a chaste lady, tender and delicate, the mother of virtuous daughters, herself it may be noble-born and held in honour by her kinsfolk,—this pattern of virtue and refinement must submit her person to the lewd embrace of a hired gallant, before she can be restored to her husband,—an abominable law, more odious even than the wicked customs of the Magians. And yet thou invitest me to accept a vile ordinance like this,—an ordinance against which the very beasts of the field, if ye gave them speech, would cry out for shame!1 God forbid that I should so do violence to my reason and my nature; the Lord save me from being amongst the transgressors!

"Thou invitest me to visit the Holy places, 'those blessed and marvellous spots,' as thou callest them. 'Marvellous,' in truth, my Friend, must those places be where rites are witnessed so repugnant to common sense. But as for being 'blessed,' I wish to know what blessing hath ever flowed from visiting them. The sick, the maimed, the leper, the possessed of the devil,—hath any one of these ever returned whole from thence? Such blessings are known only to the Christian faith. The Lord's ears are open to the cry of His servants wheresoever it ariseth from an earnest heart; and Christ hath promised that where any two shall agree in prayer as touching a thing, it shall be granted." Al Kindy then dilates, with much apparent complacency, on the cures which, at the intercession of Monks, Priests, and Holy men of God, were

1  Al Kindy's words are strong, but not too strong, here. See "Life of Mahomet," p. 350.


wrought in churches, monasteries, and other sacred places, where men were wont to call on the name of the Lord. Through such intercessions, blessings descended on the humble and the pious; and even the wicked, if they returned, would be graciously received, as our Author shows in the words of the parable of the Prodigal Son.1

Sura xii. 6;
xvii. 53;
xx. 30.
"Distinguish now, my Friend, between thy Faith and mine, and let not misguided zeal mislead thee, for that is naught but Satan's guile, according to the text : 'Satan verily is the enemy of mankind.' Seest thou not (the Lord have mercy on thee!) that thou art calling me from an unspeakable priceless blessing, coveted by the Angels, and longed for by Prophets and Kings, and Holy men of old, to that which my soul loatheth, and which is utterly repugnant to my reason? Were I to consent, I trow not that I should be among the faithful."

"And then, thou callest on me 'to enter on The way of the Lord,' that is to wage war against other religions, to smite with sword, and make slaves of mankind, until they confess 'that there is no God but the Lord, and that Mahomet is his Servant and Apostle;' or, if they refuse, 'until they pay tribute with their hands and are humbled.' Dost thou indeed desire (may the Lord enlighten thee!) that

1  In this section, which I have more than usually abbreviated, quotations are given from Ps. xxxiv. and cxlv.; Matt. xviii. 19; x. 8.; and Luke xv.