Nativity of the Virgin Mary

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Nativity of the Virgin MaryThe Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew
Translation by Saint Jerome

Nativity of the Virgin Mary

History of Joseph the Carpenter

Infancy of Jesus Christ - Apocrypal Gospel of Thomas

[Translated by Alexander Walker, Esq., one of Her Majesty's Inspectors of Schools for Scotland.]

HERE beginneth the book of the Birth of the Blessed Mary and the Infancy of the Saviour. Written in Hebrew by the Blessed Evangelist Matthew, and translated into Latin by the Blessed Presbyter Jerome.

To their well-beloved brother Jerome the Presbyter, Bishops Cromatius and Heliodorus in the Lord, greeting.

The birth of the Virgin Mary, and the nativity and infancy of our Lord
Jesus Christ, we find in apocryphal books. But considering that in them
many things contrary to our faith are written, we have believed that they
ought all to be rejected, lest perchance we should transfer the joy of
Christ to Antichrist. (1) While, therefore, we were considering these
things, there came holy men, Parmenius and Varinus, who said that your
Holiness had found a Hebrew volume, written by the hand of the most blessed
Evangelist Matthew, in which also the birth of the virgin mother herself,
and the infancy of our Saviour, were written. And accordingly we entreat
your affection by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, to render it from the
Hebrew into Latin, (2) not so much for the attainment of those things which
are the insignia of Christ, as for the exclusion of the craft of heretics,
who, in order to teach bad doctrine, have mingled their own lies with the
excellent nativity of Christ, that by the sweetness of life they might hide
the bitterness of death. It will therefore become your purest piety, either
to listen to us as your brethren entreating, or to let us have as bishops
exacting, the debt of affection which you may deem due.

REPLY TO THEIR LETTER BY JEROME.

To my lords the holy and most blessed Bishops Cromatius and Heliodorus,
Jerome, a humble servant of Christ, in the Lord greeting.

He who digs in ground where he knows that there is gold, (3) does not
instantly snatch at whatever the uptorn trench may pour forth; but, before
the stroke of the quivering spade raises aloft the glittering mass, he
meanwhile lingers over the sods to turn them over and lift them up, and
especially he who has not added to his gains. An arduous task is enjoined
upon me, since what your Blessedness has commanded me, the holy Apostle and
Evangelist Matthew himself did not write for the purpose of publishing. For
if he had not done it somewhat secretly, he would have added it also to his
Gospel which he published. But he composed this book in Hebrew; and so
little did he publish it, that at this day the book written in Hebrew by
his own hand is in the possession of very religious men, to whom in
successive periods of time it has been handed down by those that were
before them. And this book they never at any time gave to any one to
translate. And so it came to pass, that when it was published by a disciple
of Manichaeus named Leucius, who also wrote the falsely styled Acts of the
Apostles, this book afforded matter, not of edification, but of perdition;
and the opinion of the Synod in regard to it was according to its deserts,
that the ears of the Church should not be open to it. Let the snapping of
those that bark against us now cease; for we do not add this little book to
the canonical writings, but we translate what was written by an Apostle and
Evangelist, that we may disclose the falsehood of heresy. In this work,
then, we obey the commands of pious bishops as well as oppose impious
heretics. It is the love of Christ, therefore, which we fulfil, believing
that they will assist us by their prayers, who through our obedience attain
to a knowledge of the holy infancy of our Saviour.

There is extant another letter to the same bishops, attributed to Jerome: -
-

You ask me to let you know what I think of a book held by some to be
about the nativity of St. Mary. And so I wish you to know that there is
much in it that is false. For one Seleucus, who wrote the Sufferings of the
Apostles, composed this book. But, just as he wrote what was true about
their powers, and the miracles they worked, but said a great deal that was
false about their doctrine; so here too he has invented many untruths out
of his own head. I shall take care to render it word for word, exactly as
it is in the Hebrew, since it is asserted that it was composed by the holy
Evangelist Matthew, and written in Hebrew, and set at the head of his
Gospel. Whether this be true or not, I leave to the author of the preface
and the trustworthiness of the writer: as for myself, I pronounce them
doubtful; I do not affirm that they are clearly false. But this I say
freely--and I think none of the faithful will deny it -- that, whether
these stories be true or inventions, the sacred nativity of St. Mary was
preceded by great miracles, and succeeded by the greatest; and so by those
who believe that God can do these things, they can be believed and read
without damaging their faith or imperilling their souls. In short, so far
as I can, following the sense rather than the words of the writer, and
sometimes walking in the same path, though not in the same footsteps,
sometimes digressing a little, but still keeping the same road, I shall in
this way keep by the style of the narrative, and shall say nothing that is
not either written there, or might, following the same train of thought,
have been written.

Nativity of the Virgin Mary 

    CHAP. 1. (1) -- In those days there was a man in Jerusalem, Joachim by
name, of the tribe of Judah. He was the shepherd of his own sheep, fearing
the Lord in integrity and singleness of heart. He had no other care than
that of his herds, from the produce of which he supplied with food all that
feared God, offering double gifts in the fear of God to all who laboured in
doctrine, and who ministered unto Him. Therefore his lambs, and his sheep,
and his wool, and all things whatsoever he possessed, he used to divide
into three portions: one he gave to the orphans, the widows, the strangers,
and the poor; the second to those that worshipped God; and the third he
kept for himself and all his house. (2) And as he did so, the Lord
multiplied to him his herds, so that there was no man like him in the
people of Israel. This now he began to do when he was fifteen years old.
And at the age of twenty he took to wife Anna, the daughter of Achar, of
his own tribe, that is, of the tribe of Judah, of the family of David. And
though they had lived together for twenty years, he had by her neither sons
nor daughters. (3)

    CHAP. 2. -- And it happened that, in the time of the feast, among those
who were offering incense to the Lord, Joachim stood getting ready his
gifts in the sight of the Lord. And the priest, Ruben by name, coming to
him, said: It is not lawful for thee to stand among those who are doing
sacrifice to God, because God has not blessed thee so as to give thee seed
in lsrael. Being therefore put to shame in the sight of the people, he
retired from the temple of the Lord weeping, and did not return to his
house, but went to his flocks, taking with him his shepherds into the
mountains to a far country, so that for five months his wife Anna could
hear no tidings of him. And she prayed with tears, saying: O Lord, most
mighty God of Israel, why hast Thou, seeing that already Thou hast not
given me children, taken from me my husband also? Behold, now five months
that I have not seen my husband; and I know not where he is tarrying; (4)
nor, if I knew him to be dead, could I bury him. And while she wept
excessively, she entered into the court of His house; and she fell on her
face in prayer, and poured out her supplications before the Lord. After
this, rising from her prayer, and lifting her eyes to God, she saw a
sparrow's nest in a laurel tree, (5) and uttered her voice to the Lord with
groaning, and said: Lord God Almighty, who hast given offspring to every
creature, to beasts wild and tame, to serpents, and birds, and fishes, and
they all rejoice over their young ones, Thou hast shut out me alone from
the gift of Thy benignity. For Thou, O God, knowest my heart, that from the
beginning of my married life I have vowed that, if Thou, O God, shouldst
give me  son or daughter, I would offer them to Thee in Thy holy temple.
And while she was thus speaking, suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared
before her, saying: Be not afraid, Anna, for there is seed for thee in the
decree of God; and all generations even to the end shall wonder at that
which shall be born of thee. And when he had thus spoken, he vanished out
of her sight. But she, in fear and dread because she had seen such a sight,
and heard such words, at length went into her bed-chamber, and threw
herself on the bed as if dead. And for a whole day and night she remained
in great trembling and in prayer. And after these things she called to her
her servant, and said to her: Dost thou see me deceived in my widowhood and
in great perplexity, and hast thou been unwilling to come in to me? Then
she, with a slight murmur, thus answered and said: If God hath shut up thy
womb, and hath taken away thy husband from thee, what can I do for thee?
And when Anna heard this, she lifted up her voice, and wept aloud.

    CHAP. 3. -- At the same time there appeared a young man on the
mountains to Joachim while he was feeding his flocks, and said to him: Why
dost thou not return to thy wife? And Joachim said: I have had her for
twenty years, and it has not been the will of God to give me children by
her. I have been driven with shame and reproach from the temple of the
Lord: why should I go back to her, when I have been once cast off and
utterly despised? Here then will I remain with my sheep; and so long as in
this life God is willing to grant me light, I shall willingly, by the hands
of my servants, bestow their portions upon the poor, and the orphans, and
those that fear God. And when he had thus spoken, the young man said to
him: I am an angel of the Lord, and I have to-day appeared to thy wife when
she was weeping and praying, and have consoled her; and know that she has
conceived a daughter from thy seed, and thou in thy ignorance of this hast
left her. She will be in the temple of God, and the Holy Spirit shall abide
in her; and her blessedness shall be greater than that of all the holy
women, so that no one can say that any before her has been like her, or
that any after her in this world will be so. Therefore go down from the
mountains, and return to thy wife, whom thou wilt find with child. For God
hath raised up seed in her, and for this thou wilt give God thanks; and her
seed shall be blessed, and she herself shall be blessed, and shall be made
the mother of eternal blessing. Then Joachim adored the angel, and said to
him: If I have found favour in thy sight, sit for a little in my tent, and
bless thy servant. (1) And the angel said to him: Do not say servant, but
fellow-servant; for we are the servants of one Master. (2) But my food is
invisible, and my drink cannot be seen by a mortal. Therefore thou oughtest
not to ask me to enter thy tent; but if thou wast about to give me
anything, (3) offer it as a burnt-offering to the Lord. Then Joachim took a
lamb without spot, and said to the angel: I should not have dared to offer
a burnt-offering to the Lord, unless thy command had given me the priest's
right of offering. (4) And the angel said to him: I should not have invited
thee to offer unless I had known the will of the Lord. And when Joachim was
offering the sacrifice to God, the angel and the odour of the sacrifice
went together straight up to heaven with the smoke. (5)

    Then Joachim, throwing himself on his face, lay in prayer from the
sixth hour of the day even until evening. And his lads and hired servants
who were with him saw him, and not knowing why he was lying down, thought
that he was dead; and they came to him, and with difficulty raised him from
the ground. And when he recounted to them the vision of the angel, they
were struck with great fear and wonder, and advised him to accomplish the
vision of the angel without delay, and to go back with all haste to his
wife. And when Joachim was turning over in his mind whether he should go
back or not, it happened that he was overpowered by a deep sleep; and,
behold, the angel who had already appeared to him when awake, appeared to
him in his sleep, saying: I am the angel appointed by God as thy guardian:
go down with confidence, and return to Anna, because the deeds of mercy
which thou and thy wife Anna have done have been told in the presence of
the Most High; and to you will God give such fruit as no prophet or saint
has ever had from the beginning, or ever will have. And when Joachim awoke
out of his sleep, he called all his herdsmen to him, and told them his
dream. And they worshipped the Lord, and said to him: See that thou no
further despise the words of the angel. But rise and let us go hence, and
return at a quiet pace, feeding our flocks.

    And when, after thirty days occupied in going back, they were now near
at hand, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Anna, who was standing
and praying, and said: (6) Go to the gate which is called Golden, (7) and
meet thy husband in the way, for to-day he will come to thee. She therefore
went towards him in haste With her maidens, and, praying to the Lord, she
stood a  long time in the gate waiting for him. And when she was wearied
with long waiting, she lifted up  her eyes and saw Joachim afar off coming
with his flocks; and she ran to him and hung on his neck, giving thanks to
God, and saying: I was a widow, and behold now I am not so: I was barren,
and behold I have now conceived. And so they worshipped the Lord, and went
into their own house. And when this was heard of, there was great joy among
all their neighbours and acquaintances, so that the whole land of lsrael
congratulated them.

    CHAP. 4. --After these things, her nine months being fulfilled, Anna
brought forth a daughter, and called her Mary. And having weaned her in her
third year, Joachim, and Anna his wife, went together to the temple of the
Lord to offer sacrifices to God, and placed the infant, Mary by name, in
the community of virgins, in which the virgins remained day and night
praising God. And when she was put down before the doors of the temple, she
went up the fifteen steps (1) so swiftly, that she did not look back at
all; nor did she, as children are wont to do, seek for her parents.
Whereupon her parents, each of them anxiously seeking for the child, were
both alike astonished, until they found her in the temple, and the priests
of the temple themselves wondered.

