Amzi, alone, of all his followers, seemed to stand aloof, half-believing, yet unwilling to proclaim his belief openly; simply waiting, as he had waited all his life, to see the truth, yet too indolent to set out bravely in the quest. He preferred to look on from aside; to weigh and calculate motives, actions and results; to judge men by their fruits, though the doing so called for long waiting.
Yet Amzi grew more and more dissatisfied. He felt, though he knew not its cause, the want of a rich spiritual life, that empty hollowness which pleasures of the world and the mere consciousness of a moral life cannot satisfy.
More than once he was tempted to declare himself a follower of the prophet, but he put it off until a riper season.
Poor Dumah noted Amzi’s frequent visits to the mosque with a vague dread. He had an instinctive dislike of Mohammed, whose assumptions of superiority to Jesus he understood in a hazy way, and resented with all his might.
One day he entered with a tablet of soft stone to which a cord was attached. Putting the cord about Amzi’s neck, he said:
“Amzi, promise your Dumah that you will wear this always, will you not? Because Dumah might die, and could not say the words any more. Promise me!”
“I promise you,” smiled Amzi, and Dumah left the room contented.
Amzi turned the tablet over, and read the familiar words traced upon the soft stone,—the words recognized as the corner-stone of Christianity:
“God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Amzi smiled, and put the tablet in his bosom.
Mohammed becomes intolerant.—War.
“Our virtues disappear
when put in competition with our
interests, as rivers lose themselves in the ocean.”—La
Thirteen years had now passed since Mohammed first began to meditate in the Cave of Hira. During all that time he had preached peace, love and gentleness. With power, however, came a change in his opinions. He became not only pastor of his flock, and judge of the people, but also commander of an army. Worldly ambition took possession of his breast, and the voice of him who had cried, “Follow the religion of Abraham, who was orthodox and was no idolater. Invite men unto the way of the Lord by wisdom and mild exhortation.... Bear opposition with patience, but thy patience shall not be practicable unless with God’s assistance. And be not thou grieved on account of the unbelievers. Let there be no violence in religion,”—now began to call, “War is enjoined you against the infidels. Fight therefore against the friends of Satan, for the stratagem of Satan is weak. And when the months wherein ye shall not be allowed to attack them be past, kill the idolaters wherever ye shall find them, and besiege them, and lay wait for them in every convenient place. Verily God hath purchased of the true believers their souls and their substance, promising them the enjoyment of Paradise on condition that they fight for the cause of God. Whether they slay or be slain, the promise for the same is assuredly due by the law, and the Gospel, and the Koran.”