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crime not far removed from rebellion against the established laws of the Deity."*
From this observation of Crichton, it is apparent that religion inay have injurious as well as beneficial effects, and that a religion which, like that of Mohammed, inculcates so implicit a trust in God as to impair materially the self-reliance of man, and to paralyze lis energies, must, to that extent, or in that respect, exert very pernicious intluences on the general character of a people, and the condition of their society.
II. The career of the Arabiuns, us leaders of civilization, not only forcibly illustrates the influence of the religious sentiment, as a sociological force, but it rt veuls, very strikingly, the great fundamental truth, that there are sociological influence
nces more furdumental than that of religion, and tending to form the religion itself, and umong these, influence of race, or ethnological causes.
It had been of little avail to the Arabians that Jesus of Nazareth, " the meek and lowly Nazarene,” had preached his pure and beavenly gospel in their immediate neighborhood. In vain for them bad he called on men to renounce and abjure the ignoble traits of their nature, and to be guided only by the nobler and more divine principles that are in them. In vain for them had he inculcated the religion of self-denial, of chastity, of humility, of gentleness, long suffering, and forbearance. In vain for them had he attested his divine mission by a life of the most exalted purity, and by speaking " as surely never man spake before.” In vain for them bad be offered up his life upon the cross, that the blood of a martyr so precious might prove the secil of a church designed to be so boly. They had heard, but bad heeded not. Other nations had embraced bis gospel
, so far, indeed, as even they were capable of embracing it. The Greeks, the Romans, nay, the rude barbarians of Northern Europe had recognized him as the great messenger from heaven to earth, and the true INTERMEDIATE between the human and divine. But the Arabians were not particularly moved by his life or doctrines. It was not by such doctrines as Christ promulgated that the religious sentiment of the Arabians was to be aroused or powerfully stimulated. Christianity was not the religion to take root in their hearts. It was not the creed with which the leading traits of their character could affinitize. It was too spiritual, supersensual.
But when Mohamined appeared and announced that all the revelations from God to man, before his time, were but preparatory to the one he bad to communicate; that Abraham, Moses, and Jesus were indeed great prophets and divinely commissioned teachers, but only empowered to make way for the great and final gospel which he was commissioned to proinulgate; that the Arabians, not less than the Israelites, were a peculiarly favored people of Allah; that to this people Allah had at last vouchsafed to speak, through the illustrious house of Hashein, in the person of Mohammed, in order to make known to all mankind the true religion, and the right road from earth to heaven ; when, moreover, the religion promulgated by this Mohammed proved to be a religion of ouiward performances rather than of inward righteousness—a religion which proclaimed its kingdom to be of this world, as well as of the world to come-a religion which tolerated the spirit of retaliation and violence,
* See Crichton's History of Arabia, chap. vii.
which allowed and even commanded proselytism by the sword, rather than by gentleness and patient perseverence in well doing—a religion which enjoined almsgiving on a people naturally generous, justice on a people naturally magnanimous, warfare in behalf of religion on a people naturally warlike and habitually predatory, abstinence from wine on a people not much addicted to drunkenness, and occasional fasting on a people by their modes of life habitually inured to great privations, and which, beyond these requirements, allowed great latitude of self-indulgence-a religion which, instead of enjoining chastity and discountenancing all the carnal appetites, allowed its votaries great license, in respect to those appetites, in this world and unbounded indulgence in the next religion, in short, which granted to its followers many rewards in this life, and offered them a heaven in the life to come--not the chaste and spiritual heaven of Jesus, in which “there is neither marrying nor giving in mariage,” but a heaven of the most transporting sensuality-a heaven in which to the wives of the pious Moslem in this world were to be superadded seventy-two wives of the nymphs of Paradise, celestial virgins whose charms and beauties were to exceed all terrestial conceptions ; when this religion was proclaimed, and its divine authority was atte-ted by a few extraordinary victories and some supposed prodigies, then it was that the great passionate heart of the Arabians was fired with religious enthusiasm; then it was that Arabia started up with a shout which startled the nations, and from her arid plains and sandy wastes there went forth a spirit of religious frenzy that swept the kingdoms of the world like chaff before it.
Other illustrations of this great truth, as to the dependence of the religion on the race, are to be found in human history, but none so striking or so umistakable as this. We may see it strongly enough exemplified in the very slow progress made by Europeans in their efforts to Christianize the Hindoos, Chinese, Siamese, and some other nations. Out of the hundred millions of Hindoos not so many as a hundred thousand converts to Christianity, or one in a thousand, can be shown as the fruit of a!) the long and strenuous efforts that have been made to Christianize them. Nor is it probable that future efforts in this direction will be much more successful. “Men do not gather grapes of thorns nor figs of thistles.” Neither will they gather the fruit of Christianity from Hindoo character.