    CHAP. 5. -- Then Anna, filled with the Holy Spirit, said before them
all: The Lord Almighty, the God of Hosts, being mindful of His word, hath
visited His people with a good and holy visitation, to bring down the
hearts of the Gentiles who were rising against us, and turn them to
Himself. He hath opened His ears to our prayers: He hath kept away from us
the exulting of all our enemies. The barren hath become a mother, and hath
brought forth exultation and gladness to lsrael. Behold the gifts which I
have brought to offer to my Lord, and mine enemies have not been able to
hinder me. For God hath turned their hearts to me, and Himself hath given
me everlasting joy.

    CHAP. 6. -- And Mary was held in admiration by all the people of
Israel; and when she was three years old, she walked with a step so mature,
she spoke so perfectly, and spent her time so assiduously in the praises of
God, that all were astonished at her, and wondered; and she was not
reckoned a young infant, but as it were a grown-up person of thirty years
old. She was so constant in prayer, and her appearance was so beautiful and
glorious, that scarcely any one could look into her face. And she occupied
herself constantly with her wool-work, so that she in her tender years
could do all that old women were not able to do. And this was the order
that she had set for herself: (2) From the morning to the third hour she
remained in prayer; from  the third to the ninth she was occupied with her
weaving; and from the ninth she again applied herself to prayer. She did
not retire from praying  until there appeared to her the angel of the Lord,
from whose hand she used to receive food; and thus she became more and more
perfect in the work of God. Then, when the older virgins rested from the
praises of God, she did not rest at all; so that in the praises and vigils
of God none were found before her, no one more learned in the wisdom of the
law of God, more lowly in humility, more elegant in singing, more perfect
in all virtue. She was indeed stedfast, immoveable, unchangeable, and daily
advancing to perfection. No one saw her angry, nor heard her speaking evil.
All her speech was so full of grace, that her God was acknowledged to be in
her tongue. She was always engaged in prayer and in searching the law, and
she was anxious lest by any word of hers she should sin with regard to her
companions. Then she was afraid lest in her laughter, or the sound of her
beautiful voice, she should commit any fault, or lest, being elated, she
should display any wrong-doing or haughtiness to one of her equals. (3) She
blessed God without intermission; and lest perchance, even in her
salutation, she might cease from praising God; if any one saluted her, she
used to answer by way of salutation: Thanks be to God. And from her the
custom first began of men saying, Thanks be to God, when they saluted each
other. She refreshed herself only with the food which she daily received
from the hand of the angel; but the food which she obtained from the
priests she divided among the poor. The angels of God were often seen
speaking with her, and they most diligently obeyed her. If any one who was
unwell touched her, the same hour he went home cured.

    CHAP. 7. -- Then Abiathar the priest offered gifts without end to the
high priests, in order that he might obtain her as wife to his son. But
Mary forbade them, saying: It cannot be that I should know a man, or that a
man should know me. For all the priests and all her relations  kept saying
to her: God is worshipped in children and adored in posterity, as has
always happened among the sons of Israel. But Mary answered and said unto
them: God is worshipped in chastity, as is proved first of all. (4) For
before Abel there was none righteous among men, and he by his offerings
pleased God, and was without mercy slain by him who displeased Him. Two
crowns, therefore, he received -- of oblation and of virginity, because in
his flesh there was no pollution. Elias also, when he was in the flesh, was
taken up in the flesh, because he kept his flesh unspotted. Now I, from my
infancy in the temple of God, have learned that virginity can be
sufficiently dear to God. And so, because I can offer what is dear to God,
I have resolved in my heart that I should not know a man at all.

    CHAP. 8. -- Now it came to pass, when she was fourteen s years old, and
on this account there was occasion for the Pharisees' saying that it was
now a custom that no woman of that age should abide in the temple of God,
they fell upon the plan of sending a herald through all the tribes of
lsrael, that on the third day all should come together into the temple of
the Lord. And when all the people had come together, Abiathar the high
priest rose, and mounted on a higher step, that he might be seen and heard
by all the people; and when great silence had been obtained, he said: Hear
me, O sons of Israel, and receive my words into your ears. Ever since this
temple was built by Solomon, there have been in it virgins, the daughters
of kings and the daughters of prophets, and of high priests and priests;
and they were great, and worthy of admiration. But when they came to the
proper age they were given in marriage, and followed the course of their
mothers before them, and were pleasing to God. But a new order of life has
been found out by Mary alone, who promises that she will remain a virgin to
God. Wherefore it seems to me, that through our inquiry and the answer of
God we should try to ascertain to whose keeping she ought to be entrusted.
Then these words found favour with all the synagogue. And the lot was east
by the priests upon the twelve tribes, and the lot fell upon the tribe of
Judah. And the priest said: To-morrow let every one who has no wife come,
and bring his rod in his hand. Whence it happened that Joseph (1) brought
his rod along with the young men. And the rods having been handed over to
the high priest, he offered a sacrifice to the Lord God, and inquired of
the Lord. And the Lord said to him: Put all their rods into the holy of
holies of God, and let them remain there, and order them to come to thee on
the morrow to get back their rods; and the man from the point of whose rod
a dove shall come forth, and fly towards heaven, and in whose hand the rod,
when given back, shall exhibit this sign, to him let Mary be delivered to
be kept.

    On the following day, then, all having assembled early, and an incense-
offering having been made, the high priest went into the holy of ho-lies,
and brought forth the rods. And when he had distributed the rods, (2) and
the dove came forth out of none of them, the high priest put on the twelve
bells (3) and the sacerdotal robe; and entering into the holy of holies, he
there made a burnt-offering, and poured forth a prayer. And the angel of
the Lord appeared to him, saying: There is here the shortest rod, of which
thou hast made no account: thou didst bring it in with the rest, but didst
not take it out with  them. When thou hast taken it out, and hast given it
him whose it is, in it will appear the sign of which I spoke to thee. Now
that was Joseph's rod; and because he was an old man, he had been cast off,
as it were, that he might not receive her, but neither did he himself wish
to ask back his rod. (4) And when he was humbly standing last of all, the
high priest cried out to him with a loud voice, saying: Come, Joseph, and
receive thy rod; for we are waiting for thee. And Joseph came up trembling,
because the high priest had called him with a very loud voice. But as soon
as he stretched forth his hand, and laid hold of his rod, immediately from
the top of it came forth a dove whiter than snow, beautiful exceedingly,
which, after long flying about the roofs of the temple, at length flew
towards the heavens. Then all the people congratulated the old man, saying:
Thou hast been made blessed in thine old age, O father Joseph, seeing that
God hath shown thee to be fit to receive Mary. And the priests having said
to him, Take her, because of all the tribe of Judah thou alone hast been
chosen by God; Joseph began bashfully to address them, saying: I am an old
man, and have children; why do you hand over to me this infant, who is
younger than my grandsons? Then Abiathar the high priest said to him:
Remember, Joseph, how Dathan and Abiron and Core perished, because they
despised the will of God. So will it happen to thee, if thou despise this
which is commanded thee by God. Joseph answered him: I indeed do not
despise the will of God; but I shall be her guardian until I can ascertain
concerning the will of God, as to which of my sons can have her as his
wife. Let some virgins of her companions, with whom she may meanwhile spend
her time, be given for a consolation to her. Abiathar the high priest
answered and said: Five virgins indeed shall be given her for consolation,
until the appointed day come in which thou mayst receive her; for to no
other can she be joined in marriage.

    Then Joseph received Mary, with the other five virgins who were to be
with her in Joseph's house. These virgins were Rebecca, Sephora, Susanna,
Abigea, and Cael; to whom the high priest gave the silk, and the blue, (5)
and the fine linen, and the scarlet, and the purple, and the fine flax. For
they cast lots among themselves what each virgin should do, and the purple
for the veil of the temple of the Lord fell to the lot of Mary. And when
she had got it, those virgins said to her: Since thou art the last, and
humble, and younger than all, thou hast deserved to receive and obtain the
purple. And thus saying,  as it were in words of annoyance, they began to
call her queen of virgins. While, however, they were so doing, the angel of
the Lord appeared in the midst of them, saying: These words shall not have
been uttered by way of annoyance, but prophesied as a prophecy most true.
They trembled, therefore, at the sight of the angel, and at his words, and
asked her to pardon them, and pray for them.

    CHAP. 9.--And on the second day, while Mary was at the fountain to fill
her pitcher, the angel of the Lord appeared to her, saying: Blessed art
thou, Mary; for in thy womb thou hast prepared an habitation for the Lord.
For, lo, the light from heaven shall come and dwell in thee, and by means
of thee will shine over the whole world.

    Again, on the third day, while she was working at the purple with her
fingers, there entered a young man of ineffable beauty. And when Mary saw
him, she exceedingly feared and trembled. And he said to her: Hail, Mary,
full of grace; the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and
blessed is the fruit of thy womb. [1] And when she heard these words, she
trembled, and was exceedingly afraid. Then the angel of the Lord added:
Fear not, Mary; for thou hast found favour with God: Behold, thou shalt
conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a King, who fills not only the
earth, but the heaven, and who reigns from generation to generation.

    CHAP. 10.--While these things were doing, Joseph was occupied with his
work, house-building, in the districts by the sea-shore; for he was a
carpenter. And after nine months he came back to his house, and found Mary
pregnant. Wherefore, being in the utmost distress, he trembled and cried
out, saying: O Lord God, receive my spirit; for it is better for me to die
than to live any longer. And the virgins who were with Mary said to him:
Joseph, what art thou saying? We know that no man has touched her; we can
testify that she is still a virgin, and untouched. We have watched over
her; always has she continued with us in prayer; daily do the angels of God
speak with her; daily does she receive food from the hand of the Lord. We
know not how it is possible that there can be any sin in her. But if thou
wishest us to tell thee what we suspect, nobody but the angel of the Lord
[2] has made her pregnant. Then said Joseph: Why do you mislead me, to
believe that an angel of the Lord has made her pregnant? But it is possible
that some one has pretended to be an angel of the Lord, and has beguiled
her. And thus speaking, he wept, and said: With what face shall I look at
the temple of the Lord, or with what face shall I see the priests of God?
What am I to do? And thus saying, he thought that he would flee, and send
her away.

    CHAP. 11.-- And when he was thinking of rising up and hiding himself,
and dwelling in secret, behold, on that very night, the angel of the Lord
appeared to him in sleep, saying: Joseph, thou son of David, fear not;
receive Mary as thy wife: for that which is in her womb is of the Holy
Spirit. And she shall bring forth a son, and His name shall be called
Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. And Joseph, rising from
his sleep, gave thanks to God, and spoke to Mary and the virgins who were
with her, and told them his vision. And he was comforted about Mary,
saying: I have sinned, in that I suspected thee at all.

    CHAP. 12.--After these things there arose a great report that Mary was
with child. And Joseph was seized by the officers of the temple, and
brought along with Mary to the high priest. And he with the priests began
to reproach him, and to say: Why hast thou beguiled so great and so
glorious a virgin, who was fed like a dove in the temple by the angels of
God, who never wished either to see or to have a man, who had the most
excellent knowledge of the law of God? If thou hadst not done violence to
her, she would still have remained in her virginity. And Joseph vowed, and
swore that he had never touched her at all. And Abiathar the high priest
answered him: As the Lord liveth, I will give thee to drink of the water of
drinking of the Lord, and immediately thy sin will appear.

    Then was assembled a multitude of people which could not be numbered,
and Mary was brought to the temple. And the priests, and her relatives, and
her parents wept, and said to Mary: Confess to the priests thy sin, thou
that wast like a dove in the temple of God, and didst receive food from the
hands of an angel. And again Joseph was summoned to the altar, and the
water of drinking of the Lord was given him to drink. And when any one that
had lied drank this water, and walked seven times round the altar, God used
to show some sign in his face. When, therefore, Joseph had drunk in safety,
and had walked round the altar seven times, no sign of sin appeared in him.
Then all the priests, and the officers, and the people justified him,
saying: Blessed art thou, seeing that no charge has been found good against
thee. And they summoned Mary, and said: And what excuse canst thou have? or
what greater sign can appear in thee than the conception of thy womb, which
betrays thee? This only we require of thee, that since Joseph is pure
regarding thee, thou confess who it is that has beguiled thee. For it is
better that thy confession should betray thee, than that the wrath of God
should set a mark on thy face, and expose thee in the midst of the people.
Then Mary said, stedfastly and without trembling: O Lord God, King over
all, who knowest all secrets, if there be any pollution in me, or any sin,
or any evil desires, or unchastity, expose me in the sight of all the
people, and make me an example of punishment to all. Thus saying, she went
up to the altar of the Lord boldly, and drank the water of drinking, and
walked round the altar seven times, and no spot was found in her.

