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her nest in the branches and had laid her eggs, and a spider had spread his web over the whole. When the pursuers beheld these signs of undisturbed quiet, they turned away and continued the chase in another direction. Escaping all perils, Mahomet entered Medina in safety, and with the air rather of triumph than of flight, so great was the number of proselytes who greeted his arrival. The time of his hegira or flight corresponds with the year 022 of the Christian era.
It was at Medina that the first mosque was erected, Mahomet assisting with his own hands. Here, when the exhortation, cried aloud by the muezzin, "God is great! There is none other! Mahomet is his prophet!" had drawn the people together for worship, did he who was afterwards to become one of the great powers of the earth, preach, by the light of splinters of palm, and leaning with his back against one of the date-trees which served as pillars to support the roof of the primitive edifice. Here too was his tomb erected in after days, at first sight of which, to this day, pilgrims approaching Medina bow themselves to the earth and pray to the one only and true God whose worship it was the object of Mahomet's life to establish. The thatch of palm-leaves has been replaced by a gilded dome, and the unhewn date-trees by shapely pillars. But its chief glory and distinction is still that the prophet of the faithful was its founder and first ministrant, and that within its sacred bounds, he delivered his last solemn charge. "I return to him who sent me; and my last command to you is that ye remain united, that ye love, honour and uphold each other, that ye exhort each other to faith and constancy in belief, and to the performance of pious deeds. By these things alone men prosper; all else leads to destruction. I do but go before you; you will soon follow me. Death awaits us all; let no one, then, seek to turn it aside from me. My life has been for your good; so will be my death."
These are not the words of a willing impostor, nor is there more reason to suspect self-seeking fraud in the testimony of his entire life. There was a period of some ten years, during which, in the intoxication of success, he lost sight of his own principles, and forsook the law of love which had so long commended itself to his better reason; but as the dazzle of earthly affairs subsided, he seems to have returned to his first great ideas, and to have been anxious for nothing so muoh as to preserve his people from a return to shameful idolatry and the degradations which follow in its train.
The change in his views with regard to the propagation of the faith took place after he was established in Medina, encircled by powerful and enthusiastic followers. He by some pro
cess arrived at the conclusion that the power thus placed within his reach was intended as a means of effecting his great purpose; and it Tu in these terms that he made known his conviction to his disciples. "Different prophets," said he, "have been sent by God to illustrate his different attributes: Moses, his clemency and providence; Solomon, his wisdom, majesty and glory; Jesus Christ, his righteousness, omniscience and power,—righteousness by purity of conduct,—omniscience by the knowledge he displayed of the secrets of all hearts,—power by the miracles he wrought. None of these attributes, however, proved sufficient to enforce conviction; even the miracles of Moses and Jesus have been treated with unbelief. I, therefore, the last of the prophets, am sent with the Sword! Let those who promulgate my faith enter into no argument or discussion, but Slat all who refuse obedience to the law. Whoover fights for the true faith, whether he fall or conquer, will assuredly receive a glorious reward."
We will not follow Mahomet through the stormy career to which this manifesto is the key. Various fortune attended his arms; a victory at Beder, a defeat at Ohod; now an attempt on his life, now a miraculous conversion to his religion. Through all is evident the corrupting effect of great power upon a mind naturally noble. We see, as Mr. Irving well observes, "how immediately and widely he went wrong the moment he departed from the benevolent spirit of Christianity which at first he endeavoured to emulate." Yet instances of forbearance and generosity are everywhere to be found, leaving it impossible to doubt that goodness was the natural habit of his life, and the bloody propagandism to which he gave himself for a time, only a foul excrescence, such as the sting of an insect will sometimes cause to grow on a thriving and beautiful tree, leaving the greater part of its branches and foliage in their full health and beauty. The personal influence of the Prophet was immense. His relatives, his wives, his children, his disciples, had all, evidently, a love for him which went far beyond the mere reverence which might have been excited by a belief in his mission.
