Abbildungen der Seite

norance, debased by crime, enslaved by despotism, in whose lot there is any thing that deserves the name of happiness?

I know of no fact on record which illustrates more strikingly the opposite influences of the two systems on human happiness, especially on the social and kindly affections, than that recorded by the venerable Doctor Buchanan concerning Abdallah and Sabat, which occurred in the early part of the present century.These two individuals, both belonging to distinguished families in Arabia, were intimate friends, and set out to travel together in foreign countries. Having passed through Persia and reached the city of Cabul, Abdallah, in consequence of being appointed to an important office in the government, remained there, while Sabat continued his travels through Tartary. The former, before he had resided long at Cabul, met with the New Testament; and, in consequence of reading it, became a con. vert to the Christian faith. As he knew that his conversion, if it were known, would be treated as a capital offence, he withdrew privately from the place of his residence, and set out to travel, in the hope of finding a place where he might, without jeoparding his life, enjoy his religion. While he was walking in the streets of Bochara, a city of Tartary, he was surprised by meeting his former fellow traveller ; but Sabat, who had, in the mean time, heard of his apostacy from Mohamedism, showed him at once that he was no longer his friend. Abdallah fell at his feet, and with tears conjured him by their former friendship to save his life; but Sabat's heart was as unrelenting as the grave. He hastened to the authorities of the city, and took measures to have him delivered up to the king; and forth with the decree was issued for his execution; and a herald went

through the city publickly proclaiming it. When the fatal hour arrived, Abdallah was led forth in the presence of an immense multitude to receive the crown of martyrdom. Sabat also mingled in the crowd, and stood within sight of his friend who was about to die. When all things were arranged for the bloody transaction, Abdallah was offered his life if he would recant; but he unhesitatingly refused to comply with the condition. The executioner who stood before him with his sword, then began his work, by cutting off one of his hands; upon which he was again offered his life upon the same condition, while a surgeon stood ready to heal the wound; but he held his purpose with unshaken firmness. And he bowed his head to receive the fatal blow with a meekness and dignity which would not have dishonoured the first martyr to Christianity. Sabat afterwards said that Abdallah looked at him in the crowd, but it was a look not of anger but of pity ;-a look which evinced the same spirit which Jesus manifested when he said, in reference to his murderers, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!"

Sabat seems to have been impressed with the conviction that Abdallah would certainly renounce Christianity rather than yield up his life; but when he saw that his friend had actually been murdered through his instrumentality, he became wretched : that forgiving look which Abdallah, in the moment of his martyrdom, had fastened upon him, haunted him wherever he went; and he pursued his journey in the hope of finding rest to his troubled spirit. At length he reached India; and while he was employed there in some publick capacity, be too was induced to read the New Testament and compare it with the Koran ; the result of which was that he professedly renounced Mohamedism, publickly

professed his faith in Christianity, and for several years was an active and useful co-adjutor with the British missionaries in India in the great objects to which they were devoted. When his friends in Arabia heard of his conversion, they immediately despatched his brother to India with a view to assassinate him. The brother entered his dwelling in the disguise of a beggar, with an instrument of death concealed in his bosom; and had actually drawn it forth, and was in the act of attempting the fatal deed, when Sabat seized the assassin's arm, and his servants instantly came to his deliverance.

It was through Sabat's intercession in his brother's behalf that his life was not sacrificed at the altar of public justice: he evinced toward him a forgiving and fraternal spirit, and sent him away in peace with letters and valuable presents to his mother's family.

It had been well if this interesting transaction had occupied the last chapter in Sabat's eventful history; for what remains to be told only disappoints the hopes which his previous course had awakened. At the time when Doctor Buchanan stated the preceding facts in his celebrated sermon entitled “The Star in the East,” he regarded Sabat as evincing in an unusual degree the Christian spirit, and as probably destined to do more for the conversion of his countrymen than any other man. But shortly after this, to the astonishment of all who had been conversant with him, he suddenly took the fancy that his great powers and acquirements were not adequately estimated, and in a fit of resentment openly renounced Christianity, again avowed his belief in Mohamedism, and went into Persia where he wrote a work to refute the system which he had, for several years, so successfully laboured to vindicate and extend. After that, he professed, for a short time, to return to Chris


tianity, and wrote to one of the missionaries that, from the time of his apostacy, he had not been able to find rest for the sole of his foot; but, at a still later period, and so far as is known, up to the time of his death, he ranked himself among the followers of Mohamed.About 1811 he travelled in Pegu, where he was concerned in some treasonable attempts against the reigning prince; and being detected, he and his fellow conspirator were put together in a sack and thrown into the

Thus ended the career of a man who, for several years, was the constant companion of some of the best of men, and their co-adjutor in the best of causes.

I ask you now, my friends, to observe how the spirit of Mohamedism and the spirit of Christianity each comes out in these affecting incidents; how much of meekness, and tenderness, and benignity, appertains to the one, how much of distrust, and revenge, and cruelty, appertains to the other. Observe the meeting in the streets of Cabul ; and see Abdallah the Christian upon his knees importunately begging for his life, and Sabat the Mohamedan disregarding the entreaties of his friend, and eagerly adopting measures which are to, result in his death. Observe what takes place at the scene of execution: Abdallah casts upon Sabat a forgiving look; and lifts his eyes to Heaven as if in supplication for the forgiveness of his murderers; but the kindness of his spirit does nothing to arrest the murderous procedure.And then compare Sabat’s conduct I cannot say while he was a true Christian,-for that he evidently never was,—but while he was a professor of Christianity, and seemed to be imbued with its spirit, with his conduct while he avowed himself a disciple of Mohamed; and see how, under the influence of the one system, he could deliver up his friend to death,-how, even under the par

tial influence of the other, he could forgive the brother who had come from afar to stab him to the heart. Who can contemplate this affecting story without being deeply impressed with the conviction that Christianity is a religion of love; that Mohamedism finds its element amidst scenes of treachery and blood ?

In contrasting Christianity with Deism, as I have done in the preceding discourse, I had in view the double object of guarding you against the snares of infidelity, and building you up in the most holy faith. But I shall have gained my purpose in this discourse, if the effect of it shall be to enlarge and exalt your views of Christianity; for none of you, I am sure, need to be cautioned against resting in the wild delusions and absurd vagaries of Mohamedism. You have seen that, while both systems claim to be of divine original, the one bears the most unequivocal evidences of authenticity, the other is indelibly stamped with the seal of imposture. As the brightness of noonday seems more intense when contrasted with the darkness of midnight, as the verdure of spring seems more enchanting when contrasted with the dreariness of winter, as virtue herself gathers fresh altractions when contrasted with the deformity of vice, so the truth and grace and loveliness of Christianity never appear to greater advantage, than when viewed in contrast with the forbidding and malignant features of Mohamedism. When you view the impostor burning with ambition and wading in blood, how incomparably lovely appears the disinterestedness, the condescension, of the Redeemer in giving his own blood for the salvation of men! When you contemplate the one forcing his religion upon the world at the point of the sword, what say you of the other, who carries every thing by the power of truth and the power of the Spirit? When you

« ZurückWeiter »