Page 1101

1101 MOHAMMEDAN ASCENDENCY.-CAREER OF THE PROPHET.

very flourishing condition, existed side by

side in the land of his appearing. Judaism

and Christianity, the old and the new development of Mosaism, dwelt together in a sort of

subdued antagonism. The time had now come

when a third Semitic faith, more aggressive

than either and possessing the same original

ingredients as both, should appear to contest with its predecessors the battlefield of

faith.

The system of Mohammed may be defined,

first of all, as an effort to rescue the Arabs

from idolatry. But in a larger and more philosophic sense it was an effort on the part of

the Prophet to furnish a common ground and

basis of union between the Christians and the

Jews by which all the descendants of Abraham

might be gathered into a single religious household. The scheme was worthy of a great and

capacious genius. It showed that Mohammed

realized the condition of the religious world.

He saw in the chaos of the Semitic race around

him the materials for the aggrandizement of

his own nation and the glory of his own name.

He conceived it possible to readjust the Semitic fragments and to bind together both

Christian and Jew by an indissoluble tie; but

he misjudged the peoples with whom he had

to deal. So far as his own countrymen were

concerned they were soon brought within the

fold of Islam; but the sons of Israel and the

followers of Christ remained immovable in

their respective beliefs. After several tentative efforts on the Prophet's part, an open

rupture occurred between the three religious

parties in Arabia. Islam began its own independent career; Judaism fell away into obstinate conservatism, and Christianity parted

company with both. From this time forth

the three Semitic religions are seen like three

ships sailing apart on the expanse of ocean.

It may be of interest, before proceeding to

notice the political development of Mohammedanism, to review briefly the points of concord and dissonance between the three religious

systems here referred to. In many of their

fundamentals they were all at one. All had

a common historical basis. That there is one

God, Father Omnipotent and Maker of heaven

and earth, Judaism, Islam, and Christianity all emphatically affirm. Secondly, that the

Divine authority in the world is to be upheld by a government-a kingdom-and that

this kingdom is to be perpetually ruled by

a Messiah, Judaism and Christianity affirm;

Islam denies. Thirdly, that Moses was an inspired lawgiver and prophet, Judaism, Islam,

and Christianity all affirm. Fourthly, that Christ was an inspired Teacher and Prophet,

Islam and Christianity affirm; Judaism denies.

Fifthly, that Christ is the Messiah and Savior

of the world, Christianity affirms; Judaism and

Islam strenuously deny. Sixthly, that Mohammed was an inspired Teacher and Prophet,

Islam vehemently affirms; Judaism does not

.affirm; Christianity denies. Seventhly, that

the Scriptures of the Old Testament contain

the inspired and authoritative doctrines of

God, Judaism, Islam, and Christianity affirm.

Eighthly, that the Scriptures of the New Testament are the words of Divine truth, Christianity affirms; Islam affirms in part, and Judaism denies. Ninthly, that the Book Al

Koran is the revealed truth of God, Islam

strongly affirms; Judaism denies in part, and

Christianity denies in whole. Tenthly, that

the world is ruled by eternal Fate, Islam affirms; Judaism does not affirm, and Christianity denies. Eleventhly, that man is a free or,

at any rate, responsible agent, Christianity

affirms; Judaism does not deny, and Islam

denies. Twelfthly, that man is rewarded for

those actions which are called virtuous and

punished for those which are called vicious,

Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all affirm.

Thirteenthly, that there is a resurrection of

the body after death, Christianity and Islam

affirm; Judaism neither affirms nor denies.

Fourteenthly, that it is the highest duty of

man in this life to serve God in faith and

obedience, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam

all affirm. Fifteenthly, that God is Triune,

Christianity affirms; Judaism and Islam deny.

Sixteenthly, that God made the universe out

of nothing, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam

all affirm. Seventeenthly, that there is appointed a Day of Judgment in which God

will judge all men according to their works,

Christianity and Islam affirm; Judaism either

does not affirm or denies.