« 前へ次へ »
to know whatsoever related to Jesus Chrift? And if they were then known, it is no less preposterous to imagine, that no footsteps, no intimation of them should be found in any of the Christian writings. But it is certain, that if we search all the first records and monuments of Christianity, we shall not find any one instance, except that forgery expressly charged upon the Gnosticks (about his learning the alphabet) by Irenæus adv. Hæref. l. 1. C. 17.
Though they continually urge our Saviour's miracles, done in his publick ministry, to support their new religion against the objections of the Heathens, yet they never make any appeal to any done in his infancy; which I think would at least have been as serviceable, if not more serviceable to their purpose, than the former. Yea, and though it was particularly objected against Christ hy Celsus, and others, that he was a magician, and learned his magical arts of the Egyptians, among whom he was brought up, yet even on this occafion we find no mention of the miracles which he wrought in Egypt; whereas nothing would have been a more demonstrative answer to them, than to have instanced in those miracles which he wrought there; and to have shewn, that as they could not poffibly have been performed by any art of magick, so they were performed in his infancy when he was incapable to learn any thing, and when it was impoffible he should have learnt those arts b.
3. It is yet more evident, that Christ wrought no miracles in his infancy, from the express declaration and intimations of Scripture to the contrary.
(1.) The express declaration I refer to, is that in St. John's Gospel, ch. ii. v. 11. where we read, This beginning of min racles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his Disciples believed on him. · Before I come di
· Vid. Orig. cont. Cell. l. 1. R: 30. et l. 8. p. 384. et Spencer. Annot. in lib. I. p. 7.
See the former Volume, Part II. Ch. XIV. p. 191, 192, And befides the places there cited, in which the Heathens charge Christ
as a magician, out of Euse'ins, Arnobius, and Austin, see Lactant, 1. 5. c. 3. Auguít. de Confenf. Evang. l. 1. c. 8, 9, 10, 14. and Elmenhorst's Notes on the place of Arnobius there cited.
rectly to the proof which I intend from this text, I must premise, that though it may seem contrary to the methods of ftrict reasoning, to call and make use of St. John's Gospel as Scripture, before I have (which is to be done in the next part) proved it to be Canonical ; yet, considering all collateral circumstances, it can be no way unfair to suppose him a true historian, and not mistaken in a plain matter of fact, which is all I desire or suppose here; and, this premised, I say, this text absolutely overthrows the Gospels of the Infancy, and proves, that our Saviour wrought no miracles before the time of his entrance upon his publick ministry, viz. when he was about thirty years old; for St. John's words are not capable of any other construction, than that the miracle which Christ then wrought at Cana in Galilee, viz. his turning water into wine, was the first miracle which he wrought, Ταύτην εποίησε την αρχήν των σημείων, i. e. as it is well translated by the old Syriack interpreter,
!? :. the first sign which Jesus wrought. And indeed, as Grotius on the text well observes, Ante auspicationem muneris figna sua pervacua fuisent, miracles had been superfluous, or to no purpose, before he entered upon his publick ministry.
I confess, there is another glofs upon the text; and I find some would have it, that the words only mean, that this was the first miracle which Christ wrought in that place, vizi in Cana; but that he had wrought other miracles before elsewhere. This opinion is mentioned by Beza a, Chemnitius b, Dr. Collins, and others; but this is contrary to the plain contexture of the words ; and if they meant thus, why does the Evangelist add, he thereby manifested his glory, as though he now first began by miracles to appear glorious ? Besides, it is incredible that the Apostle should call this his first miracle in Cana; because neither he, nor any of the other Evangelisls tell us of any other miracles which he did there.
I find also another objection, which is taken from ver. 3.
viz . This was ܗܕܐ ܗܝ ܐܬܐ ܩܕܡܝܬܐ ܙܠܒܕ ܝܫܘܥ
where, when the Virgin perceived wine wanting, she says, They have no wine, and ver. 5. where she says to the servant, Whatsoever be faith unto you, do it; from whence they conclude, she expected a miracle, and was confident that Chris! would work one to supply the want; and that she was thus perfuaded, because she had seen him work miracles before, and, as they imagine, that she had seen him on fome occasion in an extraordinary manner supply the necessities and indigences of the family, when he lived private with Joseph. This opinion I find mentioncd by Chemnitius a, Dr. Lightfoot ", Dr. Whit, by , but espoused by Le Clerc d.
