The first Gospel of the INFANCY of JESUS CHRIST.
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[Mr. Henry Sike, Professor of Oriental Languages at Cambridge, first translated and published this Gospel in 1697. It was received by the Gnostics, a sect of Christians in the second century, and several of its relations were credited in the following ages by other Christians, viz., Eusebius, Athanasius, Epiphanius, Chrysostom, &c. Sozomen says, he was told by many, and he credits the relations, of the idols in Egypt falling down on Joseph, and Mary's flight thither with Christ; and of Christ making a well to wash his clothes in a sycamore tree, from whence balsam afterwards proceeded. These stories are from this Gospel. Chemnitlus out of Stipulensis, who had it from Peter Martyr, Bishop of Alexandria, in the third century, says, that the place in Egypt where Christ was banished is now called Matarea, about ten miles beyond Cairo; that the inhabitants constantly burn a lamp in remembrance of it; and that there is a garden of trees yielding a balsam, which were planted by Christ when a boy. M. La Crosse cites a synod at Angamala, in the mountains of Malabar, A.D. 1599, which condemns this Gospel as commonly read by the Nestorians in that country. Ahmed Ibn Idris, a Mahometan divine, says, it was used by some Christians in common with the other four Gospels; and Ocobius de Castro mentions a Gospel of Thomas, which he says, he saw and had translated to him by an Armenian Archbishop at Amsterdam, that was read in very many churches of Asia and Africa, as the only rule of their faith. Fabricius takes it to be this Gospel. It has been supposed, that Mahomet and his coadjutors used it in compiling the Koran. There are several stories believed of Christ proceeding from this Gospel; as that which Mr. Sike relates out of La Brosse's Persic Lexicon, that Christ practised the trade of a dyer, and his working a miracle with the colours; from whence the Persian dyers honour him as their patron, and call a dye-house the shop of Christ. Sir John Chardin mentions Persian legends concerning Christ's dispute with his schoolmaster about his A B C; and his lengthening the cedar-board which Joseph sawed too short.]
(William Wake and Solomon Caesar Malan version)