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There was no midwife present at her delivery, no hurry of women ; the Virgin herself put the child in swaddling-clothes, and was both mother and midwife. To prove this he cites those words of Luke (c. ii. 7.), And she brought forth her first-born fon, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn; then adds, Quæ fententia Apocryphorum deliramenta convincit, “ dum Maria ipsa pannis involvit infantem ;” i. e. which text confutes the idle fancies of the Apocryphal books, seeing Mary herself wrapped the infant in clothes. This to me seems a plain reference to, and reflection upon, the Protevangelion, in which we read, ch. 19. of the midwife Joseph brought to Mary.
ARG. III. The Gospel of the Birth of Mary, and the Protevangelion of James, are Apocryphal, because neither of them appear to have been read in the Christian Churches, or Assemblies. Prop. VI.
ARG. IV. The Gospel of the Birth of Mary, and the Protevangelion of James, are Apocryphal, because they contain several things contrary to certain and known truths. Prop.VIII. Of this I have observed the following instances.
Falsehoods in the Gospel of the Birth of Mary. Ch. ii. Isachar is said to be the name of the High-priest who discoursed with Joachim ; whereas it is certain from the catalogue of High-priests, which is easily to be made out of 70sephus, there was no High-priest about this time of this name, nor indeed at any other time. On the contrary, if this history should be supposed true, and the Virgin Mary taken from the Temple when she was full fourteen (see Chap. 7.), and our Saviour born nine months after that, then we can easily discover who the High-priest was at the time supposed; and that it was not Isachar, but Simon, the Son of Boethus Alexandrinus, whose daughter Herod himself married a, and began
- Vid. Jofeph. Antiquit. Judaic. Sigon.de Repub. Judæor. 1. 5.c.2. 1. 15. c. 12. Helvic. Chronol, et
The same as this is hinted
his priesthood in the year of the world 3926, and continued therein nineteen years, i. e. till within four or five years of the time in which our Saviour was born.. Ch. VI. We read that Mary was brought at three years
old to the Temple, placed in the apartments, and according to custom continued there till marriageable age, viz. till she was fourteen years old. But this is evidently a fiction, or falsehood; for,
1. It is certain there were no such cells or apartments in the Temple at Jerusalem, for the reception and entertainment of virgins. Baronius indeed dreamt of ninety cells erected by. Solomon for this purpose; but how foolish and absurd his opinion is, the learned Cafaubon has well shewn b.
2. The Scriptures, Josephus, and the Rabbins, are per-, fectly filent concerning any such custom, as that of nuns in the Temple at Jerusalem.
Falfehoods in the Protevangelion of James. Instance I. Ruben is said to be High-priest when Joachim offered his facrifices (C. I. and 6.); whereas it is certain there never was any High-priest of that name, and I have above proved another person was then High-priest.
Inst. II. The same is to be said of the story of Mary's being brought to the Temple, related in this book (c. 7, 8.), which is said immediately above concerning the cells in the Temple.
Inft. III. The High-priest, who consulted God about the dispofal of Mary, is named Zacharias (c. 8.); but it is certain there was no one of that name High-priest at this time, nor indeed at any other time. See Josephus's account of the Highpriests.
Inst. IV. The Virgin is said, ch. xvii. and xviii. to have brought forth our Saviour in a cave and desert place; whereas it is certain, not only from the prophecy of Micah (ch. v. 2.),
by Baron. Apparat. ad Annal. Ecclef. No. 39. ond Cataub. Exercit. in eund. Num.
Apparat. ad Annal. Ecclef.
c By this argument the learned Cheninitius bas proved the Protevangelion to be jpuricus. Exam. Concil. Trident. par. 3. p. 63.
• Exercit. I. ad Apparat, eund.
that Christ was to be born in the town of Bethlehem, but from the express testimony of Matthew (c. ii. 1, &c.), Luke (c. ii. 4, 6, &c.), and all the antient writers, except Justin Martyr. Dial. cum Tryph. Jud. This is abundantly proved by the great Casaubon against Baronius, Exercit. ii. ad Ann. 1. n. 2. and though he be opposed in this matter by the Jesuit Lanffellius, in his tract against Casaubon's Exercitations, inferted among the last edition of Justin Martyr's works (c. 12.), yet it is with the weakest arguments, and such as shew more malice than learning; which is indeed visible in the whole of that performance of the Jesuit.
Inst. V. It is evident by comparing c. 10. with the 23d, that the same Zacharias is spoken of in both places. In the latter place he is said to be the father of John the Baptist, and in the former to have lost the use of his speech; which is a relation concerning Zacharias, the father of the Baptist, in the genuine Gospel of Luke (ch. i. 20.) Now hence it is ealy to collect a fresh argument of the falsehood of this Gospel; for (ch. 10.) Zacharias is said to be High-priest, but it is certain the father of the Baptist was not High-priest, but one of the common Priests, and of the course of Abia, which was the eighth in order of those twenty-four courses of ordinary Priests, which were to minister by turn, each his week, according to the inftitution of David. See i Chron. xxiv. 10. and Luke i. 5.
