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and elements shall melt with fervent heat. Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens, and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”
That the heavens should be on fire and dissolved we know to be impossible, and could not be intended. Why then may not the same language admit of a similar interpretation when applied to the earth, in the very same sentence ?
Isaiah, describing the judgments of the latter day, the same, I doubt not, with those to which Peter alludes, makes use of similar language. Il. xxxiv. 4,
“ All the host of heaven shall be diffolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll, and all their host shall fall down.” Our Saviour, announcing the same events, says, Matt. xxiv. 29, “ Immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars Thall fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” Perhaps Peter, having got the general idea of the heavens being diffolved, only meant
to extend the amplification of this figurative language to the earth.
In Rev. xx. 11, it is said, that "the earth and the heavens fled away, and there was no place found for them ;” after which it is said, ch, xxi. 1, " I saw a new heaven and a new earth.” It is pretty evident, therefore, that the disolving of the heavens and the earth of Peter, and their paling away of John, previous to the appearance of what they both call the new heavens and the new earth, mean the same thing, and therefore that in both the language must be figurative, denoting only great changes in the state of things, especially of kingdoms and empires, antecedent to the second coming of Christ, and the renovation of all things under him.
Of the Influence of Mahometanism. MR. VOLNEY's account of the influence of the Mahometan religion in the Turkish dominions comes so much in aid of my observations on the subject in Difcourse V. that I shall subjoin the greatest part of it, and he certainly did not write with any
view to recommend Christianity. “ Nothing can be worse calculated to remedy the abuses of government than the spirit of Inamism.
We may, on the contrary, pronounce it to be their original fource. To convince himself of this, the reader has only to examine their reverend book. In vain do the Mahometans boast that the Koran contains the feeds, and even the perfection, of all political and legislative 6
knowledge knowledge and jurisprudence. Nothing but the prejudice of education, or the interest of some secret partiality, can dictate, or admit, such a judgment. Whoever reads the Koran must be obliged to confess, that it conveys no notion either of the relative duties of mankind in society, of the formation of the body politic, or of the principles of the art of governing; nothing, in a word, which constitutes a legislative code. The only laws we find there may be reduced to four or five ordinances relative to polygamy, divorces, slavery, and the succession of near relations; and even these form no code of jurisprudence, but are so contradictory, that they cannot be reconciled by the altercationş of the doctors. The rest is merely a chaos of unmeaning phrases, and emphatical declamation on the attributes of God, from which nothing is to be learned; a collection. of puerile tales, and ridiculous fables; and on the whole, so flat and fastidious a composition, that no man can read it to the end, notwitstanding the elegance of Mr. Savary's translation.
But should any general tendency, or femblance, of meaning be visible through the absurdities of this delirious effusion, it is the inculcation of a fierce and obftinate fanaticism. We are wearied with the perpetual recurrence of the words impious, incredulous, enemies of God and the prophet, rebels against God and the prophet, devotion towards God and the prophet. Heaven is open to whoever combats in their cause. Houries stretch out their arms to martyrs. The imagination takes fire, and the profelyte exclaims, O Mahomet, thou art the messenger of God, thy word is his, he is infallible, thou canst neither err nor deceive me ; go on, I follow thee. Such is the spirit of the Koran, and it is visible in the very first line. There is no doubt in this book. It guides without error those who believe without doubting, who believe in what they do not fee. What is the tendency of this, but to establish the moft abfolute despotism in him who commands, and the blindest devotion in him who obeys, and such was the object of Mahomet. He did not wish to enlighten men,