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that at once dying in the same liquor, he made several pieces of cloth of the different colours which he had a mind ; on which account the dyers in Persia honour him as their patron, and call a dye-house the Shop of Christ. Let the reader remember here, that we have a story of our Saviour's dying cloth in both the preceding Gospels of bis Infancy, viz. in that of Cotelerius, Chap. VII. and that of Mr. Sike, Chap. XXXVII. and that in this place Christ is said to have dyed several cloths of different colours in the same furnace and liquor.
2. Sir John Chardin, in his Travels to Persia ?, tells us, that the legends of the Persians contain not only that which is found concerning Christ in the Gospels, but also the fables which are in the legends of the Oriental Christians, and particularly in an Armenian legend, intitled, The Gospel of the Infancy, which is nothing but a heap of fabulous miracles; among others, that Jesus Christ seeing Foseph under very great concern that he had sawed a board of cedar too mort, faid to him, Why art thou fa much concerned? Give me the board to hold at one end, and do thou pull the other ; and so he made it longer.-That having been sent to school to learn his A, B, C; when the master would have made him say A, he stopped him, and said to the master, Tell me first why the first letter of the alphabet is made thus : upon which the master calling him a little prattler, he answered, I will not fay A, till you have told me why the first letter is thus made. The master being then angry, Jesus said to him, I will tell you it myself: the first letter of the alphabet is formed of three perpendicular lines upon one line going across them (the Armenian A is made fo, almost like an m turned upside down, viz. thus, III) to faew us, that the beginning of all things is one Being in three Perfons.
Here I would also observe to the reader, that, if I mistake not, the foundation of both these stories is in the preceding Gofpels. The first concerning the piece of wood, which Joseph had sawed too short, being made longer by Joseph's pulling at one end, and Christ's pulling at the other, seems to me manifestly taken from the Gospel published by Mr. Sike, Ch. XXXVIII,
. Apud Fabrit. Cod. Apocr. N. T. toni. 3. p. 418,419.
XXXIX, where we read, that when Joseph went abroad to work as a carpenter, and wanted any piece of wood to be made longer or shorter, Jesus, whom he took along with him, would stretch out his hand, and it became according to his wih; and particularly, when he had made the King's throne too short, and was in great distress, Jesus bad him take one side, and himJelf took the other, and by pulling it thus, they brought it to its proper length.
The other story, viz. that concerning Christ's learning his alphabet, and refusing to say on till his master had told him the meaning of the letter, is plainly founded upon, and almost the same with that in both the preceding Gospels, viz. in that of Mr. Sike, Ch. XLVIII, XLIX. and that of Cotelerius, Ch. VI.
3. Like to the last is that other Mahometan tradition concerning Christ in his infancy, which Mr. Hilscher has related", viz. that when Christ's schoolmaster had, according to the ordinary custom said before him, In the name of the most Merciful, Jesus asked him, What was the meaning of the three letters B, S, M, in the word Besmi b? And when the master did not know, he told him, B signified Bahab Allah (viz. the Majesty of God), S signified Sannah Allah (viz. the Highness of God), M signified Molcoho (viz. the Kingdom of God). This Mr. Hilscher cites from Meracci, a famous commentator on the Alcoran; and there is no question but it is of the fame original with the preceding.
From all this it is evident the Mahometans were acquainted with the Gospel of Christ's Infancy; and very probably the more fo, because Mahomet had referred to it, or cited out of it in his Alcoran. The notion commonly prevailing among them is, that the true Gospel is not among the Christians now,
2 Schediasm. de Studiis Christi átep ypacñs, inter Miscellan. Lipf. T. V. p. 23, &c. apud Fabrit. Cod. Apoc. N. T. tom. 3. p. 424,
b The Arabick word Besmi, signifies in the Name; and the first words of the chapters in the Alcoran begin, In the name of God molt gracious and merciful.
and p. 427.