The affectionateness of his nature was Ro deep and true that no success or disappointment ever for a moment made him unkind to those he loved. His first wife, Kadijah, had his whole heart, and never while she lived would he wound her devoted attachment by taking another. Even after her death, when he married many wives, some from policy, some from affection, he retained a grateful and fond recollection of the worth of her who had been his first friend. When the beautiful Ayesha, who ruled his heart so long, betrayed a jealousy at the mention of her predecessor, and asked, " Has not Allah given thee a better in her stead?" "Never!" exclaimed Mahomet, with a burst of honest feeling;—" Never did God give me a better! When I was poor, she enriched me; when I was pronounced a liar, she believed in me; when I was opposed by all the world, she remained true to me." And in this mind he lived and died, kind and gentle as ho was to the various elderly as well as youthful companions who shared his lot, after success had made it a high honour to be called bis wife. Not less striking than his habitual domestic affection was the reverential love he cherished for the memory or rather the idea of his mother, .who died when he was but six years old. He was nearly sixty, when, passing near the place where she was buried, he longed to pay a tribute of respect to her grave, though according to his own law this was not permissible, seeing she had died in unbelief. In an agony of tears he implored of Heaven a relaxation of this law. "I asked leave of God," he said, mournfully, "to visit my mother's grave, and it was gratified; but when I asked leave to pray for her it was denied me!" Who can fail to perceive here the yearning of a deeply tender and susceptible as well as highly imaginative nature?
Domestic sorrows marked his life; several of his daughters died, and the only son heaven ever vouchsafed him lived but fifteen months. The father suffered agony as he watched the departure of this darling of his hopes; but his religious faith proved effectual in sustaining him, even here. "We are of God! from him we came, and to him we must return!" And as he laid the body in the tomb, he cried, "My son! my son! say God is my Lord! the prophet of God was my father, and Islamism is my faith!" intending these for the instruction of the child when he should be questioned by the examining angels on the other side the grave. Some of his followers interpreting an eclipse of the sun which happened just then, into a sign of heavenly sympathy with his sorrows, he said, "The sun and moon are among the wonders of God, through which, at times, he signifies his will to his servants; but their eclipse has nothing to do with the birth or death of any mortal." The grief which he suffered on this occasion ripened the deathseeds in his own constitution. His extraordinary exercises of mind, his night-watches, his military exposures, with the effects of a subtle poison which was administered to him some years before by treachery, combined to induce premature old age. He felt that his end was approaching, and he resolved to use the remains of his strength in a pilgrimage to Mecca. He was accompanied by an immense train of pilgrims, and by all his own family. A solemn
invocation opened the march, uttered by Mahomet, and repeated by all; "Here I am in thy service, oh God! Thou hast no companion—to thee alone belongeth worship! From thee cometh all good! Thine alone is dominion— there is none to share it with thee!" When we consider that this man was brought up in a hideous idolatry, we cannot but be struck with the reverential attitude of his mind, ever obvious, even in times of saddest aberration.
Carefully fulfilling every minutest rite of pilgrim duty, that his disciples might not be without a model in this great point of their faith, Mahomet reached Mecca, and there preached, either in the Caaba, or from the back of his camel, to assembled multitudes, who saw with grief his growing feebleness. "Listen to my words," he would say, "for I know not whether, after this year, we shall ever meet here again. 0! my hearers, I am but a man like yourselves; the angel of death may at any time appear, and I must obey his summons."
It was not very long after this that he was attacked with violent pain in the head, accompanied with the vertigo and delirium which had marked all his former seizures. In the night he insisted upon rising and going forth, attended only by a slave, to the public burialplace of Medina, where, in the midst of the tombs, he lifted up his voice and cried to the dead, "Rejoice, ye dwellers in the grave! More peaceful is the morning to which ye shall awaken, than that which attends the living. Happier is your condition than theirs. God has delivered you from the storms with which they are threatened, and which shall follow each other like the watches of a stormy night, each one darker than that which went before."
