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the contrary, that the Virgin sprang from the race and family of David, and that her father's family was of Nazareth in Galilee, and her mother's of Bethlehem. (See Ch. I.)
Obs. IV. The Gospel of the Birth of Mary formerly went under the name of St. Matthew, or was looked upon as his composure. This is manifest from the two Latin Epistles in Jerome's works, which I have above produced. I know indeed, that learned men have generally agreed to reject these Epistles, as not being Jerome's. Thus Sixtus Senensis, Coke, Rivets, Cave d, and others of this fort of writers; to whom if I should in this point subscribe, yet as I dare venture to say the letters are very antient, so it is not likely the author of them would venture upon a forgery of such a fact, in which every one was able to confute him. He says, this Gospel went under the name of St. Matthew, nor does he at all pretend to believe it was really so, but on the contrary afcribes it to Seleucus the Manichee, as its author, and reckons it among the tricks and artifices of the Hereticks; and though he supposes it to contain some few true accounts, yet he also fupposes it to be in a great measure the fiction of that Heretick. From all which it is evident it would no way serve his purpose to say, this book went under St. Matthew's name, unless the fact was really so.
OB. V. The Gospe of the Birth of Mary is for the most part contained in, or the same with, the Protevangelion of James. This will be at first view evident to any one, who will be at the pains to compare them together. It is true indeed, the Protevangelion proceeds farther in the history than the Gospel of Mary, and adds several remarkable stories concerning Joseph's drinking the water of trial, their journey to Bethlehem, the clouds and birds and all things else standing still at our Saviour's birth, the story of the midwife, the coming of the wise men, &c. but as far as the history reaches in the Gospel
• Biblioth. Sanct. lib. 2.
p. 83. • Cenfura quorun. vet.' Script. P: 152.
c Critic. Sacr. lib. 4. c. 8. p. 433
á Hift. Lit. vol. 1. p. 225.
of Mary, viz. to the birth of Christ, it is so much the same with that in the Protevangelion of James, that I think there can be no room to doubt, but that one of them was made out. of the other.
C H A P, XVII.
There are several Contradictions in the present Gospel of Ma
ry to the Protevangelion of James. Instances of this. The Protevangelion of James different from, and contrary to, the antient Gospel of Mary. Several of the Relations of the Gospel of Mary, and the Protevangelion, have been credited by the Antients.
OBs. VI. THAT there are several passages and circumstances
in the present Gospel of Mary, which are directly contrary to the relations or accounts of the present Protevangelion of James. This observation seems to be of some considerable importance, because it undeniably proves one of these two antient pieces to be Apocryphal, and withal thews us how ridiculous and unhappy the Hereticks were in their most celebrated forgeries. For the support of the observation I offer the following instances.
Out of the Protevangelion of Out of the Gospel of the Birth James.
of Mary. 1. The High-priest's name, 1. The High-priest's name who rejected Joseph's offer was Iffachar, Chap. II. ing, was Reuben, Chap. I.' ; 2. Mary dismissed from the
2. Mary was not dismissed Temple service at twelve till she was more than fouryears of age, Chap. VIII.
teen years old, Chap. VII. 3. Only widowers. were 3. All sorts of marriageable appointed by the Angel to be persons are fummoned, Chap. summoned, Chap. VIII. VII.
4. The dove proceeded out 4. The dove descended of Joseph's rod, and flew
from Heaven, and flew upon his head, Chap. IX.
Joseph's rod, Chap. VIII. 5. The Angel appears to
5. The Angel appears to Mary, when she was gone Mary in her chamber, Chap. forth to draw water, Chap. IX. XI.
6. Mary received the An 6. Mary (being accustomed gel with great fear and trem to such visions) was not surbling, Ibid.
prised, nor terrified at the An-
These are some of those many differences and contradictions which may be observed in these two Apocryphal Golpels.
Obs. VII. The Protevangelion of James is different from, ånd in some things contrary to, the antient Gospel of Mary, which was used by the Gnosticks, and which Epiphanius faw. I have abové proved, Obs. III. that the present Gospel of the Birth of Mary is different from the antient one, under that title, and hope my present remárk will appear as just to those who will consider, that the accounts given in the Protevangelion and the old Gospel of Mary, concerning the death or murder of Zacharias: (John Baptist's father), are irreconcileably different, and contrary to each other. The account in the old Gospel of Mary, as it is preserved by Epiphanius, concerning his murder, you have above, Obs. III. viz, that he was sain by the Jews, because he told them a vision he had seen in the Temple of the object of their worship, which was a man in the form of an ass: but the relation of his murder in the Protevangelion is quite different, viz., that he was murdered by Herod, because he would not discover where his son John was, who that tyrant feared, would be king of IfraelSee Chap. XXIII.
