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Bible Stories and Religious Classics
by Philip P. Wells
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BIBLE STORIES AND RELIGIOUS CLASSICS

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY ANSON PHELPS STOKES, JR.

ILLUSTRATED BY BEATRICE STEVENS



1903



INTRODUCTION

There never was a time when the demand for books for young people was so great as it is to-day or when so much was being done to meet the demand. "Children's Counter," "Boys' Books," are signs which, especially at the Christmas season, attract the eye in every large book shop. Tales of adventure, manuals about various branches of nature study, historical romances, lives of heroes—in fact, almost every kind of book—is to be found in abundance, beautifully illustrated, attractively bound, well printed, all designed and written especially for the youth of our land. It is indeed an encouraging sign. It means that the child of to-day is being introduced to the world's best in literature and science and history and art in simple and gradual ways.

In the Middle Ages stories of the martyrs and legends of the Church, along with some simple form of catechetical instruction, formed the basis of a child's mental and religious training. Later, during and after the Crusades, the stories of war and the mysteries of the East increased the stock in trade for the homes of Europe; but still the horizon remained a narrow one. Even the invention of printing did not bring to the young as many direct advantages as would naturally be expected. To-day, when Christian missionaries set up a printing press in some distant island of the sea, the first books which they print in the vernacular are almost invariably those parts of the Bible, such as the Gospels and the stories of Genesis, which most appeal to the young, and, what is of special importance, they have the young directly and mainly in mind in their publishing work. This was not true a few centuries ago. The presses were, perhaps naturally and inevitably, almost exclusively occupied with books for the learned world. To be sure, the Legenda Aurea, of which I shall speak later, although not intended primarily for children, proved a great boon to them. So did the Chap Books of England. But it was not until the middle of the eighteenth century, when John Newbery set up his book shop at St. Paul's Churchyard, London, that any special attention was given by printers to the publication, in attractive form, of juvenile books. Newbery's children's books made him famous in his day, but the world seems to have forgotten him. Yet he deserves a monument along with AEsop, and La Fontaine, and Kate Greenaway, and Andersen, and Scott and Henty, and all the other greater and lesser lights who have done so much to gladden the heart and enlarge the mind of childhood and youth.

But from Newbery's day to this year of our Lord nineteen hundred and three is a very long jump in what we may call the evolution of juvenile literature, for the preparation of reading matter for young people seems now almost to have reached its climax. There is one field, however, and that the one which this volume tries to cover, which strangely enough seems to have been almost neglected. Of "goody-goody" Sunday School library books of an old-fashioned type, which are insipid and lacking both in virility of thought and literary form, there are, alas, already too many. What we need is something to take their place, something which will furnish real literature, and yet which from subject matter and manner of handling is specially adapted to what I still like to call Sunday reading, a phrase which unfortunately seems to mean little to most people to-day. Bearing this in mind, it is the purpose of this book to gather together, in attractive form, such religious classics as are specially fitted to interest and uplift young people.

There is a wide variety in so far as subject matter, source and form are concerned, but a certain unity is given to the contents of the volume by the religious note, which, whether brought prominently forward or not, is found alike in all the selections.

The Bible has furnished directly or indirectly most of the subject matter here used. The biographies of various Scripture characters appear in large numbers. Adam and Noah head the list, and Peter and Paul bring up the end of a procession of worthies whose heroic deeds as the servants of Jehovah will always appeal to the imagination of youthful minds. But it is not with Bible characters only that this book deals. The lives of Christian saints who entered upon their inheritance, such as Christopher and Sylvester and Francis of Assisi, also have their place, while yet more prominent are stories and poems based on some Bible incidents. Even selections such as Hawthorne's Great Stone Face or Wordsworth's Ode to Duty have their roots deep in the Bible, for they can be understood and explained only by those who know the Revelation it contains. In so far, then, as the subject matter of the volume is concerned, either it or its inspiration can always be traced back to the Bible.