    And when all the people were in the utmost astonishment, seeing that
she was with child, and that no sign had appeared in her face, they began
to be disturbed among themselves by conflicting statements: some said that
she was holy and unspotted, others that she was wicked and defiled. Then
Mary, seeing that she was still suspected by the people, and that on that
account she did not seem to them to be wholly cleared, said in the hearing
of all, with a loud voice, As the Lord Adonai liveth, the Lord of Hosts
before whom I stand, I have not known man; but I am known by Him to whom
from my earliest years I have devoted myself. And this vow I made to my God
from my infancy, that I should remain unspotted in Him who created me, and
I trust that I shall so live to Him alone, and serve Him alone; and in Him,
as long as I shall live, will I remain unpolluted. Then they all began to
kiss her feet and to embrace her knees, asking her to pardon them for their
wicked suspicions. And she was led down to her house with exultation and
joy by the people, and the priests, and all the virgins. And they cried
out, and said: Blessed be the name of the Lord for ever, because He hath
manifested thy holiness to all His people Israel.

    CHAP. 13.--And it came to pass some little time after, that an
enrolment was made according to the edict of Caesar Augustus, that all the
world was to be enrolled, each man in his native place. This enrolment was
made by Cyrinus, the governor of Syria, [1] It was necessary, therefore,
that Joseph should enrol with the blessed Mary in Bethlehem, because to it
they belonged, being of the tribe of Judah, and of the house and family of
David. When, therefore, Joseph and the blessed Mary were going along the
road which leads to Bethlehem, Mary said to Joseph: I see two peoples
before me, the one weeping, and the other rejoicing. And Joseph answered:
Sit still on thy beast, and do not speak superfluous words. Then there
appeared before them a beautiful boy, clothed in white raiment, who-said to
Joseph: Why didst thou say that the words which Mary spoke about the two
peoples were superfluous? For she saw the people of the Jews weeping,
because they have departed from their God; and the people of the Gentiles
rejoicing, because they have now been added and made near to the Lord,
according to that which He promised to our fathers Abraham, Isaac, and
Jacob: for the time is at hand when in the seed of Abraham all nations
shall be blessed. [2]

    And when he had thus said, the angel ordered the beast to stand, for
the time when she should bring forth was at hand; and he commanded the
blessed Mary to come down off the animal, and go into a recess under a
cavern, in which there never was light, but always darkness, because the
light of day could not reach it. And when the blessed Mary had gone into
it, it began to shine with as much brightness as if it were the sixth hour
of the day. The light from God so shone in the cave, that neither by day
nor night was light wanting as long as the blessed Mary was there. And
there she brought forth a son, and the angels surrounded Him when He was
being born. And as soon as He was born, He stood upon His feet, and the
angels adored Him, saying: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace
to men of good pleasure. [3] Now, when the birth of the Lord was at hand,
Joseph had gone away to seek midwives. And when he had found them, he
returned to the cave, and found with Mary the infant which she had brought
forth. And Joseph said to the blessed Mary: I have brought thee two
midwives--Zelomi  [4] and Salome; and they are standing outside before the
entrance to the cave, not daring to come in hither, because of the
exceeding brightness. And when the blessed Mary heard this, she smiled; and
Joseph said to her: Do not smile; but prudently allow them to visit thee,
in case thou shouldst require them for thy cure. Then she ordered them to
enter. And when Zelomi had come in, Salome having stayed without, Zelomi
said to Mary: Allow me to touch thee. And when she had permitted her to
make an examination, the midwife cried out with a loud voice, and said:
Lord, Lord Almighty, mercy on us! It has never been heard or thought of,
that any one should have her breasts full of milk, and that the birth of a
son should show his mother to be a virgin. But there has been no spilling
of blood in his birth, no pain in bringing him forth. A virgin has
conceived, a virgin has brought forth, and a virgin she remains. And
hearing these words, Salome said: Allow me to handle thee, and prove
whether Zelomi have spoken the truth. And the blessed Mary allowed her to
handle her. And when she had withdrawn her hand from handling her, it dried
up, and through excess of pain she began to weep bitterly, and to be in
great distress, crying out, and saying: O Lord God, Thou knowest that I
have always feared Thee, and that without recompense I have cared for all
the poor; I have taken nothing from the widow and the orphan, and the needy
have I not sent empty away. And, behold, I am made wretched because of mine
unbelief, since without a cause I wished to try Thy virgin.

    And while she was thus speaking, there stood by her a young man in
shining garments, saying: Go to the child, and adore Him, and touch Him
with thy hand, and He will heal thee, because He is the Saviour of the
world, and of all that hope in Him. And she went to the child with haste,
and adored Him, and touched the fringe of the cloths in which He was
wrapped, and instantly her hand was cured. And going forth, she began to
cry aloud, and to tell the wonderful things which she had seen, and which
she had suffered, and how she had been cured; so that many through her
statements believed.

    And some shepherds also affirmed that they had seen angels singing a
hymn at midnight, praising and blessing the God of heaven, and saying:
There has been born the Saviour of all, who is Christ the Lord, in whom
salvation shall be brought back to Israel. [1]

    Moreover, a great star, larger than any that had been seen since the
beginning of the world, shone over the cave from the evening till the
morning. And the prophets who were in Jerusalem said that this star pointed
out the birth of Christ, who should restore the promise not only to Israel,
but to all nations.

    CHAP. 14.--And on the third day after the birth of our Lord Jesus
Christ, the most blessed Mary went forth out of the cave, and entering a
stable, placed the child in the stall, and the ox and the ass adored Him.
Then was fulfilled that which was said by Isaiah the prophet, saying: The
ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib. [2] The very animals,
therefore, the ox and the ass, having Him in their midst, incessantly
adored Him. Then was fulfilled that which was said by Abacuc the prophet,
saying: [3] Between two animals thou art made manifest. In the same place
Joseph remained with Mary three days.

    CHAP. 15.--And on the sixth day they entered Bethlehem, where they
spent the seventh day. And on the eighth day they circumcised the child,
and called His name Jesus; for so He was called by the angel before He was
conceived in the womb. [4] Now, after the days of the purifiation of Mary
were fulfilled according to the law of Moses, then Joseph took the infant
to the temple of the Lord. And when the infant had received parhithomus,
[5]--parhithomus, that is, circumcision--they offered for Him a pair of
turtle-doves, or two young pigeons. [6]

    Now there was in the temple a man of God, perfect and just, whose name
was Symeon, a hundred and twelve years old. He had received the answer from
the Lord, that he should not taste of death till he had seen Christ, the
Son of God, living in the flesh. And having seen the child, he cried out
with a loud voice, saying: God hath visited His people, and the Lord hath
fulfilled His promise. And he made haste, and adored Him. And after this he
took Him up into his cloak and kissed His feet, and said: Lord, now lettest
Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word: for mine eyes have
seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all
peoples, to be a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people
Israel. [7]

    There was also in the temple of the Lord, Anna, a prophetess, the
daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher, who had lived with her husband
seven years from her virginity; and she had now been a widow eighty-four
years. And she never left the temple of the Lord, but spent her time in
fasting and prayer. She also likewise adored the child, saying: In Him is
the redemption of the world. [8]

    CHAP. 16.--And when the second year was past, [9] Magi came from the
east to Jerusalem, bringing great gifts. And they made strict inquiry of
the Jews, saying: Where is the king who has been born to you? for we have
seen his star in the east, and have come to worship him. And word of this
came to King Herod, and so alarmed him that he called together the scribes
and the Pharisees, and the teachers of the people, asking of them where the
prophets had foretold that Christ should be born. And they said: In
Bethlehem of Judah. For it is written: And thou Bethelehem, in the land of
Judah, art by no means the least among the princes of Judah; for out of
thee shall come forth a Leader who shall rule my people Israel. [1] Then
King Herod summoned the magi to him, and strictly inquired of them when the
star appeared to them. Then, sending them to Bethlehem, he said: Go and
make strict inquiry about the child; and when ye have found him, bring me
word again, that I may come and worship him also. And while the magi were
going on their way, there appeared to them the star, which was, as it were,
a guide to them, going before them until they came to where the child was.
And when the magi saw the star, they rejoiced with great joy; and going
into the house, they saw the child Jesus sitting in His mother's lap. Then
they opened their treasures, and presented great gifts to the blessed Mary
and Joseph. And to the child Himself they offered each of them a piece of
gold. [2] And likewise one gave gold, another frankincense, and the third
myrrh. [3] And when they were going to return to King Herod, they were
warned by an angel in their sleep not to go back to Herod; and they
returned to their own country by another road. [4]

    CHAP. 17--And when Herod [5] saw that he had been made sport of by the
magi, his heart swelled with rage, and he sent through all the roads,
wishing to seize them and put them to death. But when he could not find
them at all; he sent anew to Bethlehem and all its borders, and slew all
the male children whom he found of two years old and under, according to
the time that he had ascertained from the magi. [6]

    Now the day before this was done Joseph was warned in his sleep by the
angel of the Lord, who said to him: Take Mary and the child, and go into
Egypt by the way of the desert. And joseph went according to the saying of
the angel. [7]

    CHAP. 18.--And having come to a certain cave, and wishing to rest in
it, the blessed [8] Mary dismounted from her beast, and sat down with the
child Jesus in her bosom. And there were with Joseph three boys, and with
Mary a girl, going on the journey along with them. And, lo, suddenly there
came forth from the cave many dragons; and when the children saw them, they
cried out in great terror. Then Jesus went down  from the bosom of His
mother, and stood on His feet before the dragons; and they adored Jesus,
and thereafter retired. Then was fulfilled that which was said by David the
prophet, saying: Praise the Lord from the earth, ye dragons; ye dragons,
and all ye deeps [9] And the young child Jesus, walking before them,
commanded them to hurt no man. But Mary and Joseph were very much afraid
lest the child should be hurt by the dragons. And Jesus said to them: Do
not be afraid, and do not consider me to be a little child; for I am and
always have been perfect; and all the beasts of the forest must needs be
tame before me.

    CHAP. 19.--Lions and panthers adored Him likewise, and accompanied them
in the desert. Wherever Joseph and the blessed Mary went, they went before
them showing them the way, and bowing their heads; and showing their
submission by wagging their tails, they adored Him with great reverence.
Now at first, when Mary saw the lions and the panthers, and various kinds
of wild beasts, coming about them, she was very much afraid. But the infant
Jesus looked into her face with a joyful countenance, and said: Be not
afraid, mother; for they come not to do thee harm, but they make haste to
serve both thee and me. With these words He drove all fear from her heart.
And the lions kept walking with them, and with the oxen, and the asses, and
the beasts of burden which carried their baggage, and did not hurt a single
one of them, though they kept beside them; but they were tame among the
sheep and the rams which they had brought with them from Judaea, and which
they had with them. They walked among wolves, and feared nothing; and no
one of them was hurt by another. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken
by the prophet: Wolves shall feed with lambs; the lion and the ox shall eat
straw together. [10] There were together two oxen drawing a waggon with
provision for the journey, and the lions directed them in their path.

    CHAP. 20.-- And it came to pass on the third day of their journey,
while they were walking, that the blessed Mary was fatigued by the
excessive heat of the sun in the desert; and seeing a palm tree, she said
to Joseph: Let me rest a little under the shade of this tree. Joseph
therefore made haste, and led her to the palm, and made her come down from
her beast. And as the blessed Mary was sitting there, she looked up to the
foliage of the palm, and saw it full of fruit, and said to Joseph: I wish
it were possible to get some of the fruit of this palm. And Joseph said to
her: I wonder that thou sayest this, when thou seest how high the palm tree
is; and that thou thinkest of eating of its fruit. I am thinking more of
the want of water, because the skins are now empty, and we have none
wherewith to refresh ourselves and our cattle. Then the child Jesus, with a
joyful countenance, reposing in the bosom of His mother, said to the palm:
O tree, bend thy branches, and refresh my mother with thy fruit. And
immediately at these words the palm bent its top down to the very feet of
the blessed Mary; and they gathered from it fruit, with which they were all
refreshed. And after they had gathered all its fruit, it remained bent
down, waiting the order to rise from Him who bad commanded it to stoop.
Then Jesus said to it: Raise thyself, O palm tree, and be strong, and be
the companion of my trees, which are in the paradise of my Father; and open
from thy roots a vein of water which has been hid in the earth, and let the
waters flow, so that we may be satisfied from thee. And it rose up
immediately, and at its root there began to come forth a spring  of water
exceedingly clear and cool and sparkling. And when they saw the spring of
water, they rejoiced with great joy, and were satisfied, themselves and all
their cattle and their beasts. Wherefore they gave thanks to God.