but was taken up by Christ to heaven with him a ; and duquel il n'eft resté que ce qui en est cité dans l’Alcoran, viz. of which (says Mr. Herbelot) they suppose nothing left but what is cited in the Alcoranb: and accordingly in an Arabick Treatise, intitled Kaschf al Dhonoun, Mr. Herbelot tells us, that the « Muffulmans disent que l'Evangile qui commence par Bifu milah, &c. c'eft-à-dire, Au nom du Pere, et du Fils, et du “ Saint Esprit, n'est pas celui que Dieu a envoyé à Jesu « Chrift; car celui-ci, disent-ils, commence par Bismilah, « &c. Au nom de Dieu clément et miséricordieux, et ne contient “ que des Enseignemens ; au lieu que le premier n'est qu'une « Histoire de fa Vie, écrite par quatre de fes Difciples : i. e. " That the Musulmans say, that the Gospel which begins with " the word Bismilah, &c. viz. In the name of the Father, and " the Son, and the Holy Ghost, is not that Gospel which God
fent by Jesus Christ ; for that, say, they, begins Bismilah, 86 « viz. In the name of God most gracious and merciful, and "contains nothing but the Doctrines of Christ; instead of “ which, the former is nothing but a History of his Life, written “ by four of his Disciples.” Mr. Fabritius, in a note on this place of Mr. Herbelot, fays, d Intelligitur Evangelium Infantiæ, quod ex Arabico vertit Henricus Sike, viz. That the Arabick author meant the Gospel of the Infancy, translated by Mr. Sike, when he speaks of a Gofpel which begins thus, In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghojł. But in this he is most manifestly mistaken; because, according to the author, this Gospel contained an account of the Life of Christ, written by four of his Disciples, which is not in the Gospel of the Infancy, although it begins with those words ; which it was very usual for authors or transcribers to prefix or fubjoin to their books.
2 See the passage out of Chardin's Travels, above, Vol. I. Append. verf. fin.
Bibliotheque Orientale, p. 315.
¢ Loc. denuo cit.
d Cod. Apoc. N. T. tom. 3. pa 372
CH A P. XXV.
The Gospels of Christ's Infancy are spurious and Apocryphal : not
received by the antient Christians : the Design of them false.
Theophylact) to the fame Purpose.
the antient Christians, who are to be our judges in these
matters. Prop. III. They are not mentioned in any of the antient catalogues of sacred books, and therefore are to be esteemed Apocryphal by Prop. IV. Not cited in any of the antient Christian writings, and so Apocryphal by Prop. V. Not read in their Churches, and fo Apocryphal by Prop. VI. ARG. II. These Gospels are Apocryphal, because the whole
contexture of them is falfe, or contrary to certainly known
truth. Prop. VIII. The contexture and design of these Gospels is to relate a large series of miracles and wonderful actions, wrought by our Saviour during his infancy, or before he entered upon his publick ministry; but it is certain by the most incontestable evidence, that our Saviour wrought no such miraculous actions, nor indeed any one miracle during the whole of his infant state, or before he was about thirty years old. For the proof of this
I shall urge,
1. The universal and perfect filence of the Scriptures of the
New Testament, as to any such actions wrought by
Christ in his infancy. 2. The universal and perfect silence of all the first Christian
writers. 3. The positive declaration and intimation of Scripture to
the contrary. 4. The positive affertion of several Fathers to the con
trary. 1. The universal and perfect filence of the Scriptures of the New Testament, as to any miraculous actions wrought by our Saviour in his infancy, is no inconsiderable proof that none were wrought by him. For had there been any such multitudes of miracles wrought by our Saviour, as these Gospels pretend, it is not possible to suppose his own disciples and companions should have been so entirely unacquainted with them, as not to have known any one of them. It cannot be with any reason imagined, but that they who had the greatest intimacy with him, and his mother too, would have fometime heard somewhat concerning the many strange and surprising miracles, which these Gospels ascribe to him in his infant state ; especially considering that they were so particularly informed as to the circumstances of his wondrous conception and birth. Now had they known them, the same reafons which influenced them to publish his other miracles, would have influenced them also to publish these; which as they have not done, nor faid any thing of this fort, except his difputing' with the doctors, Luke ii. 47. I think it reasonable to conclude that our Saviour wrought none.
2. The same may be fairly concluded from the universal and perfeet silence of all the first Christian writers in this matter. Had our Lord wrought such numbers of mighty works in his infancy, it is preposterous to imagine, that in a century or two they should be quite buried and forgot. Can it be thought none of them would have been rernembered, and transmitted down through an age or two? none of them be found out by the zealous Chriftians of those times, who were lo studious