thee the good news; and My Father hath sent Me for the salvation of the world.’"

Of course Muhammad could not represent Christ as using the words which this apocryphal Gospel attributes to Him, for in the Qur'an the Divine Sonship of Christ is everywhere denied. Therefore, while believing and stating that Jesus spoke when an infant in the cradle, Muhammad in his account has put into His mouth words which seemed to him more suitable and more consonant with Islam. Otherwise the story is the same.

The style of the Arabic of this apocryphal Gospel, however, is so bad that it is hardly possible to believe that it dates from Muhammad's time. As, however, Arabic has never been supposed to be the language in which the work was composed, this is a matter of little or no consequence. From a study of the book there seems little room for doubt that it has been translated into Arabic from the Coptic, in which language it may have been composed. This explains in what way Muhammad most probably became acquainted with the legend. For it is a well-known fact that the Christian governor of Egypt sent him a present of two Coptic girls, one of whom, "Mary the Copt," became one of his favourite concubines. This girl, though not well acquainted with the Gospel, must doubtless have known so popular a legend as that contained in the "Gospel of the Infancy" at that time was. Muhammad probably learnt the tale


from her, and, fancying it to be contained in the Gospels universally accepted by Christians as of Divine authority, he on that account incorporated it into the Qur'an. Of course it is possible that he had others besides Mary who told him Coptic legends, but, whoever his informant or informants may have been, it is clear that the source of the story of the miracle is the one we have mentioned.

Now the Arabic "Gospel of the Infancy" is one of a number of apocryphal works of late or of uncertain date, which were never by any Christian sect regarded as inspired. Others of the same class which have left their mark upon the Qur'an are the "Gospel of Thomas the Israelite," the "Protevangelium of James", the "Gospel of Nicodemus" (otherwise called the "Gesta Pilati"), and the "Narrative of Joseph of Arimathaea." Muhammad, as has been already observed, seems to have had a peculiar gift for discovering unreliable sources of information, for he never appears to quote one which is merely of doubtful authority. These books and others like them, though very popular among ignorant Christians then and even in later times, can hardly be said to have been intended to impose on any one, they are so manifestly religious romances. They dealt with matters concerning which much curiosity was very naturally felt, and were therefore welcomed by men who did not care to inquire whether what they read was true or false. They were quite contented to believe