    CHAP. 21. -- And on the day after, when they were setting out thence,
and in the hour in which they began their journey, Jesus turned to the
palm, and said: This privilege I give thee, O palm tree, that one of thy
branches be carried away by my angels, and planted in the paradise of my
Father. And this blessing I will confer upon thee, that it shall be said of
all who conquer in any contest, You have attained the palm of victory. And
while He was thus speaking, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared, and
stood upon the palm tree; and taking off one of its branches, flew to
heaven with the branch in his hand. And when they saw this, they fell on
their faces, and became as it were dead. And Jesus said to them: Why are
your hearts possessed with fear? Do you not know that this palm, which I
have caused to be transferred to paradise, shall be prepared for all the
saints in the place of delights, as it has been prepared for us in this
place of the wilderness? And they were filled with joy; and being
strengthened, they all rose up.

    CHAP. 22.--After this, while they were going on their journey, Joseph
said to Jesus: Lord, it is a boiling heat; if it please Thee, let us go by
the sea-shore, that we may be able to rest in the cities on the coast.
Jesus said to him: Fear not, Joseph; I will shorten the way for you, so
that what you would have taken thirty days to go over, you shall accomplish
in this one day. And while they were thus speaking, behold, they looked
forward, and began to see the mountains and cities of Egypt.

    And rejoicing and exulting, they came into the regions of Hermopolis,
and entered into a certain city of Egypt which is called Sotinen; [1] and
because they knew no one there from whom they could ask hospitality, they
went into a temple which was called the Capitol of Egypt. And in this
temple there had been set up three hundred and fifty-five idols, [2] to
each of which on its own day divine honours and sacred rites were paid. For
the Egyptians belonging to the same city entered the Capitol, in which the
priests told them how many sacrifices were offered each day, according to
the honour in which the god was held.

    CHAP. 23.--And it came to pass, when the most blessed Mary went into
the temple with the little child, that all the idols prostrated themselves
on the ground, so that all of them were lying on their faces shattered and
broken to pieces; [3] and thus they plainly showed that they were nothing.
Then was fulfilled that which was said by the prophet Isaiah: Behold, the
Lord will come upon a swift cloud, and will enter Egypt, and all the
handiwork of the Egyptians shall be moved at His presence. [4]

    CHAP. 24.--Then Affrodosius, that governor of the city, when news of
this was brought to him, went to the temple with all his army. And the
priests of the temple, when they saw Affrodosius with all his army coming
into the temple, thought that he was making haste only to see vengeance
taken on those on whose account the gods had fallen down. But when he came
into the temple, and saw all the gods lying prostrate on their faces, he
went up to the blessed Mary, who was carrying the Lord in her bosom, and
adored Him, and said to all his army and all his friends: Unless this were
the God of our gods, our gods would not have fallen on their faces before
Him; nor would they be lying prostrate in His presence: wherefore they
silently confess that He is their Lord. Unless we, therefore, take care to
do what we have seen our gods doing, we may run the risk of His anger, and
all come to destruction, even as it happened to Pharaoh king of the
Egyptians, who, not believing in powers so mighty, was drowned in the sea,
with all his army. [5] Then all the people of that same city believed in
the Lord God through Jesus Christ.

    CHAP. 25.--After no long time the angel said to Joseph: Return to the
land of Judah, for they are dead who sought the child's life. [1]

    CHAP. 26.--And it came to pass, after Jesus had returned out of Egypt,
when He was in Galilee, and entering on the fourth year of His age, that on
a Sabbath-day He was playing with some children at the bed of the Jordan.
And as He sat there, Jesus made to Himself seven pools of clay, and to each
of them He made passages, through which at His command He brought water
from the torrent into the pool, and took it back again. Then one of those
children, a son of the devil, moved with envy, shut the passages which
supplied the pools with water, and overthrew what Jesus had built up. Then
said Jesus to him: Woe unto thee, thou son of death, thou son of Satan!
Dost thou destroy the works which I have wrought? And immediately he who
had done this died. Then with great uproar the parents of the dead boy
cried out against Mary and Joseph, saying to them: Your son has cursed our
son, and he is dead. And when Joseph and Mary heard this, they came
forthwith to Jesus, on account of the outcry of the parents of the boy, and
the gathering together of the Jews. But Joseph said privately to Mary: I
dare not speak to Him; but do thou admonish Him, and say: Why hast Thou
raised against us the hatred of the people; and why must the troublesome
hatred of men be borne by us? And His mother having come to Him, asked Him,
saying: My Lord, what was it that he did to bring about his death? And He
said: He deserved death, because he scattered the works that I had made.
Then His mother asked Him, saying: Do not so, my Lord, because all men rise
up against us. But He, not wishing to grieve His mother, with His right
foot kicked the hinder parts of the dead boy, and said to him: Rise, thou
son of iniquity  for thou art not worthy to enter into the rest of my
Father, because thou didst destroy the works which I had made. Then he who
had been dead rose up, and went away. And Jesus, by the word of His power,
brought water into the pools by the aqueduct.

    CHAP. 27.--And it came to pass, after these things, that in the sight
of all Jesus took clay froth the pools which He had made, and of it made
twelve sparrows. And it was the Sabbath when Jesus did this, and there were
very many children with Him. When, therefore, one of the Jews had seen Him
doing this, he said to Joseph: Joseph, dost thou not see the child Jesus
working on the Sabbath at what it is not  lawful for him to do? for he has
made twelve sparrows of clay. And when Joseph heard this, he reproved him,
saying: Wherefore doest thou on the Sabbath such things as are not lawful
for us to do? And when Jesus heard Joseph, He struck His hands together,
and said to His sparrows: Fly! And at the voice of His command they began
to fly. And in the sight and hearing of all that stood by, He said to the
birds: Go and fly through the earth, and through all the world, and live.
And when those that were there saw such miracles, they were filled with
great astonishment. And some praised and admired Him, but others reviled
Him. And certain of them went away to the chief priests and the heads of
the Pharisees, and reported to them that Jesus the son of Joseph had done
great signs and miracles in the sight of all the people of Israel. And this
was reported in the twelve tribes of Israel.

    CHAP. 28.--And again the son of Annas, a priest of the temple, who had
come with Joseph, holding his rod in his hand in the sight of all, with
great fury broke down the dams which Jesus had made with His own hands, and
let out the water which He had collected in them from the torrent.
Moreover, he shut the aqueduct by which the water came in, and then broke
it down. And when Jesus saw this, He said to that boy who had destroyed His
dams: O most wicked seed of iniquity! O son of death! O workshop of Satan!
verily the fruit of thy seed shall be without strength, and thy roots
without moisture, and thy branches withered, bearing no fruit. And
immediately, in the sight of all, the boy withered away, and died.

    CHAP. 29.--Then Joseph trembled, and took hold of Jesus, and went with
Him to his own house, and His mother with Him. And, behold, suddenly from
the opposite direction a boy, also a worker of iniquity, ran up and came
against the shoulder of Jesus, wishing to make sport of Him, or to hurt
Him, if he could. And Jesus said to him: Thou shall not go back safe and
sound from the way that thou goest. And immediately he fell down, and died.
And the parents of the dead boy, who had seen what happened, cried out,
saying: Where does this child come from? It is manifest that every word
that he says is true; and it is often accomplished before he speaks. And
the parents of the dead boy came to Joseph, and said to him: Take away that
Jesus from this place, for he cannot live with us in this town; or at least
teach him to bless, and not to curse. And Joseph came up to Jesus, and
admonished Him, saying: Why doest thou such things? For already many are in
grief and against thee, and hate us on thy account, and we endure the
reproaches of men because of thee. And Jesus answered and said unto Joseph:
No one is a wise son but he whom his father hath taught, according to the
knowledge of this time; and a father's curse can hurt none but evil-doers.
Then they came together against Jesus, and accused him to Joseph. When
Joseph saw this, he was in great terror, fearing the violence and uproar of
the people of Israel. And the same hour Jesus seized the dead boy by the
ear, and lifted him up from the earth in the sight of all: and they saw
Jesus speaking to him like a father to his son. And his spirit came back to
him, and he revived. And all of them wondered.

    CHAP. 30.--Now a certain Jewish schoolmaster named Zachyas[1] heard
Jesus thus speaking; and seeing that He could not be overcome, from knowing
the power that was in Him,[2] he became angry, and began rudely and
foolishly, and without fear, to speak against Joseph. And he said: Dost
thou not wish to entrust me with thy son, that he may be instructed in
human learning and in reverence? But I see that Mary and thyself have more
regard for your son than for what the elders of the people of Israel say
against him. You should have given more honour to us, the elders of the
whole church of Israel, both that he might be on terms of mutual affection
with the children, and that among us he might be instructed in Jewish
learning. Joseph, on the other hand, said to him: And is there any one who
can keep this child, and teach him? But if thou canst keep him and teach
him, we by no means hinder him from being taught by thee those things which
are learned by all. And Jesus, having heard what Zachyas had said, answered
and said unto him: The precepts of the law which thou hast just spoken of,
and all the things that thou hast named, must be kept by those who are
instructed in human learning; but I am a stranger to your law-courts,
because I have no father after the flesh. Thou who readest the law, and art
learned in it, abidest in the law; but I was before the law, But since thou
thinkest that no one is equal to thee in learning, thou shalt be taught by
me, that no other can teach anything but those things which thou hast
named. But he alone can who is worthy.[3] For when I shall be exalted on
earth, I will cause to cease all mention of your genealogy. For thou
knowest not when thou wast born: I alone know when you were born, and how
long your life on earth will be. Then all who heard these words were struck
with astonishment, and cried out: Oh! oh! oh! this marvellously great and
wonderful mystery. Never have we heard the like! Never has it been heard
from any one else, nor has it been said or at any time heard by the
prophets, or the Pharisees, or the scribes. We know whence he is sprung,
and he is scarcely five years old; and whence does he speak these words?
The Pharisees answered: We have never heard such words spoken by any other
child so young. And Jesus answered and said unto them: At this do ye
wonder, that such things are said by a child? Why, then, do ye not believe
me in those things which I have said to you? And you all wonder because I
said to you that I know when you were born. I will tell you greater things,
that you may wonder more. I have seen Abraham, whom you call your father,
and have spoken with him; and he has seen me.[4] And when they heard this
they held their tongues, nor did any of them dare to speak. And Jesus said
to them: I have been among you with children, and you have not known me; I
have spoken to you as to wise men, and you have not understood my words;
because you are younger than I am,[5] and of little faith.

    CHAP. 31--A second time the master Zachyas, doctor of the law, said to
Joseph and Mary: Give me the boy, and I shall hand him over to master Levi,
who shall teach him his letters and instruct him. Then Joseph and Mary,
soothing Jesus, took Him to the schools, that He might be taught His
letters by old Levi. And as soon as He went in He held His tongue. And the
master Levi said one letter to Jesus, and, beginning from the first letter
Aleph, said to Him: Answer. But Jesus was silent, and answered nothing.
Wherefore the preceptor Levi was angry, and seized his storax-tree rod, and
struck Him on the head. And Jesus said to the teacher Levi: Why dost thou
strike me? Thou shall know in truth, that He who is struck can teach him
who strikes Him more than He can be taught by him. For I can teach you
those very things that yon are saying. But all these are blind who speak
and hear, like sounding brass or tinkling cymbal, in which there is no
perception of those things which are meant by their sound.[6] And Jesus in
addition said to Zachyas: Every letter from Aleph even to Thet[7] is known
by its arrangement. Say thou first, therefore, what Thet is, and I will
tell thee what Aleph is. And again Jesus said to them: Those who do not
know Aleph, how can they say Thet, the hypocrites? Tell me what the first
one, Aleph, is; and I shall then believe you when you have said Beth. And
Jesus began to ask the names of the letters one by one, and said: Let the
master of the law tell us what the first letter is, or why it has many
triangles, gradate, subacute, mediate, obduced, produced, erect, prostrate,
curvistrate.[1] And when Levi heard this, he was thunderstruck at such an
arrangement of the names of the letters. Then he began in the heating of
all to cry out, and say: Ought such a one to live on the earth? Yea, he
ought to be hung on the great cross. For he can put out fire, and make
sport of other modes of punishment. I think that he lived before the flood,
and was born before the deluge. For what womb bore him? or what mother
brought him forth? or what breasts gave him suck? I flee before him; I am
not able to withstand the words from his mouth, but my heart is astounded
to hear such words. I do not think that any man can understand what he
says, except God were with him. Now I, unfortunate wretch, have given
myself up to be a laughing-stock to him. For when I thought I had a
scholar, I, not knowing him, have found my master. What shall I say? I
cannot withstand the words of this child: I shall now flee from this town,
because I cannot understand them. An old man like me has been beaten by a
boy, because I can find neither beginning nor end of what he says. For it
is no easy matter to find a beginning of himself.[2] I tell you of a
certainty, I am not lying, that to my eyes the proceedings of this boy, the
commencement of his conversation, and the upshot of his intention, seem to
have nothing in common with mortal man. Here then I do not know whether he
be a wizard or a god; or at least an angel of God speaks in him. Whence he
is, or where he comes from, or who he will turn out to be, I know not. Then
Jesus, smiling at him with a joyful countenance, said in a commanding voice
to all the sons of Israel standing by and hearing: Let the unfruitful bring
forth fruit, and the blind see, and the lame walk right, and the poor enjoy
the good things of this life, and the dead live, that each may return to
his original state, and abide in Him who is the root of life and of
perpetual sweetness. And when the child Jesus had said this, forthwith all
who had fallen under malignant diseases were restored. And they did not
dare to say anything more to Him, or to hear anything from Him.

