Page:Frederic Shoberl - Persia.djvu/102

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83
PERSIA.

better informed, the history of past ages would have taught him that a religion never shines with brighter lustre than when it is furiously attacked, and that periods of persecution furnish occasions for its proudest triumphs.



CHAPTER II.

DOCTRINES.


SECTION I.

OF GOD, THE RESURRECTION AND A FUTURE STATE.

The Persians are the most decided deists in the world. They not only profess the unity of God, but they insist also on a singleness of person in his essence, and charge the Christians with blasphemy in adoring a deity composed of three persons. All their divines agree upon this point, as well as on the omniscience and omnipotence of the divinity: they differ only in this particular, that some consider these qualities as attributes, while others hold them to be part of the essence of God.

They believe in the resurrection, the last judgment, and a future state. As soon as the body is deposited in the tomb, the two angels of death, Monkyr and Nekyr, appear and question the deceased respecting his religion, faith, and works. His answers are inscribed in a great book, which will be delivered in at the day of judgment. After this examination, the souls of the good proceed to Barzak, and those of the wicked to the valley of Bairouth: there they abide till the general resurrection, neither enjoying nor suffering, but by anticipation of their eternal happiness or misery. An intermediate place between paradise and hell, receives for eternity the spirits of those who have not done either good or evil.

On the day of resurrection, the souls will appear together with the bodies which formerly belonged to them: they will assemble in a vast plain near Mecca. The judgment will take place by means of a pair of scales, each of which will be as large as the superficies of the heavens. In one, called the basin of light, will be placed the book of good actions; in the other, or the basin of darkness, the book of bad actions. After this examination, the spirits will cross the famous bridge, Poulisirath, laid over hell, on which the separation will take place. The good will traverse it with the rapidity of lightning which