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(A.D. 1267-1274)

"Sive ergo Mahometicus error haretico nomine deturpetur, cive gentili aut pagano infametur; agendim contra eum est scribendum est." - Petrus Venerabilis 1157.

"Aggredior vos, non ut nostra saepe faciunt, armis, sed verbis, non vi sed ratione, non odio sed amore." Ibid.

By his bold decision to attack Islam with the weapons of Christian philosophy, and in his lifelong conflict with this gigantic heresy, Lull proved himself the Athanasius of the thirteenth century. The Mohammedan missionary problem at the dawn of the twentieth century is not greater than it was then. True, Islam was not so extensive, but it was equally aggressive, and,

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if possible, more arrogant. The Mohammedan world was more of a unit, and from Bagdad to Morocco Moslems felt that the Crusades had been a defeat for Christendom. One half of Spain was under Moslem rule. In all Northern Africa Saracen power was in the ascendant. Many conversions to Islam took place in Georgia, and thousands of the Christian Copts in Egypt were saying farewell to the religion of their fathers and embracing the faith of the Mameluke conquerors. It was just at this time that Islam began to spread among the Mongols. In India, Moslem preachers were extending the faith in Ajmir and the Punjab. The Malay archipelago first heard of Mohammed about the time when Lull was born.1 Beybars I., the first and greatest of the Mameluke Sultans, sat on the throne of Egypt.

1Arnold "Preaching of Islam," synchronological table p.389, 1896.

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A man of grand achievements, unceasing activity, and stern orthodoxy, he used every endeavor to extend and strengthen the religion of the state.1. Islam had political power and prestige. She was mistress of philosophy and science. In the beginning of the thirteenth century the scientific works of Aristotle were translated from the Arabic into Latin. Roger Bacon and Albertus Magnus were so learned that the clergy accused them of being in league with the Saracens!

Such was the Mohammedan world which Lull dared to defy, and planned to attack with the new weapons of love and learning instead of the Crusaders' weapons of fanaticism and the sword. The Christian world did not love Moslems in the thirteenth century, nor did they understand their religion. Marco Polo, a contemporary

1 Muir "The Mameluke Dynasty of Egypt". p. 31, London, 1896.

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of Lull, wrote: "Marvel not that the Saracens hate the Christians; for the accursed law which Mohammed gave them commands them to do all the mischief in their power to all other descriptions of people, and especially to Christians; to strip such of their goods and do them all manner of evil. In such fashion the Saracens act throughout the world"1

Dante voices the common opinion of this age when he puts Mohammed in the deepest hell of his Inferno and describes his fate in such dreadful language as offends polite ears.2 But even worse. things were said of the Arabian prophet in prose by other of Lull's contemporaries. Gross ignorance and great hatred were joined in nearly all who made any attempt to describe Mohammedanism.

1Marco Polo's Travels," Colonel Yule's edition, vol.i., p. 69.

2 "Hell," canto xxviii., 20-39, in Dante's "Vision,"Cary's edition.

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Alanus de Insulis (1114-1200) was one of the first to write a book on Islam in Latin, and the title shows his ignorance: "Contra paganos seu Mahometanos." He classes Moslems with Jews and Waldenses! Western Europe, according to Keller, was ignorant even of the century in which Mohammed was born; and Hildebert, the archbishop of Tours, wrote a poem on Mohammed in which he is represented as an apostate from the Christian Church! Petrus Venerabilis, whose pregnant words stand at the head of this chapter, was the first to translate the Koran and to study Islam with sympathy and scholarship. He made a plea for translating portions of the Scripture into the language of the Saracens, and affirmed that the Koran itself had weapons with which to attack the citadel of Islam. But, alas! he added the plea of the scholar at his books: "I myself have no time to enter into the conflict." He