    CHAP. 32.--After these things, Joseph and Mary departed thence with
Jesus into the city of Nazareth; and He remained there with His parents.
And on the first of the week, when Jesus was playing with the children on
the roof of a certain house, it happened that one of the children pushed
another down from the roof to the ground, and he was killed. And the
parents of the dead boy, who had not seen this, cried out against Joseph
and Mary, saying: Your son has thrown our son down to the ground, and he is
dead. But Jesus was silent, and answered them nothing. And Joseph and Mary
came in haste to Jesus.; and His mother asked Him, saying: My lord, tell me
if thou didst throw him down. And immediately Jesus went down from the roof
to the ground, and called the boy by his name, Zeno. And he answered Him:
My lord. And Jesus said to him: Was it I that threw thee down from the roof
to the ground? And he said: No, my lord. And the parents of the boy who had
been dead wondered, and honoured Jesus for the miracle that had been
wrought. And Joseph and Mary departed thence with Jesus to Jericho.

    CHAP. 33.--Now Jesus was six years old, and His mother sent Him with a
pitcher to the fountain to draw water with the children. And it came to
pass, after He had drawn the water, that one of the children came against
Him, and struck the pitcher, and broke it. But Jesus stretched out the
cloak which He had on, and took up in His cloak as much water as there had
been in the pitcher, and carried it to His mother. And when she saw it she
wondered, and reflected within herself, and laid up all these things in her
heart.[3]

    CHAP. 34.--Again, on a certain day, He went forth into the field, and
took a little wheat from His mother's barn, and sowed it Himself. And it
sprang up, and grew, and multiplied exceedingly. And at last it came to
pass that He Himself reaped it, and gathered as the produce of it three
kors,[4] and gave it to His numerous acquaintances.[5]

    CHAP. 35.--There is a road going out of Jericho and leading to the
river Jordan, to the place where the children of Israel crossed: and there
the ark of the covenant is said to have rested. And Jesus was eight years
old, and He went out of Jericho, and went towards the Jordan. And there was
beside the road, near the bank of the Jordan, a cave where a lioness was
nursing her cubs; and no one was safe to walk that way. Jesus then, coming
from Jericho, and knowing that in that cave the lioness bad brought forth
her young, went into it in the sight of all. And when the lions saw Jesus,
they ran to meet Him, and adored Him. And Jesus was sitting in the cavern,
and the lion's cubs ran hither and thither round His feet, fawning upon
Him, and sporting. And the older lions, with their heads bowed down, stood
at a distance, and adored Him, and fawned upon Him with their tails. Then
the people who were standing afar off, not seeing Jesus, said: Unless he or
his parents had committed grievous sins, he would not of his own accord
have offered himself up to the lions. And when the people were thus
reflecting within themselves, and were lying under great sorrow, behold, on
a sudden, in the sight of the people, Jesus came out of the cave, and the
lions went before Him, and the lion's cubs played with each other before
His feet. And the parents of Jesus stood afar off, with their heads bowed
down, and watched; likewise also the people stood at a distance, on account
of the lions; for they did not dare to come close to them. Then Jesus began
to say to the people: How much better are the beasts than you, seeing that
they recognise their Lord, and glorify Him; while you men, who have been
made after the image and likeness of God, do not know Him! Beasts know me,
and are tame; men see me, and do not acknowledge me.

    CHAP. 36.--After these things Jesus crossed the Jordan, in the sight of
them all, with the lions; and the water of the Jordan was divided on the
right hand and on the left.[1] Then He said to the lions, in the hearing of
all: Go in peace, and hurt no one; but neither let man injure you, until
you return to the place whence you have come forth. And they, bidding Him
farewell, not only with their gestures but with their voices, went to their
own place. But Jesus returned to His mother.

    CHAP. 37.--Now Joseph[2] was a carpenter, and used to make nothing else
of wood but ox-yokes, and ploughs, and implements of husbandry, and wooden
beds. And it came to pass that a certain young man ordered him to make for
him a couch six cubits long. And Joseph commanded his servant[3] to cut the
wood with an iron saw, according to the measure which he had sent. But he
did not keep to the prescribed measure, but made one piece of wood shorter
than the other. And Joseph was in perplexity, and began to consider what he
was to do about this. And when Jesus saw him in this state of cogitation,
seeing that it was a matter of impossibility to him, He addresses him with
words of comfort, saying: Come, let us take hold of the ends of the pieces
of wood, and let us put them together, end to end, and let us fit them
exactly to each other, and draw to us, for we shall be able to make them
equal. Then Joseph did what he was bid, for he knew that He could do
whatever He wished. And Joseph took hold of the ends of the pieces of wood,
and brought them together against the wall next himself, and Jesus took
hold of the other ends of the pieces of wood, and drew the shorter piece to
Him, and made it of the same length as the longer one. And He said to
Joseph: Go and work, and do what thou hast promised to do. And Joseph did
what he had promised.[4]

    CHAP. 38.--And it came to pass a second time, that Joseph and Mary were
asked by the people that Jesus should be taught His letters in school. They
did not refuse to do so; and according to the commandment of the elders,
they took Him to a master to be instructed in human learning. Then the
master began to teach Him in an imperious tone, saying: Say Alpha.[5] And
Jesus said to him: Do thou tell me first what Betha is, and I will tell
thee what Alpha is. And upon this the master got angry and struck Jesus;
and no sooner had he struck Him, than he fell down dead.

    And Jesus went home again to His mother. And Joseph, being afraid,
called Mary to him, and said to her: Know of a surety that my soul is
sorrowful even unto death on account of this child. For it is very likely
that at some time or other some one will strike him in malice, and he will
die. But Mary answered and said: O man of God! do not believe that this is
possible. You may believe to a certainty that He who has sent him to be
born among men will Himself guard him from all mischief, and will in His
own name preserve him from evil.

    CHAP. 39.--Again the Jews asked Mary and Joseph a third time to coax
Him to go to another master to learn. And Joseph and Mary, fearing the
people, and the overbearing of the princes, and the threats of the priests,
led Him again to school, knowing that He could learn nothing from man,
because He had perfect knowledge from God only. And when Jesus had entered
the school, led by the Holy Spirit, He took the book out of the hand of the
master who was teaching the law, and in the sight and hearing of all the
people began to read, not indeed what was written in their book; but He
spoke in the Spirit of the living God, as if a stream of water were gushing
forth from a living fountain, and the fountain remained always full. And
with such power He taught the people the great things of the living God,
that the master himself fell to the ground and adored Him. And the heart of
the people who sat and heard Him saying such things was turned into
astonishment. And when Joseph heard of this, he came running to Jesus,
fearing that the master himself was dead. And when the master saw him, he
said to him: Thou hast given me not a scholar, but a master; and who can
withstand his words? Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by the
Psalmist: The river of God is full of water: Thou hast prepared them corn,
for so is the provision for it.[1]

    CHAP. 40.--After these things Joseph departed thence with Mary and
Jesus to go into Capernaum by the sea-shore, on account of the malice of
his adversaries. And when Jesus was living in Capernaum, there was in the
city a man named Joseph, exceedingly rich. But he had wasted away under his
infirmity, and died, and was lying dead in his couch. And when Jesus heard
them in the city mourning, and weeping, and lamenting over the dead man, He
said to Joseph: Why dost thou not afford the benefit of thy favour to this
man, seeing that he is called by thy name? And Joseph answered him: How
have I any power or ability to afford him a benefit? And Jesus said to him:
Take the handkerchief which is upon thy head, and go and put it on the face
of the dead man, and say to him: Christ heal thee; and immediately the dead
man will be healed, and will rise from his couch. And when Joseph heard
this, he went away at the command of Jesus, and ran, and entered the house
of the dead man, and put the handkerchief which he was wearing on his head
upon the face of him who was lying in the couch, and said: Jesus heal thee.
And forthwith the dead man rose from his bed, and asked who Jesus was.[2]

    CHAP. 41.--And they went away from Capernaum into the city which is
called Bethlehem; and Joseph lived with Mary in his own house, and Jesus
with them. And on a certain day Joseph called to him his first-born son
James,[3] and sent him into the vegetable garden to gather vegetables for
the purpose of making broth. And Jesus followed His brother James into the
garden; but Joseph and Mary did not know this. And while James was
collecting the vegetables, a viper suddenly came out of a hole and struck
his hand,[4] and he began to cry out from excessive pain. And, becoming
exhausted, he said, with a bitter cry: Alas! alas! an accursed viper has
struck my hand. And Jesus, who was standing opposite to him, at the bitter
cry ran up to James, and took hold of his hand; and all that He did was to
blow on the hand of James, and cool it: and immediately James was healed,
and the serpent died. And Joseph and Mary did not know what had been done;
but at the cry of James, and the command of Jesus, they ran to the garden,
and found the serpent already dead, and James quite cured.

    CHAP. 42.--And Joseph having come to a feast with his sons, James,
Joseph, and Judah, and Simeon and his two daughters, Jesus met them, with
Mary His mother, along with her sister Mary of Cleophas, whom the Lord God
had given to her father Cleophas and her mother Anna, because they had
offered Mary the mother of Jesus to the Lord. And she was called by the
same name, Mary, for the consolation of her parents.[5] And when they had
come together, Jesus sanctified and blessed them, and He was the first to
begin to eat and drink; for none of them dared to eat or drink, or to sit
at table, or to break bread, until He had sanctified them, and first done
so. And if He happened to be absent, they used to wait until He should do
this. And when He did not wish to come for refreshment, neither Joseph nor
Mary, nor the sons of Joseph, His brothers, came. And, indeed, these
brothers, keeping His life as a lamp before their eyes, observed Him, and
feared Him. And when Jesus slept, whether by day or by night, the
brightness of God shone upon Him. To whom be all praise and glory for ever
and ever. Amen, amen.

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THE GOSPEL OF THE NATIVITY OF MARY

    CHAP. 1.--The blessed and glorious ever-virgin Mary, sprung from the
royal stock and family of David, born in the city of Nazareth, was brought
up at Jerusalem in the temple of the Lord. Her father was named Joachim,
and her mother Anna. Her father's house was from Galilee and the city of
Nazareth, but her mother's family from Bethlehem. Their life was guileless
and right before the Lord, and irreproachable and pious before men. For
they divided all their substance into three parts. One part they spent upon
the temple and the temple servants; another they distributed to strangers
and the poor; the third they reserved, for themselves and the necessities
of their family. Thus, dear to God, kind to men, for about twenty years
they lived in their own house, a chaste married life, without having any
children. Nevertheless they vowed that, should the Lord happen to give them
offspring, they would deliver it to the service of the Lord; on which
account also they used to visit the temple of the Lord at each of the
feasts during the year.

    CHAP. 2.--And it came to pass that the festival of the dedication[1]
was at hand; wherefore also Joachim went up to Jerusalem with some men of
his own tribe. Now at that time Issachar[2] was high priest there. And when
he saw Joachim with his offering among his other fellow-citizens, he
despised him, and spurned his gifts, asking why he, who had no offspring,
presumed to stand among those who had; saying that his gifts could not by
any means be acceptable to God, since He had deemed him unworthy of off-
spring: for the Scripture said, Cursed is every one who has not begot a
male or a female in Israel.[3] He said, therefore, that he ought first to
be freed from this curse by the begetting of children; and then, and then
only, that be should come into the presence of the Lord with his offerings.
And Joachim, covered with shame from this reproach that was thrown in his
teeth, retired to the shepherds, who were in their pastures with their
flocks; nor would he return home, test perchance he might be branded with
the same reproach by those of his own tribe, who were there at the time,
and had heard this from the priest.

