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The Koran, it will be recollected, was delivered by Mahomet, professedly as the completion of the former Scriptures of the Law and Gospel; as a further revelation, that is to say, perfective of both; and advancing, in its turn, on the revelation of the Gospel, as this had previously advanced on that of the Mosaic law. On this footing, accordingly, the book of the Koran was actually received, among the earliest converts of the Arabian antichrist; a fact which, besides other evidences, may be clearly deduced from the declaration made by one of the primitive Mussulmans, in announcing the pretended mission of Mahomet, to the Christian King of Ethiopia: "He has with him," said Giafar, "a glorious book, resembling the book of Jesus, the son of Mary; with which it maintains, throughout, a perfect consent and agreement." +
So far, therefore, as the professed character and object of the Koran are in question, Mahometanism appears consistently to maintain its providential relation to Judaism and Christianity as the spurious copy of both revelations.
Nor, notwithstanding its gross fabrications, and its egregious absurdities, will the contents of
* « Ipsi Mohammedani Alcoranum Evangelio similem prædicant.” Mill, p. 341.
+ Ib. p. 342.
the Koran, on a nearer inspection, be found, in the main, at variance with the kind of resemblance which it has been thus far shown to preserve, with the Jewish and Christian Scrip
Not to anticipate the more circumstantial coincidences, we will, for the present, only observe, that, in its general outline of facts, the Koran corresponds with the Old Testament, in the following historical details: the accounts, of the creation of the world; of the fall of Adam; of the general deluge; of the deliverance of Noah and his family in the ark; the call of Abraham; the stories of Isaac and Ishmael; of Jacob and the Patriarchs; the selection of the Jews, as God's chosen people; the prophetic office, miracles, and administration of Moses; the giving of the Mosaic law; the inspiration and authority of the Hebrew prophets, psalmists, and hagiographers, especially of David and Solomon; the account, lastly, of the promise delivered, through the Jewish prophets, of the advent of the Messiah; with several of the accompanying predictions respecting the manner of his birth, the nature of his office, the signs of his ministry, and the final object of his mission.
Again, with the New Testament, the Koran concurs, in the recognition of Jesus Christ, as
the promised Messiah of the Jews; in his mi raculous conception by the breath, or spirit, of God; his immaculate nativity, of the Virgin Mary; his title of the Logos or Word of God; in the miraculous birth of John, the son of Zacharias, to be his appointed forerunner; in his performance of many mighty signs and miracles, such as the healing of the sick, the raising of the dead, and the controuling or casting out of devils, in attestation of his hea venly mission; in his rejection and persecution by his own countrymen; his condemnation to the death of the cross*; his bodily ascension into heaven; and the abiding consummation of his prophetic functions, in the eternal world, in his characters of Mediator and Intercessor, between God and man; and of Judge of all men at the last day.
When, however, we come to a nearer examination of the text of the Koran, its numerous coincidences with the facts and doctrines of the Bible, appear strangely interspersed with matter the most incongruous; with extravagant fables, monstrous perversions of truth, and ridiculous and endless puerilities. Now, instead of detracting from the argumentative force of the actual
* After the example of the ancient heretics, the Cerinthians, Basilidians, and Carpocratians, Mahomet denied the reality of our Lord's crucifixion. See Koran, chap. iii, iv. with Mr. Sale's notes, vol. i. pp. 64. and 124.
analogy between the Koran and the Bible, this spurious admixture but serves to illustrate and confirm our whole previous reasonings: since, while both the matters of fact, and the matters of faith, which the Koran appears to hold in common with Judaism and Christianity, may be clearly traced to the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures; its fictions and absurdities can be not less clearly deduced, on the one hand, from the traditions of the talmudic and rabbinical writers; and, on the other hand, from the apocryphal gospels, or from the books of Adam, of Seth, of Enoch, of Noah, and other similar fabrications, well known in church history as having been extensively in use among the heretics of the first centuries.*
And thus, when its anomalous contents come to be reduced into some order, and to be referred to the several sources whence they were evidently drawn, the pseudo-bible of Mahometanism exhibits just the kind of text and character of construction, which properly belongs to it, regarded as an antichristian parody of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures.
We will now proceed to exemplify these general remarks, by a short analysis of the contents of the Koran, in which it will be our chief object to illustrate the nature and amount of * Sale, Prelim. Disc. p. 83. See also p. 98.
its spurious parallel with the Law and Gospel. With this view, we shall begin with passages of the Koran which directly class the Mahometan Bible, so called, with the Old and New Testaments:
"We have surely sent down THE LAW, Containing direction and light: thereby did THE PROPHETS, who professed the true religion, judge those who judaized.
"We also caused Jesus, the son of Mary, to follow the footsteps of the Prophets; confirming the Law, which was sent down before him: and we gåve him THE GOSPEL, containing direction and light; confirming, also, the Law, which was given before it.
"We have also sent down unto thee [Mahomet] THE BOOK of the Koran, with truth; confirming THAT SCRIPTURE which was revealed before it, and preserving the same safe from corruption."*
In these passages, the Koran formally challenges its places beside the sacred volumes of the Law and the Gospel, as sent to perfect. both; and as forming, together with them, the sum of God's written revelation.
Sale's Koran, vol. i. pp. 139, 140.
+ So also in the third chapter: "God hath sent down unto thee the book of the Koran with truth, confirming that which was revealed before it; for he had formerly sent down the Law, and the Gospel, a direction unto men." Koran, chap. iii. ad init. Cf. ch. xii. ad fin, and ch. xlvi. vol. ii. p. 372. also, ch. lii, ad fin.