OBs. VIII. Several of the accounts or relation's of the Gorpel of the Birth of Mary, and the Protevangelion, have been credited by some antient Chriftian writers. To omit many
others, I shall instance only in the two following, which are the most remarkable, viz.
1. That in the Protevangelion (Chap. XXIII.) concerning Herod's murder of Zacharias, father of John the Baptist, at the entrance of the Temple by the altar. This fact, though no where related in facred history, is mentioned and credited by Tertulliana, Petrus Alexandrinus , Origen', Epiphanius“, Theophylact®, and others. I confess they do not all relate it with the same circumstances, which are in the Protevangelion ; yet they so far all agree, as that it is evident they respected the same story. So Tertullian, Zacharias was killed between the altar and the Temple, and the drops of his blood made indelible impressions on the stones. The Protevangelion, Zacharias was killed at the entrance of the Temple, and his blood was made hard as stone. The account of Petrus Alexandrinus perfectly agrees. Origen and Theophylact endeavour to prove, that the Zacharias mentioned by our Saviour, Matt. xxiii. 35. was the father of John the Baptist, who was slain in the Temple, though according to them it was by the Jews for this reason, because he would place the Virgin Mary after our Saviour's birth in a certain apartment in the Temple, which was proper to virgins, and only such. Epiphanius, or whoever was the author of that old Book De Vitâ Prophet. tells us, that Zacharias, the son of Joiada, and father of John the Baptist, was pain by Herod between the altar and the Temple, and that his blood was spilt upon the threshold of the Temple. An impartial reflection upon all these places will undeniably evidence, that this story of Zacharias, which is in the Protevangelion, was very much known and credited by the antients : I shall only add, that notwithstanding the common opinion of the Fathers, that Zacharias mentioned by our Sa
c Homil. xxvi. in Matth. xxiii.
Scorpiac. adverf. Gnosticos. c. 8.
• He lived in the latter end of the third century. This is extant in that part
of his Treatise of Repentance, which remains. Vid. Cave Hist. Liter. p. III. & Hammond in Matt. xxiii. 35.
d De Vit. Prophet. Vol. II. p. 250. It is questioned by Reignolds, Coke, and Rivet, whether this book was written by Epiphanius, tbough Bellarmine and others asert it was, e In loc. Matth, cit,
viour (Matt. xxiii. 35.) was the father of John the Baptist, yet most of our later criticks have thought otherwise, and that the person intended is that Zacharias whom the people stoned in the court of the House of the Lord in the days of Joash, 2 Chron. xxiv. 20, 22. But how they endeavour to prove this, and solve the difficulties that attend it, I shall not enquire. He who has a mind to examine the matter critically, may see it largely and clearly treated of in Grotius's annotations on the place of Matthew, and his two constant followers, Dr. Hammond and Dr. Whitby; but especially in Dr. Lightfoot's Horæ Hebraicæ, in loc.
2. The next instance which I asign of an account or relation in the Protevangelion, and Gospel of Mary, which was credited by many of the antient Christian writers, is that of Joseph's being an old man when Mary was betrothed to him, his having had a former wife, and several children by her. In the Gospel of the Birth of Mary (Ch. VIII.), Jofeph is called a person very far advanced in years, and in the Protevangelion (Chap. IX.), he is introduced, saying, I am an old man, and have children, but Me is young, &c. (and Ch. XVII.) he takes care about the taxing of his children at Bethlehem. Now this, I say, was a commonly received opinion aniong the antients. So Origena, There are some who say the brethren of Christ here mentioned (viz. Matt. xiii. 55.) were the children of Joseph by a former wife, who lived with him before Mary; and they are induced to this opinion by some passages in that which is intitled, The Gospel of Peter, or the Book of James. Eufebius b tells us, James was called the brother of Christ, because he was the son of Joseph by' a former wife.
Epiphanius has very frequently related this history. In one place he says (as Eusebius), that James was the son of Joseph by a former wife, and therefore called the brother of Jesus. In another place d, that Joseph was about fourscore years old when he married Mary, and had fix children before that time by a former wife; and yet more particularly disputing against the
a Comment. in Matt. xiii. 55. See the Greek passage above, Part II. Ch. XXXI. p. 329.
b Hift. Ecclef. lib. 2. c. 1.