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APOCRYPHAL NARRATIVES OF “JESUS IN EGYPT.In the Apocryphal Gospels there are many curious narratives relating to the sayings and works of Jesus; some are ridiculous, others are passable, but all were profoundly believed by our ancestors. The authors begin at the earliest point, with stating that while yet in the womb, Jesus 'healed the 'withered hand of an unbelieving nurse,' and said unto his mother, 'I am Jesus, the Son of God, the Logos, whom the Father has sent to save the world. They who maintain the authenticity of the Canonical Gospels are

disgusted with these falsehoods, which it seems are too irrational to be believed. But when we go into the world of unreality, one thing is as easily believed as another. In our dreams we are never startled by incongruities, and if in our waking moments we accept one miracle, there is no legitimate reason why we should not accept others. If our common sense is to decide in one case, it is difficult to comprehend why its power should not be duly exercised in all. The believer who allows his reason to guide him when dealing with the Apocryphal Gospels, and then repudiates its authority when dealing with the Canonical, is inconsistent, and deserves to be sent to school again to learn the first principles of reasoning.

The events that happened when the holy family fled into Egypt,' are narrated at full length, showing how easy it is to imagine the incidents, supposing the journey itself to have been previously imagined. No such flight occurred, yet here are the circumstances connected with it. Joseph moved ' away from Bethlehem in great haste, but on the road the girths of the saddle gave way. As the time drew on, the travellers came near a great city, in which was an idol, to which the other idols and gods of Egypt brought offerings and made vows. The writer goes on to relate: 'And there was by this idol a priest ministering to it, who, as often as Satan spoke out of that idol, related the things he said to the inhabitants of Egypt, and *those countries. This priest had a son three years old, who was possessed ' with a great multitude of devils, who uttered many strange things and when the *devils seized him, walked about naked with his clothes torn, throwing stones at those whom he saw. Near to that idol was the inn of the city, into ' which when Joseph and Mary were come, and had turned into that inn, all 'the inhabitants of the city were astonished. And all the magistrates and

VOL. V. NEW SERIES, VOL. I.

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priests of the idols assembled before that idol, and made inquiry there, say‘ing, What means all this consternation and dread, which has fallen

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all our country? The idol answered them, The unknown God is come hither, 'who is truly God; nor is there any one besides him, who is worthy of divine worship; for he is truly the Son of God. At the fame of him this ' country trembled, and at his coming it is under the present commotion and consternation, and we ourselves are affrighted by the greatness of his power. And at the same instant this idol fell down, and at his fall all the inhabitants ' of Egypt, besides others, ran together.'*

The speech of the idol was accounted for by assuming that 'Satan' dwelt within it; but its fall was delightful to the ancient readers, who took words for things. It seems, however, that this was only the prelude to a greater miracle, for now, again, the youth possessed with a great multitude of · devils,' comes forward. “But the son of the priest, when his usual disorder came upon him, going into the inn, found there Joseph and Mary, whom all the rest had left behind and forsook. And when the Lady Mary ' had washed the swaddling clothes of the Lord Christ, and hanged them out 'to dry upon a post, the boy possessed with the devil took down one of them. and put it upon his head. And presently the devils began to come out of his mouth, and fly away in the shape of crows and serpents. From that * time the boy was healed by the power of the Lord Christ, and he began to

sing praises, and give thanks to the Lord who had healed him. When his • father saw him restored to his former state of health, he said, My son, what 'has happened to thee, and by what means wert thou cured? The son answered, When the devils seized me, I went into the inn, and there found a very handsome woman with a boy, whose swaddling clothes she had just • before washed, and hanged out upon a post. One of these I took, and put ' it upon my head, and immediately the devils left me, and fled away. At

this the father exceedingly rejoiced, and said, My son, perhaps this boy is 'the son of the living God, who made the heavens and the earth. For as soon as he came amongst us, the idol was broken, and all the gods fell down and were destroyed by a greater power.'t

It appears that Joseph and Mary were much alarmed when they heard the account of the idol falling, and concluded that if they did not take their departure their lives would be endangered. They went therefore hence to

the secret places of robbers, who robbed travellers as they pass by, of their carriages and their clothes, and carried them away bound. These thieves

upon their coming heard a great noise, such as the noise of a king with ' a great army, and many horse, and the trumpets sounding, at his departure * from his own city; at which they were so affrighted, as to leave all their booty behind them, and fly away in haste. Upon this the prisoners arose, and loosed each others bonds, and taking each man his bags, they went away, and saw Joseph and Mary coming towards them, and inquired, Where ' is that king, the noise of whose approach the robbers heard, and left us, so that we are now come off safe? Joseph answered, He will come after us.'I But he came not, neither did the robbers appear. The holy family, however, were not always freed from their presence; for when upon another journey they came to a desert country, and were told that it was infested with robbers, to make sure of passing in safety they resolved to go on by night. * And as they were going along, behold they saw two robbers asleep in the road, and with them a great number of robbers, who were their confederates,

* Gospel of the Infancy, c. iv.; Jones on the Canon, + Ibid. Ibid, o. v.