    CHAP. 3.--Now, when he had been there for some time, on a certain day
when he was alone, an angel of the Lord stood by him in a great light. And
when he was disturbed at his appearance, the angel who had appeared to him
restrained his fear, saying: Fear not, Joachim, nor be disturbed by my
appearance; for I am the angel of the Lord, sent by Him to thee to tell
thee that thy prayers have been heard, and that thy charitable deeds have
gone up into His presence.[4] For He hath seen thy shame, and hath heard
the reproach of unfruitfulness which has been unjustly brought against
thee. For God is the avenger of sin, not of nature: and, therefore, when He
shuts up the womb of any one, He does so that He may miraculously open it
again; so that that which is born may be acknowledged to be not of lust,
but of the gift of God. For was it not the case that the first mother of
your nation--Sarah--was barren up to her eightieth year?[5] And,
nevertheless, in extreme old age she brought forth Isaac, to whom the
promise was renewed of the blessing of all nations. Rachel also, so
favoured of the Lord, and so beloved by holy Jacob, was long barren; and
yet she brought forth Joseph, who was not only the lord of Egypt, but the
deliverer of many nations who were ready to perish of hunger. Who among the
judges was either stronger than Samson, or more holy than Samuel? And yet
the mothers of both were barren. If, therefore, the reasonableness of my
words does not persuade thee, believe in fact that conceptions very late in
life, and births in the case of women that have been barren, are usually
attended with something wonderful. Accordingly thy wife Anna will bring
forth a daughter to thee, and thou shall call her name Mary: she shall be,
as you have vowed, consecrated to the Lord from her infancy, and she shall
be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from her mother's womb. She shall
neither eat nor drink any unclean thing, nor shall she spend her life among
the crowds of the people without, but in the temple of the Lord, that it
may not be possible either to say, or so much as to suspect, any evil
concerning her. Therefore, when she has grown up, just as she herself shall
be miraculously born of a barren woman, so in an incomparable manner she, a
virgin, shall bring forth the Son of the Most High, who shall be called
Jesus, and who, according to the etymology of His name, shall be the
Saviour of all nations. And this shall be the sign to thee of those things
which I announce: When thou shalt come to the Golden gate in Jerusalem,
thou shalt there meet Anna thy wife, who, lately anxious from the delay of
thy return, will then rejoice at the sight of thee. Having thus spoken, the
angel departed from him.

    CHAP. 4--Thereafter he appeared to Anna his wife, saying: Fear not,
Anna, nor think that it is a phantom which thou seest. For I am that angel
who has presented your prayers and alms before God; and now have I been
sent to you to announce to you that thou shalt bring forth a daughter, who
shall be called Mary, and who shall be blessed above all women. She, full
of the favour of the Lord even from her birth, shall remain three years in
her father's house until she be weaned. Thereafter, being delivered to the
service of the Lord, she shall not depart from the temple until she reach
the years of discretion. There, in fine, serving God day and night in
fastings and prayers, she shall abstain from every unclean thing; she shall
never know man, but alone, without example, immaculate, uncorrupted,
without intercourse with man, she, a virgin, shall bring forth a son; she,
His hand-maiden, shall bring forth the Lord--both in grace, and in name,
and in work, the Saviour of the world. Wherefore arise, and go up to
Jerusalem; and when thou shalt come to the gate which, because it is plated
with gold, is called Golden, there, for a sign, thou shalt meet thy
husband, for whose safety thou hast been anxious. And when these things
shall have so happened, know that what I announce shall without doubt be
fulfilled.

    CHAP. 5.--Therefore, as the angel had commanded, both of them setting
out from the place where they were, went up to Jerusalem; and when they had
come to the place pointed out by the angel's prophecy, there they met each
other. Then, rejoicing at seeing each other, and secure in the certainty of
the promised offspring, they gave the thanks due to the Lord, who exalteth
the humble. And so, having worshipped the Lord, they returned home, and
awaited in certainty and in gladness the divine promise. Anna therefore
conceived, and brought forth a daughter; and according to the command of
the angel, her parents called her name Mary.

    CHAP. 6.--And when the circle of three years had rolled round, and the
time of her weaning was fulfilled, they brought the virgin to the temple of
the Lord with offerings. Now there were round the temple, according to the
fifteen Psalms of Degrees,[1] fifteen steps going up; for, on account of
the temple having been built on a mountain, the altar of burnt-offering,
which stood outside, could not be reached except by steps. On one of these,
then, her parents placed the little girl, the blessed virgin Mary. And when
they were putting off the clothes which they had worn on the journey, and
were putting on, as was usual, others that were neater and cleaner, the
virgin of the Lord went up all the steps, one after the other, without the
help of any one leading her or lifting her, in such a manner that, in this
respect at least, you would think that she had already attained full age.
For already the Lord in the infancy of His virgin wrought a great thing,
and by the indication of this miracle foreshowed how great she was to be.
Therefore, a sacrifice having been offered according to the custom of the
law, and their vow being perfected, they left the virgin within the
enclosures of the temple, there to be educated with the other virgins, and
themselves returned home.

    CHAP. 7.--But the virgin of the Lord advanced in age and in virtues;
and though, in the words of the Psalmist, her father and mother had
forsaken her, the Lord took her up.[2] For daily was she visited by angels,
daily did she enjoy a divine vision, which preserved her from all evil, and
made her to abound in all good. And so she reached her fourteenth year; and
not only were the wicked unable to charge her with anything worthy of
reproach, but all the good, who knew her life and conversation, judged her
to be worthy of admiration. Then the high priest publicly announced that
the virgins who were publicly settled in the temple, and had reached this
time of life, should return home and get married, according to the custom
of the nation and the ripeness of their years. The others readily obeyed
this command; but Mary alone, the virgin of the Lord, answered that she
could not do this, saying both that her parents had devoted her to the
service of the Lord, and that, moreover, she herself had made to the Lord a
vow of virginity, which she would never violate by any intercourse with
man. And the high priest, being placed in great perplexity of mind, seeing
that neither did he think that the vow should be broken contrary to the
Scripture, which says, Vow and pay,[1] nor did he dare to introduce a
custom unknown to the nation, gave order that at the festival, which was at
hand, all the chief persons from Jerusalem and the neighbourhood should be
present, in order that from their advice he might know what was to be done
in so doubtful a case. And when this took place, they resolved unanimously
that the Lord should be consulted upon this matter. And when they all bowed
themselves in prayer, the high priest went to consult God in the usual way.
Nor had they long to wait: in the hearing of all a voice issued from the
oracle and from the mercy-seat, that, according to the prophecy of Isaiah,
a man should be sought out to whom the virgin ought to be entrusted and
espoused. For it is clear that Isaiah says: A rod shall come forth from the
root of Jesse, and a flower shall ascend from his root; and the Spirit of
the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the
spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of wisdom and piety; and he
shall be filled with the spirit of the fear of the Lord.[2] According to
this prophecy, therefore, he predicted that all of the house and family of
David that were unmarried and fit for marriage should bring there rods to
the altar; and that he whose rod after it was brought should produce a
flower, and upon the end of whose rod the Spirit of the Lord should settle
in the form of a dove, was the man to whom the virgin ought to be entrusted
and espoused.

    CHAP. 8.--Now there was among the rest Joseph, of the house and family
of David, a man of great age: and when all brought there rods, according to
the order, he alone withheld his. Wherefore, when nothing in conformity
with the divine voice appeared, the high priest thought it necessary to
consult God a second time; and He answered, that of those who had been
designated, he alone to whom the virgin ought to be espoused had not
brought his rod. Joseph, therefore, was found out. For when he had brought
his rod, and the dove came from heaven; and settled upon the top of it, it
clearly appeared to all that he was the man to whom the virgin should be
espoused. Therefore, the usual ceremonies of betrothal having been gone
through, he went back to the city of Bethlehem to put his house in order,
and to procure things necessary for the marriage. But Mary, the virgin of
the Lord, with seven other virgins of her own age, and who had been weaned
at the same time, whom she had received from the priest, returned to the
house of her parents in Galilee.

    CHAP. 9.--And in those days, that is, at the time of her first coming
into Galilee, the angel Gabriel was sent to her by God, to announce to her
the conception of the Lord, and to explain to her the manner and order of
the conception. Accordingly, going in, he filled the chamber where she was
with a great light; and most courteously saluting her, he said: Hail, Mary!
O virgin highly favoured by the Lord, virgin full of grace, the Lord is
with thee; blessed art thou above all women, blessed above all men that
have been hitherto born.[3] And the virgin, who was already well acquainted
with angelic faces, and was not unused to the light from heaven, was
neither terrified by the vision of the angel, nor astonished at the
greatness of the light, but only perplexed by his words; and she began to
consider of what nature a salutation so unusual could be, or what it could
portend, or what end it could have. And the angel, divinely inspired,
taking up this thought, says: Fear not, Mary, as if anything contrary to
thy chastity were hid under this salutation. For in choosing chastity, thou
hast found favour with the Lord; and therefore thou, a virgin, shalt
conceive without sin, and shalt bring forth a son. He shall be great,
because He shall rule from sea to sea, and from the river even to the ends
of the earth;[4] and He shall be called the Son of the Most High, because
He who is born on earth in humiliation, reigns in heaven in exaltation; and
the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He shall
reign in the house of Jacob for ever, and of His kingdom there shall be no
end;[5] forasmuch as He is King of kings and Lord of lords,[6] and His
throne is from everlasting to everlasting. The virgin did not doubt these
words of the angel; but wishing to know the manner of it, she answered: How
can that come to pass? For while, according to my vow, I never know man,
how can I bring forth without the addition of man's seed? To this the angel
says: Think not, Mary, that thou shalt conceive in the manner of mankind:
for without any intercourse with man, thou, a virgin, wilt conceive; thou,
a virgin, wilt bring forth; thou, a virgin, wilt nurse: for the Holy Spirit
shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow
thee,[7] without any of the heats of lust; and therefore that which shall
be born of thee shall alone be holy, because it alone, being conceived and
born without sin, shall be called the Son of God. Then Mary stretched forth
her hands, and raised her eyes to heaven, and said: Behold the hand-maiden
of the Lord, for I am not worthy of the name of lady; let it be to me
according to thy word.

    It will be long, and perhaps to some even tedious, if we insert in this
little work every thing which we read of as having preceded or followed the
Lord's nativity: wherefore, omitting those things which have been more
fully written in the Gospel, let us come to those which are held to be less
worthy of being narrated.

    CHAP. 10.--Joseph therefore came from Judaea into Galilee, intending to
marry the virgin who had been betrothed to him; for already three months
had elapsed, and it was the beginning of the fourth since she had been
betrothed to him. In the meantime, it was evident from her shape that she
was pregnant, nor could she conceal this from Joseph. For in consequence of
his being betrothed to her, coming to her more freely and speaking to her
more familiarly, he found out that she was with child. He began then to be
in great doubt and perplexity, because he did not know what was best for
him to do. For, being a just man, he was not willing to expose her; nor,
being a pious man, to injure her fair fame by a suspicion of fornication.
He came to the conclusion, therefore, privately to dissolve their contract,
and to send her away secretly. And while he thought on these things,
behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying: Joseph,
thou son of David, fear not; that is, do not have any suspicion of
fornication in the virgin, or think any evil of her; and fear not to take
her as thy wife: for that which is begotten in her, and which now vexes thy
soul, is the work not of man, but of the Holy Spirit. For she alone of all
virgins shall bring forth the Son of God, and thou shalt call His name
Jesus, that is, Saviour; for He shall save His people from their sins.
Therefore Joseph, according to the command of the angel, took the virgin as
his wife; nevertheless he knew her not, but took care of her, and kept her
in chastity.[1] And now the ninth month from her conception was at hand,
when Joseph, taking with him his wife along with what things he needed,
went to Bethlehem, the city from which he came. And it came to pass, while
they were there, that her days were fulfilled that she should bring forth;
and she brought forth her first-born son, as the holy evangelists have
shown, our Lord Jesus Christ, who with the Father and the Son[2] and the
Holy Ghost lives and reigns God from everlasting to everlasting.

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The History of Joseph the Carpenter

    IN the name of God, of one essence and three persons.

    The History of the death of our father, the holy old man, Joseph the
carpenter.

    May his blessings and prayers preserve us all, O brethren! Amen.

