236 The CORÂN

ministry, A.D. 610-632 were the identical Scriptures now in the hands of Jews and Christians. But, for the benefit of the honest and enquiring Mussulman, the following points may be briefly indicated for his further investigation.

There are now extant Manuscripts of an earlier date than the era above-mentioned, and open to the most scrupulous examination of any enquirer. There are Versions of the Old and New Testaments, translated before the period in question. The Septuagint translation of the Old Testament was executed prior to the Christian era. There are still remains of the Octapla of Origen, drawn up four centuries before Mahomet, in which the various versions of the Old Testament were compared in parallel columns. Of the New Testament there are the Latin, Syriac, Coptic, and Armenian versions, made long anterior to Mahomet, by a reference to which the Mussulman investigator will be able to satisfy himself that there have been no alterations in the original text since the time of his Prophet.

Lastly, there are quotations from the sacred Scriptures, and innumerable references to them, contained in the Jewish and Christian writers of ages far earlier than Mahomet. Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Clemens, Tertullian, Origen, Cyprian, Eusebius, Chrysostom, Gregory, Basil, Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine, and many others may be with this view readily consulted by any Mahometan, if he will only take the trouble to learn the Greek and Latin tongues. This species of coincident proof is the strongest that can be imagined.


It is no reply to this line of argument to say that in the manuscripts of the Scriptures there now exist various readings, discrepancies, and passages asserted by the Mahometans (as those regarding the divine Sonship and the death of Jesus) to be inconsistent with a true Revelation. By examining the ancient Manuscripts, the versions and quotations above referred to, they will find that various readings, supposed discrepancies, and passages affirming the death of Christ and confirming the doctrine of the Trinity, existed, just as they now exist, in the Scriptures current in the time of Mahomet and for centuries before,—in those very Scriptures, namely, of which Mahomet in the Corân so constantly and unconditionally asserts the truth. The true Mussulman has, therefore, no option but to accept, and believe in, those Scriptures just as they stand.


Such being the case, the sincere and honest Mussulman is earnestly invited to examine the subject, and to satisfy himself, as he may easily do, that the Bible of the present day is the Bible of the days of Mahomet. He is called upon to revere and honour that sacred Book, even as his Master so uniformly and so unequivocally professed to honour it. He is called upon to believe in it as the inspired word of God, in order that he may obtain the "reward" (أجورهم ) promised to the faithful believers.