When we turn from the Bible material which, as we have seen, supplies both subject and inspiration, to the source from which the selections in their literary form as here given are derived, we find that the old foundations have sufficed for many kinds of structure. Probably the source from which the editor has drawn most largely is the Golden Legend. This work, which was translated into English and printed by Caxton in 1483, although little heard of now, was for several centuries a household word in Christendom. It was the creation of a Genoese Archbishop, Jacobus de Voragine, and dates from about the middle of the thirteenth century. The good Archbishop, using the Bible and the Lives of the Saints as a basis, and as a sharer of the superstitions of the time having unbounded faith in every legend of the Church, put together in simple form for the edification of his flock the various stories about Jewish and Christian worthies which compose the original Legenda Aurea. This was translated into French by one Jean de Vignay in the fourteenth century, and the English version was in turn mainly made from this translation. In the simple, sturdy language of Caxton the book became a most popular one, being often read aloud in the Parish Churches of England, where it helped to familiarize the people, especially the young, with sacred story as represented by the heroes of the Old Testament and the saints of the Church. In Caxton's introduction there is a quaint sentence regarding the name of the book. After mentioning the Latin title, he adds "that is to say in Englyshe the golden legende for lyke as passeth golde in vallwe al other metallys, soo thys legende exedeth all other bokes." Whether the good printer's judgment be justified or no, it is not for us to say. It is true, however, that after the passing of over six centuries since its original production, the editor of this volume in looking for religious classics for young people has made more use of it than of any other collection. All honor, then, to the old Archbishop of Genoa and to William Caxton, who made his work accessible to the youth of England.

The only other work which deserves any special mention as a source for the contents of this volume, is the Stories and Tales of Hans Christian Andersen. If ever there was any one who deserved the title of the Children's Friend, surely this son of a poor Danish shoemaker is the man. His Tales have been translated into many languages, and because of their true imagination and their simplicity of expression they have appealed to all children. Ten or more of them appear in this volume. They are charming and wholesome reading, and their continued popularity makes us realize the truth of these closing lines in Andersen's The Old Grave Stones: "The good and the beautiful perish never; they live eternally in tale and song."

The other sources from which this collection has been made up are so varied as to require no mention aside from that given with each title. The Master Poets of English Literature have been freely drawn upon: Byron to tell of the Destruction of Sennacherib, Milton to sing of Christ's Nativity, Wordsworth to meditate aloud on Duty, and other great writers to emphasize various deep truths of life.

* * * * *

As we turn from subject matter and source to form, we again find great variety. Almost every kind of literature is represented. The early lengends of the Jewish people, told by the author of the Legenda Aurea almost in the words of Scripture, bring to young and old alike the same lessons about God and Duty. The fact that they are legends, rather than exact history, does not in any way lessen their religious value. Then, too, the book contains allegories, such as that of the Pilgrim's Progress, Christendom's greatest religious classic next to the Bible itself, and those of some of Andersen's Tales. Poetry also is well represented, the selections being in large part suggested by Scripture. There are in addition many stories in the ordinary sense of the word—tales which are entirely the fabric of the imagination, but which, like the selections from Hawthorne, have some great lesson to teach. In fact, the literary forms represented in this volume are almost as numerous as those of the Bible itself. The latter used to be looked upon merely as a storehouse of historic facts and devotional songs; now we see in it Legend, Oratory, Poetry, Allegory, History, Proverb and Prophecy; and we find that all of these forms are used by God's servants to teach His truth to men.

* * * * *

Sufficient has been said, I think, to show the purpose and scope of this volume and to introduce the reader to its contents. It is my hope and belief that the effort of my friend, Mr. Philip P. Wells, to make this a collection of religious classics in the full meaning of these words may prove successful. My highest wish, however, is that those who read these selections, with their great variety of source and form, may mark the inspiration of thought or incident common to them all, and may find an interest in refreshing what may be an old acquaintance with that Book of Books which gives with classic truth the fundamental subject matter for all deep thought and high aspiration.

ANSON PHELPS STOKES, JR.



