|Faith Strengthened||Chapter 5||Part 1|
The same personage argued with me another time, and said, "You ought to know that, as long as you fulfilled the behests of God and his commandments, you were prosperous in this world; for the kings of Israel were great and mighty, so that our forefathers, and many other Gentile nations, were held under subjection by you; but now, since you have sinned against God, the case is reversed; for the rule has departed from you and passed over to us, so has our subjection departed from us and passed over to you. For, at present, you have no king or prince among you, and you are held under subjection by all nations. At the same time, our prosperity is a great proof of the goodness of our faith, as your former prosperity was a proof of the goodness of your faith, hence this your degraded state must be considered a convincing illustration of your evil doings in rejecting our creed." To this I replied:--
"Your argument is fallacious in all its bearings, for in this world there are many wicked men, whose lot is as prosperous as if they were truly righteous men, while we frequently see the pious laboring under severe afflictions; an instance of this we find in the success of Nebuchadnezzar the wicked, and Alexander the Great, who extended their rule over a great part of the world, and especially over the land of the Israelites, nor had there ever been seen kings more prosperous in their government than they were. Yet they, with all their success, cannot be brought forward as an argument in favor of the superiority of the faith of the Gentiles over that of the subjugated Israelites, it being a well-known fact that they (the great kings) were worshippers of idols and the planets. Now in our day even you, Christians, agree that Islamism is nothing but a false system introduced by their pretended prophet Mohammed; nevertheless, they are prosperous in this world, and their religion and power spread over a large portion of Asia and Africa: consequently, how can you say that their prosperity is a proof of the goodness of their creed, seeing also that Scripture shows the reverse. Thus Proverbs says, 3:12, "For the Lord chastiseth him whom He loveth," etc. The argument, therefore, which you derived from your prosperity in favor of your religion, is groundless, and must appear so to every man of good sense.