232 The CORÂN

passage in the whole Corân which could, by any possible construction, cast the slightest suspicion upon Christians of tampering either with their Gospel or with their copies of the Jewish Scripture. The utmost charge brought against them is that they had "forgotten a part of that whereby they were admonished," i.e., fallen into erroneous doctrines and practices.—Art. CXXII.

Now supposing for a moment that the Old Testament had been interpolated by the enemies of Mahomet, and that they had even extended their attempts to the New Testament, would not some of the good Jews and Christians have preserved and multiplied copies of the uncorrupted Scriptures? Those Scriptures were constantly appealed to by Mahomet; they contained, as he alleged, valuable testimony in favour of the Corân, his Mission, and Islâm. Even when wielding the sword and supported by victorious armies, the followers of Mahomet would hardly neglect so reasonable and so convincing a mode of gaining over the Jews and Christians as that of pointing out to them the evidence for Islâm recorded in their own uncorrupted Scriptures. The early Mahometans surely would not dispense with such useful proof of the claims of their Prophet. Besides, for the new converts from among the Jews and Christians, the preservation of the pure and uncorrupted text of the Old and New Testaments would be not only desirable but necessary. They were commanded by the Prophet to believe in, to observe, and to judge by those Scriptures; and in doing so, they were promised "a double portion of Mercy" and special "light." Surely if these had any


doubt that their unconverted brethren would falsify their Scriptures, they would have sought to retain faithful copies, not only for their own use, but for the satisfaction and teaching also of their children; just as the Christians preserve and teach the Jewish Scriptures, pointing out and inculcating the force of the prophecies of Christ contained therein, even so might we not have expected the Mahometan converts from Judaism and Christianity to cherish and preserve their former Scriptures?

That there existed such honest and faithful Jewish and Christian converts cannot be doubted by the Mahometan enquirer. "And of the people of Moses, there is a party that directeth with truth, and acteth justly thereby."—Art. LXII. "Amongst the people of the Book, there is an upright race, that read the Signs (or Revelations) of God in the night season, and they bow down worshipping, and command that which is honest, and dissuade from that which is wicked, and hasten forward in good works; these are the virtuous."—Art. CXVII. "Among them is a righteous people," Art.— CXXVI قوم مقتصدة . See also Arts. XCI., XCVIII., and CXXI. Had these any interest in falsifying the sacred Scriptures? On the contrary, had they not every interest in preserving them uncorrupted? And even if there had been any sinister inducements, would not their "justice," "uprightness," "honesty," and devotion to God, have prevented the thought of such wickedness from ever entering their hearts? Where then are the uncorrupted copies preserved by these virtuous and faithful Jews and Christians