صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

Goonah Purist. You have, no doubt, high and good authority for this important assertion. I have been however with your high-priest, the Sheik Olislam, and he mentioned not this circumstance to me. Mendicant. I cannot say that the Koraun speaks of it; nevertheless, it is true.

Goonah Purist. Where, then, is your authority? Mendicant. We have the story from tradition, and it is certainly true.

Goonah Purist. By this rule, all the stories which the Hindoos relate of their idols are true.

"Infidel!" replied the mendicant, "dost thou compare the grandsons of our holy prophet with the idols of the heathen?"

"I make no comparisons," answered Goonah Purist, "but I speak as a man who eagerly thirsts after truth. As the gazelle, when the hot winds blow over the desert, desires refreshing shade and cooling springs; so do I desire to know, by what evidence, or authority, you dare to rest the welfare of your immortal souls on mere tradition?"

"We have more than mere tradition," replied the mendicant: "from time immemorial holy rites have been appointed to commemorate these events."

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"This argument," answered Goonah Purist, "may, in like manner, be used by the Brahmuns in favour of their gods. Their idolatrous ceremonies were instituted, as some say, from the beginning of the world; and we have abundant proof that they were introduced many ages ago."

The mendicant looked indignantly at Goonah Purist; nevertheless, he restrained his anger, and demanded of him, what evidence he would deem sufficient of any event to which he himself had not been eye witness?^

Goonah Purist replied, "I am an ignorant man, and little skilled in the art of disputation; yet, without any deep learning, my reason tells me,


that those stories which the Hindoos relate of their gods can never be true, although they have tradition and ancient custom to plead in their favour. In like manner, I think that, unless you have more than tradition, and the ancient establishment of certain customs, to rely upon for the truth of this story of Hossein and Hussein, you are placing your hopes of salvation on a foundation which may fail you when you have most need of support. He that undertakes to traverse a stormy sea, ought in reason to require satisfactory evidence of the soundness and sufficiency of the vessel, in which he is about to embark for that purpose."

"You doubt, then," replied the mendicant, "of the existence of these noble personages?"

"No," replied Goonah Purist, "I believe that they did exist. The tradition of which you speak is in favour of that circumstance, and, probably, sufficient evidence of it. But that part of your story which I call in question relates to the power of those persons to save their followers. Allow me to enquire, how these grandsons of your prophet died? Did they lay down their lives for their people?"

Mendicant. I perceive that thou art in a state of the grossest and most invincible ignorance. Nevertheless, that I may not be made a partaker in the guilt and punishment thereof, I will give thee the information thou desirest.-Huzrut Hussein had poison administered to him, in a date, by one of his concubines, and Huzrut Hossein was killed by the army of Gazed, in his passage through the desert.

I saw then, in my dream, that Goonah Purist fell into a reverie. At length, he said, "I perceive, from what you say, that these men were sinners, like ourselves; moreover, that they did not give up their lives as a willing sacrifice for their followers, but that they perished by fraud and violence."

"Whom dost thou mean to confound, by these

remarks?" returned the fakeer, "who asserted that they gave up their lives willingly, or that they were not men of like passions with ourselves?"

"Then I greatly fear," replied Goonah Purist, "that my case, and that of all mankind, is such as cannot be relieved by men like ourselves. We are

the creatures of a pure God, before whom we have made ourselves unclean. We have broken the holy laws of our Maker; we have disturbed the beauty and order of his work; we are as a blot and blemish in the creation: and, on these accounts, we must needs appear utterly vile and unclean in his sight. We can make no atonement for our own transgressions, because all we can do is but our duty. We must, therefore, seek a mediator, who is able to stand between us and God; who, being himself without spot or blemish of sin, is able to bear our punishment; and who, having undergone the penalty incurred by our transgression, is able to cleanse and purify our sinful nature, in order to prevent our again offending against God: and, as our sins are beyond calculation, so his merits must be infinite, in order that, when the angel of justice shall hold up his scales with our sins on one side, and the merits of our Redeemer on the other, those divine merits may abundantly overbalance the whole incalculable weight of man's offences. We require a redeemer infinitely holy, and infinitely merciful. What mortal man can answer this description? Who among the sons of Adam, or among all the created hierarchies of heaven, can say, 'I am he?' Where, where,” added Goonah Purist, "is he to be found? And yet, without him, I am lost. Oh! miserable man! happy had it been for me had I never been born-had I never seen the light of the sun, nor ever beheld that radiant moon, which now traverses the heavens in cloudless splendour."

Upon this, I saw that Goonah Purist began to shed tears abundantly; and the fakeer, giving way to the anger which this conversation had excited in him, took up stones and dirt, to cast at the man whom he so unjustly despised. But Goonah Purist, perceiving his intention, urged his way through the intoxicated and vicious crowd, making his escape into a place of graves; where he sat for a while without hope, believing that all further enquiry after the way of salvation would be wholly in vain. He had found as little comfort in the religion of the Mussulmauns as in that of the idolaters: for although it was true that the followers of the prophet abhorred idols, and held some rational doctrines; yet their religion had no power to cleanse him from the filthiness of his moral leprosy, nor to provide an adequate means of atonement for his past offences.


Shewing how Goonah Purist sought the Means of Sal vation among those called Christians.

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"Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright, but they have sought out many inventions."-Eccles. vii. 29.

Now I saw, in my dream, that, while Goonah Purist sat meditating in the place of graves, as it were without hope, and counting himself a dead man, he became greatly troubled in mind; crying out from time to time, in the bitterness of his heart, "Ah! woe is me, miserable sinner! Where shall I find deliverance? where is my hope? verily, I have none. The gods of my fathers are but wood and stone: they have eyes, and see not; ears have they, and hear not. How can these help me, who cannot help themselves? And what is this Mahommed, or his grandsons, of whom their followers make so much boast? How can these help me, who are but men? Are they not sinners, such as I am?"

Now, while he uttered these sorrowful expressions, it pleased Him who ruleth all things to bring certain words of the Sheik Olislam with power to his mind; importing, that one Huzrut Esau had aforetime been sent to mankind with offers of pardon and peace. "If this be true," thought Goonah

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