|40||THE APOLOGY OF AL KINDY.|
names in order. He was acquainted with the tenets of the different Sects,the Melchite, belonging to the Romish Church; the Jacobite, whom he denounces as the most unreasonable of the schismatics; and the Nestorian, to which body his friend was attached, and which he describes in favourable terms; for it was the Nestorian branch of the church which was known to Mahomet, and praised by him in the Coran. He was familiar with the rites, prayers, fasts, and festivals of the various churches; and had not only visited their convents and holy places, but had held discussions with their bishops, priests, and learned men. He was not of the vulgar herd, which heaped abuse indiscriminately on all Christians. Conversant with their sects and doctrines, he could appreciate what was good in them. He was thus in a position to call upon his friend to renounce the errors of his creed, and embrace the grand Catholic faith of Abraham, their common ancestor, with all the attendant blessings of Islam. He then recounts the ordinances and obligations of the Mahometan religion, as prayer, fasting, pilgrimage, Jehâd; dwells on the delights of Paradise that were open to his friend, and warns him to escape the pains of Hellsupporting his appeal by numerous quotations from the Coran. He had only to embrace the true faith, and he would at once enter on his proper rank and dignity at court, and share in all the good things of Islam, both in this life and the next. Among the former he mentions the privilege of marrying four wives (liable to divorce if they did not please him) and slave-girls.
He closes with an affectionate appeal; and if he should, notwithstanding, choose to hold by the Christian faith, urges him to answer his epistle without fear or favour, under royal guarantee obtained from the Caliph himself, of absolute security.
The Apology of Al Kindy begins with a complimentary address, in which he expresses gratitude for the interest shown in his welfare, and an assurance of lasting friendship. He offers a prayer for the long life and prosperity of the Caliph, whose favour he acknowledges with gratitude beyond his power adequately to express. Then follows a petition for help and guidance from Him who had promised that, when His servants were brought before kings and governors, it should be given them in that self-same hour what they shall speak, &c. (quoting Matthew x. 18,19).
(pp. 24, 25).
|The first Section is devoted to a defence of the doctrine of the Trinity, in which the argument is, to our apprehension, often weak and far-fetched. His friend had invited him to embrace the Catholic, or Hanyfite, faith of Abraham, their common father. Our Apologist answers that the Hanyfite faith was in reality the idolatrous religion of the Sabeans, which the patriarch professed before his conversion to the worship of the One true God. "Which of these two religions of Abraham," he asks, "am I to adopt? If it be the Unity, I reply that the revelation thereof made to Abraham was inherited by Isaac, not by Ishmael, and|