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also asleep. The names of these two were Titus and Dumachus; and • Titus said to Dumachus, I beseech thee let those persons go along quietly, that our company may not perceive anything of them; but Dumachus refusing, Titus again said, I will give thee forty groats, and as a pledge take 'my girdle, which he gave him before he had done speaking, that he might

open his mouth or make a noise. When Mary saw the kindness which this robber did shew them, she said to him, The Lord God will receive thee to His right hand, and grant thee pardon of thy sins. Then the Lord Jesus answered, and said to his mother, When thirty years are expired, O mother, 'the Jews will crucify me at Jerusalem; and these two thieves shall be with me at the same time upon the cross, Titus on my right hand, and Dumachus on my left, and from that time Titus shall go before me into Paradise; and when she had said, God forbid this should be thy lot, O my son, they went on to a city, in which were several idols; which, as soon as they came near to it, was turned into hills of sand.'*

Although these narratives are not now believed in England, we are not justified in supposing that elsewhere they are equally in disrepute, for the fact is, they are believed and better known by quite as many as believe and know the others. There is one which is in good repute on the Continent, from which we learn that, during the flight to Egypt, the holy family rested near a cave, out of which many dragons suddenly emerged', whereupon Jesus descended from the lap of his mother, and placed himself before the monsters, when they fled, and then turned and worshipped him.' Likewise lions and leopards honoured him, and even acted as his guides. Lions mingled with the oxen and other beasts of burden which they had with them ; wolves associated with the sheep, and they were all equally peaceful and harmless. A tall palm tree, whose fruit was beyond reach, at the command of the child

Jesus, bowed itself down to Mary and allowed her to pluck its fruit’; and at a second command it restored itself to its original position. From the roots of this palm Jesus caused to flow a spring of the freshest and purest water. A branch of the same palm, at his command, was carried into Paradise by the angels, there to be a sign of victory to the soldiers of the Christian warfare. When the wanderers were oppressed by heat, Jesus by his word enabled them in one day to perform a journey of thirty days. It is also related here that when Jesus entered a temple, the idols all tumbled down.t

Connected with the imaginative Egyptian journey, the following miracles are recorded. The holy family arrived at a town, where a marriage was then . about to be solemnized; but by the arts of Satan and the practices of some sorcerers, the bride was become so dumb, that she could not so much as open her mouth.

But when this dumb bride saw Mary entering into the town, and carrying the Lord Christ in her arms, she stretched out her hands . to the Lord Christ, and took him in her arms, and closely hugging him, very often kissed him, continually moving him and pressing him to her body. Straightway the string of her tongue was loosed, and her ears were opened, ' and she began to sing praises unto God, who had restored her. So there

was great joy among the inhabitants of the town that night, who thought * that God and his angels were come down among them. In this place they abode three days, meeting with the greatest respect and most splendid entertainment.' In another city they beheld 'cursed Satan' leap upon a woman, in the form of a serpent. • This woman seeing Mary, and the Lord

* Gospel of the Infancy, c. viii. + History of the Nativity of Mary and Infancy of the Saviour.

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• Christ the infant in her bosom, asked that she would give her the to child • kiss, and carry in her arms. When she had consented, and as soon as the woman had moved the child, Satan left her, and fled away, nor did the woman ever afterwards see him. Hereupon all the neighbours praised the Supreme God, and the woman rewarded them with ample beneficence. On ' the morrow the same woman brought perfumed water to wash the Lord Jesus; and when she had washed him, she preserved the water. And there was a girl there, whose body was white with a leprosy, who being sprinkled ' with this water, and washed, was instantly cleansed from her leprosy.'*

P. W. P.

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CHARACTERISTICS OF THE REFORMATION.-VII.

THE CONTEST OF REASON AND AUTHORITY.

Truth is the vital germ which survives the wreck of all systems of thought. Even as the little flower germinates and fructifies in the midst of corruption, 80 Truth grows up in the midst of error ; slow though the process be, the end is certain. It can never die, but must triumph over every form of falsehood, and flourish in the place thereof. History, as a whole, is one grand testimony to the omnipotence of Truth. Over every obstacle which the passion, pride, and prejudice of men have placed in its path, it has eventually triumphed; sometimes hidden for a time, but never dead; often working silently and in secret, but never inactive. The recognition of this explains the course of history, and how, in spite of Priestcraft and superstition, Kingcraft and oppression, humanity has ever advanced; and, in the omnipotence of Truth, we have at once the guarantee and explanation of human progression. Scholasticism, in common with all the systems of the past, affords an illustration of this principle; it contained a vital germ of Truth, which was to live after itself was destroyed, and which made it valuable as an agent of progress. We have now very briefly to look at some of the results which arose out of it.

