“Much more probably, however, Justin quotes from the more ancient source from which the Protevangelium and perhaps St. Luke drew their narrative. There can be little doubt that the Gospel according to the Hebrews contained an account of the birth in Bethelehem, and as it is, at least, certain that Justin quotes other particulars from it, there is fair reason to believe that he likewise found this fact [28:1] in that work.” (Vol. ii. p. 313.)
If, then, this be the Gospel from which Justin derived his account of the Nativity, it seems to have contained all the facts for which we have now to look into St. Matthew and St. Luke. It combined the testimonies of both Evangelists to the supernatural Birth of Jesus.
The principal witness.—His testimony respecting the baptism of Christ.
The next extract from Justin which I shall give is one describing our Lord’s Baptism. This account, like almost every other given in the dialogue with Trypho, is mentioned by him, not so much for its own sake, but because it gave him opportunity to show the fulfilment, or supposed fulfilment, of a prophecy—in this case the prophecy of Isaiah that the “Spirit of the Lord should rest upon Him.”
“Even at His birth He was in possession of His power; and as He grew up like all other men, by using the fitting means, He assigned its own [requirements] to each development, and was sustained by all kinds of nourishment, and waited for thirty years, more or less, until John appeared before Him as the herald of His approach, and preceded Him in the way of baptism, as I have already shown. And then, when Jesus had gone to the river Jordan, where John was baptizing, and when He had stepped into the water, a fire was kindled in the Jordan; and when He came out of the water, the Holy Ghost lighted on Him like a dove [as] the Apostles of this very Christ of ours wrote.... For when John remained (literally sat) [29:1] by the Jordan, and preached the baptism of repentance, wearing only a leathern girdle and a vesture made of camel’s hair, eating nothing but locusts and wild honey, men supposed him to be Christ; but he cried to them—’I am not the Christ, but the voice of one crying; for He that is stronger than I shall come, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear....’ The Holy Ghost, and for man’s sake, as I formerly stated, lighted on Him in the form of a dove, and there came at the same instant from the heavens a voice, which was uttered also by David when he spoke, personating Christ, what the Father would say to Him, ‘Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten Thee;’ [the Father] saying that His generation would take place for men, at the time when they would become acquainted with Him. ’Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten Thee.’” (Ch. lxxxviii.)
The author of “Supernatural Religion”