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Imams, and the "innumerable multitude"1 Mussulman believers. Pfander, Rankin, and all our other writers, deny any spiritual fulfilment of the promise, and hold that it was fulfilled in the rapid increase of Ishmael's posterity and the twelve princes mentioned in Gen. xxv. Does Mr. Forster, then, acknowledge the truth of Mohammedanism? Oh no; he styles it a "false and spurious revelation," a "baleful superstition," and its author an "imposter, earthly, sensual, devilish, beyond even the licence of his own licentious creed." Let us see, then, how he would make out this imposture to be the blessing promised by God to Abraham; we shall give his views in his own words, and beg of the reader to remark how he blends a spiritual with a temporal meaning, the accomplishment of prophecy with the fulfilment of a promise:—

"The basis of the present argument is laid in the existence of a prophetic promise to Abraham, in behalf of his sons Isaac and Ishmael. By the terms of this promise, a blessing is annexed to the posterity of each, and on Ishmael as well as on Isaac this blessing is pronounced, because he was Abraham's seed, and as a special mark of Divine favour. This last consideration is worth attending to ; since a promise to Ishmael, thus connected by Jehovah Himself with his descent from the faithful, seems to lead the mind naturally beyond the idea of a mere temporal fulfilment. Some sufficient fulfilment, we are certainly authorised and bound to expect for each branch of the original promise. The striking literal correspondence between the terms of its two parts appears to sanction the further expectation of an analogy equally strong between the respective fulfilments: which expectation, moreover, receives fresh warrant from the fact, that the promise in behalf of Ishmael was granted in answer to a prayer of Abraham; in which he implored for Ishmael the blessing reserved for Isaac" (p. 87). The promises thus parallel are found actually to have had a parallel "fulfilment, as the facts of the case so strongly indicate, in the rise and success of Mohammed, and in the temporal and spiritual establishment of the Mohammedan superstition . . . . The facts of the analogy are incontrovertible; they require to be, solved; and they admit of but the one satisfactory solution. We have only to receive the original promise to Abraham, according to the terms of it, as germinant and parallel in both its parts ; and to recognise in Christianity and Mohammedanism its twofold fulfilment, and the whole doubts and difficulties of the question disappear" (p. 89).

In arguing the existence of a spiritual blessing for Ishmael, great stress is laid on its being the answer to Abraham's prayer.

1 Gen. xvi. 10.


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