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is ably traced, and is important to the Christian advocate as accounting for the otherwise marvellous purity of the text. But this is ground on which it is not necessary for us here to enter. We proceed to describe Sprenger's account of the nature and growth of the SUNNA, that is, of Tradition proper so far as it relates to the practice and precepts of the Prophet;—points that are imperative, as laying down the law and ritual of Islam. 

By Sunna, says Dr. Sprenger, is meant Usage, or the Law of custom. There is, he thinks, among Oriental nations an irrepressible craving, unknown to us in the West, after " the positive"; they must have, not only their religious duties, but the law civil and criminal, and even the commonest details of life-eating, drinking, dress, etc.-prescribed for them by Divine command.1 The Coran failed to fully satisfy this need; and so resort was had to the precepts and practice of the Prophet himself ; and hence the authority of the Sunna, which professes to hand down the tradition of Mahomet's utterances, habits, and actions. 

We must pause for a moment to say, that the rationale here propounded is quite insufficient to account for the growth of the vast ceremonial of the Sunna. There exists, it is true, an enfeebling and deteriorating element in the human mind, always prone to rites and ceremonies. But it is as strong in the Western as in the Eastern nations; perhaps, indeed, stronger, for the Church of Rome has gone far greater lengths in this direction than the Eastern Churches. Even with Protestants, who had apparently clean escaped from subjection to human ordinances, "touch not, taste not, handle not, which all are to perish with the using," we must sorrowfully confess how it needs but little to turn multitudes "again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto they desire again to be in bondage,"—a mock and ossified counterfeit of the living Faith! 

Indeed, it was not the bent of the Asiatic mind, but the spirit 

1 "Die Orientalen, besonders die Perser, fühlen ein viel grösseres Bedürfniss nach etwas Positivem als wir, und sie wünschen nicht nur über eigentlich religiöse Dinge, sondern auch über Civil- und Criminal-gesetze und Gewohnheiten des Lebens, z. B. wie man essen und trinken, wie man sich kleiden soll, von Gott ausgehende Weisung" (vol. iii. p. lxxvii.).


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