|112||THE APOLOGY OF AL KINDY.|
safeguard. Repeated occasions are quoted when this had happened to his friend;once on falling from his beast; again when he fled from some danger; and yet again when on a journey to Omar Al Karakh, a lion started up before them as they neared Sabât al Medâin.1 He refers also to an assembly in which his friend seems to have recognised and avowed the practice. "And now," says Al Kindy, "thou writest as if it were a superstition which bringeth no good, but hurt. I should like to know what hath changed thy mind; and what hurt the appeal to the Cross hath ever caused thee?"
Before passing on to the evidences of Christianity, Al Kindy founds a quaint but affectionate remonstrance on his friend's daily use of the Fâteha. (Sura i.) "Thine earnest appeal to embrace thy faith," he says, "deserveth my gratitude as a friendly act; and now if I reverse the appeal to thee, I shall deserve thy thanks with an infinitely deeper meaning. Nay, what need have I to speak, when thou thyself, five times in the day, repeatest in thy prayer,Guide us into the straight path, the path of those Thou art gracious unto, not of those with whom thou art wroth, nor of them that go astray? Now, if thou art already rightly guided, what need hast thou to beg with prostration and importunity, in every prayer of thine, 'to be guided
or prayer not
to be among
|into the right path, and not into the path of those that go astray?' There would thus be no reason in the prayer. If, then, thou art not yet rightly guided, inform me, my Friend (the Lord bless thee!) who those people are on whom God is gracious, and into whose way thou art ever praying, night and day, to be guided. And yet thou claimest to be 'the best people that have been raised up,' and thy faith the most approved of God for thee. Which religion, then, is meant in this thy prayer?" Hereupon he enumerates the various religions of the world; the Magians and Jews, both of whom he condemns with characteristic warmth; the idolaters of Arabia, Atheists, Brahmas, etc. "And now, as thou canst not but agree with me in rejecting each and all of these, there remaineth only as 'the faith of those on whom the Lord is gracious,' the Christian faith: that truly is the 'strait path' which leadeth to the knowledge of God, and His Word, and Spirit; and all the ordinances thereof are spiritual and perfect. I ask thee to accept it, for indeed thou art already well acquainted with the same, and canst not gainsay me in thus praising it. To us this gracious Gospel hath been given; thine own Master beareth testimony to it in his Book; and all religions bow down before it. Give heed, my Friend, to what I have here put before thee: study it as one that seeketh to have his soul directed aright, not as one that seeketh to beguile the same. Each soul is responsible for the road it taketh. If the truth be truth, then follow the same; it behoveth thee not to stifle conviction. The Lord guide thee|