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first distinguished the true and the false in the teaching of Mohammed, and with keen judgment pointed out the pagan and Christian elements in Islam.1. Petrus Venerabilis took up the pen of controversy and approached the Moslem, as he says, "Not with arms but with words, not by force but by reason, not in hatred but in love"; and in so far he was the first to breathe the true missionary spirit toward the Saracens. But he did not go out to them. It was reserved for the Spanish knight to take up the challenge and go out singlehanded against the Saracens, "not by force but by reason, not in hatred but in love". It was Raymund Lull who wrote: "I see many knights going to the Holy Land beyond the seas and thinking that they can acquire it by force of arms; but in the end all are destroyed before they

1A. Keller's "Geisteskamp des Christentums gegen den Islam bis rur Zeit der Kreuzzüge," pp. 41, 43, Leipsic, 1896.

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attain that which they think to have, Whence it seems to me that the conquest of the Holy Land ought not to he attempted except in the way in which Thou and Thine apostles acquired it, namely, by love and prayers, and the pouring out of tears and of blood."

Lull was ready to pour out this sacrifice on the altar. The vision remained with him, and his love to God demanded exercise in showing forth that love to men.

He was not in doubt that God had chosen him to preach to the Saracens and win them to Christ. He only hesitated as to the best method to pursue. All the past history of his native land and the struggle yet going on in Spain emphasized for him the greatness of the task before him.

The knight of Christ felt that he could not venture into the arena unless he had good armor. The son of the soldier who had fought the Moors on many a bloody

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battle-field felt that the Saracens were worthy foemen. The educated seneschal knew that the Arabian schools of Cordova were the center of European learning, and that it was not so easy to convince a Saracen as a barbarian of Northern Europe.

At one time, we read Lull thought of repairing to Paris, and there by close and diligent scientific study to train himself for controversy with Moslems. At Paris in the thirteenth century was the most famous university of Christendom. And under St. Louis, Robert de Sorbon a common priest, founded in 1253 an unpretending theological college which afterward became the celebrated faculty of the Sorbonne with authority wellnigh as great as that of Rome.

But the advice of his kinsman, the Dominican Raymund de Pennaforte, dissuaded him, and be decided to remain at Majorca and pursue his studies and preparation

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privately. First he laid plans for a thorough mastery of the Arabic language. To secure a teacher was not an easy matter, as Majorca had years ago passed from Saracen into Christian hands; and as no earnest Moslem would teach the Koran language to one whose professed purpose was to assail Islam with the weapons of philosophy.

He therefore decided to purchase a Saracen slave, and with this teacher his biographers tell us that Lull was occupied in Arabic study for a period of more than nine years. Could anything prove more clearly that Lull was the greatest as well as the first missionary to Moslems? After this long, and we may believe successful, apprenticeship with the Saracen slave, a tragic incident interrupted his studies. Lull had learned the language of the Moslem, but the Moslem slave had not yet learned the love of Christ; nor had his

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pupil. In the midst of their studies, on one occasion the Saracen blasphemed Christ. How, we are not told; but those who work among Moslems know what cruel, vulgar words can come from Moslem lips against the Son of God. When Lull heard the blasphemy, he struck his slave violently on the face in his strong indignation. The Moslem, stung to the quick, drew a weapon, attempted Lull's life, and wounded him severely He was seized and imprisoned. Perhaps fearing the death-penalty for attempted murder, the Saracen slave committed suicide It was a sad beginning for Lull in his work of preparation. Patience had not yet had its perfect work. Lull felt more than ever before, He that loves not lives not." The vision of the thorn-crowned Head came back to him; he could not forget his covenant.

Altho he retired for eight days to a mountain to engage in prayer and meditation,

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He did not falter, but persevered in his resolution. Even as in the case of Henry Martyn with his munshi, Sahat, who made life a burden to him, so Lull's experience with his Saracen slave was a school of faith and patience.

Besides his Arabic studies, Lull spent these nine years in spiritual meditation, in what he calls contemplating God.

