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emasculated Christians will return to what the primitive Christians, or the Fathers of the Christian Church, really were. Here Christians! bere is a test for your religious fidelity!
If Jesus or the Gospel writers have not espoused the rite of circumcision there is nothing said against it, and the assertion that he came to fulfil and not to destroy the Jewish Law is your argument for justification.
If the book of the Acts of the Apostles beareth testimony of any thing, it is, that the first Christians were circumcised and contended that circumcision was essential as a fulfilment of the Jewish Law; but the rite seems to have been so objectionable to the Greeks, and so checked the progress of Christianity, that Peter found it necessary to have a vision upon the subject, and to obtain a dispensation to the Gentiles to abstain from circumcision if they so preferred. But this by no means forbids circumcision to those who may be faithful to the very letter of the law. It only shews the want of faith and firmness in some of the first Christian teachers, such as Peter and Paul are represented to have been in this book of the Acts. This and subsequent neglect of that fulfilment reflects the greater merit upon you the followers of Johanna Southcote in restoring it.
We also find, in this book of the Acts, that special regard was paid to a travelling eunuch, in converting and baptizing bim. You may learn from the 8th chapter, that eunuchs were great favourites in heaven; for an angel sent Pbilip after this Ethiopian Eunuch, that he might not return to Ethiopia unchristianized! If Judge Bailey be religiously honest as your judge, and direct your acquittal, or if the Jury be obstinate, and be as he ought fine you but in a shilling, I seriously advise you to complete your Christianity, and to add emasculation to circumcision : I will at least then say, that you are the only honest and conscientious Christians.
The Apostle Paul was the first Christian who wrote against circumcision, and that only because he had been five times whipped by the Jews. Saint Paul was a great prevaricator on this head. His Epistle to the Galatians, which is evidently one of the last of his writings, written at least seventeen years after he had began to preach Christianity, is written expressly against circumcision. And it is written in such a stile as almost to prove, that every preacher of Christianity but himself advocated the necessity of circumcision. He boasteth in this Epistle, that he did not circumcise Titus; but at Acts, chap. xvi. we read, that he circumcised Timothy because of the Jews, At Romans, chap. ii. ver.
25, we find bim saying—“For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law.” This is all that either Jew or Christian can contend for; but circumcision also maketh a part of the law, and the law cannot be kept without it. At chap. ii. ver. 1, he says again-“What advantage then báth the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision ? Much every way: cbiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God." This is matter clear and explicit and not to be honestly departed from by a Christian.
At chap. xv. ver. 8, be
says: " Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers.” No prevarication, no soreness at having been five times whipped by the Jews, will suffice to set aside these assertions.
In writing to the Corinthians, Ist Epistle, chap. vii. ver. 19, he began to prevaricate, in saying: “Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.” But circumcision is clearly one of those commandments; therefore circumcision is sometbing, and Saint Paul in error.
We can find nothing more in the New Testament but the further prevarication of Saint Paul upon the subject, and this will not strengthen the argument on the one side nor on the other. But enough has been shewn for your complete justification, and to prove, that the cause of your committal to Gaol was the following of a precept of the Bible. This must be your defence; and you will do well not to employ a Barrister to speak for you, unless he will defend you upon this ground and justify your conduct as a lover of the Bible and its precepts.
I shall watch your case and not fail to reprobate any punishment after trial, should it be inflicted, as a gross violation of all decency and justice. We have lately seen another man, George Hale, sent to Gaol for too strong an attachment to a particular precept of the Bible; and as matters are now passing, the reign of George the Fourth resembles that of Henry the Eighth, in other matters besides a killing of wives. It resembles it in punishments for religious matters. In that reign, Catholic and Protestant went to the stake
upon the same hurdle: in this though we have no faggots the revenge is equally remorseless and Christian and Anti-Christian are alike sent to Gaol for their opinions. Hoping you will come off with less punishment than I have found from these odd or mad Christians,
I am, your well wisher,
The First Gospel of the INFANCY of JESUS
[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 fight 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. Chemnitius, 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 Crose cites a synod at Angainala, in the mountains of Malabar, A. D. 1599, which condemns this Gospel as commonly read by the Nestorians in that country: Ahmad 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 it 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. Fabricus takes it to be this Gospel. It has been supposed, that Mahomet and his coadjutors used it in compiling the Koran.
