they and their disciples wrote by Divine inspiration we receive as God's message to the
world, in accordance with Christ's own words, "He that heareth you heareth Me; and he
that rejecteth you rejecteth Me; and he that rejecteth Me rejecteth Him that sent Me"
(Luke x. 16). Hence the Apostles of Christ rightly laid claim to Apostleship (I Cor. i. 1;
Gal. i. 1; I Pet. i. 1, &c.).
God's power and the influence of the holy life of Christ were so fully manifested
through the preaching of the Apostles that in a short time many thousands of the Jews, and
even of their priests, became Christians (Acts ii. 41; iv. 4; vi. 7; xxi. 20). Among the
Gentiles too the Gospel spread very steadily, and many1 of them were brought
from darkness to light, from the power of Satan unto God, from worshipping idols to serve
the one Living and True God (I Thess. i. 10).
The Christian miracles are mentioned not only in the New Testament and by early
Christian writers,2 but also by the Jews in their Talmud, though the latter
blasphemously ascribe Christ's miracles to magic. Among heathen writers of the first few
centuries of the Christian era not a few, among them Pliny, Tacitus, Celsus, and the
Emperor Julian the Apostate, have testified to the rapid spread of Christianity. Every
effort was made by many of the emperors to stamp it out; but, in spite of all that they
could do, the new religion continued to spread, and could not be checked by the most fiery
persecution and the most cruel martyrdoms.
Some of our Muslim brethren deny that the title of Apostle
(يوقئي) should be applied to
any of the disciples of Christ. But in saying this they are showing a want of acquaintance
with their own Qur'an. For in Surahs iii. 45; v. 111, 112; lxi. 14, they are called
and all scholars are aware that this is the Æthiopiah.
for "Apostles". In the Æthiopian version of the New Testament
this word is used in Luke vi. 13, and everywhere else, to translate the title
(رَسُلاً) which Christ Himself gave to the Twelve.
The Æthiopic word حواري
is derived from a root in that language which means just what
رَسَلَ (to send) does in
Arabic. No pious Muslim will venture to oppose the teaching of the Qur'an on this point,
or to deny that Christ was right in giving this title to the Twelve. Paul was afterwards
appointed to the same office by Christ, speaking to him from heaven (Acts xxii. 21; Rom.
xi. 13; 2 Cor. xii. 12; 1 Tim. ii. 7). The success of these Apostles in preaching the
Gospel and spreading the Christian faith was the proof of their Apostleship, because it
stamped God's seal upon their work.
Christians, as is well known, were not permitted to engage in a Jihad in order
to spread their religion. For Christ Himself had said to Peter, even when it was in
defence of his Lord that he drew his sword, "Put up again thy sword into its place:
for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword" (Matt. xxvi. 52).
Moreover, Christ hates, and used to denounce hypocrisy. When a man is forced to change his
religion by persecution, is he not made a hypocrite? Force cannot make a man a true
Christian. It was not by force therefore that Christianity spread in early days. Even now,
when professedly Christian nations are very powerful, they never attempt to force anyone
to adopt Christianity, for belief cannot be compelled by violence and cruelty. The use of
such methods, if sanctioned by any religion, would prove that it did not come from God.
Some of the Apostles, like Peter and Paul, drank the cup of martyrdom, after enduring long
years of toil and suffering in their task of preaching the Gospel. They constantly
exhorted their companions to endure with patience all kinds of suffering for Christ's
sake. This patience and love and kindness