CONTENTS

THE LIFE OF ADAM

HERE BEGINNETH THE HISTORY OF NOAH

THE RAINBOW

HERE FOLLOWETH THE LIFE OF ABRAHAM

HERE BEGINNETH THE LIFE OF ISAAC, WITH THE HISTORY OF ESAU AND OF JACOB

HERE BEGINNETH THE HISTORY OF JOSEPH AND HIS BRETHREN

HERE NEXT FOLLOWETH THE HISTORY OF MOSES

THE BURIAL OF MOSES

THE HISTORY OF JOSHUA

THE HISTORY OF SAUL

THE HISTORY OF DAVID

THE SONG OF DAVID

THE STORY OF A CUP OF WATER

THE HISTORY OF SOLOMON

THE HISTORY OF REHOBOAM

A LITTLE MAID

HERE FOLLOWETH THE HISTORY OF JOB

THE DESTRUCTION OF SENNACHERIB

HERE FOLLOWETH THE HISTORY OF TOBIT

HERE BEGINNETH THE STORY OF JUDITH

THE VISION OF BELSHAZZAR

A CHRISTMAS CAROL

ON THE MORNING OF CHRIST'S NATIVITY

THE BURNING BABE

A CRADLE SONG

EASTER

THE LIFE OF ST. PETER THE APOSTLE

THE LIFE OF ST. PAUL THE APOSTLE

THE LIFE OF ST. CHRISTOPHER

THE SEVEN SLEEPERS

THE LIFE OF ST. SILVESTER

OF ST. AUSTIN THAT BROUGHT CHRISTENDOM TO ENGLAND

EDWIN AND PAULINUS

THE LIFE OF ST. GEORGE, MARTYR

THE LIFE OF ST. PATRICK

OF ST. FRANCIS

SONG OF THE EMIGRANTS IN BERMUDA

LANDING OF THE PILGRIM FATHERS IN NEW ENGLAND

THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS

THE PILGRIM

THE GREAT STONE FACE

THE GENTLE BOY

THE ANGEL

THE RED SHOES

THE LOVELIEST ROSE IN THE WORLD

A VISION OF THE LAST DAY

THE OLD GRAVESTONE

GOOD-FOR-NOTHING

IN THE UTTERMOST PARTS OF THE SEA

SOMETHING

THE JEWISH GIRL

THE STORY OF A MOTHER

THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL

FLOWERS WITHOUT FRUIT

CONTENTMENT

THE SEARCH FOR PEACE

A SONG OF PRAISE

THE TRAVELLER

TRUE GREATNESS

CHARACTER OF A HAPPY LIFE

A THANKSGIVING TO GOD FOR HIS HOUSE

FRIENDS DEPARTED

THE LAND OF DREAMS

ADORATION



BIBLE STORIES AND RELIGIOUS CLASSICS



THE LIFE OF ADAM

The Sunday of Septuagesima beginneth the story of the Bible, in which is read the legend and story of Adam which followeth

In the beginning God made and created heaven and earth. The earth was idle and void and covered with darkness. And the spirit of God was borne on the waters, and God said: Be made light, and anon light was made. And God saw that light was good, and divided the light from darkness, and called the light day and darkness night.

And thus was made light with heaven and earth first, and even and morning was made one day. The second day he made the firmament, and divided the waters that were under the firmament from them that were above, and called the firmament heaven. The third day were made on the earth herbs and fruits in their kind. The fourth day God made the sun and moon and stars, etc. The fifth day he made the fishes in the water and birds in the air. The sixth day God made the beasts on the earth, every one in his kind and gender. And God saw that all these works were good and said: Make we man unto our similitude and image. Here spake the Father to the Son and Holy Ghost, or else as it were the common voice of three persons, when it was said make we, and to our, in plural number. Man was made to the image of God in his soul. Here it is to be noted that he made not only the soul with the body, but he made both body and soul. As to the body he made male and female. God gave to man the lordship and power upon living beasts. Thus in six days was heaven and earth made and all the ornation of them. And then he made the seventh day on which he rested, not for that he was weary, but ceased his operation, and showed the seventh day which he blessed. Thus he shortly showed the generations of heaven and earth, for here he determined the works of the six days and the seventh day he sanctified and made holy. God had planted in the beginning Paradise a place of desire and delices. And man was made in the field of Damascus; he was made of the slime of the earth. Paradise was made the third day of creation, and was beset with herbs, plants and trees, and is a place of most mirth and joy. In the midst whereof be set two trees, that is the tree of life, and that other the tree of knowing good and evil. And there is a well, which casteth out water for to water the trees and herbs of Paradise. This well is the mother of all waters, which well is divided into four parts. One part is called Phison. This goeth about Inde. The second is called Gijon, otherwise Nilus, and that runneth about Ethiopia, the other two be called Tigris and Euphrates. Tigris runneth toward Assyria, and Euphrates is called fruitful, which runneth in Chaldea. These four floods come and spring out of the same well, and depart, and yet in some place some of them meet again.

