833. That the Mohammedan religion is received by more nations than the Christian religion, may be a stumbling-block to those who meditate upon the Divine Providence and believe at the same time that only those who are born Christians can be saved. But the Mohammedan religion is not a stumbling-block to those who believe that all things are of the Divine Providence. Such inquire how this is, and they find out. It is this, that the Mohammedan religion acknowledges the Lord as the greatest prophet, the wisest of men, and also the Son of God. But as they have made the Koran the only book of their religion, and as in consequence the Mohammed who wrote it resides in their thoughts, and upon him they bestow some worship, they think but little about our Lord. To make it clearly known that this religion was raised up by the Divine Providence of the Lord to blot out the idolatry of many nations, it shall be set forth somewhat in order; but first, as to the origin of all idolatries.  Previous to that religion idolatrous worship was spread over very many kingdoms of the world. This was so because the churches that existed before the Lord's coming were all representative churches. Such was the Israelitish church. The tabernacle there, the garments of Aaron, the sacrifices, all things belonging to the temple at Jerusalem, and even the statutes, were representative. And among the ancients there was a knowledge of correspondences (which is also the knowledge of representatives), the very knowledge of knowledges. It was cultivated especially in Egypt, and from it came their hieroglyphics. From that knowledge the signification of all kinds of animals and all kinds of trees was known, also of mountains, hills, rivers, and springs, and of the sun, moon, and stars. Through that knowledge they also had a knowledge of spiritual things, because these representations had their origin in the things they represented, which were such as pertain to spiritual wisdom among the angels in heaven.  And as all their worship was representative, consisting of mere correspondences, so they worshiped on mountains and hills, as also in groves and gardens, and sanctified fountains, and moreover made sculptured horses, oxen, calves, and lambs, and also birds, fishes, and serpents, and placed them near their temples and in the courts thereof, and likewise in their houses, arranging them in an order that was in accord with the spiritual things of the church to which they corresponded or which they represented and therefore signified. After a time, when the knowledge of correspondences had been forgotten, their posterity began to worship the sculptured images themselves as in themselves holy, not being aware that the ancients, their forefathers, saw nothing holy in them, but only that they represented, in accordance with their correspondences, what is holy.  Such was the origin of the idolatries that had filled so many kingdoms of the world. To uproot these idolatries, by the Lord's Divine Providence it came to pass that a new religion adapted to the genius of the Orientals was introduced, in which there was something from the Word of both Testaments, and which taught that the Lord came into the world, and that He was the greatest prophet, the wisest of men, and the Son of God. This was effected through Mohammed, from whom that religion was named. From all this it is clear that this religion was raised up by the Divine Providence of the Lord, and as before said, was adapted to the genius of the Orientals, in order that it might blot out the idolatries of so many nations and give them some knowledge of the Lord previous to their entering the spiritual world, which they do after death. And this religion would not have been received by so many kingdoms, and could not have uprooted their idolatries, if it had not been made conformable to the ideas of their thought, and especially if polygamy had not been permitted, for the reason that the Orientals without that permission would have been inflamed with filthy adulteries more than the Europeans, and would have perished.