The time and the person which mark the culminating point of Scholasticism are the thirteenth century, and Saint Thomas Aquinas. It was in the thirteenth century that Europe first became acquainted with the whole of the writings of Aristotle. Hitherto his logic alone had existed in a Latin translation, but now his entire works, metaphysical, physical, moral, and political, were translated. For this Europe was again indebted to the Arabs, and partly also to the Jews, who were admitted more easily than Christians into the Arab Schools in Spain, where the whole of Aristotle, with Arabic commentaries, formed the text books. These were first translated into Hebrew and afterwards reproduced in Latin. Thus was a new epoch in Scholasticism formed, and a complete system of philosophy rendered possible for the Schoolmen. It was the lifework of Aquinas to weld together the philosophy of Aristotle and the theology of the Church. He was the master mind of his age, and in many things far in advance of his time. Europe was indebted to him for the translation of the works of several of the Arabic philosophers; and it is to be remembered to his credit that he defended the Jews against the superstitious prejudices of the age. Of course he had no idea of the civil equality which we claim for them, but he contended for a humane treatment of them no less as a matter of morality than of policy. But the great work of his life was the attempt to construct a complete

* Gospel of the Infancy, c. vi.

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theological philosophy. Cousin calls his Summa Theologie (the work in which the complete system is developed) " one of the greatest monuments of “the human mind in the middle age, comprehending, with profound metaphy

sics, an entire system of morals, and even of politics, and that kind of politics,

too, which is not at all servile.” * He had set himself an Herculean task, that of reconciling the irreconcilable, of dovetailing the partially true with the wholly false, of making human liberty and priestly despotism coincide. That he succeeded to the satisfaction of his age in so impossible a labour is no small wonder, and perhaps entitled him to the honorary distinction of Doctor Angelicus—the Angelic Doctor, or Angel of the Schools—conferred upon him by admiring disciples. The grateful Church canonised him after his death; and the Dominicans (to which order he belonged) decreed “ That the “ brethren should faithfully follow the doctrine of St. Thomas, and that “if any departed from it, it should be held to be reason sufficient to expel “ him from his functions.”

But was the work successful ? The entire system was a compromise, a balance of opposite principles, and though Albertus Magnus, in bis adıni

tion, declared it would last till the end of time, its results were such as to pave

for that great Reformation which was to destroy it and many other things. Its first result was the establishment of the curious doctrine in the Schools that there is a double truth, one philosophical and another theological, and that a proposition may be true in philosophy which is false in theology, and vice versá. This was to open a wide door for the admission philosophically of almost anything, and what it did admit is seen by looking into the University of Paris a hundred years after the time of Aquinas. In the year 1376, the philosophical students in Paris propounded a list of theses, by which they denied the Trinity, the Divinity of Christ, the Immortality of the Soul, and the Resurrection, and asserted the eternity of the world, the influence of the stars on human affairs, and other equally startling propositions. The same theses contained two hundred and nineteen articles, wherein doctrines, at variance not alone with the teaching of the Church, but with all morality, were asserted. The mention of a few of them will show to what lengths the young Europe of those days was prepared to go. Take the following as a sample :- “ The will of man is necessarily determined

by his knowledge, as is the appetite of the brute.—There cannot possibly “ be such a thing as sin in the higher powers of the soul; man sins from “ the influence of his passions, not of his will.–Salvation belongs to the

present life and to no other.—There are no other kinds of virtue but the

acquired and the innate.—There are fables and falsehoods in the Gospels “ as in other books.--It is useless to pray, because whatever occurs happens

necessarily and cannot be changed."'t We do not marvel to learn that these theses incurred the animadversion of the Archbishop of Paris.

Our readers will not fail to perceive what a profound disbelief in all that the Church taught, lies under the fact that philosophy should be made a cloak to cover such principles, while the startling truth of some of them (so far beyond the age) is no less wonderful than the absurdity, immorality, and utter falsity of others. The spirit of these propositions shows that a rationalistic spirit had entered into the Schools. It bad, indeed, proceeded to such lengths, that the more timid among theologians were alarmed; while those in whom faith was strong were scandalised that the logic of the Schools

* Hist. Mod. Phil. ii. p. 20. Clarke's Edit. + Ullmanu. Reformers before Reformation, i. p. 37. Clarke's Theol. Library.

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