« Elle lui demandoit qu'il suppléât par un miracle ce qui
manquoit à ces gens là, comme Eliè avoit autrefois aug« menté l'huile de la veuve de Sarepta. Pour faire cette de, "mande à Jesus Christ, il falloit que la Sainte Vierge eût été " temoin de quelque miracle fait en particulier par son Fils; " car on voit par le v. 11. qu'il n'en avoit encore point fait
en public: viz. She requested of Christ that he would supply « what was wanting by a miracle, as Elijah had heretofore in
creased the widow of Sarepta's oil. In making this request to Jesus Christ, it must be implied, that the holy Virgin had bes fore seen some miracle wrought by her son in private; for it
appears by v. 11. that he had not yet wrought any in pub“ lick.” To the fame purpose Dr. Collins on ver. 3. Though Christ bad done no publick miracle, yet what the Virgin might have seen of him in thirty years, while he lived at home with ber, we cannot tell.
To which I answer, that if our Saviour wrought no publick miracle, it makes not against what I contend for, nor at all for the credit of the Gospel of the Infancy, the miracles which are related there being sufficiently publick. But the truth is, there is no foundation for the opinion, because she might well ask this question upon her certain knowledge that he was the Son of God, and the Messiah, though she had never seen him
· Lib. cit. p. 100. Second part
of the Harmony of the Evangelists on John ii. 3. 109.
c Annot, on John ij. II.
d See bis French Testament, and his Notes on John ii. 3. and 11.
do any miracle ; but besides, she had lately had sufficient intimation that he now would work miracles, and manifest his glory by John's testimony, and the Spirit's descending upon him, and from what he had said but the day before, John i. 51. From henceforth ye hall see the heavens opened, and the Angels of God afcending and descending upon the son of man. “In this the plainly told his Disciples (says Doctor Lightfoot a) there « present (and there is very good ground to suppose her there “ in the company too), that they should see [ám ügti] from « that time fome divine and heavenly manifeftation of him " and that he would now begin to fhew himself, in his act“ ings and working of wonders, agreeable and suitable to one " that had heaven and angels at his will and attendance. « Upon this it is that she builds her request, &c.”
Upon the whole then I think it is very evident, that our Saviour wrought no miracle before this in Cana, of turning the water into wine, in the beginning of his publick miniftry; and consequently, that all those stories in the Gospels of Christ's Infancy are false and spurious, and therefore the Gore pels themselves Apocryphal by Prop. VIII.
I shall only observe farther here, that in searching among the criticks on the preceding text, I have observed two of them, who not only explain it as I have done, but apply it to the same purpose, viz. Eftius and Chemnitius, who hence conclude the fpuriousness of the accounts of our Saviour's Infancy; whose judgments I cannot here omit.
The first (viz. Eftius, on John ii. 3.) speaks to this pur. pofe: “ It is a question (says he) whether Mary ever saw her « fon work a miracle before this time, when he turned water « into wine. One would be apt to think she had, because “ The lo confidently requests him to work a miracle, as though " it were somewhat usual to her. But on the contrary, the
Evangelist declares Christ to have wrought his first miracle “ now; for the book of the Infancy of our Saviour, in which
are related certain miracles wrought by Christ, has been re“ ječied by the Church as Apocryphal. So that we are to con
"clude, that Christ never wrought any miracle, which was
seen, before this time: and as to the Virgin's petition, it "proceeded from her great faith in her son, as the Son of “God, according as the Angel had told her a."
Again on these words, ver. 11. This beginning of miracles did Jefus, he notes, Mendax igitur est liber de Infantia Salvatoris, viz. That the book of our Saviour's Infancy appears from bence to be lying and falje.
The learned Chemnitius o expresses himself more largely to the following purpose : “ Some fuppose our Saviour
wrought miracles before this in Cana; but Chrysostom " has very justly disproved this opinion, and refuted the " groundless stories of our Saviour's Infancy; for the Evange“ lift says, that by this miracle Christ began to manifest his
glory, so that his Disciples believed on him: but the miracles " of our Saviour's Infancy, if he had wrought any, would < have been more wonderful and famous, as being wrought
by a boy, than those which he wrought afterwards ; so that * his glory would have been before manifested to Ifrael; al.
though the Baptist says, he was sent to manifest it, John i.
The antient editor of Jerome's works uses the same argument against the book of Christ's Infancy, viz. that Christ wrought no miracle before this in Cana; and thinks the argument fo good, as for that reason to omit inserting it among Jerome's works ; though he says he found it in a MS. among Jerome's works, as translated by him. See Par. II, Tract. VI. Epift. 82. Fol. 140. after the Epistle of Jerome to Chromatius and Heliodorus.
(2.) As it is evident from the express declaration of Scripture, that Christ wrought no miracle in his infancy; so there are several intimations in the sacred writings, from whence the same may be fairly deduced; for instance,
1.) Mark iii. 21. we read, that when our Lord's friends, wap' aútë, i. e. his kinsmen, or as the Syriack interpreter · In difficilior. loc. Script. in
• Haimon. Evang. tom. 1. 1. 2. Evang. Joann. c. ii.
97: VOL. II.