There are scveral 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 cedarboard which Joseph sawed tou short.] CHAP. I.
to be taxed in their own coun1 Caiphas relates, that Jesus when in his try.
cradle, informed his mother, that he 5 Joseph therefore arose, and with was the Son of God. 5 Joseph and Mary his spouse he went to Jerusalem, Mary going to Bethlehem to be tared, and then came to Bethlehem, that he Mary's time of bringing forth arrives, and his family might be taxed in the ciand she goes into a cave. 8 Joseph ty of his fathers. fetches in a Hebrew woman. 10 The 6 And when they came by the cave, cave filled with great lights, 11 the in- Mary confessed to Joseph, that her time fant born, 17 cures the woman, 19 ar- of bringing forth was come, and she rival of the shepherds.
could not go on to the city, and said, THE following accounts we found in Let us go into this cave.
the book of Joseph the high-priest, 7 At that time the sun was very near called by some Caiphas.
going down. 2 He relates, that Jesus spake even 8 But Joseph hastened away, that he when he was in his cradle, and said to might fetch her a mid-wife; and when his mother:
he saw an old Hebrew woman, who was 3 Mary, I am Jesus the Son of God, of Jerusalem, he said to her, Pray come that word, which thou didst bring forth hither, good woman, and go into that according to the declaration of the angel cave, and you will there see a woman Gabriel to thee, and my Father hath just ready to bring forth. sent me for the salvation of the world.
9 It was after sunset, when the old 4 | In the three hundred and ninth woman and Joseph with her reached the year of the æra of Alexander, Augustus cave, and they both went into it. published a decree, that all
persons 10 Avd behold, it was all filled with
lights, greater than the lights of lamps vel-string), and preserved it in an alaand candles, and greater than the light baster-box of old oil of spikenard. of the sun itself.
3 And she had a son who was a drug11 The infant was then wrapped up gist, to whom she said, Take heed thou in swaddling clothes, and sucking the sell not this alabaster-box of spikenard breasts of bis mother St. Mary.
ointment, although thou sbouldst be of. 12 When they both saw this light, fered three hundred pence for it. they were surprised; the old woman ask- 4 Now this is that alabaster-box which ed St. Mary, Art thou the nuother of this Mary the sinner procured, and poured child ?
forth the ointment out of it upon the head 10 St. Mary replied, she was. and the feet of our Lord Jesus Christ,
14 On which the old woman said, and wiped them off with the hairs of her Thou art very different from all other head.
5 Then after ten days they brought 15 St. Mary answered, As there is not him to Jerusalem, and on the fortieth any child like to my son, so neither is day from his birth they presented him in there any woman like to his mother. the temple before the Lord, making the
16 The old woman answered, and proper offerings for him, according to the said, O my Lady, I am come hither, that requirement of the law of Moses: nameI may obtain an everlasting reward, ly, that every male which opens the
17 Then our Lady St. Mary said to womb shall be called holy unto Gud. her, Lay thine hands upon the infant; 6 At that time old Simeon saw him which, when she had done, she became shining as a pillar of light, when St. Mawhole.
ry the virgin, his mother, carried him in 18 And as she was going forth, she her arins, and was filled with the greatsaid, From henceforth all the days of est pleasure at the sight. my life, I will attend upon and be a ser- 7 And the angels stood around him, vant of this infant.
adoring him, as a king's guard stand 19 After this, when the shepherds around him, came, and had made a fire, and they 8 Then Simeon going near to St. Mawere exceedingly rejoicing, the heaven- ry, and stretching forth his hands to. ly host appeared to them, praising and ward her, said to the Lord Christ, Now, adoring the supreme God.
O my Lord, thy servant shall depart in 20 And as the shepherds were en- peace, according to thy word; gaged in the same employment, the cave 9 For mine eyes have seen thy mer at that time seemed like a glorious tem- cy, which thou hast prepared for the salple, because both the tongues of angels vation of all nations; a light to all peoand men united to adore and magnify ple, and the glory of thy people Israel. God, on account of the birth of the Lord 10 Hannah the Prophetess was also Christ.
