appears in the appeal which Mahomet now makes frequently in the Corân to the former Scriptures and to the Jews, as witnesses to his claims. His position is fortified by long and discursive narratives from Old Testament history,—such as the creation and fall of man, the flood, the stories of Abraham, David, and Solomon, given sometimes in the very language of the Bible, but overlaid and distorted by rabbinical fiction and conceits, and sometimes also by native legend. There is evidently Jewish inspiration, but whence derived we have not the means of saying. Mahomet was accused by the Coreish of plagiarism and fabrication. "They are fables of the ancients," said his adversaries, "which he hath had written down; they are dictated to him morning and evening." "Nay," replied the Prophet, "He hath revealed it who knoweth that which is hidden in the heavens and in the earth." The revelations were, in fact, fresh evidence of his inspiration.

The severity of the ban at last over-reached its object. . The sympathies of many were enlisted by their privations in favour of Mahomet and his followers;

A.D. 620

and in the tenth year of his ministry the interdict was cancelled and the Hâshimites restored to freedom. But soon Khadîja died, and shortly after, Abu Tâlib. Dispirited by the double bereavement and the failing prospects of his cause, Mahomet, accompanied by Zeid alone, proceeded to Tâif, a city lying some sixty miles to the east of Mecca. But his appeal, though urged for several days upon them, was unheeded by the leading men of Tâif, and he was at last driven forth of

the rabble, wounded by showers of stones. As he rested on his way back, at Nakhla, he had a vision, in which a body of the Genii pressed around him, eager to listen to the Corân and embrace the new faith. He returned to Mecca with darkening

Suras XLVI.
 and LXXII.

prospects. Within two months of the death of Khadîja he married Sauda, the widow of one of the Abyssinian emigrants, and also betrothed to himself Ayesha, the daughter of his friend Abu Bekr, then but six or seven years of age.

Hope dawned at last from an unexpected quarter. At the yearly pilgrimage a little group of worshippers from Medina was attracted and won over at Minâ by the preaching of Islam; and the following year, now increased to twelve,

A.D. 621

they met Mahomet on the same spot, and took an oath of allegiance. At Medina the claims of the new Prophet found a ready response. The circumstances were all favourable. Several Jewish tribes had been long settled in the immediate neighbourhood; and the religion and Scripture of the Jews, on which Mahomet had now begun to lean as one of his chief supports, were familiar there. The city had for years been distracted by civil war; the factions of the Aus and Khazraj were nearly balanced, and there was no one to take the lead. A teacher was deputed from Mecca to Medina and the new faith spread with marvellous rapidity.

There was now a lull at Mecca. The two parties remained at bay, watching one the other. The Suras of the period breathe a calm and lofty spirit of assurance, with occasional warnings of Divine wrath and punishment against the ungodly city. There