    His whole life was one hundred and eleven years, and his departure from
this world happened on the twenty-sixth of the month Abib, which answers to
the month Ab. May his prayer preserve us! Amen. And, indeed, it was our
Lord Jesus Christ Himself who related this history to His holy disciples on
the Mount of Olives, and all Joseph's labour, and the end of his days. And
the holy apostles have preserved this conversation, and have left it
written down in the library at Jerusalem. May their prayers preserve us!
Amen.[1]

    1. It happened one day, when the Saviour, our Master, God, and Saviour
Jesus Christ, was sitting along with His disciples, and they were all
assembled on the Mount of Olives, that He said to them: O my brethren and
friends, sons of the Father who has chosen you from all men, you know that
I have often told you that I must be crucified, and must die for the
salvation of Adam and his posterity, and that I shall rise from the dead.
Now I shall commit to you the doctrine of the holy gospel formerly
announced to you, that you may declare it. throughout the whole world. And
I shall endow you with power from on high, and fill you with the Holy
Spirit.[2] And you shall declare to all nations repentance and remission of
sins.[3] For a single cup of water,[4] if a man shall find it in the world
to come, is greater and better than all the wealth of this whole world. And
as much ground as one foot can occupy in the house of my Father, is greater
and more excellent than all the riches of the earth. Yea, a single hour in
the joyful dwelling of the pious is more blessed and more precious than a
thousand years among sinners:[5] inasmuch as their weeping and lamentation
shall not come to an end, and their tears shall not cease, nor shall they
find for themselves consolation and repose at any time for ever. And now, O
my honoured members, go declare to all nations, tell them, and say to them:
Verily the Saviour diligently inquires into the inheritance which is due,
and is the administrator of justice. And the angels will cast down their
enemies, and will fight for them in the day of conflict. And He will
examine every single foolish and idle word which men speak, and they shall
give an account of it.[6] For as no one shall escape death, so also the
works of every man shall be laid open on the day of judgment, whether they
have been good or evil.[7] Tell them also this word which I have said to
you to-day: Let not the strong man glory in his strength, nor the rich man
in his riches; but let him who wishes to glory, glory in the Lord.[8]

    2. There was a man whose name was Joseph, sprung from a family of
Bethlehem, a town of Judah, and the city of King David. This same man,
being well furnished with wisdom and learning, was made a priest in the
temple of the Lord. He was, besides. skilful in his trade, which was that
of a carpenter; and after the manner of all men, he married a wife.
Moreover, he begot for himself sons and daughters, four sons, namely, and
two daughters. Now these are their names--Judas, Justus, James, and Simon.
The names of the two daughters were Assia and Lydia. At length the wife of
righteous Joseph, a woman intent on the divine glory in all her works,
departed this life. But Joseph, that righteous man, my father after the
flesh, and the spouse of my mother Mary, went away with his sons to his
trade, practising the art of a carpenter.

    3. Now when righteous Joseph became a widower, my mother Mary, blessed,
holy, and pure, was already twelve years old. For her parents offered her
in the temple when she was three years of age, and she remained in the
temple of the Lord nine years. Then when the priests saw that the virgin,
holy and God-fearing, was growing up, they spoke to each other, saying: Let
us search out a man, righteous and pious, to whom Mary may be entrusted
until the time of her marriage; lest, if she remain in the temple, it
happen to her as is wont to happen to women, and lest on that account we
sin, and God be angry with us.

    4. Therefore they immediately sent out, and assembled twelve old men of
the tribe of Judah. And they wrote down the names of the twelve tribes of
Israel. And the lot fell upon the pious old man, righteous Joseph. Then the
priests answered, and said to my blessed mother: Go with Joseph, and be
with him till the time of your marriage. Righteous Joseph therefore
received my mother, and led her away to his own house. And Mary found James
the Less in his father's house, broken-hearted and sad on account of the
loss of his mother, and she brought him up. Hence Mary was called the
mother of James.[1] Thereafter Joseph left her at home, and went away to
the shop where he wrought at his trade of a carpenter. And after the holy
virgin had spent two years in his house her age was exactly fourteen years,
including the time at which he received her.

    5. And I chose her of my own will, with the concurrence of my Father,
and the counsel of the Holy Spirit. And I was made flesh of her, by a
mystery which transcends the grasp of created reason. And three months
after her conception the righteous man Joseph returned from the place where
he worked at his trade; and when he found my virgin mother pregnant, he was
greatly perplexed, and thought of sending her away secretly.[2] But from
fear, and sorrow, and the anguish of his heart, he could endure neither to
eat nor drink that day.

    6. But at mid-day there appeared to him in a dream the prince of the
angels, the holy Gabriel, furnished with a command from my Father; and he
said to him: Joseph, son of David, fear not to take Mary as thy wife: for
she has conceived of the Holy Spirit; and she will bring forth a son, whose
name shall be called Jesus. He it is who shall rule all nations with a rod
of iron.[3] Having thus spoken, the angel departed from him. And Joseph
rose from his sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord had said to him; and
Mary abode with him.[4]

    7. Some time after that, there came forth an order from Augustus Caesar
the king, that all the habitable world should be enrolled, each man in his
own city. The old man therefore, righteous Joseph, rose up and took the
virgin Mary and came to Bethlehem, because the time of her bringing forth
was at hand. Joseph then inscribed his name in the list; for Joseph the son
of David, whose spouse Mary was, was of the tribe of Judah. And indeed
Mary, my mother, brought me forth in Bethlehem, in a cave near the tomb of
Rachel the wife of the patriarch Jacob, the mother of Joseph and Benjamin.

    8. But Satan went and told this to Herod the Great, the father of
Archelaus. And it was this same Herod[5] who ordered my friend and relative
John to be beheaded. Accordingly he searched for me diligently, thinking
that my kingdom was to be of this world.[6] But Joseph, that pious old man,
was warned of this by a dream. Therefore he rose and took Mary my mother,
and I lay in her bosom. Salome[7] also was their fellow-traveller. Having
therefore set out from home, he retired into Egypt, and remained there the
space of one whole year, until the hatred of Herod passed away.

    9. Now Herod died by the worst form of death, atoning for the shedding
of the blood of the children whom he wickedly cut off, though there was no
sin in them. And that impious tyrant Herod being dead, they returned into
the land of Israel, and lived in a city of Galilee which is called
Nazareth. And Joseph, going back to his trade of a carpenter, earned his
living by the work of his hands; for, as the law of Moses had commanded, he
never sought to live for nothing by another's labour.[8]

    10. At length, by increasing years, the old man arrived at a very
advanced age. He did not, however, labour under any bodily weakness, nor
had his sight failed, nor had any tooth perished from his mouth. In mind
also, for the whole time of his life, he never wandered; but like a boy he
always in his business displayed youthful vigour, and his limbs remained
unimpaired, and free from all pain. His life, then, in all, amounted to one
hundred and eleven years, his old age being prolonged to the utmost limit.

    11. Now Justus and Simeon, the eider sons of Joseph, were married, and
had families of their own. Both the daughters were likewise married, and
lived in their own houses. So there remained in Joseph's house, Judas and
James the Less, and my virgin mother. I moreover dwelt along with them, not
otherwise than if I had been one of his sons. But I passed all my life
without fault. Mary I called my mother, and Joseph father, and I obeyed
them in all that they said; nor did I ever contend against them, but
complied with their commands, as other men whom earth produces are wont to
do; nor did I at any time arouse their anger, or give any word or answer in
opposition to them. On the contrary, I cherished them with great love, like
the pupil of my eye.

    12. It came to pass, after these things, that the death of that old
man, the pious Joseph, and his departure from this world, were approaching,
as happens to other men who owe their origin to this earth. And as his body
was verging on dissolution, an angel of the Lord informed him that his
death was now close at hand. Therefore fear and great perplexity came upon
him. So he rose up and went to Jerusalem; and going into the temple of the
Lord, he poured out his prayers there before the sanctuary, and said:

    13. O God! author of all consolation, God of all compassion, and Lord
of the whole human race; God of my soul, body, and spirit; with
supplications I reverence thee, O Lord and my God. If now my days are
ended, and the time draws near when I must leave this world, send me, I
beseech Thee, the great Michael, the prince of Thy holy angels: let him
remain with me, that my wretched soul may depart from this afflicted body
without trouble, without terror and impatience. For great fear and intense
sadness take hold of all bodies on the day of their death, whether it be
man or woman, beast wild or tame, or whatever creeps on the ground or flies
in the air. At the last all creatures under heaven in whom is the breath of
life are struck with horror, and their souls depart from their bodies with
strong fear and great depression. Now therefore, O Lord and my God, let Thy
holy angel be present with his help to my soul and body, until they shall
be dissevered from each other. And let not the face of the angel, appointed
my guardian from the day of my birth,[1] be turned away from me; but may he
be the companion of my journey even until he bring me to Thee: let his
countenance be pleasant and gladsome to me, and let him accompany me in
peace. And let not demons of frightful aspect come near me in the way in
which I am to go, until I come to Thee in bliss. And let not the
doorkeepers hinder my soul from entering paradise. And do not uncover my
sins, and expose me to condemnation before Thy terrible tribunal. Let not
the lions rush in upon me; nor let the waves of the sea of fire overwhelm
my soul--for this must every soul pass through[2]--before I have seen the
glory of Thy Godhead. O God, most righteous Judge, who in justice and
equity wilt judge mankind, and wilt render unto each one according to his
works, O Lord and my God, I beseech Thee, be present to me in Thy
compassion, and enlighten my path that I may come to Thee; for Thou art a
fountain overflowing with all good things, and with glory for evermore.
Amen.

    14. It came to pass thereafter, when he returned to his own house in
the city of Nazareth, that he was seized by disease, and had to keep his
bed. And it was at this time that he died, according to the destiny of all
mankind. For this disease was very heavy upon him, and he had never been
ill, as he now was, from the day of his birth. And thus assuredly it
pleased Christ[3] to order the destiny of righteous Joseph. He lived forty
years unmarried; thereafter his wife remained under his care forty-nine
years, and then died. And a year after her death, my mother, the blessed
Mary, was entrusted to him by the priests, that he should keep her until
the time of her marriage. She spent two years in his house; and in the
third year of her stay with Joseph, in the fifteenth year of her age, she
brought me forth on earth by a mystery which no creature can penetrate or
understand, except myself, and my Father and the Holy Spirit, constituting
one essence with myself.[4]

    15. The whole age of my father, therefore, that righteous old man, was
one hundred and eleven years, my Father in heaven having so decreed. And
the day on which his soul left his body was the twenty-sixth of the month
Abib. For now the fine gold began to lose its splendour, and the silver to
be worn down by use--I mean his understanding and his wisdom. He also
loathed food and drink, and lost all his skill in his trade of carpentry,
nor did he any more pay attention to it. It came to pass, then, in the
early dawn of the twenty-sixth day of Abib, that Joseph, that righteous old
man, lying in his bed, was giving up his unquiet soul. Wherefore he opened
his mouth with many sighs, and struck his hands one against the other, and
with a loud voice cried out, and spoke after the following manner:--

    16. Woe to the day on which I was born into the world! Woe to the womb
which bare me! Woe to the bowels which admitted me! Woe to the breasts
which suckled me! Woe to the feet upon which I sat and rested! Woe to the
hands which carried me and reared me until I grew up!(1) For I was
conceived in iniquity, and in sins did my mother desire me.(2) Woe to my
tongue and my lips, which have brought forth and spoken vanity, detraction,
falsehood, ignorance, derision, idle tales, craft, and hypocrisy! Woe to
mine eyes, which have looked upon scandalous things! Woe to mine ears,
which have delighted in the words of slanderers! Woe to my hands, which
have seized what did not of right belong to them! Woe to my belly and my
bowels, which have lusted after food unlawful to be eaten! Woe to my
throat, which like a fire has consumed all that it found! Woe to my feet,
which have too often walked in ways displeasing to God! Woe to my body; and
woe to my miserable soul, which has already turned aside from God its
Maker! What shall I do when I arrive at that place where I must stand
before the most righteous Judge, and when He shall call me to account for
the works which I have heaped up in my youth? Woe to every man dying in his
sins! Assuredly that same dreadful hour, which came upon my father
Jacob,(3) when his soul was flying forth from his body, is now, behold,
near at hand for me. Oh! how wretched I am this day, and worthy of
lamentation! But God alone is the disposer of my soul and body; He also
will deal with them after His own good pleasure.

