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more encouraging than the following" A perfon that had known the heathen, that had feen the little benefit from the great pains hitherto taken with them, and confidered that one after another had abandoned all hopes of the converfion of thofe infidels (and fome thought they would never be converted, till they faw miracles wrought as in the apoftles' days, and this the Greenlanders expected and demanded of their inftructors): one that confidered this, I say, would not fo much wonder at the paft unfruitfulness of these young beginners, as at their steadfaft perfeverance in the midst of nothing but distress, difficulties and impediments, internally and externally; and that they never defponded of the converfion of those poor creatures amidst all feeming impoffibilities*.

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From the widely difproportionate effects, which attend the preaching of modern miffionaries of Chriftianity, compared with what followed the miniftry of Christ and

* Hift. of Greenland, vol. ii. p. 376.
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his apostles, under circumftances either alike, or not fo unlike as to account for the dif-' ference, a conclufion is fairly drawn, in support of what our hiftories deliver concerning them, viz. that they poffeffed means of conviction, which we have not; that they had proofs to appeal to, which we want.

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Of the Religion of Mahomet.

THE only event in the history of the human fpecies, which admits of comparison with the propagation of Christianity, is the fuccefs of Mahometanifm. The Mahometan inftitution was rapid in its progrefs, was recent in its history, and was founded upon a fupernatural or prophetic character affumed by its author. In thefe articles the resemblance with Chriftianity is confeffed. But there are points of difference, which feparate, we apprehend, the two cafes entirely.

I. Mahomet did not found his pretenfions upon miracles, properly fo called'; that is, upon proofs of fupernatural agency, capable of being known and attefted by others. Christians are warranted in this affertion by the evidence of the Koran, in which Mahomet

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homet not only does not affect the power of working miracles, but exprefsly disclaims it. The following paffages of that book furnish direct proofs of the truth of what we alledge:-" The infidels fay, Unless a sign be fent down unto him from his lord, we will not believe; thou art a preacher only *." Again, Nothing hindered us from fending thee with miracles, except that the former nations have charged them with imposturet." And laftly, " They fay, Unless a fign be fent down unto him from his lord, we will not believe; anfwer, Signs are in the power of God alone, and I am no more than a public preacher. Is it not fufficient for them, that we have fent down unto them the book of the Koran to be read unto them "Befide thefe acknowledgments, I have observed thirteen diftinct places, in which Mahomet puts the objection (unless a fign, &c.) into the mouth of the unbeliever, in not one of which does he alledge

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Sale's Koran, c. xiii. p. 201, ed. quarto.'
+ c. xvii. p. 232.
+ c. xxix. p. 328.

a miracle.

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a miracle in reply. His anfwer is, "that God giveth the power of working miracles when and to whom he pleaseth*;"" that if he should work miracles, they would not believe t;""that they had before rejected Mofes, and Jefus and the Prophets, who wrought miracles;"" that the Koran itfelf was a miracle §."

The only place in the Koran, in which it can be pretended that a fenfible miracle is referred to (for I do not allow the fecret vifitations of Gabriel, the night journey of Mahomet to heaven, or the presence in battle of invisible hofts of angels, to deserve the name of fenfible miracles) is the beginning of the fifty-fourth chapter. The words are thefe "The hour of judgement approacheth, and the moon hath been split in funder; but if the unbelievers fee a fign, they turn afide, faying, "This is a powerful charm." The Mahometan expofitors difagree in their

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


+ c. vi.

c. xvi.


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