PRESSED by the Christian advocate with evidence drawn from the Old and New Testaments, the Mahometan, admitting the divine origin of both, parries the argument by denying the authority of the existing copies. Accustomed to the integrity of the Corân, the text of which he believes preserved by a special providence from the corrosive action of time, the risks of transcription, and the insecurity of human guardianship, he regards with surprise the unstable ground on which we are content to take our stand. He points to the passages of contested purity contained in our Sacred Books, and to some which we are forced to admit as, either accidentally or by design, additions to the original text; and he looks disdainfully upon the whole Book as a mass of various and uncertain readings. He will contend that it is now impossible to sift the passages which are authentic from the corrupt remainder, or to distinguish the divine and authoritative from the human and erring. The point of every proof drawn from the Scriptures is thus thrust aside. Whatever is at variance with the Corân is without further argument rejected; it is denounced as an interpolation fabricated presumably for the very

purpose of bolstering up Judaism and Christianity against the superior claims of Mahomet.

And he is strongly supported in this belief by the terms in which the Corân accuses the Jews of suppressing the prophetic announcement of Mahomet's advent, and for this end of "perverting" and "distorting" their Scriptures. It is quite true that these expressions, if taken alone, might be held to imply that the Jews had changed and interpolated the Sacred text. But they must be construed in unison with the natural meaning of the context, and also with the general tenor of the Corân upon the subject. And a careful study of the Corân, in its connection with the life of Mahomet, convinces me that the charge of fabrication is not justified by the context, while it is inconsistent with the sentiments expressed in many other passages; and that, in point of fact, the position thus taken up by Mahometans is altogether untenable.

The Old and New Testaments are everywhere in the Corân referred to as extant and in common use; Jews and Christians are exhorted to follow the precepts of their respective Scriptures; and from first to last both portions of the Bible are spoken of in terms of reverence and homage consistent only with a sincere belief in their genuineness and authenticity. The expressions noticed in the foregoing paragraph can naturally and properly be construed in accordance with this view; and hence it is obligatory that they should be so construed, and not in a sense which would run counter to the rest of the Corân.

To render the argument complete and unanswerable,