of Heaven. The earnestness of those convictions which at Mecca sustained him under persecution, and which perhaps led him, at any price as it were, and by any means, not even excluding deceit and falsehood, to endeavour to rescue his countrymen from idolatry,—naturally stiffened at Medina into tyranny and unscrupulous violence. At the same time, he was probably, more or less, throughout his whole career, the victim of a certain amount of self-deception. A cataleptic subject from his early youth, born—according to the traditions—of a highly nervous and excitable mother, he would be peculiarly liable to morbid and fantastic hallucinations, and alternations of excitement and depression, which would win for him, in the eyes of his ignorant countrymen, the credit of being inspired. It would be easy for him to persuade himself that he was “the seal of the Prophets,” the proclaimer of a doctrine of the Divine Unity, held and taught by the Patriarchs, especially by Abraham—a doctrine that should present to mankind Judaism divested of its Mosaic ceremonial, and Christianity divested of the Atonement and the Trinity—doctrine, as he might have believed, fitted and destined to absorb Judaism, Christianity, and Idolatry; and this persuasion, once admitted into his mind as a conviction, retained possession of it, and carried him on, though often in the use of means, towards the end of his career, far different from those with which he commenced it, to a victorious consummation. It is true that the state of Arabia previous to the time of Muhammad was one of preparedness for a new religion—that the scattered elements were there, and wanted only the mind of a master to harmonise and enforce them—and that Islam was, so to speak, a necessity of the time. Still Muhammad's career is a wonderful instance of the force and life that resides in him who possesses an intense Faith in God and in the unseen world; and whatever deductions may be made—and they are many and serious—from the noble and truthful in his character, he will always be regarded as one of those who have had that influence
- Or, epileptic.
- A line of argument to be adopted by a Christian missionary in dealing with a Muhammadan should be, not to attack Islam as a mass of error, but to shew that it contains fragments of disjointed truth—that it is based upon Christianity and Judaism partially understood—especially upon the latter, without any appreciation of its typical character pointing to Christianity as a final dispensation.
- Muhammad can scarcely have failed to observe the opportunity offered for the growth of a new power, by the ruinous strifes of the Persians and Greeks. Abulfeda (Like of Muhammad, p. 76) expressly says that he had promised his followers the spoils of Chosroes and Cæsar.