Then God took man from the place of his creation and brought him into Paradise, for to work there, not to labor needily, but in delighting and recreating him, and that he should keep Paradise. For like as Paradise should refresh him, so should he labor to serve God, and there God gave him a commandment. Every commandment standeth in two things, in doing or forbidding, in doing he commanded him to eat of all the trees of Paradise, in forbidding he commanded that he should not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This commandment was given to the man, and by the man it went to the woman. For when the woman was made it was commanded to them both, and hereto he set a pain, saying: Whatsoever day thou eatest thereof thou shalt die by death.

God said: It is not good a man to be alone, make we to him an helper like to himself for to bring forth children. Adam supposed that some helper to him had been among the beasts which had been like to him. Therefore God brought to Adam all living beasts of the earth and air, in which he understood them of the water also, which with one commandment all came tofore him. They were brought for two causes, one was because man should give to each of them a name, by which they should know that he should dominate over them, and the second cause was because Adam should know that there was none of them like to him. And he named them in the Hebrew tongue, which was only the language and none other at the beginning. And so none being found like unto him, God sent in Adam a lust to sleep, which was no dream, but as is supposed in an extasy or in a trance; in which was showed to him the celestial court. Wherefore when he awoke he prophesied of the conjunction of Christ to his church, and of the flood that was to come, and of the doom and destruction of the world by fire he knew, which afterward he told to his children.

Whiles that Adam slept, God took one of his ribs, both flesh and bone, and made that a woman, and set her tofore Adam. Which then said: This is now a bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; and Adam gave her a name like as her lord, and said she should be called virago, which is as much as to say as made of a man, and is a name taken of a man. And anon, the name giving, he prophesied, saying: Because she is taken of the side of a man, therefore a man shall forsake and leave father and mother and abide and be adherent unto his wife, and they shall be two in one flesh; and though they be two persons, yet in matrimony and wedlock they be but one flesh, and in other things twain. For why, neither of them had power of his own flesh. They were both naked and were not ashamed, for they stood both in the state of innocence. Then the serpent which was hotter than any beast of the earth and naturally deceivable, for he was full of the devil Lucifer, which was deject and cast out of heaven, had great envy to man that was bodily in Paradise, and knew well, if he might make him to trespass and break God's commandments, that he should be cast out also.

Yet he was afeard to be taken or espied of the man, he went to the woman, not so prudent and more prone to slide and bow. And in the form of the serpent, for then the serpent was erect as a man. Bede saith that he chose a serpent having a maiden's cheer [face], for like oft apply to like, and spake by the tongue of the serpent to Eve, and said: Why commanded you God that ye should not eat of all the trees of Paradise? This he said to find occasion to say that he was come for. Then the woman answered and said: Ne forte moriamur, lest haply we die, which she said doubting, for lightly she was flexible to every part. Whereunto anon he answered: Nay in no wise ye shall die, but God would not that ye should be like him in science, and knowing that when ye eat of this tree ye shall be as gods knowing good and evil, he as envious forbade you. And anon the woman, elate in pride and willing to be like to God, accorded thereto and believed him. The woman saw that the tree was fair to look on, and clean and sweet of savor, took and ate thereof, and gave unto Adam of the same, happily desiring him by fair words. But Adam anon agreed, for when he saw the woman not dead he supposed that God had said that they should die to fear them with, and then ate of the fruit forbidden. And anon their sight was opened that they saw their nakedness, and then anon they understood that they had trespassed. And thus they knew that they were naked, and they took fig leaves and sewed them together for to cover their members in manner of breeches.