present, and drawing near, she gave 21 But when the old Hebrew woman praises to God, and celebrated the hapsaw all these evident miracles, she gave piness of Mary. praises to God, and said, I thank thee,
CHAP. III. O God, thou God of Israel, for that 1 The wise men visit Christ. 2 Mary mine eyes have seen the birth of the Sa- gives them one of his swaddling clothes. viour of the world,
3 An angel appears to them in the form CHAP. II.
of a star. 4 They return and make a 1 The child circumcised in the cave, 2 fire, and worship the swaddling cloth,
and the old woman preserving his fore- and put it in the fire where it remains skin or navel string in a box of spike- unconsumed. nard, Mary afterwards anoints Christ
A .ND it came to pass, when the Lord with it. 5 Christ brought to the tem. Jesus was born at Bethlehem, a city ple; 6 shines, 7 angels stanid around of Judæa, in the time of Herod the
him adoring. 8 Simeon praises Christ. King; the wise men came from the East AND when the time of his circumci- to Jerusalem, according to the prophe
sion was come: namely, the eigiith cy of Zoradascht *, and brought with day, on which the law commanded the them offerings: namely, gold, frankinchild to be circumcised; they circumci- cense,
and myrrh, and worshipped him, sed him in the cave.
and offered to him their gifts. 2 And the old Hebrew woman took 2 Then the Lady Mary took one of the foreskin (others say she took the na- his swaddling clothes in which the infant
was wrapped, and gave it to them in- 5 In the length of the journey the girts stead of a blessing, which they received of the saddle broke. from her as a most noble present.
6 And now he drew near to a great 3 And at the same time there appear- city, in which there was an idol, to ed to them an angel in the form of that which the other idols and gods of Egypt star, which had before been their guide" brought their offerings and vows. in their journey; the light of which they 7 And there was by this idol a priest followed till they returned into their own ministering to it, who, as often as Satan country,
spake out of that idol, related the things 4 T On their return their kings and he said to the inhabitants of Egypt, and princes came to them, inquiring, What those countries. they had seen and done? What sort of 8 This priest had a son three years journey and return they had ? What old, who was possessed with a great mulcompany they had on the road?
titude of devils, who uttered many 5 But they produced the swaddling strange things: and when the devils seizcloth which St. Mary had given to them, ed him, walked about naked, with his on account whereof they kept a feast. clothes torn, throwing stones at those 6 And having, according to the cus
whom he saw. tom of their country, made a fire, they
9 Near to that idol was the inn of the worshipped it.
city, into which when Joseph and St. 7 And casting the swaddling cloth Mary were come, and had turned into into it, the fire took it, and kept it. that inn, all the inhabitants of the city 8 And when the fire was put out, they
were astonished. took forth the swaddling cloth unburt, 10 And all the magistrates and priests as much as if the fire had not touched of the idols assembled before that ido!. it.
and made inquiry there, saying, What 9 Then they began to kiss it, and put means all this consternation and dread, it upon their heads and their eyes, say
which has fallen upon all our country? ing, This is certainly an undoubted truth,
11 The idol answered them, The unand it is really surprising that the fire known God is come hither, who is truly could not burn it, and consume it. God; nor is there any one besides him,
10 Then they took it, and with the who is worthy of divine worship; for he greatest respect laid it up among their is truly the Son of God.
12 At the fame of him this country CHAP. IV.
trembled, and at his coming it is under 1 Herod intends to put Christ to death. the present commotion and consternation,
3 An angel warns Joseph to take the and we ourselves are affrighted by the child and his mother into Egypt. 6. greatness of his power. Consternation on their arrival. 13 13 And at the same instant this idol The idols fall down. 15 Mary washes fell down, and at his fall all the inhabiChrist's swaddling clothes, and hangs tants of Egypt, besides others, ran togethem to dry on a post. 16 A son of the
ther. chief priest puts one on his heud, and be- 14 | But the son of the priest, when ing possessed of devils, they leave him. his usual disorder came upon him, going
Herod perceiving that the wise into the inn, found there Joseph and St. men did delay, and not return to Mary, whom all the rest had left behind him, called together the priest aud wise
and forsook. men and said, Tell me in what place the 15 And when the Lady St. Mary had Christ should be born?
washed the swaddling clothes of the 2 And when they replied, in Bethle- Lord Christ, and hanged them out to hem, a city of Judæa, he began to con- dry upon a post, the boy possessed with trive in his own mind the death of the the devil took down one of them, and Lord Jesus Christ.
put it upon his head. 3 But an angel of the Lord' appeared 16 And presently the devils began to to Joseph in his sleep, and said, Arise, come out of his mouth, and fly away in take the child and mother, and go into the shapes of crows and serpents. Egypt as soon as the cock crows: So he 17 From that time the boy was healarose, and went.
ed by the power of the Lord Christ, and 4 And as he was considering with he began to sing praises, and give thanks himself about his journey, the morning to the Lord who had healed him. came upon him.
18 When his father saw him restored.