When Fatima, his only remaining child, came to his tent, "Weleome, my child," he said, and made her sit beside him. He then whispered something in her ear, at which she wept. Perceiving her affliction, he whispered her again —a consolation for the prediction which had distressed her. He now made a last effort to go to the mosque, where all were deeply affected by his exhortations, and one man met them by a full and public confession of his sins. "Out upon thee!" said the impetuous Omar: "why dost thou make known what God had suffered to remain concealed?" But Mahomet rebuked him, saying, "0 son of Khattab: better is it to blush in this world than to suffer in the next." Then lifting his eyes to heaven, he prayed for the self-accused,—"0 God, give him rectitude and faith, and take from him all weakness in fulfilling thy commands."
As his pains increased, his anxiety as to the future life was more and more evident. He ordered that his slaves should be restored to freedom, and that all the money in the house should be distributed to the poor; then, raising his eyes to heaven, "God be with me in the death-struggle," was his fervent prayer. In this frame he departed; and no mourning was ever more sincere than that which accompanied his honoured remains to their last restingplace.
In person, Mahomet is described as being of the middle height, and stoutly built; spare in his youth, but more corpulent as he advanced in life. His face was oval, his features were marked and expressive, particularly his mouth; which is said to have promised the peculiar eloquence which was so potent an instrument in his career. In character, he was grave but social; his smile was sweet and captivating, but unfrequent; the respect of his associates was always commanded by the dignity of his manner, but their hearts were none the less won by its fascination. His intellect was beyond question extraordinary; he had the soul of a poet, with the stern zeal of a religious reformer; his glowing imagination gave all its power to the one only object of his life, that object to which he turned all his powers of
every kind, with a perfect unity of devotion which insures success in all things, good or bad. His voice was of the quality which charms the ear,—a quality invaluable to the preacher. All the legendary and aphoristic lore of his nation gave richness and point to his teachings, and many instances are recorded in which his words had an effect which it was not at all surprising that his followers ascribed to inspiration.
As to the moral character of Mahomet we must in all candour allow that, with some gross faults, it had a high general tone of excellence, when contemplated in reference to his age and country; and while we cannot deny that his enthusiasm degenerated into imposture, we must reckon him among his own victims, and give him the praise which is due to one who desired to do good, though sometimes by unjustifiable means. High authority ranks him as the Moses of the Ishmaelitish branch of the descendants of Abraham, and considers the immense success of his doctrines as the fulfilment of the divine promise of temporal prosperity to the line of Ishmael.
THE TEST RING.
IY MARY SPENSER PEASE.
'Better dead In the truth
Is the brido, Of truthless
Falsely led This her ruth,
To confide This her ban.
On! clasp me to thy heart, mother,
Close, closer to thy breast;
I've had little, little rest
Since first I left thy side,
A trusting, trusted bride.
A trusted, trusting bride, mother,
The brido of my first, best love,
Was a prelude to that above;
Oh, why did I trust in him?
And the sword of the Cherubim?
He took my two small hands, mother,
As you may hold them now,
But his words were sad and slow:—
Of a wild and wasted life,
Who could never be his wife-
He clasped me long and wild,
Liquid fire Once her hand
Burns the gold, Impurely prest,
I had no power, I had no thought,
I only strove to die;
Reeling before my eye t
Like rings of flame all things became—
Hot flames by whirlwind fanned 1 The sacred gold I had worn so well
Dropped molten from my hand.
Licked up by the tongue of fire,
And flung on the funeral pyre.
I felt the cold, blind world, mother,
Come atween me and my name; The world of night, with its voice of
As my senses went and came.
Those weary, weary days;
And thought a wildering maze.
And now I've only thee, mother,
Of all the sunny past;
And thy sweet love my last
Close, closer to thy breast;
I've had little, little rest
* Suggested by a Norse legend.