And anon after, they heard the voice of our Lord God walking, and anon they hied him. Our Lord called the man and said: Adam, where art thou? Calling him in blaming him and not as knowing where he was, but as who said: Adam, see in what misery thou art. Which answered: I have hid me, Lord, for I am naked. Our Lord said: Who told thee that thou wert naked, but that thou hast eaten of the tree forbidden? He then not meekly confessing his trespass, but laid the fault on his wife, and on him as giver of the woman to him, and said: The woman that thou gavest to me as a fellow, gave to me of the tree, and I ate thereof. And then our Lord said to the woman: Why didst thou so? Neither she accused herself, but laid the sin on the serpent, and privily she laid the fault on the maker of him. The serpent was not demanded, for he did it not of himself, but the devil by him.

And our Lord, cursing them, began at the serpent, keeping an order and congruous number of curses. The serpent was the first and sinned most, for he sinned in three things. The woman next and sinned less than he, but more than the man, for she sinned in two things. The man sinned last and least, for he sinned but in one. The serpent had envy, he lied, and deceived, for these three he had three curses. Because he had envy at the excellence of man, it was said to him: Thou shalt go and creep on thy breast; because he lied he is punished in his mouth, when it was said: Thou shalt eat earth all the days of thy life. Also he took away his voice and put venom in his mouth. And because he deceived, it was said: I shall put enmity between thee and woman, and thy seed and her seed. She shall break thy head, etc. In two things the woman sinned, in pride and eating the fruit. Because she sinned in pride, he meeked her, saying: Thou shalt be under the power of man, and he shall have lordship over thee, and he shall put thee to affliction. Now is she subject to a man by condition and dread, which before was but subject by love; and because she sinned in the fruit, she is punished in her fruit, when it was said to her: Thou shalt bring forth children in sorrow; in the pain of sorrow standeth the curse, but in bringing forth of children is a blessing. And so, in punishing, God forgat not to have mercy. And because Adam sinned but only in eating of the fruit, therefore he was punished in seeking his meat, as it is said to him: Accursed be the earth in thy work, that is to say for thy work of thy sin, for which is made that the earth that brought forth good and wholesome fruits plenteously, from henceforth shall bring forth but seldom, and also none without man's labor, and also sometime weeds, briars, and thorns shall grow. And he added: Thereto shalt thou eat herbs of the earth, as who saith thou shalt be like a beast or jument. He cursed the earth because the trespass was of the fruit of the earth and not of the water. He added thereto to him of labor: In the sweat of thy cheer [face] thou shalt eat thy bread unto the time thou return again into the earth; that is to say till thou die, for thou art earth, and into earth thou shalt go again.

Then Adam, wailing and sorrowing the misery that was to come of his posterity, named his wife Eve, which is to say, mother of all living folk. Then God made to Adam and Eve two leathern coats of the skins of dead beasts, to the end that they bare with them the sign of mortality, and said: Lo, Adam is made as one of us, knowing good and evil, now lest he put his hand and take of the tree of life and live ever, as who saith: beware and cast him out, lest he take and eat of the tree of life. And so he was cast out of Paradise, and set in the field of Damascus where as he was made and taken from, for to work and labor there. And our Lord set Cherubim to keep Paradise of delight with a burning sword and pliant, to the end that none should enter there ne come to the tree of life.

After then that Adam was cast out of Paradise and set in the world, he engendered Cain, the fifteenth year after he was made, and his sister Calmana; but after another fifteen years was Abel born, and his sister Delbora.

When Adam was an hundred and thirty years of age, Cain slew Abel his brother. Truth it is, after many days Cain and Abel offered sacrifice and gifts unto God. It is to be believed that Adam taught his sons to offer to God their tithes and first fruits. Cain offered fruits, for he was a ploughman and tiller of earth, and Abel offered milk and the first of the lambs, Moses saith, of the fattest of the flock. And God beheld the gifts of Abel, for he and his sacrifices were acceptable to our Lord; and as to Cain his sacrifices, God beheld them not, for they were not to him acceptable, he offered withies and thorns. And as some doctors say, fire came from heaven and lighted the sacrifice of Abel, and the gifts of Cain pleased not our Lord, for the sacrifice would not belight nor burn clear in the light of God. Whereof Cain had great envy unto his brother Abel, which arose against him and slew him. And our Lord said to him: Where is Abel thy brother? He answered and said: I wot never, am I keeper of my brother? Then our Lord said: What hast thou done? The voice of the blood of thy brother crieth to thee from the earth, wherefore thou art cursed, and accursed be the earth that received the blood of thy brother by his mouth of thy hands. When thou shalt work and labor the earth it shall bring forth no fruit, but thou shalt be fugitive, vagabond, and void on the earth. This Cain deserved well to be cursed, knowing the pain of the first trespass of Adam, yet he added thereto murder and slaughter of his brother.

