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against himself; but that St. Luke had any respect in his Preface to this Gospel, is a mere groundless and precarious asertion.
4. What he urges in favour of it, that it does not differ from St. Luke's account of the nativity of Christ, is in reality an argument of no weight, if it were true, because a forgery might easily be fo; but besides the fact is absolutely false, it contradicting the Evangelift's account in several particulars, fome of which I have above observed, Ch. XIX. Arg. IV.
Inst. 4, 5.
5. That St. Austin refers to it (Lib. i. de Consenf. Evang. ç. 1.), is also utterly false.
6. That several of the stories or traditions in it have been credited by Epiphanius, is indeed true (see above, Ch. XVII. Obf. VIII.); but it is equally true, that Epiphanius rejetted this book as spurious and Apocryphal, as I have thewn, Chap. XIX. Arg. II.
7. His answer to the obvious objection against it, that it is. not mentioned by Eufebius, or Jerome, or any of the antients, among the works of James, is very trifling, viz. that several things have escaped the knowledge of the most diligent writers, that the book of the law was not known till found in Josiah's time, and that the Epiftle to the Hebrews, the Second Epistle of Peter, Jude, and the Revelation, were not of a long time received into the Canon. This, I say, is a very weak and trifling answer; because,
(1.) The testimony of the first centuries is the principal, and almost only rule we have, whereby to judge of the Canonical authority of any book (see Par. I. Ch. VI. Prop. III.); confequently, if the book was not known to them, we cannot esteem it Canonical.
(2.) Although the Epistle to the Hebrews, the second of Peter, that of Jude and the Revelation, were not for some time fa universally received as the other writings of the New Testa. mentayet it is certain they were at the same time in being, and received by most (as I shall hereafter shew); neither of which can be fo faid of this Protevangelion.
8. That it is not reckoned among the Apocryphal Gospels by the antients, is utterly falfe. See above, Ch. XIX. Arg. III.
9. What he says in vindication of the miraculous stories contained in it, viz. that they are related as attending a very great event, and have no bad tendency, may be equally faid of most fabulous legends.
10. That there is nothing in it repugnant to the facred hiltory, I have above proved false by feveral instances. See Ch. XX.
11. That nothing could tempt the Oriental Christians to forge it, is what we call petitio principii, and may be with equal reason asserted of many known forgeries.
12. His confeffing it ought not to be esteemed in the same high degree of Canonical authority with the other parts of Scripture, and yet not allowving it to be Apocryphal, is utterly inconsistent with what he contends for, viz. that it was the genuine writing of St. James, and ought to be received as such.
13. His argument for the Canonical authority of this book, because of the likeness of its subject to the book of Ruth, is exceeding weak; because it would thence follow, that all genealogical books among the Jews must be equally Canonical.
14. That it agrees more in stile with the undoubted inspired books of Scripture, than the Apocrypha of the Old Testament, is not only false, as appears from the idle and fabulous accounts in it which I have above collected, Ch. XX. Arg. V. but would prove nothing if true, but the greater artifice of the im postor.
Thus weak are all the arguments which are offered by Po. Itellus and Bibliander in defence of this Protevangelion under the name of James.
IV. Besides the above-mentioned Poftellus and Bibliander, all other writers have agreed to reject the Protevangelion as spurious and Apocryphal. I confess indeed, Jacob Grynæus a seems to have entertained some more favourable sentiments of it; which indeed it is not strange he should, when we confider that he .inserted it among the other pieces, to which he gives
the splendid title of Orthodoxographa : His words are, “Multa “ habet quæ narrationibus . quatuor Evangelistarum pulchre « consentiunt, plura autem quæ ab illis velut wépeppa funt “ prætermiffa.- Plura autem Evangelia illa ætate scripta esse “ auctor est Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. 1. iii. c. 25.” i. e. It contains many things which perfectly agree to the accounts of the four Evangelists, but more which they thought proper to omit as needless : however Eusebius assures us, that there were many Gospels written about that time, i. e. about the time of James, and the other Apostles. Such an oversight in Grynæus, who was a Protestant, could not escape the censure of the Papifts. Sixtus Senenfis a observes with an air of contempt, that it was published by the Hereticks of his time, and Father Simon seems to wonder the Protestants should cause it to be printed, and think it worthy to be published under the title of Orthodoxographa ; and I must indeed own, it is not a little strange Grynæus should be thus imposed upon: only I would observe, that Poftellus, the first publisher of it, was a Papiftc; and that it is not just in Father Simon to impute the mistake of one Protestant to the whole body of those who go under that denomination. It is certain, that all other Protestants have rejected it, who have mentioned it. Mr. Fabritiusd has made a large collection of the sentiments both of Protestants and Papists, who have all judged it spurious and Apocryphal. I shall think it sufficient to refer the reader only to such whom I have seen; and those are,
Among the Protestants. Chemnitius Examen. Concil. Trid. par. iii. p. 63, and p. go.