It is difficult to say what progress may not be nominally made in Christianizing the Hindoos, or any other nation, by accommodating the religion to the people, as has been practiced everywhere, perhaps, instead of bringing the people up to the true standard of the religion. Neither is it very easy to say how far the operation of concurring causes, extending through ages, by gradually changing or modifying the inherent traits of the Hindoos, or any other people, may fit them to receive the religion and high toned morality of Christ. But this much may be regarded as certain, that so long as the Hindoos continue to possess those fundamental traits which they now possess, in short, while they continue to be essentially Ilindoos, the gospel of Christ, as it was preached by its great author and his early apostles, will never be cordially embraced by them. This is a truth which, however ungrateful it may be to many pious souls in Christendom, it is well that all should thoughtfully consider. For it is one of the many ramifications of a great fundamental trutlı or principle in social philosophy, of very extensive applications, and which has
been hitherto altogether too little considered by those who bave undertaken the arduous office of propagandist, either in religion or polities.
Our review, historical and critical, of the different systems of social philosophy, and of the various ideas relative thereto, which are to be gathered, (either as having been theoretically or practically developed,) from a survey of the past in human history, has, thus far, already brought under our consideration some of the most fundamental and profound principles of social science. We have already had occasion repeatedly to observe that POLITICAL CAUSES, to which superficialists in social philosophy attach such undue importance, are not, by any means, among the more fundamental causes which tend to determine the social condition, and that there are clearly discernible and manifest causes, (to say nothing of more occult and obscure ones,) tiat are much more fundamental in their influence on the condition of society. We have also had occasion to observe, while taking a review of Christianity and its influence on human society, that RELIGIon is one of those more fundamental and manifest causes, And now, while reviewing the career of the Arabians, as leaders of civilization, and their religious manifestations, we have occasion to observe that there are causes yet more fundamental than religion operating upon the condition of a people, and tending to determine their religious as well as their political destiny, and that among the most prominent of these causes is that of race. It only remains that we should have occasion to contemplate the causes which tend to mould or modify race, and we shall have pushed our inquiries as far as it is permitted to man to penetrate into the philosophy of society, and taken a glance, very partial and imperfect, to be sure, at the whole scope of causes operating upon the existing condition of any state of human society, and all of which are to be attentively considered by him who would arrive at a correct and complete solution of any of its vexed problems.
It is not within the province of this review to consider the applications of the principles which it may develop, at least beyond the extent that may be necessary clearly to illustrate the principles. Yet the principle just developed, as to the dependence of the religion and political stutus of a people upon their race, or ethnological traits, suggests so ready and complete a refutation to some of those multitudinous schemes of social revolution, which are among the pests of the present age, that we may well be excused for making a slight digression from the steady forward march of our review, in order to make this practical application.
Among the multitudinous schemes for social revolution and regeneration, which have been spawned out of the prolific womb of modern quackery, pone is perhaps more entitled to notice, alike for the amiable character of its projector, and the valuable truths that are to be found incorporated with its great fundamental errors, than that of Robert Owen as developed in his work entitled, “ The Book of the New Moral World, containing the Rational System of Society." In this scheme, Mr. Owen recognizes plainly enough, though not in so many words, the great truth, that in order to reform society, it is necessary to reform man; and thus far he shows himself far wiser than many of the quacks in social science. But he commits the error, (which is one, but not the only one, of the grand fallacies of his scheme,) of vastly underestimating the difficulty of reforming men, which is, after all, the real difficulty of all these projects
for the amelioration of the human condition. Mr. Owen indulges his fancy with the vain conceit, spun out into an elaborate tissue of the wildest dream work, that by a system of instruction and education, grounded on what he terms “true first principles,"* or more particularly on a knowledge of the real nature of man—a system of instruction and education of which he claims to be the great apostle-it is practicable, nay quite easy, to make men “ rational,” to use his favorite expression; in other words, to make them wise, truly wise, and, of course, also truly virtuous, since, obviously enough, no man is truly rational, or wise, who is not also virtuous.
This great difficulty, of making men wise and virtuous, which the greatest philosophers and virtuosi of all ages, the most renowned lawgivers and reformers in religion, have grappled with in vain, Mr. Owen, (like many of our would-be reformers of society,) weakly imagines that he can easily master by his plan of instruction and education—without any exception on account of the vast diversities of individual and national character, and whatever may be the fundamental traits either of the individual, or the race, which latter are but the fundamental traits or peculiarities of the individual developed and expanded into those of the nation, or family of nations. But how appears this vain dream, this pue. rile conceit of Robert Owen, in view of the great, indisputable facts of human history which we have been considering in this and the foregoing part of our review, and more particularly in view of that significant fact which has just passed under our review, as to the almost total failure of Christianity to make any impression on the Arabians, to say nothing of the very slight impression it bas really made upon any part of mankind !