Then Cain, dreading that beasts should devour him, or if he went forth he should be slain of the men, or if he dwelt with them, they would slay him for his sin, damned himself, and in despair said: My wickedness is more than I can deserve to have forgiveness, whoso find me shall slay me. This he said of dread, or else wishing, as who said, would God he would slay me. Then our Lord said: Nay not so, thou shalt die, but not soon, for whosoever slayeth Cain shall be punished seven sithes more, for he should deliver him from dread, from labor and misery, and added that he should be punished personally sevenfold more. This punition shall endure to him in pain unto the seventh, Lameth, whosomever shall slay Cain shall loose seven vengeances. Some hold that his pain endured unto the seventh generation, for he committed seven sins. He departed not truly, he had envy to his brother, he wrought guilefully, he slew his brother falsely, he denied it, he despaired and damned, he did no penance. And after he went into the east, fugitive and vagabond. Cain knew his wife which bare Enoch, and he made a city and named it Enoch after the name of his son Enoch. Here it showeth well that this time were many men, though their generation be not said, whom Cain called to his city, by whose help he made it, whom he induced to theft and robbery.

He was the first that walled or made cities; dreading them that he hurted, for surety he brought his people into the towns. Then Enoch gat Irad, and Irad Mehujael, and he gat Methusael, and he gat Lameth, which was the seventh from Adam and worst, for he brought in first bigamy. This Lameth took two wives, Adah and Zilla; of Adah he gat Jabal which found first the craft to make folds for shepherds and to change their pasture, and ordained flocks of sheep, and departed the sheep from the goats after the quality, the lambs by themselves, and the older by themselves, and understood the feeding of them after the season of the year. The name of his brother was Jubal, father of singers in the harp and organs, not of the instruments, for they were found long after, but he was the finder of music, that is to say of consonants of accord, such as shepherds use in their delights and sports. And forasmuch as he heard Adam prophesy of two judgments by the fire and water, that all things should be destroyed thereby, and that his craft new found should not perish, he did do write it in two pillars or columns, one of marble, another of clay of the earth, to the end that one should endure against the water, and that other against the fire. Josephus saith that the pillar of marble is yet in the land of Syria. Of Zilla he begat Tubal-cain, which found first the craft of smithery and working of iron, and made things for war, and sculptures and gravings in metal to the pleasure of the eyes, which he so working, Tubal, tofore said, had delight in the sound of his hammers, of which he made the consonants and tunes of accord in his song. Noema, sister of Tubal-cain, found first the craft of diverse texture.

Lameth was a shooter, and used to shoot at wild beasts, for none use of the meat of them, but only for to have the skins for their clothing, and lived so long that he was blind and had a child to lead him. And on a time by adventure he slew Cain. For Cain was always afeard and hid him among bushes and briars, and the child that led Lameth had supposed it had been some wild beast and directed Lameth to shoot thereat, and so, weening to shoot at a beast, slew Cain. And when he knew that he had slain Cain, he with his bow slew the child, and thus he slew them both to his damnation; therefore as the sin of Cain was punished seven sithes, so was the sin of Lameth seventy sithes and seven. That is to say, seventy-seven souls that came of Lameth were perished in the deluge and Noah's flood; also his wife did him much sorrow, and evil-entreated him. And he being wroth said that he suffered that for his double homicide and manslaughter, yet nevertheless he feared him by pain, saying: Why will ye slay me? he shall be more and sorer punished that slayeth me, than he that slew Cain.