    17. These are the words spoken by Joseph, that righteous old man. And
I, going in beside him, found his soul exceedingly troubled, for he was
placed in great perplexity. And I said to him: Hail! my father Joseph, thou
righteous man; how is it with thee? And he answered me: All hail! my well-
beloved son. Indeed, the agony and fear of death have already environed me;
but as soon as I heard Thy voice, my soul was at rest. O Jesus of Nazareth!
Jesus, my Saviour! Jesus, the deliverer of my soul! Jesus, my protector!
Jesus! O sweetest name in my mouth, and in the mouth of all those that love
it! O eye which seest, and ear which hearest, hear me! I am Thy servant;
this day I most humbly reverence Thee, and before Thy face I pour out my
tears. Thou art altogether my God; Thou art my Lord, as the angel has told
me times without number, and especially on that day when my soul was driven
about with perverse thoughts about the pure and blessed Mary, who was
carrying Thee in her womb, and whom I was thinking of secretly sending
away. And while I was thus meditating, behold, there appeared to me in my
rest angels of the Lord, saying to me in a wonderful mystery: O Joseph,
thou son of David, fear not to take Mary as thy wife; and do not grieve thy
soul, nor speak unbecoming words of her conception, because she is with
child of the Holy Spirit, and shall bring forth a son, whose name shall be
called Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins. Do not for this
cause wish me evil, O Lord! for I was ignorant of the mystery of Thy birth.
I call to mind also, my Lord, that day when the boy died of the bite of the
serpent. And his relations wished to deliver Thee to Herod, saying that
Thou hadst killed him; but Thou didst raise him from the dead, and restore
him to them. Then I went up to Thee, and took hold of Thy hand, saying: My
son, take care of thyself. But Thou didst say to me in reply: Art thou not
my father after the flesh? I shall teach thee who I am.(4) Now therefore, O
Lord and my God, do not be angry with me, or condemn me on account of that
hour. I am Thy servant, and the son of Thine handmaiden;(5) but Thou art my
Lord, my God and Saviour, most surely the Son of God.

    18. When my father Joseph had thus spoken, he was unable to weep more.
And I saw that death now had dominion over him. And my mother, virgin
undefiled, rose and came to me, saying: O my beloved son, this pious old
man Joseph is now dying. And I answered: Oh my dearest mother, assuredly
upon all creatures produced in this world the same necessity of death lies;
for death holds sway over the whole human race. Even thou, O my virgin
mother, must look for the same end of life as other mortals. And yet thy
death, as also the death of this pious man, is not death, but life enduring
to eternity. Nay more, even I must die, as concerns the body which I have
received from thee. But rise, O my venerable mother, and go in to Joseph,
that blessed old man, in order that thou mayst see what will happen as his
soul ascends from his body.

    19. My undefiled mother Mary, therefore, went and entered the place
where Joseph was. And I was sitting at his feet looking at him, for the
signs of death already appeared in his countenance. And that blessed old
man raised his head, and kept his eyes fixed on my face; but he had no
power of speaking to me, on account of the agonies of death, which held him
in their grasp. But he kept fetching many sighs. And I held his hands for a
whole hour; and he turned his face to me, and made signs for me not to
leave him. Thereafter I put my hand upon his breast, and perceived his soul
now near his throat, preparing to depart from its receptacle.

    20. And when my virgin mother saw me touching his body, she also
touched his feet. And finding them already dead and destitute of heat, she
said to me: O my beloved son, assuredly his feet are already beginning to
stiffen, and they are as cold as snow. Accordingly she summoned his sons
and daughters, and said to them: Come, as many as there are of you, and go
to your father; for assuredly he is now at the very point of death. And
Assia, his daughter, answered and said: Woe's me, O my brothers, this is
certainly the same disease that my beloved mother died of. And she lamented
and shed tears; and all Joseph's other children mourned along with her. I
also, and my mother Mary, wept along with them.(1)

    21. And turning my eyes towards the region of the south, I saw Death
already approaching, and all Gehenna with him, closely attended by his army
and his satellites; and their clothes, their faces, and their mouths poured
forth flames. And when my father Joseph saw them coming straight to him,
his eyes dissolved in tears, and at the same time he groaned after a
strange manner. Accordingly, when I saw the vehemence of his sighs, I drove
back Death and all the host of servants which accompanied him. And I called
upon my good Father, saying:--

    22. O Father of all mercy, eye which seest, and ear which hearest,
hearken to my prayers and supplications in behalf of the old man Joseph;
and send Michael, the prince of Thine angels, and Gabriel, the herald of
light, and all the light of Thine angels, and let their whole array walk
with the soul of my father Joseph, until they shall have conducted it to
Thee. This is the hour in which my father has need of compassion. And I say
unto you, that all the saints, yea, as many men as are born in the world,
whether they be just or whether they be perverse, must of necessity taste
of death.

    23. Therefore Michael and Gabriel came to the soul of my father Joseph,
and took it, and wrapped it in a shining wrapper. Thus he committed his
spirit into the hands of my good Father, and He bestowed upon him peace.
But as yet none of his children knew that he had fallen asleep. And the
angels preserved his soul from the demons of darkness which were in the
way, and praised God even until they conducted it into the dwelling-place
of the pious.

    24. Now his body was lying prostrate and bloodless; wherefore I reached
forth my hand, and put right his eyes and shut his mouth, and said to the
virgin Mary: O my mother, where is the skill which he showed in all the
time that he lived in this world? Lo! it has perished, as if it had never
existed. And when his children heard me speaking with my mother, the pure
virgin, they knew that he had already breathed his last, and they shed
tears, and lamented. But I said to them: Assuredly the death of your father
is not death, but life everlasting: for he has been freed from the troubles
of this life, and has passed to perpetual and everlasting rest. When they
heard these words, they rent their clothes, and wept.

    25. And, indeed, the inhabitants of Nazareth and of Galilee, having
heard of their lamentation, flocked to them, and wept from the third hour
even to the ninth. And at the ninth hour they all went together to Joseph's
bed. And they lifted his body, after they had anointed it with costly
unguents. But I entreated my Father in  the prayer of the celestials--that
same prayer which with any own hand I made before I was carried in the womb
of the virgin Mary, my mother. And as soon as I had finished it, and
pronounced the amen, a great multitude of angels came up; and I ordered two
of them to stretch out their shining garments, and to wrap in them the body
of Joseph, the blessed old man.

    26. And I spoke to Joseph, and said: The smell or corruption of death
shall not have dominion over thee, nor shall a worm ever come forth from
thy body. Not a single limb of it shall be broken, nor shall any hair on
thy head be changed. Nothing of thy body shall perish, O my father Joseph,
but it will remain entire and uncorrupted even until the banquet of the
thousand years.(2) And whosoever shall make an offering on the day of thy
remembrance, him will I bless and recompense in the congregation of the
virgins; and whosoever shall give food to the wretched, the poor, the
widows, and orphans from the work of his hands, on the day on which thy
memory shall be celebrated, and in thy name, shall not be in want of good
things all the days of his life. And whosoever shall have given a cup of
water, or of wine, to drink to the widow or orphan in thy name, I will give
him to thee, that thou mayst go in with him to the banquet of the thousand
years. And every man who shall present an offering on the day of thy
commemoration will I bless and recompense in the church of the virgins: for
one I will render unto him thirty, sixty, and a hundred. And whosover shall
write the history of thy life, of thy labour, and thy departure from this
world, and this narrative that has issued from my mouth, him shall I commit
to thy keeping as long as he shall have to do with this life. And when his
soul departs from the body, and when he must leave this world, I will bum
the book of his sins, nor will I torment him with any punishment in the day
of judgment; but he shall cross the sea of flames, and shall go through it
without trouble or pain.(1) And upon every poor man who can give none of
those things which I have mentioned this is incumbent: viz., if a son is
born to him, he shall call his name Joseph. So there shall not take place
in that house either poverty or any sudden death for ever.

    27. Thereafter the chief men of the city came together to the place
where the body of the blessed old man Joseph had been laid, bringing with
them burial-clothes; and they wished to wrap it up in them after the manner
in which the Jews are wont to arrange their dead bodies. And they perceived
that he kept his shroud fast; for it adhered to the body in such a way,
that when they wished to take it off, it was found to be like iron--
impossible to be moved or loosened. Nor could they find any ends in that
piece of linen, which struck them with the greatest astonishment. At length
they carried him out to a place where there was a cave, and opened the
gate, that they might bury his body beside the bodies of his fathers. Then
there came into my mind the day on which he walked with me into Egypt, and
that extreme trouble which he endured on my account. Accordingly,  I
bewailed his death for a long time; and lying upon his body, I said:--

    28. O Death! who makest all knowledge to vanish away, and raisest so
many tears and lamentations, surely it is God my Father Himself who hath
granted thee this power. For men die for the transgression of Adam and his
wife Eve, and Death spares not so much as one. Nevertheless, nothing
happens to any one, or is brought upon him, without the command of my
Father. There have certainly been men who have prolonged their life even to
nine hundred years; but they died. Yea, though some of them have lived
longer, they have, notwithstanding, succumbed to the same fate; nor has any
one of them ever said: I have not tasted death. For the Lord never sends
the same punishment more than once, since it hath pleased my Father to
bring it upon men. And at the very moment when it, going forth, beholds the
command descending to it from heaven, it says: I will go forth against that
man, and will greatly move him. Then, without delay, it makes an onset on
the soul, and  obtains the mastery of it, doing with it whatever it will.
For, because Adam did not the will of my Father, but transgressed His
commandment, the wrath of my Father was kindled against him, and He doomed
him to death; and thus it was that death came into the world. But if Adam
had observed my Father's precepts, death would never have fallen to his
lot. Think you that I can ask my good Father to send me a chariot of
fire,(2) which may take up the body of my father Joseph, and convey it to
the place of rest, in order that it may dwell with the spirits? But on
account of the transgression of Adam, that trouble and violence of death
has descended upon all the human race. And it is for this cause that I must
die according to the flesh, for my work which I have created, that they may
obtain grace.

    29. Having thus spoken, I embraced the body of my father Joseph, and
wept over it; and they opened the door of the tomb, and placed his body in
it, near the body of his father Jacob. And at the time when he fell asleep
he had fulfilled a hundred and eleven years. Never did a tooth in his mouth
hurt him, nor was his eyesight rendered less sharp, nor his body bent, nor
his strength impaired; but he worked at his trade of a carpenter to the
very last day of his life; and that was the six-and-twentieth of the month
Abib.

    30. And we apostles, when we heard these things from our Saviour, rose
up joyfully, and prostrated ourselves in honour of Him, and said: O our
Saviour, show us Thy grace. Now  indeed we have heard the word of life:
nevertheless we wonder, O our Saviour, at the fate of Enoch and Elias,
inasmuch as they had not to undergo death. For truly they dwell in the
habitation of the righteous even to the present day, nor have their bodies
seen corruption. Yet that old man Joseph the carpenter was, nevertheless,
Thy father after the flesh. And Thou hast ordered us to go into all the
world and preach the holy Gospel; and Thou hast said: Relate to them the
death of my father Joseph, and celebrate to him with annual solemnity a
festival and sacred day. And whosoever shall take anything away from this
narrative, or add anything to it, commits sin.(3) We wonder especially that
Joseph, even from that day on which Thou wast born in Bethlehem, called
Thee his son after the flesh. Wherefore, then, didst Thou not make him
immortal as well as them, and Thou sayest that he was righteous and chosen?

    31. And our Saviour answered and said: Indeed, the prophecy of my
Father upon Adam, for his disobedience, has now been fulfilled. And all
things are arranged according to the will and pleasure of my Father. For if
a man rejects the commandment of God, and follows the works of the devil by
committing sin, his life is prolonged; for be is preserved in order that he
may perhaps repent, and reflect that he must be delivered into the hands of
death. But if any one has been zealous of good works, his life also is
prolonged, that, as the fame of his old age increases, upright men may
imitate him. But when you see a man whose mind is prone to anger, assuredly
his days are shortened; for it is these that are taken away in the flower
of their age. Every prophecy, therefore, which my Father has pronounced
concerning the sons of men, must be fulfilled in every particular. But with
reference to Enoch and Elias, and how they remain alive to this day,
keeping the same bodies with which they were born; and as to what concerns
my father Joseph, who has not been allowed as well as they to remain in the
body: indeed, though a man live in the world many myriads of years,
nevertheless at some time or other he is compelled to exchange life for
death. And I say to you, O my brethren, that they also, Enoch and Elias,(1)
must towards the end of time return into the world and die--in the day,
namely, of commotion, of terror, of perplexity, and affliction. For
Antichrist will slay four bodies, and will pour out their blood like water,
because of the reproach to which they shall expose him, and the ignominy
with which they, in their lifetime, shall brand him when they reveal his
impiety.

    32. And we said: O our Lord, our God and Saviour, who are those four
whom Thou hast said Antichrist will cut off from the reproach they bring
upon him? The Lord answered: They are Enoch, Elias, Schila, and Tabitha.(2)
When we heard this from our Saviour, we rejoiced and exulted; and we
offered all glory and thanksgiving to the Lord God, and our Saviour Jesus
Christ. He it is to whom is due glory, honour, dignity, dominion, power,
and praise, as well as to the good Father with Him, and to the Holy Spirit
that giveth life, henceforth and in all time for evermore. Amen.

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