« EelmineJätka »
they are victims presented in turn to the bullets. Squadrons at the wings are often exposed to a cannonade while waiting for the general's orders... They who first tire of this maneuvre, which gives no scope for the display of impetuous courage, disperse and quit the field ; and are rallied, if possible, a few miles off. The victorious enemies besiege a town, which sometimes costs them more men, money, and time, than they would have lost by several battles. The progress made is rarely rapid ; and at the end of five or six years, both sides, being equally exhausted, are obliged to make peace.*
Thus, at all events, the invention of artillery and the new mode of warfare have established among the respective powers an equality which secures mankind from devastations like those of former times, and thereby renders war less fatal in its consequences, though it is still prodigiously so.
The Greeks in all ages, the Romans in the time of Sylla, and the other nations of the West and South, had no standing army; every citizen was a soldier, and enrolled himself in time of war. It is, at this day, precisely the same in Switzerland. Go through the whole country, and you
will not find a battalion, exeept at the time of the reviews. If it goes to war, you all at once see eighty thousand men in arms.
Those who usurped the supreme power after Sylla, always had a permanent force, paid with the money of the citizens, to keep the citizens in subjection, much more than to subjugate other nations. The bishop of Rome himself keeps a small army in his pay. Who, in the time of the apostles, would have said that the servant of the servants of God should have regiments, and have them in Rome?
Nothing is so much feared in England as a great standing army.t
The Janissaries have raised the Sultans to greatness,
# The military genius of Napoleon has supplied a fine illustration of many of the observations of Voltaire.T.
+ This time is gone by.-T.
but they have also strangled them. The Sultans would have avoided the rope, if, instead of these large bodies of troops, they had established small ones.
AROT AND MAROT, WITH A SHORT REVIEW OF THE KORAN. This article may serve to show how much the most learned men may be deceived, and to develope some useful truths. In the Dictionnaire Encyclopédique, there is the following passage concerning Arot and Marot:
“ These are the names of two angels, who the impostor Mahomet said had been sent from God to teach man, and to order him to abstain from murder, false judgments, and excesses of every kind. This false prophet adds, that a very beautiful woman having invited these two angels to her table, she made them drink wine, with which being heated, they solicited her as lovers; that she feigned to yield to their passion, provided they would first teach her the words by pronouncing which they said it was easy to ascend to heaven; that having obtained from them what she asked, she would not keep her promise; and that she was then taken up into heaven, where, having related to God what had passed, she was changed into the morning star called Lucifer or Aurora, and the angels were severely punished.* Thence it was, according to Mahomet, that God took occasion to forbid wine to men.”
It would be in vain to seek in the Koran for a single word of this absurd story and pretended reason for Mahomet's forbidding to his followers the use of wine, He forbids it only in the second and fifth chapters :
“ They will question thee about wine and strong liquors : thou shalt answer, that it is a great sin."
« The just, who believe and do good works, must not be reproached with having drunk wine and played at games of chance, before games of chance were forbidden.”
* The incidents of one of the tales in Moore's “Loves of the Angels:"-T.
It is averred by all the Mahometans, that their prophet forbade wine and liquors solely to preserve their health and prevent quarrels, in the burning climate of Arabia. The use of any fermented liquor soon affects the head, and may destroy both health and reason.
The fable of Arot and Marot descending from heaven, and wanting to lie with an Arab woman, after drinking wine with her, is not in any Mahometan author. It is to be found only among the impostures which various Christian writers, more indiscreet than enlightened, have printed against the Mussulman religion, through a zeal which is not according to knowledge. The names of Arot and Marot are in no part of the Ko
It is one Sylburgius who says, in an old book which nobody reads, that he anathematises the angels Arot, Marot, Safah, and Merwah.
Observe, kind reader, that Safah and Merwah are two little hills near Mecca; so that our learned Sylburgius has taken two hills for two angels. Thus it was with every writer on Mahometanism amongst us, almost without exception, until the intelligent Reland gave us clear ideas of the Mussulman belief, and the learned Sale, after living twenty-four years in and about Arabia, at length enlightened us by his faithful translation of the Koran and his most instructive preface.
Gagnier himself, notwithstanding his Arabie professorship at Oxford, has been pleased to put forth a few falsehoods concerning Mahomet, as if we had need of lies to maintain the truth of our religion against a false prophet. He gives us at full length Mahomet's journey through the seven heavens on the mare Alborac, and even ventures to cite the fifty-third sura or chapter; but neither in this fifty-third sura, nor in any other, is there so much as an allusion to this pretended journey through the heavens.
This strange story is related by Abulfeda, seven hundred
after Mahomet. It is taken, he says, from ancient manuscripts which were current in Mahomet's time. But it is evident that they were not Mahomet's; for, after his death, Abubeker gathered
together all the leaves of the Koran, in the presence of all the chiefs of tribes, and nothing was inserted in the collection that did not appear authentic.
Besides, the chapter concerning the journey to heaven not only is not in the Koran, but is in a very different style, and is at least four times as long as any of the received chapters. Compare all the other chapters of the Koran with this, and you will find a prodigious difference. It begins thus-
5* One night, I fell asleep between the two hills of Safah and Merwah. That night was very dark; but so still, that the dogs were not heard to bark nor the cocks to crow. All at once, the angel Gabriel appeared before me in the form in which the Most High God created him. His skin was white as snow. His fair hair, admirably disposed, fell in ringlets over his shoulders; his forehead was clear, majestic, and serene, his teeth beautiful and shining, and his legs of a saffron hue; his garments were glittering with pearls and with thread of pure gold. On his forehead was a plate of gold, on which were written two lines, brilliant and dazzling with light: in the first were these words, • There is no God but God;' and in the second these, • Mahomet is God's Apostle.' On beholding this, I remained the most astonished and confused of men. I observed about him seventy thousand little boxes or bags of musk and saffron. He had five hundred pairs of wings; and the distance from one wing to another was five hundred years' journey.
6 Thus did Gabriel appear before me. He touched me, and said, ' Arise, thou sleeper!' I was seized with fear and trembling, and, starting up, said to him, “Who art thou ?' He answered, 'God have mercy upon thee! I am thy brother Gabriel.' 'O my dearly-beloved Gabriel,' said I, 'I ask thy pardon; is it a revelation of something new, or is it some afflicting threat that thou bringest me?' •It is something new,' returned he;
rise, my dearly-beloved, and tie thy mantle over thy shoulders; thou wilt have need of it, for thou must this night pay a visit to thy Lord.' So saying, Ga
briel, taking my hand, raised me from the ground, and having mounted me on the mare Alborac, led her himself by the bridle," &c.
In fine, it is averred by the Mussulmen, that this chapter, which has no authenticity, was imagined by Abu-Horaïrah, who is said to have been cotemporary with the prophet. What should we say of a Turk who should come and insult our religion by telling us that we reckon among our sacred books, the Letters of St. Paul to Seneca, and Seneca's Letters to St. Paul, the Acts of Pilate, the Life of Pilate's Wife, the letters of the pretended King Abgarus to Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ's Answer to the same, the story of St. Peter's challenge to Simon the Magician, the predictions of the Sibyls, the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, and so many other books of the same kind ?
We should answer the Turk by saying, that he was very ill informed, and that not one of these works was regarded as authentic. The Turk will make the same answer to us, when to confound him we reproach him with Mahomet's journey to the seven heavens. He will tell us that this is nothing more than a pious fraud of latter times, and that this journey is not in the Koran. Assuredly I am 'not here comparing truth with error--Christianity with Mahometanism--the Gospel with the Koran; but false tradition with false traditionabuse with abuse—absurdity with absurdity.
This absurdity has been carried to such a length, that Grotius charges Mahomet with having said, that God's hands are cold, for he has felt them; that God is carried about in a chair; and that, in Noah's ark, the rat was produced from the elephant's dung, and the cat from the lion's breath.
Grotius reproaches Mahomet with having imagined that Jesus Christ was taken up into heaven instead of suffering execution. He forgets that there were entire heretical communions of primitive Christians who spread this opinion, which was preserved in Syria and Arabia until Mahomet's time.
How many times has it been repeated, that Maho,