|66||THE APOLOGY OF AL KINDY.|
Entering now upon a new argument, Al Kindy lays it down as axiomatic that there are but three Dispensations, to one or other of which the religion of Mahomet must belong. First, the Divine; second, the Natural; and third, the Satanic.
First, the Divine, so called because moulded in the likeness of God himself, it transcends reason, and is more excellent than anything drawn from nature. The same is the Gospel, or dispensation of grace brought by Jesus Christ, and described in the Coran as "a light and guidance, and a direction to the pious." It is based on favour, mercy, and forgiveness, even as our Saviour commanded us to overcome evil with good, after the example of our Father in heaven. The second is the law of reason or nature, summed up by Moses in the text "an eye for an eye," &c.; that is, the law of like for like, returning good for good, and evil for evil, and therein differing altogether from the Gospel which follows the gracious dealing of the Lord with His creatures. The third is the kingdom of the Evil One, tyranny and wrong. Conscious of treading upon delicate ground, Al Kindy here deprecates his friend's displeasure; they were in the heat of conflict, and he could not afford to dispense with any of those spiritual weapons from which he hoped for victory. Nor would it be just to blame him, for he had borne patiently things equally severe from the other side. Beginning with a prayer that God would guide his
Sura v. 53.
|THE THREE DISPENSATIONS.||67|
Friend, he asks him to which of the three belonged his Master's creed. "If thou sayest, 'The Divine'; I reply, that our Lord the Christ, 600 years before, revealed the same dispensation; ever since His Ascension unto the present day, His followers have observed it; and they will follow the same to the end of time. Moreover, I perceive not that thy fellows know aught concerning this law of grace and mercy, and as little did they act upon it in thy Master's day. If thou sayest, 'the Natural law' of reason and justice, that too was revealed aforetime by Moses, and is contained in the Tourāt; and being there, clear as the sunbeam, it were piracy and falsehood, if any other claimed to be the author of the same. There remaineth the third, the law of Satan, wrong-doing and violence. Now look (the Lord guide thee!) with an eye that shall not deflect from the right, and see who it is that taketh his stand on this dispensation, seeketh help therefrom, and practiseth its principles. And if not this, then tell me what new dispensation thy Master came with, and what law other than this he revealed, that I may embrace the same if it be worthy of acceptance; for I will not refuse the truth from whatsoever quarter it may come. Perchance thou wilt say that thy Master combined the two former dispensations both together, to wit, the rule of the Messiah and the rule of Mosesfollowing up the law of 'Life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, nose for nose,' &c., with the command of our Lord 'but if ye forgive, it is nigher unto
|Sura v. 53.|
Sura ii. 238;