their slaves : and the Egyptians who had daily concern with them, were their masters.
§ 4. After they came into the land of Canaan, they for several ages dwelt there with the remains of the ancient heathen