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Thus Arjuna was shewn over the heavens, and there saw Indra's palace, its garden with rivers and fruits, and a tree of which if one eats, he never dies, but lives in delight and enjoys all his heart desires.1

Many such tales are to be found not only in Zoroastrian books, but also in works of heretical Christian sects, such as "The Testament of Abraham" already noticed. The Apostle is there said to have ascended, at the bidding of one of the Cherubim, to the heavens, and there to have seen all the sights around him. Of Abraham also we have the following account:—

The Archangel Michael having descended to the earth, took Abraham in a Cherub's car, raised him aloft on the cloud, with sixty angels; and from the same car shewed him the whole world beneath.

This is no doubt the origin of the Burāc (ethereal horse) tradition;— something like which is to be found in the book of Enoch, where also is notice of the heavenly tree, and the four rivers of Paradise. The Jews hold that the Tree of Life in Eden is so high as to take five hundred years to reach its top,2 and tell us numberless other stories of a similar kind.

The Muslims believe that the Garden of Eden was in the heavens above, an idea taken from many of these fictitious writings, specially that called "Visio Pauli." Perhaps also such stories may have been derived from Zoroastrian or Hindu sources, or these from them; at any rate they are altogether imaginary. If it be asked whether there is any foundation for

1 This resembles a tree called by the Arabs Tūbā, as well as a marvellous tree of the Zoroastrians, similarly named as if from it flowed sweet water.
2 The Targum of Jonathan.


such tales, the answer must be that there is none whatever, They may have arisen from ignorant and imaginative people seeking to amplify what we find in the Bible of the ascent of Enoch and Elias, and also of our Saviour Christ, and also what Paul saw in his sleep, or Peter in his vision at Caesarea. But anyone reading these in our Scriptures will see that to compare them with the wild and fanciful tales of the East would be as sensible as to compare heaven with earth, or the fabulous Shahnameh with the history of the great Nadir. The origin of the Jewish and Christian fancy about the heavenly tree, the four rivers, etc., has evidently been the passage in Genesis about the Garden of Eden,1 which the wild imagination of these people pictured as if in Heaven, not knowing that the spot lay near to Babylon and Baghdad; and thus they changed the truth of God into a lie, and the divine history into childish, foolish fancies of their own.

II. What the Qur'an and Tradition tell us regarding Paradise, with its Houries and youths, the King of Death, etc. As our Muslim friends know well about all such matters, it is unnecessary to go into any detail about them here. Their origin is to be found altogether in Zoroastrian Sources. Not a syllable is mentioned about them in the Bible, which tells us simply of the rest and peace provided for the true believer on the breast of Abraham, and the blessed place named Paradise in heaven; but not a word have we in the pages of any Jewish Prophet, or New Testament writer, of Houries or Youths of pleasure there. The books of the Zoroastrians

1 Genesis ii. 8-17.

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