If thie sublime religion of Jesus Christ, with its transporting hope of an unending heaven, and its awful threatening of an eternal hell, concurring with the most beautiful and noble sentiments of morality, to constrain men to that course of exalted virtue which Mr. Owen thinks it so easy, upon his plan, to school them into, has almost totally failed to reform men-nay, if it has fallen still-born and impotent at the feet of whole nations, as the Arabians, for example, because of their inherent and fundamental unfitness to appreciate and embrace it, how preposterous is the conceit of Robert Owen, that he can exalt men to that high standard of moral excellence by his plan of instruction and education, which, whatever merits it may possess, proposes no higher nor stronger sanction than that of an earthly paradise—a short-lived heaven in this fleeting and transitory life! For Robert Owen does not, like his brother impiric in social science, William Godwin, of an earlier date, promise to men the attriubtes of terrestial demi-gods, and immortality on earth, as a consequence of coming under his treatment, and consenting to take a box or iwo of his “infallible pills," which, of course, like other sublime reformers of their kind, they both offer to mankind, " freely and without price." Mr. Owen only promises to men an earthly paradise-celestial bliss while life lasts, or from birth to death—which promise he makes upon
condition only that they will allow him, the aforesaid Robert Owen, utterly to demolish the existing framework of human society, everywhere, from top to bottom, and to reconstruct it upon the plan suggested by
in the ALL
* See Owen's New Moral World, part v., chap. 4, p. 164, of first American edition; also, sce samo work passim for the same idea.
GLORIOUS SCIENCE of the influences of circumstance over human charac
But enough of this digression, and of these mawkish puerilities in social philosophy, at least for the present.
III. The religion of the Arabians, Mohammedanism, suggests and embodies in itself some valuable principles in Sociology. No duty is more strongly and frequently enjoined in the Koran, or more prominently recognized, by all pious Mohammedans, as one of the grand cardinal requirements of their religion, than that of Almsgiving. Indeed, this great duty is more distinctly and forcibly set forth in the religion of Mohammed than in that of Jesus or Moses. It is true, indeed, that wherever Jesus alludes to the poor, it is with the utmost compassion and tenderness, and that he repeatedly enjoins upon the rich the duty of giving freely, out of their abundance, to the needy, as where he says to a certain rich man, who was inquiring wbat he should do to be worthy of the kingdom of heaven, "sell all that thou bast and give to the poor.” But the injunctions to charity in the gospel of Jesus are, for the most part, as in the instance just cited, very general, and somewhat too vague and indeterminate for practical use. It has been the misfortune of Christianity, moreover, that the injunctions to almsgiving bave been grossly misapplied by an interested priestly order, who have far more zealously inculcated the idea of giving to an abstraction, called “ the church,” than to the suffering poor of God's great household, the human family; and that, in point of fact, the poor bave been too often robbed in order to maintain in affluence a pampered, and not unfrequently corrupt, church aristocracy. But the injunctions of the Koran to almsgiving are too frequent and imperative to admit of any misapprehension or misrepresentation of this kind. Every where throughout THE BOOK of Mohammed, and in almost every chapter of it, this noble-hearted Arabian speaks out, in the naine of God, commanding men to be charitable to the poor, and to deal justly with the captive, the widow, and orphan. Indeed, this see!1s to be the great controlling idea of Mohammed's practical morality, as the unity and spirituality of God, with the consequent abomination of idolatry, constitute the predominant idea of his theology. Accordingly, this great duty of charity to the poor is everywhere practically recov. nized among the Mohammedans, and, as Irving, in his Life of Mahomet, espresses it, “every Moslem is enjoined, in one way or another, to dispense a tenth of his revenue in relief of the indigent and distressed."
There need be little hesitation in saying that, if it were possible to im. bue buman society generally with this principle of giving the tenth of each one's revenue to the poor, with proper safeguards against the danger of the charity thus dispensed operating as a premium on idleness, one of the most extensively beneficial principles towards the general improvement of the social condition of mankind would be thereby introduced. Of all the modes of distributing the aggregate wealth of society, with a view to supplying the wants of those who, from any of those innumerable vicissitudes, incident to human life, to which poverty is referable, s!and in need of such assistance, private charity, individual bounty, is, with little doubt, the very best.
* See Owen's New Moral World, part vi., chap. 5, p. 219, of first American edition; also, see same work everywhere, for substantially the same idea.
* See Irving's Life of Mahomet and his Successors, vol. i., appendix, p. 365. Putnam's edition of 1850.