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more encouraging than the following:-" A person that had known the Heathen, that had seen the little benefit from the great pains hitherto taken with them, and considered that one after another had abandoned all hopes of the conversion of those infidels (and some thought they would never be converted, till they saw miracles wrought as in the apostles' days, and this the Greenlanders expected and demanded of their instructors); one that considered this, I say, would not so much wonder at the past unfruitfulness of these young beginners, as at their steadfast perseverance in the midst of nothing but distress, difficulties, and impediments, internally and externally; and that they never desponded of the conversion of those poor creatures amidst all seeming impossibilities*"

From the widely disproportionate effects, which attend the preaching of modern missionaries of Christianity, compared with what followed the ministry of Christ and his apostles, under circumstances either

* History of Greenland, vol. ii. p. 376..

alike, or not so unlike as to account for the difference, a conclusion is fairly drawn, in support of what our histories deliver concerning them, viz. that they possessed means of conviction, which we have not; that they had proofs to appeal to, which

we want.

SECTION III.

Of the Religion of Mahomet.

THE only event in the history of the human species, which admits of comparison with the propagation of Christianity, is the success of Mahometanism. The Mahometan institution was rapid in its progress, was recent in its history, and was founded upon a supernatural or prophetic character assumed by its author. In these articles, the resemblance with Christianity is confessed. But there are points of difference, which separate, we apprehend, the two cases entirely.

I. Mahomet did not found his pretensions upon miracles, properly so called; that is, upon proofs of supernatural agency, ca, pable of being known and attested by others. Christians are warranted in this assertion by

the evidence of the Koran, in which Ma

homet not only does not affect the power of working miracles, but expressly disclaims it. The following passages of that book furnish direct proofs of the truth of what we allege:-"The infidels say, Unless a sign be sent down unto him from his lord, we will not believe; thou art a preacher only*." Again; "Nothing hindered us from sending thee with miracles, except that the former nations have charged them with imposture." And lastly; "They say, Unless a sign be sent down unto him from his lord, we will not believe: Answer; Signs are in the power of God alone, and I am no more than a public preacher. Is it not sufficient for them, that we have sent down unto them the book of the Koran to be read unto them?" Beside these acknowledgements, I have observed thirteen distinct places, in which Mahomet puts the objection (Unless a sign, &c.) into the mouth of the unbeliever, in not one of which does he allege a miracle in reply. His answer is, "that

* Sale's Koran, c. xiii. p. 201. ed. quarto.

† C. xvii. p. 232.

C. xxix. p. 328.

God giveth the power of working miracles, when and to whom he pleaseth*;" "that if he should work miracles, they would not believe," "that they had before rejected Moses, and Jesus, and the Prophets, who wrought miraclest" "that the Koran itself was a miracle§."

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The only place in the Koran in which it can be pretended that a sensible miracle is referred to (for I do not allow the secret visitations of Gabriel, the night-journey of Mahomet to heaven, or the presence in battle of invisible hosts of angels, to deserve the name of sensible miracles), is the beginning of the fifty-fourth chapter. The words are these:-" the hour of judgement approacheth, and the moon hath been split in sunder: but if the unbelievers see a sign, they turn aside, saying, This is a powerful charm." The Mahometan expositors disagree in their interpretation of this passage; some explaining it to be a mention of the splitting of the moon, as one of the future signs

* Sale's Koran, c. v. x. xiii. twice.
C. iii. xxi. xxviii.

+ C. vi.

§ C. xvi.

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