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stripped the Arabians of their conquests, and put an end to the sovereignty, and very being, of their Khalîfs : yet it seems as if there was something more than what is vulgarly imagined, in a religion which has made so surprising a progress. But whatever use an impartial version of the Korân may be of in other respects, it is absolutely necessary to undeceive those, who, from the ignorant or unfair translations which have appeared, have entertained too favourable an opinion of the original, and also to enable us effectually to expose the imposture; none of those who have hitherto undertaken that province, not excepting Dr. Prideaux himself, having succeeded to the satisfaction of the judicious, for want of being complete masters of the controversy. The writers of the Romish communion, in particular, are so far from having done any service in their refutations of Mohammedism, that, by endeavouring to defend their idolatry, and other superstitions, they have rather contributed to the increase of that aversion which the Mohammedans in general have to the Christian Religion, and given them great advantages in the dispute. The Protestants alone are able to attack the Korân with success; and for them, I trust, Providence has reserved the glory of its overthrow. In the mean time, if I might presume to lay down rules to be observed by those who attempt the conversion of the Mohammedans, they should be the same which the learned and worthy Bishop Kidder* has prescribed for the conversion of the Jews, and which may,

* In his Demonstr. of the Messias, Part III. chap. ii.

mutatis mutandis, be equally applied to the former, notwithstanding the despicable opinion that writer, for want of being better acquainted with them, entertained of those people, judging them scarce fit to be argued with. The first of these rules is, To avoid compulsion; which, though it be not in our power to employ at present, I hope will not be made use of when it is. The second is, To avoid teaching doctrines against common sense; the Mohammedans not being such fools (whatever we may think of them) as to be gained over in this case. The worshipping of images, and the doctrine of transubstantiation, are great stumblingblocks to the Mohammedans; and the church which teacheth them is very unfit to bring those people over. The third is, To avoid weak arguments : for the Mohammedans are not to be converted with these or hard words. We must use them with humanity, and dispute against them with arguments that are proper and cogent. It is certain that many Christians, who have written against them, have been very defective this way: many have used arguments that have no force, and advanced propositions that are void of truth. This method is so far from convincing, that it rather serves to harden them. The Mohammedans will be apt to conclude we have little to say, when we urge them with arguments that are trifling or untrue.

We do but lose ground when we do this ; and, instead of gaining them, we expose ourselves and our cause also. We must not give them ill words neither; but must avoid all reproachful language, all that is sarcastical and biting: this never did good from pulpit or press. The softest words will make the deepest impression;

and if we think it a fault in them to give ill language, we cannot be excused when we imitate them. The fourth rule is, Not to quit any article of the Christian Faith to gain the Mohammedans. It is a fond conceit of the Socinians, that we shall, upon their principles, be most like to prevail upon the Mohammedans: it is not true in matter of fact. We must not give up any article to gain them: but then the church of Rorne ought to part with many practices, and some doctrines. We are not to design to gain the Mohammedans over to a system of dogmas, but to the ancient and primitive faith. I believe nobody will deny but that the rules here laid down are just. The latter part of the third, (which alone my design has given me occasion to practise,) I think so reasonable, that I have not, in speaking of Mohammed or his Korân, allowed myself to use those opprobrious appellations, and unmannerly expressions, which seem to be the strongest arguments of several who have written against them. On the contrary, I have thought myself obliged to treat both with common decency, and even to approve such particulars as seemed to me to deserve approbation : for how criminal soever Mohammed


have been in imposing a false religion on mankind, the praises due to his real virtues ought not to be denied him: nor can I do otherwise than applaud the candour of the pious and learned Spanhemius, who, though he owned him to have been a wicked impostor, yet acknowledged him to have been richly furnished with natural endowments, beautiful in his person, of a subtle wit, agreeable behaviour, showing liberality to the poor, courtesy to every one, fortitude against his enemies, and, above all, a high reverence for the name of God; severe against the perjured, adulterers, murderers, slanderers, prodigals, covetous, false witnesses, &c.; a great preacher of patience, charity, mercy, beneficence, gratitude ; honouring of parents and superiors; and a frequent celebrator of the divine praises *.

Of the several translations of the Korân now extant, there is but one which tolerably represents the sense of the original; and that being in Latin, a new version became necessary, at least to an English reader. What Bibliander published for a Latin translation of that book, deserves not the name of a translation; the unaccountable liberties therein taken, and the numberless faults, both of omission and commission, leaving scarce any resemblance of the original. It was made near six hundred years ago, being finished in 1143, by Robertus Retenensis, an Englishman, with the assistance of Hermannus Dalmata, at the request of Peter, abbot of Clugny, who paid them well for their pains.

From this Latin version was taken the Italian of Andrea Arrivabene, notwithstanding the pretences in

* Id certum, naturalibus egregiè dotibus instructum Mohammedem, forma præstanti, ingenio callido, moribus facetis, ac præ se ferentem liberalitatem in egenos, comitatem in singulos, fortitudinem in hostes, ac, præ cæteris, reverentiam divini nominis.-Severus fuit in perjuros, adulteros, homicidas, obtrectatores, prodigos, avaros, falsos testes, &c. Magnus idem patientiæ, charitatis, misericordiæ, beneficentiæ, gratitudinis, honoris in parentes ac superiores præco, ut et divinarum laudum. Hist. Eccles. Sec. vii. c. vii. lem. 5 et 7,

his dedication, of its being done immediately from the Arabic*: wherefore it is no wonder if the transcript be yet more faulty and absurd than the copy t.

About the end of the fifteenth century, Johannes Andreas, a native of Xativa, in the kingdom of Valencia, who from a Mohammedan doctor became a Christian priest, translated not only the Korân, but also its glosses, and the seven books of the Sonna, out of Arabic into the Arragonian tongue, at the command of Martin Garcia I, bishop of Barcelona, and inquisitor of Arragon. Whether this translation were ever published or not, I am wholly ignorant : but it may be presumed to have been the better done for being the work of one bred up in the Mohammedan religion and learning; though his refutation of that religion, which has had several editions, gives no great idea of his abilities.

Some years within the last century, Andrew du Ryer, who had been consul of the French nation in Egypt, and was tolerably skilled in the Turkish and Arabic languages, took the pains to translate the Korân into his own tongue: but his performance, though it be beyond comparison preferable to that of Retenensis, is far from being a just translation;

* His words are: Questo libro, che già havevo a commune utilità di molti fatto dal proprio testo Arabo tradurre nella nostra volgar lingua Italiana, &c. And afterwards; Questo è l'Alcorano di Macometto, il quale, come ho gia detto, ho fatto dal suo idioma tradurre, &c.

# V. Jos. Scalig. Epist. 361 et 362, et Selden. de success. ad leges Ebræor. p. 9.

J. Andreas, in Præf. ad Tractat. suum de Confusione Sectæ Mahometanæ.

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