"The awakened gaze
Turned wholly from the earth, on things of heaven
He dwelt both day and night. The thought of God
Filled him with infinite joy; his craving soul
Dwelt on Him as a feast; as did the soul
Of rapt Francesco in his holy cell
In blest Assisi ; and he knew the lain.
The deep despondence of the saint, the doubt,
The consciousness of dark offense, the joy
Of full assurance last. when heaven itself
Stands open to the ecstacy of faith-"

While thus employed the idea occurred to him of composing a work which should contain a strict and formal demonstration of all the Christian doctrines, of such cogency

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that the Moslems could not fail to acknowledge its logic and in consequence embrace the truth. Perhaps the idea was suggested to him by Raymund de Pennaforte, for he it was who, a few years previous, had persuaded Thomas Aquinas to compose his work in four volumes, On the Catholic Faith, or Summary against the Gentiles". 1

In Lull's introduction to his "Necessaria Demonstratio Articulorum Fidei" he refers to the time when the idea of a controversial book for Moslems first took possession of him, and asks "the clergy and the wise men of the laity to examine his arguments against the Saracens in commending the Christian faith." He pleads earnestly that any weak points in his attempt to convince the Moslem be pointed out to him before the book is sent on its errand.

1 Maclear : "History of Missions," p 358, where authorities are cited.

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With such power did this one idea take possession of his mind that at last he regarded it in the light of a divine revelation, and, having traced the outline of such a work, he called it the "Ars Major sive Generalis." This universal system of logic and philosophy was to be the weapon of God against all error, and more especially against the errors of Islam.

Lull was now in his forty-first year. All his intellectual powers were matured. He retired to the spot near Palma where the idea had first burst upon him, and remained there for four months, writing the book and praying for divine blessing on its arguments. According to one biographer,1 it was at this time that Lull held interviews with a certain mysterious shepherd, "quem ipse nunquam viderat alias, neque de ipso audiverat quenquam loqui." Is it possible that this refers only to the Great Shepherd

1 "Vita Prima,", in "Acta Sanctorum," 663.

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and to Lull's spiritual experiences, far away from his friends and family, in some lonely spot near Palma?

The "Ars Major" was finally completed in the year 1275. Lull had an interview with the king of Majorca, and under his patronage the first book of his new "Method" was published. Lull also began to lecture upon it in public. This remarkable treatise, while in one sense intended for the special work of convincing Moslems, was to include "a universal art of acquisition, demonstration, and confutation," and was meant to cover the whole field of knowledge and to supersede the inadequate methods of previous schoolmen". For the method of Lull's philosophy we will wait until we reach the chapter specially devoted to an account of his teaching and his books. A few words, however, regarding the purpose of the Lullian method are in place.

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In the age of scholasticism, when all sorts of puerile questions were seriously debated in the schools, and philosophy was anything but practical, it was Lull who proposed to use the great weapon of this age, dialectics, in the service of the Gospel and for the practical end of converting the Saracens. Let us admit that he was a scholastic, but he was also a missionary. His scholastic philosophy is ennobled by its fiery zeal for the propagation of the Gospel, and by the love for Christ which purifies all its dross in the flame of passion for souls.

We may smile at Lull's dialectic, and his "circles and tables for finding out the different ways in which categories apply to things"; hut no one can help admiring the spirit that inspired the method. In his assertion of the place of reason in religion, in his demand that a rational Christianity should be presented to heathendom,

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Lull goes far beyond the ideas and the aspirations of the century in which he lived.1

In judging the character of Lull's method long period of preparation, one thing must not be forgotten. The strength of Islam in the age of scholasticism was its philosophy. Having thoroughly entered spirit of Arabian philosophical writings and seen its errors, there was nothing left for a man of Lull's intellect but to meet these Saracen philosophers on their ground. Avicenna, Algazel, and Averroes sat on the throne of Moslem learning and ruled Moslem thought. Lull's object was to undermine their influence and so reach the Moslem heart with the message of salvation. For such a conflict and in such an age his weapons were well chosen.

1"Encyclopedia Britannica," vol. xv., p.64.

Raymund Lull

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