Although no moral worth can justly be attributed to the man who is honest, industrious, and temperate, merely for the sake of the honour and thrift to which these qualities conduce, yet modes of thinking prevail, which cause the intrinsic value of these virtues to be overlooked, and lead men to account them solely or chiefly valuable as means, means to the attainment of some one of the authorized objects of pursuit, ease, wealth, or place. Unquestionably they are the best qualifications for success in life. Still it greatly derogates from their essential worth, to regard them only as means to something better; as if anything the world has to give could be better than virtue itself. It is at once the most solid wealth, and the highest dignity. It is to be estimated, not only, nor principally as a means of worldly well-being, but as an end, as life's noblest end. And he has the true way of thinking, who, instead of being industrious and temperate that he may be rich, is ambitious of being rich that he may have a larger sphere of activity, and a better opportunity of self-control. As it is important that men should know that personal virtue is the great means of happiness, so is it certainly not less important that we should see, far more clearly than we commonly do, that happiness, or rather the possession of those things in which happiness is generally considered to consist, should be a means of virtue, of personal improvement, and should be sought on this account, and for the sake of this good end.
As it is in the moral concerns of life, so is it in relation to intellectual pursuits, the acquisition of knowledge. In order to demonstrate the value of knowledge, it might seem to most persons to be enough simply to enumerate its practical benefits, to show its utility, how it contributes to the daily purposes of life, and confers power, power over inanimate nature, power over men, putting the sceptre of the physical universe in our grasp, and pouring its treasures at our feet.
But even were we able to specify all the uses of knowledge, the half would not be told. After all, there would remain for the love and pursuit of knowledge, a reason above all these reasons; namely, in knowledge itself. When Henry More, the old platonising divine, was asked why ho studied so hard, he replied,
"That I may know." When he was asked again, why he wanted to know, again he made answer, "That I may know." Apparently he gave no reason for his intellectual toil; but, in fact, he gave the very best reason. For there is an absolute worth in knowledge which cannot be computed. It is the natural and necessary food of the mind, the nutriment of our intellectual being. It is in us an ineradicable instinct, to crave knowledge as we crave daily bread. A striking analogy presents itself here between the body and the mind. As the former desires food, so does the mind hunger to know. And this intellectual appetite is felt before we can possibly have any experience of the benefits of knowledge.
This simple fact, by the way, that we desire knowledge before we have the least idea of its advantages, claims particular attention; because it furnishes a decisive argument against that false philosophy, which has unhappily become the practical, unwritten philosophy of the present day, and which maintains that selfish calculation is the grand spring and wheel of all human activity, that, in all that a man does, whether it be good or evil, he has always an eye to his own pleasure or profit, and that the purest virtue is only a disguised self-seeking. Against this doctrine, so painfully repugnant to every generous sentiment, Nature herself does most emphatically testify. Here is the natural desire of knowledge, for instance, x one of the primal facts in the constitution of man. It is the instinctive yearning of the mind towards something out of itself. It is obviously originated by no calculations of selfinterest. For it springs up within us antecedently to any perception on our part of the uses of knowledge. Even the common bodily appetite for food is not, in the first instance, nor ever, while the body is in health, the offspring of calculation. The infant, when it first hungers for nourishment, does not know whether the food it craves will nourish or destroy. Nor can you excite hunger in a sick man by discoursing ever so eloquently upon "the ordinance and institution of eating." But, without discussing the point any farther, we recommend to such of our readers as may wish to know the truth in regard to the possibility of disinterestedness, the writings of one of the profoundest of modern thinkers, Bishop
Butler. To his Eleventh Discourse, which is an admirable exposition of the principles of human action, Sir James Mackintosh, in his "View of the Progress of Ethical Philosophy," points as to the dawn of sound philosophy in these later times.
