|8||THE APOLOGY OF AL KINDY.|
circulated at the Court of an Abbasside Caliph, could hardly be objected to in the dominions of the Defender of the Christian faith.
With the view, therefore, of facilitating the use and translation of the Apology, or of selections from it, I have compiled a very full analysis of its contents, with a copious translation of the more interesting portions. In doing this, I have indicated a few passages which, for reasons specified, should be omitted. Whether there should be any further curtailment must depend on local considerations.
As an ancient and indigenous product of Asiatic Christianity, the Apology possesses not only a deep interest for ourselves in Christendom, but it has also a practical bearing on the same controversy still being prosecuted in the East. The Christian advocate there has it often thrown in his teeth that he is introducing a Christ whose features and teaching have been moulded after a European type; and whose religion, consequently, though suited to the Western, is alien from the Asiatic, mind and habit. This, at any rate, cannot be said of our Apologist. An Arab of the Arabs, born and bred a thousand years ago in the plains of Chaldĉa, Al Kindy presents himself and his faith in a purely Asiatic dress and language. The objectors will find that the Gospel changes not with time or clime; and that neither in form nor substance, nor in the reasoning by which it is supported, does the Christianity of Al Kindy materially differ (excepting perhaps in the more fervid temperament and livelier fancy of the Asiatic disputant)
from that which is put forth by the Missionary of the present day.
I have not sought to transfuse the eloquence of Al Kindy into these pages, but have confined myself to the substance and tenor of the argument The discourse throughout is much abridged, and even where a passage is marked as a translation, the gist of the same is for the most part given in brief, and without the cumulation of epithets, and exuberance of verbiage, in which our author delights to expatiate. Even if I had possessed ability for the task, the differing genius of our language would have interfered with any attempt of mine at imitation. To form an adequate conception of the rushing flood of Al Kindy's rhetoric, the original must be read. Into Oriental languages, however, such as Persian and Urdoo, there should be little difficulty in transfusing something both of the style and the spirit of our author.
It is now six-and-thirty years since, at the request of Dr. Pfander, I wrote an account of his three excellent Treatises on the Mahometan Controversy, in the "Calcutta Review."1 The effect produced by these, both in India and Turkey, has been not inconsiderable. But it is no disparagement of them to say that Al Kindy's Apology may be expected to cause a sensation incomparably more profound. That the champion of Christianity was himself a native of the East, of noble Arab birth, and yet a