Josephus said that when Abel was slain and Cain fled away, Adam when he was one hundred and thirty years old engendered Seth like to his similitude, and he to the image of God. This Seth was a good man, and he gat Enos, and Enos Cainan, and Cainan begot Malaleel, and Malaleel Jared, and Jared Enoch, and Enoch Methuselah, and Methuselah Lamech, and Lamech Noah. And like as in the generation of Cain the seventh was the worst, so in the generation of Seth the seventh was the best, that was Enoch whom God took and brought him into Paradise, unto the time that he shall come with Elias for to convert the hearts of the fathers into the sons. And Adam lived after he had begotten Seth eight hundred years, and engendered sons and daughters. Some hold opinion thirty sons and thirty daughters, and some fifty of that one and fifty of that other. We find no certainty of them in the Bible. But all the days of Adam living here in earth amount to the sum of nine hundred and thirty years. And in the end of his life when he should die, it is said, but of none authority, that he sent Seth his son into Paradise for to fetch the oil of mercy, where he received certain grains of the fruit of the tree of mercy by an angel. And when he came again he found his father Adam yet alive and told him what he had done. And then Adam laughed first and then died. And then he laid the grains or kernels under his father's tongue and buried him in the vale of Hebron; and out of his mouth grew three trees of the three grains, of which trees the cross that our Lord suffered his passion on was made, by virtue of which he gat very mercy, and was brought out of darkness into very light of Heaven. To the which he bring us that liveth and reigneth God, world without end.



HERE BEGINNETH THE HISTORY OF NOAH

The First Sunday in Sexagesima

After that Adam was dead, died Eve and was buried by him. At the beginning, in the first age, the people lived long. Adam lived nine hundred and thirty years, and Methuselah lived nine hundred and sixty-nine years. S. Jerome saith that he died the same year that the flood was. Then Noah was the tenth from Adam in the generation of Seth, in whom the first age was ended. The seventy interpreters say that this first age dured two thousand two hundred and forty-four years. S. Jerome saith not fully two thousand, and Methodius full two thousand, etc.

Noah then was a man perfect and righteous and kept God's commandment. And when he was five hundred years old, he gat Shem, Ham, and Japhet. This time men began to multiply on the earth, and the children of God, that is to say of Seth, as religious, saw the daughters of men, that is to say of Cain, and took them to their wives. This time was so much sin on the earth, wherefore God was displeased and determined in his prescience to destroy man that he had made, and said: I shall put man away that I have made, and my spirit shall not abide in man for ever, for he is flesh. As who said, I shall not punish man perpetually as I do the devil, for man is frail, and yet ere I shall destroy him I shall give him space and time of repentance and to amend him, if he will. The time of repentance shall be one hundred and twenty years. Then Noah, righteous and perfect, walked with God, that is in his laws, and the earth was corrupt by sin and filled.

When God saw the earth to be corrupt, and that every man was corrupt by sin upon the earth, he said to Noah: The end of all people is come tofore me except them that shall be saved, and the earth is replenished with their wickedness. I shall destroy them with the earth, id est [that is], with the fertility of the earth. Make to thee an ark of tree, hewn, polished, and squared. And make there divers places, and lime it with clay and pitch within and without, that is to wit with glue which is so fervent, that the timber may not be loosed. And thou shalt make it three hundred cubits of length, fifty in breadth, and thirty of height. And make therein divers distinctions of places and chambers and of wardrobes. And the ark had a door for to enter in and come out, and a window was made thereon, which that the Hebrews say was of crystal. This ark was on making, from the beginning that God commanded first to make it, one hundred and twenty years. In which time Noah oft desired the people to leave their sin, and how he had spoken with God, and that he was commanded to make the ship, for God should destroy them for their sin, but if they left it. And they mocked him and said that he raved and was a fool, and gave no faith to his saying and continued in their sin and wickedness. Then, when the ark was perfectly made, God bade him to take into it of all the beasts of the earth, and also of the fowls of the air, of each two, male and female, that they may live. And also of all the meats of the earth that be comestible, that they may serve and feed thee and them. And Noah did all that our Lord commanded him. Then said our Lord to Noah: Enter thou and all thy household into the ark, that is to say thou and thy wife and thy three sons and their three wives. I have seen that thou art rightful in this generation. Of all beasts that be clean thou shalt take seven, and of unclean beasts but only two. And of the birds seven and seven, male and female, that they may be saved on the face of the earth. Yet after seven days I shall rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights, and shall destroy all the substance that I made on the earth. And Noah did all things that our Lord commanded him.