To return;—there is in man a natural desire of knowledge. It does not look beyond knowledge to any benefit which is to accrue therefrom, but it rests in knowledge as its end. It is not confined within any assignable sphere. It is not limited to things that are at hand. To the remotest objects in time and space it turns with an interest even more intense than is awakened by what is near. Let the light of knowledge fill never so large a circle, still the mind pants, by the instinct of its nature, to penetrate the dark beyond. Would you be made conscious of this fact of your nature? Cast one earnest look at the grand dome overhead, and those still fires, hanging so mysteriously there, will instantly provoke "the sacred hunger" of the mind. The aspect of the heavens displays, as in some boundless hall, the natural food of the mind, and nature invites us to enter there, and subsist as in our rightful dwelling. All things challenge our curiosity. They summon us to inquire and know. How great the faculty by which a relationship, closer than that of flesh and blood, is revealed between the mind of man and the immeasurable universe. It connects him with Immensity and Eternity; for there are no depths of time or space into which it does not urge him to plunge. It is a badge of his present dignity, a prophecy of his destination. Consider any individual, no matter how obscure, or how he may be bent and scarred by labour, consider how there is folded up within him a power by which he is related, not only to what he sees and knows, but to what is unseen and unknown; binding him, as by a risible tie, to all existence. His being, thus regarded, dilates beyond the scope of imagination. We contemplate a mighty nature, of which the visible shape is but a dim and vanishing symbol. One of the most pitiable objects on earth is a human being, in whom stirs no curiosity, no desire of knowledge. Captain Cook tells us that, as he approached one of the islands of the Southern Ocean, a solitary savage was descried, fishing from a canoe. As the vessel of the European drew near, and sought communication with him, he evinced not the slightest astonishment. There was no reason to suppose that he had ever witnessed such a sight before, or that he was bound, as some barbarians are, by his ideas of dignity to express no surprise. His indifference is represented as pure stupidity. Such a condition of human nature seems so abject, that
one is almost inclined to think that it must have been a spectral illusion, floating there on the wave, and not a real man with the complete faculties of a man. When, in other instances, the same illustrious navigator tells us of the ardent curiosity of the new tribes that he visited; this one fact redeems the picture of savage desolation, and is a compensation for all the want and ignorance with which it is associated.
The mere act of knowing, the simple perception of truth satisfies and delights us. It sometimes seems to be thought that the pursuit of knowledge is painful and laborious, and that there would be no inducement to it, were it not for the practical purposes to which the intellectual stores we may gather admit of being put. And there is a disposition to undervalue all intellectual pursuits that are not productive of some direct tangible benefit, and to discourage all labour of this sort, upon which there is not the fullest insurance in dollars and cents. We have no intention of advocating, in opposition to this tendency, the false notion of the wise men of antiquity, who held it derogatory to the dignity of science and philosophy to apply them to what they pronounced the mean and material interests of every-day life. But we do affirm that the jealous regard, anoiently cherished for the honour of science, this uncompromising recognition of its intrinsic excellence, gave a freedom and nobleness to scientific labours, of which they are in danger of being wholly destitute in these modern days, when the mind, with all its wondrous, Godinspired faculties, is wont to be treated as a mere mechanical contrivance to promote the purposes of our social and domestic economy. At all events, into whatever errors ancient wisdom was betrayed by its religious reverence for the intrinsic nobleness of knowledge, we are liable to errors fully as injurious, from our unsleeping avidity to secure its marketable advantages. We have well-nigh forgotten that it has a value in itself, and are ready to defy all studies as barren and worthless that do not serve the common objects of life. We repeat, therefore, the bare vision of truth, of things as they are, produces, or rather it is, an indefinable satisfaction. For the truth of this proposition, we appeal not to poetry—to any of the fine arts, but to those sciences, which, while they are the richest in the applications, of which they admit, to useful purposes, are deemed the most homely and uninviting in themselves. We shall not rely for illustrations of the intrinsic delights of knowledge, upon such questionable cases as that of Dr. Busby, whose enthusiasm for the classics was so great, that he is said to have died of bad Latin. But we refer the reader to the mathematical sciences