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that at once dying in the fame liquor, he made several pieces of iloth 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 his 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 difterent colours in the fame 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 Chrifl in the Gospels, hut also the fables which are in the legends of the Oriental Chriflians, 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 Chrifl seeing Joseph under very great concern that he had sawed a board of cedar too JJjort, said to him, Why art thou so 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 fay A, heflopped him, and said to the mafler, Tell me first why the first letter of the alphabet is made thus: upon which the mafler 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 mafler being then avgry, 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 so, almofl like an m turned upside down, viz. thus, III) to shew us, that the beginning of all things is one Being in three Persons.
Here I would also observe to the reader, that, if I mistake not, the foundation of both these stories is in the preceding Gospels. 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 token from the Gospel published by Mr. Sike, Ch. XXXVIII,
f Apud Fabiit. Cod. Apocr. N. T. torn. 3. p. 413,419.
XXXIX, where we read, that when Joseph went abroad t» work as a carpenter, and wanted any piece of wood to be made longer or foorter, Jesus, whom he took along with him, would jlretch out his hand, and it became according to his wish; and particularly, when he had made the King's throne too short, and was in great distress, Jesus bad him take one side, and him" self took the other, and by pulling it thus, they brought it to its proper length.
The other story, viz. that concerning Chris's learning his alphabet, and refusing to say on till his majler had told him the meaning of the letter, is plainly founded upon, and almost the lame 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 Chris} in his infancy, which Mr. Hilfcher has related a, viz. that when Christ's schoolmaster had, according to the ordinary custom said before him, In the name of the mqst 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, Bsignified Bahab Allah (viz. the Majesty of God), S signified Sannah Allah (viz. the Highness of God), Msignified Molcoho (viz. the Kingdom of God). This Mr. Hilfcher 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 so, 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 nowy
• Schediasm. de Studiis Christi „ The word arts y(a<pn;, inter Milcellan. Lips. y ■
T. V. p. 23, &c. apud Fabrit. Besmi, signifies In the Name; and Cod. Apoc. N. T. torn. 3. p. 424, the sirlt words of the chapters in the and p. 427. Alcoran begin, In the name of God
most gracious and merciful.
but but was taken up by Christ to heaven with him3; and duquel il n'est reste que te qui en eji cite dans V Alcoran, viz. of which (says Mr. Herbelot) they suppose nothing left but what is cited in the Alcoran b .- and accordingly in an Arabick Treatise, intitled Kafchf al Dhonoun, Mr. Herbelot tells us % that the K Mussulmans difent que PEvangile qui commence par Bis "milah, &c. c'est-a-dire, Au nom du Pere, et du Fils, et du "Saint Esprit, n'est pas celui que Dieu a envoye a Jesu '* Christ; car celui-ci, disent-ils, commence par Bismilah, tc &c. Au nom de Dieu clement et misericordieux, et ne contient "que des Enseignemens; au lieu que le premier n'est qu'une "Histoire de fa Vie, ecrite par quatre de fes Disciples: i. e. "That the Mussulmans fay, that the Gospel which begins with "the word Bismilah, £5V. viz. In the name of the Father, and "the Son, and the Holy Ghost, is not that Gospel which God "sent by Jesus Christ ; for that, fay they, begins Bismilah, &c, "viz. In the name of God most gracious and merciful, and ** contains nothing but the Doclrines of Christ; instead of "which, theformer 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 Infantile, 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 Gospel which begins thus, In the name of the Father, the Son, and the. Holy Ghost. 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 »f the Infancy, although it begins with those words; which it was very usual for authors or transcribers to prefix or subjoin to thsir books.
* See the passage out of Chardin's * Loc.denuo cit.
Travels, above, Vol. I. Append. i Cod. Apoc. N. T. torn. 3- p.
vers. fin. 372.
1 jjJibliotheque Orlenule, p. 315.
The Gojpels of Christ's Infancy arespurious and Apocryphal: not received by the antient Christians: the Design of them false, Christ "wrought no Miracles in his Infancy: this proved from the Silence of the Scriptures and Fathers : from the express Declaration of Scripture, viz. John ii. II. Tliat text critically discussed. Intimations in Scripture, that our Saviour wrought no Miracles in his Infancy: positive Assertions of the Fathers (viz. Epiphanius, Nonnus, Chryfojlom, and TheophylaSi) to the fame Purpose.
V. crHE Gospels of 'our Saviour's Infancy are Apocryphal: 1 For,
Arg. I. They were not acknowledged as authentick by any of 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 so Apocryphal by Prop. VI.
Arc II. These Gospels are Apocryphal, because the whole contexture of them is false, 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 slate, or before he was about thirty years old. For the proof of this I shall urge,
I. The universal and perfect silence of the Scriptures of the
New Testament, as to any such actions wrought by
2. The universal and perfect silence of all the first Christian writers.
3. The positive declaration and intimation of Scripture t» the contrary.
4. The positive assertion of several Fathers to the contrary.
T. The universal and per/eel filence of the Scriptures of the New Testaments 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 eur 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 sometime 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 fame reasons which influenced them to publish his other miracles, would have influenced them also to publish these; which as they have not done, nor said any thing of this fort, except his disputing* 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 perfecJsilence 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 stiould be quite buried and forgot. C^tn it be thought none of them would have been remembered, and transmitted down through an age or two? none of them be found out by the zealous Christians of those times, who were so studious