Nor will it be of any force to object, that I suppose in this argument the Canonical authority of Luke, which I have not proved; for it can be no unfair way of reasoning to suppose it truer in this particular than the Protevangelion, because in that wherein they differ, the Protevangelion is contrary to Josephus, but St. Luke is not, viz. as to Zacharias being High-priest. After all, I am fenfible many of the antients, which Baronius has produced, imagined that Zacharias the Baptist's father was an High-priest; and Austin particularly attempts to prove it , because there were several High-priests at the same time,
• Tract. xlix. in Joan. in fine. See Casaub. adverf. Apparat. An. nal. Baron. Exercit. I. Num. 69.
The learned Daillé has observed, that the author of the books under the name of Dionysius the Areopagite L 3
and it was lawful for none but a High-priest to offer incenfe. But herein every one knows he is mistaken, as indeed it is common for the Fathers to be mistaken in Jewish antiquities.
Inft. VI. The story of the death of Zacharias, ch. xxiii. with its circumstances, is false and apparent forgery. This may easily be gathered from several of the preceding observations; but I shall endeavour now to evidence it by this argument, that it is a story jumbled together, and patched up partly out of the history of Zacharias ( 2 Chron. xxiv. 20.), and partly out of what we read concerning Zacharias, the father of the Baptist, Luke i. and this will appear by the following comparison.
The story of the murder of The story of the murder of Zacharias in Chronicles is, Zacharias, the father of the that he was slain in the court Baptist, in the Protevangelion, of the House of the Lord, and is, that he was murdered in prayed the Lord to revenge the entrance or court of the his blood ; the Jewish expo- Temple; that immediately upon sition of which is, that the his death, a voice was heard, blood remained indelible upon saying, Zacharias is sain, and the stones, till it was actually his blood hall not be wiped revenged by Nebuzaradan, away till a revenger come ; fee above, Obf. X.
that accordingly his blood petrified, and became hard as ftone, Ch. 24.
This is evidently the same story; to which there are some circumstances added out of the first chapter of Luke, relating to the true Zacharias, father of the Baptist ; for whereas we
(De Coelest. Hierarc. c. 4. §. 4.) and conje&tures also, that these books does also make Zacharias, the fa under his name were forgeries of ther of the Baptist, to hove been the fourth or fifth century ; because, High-prieft; but as he hews this to says he, then arose and was spread be falje, jo be bence forms an argil the opinion of Zacharias, the Bapment to prove the spuriousness of tist's
father, being High-priest. Dall. those pretended works of Dionysius, de Lib. fuppofit. Dionyf. Areop. viz. because the true Dionysius could lib. 1. c. 28. p. 164, 165. not be mistaken in a fact of this fort,
there read, ver. 20, 21, 22, that Zacharias was dumb, that the people waited for him, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the Temple : in the Protevangelion (c. 10.) we read, Zacharias lost the use of his speech, and (ch. 24.) that the Priejt continued for a long time waiting for him to come out of the Temple, &c. Nothing then upon the whole can be more evident, than that the author of this book has jumbled together in this history what is said of two persons called Zacharias, and applied it to one ; and consequently that composure is a forgery, and fo Apocryphal by Prop. VIII.
Inst. VII. The last instance of falsehood, which I shall mention in this Protevangelion, is that (c. 24.) where Simeon (mentioned Luke ii. 25.) is said to be chosen successor to Zacharias in the High-priesthood. That the author meant the same Simeon is evident, because he expressly says, as Luke, that it was revealed to him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen Christ in the files. But it is certain this Simeon was not then High-priest; for though there were many of that name advanced to this post, yet he who at this time poffessed it was Joazarus ; besides, had he been really High-priest, as Mr. Fabritius a well observes, it is not likely that St. Luke, when he was giving him so honourable a character, would omit that which must needs have a considerable addition to it, viz. his being High-priest. It is indeed difficult for us to know who this Simeon was ; whether it were Rabban Simeon, the son of Hillel, President of the Sanhedrim, and father of Gamaliel, as several learned men have thought, or some other person of that name, I shall not enquire, but only observe, that although the Fathers generally believed he was a High-priest, there can be nothing more ridiculous than the mistake of Jerome, and others, who confound him with Simon the Just, who lived in the time of Alexander the Great, and, according to the Jews, met him when he came to Jerusalem. See Drus. Præter. lib. 3. in Luc. ii. 25.