Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

queror over all that stand up against him; vain shall be the strife of every other faith with his ; and when the victory shall at last and for ever be his own, righteousness, white even in the eye of heaven, shall reign on earth.

The period of the contest, as marked and even defined by other prophecies, was to be long, so long that, except in the eye of faith alone, the issue has appeared doubtful, and deluded enemies have sometimes thought that the victory was already theirs. But they who, in this region of darkness, have scoffed at the religion of Jesus, are themselves held in derision where there is no darkness at all. The work that is of God is not to be undone by man: nor is the word which is His to hold eternal conflict with theirs. The revelation of Jesus Christ tells of every false faith, and reveals their nature, their object, and their end. And when of them nothing shall remain but confirmations of his word, they who have the blessing truly to know that Christ has come forth conquering, will not need the sight of a symbol nor the word of an angel, to tell them that He went forth to conquer.-Christ is previously denominated, in the Revelation, the Lion of the tribe of Judah ; and the living creature who, on the opening of the first seal, said unto John, come and see, had a face as the face of a lion.

CHAPTER X.

SECOND SEAL.

And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take

peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another : and there was given unto him a great sword. Ver. 4. The same symbol must have the same significancy. If one horse represent the Christian Religion, another horse must in like manner, if there be perfect harmony in the vision, represent another religion. And each religion must have its author or its head, as each horse had its rider. An express similarity in these respects is required, where the symbol is designated as another. Interpreting things spiritual with spiritual, and looking to the prophets as well as the law as a schoolmaster, we know already that when transgressions came to the full, a king of fierce countenance, whose power was mighty, but not by his own power, who destroyed wonderfully, and prospered and practised and destroyed the mighty and the holy people, magnified himself to the prince of the host, and stood up against the Prince of princes, or against him who is the King of kings. The question here is not one of time, that is otherwise defined,) but of a new or another religion. The close accordance expressed the identity between the king of fierce countenance who stood up against the Prince of princes, and the rider on the war-horse, the author of another religion. Of his fierce countenance, and of his destroying wonderfully, the colour of blood is the badge. His mighty power is betokened by the great sword; and as it was not by his own power that he became mighty, the sword was given him. He understood dark sentences, and magnified himself even to the prince of the host ; and his was another religion than the Christian. The description in either case is literal ; and the symbol is the most expressive language. Another religion, of a different and opposite nature from the Christian, was thus to arise, and the founder of another faith to appear, who instead of proclaiming peace from heaven, would take

it from the earth, whose religion would be propagated by slaughter, and to whom a great sword was given. Could Mahomet and Mahometanism be more strikingly portrayed ? and may not the false prophet of Mecca be detected, even without the aid of a prophet of Israel ? Mahometanism is another religion, having no affinity with the Christian, and it accounts all Christians unbelievers. It is not pure but bloody-not white but red. Its founder was not a deliverer but a destroyer. He was a warrior, and by war his faith prevailed. The proof of his mission was the multitude of the slain. The characteristic of his faith, the charm of his power, and the secret of his success-were “ a great sword.” Mahometanism had no other support, and, when that fails, it has no stay. Christ went forth conquering and to conquer—but the destroyers of the earth are doomed to destruction. And as an emblem of the final triumph of the truth and of the overthrow of every false faith, however successful for a time, and however bloody it may be, we need but to appeal to the authority of Gibbon, and to quote from the Koran, in illustration of the perfect truth of the figurative description of another religion, which succeeded the Christian in its origin, and which has maintained so prominent a part in the things that were to be thereafter.

“ The imperfection of human rights was supplied and armed with the plenitude of divine power : the prophet of Medina assumed, in his new revelations, a fiercer and more sanguinary tone; the means of persuasion had been tried, the season of forbearance was elapsed, and he was now commanded to propagate his religion by the SWORD, to destroy the monuments of idolatry, and, without regarding the sanctity of days or months, to pursue the unbelieving nations of the earth.* “ The fair option of friendship, or submission,

[ocr errors]

or battle, was proposed to the enemies of Mahomet. If they professed the creed of Islam, they were admitted to all the temporal and spiritual benefits of his primitive disciples, and marched under the same banner to extend the religion which they had embraced. In the first months of his reign, he practised the lessons of the holy warfare. The martial apostle FOUGHT IN PERSON in nine battles or sieges ; and fifty enterprises of war were achieved in ten years by himself or his lieutenants. From all sides the roving Arabs were allured to the standard of religion and plunder; the enjoyment of wealth and beauty was a feeble type of the joys of paradise prepared for the valiant martyrs of the faith. The SWORD,' says Mahomet, “is the key of heaven and of hell : a drop of blood shed in the cause of God, a night spent in arms, is of more avail than two months of fasting and prayer: whosoever falls in battle, his sins are forgiven : at the day of judgment his wounds shall be resplendent as vermillion, and odoriferous as musk : and the loss of his limbs shall be supplied by the wings of angels and cherubims.'"*

Without “ the sword” Mahomet could effect nothing. Before he claimed the divine right of using it, or inculcated fighting for the faith, as the first of virtues, he fled from Mecca, a helpless fugitive, and hid himself in a cave. From that flight his religion takes its date (A. D. 622)—and from that time the sword was the weapon of his warfare, by which his imposture was to stand or fall. “ His doctrine then was that God had sent Moses and Jesus with miracles, and yet men would not be obedient to their word, and therefore he had now sent him, in the last place, without miracles, to force them by the power of the sword to do his will : and accordingly he forbade his disciples to enter into any farther disputes about his religion, but instead of that he commanded them to fight for it, and destroy all those who should contradict his law.”+

“None of the former prophets carrying with them a power to force men to believe, miracles were necessary in their

* Ibid. pp. 295–297. + De Ryer's Life of Mahomet, prefixed to the Alcoran, p. 13.

missions to force them thereunto. But Mahomet was a prophet sent principally to show forth the fortitude of God by the power of the sword; which being of itself alone sufficient to compel all men into the faith, without any other power accompanying it, for this reason (say they) Mahomet wrought no miracles, because he had no need of them, the power of THE SWORD, with which he was sent, of itself alone sufficiently enabling him to accomplish his mission, for forcing men to believe therein. And from thence it became the universal doctrine of the Mahometans, that their religion is to be propagated by THE SWORD, and that all men were bound to fight for it: and for this reason it has been a custom among them, for their preachers, while they deliver their sermons, to have a drawn sword placed by them, to denote thereby, that the doctrine which they teach them was with the sword to be defended and propagated by them."*

The third chapter of the Koran, being the first that was written at Medina, shows how opposite, in charity as well as in purity, is the spirit of the faith of Mahomet from that of Jesus, who reprobated the thought of calling down fire from heaven upon his enemies.

“ God sent the Old Testament and the Gospel, that were heretofore guides to the people; he hath sent the Alcoran, that distinguishes good from evil; they that believe not the law of God shall be severely chastised,” &c. “ If you be slain for his law, or die in his favour, it shall be more advantageous to you than all the treasures of the world; and if you die or be slain fighting for the faith, you shall appear before his divine majesty to be rewarded.” I “ He will abundantly reward them that fight for the law."

Injunctions abound throughout the Koran, to fight against unbelievers, to fight with all might for the law of God. And the overthrow of unbelievers is vaunted of as a true sign of the mission of the prophet.

It is not by the sword that the mind can be sub

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »