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cherbutah, shaded from the heat by a lofty portico. A few wild shrubs, parched by the hot winds of the desert, grew around this solitary building.
Now the Mussulmauns were sitting on the cherbutah, from whence they observed the distant approach of the pilgrim. And as he drew near, remarking his grave and decent deportment, they rose to salute him, inviting him in to see the tomb of the saint.
The pilgrim replied with all due courtesy, “But your saint is dead, and cannot be seen.”
They answered, “Well, but come in and pay your devotions.”
Then said the pilgrim, “The saint cannot hear me, nor answer my prayers. I pay my devotions not to the dead, but to him who being dead was able to raise himself up from death, and is now alive for evermore; even our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light.” (2 Tim.
The Mussulmauns, on hearing this, expressed their surprise; asking him who he was? and whence he came? Upon which he told them what he had been, and what he was now become.
Then said one of the company, “I have heard of this man already; yea, and have seen him before he became a Christian: and I rejoice that we are now met, sincerely hoping that by the solid arguments he will hear from us to-day, this deluded stranger may be persuaded to renounce his Christian profession; an effect which all the severity of idolaters has not been able to produce.” So he proposed that the Christian should be invited to come up upon the cherbutah, that he might be assailed with all the combined wisdom and arguments of the learned Mussulmauns there assembled.
Several persons present refused to sit with one so profane, as the pilgrim confessed himself to be: but this objection being overruled, Nazareenee was made to ascend the cherbutah, and to place himself over against the assembly of the Mussulmauns; while he, who had made his boast that he would persuade the Christian to renounce his new profession, thus entered upon the subject.
“ When I was at home,” said he, “ in the dwelling-place of my fathers, I saw you with some of my companions under the walls of the caaba, going to the house of the Sheik Olislam, Ali Ol Salam; and I understood that it was your intention at that time, to become one of his disciples, and to profess the faith of Islam."
“ It is true, that I was at the house of the Sheik Olislam," replied Nazareenee, “and that I there endeavoured to make myself acquainted with the doctrines of your religion: but not finding what I sought among the Mussulmauns, 1 left them, as I had before left the gods of my fathers.”
“May I ask," said the Mussulmaun, haughtily, “what you were seeking, that you could not find in our religion?"
“ I wanted,” said Nazareenee, a Saviour: and your religion offered me none on whom I dared to repose my hope of everlasting salvation."
“What blasphemy!” exclaimed one of the younger Mussulmauns; requiring forth with that Nazareenee should be thrown off the cherbutah: but the others answered, “ No; we will hear what he has to say."
“I mean not to give offence,” said Nazareenee, although I desire not to disguise the truth. For some time before I left the Hindoo religion, I had been led, under the divine influence, to see myself as an utter!y corrupt and polluted sinner, most deservedly lying under the condemnation of a just and righteous God. I was moreover made
sensible that I needed a mediator, who could and would stand between me and the offended Deity, providing a sufficient atonement for my past sins, and sufficient means for the purification of my depraved nature. For while I felt the necessity of an entire change and reformation, I found myself utterly unable to effect that change by any power of my own. Your religion neither provided for me the Saviour I required, nor any means of purification from my sins; I therefore could not receive it: but I found all that I desired in abundance, yea, more than I could have hoped, in the religion of Jesus Christ.”
To this the learned Mussulmaun replied, “I know nothing of the doctrines of the Christian religion, nor what advantages it may hold out to its followers: but I ask you, upon what ground you were led to believe the truth of that religion, which we consider as nothing more than the fabrication of designing men ?"
You,” replied Nazareenee, “acknowledge that four sacred books have been successively delivered to men: the Toreet, the Zuboor, the Engel, and the Foorcan: but the Engel you reject as having been corrupted. Now having carefully studied all these books, I find that the three first agree together, while the fourth differs from them all. Here then is my argument: of four men, if three agree, and one only differs; to which would a wise man give his assent? to the three agreeing, or to the one dissenting? Further,” added he, are not the two first of these books in the hands of the Jews, the professed enemies of the Christians? yet they bear witness together with the third which is in the possession of the Christians. Are not many events likewise foretold in the two former, the actual accomplishment of which is recorded in the latter? And do not all three agree in foretelling events, which are now daily fulfilling
on earth? How then is it possible for a sincere enquirer after truth to hesitate for a moment about which of these books is to be rejected!”
Mussulmaun. It seems that you are fully satisfied, then, with the opinions you have adopted, entertaining no doubt whatever of your being in the right way, nor suspecting the possibility of finding your error in the world to come, when too late you will discover that hell which awaits you, as the punishment of your rejection of our holy prophet, and of the true faith. Consider what your feelings will be, when the trumpet shall sound on that threatened day, concerning which it is written—" And every soul shall come, and therewith shall be a driver, and a witness; and the former shall say unto the unbeliever, Thou wast negligent heretofore of this day, but we have removed the veil from off thee, and thy sight is become piercing. And God shall cast into hell every unbeliever.” (Koraun, chap. l.)
Pilgrim. I have no fears of this kind, I confess. I can entertain no doubt of the power of the master whom I have chosen, to redeem me to the uttermost. Yet am I willing to hear all you have to say respecting the Mahommedan faith; sincerely wishing, if I lie under any mistake, to have it cleared up, though it were to my loss. Nevertheless I am well pleased with the master into whose service I have entered. His yoke is easy, his burden is light, and his wages are exceedingly large and abundant: so that I could not but lose by exchanging him for any other.
I saw that the Mussulmaun was displeased at these words of Nazareenee; however, he stifled his indignation for the time, and thus answered: “ You say, that the wages promised by your master, are exceedingly large and abundant. What bas Christ promised, I should be glad to know, which can be compared with the glories and delights of our paradise ? • For him who dreadeth the tribunal of God, are prepared two gardens; in each of them shall be two fountains flowing, planted with shady trees, bearing fruit of two kinds. There the believers shall repose on couches, the linings whereof shall be of thick silk. Therein shall receive them damsels, refraining their eyes from beholding any besides their spouses; having complexions like rubies and pearls; having beautiful black eyes; and being kept in pavilions from public view. There the believers shall sit opposite to each other on seats adorned with gold and precious stones; while youths of unfading bloom shall go round about to attend them with goblets and beakers of flowing wine. Their heads shall not ache by drinking of that wine, neither shall their reason be disturbed; they shall be filled with the fruits of their choice, and with the flesh of the birds they desire.—And there shall accompany them fair damsels having large black eyes, resembling pearls hidden in their shells, as a reward for that which they have wrought.' (Koraun, chap. lv. and lvi.)
Nazareenee then answered, “In return for the description you have just given me of your paradise, I will now tell you what things are promised by our Lord unto those who believe in him. He first has assured us, that, through the merits of his death upon the cross, all our sins shall be freely forgiven us; for we are washed, we are sanctified, we are justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus. (1 Cor. vi. 11.) Secondly, he has promised us deliverance from those corrupt inclinations which we inherit from our father Adam. Hence we have assurance that, through the Holy Spirit of God, our hearts will be renewed in holiness, so that we shall become like the Son of God himself: our bodies also being finally pu