Casaubon. Exercit. i. contr. Baron. Num. 39.
· Bibliothec. Sanct. in Jacob. 1. 2. p. 67.
Critic. Hist. of the New Test. Par. 1. c. 3. p. 27.
· This I conclude froin his saying, the Apocrypha of the Old Ter
tament were esteemed in all the Churches; which is only true of the Popish Churches, they being rejected by the Protestants.
d. Cod. Apocr. Nov. Teft. Par. I. p. 53, &c.
Dr. Cave Hift. Liter. Vol. I. p. 9. in Jacobo.
Among the Papifts.
Sixtus Senensis Biblioth. Sanct. l. ii. p. 67. ad voc. Jacob.
Bellarmin. de Scriptor. Ecclesiast. in Jacob. p. 42.
c.6. . 4.
Father Simon Critic. Hift. of the New Test, par. i. c. 3. p. 27.
Thus I have endeavoured largely to offer to the reader, what I have observed or judged most considerable, relating to this Gospel. I shall only add, that as the history contained therein undoubtedly was a very early forgery, so it seems impossible to give any certain particular account either of its age or author ; unless we will suppose, as the author of the Epifle to Chromatius and Heliodorus, under the name of Jerome above produced, does, both in his Epistle and Preface, that it was the composure of Seleucus, who is the same (as I have proved, Par. II. Ch. XXI.) with Leucius Charinus ; not that he was the first author, (for he, as I have proved above, was undoubtedly a Jew), but the person who made fuch large additions and interpolations, that he was esteemed the author.
The Gospel of our Saviour's Infancy. THE following Gospel was published and translated by
Mr. Henry Sike at Utrecht, 1697, Profeffor of the Oriental languages in Cambridge, and requires a place here for the following reasons :
1. Because it is of the fame original with the other Gospel of the Infancy published by Cotelerius, and that claims St. Thomas for its author. See the next Chapter.
2. Because the books of Christ's Infancy went under the names of St. Matthew ?, and St. Peter b.
3. Because they were received by the Gnosticks in the fecond century. See below, Ch. XXIV.
4. Because feveral of its relations were credited by the Christians in the following ages, viz. Eusebius, Athanasius, Epiphanius, Chrysostom, &c. To omit all others, I shall only instance in Sozomen, who credits and says he was told by many the following stories, which are in this Gospel, viz. that Ch. X. of the idol's falling down in Egypt upon Joseph's flight thither with Christ, and that Ch. XXIV. of Christ's making a well in a sycamore tree (to, wash his clothes), called Matarea, and a balsam proceeding from the tree. These are related by Sozomen thus: “ They fay, that at Hermopolis, “ which is a town of Thebais, there is a tree called Persis, « of which either the fruit or leaves, or any small piece of the “ bark, brought near to fick persons, has cured many. For “ it is said, that Joseph, when he fled with Christ and Mary
for fear of Herod, came to Hermopolis, and that as soon as “ he came near the gate, that tree, though a very great one, “ was moved at Christ's coming by, and bowed down to the
ground, and worshipped Christ. He adds, that he supposes
a See the Epistle of Chromatius and Heliodorus, and Jerome's AnIwers above, Chap. XIV.
b Ahmed Ibn Edris apud Fabrit. Cod. Apocr. t. 1. p. 153.
c Hiit. Eccl. 1. 5. c. 20.