Faith or Wealth

31 GLASGOW HERALD OCTOBER 27 1903 A NEW MESSAGE false Prophets Denounced And Challenged (FROM OUR LONDON CORRESPONDENT) London, Monday Night Within the past few weeks there has been issued from Qadian, in the Punjab, a Notice For circulation in Europe and America entitled Predictions Concerning Pigott and Dowie by The Promised Messiah. This remarkable document, forms a six page pamphlet, and has been printed at Lahore in English language, but the Promised Messiah is apparently a native of Asia, since the pamphlet includes a translator’s note, and the signature appended to the Predictions is Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. The ‘Delusion’ of Christianity. It may be of interest to indicate, briefly and without comment, the contents of the Notice. There is no ambiguity about the statement of the claim put forward. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad categorically affirms J am the true Messiah who was to come in the last ages. But this idea of the nature of the Messiah differs materially from the orthodox Christian conception. It is impossible, he declares, that a man should ever become God, but he can attain to the highest degree of connection with Him, and is thus made an image of the Divine Being. He sometimes manifests the Divine attributes for the image of God is revealed in the looking glass of his person and again he displays human qualities for he has a human nature. It is for this reason that men who have not got a deep insight into spiritual matters are deceived with respect to Him by looking at one side only, and ignoring the other. Finding in him certain manifestations of the Divine attributes they take the shadow for the substance, and suppose such a person to be actually God…..The delusion under which labours the Christian sect, which takes Jesus for God, is stronger than the delusion of all other people who have been the dupes of similar errors; and what Mirza Ghulam Ahmad finds particularly disappointing in connection with the Christian religion is that,when the false-dogma found to be unacceptable to the growing intellect of the age, new methods are devised to renew a belief in the absurd theory and new false claims are set up to uphold old ones. 3 2 GLASGOW HERALD Dr. Dowie And Mr. Pigott As might be expected from the title of the pamphlet, the claims that call for the strongest condemnation from Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, are those put forward by Dr. Dowie and Mr. Pigott. In Europe, Pigott…. lays claims to Messiahship and Divinity and plainly declares himself to be Lord of Earth and Heavens, while in the Western Hemisphere stands up Dr. Dowie at Chicago and asserts that he is Elijah the fore-runner of Jesus Christ,whose advent, he foretells,will take place within the next 25 years. The two pretenders show a slight difference in the boldness of their assumptions. The Scotch pretender shows a faint heart. He claims at the most the office of a servant preparing the way for the master (Christ), but he shows cowardliness even in claiming Elijahship. Mr. Pigott is bolder than Dowie; that is to say, when judged by the arrogance of his pretensions.He is the very Messiah who came before: nay, he is more he is God himself; such are his vain and blasphemous assertions, Hundreds of Heavenly Signs It is because the earth is defiled with impieties and impure doctrines and false claims, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad declares that the true Messiah has been raised up in his person in the land of the Punjab. Though he makes no pretence of being divine himself yet, I do not claim to be the Promised Messiah simply by my own assertion…. The evidence of God has been manifested in hundreds of heavenly signs shown in my support. I say it truly that Almighty God has poured His grace upon me in far greater abundance than upon the Messiah who has gone before me. In the looking glass of my person the face of God is revealed to afar greater extent than in that of Jesus’s person. If these are simply my own assertions, and there is no other authority for them. I am a liar; but if Almighty God bears witness to my truth no one can give the lie to me. A Challenge. In particular, the fate of Dr. Dowie and Mr. Pigott will furnish a sign of the authority of the new Messiah. From the translator’s note we learn that in September of last year a challenge was sent to Dr. Dowie by the Promised Messiah through a monthly periodical published at Qadian, called the Review of Religions. Dr. Dowie, it seems, had predicted that all Mohammedans would perish because they did not recognise Jesus Christ as God and Dowie as Elijah. The challenge provoked by this statement was in these terms: Whether the God of Mohammedans or the God of Dowie is the true God, may be settled without the loss of millions of lives which Dr. Dowie’s prediction would involve. That method is that without threatening the Mohammedan public in general with destruction, he should REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 33 choose me as his opponent and pray to God that of us two whosoever is the liar may perish first in making this proposal I have not taken the initiative, but the jealous God has inspired me…. A Prophecy ‘ Openly no notice has been taken of this challenge, but, it is alleged that it has not been without result, since in a recent issue of Leaves Of Healing, the organ of his sect, Dr. Dowie condemned Christians for believing in the Trinity and sympathised with Jews and Mohammedans who recognise the Unity of God. In his predictions (dated the 23rd of last August), Mirza Ghulam Ahmad states that he will wait seven months longer for a reply to his challenge. If Dr. Dowie accepts the challenge, within this period, and fulfils all the conditions, the world will soon see the end of this contest. I am about 70 years of age, while Dr. Dowie is about 55… But since’ the matter is not to be settled by age, I do not care for this great disparity in years. If Dowie still refuses to take up the challenge, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad declares that the pretensions of the American prophet will be proved to be those of an imposter. As to Mr. Pigott, the Promised Messiah prophesies that arrogant pretender to Divinity… Shall be brought to destruction within my life time. Bold Assertion It is not, perhaps, without interest to note that in the concluding sentence of his note the translator calls attention to an article in the Review of Religions for the last month, showing that Jesus did not die upon the Cross, but that having escaped from it with his life. He subsequently died at Srinagar (Kashmir), where his tomb may still be seen in Khan-Yar Street. POLITENESS Politeness should be studied as an art and practised as such. It is sometimes practised only before company, but the shallowness is soon discovered. A person naturally polite will be so before a beggar and before a king. (Edmund Shaftesbury)