He was six hundred years old when the flood began on the earth. And then Noah entered in and his sons, his wife, and the wives of his sons, all into the ark to eschew the waters of the flood. Of all the beasts and the fowls, and of all that moved and had life on earth, male and female, Noah took in to him as our Lord had bidden. And seven days after they were entered, the water began to increase. The wells of the abysms were broken, and the cataracts of heaven were opened, that is to say the clouds, and it rained on the earth forty days and forty nights. And the ark was elevate and borne upon the waters on height above the mountains and hills, for the water was grown higher fifteen cubits above all the mountains, that it should purge and wash the filth of the air. Then was consumed all that was on the earth living, man, woman, and beast and birds. And all that ever bare life, so that nothing abode upon the earth, for the water was fifteen cubits above the highest mountain of the earth. And when Noah was entered he shut the door fast without forth, and limed it with glue.

And so the waters abode elevate in height an hundred and fifty days from the day that Noah entered in. And our Lord then remembered Noah and all them that were in the ark with him, and also on the beasts and fowls, and ceased the waters. And the wells and cataracts were closed, and the rains were prohibited, and forbidden to rain no more. The seventh month, the twenty-seventh day of the month, the ark rested on the hills of Armenia. The tenth month, of the first day of the month, the tops of the hills appeared first. After these forty days after the lessing of the waters, Noah opened the window and desired sore to have tidings of ceasing of the flood. And sent out a raven for to have tidings, and when he was gone he returned no more again, for peradventure she found some dead carrion of a beast swimming on the water, and lighted thereon to feed her and was left there. After this he sent out a dove which flew out, and when she could find no place to rest ne set her foot on, she returned unto Noah and he took her in. Yet then were not the tops of the hills bare. And seven days after he sent her out again, which at even returned, bearing a branch of an olive tree, burgeoning, in her mouth. And after other seven days he sent her again, which came no more again.

Then in the year of Noah six hundred and one, the first day of the month, Noah opened the covering of the ark and saw that the earth was dry, but he durst not go out, but abode the commandment of our Lord. The second month, the twenty-seventh day of the month, our Lord said to Noah: Go out of the ark, thou and thy wife, thy sons and the wives of thy sons. He commanded them to go conjointly out which disjointly entered, and let go out with them all the beasts and fowls living, and all the reptiles, every each after his kind and gender, to whom our Lord said: Grow ye and multiply upon the earth. Then Noah issued out and his wife, and his sons with their wives, and all the beasts, the same day a year after they entered in, every one after his gender. Noah then edified an altar to our Lord and took of all the beasts that were clean and offered sacrifice unto our Lord; and our Lord smelled the sweetness of the sacrifice and said to Noah: From henceforth I shall not curse the earth for man, for he is prone and ready to fall from the beginning of his youth. I shall no more destroy man by such vengeance. And then our Lord blessed them and said: Grow ye and multiply the earth and be ye lords of all the beasts of the earth, of the fowls of the air, and of the fishes. I have given all things to you, but eat no flesh with the blood. I command you to slay no man, nor to shed no man's blood. I have made man after mine image. Whosomever sheddeth his brother's blood, his blood shall be shed. Go ye forth and grow and multiply and fill the earth. This said our Lord to Noah and his sons: Lo! I have made a covenant with you and with them that shall come after you, that I shall no more bring such a flood to slay all people, and in token thereof I have set my rainbow in the clouds of heaven, for who that trespasseth I shall do justice otherwise on him. Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years. From the time of Adam until after Noah's flood, the time and season was alway green and tempered; and all that time men ate no flesh, for the herbs and fruits were then of great strength and effect, they were pure and nourishing. But after the flood the earth was weaker and brought not forth so good fruit, wherefore flesh was ordained to be eaten. And then Noah began to labor for his livelihood with his sons, and began to till the earth, to destroy briars and thorns and to plant vines. And so on a time Noah had drunk so much of the wine that he was drunk, and lay and slept. Ham, his middlest son, laughed and scorned his father, and called his brethren to see, which rebuked Ham of his folly and sin. And Noah awoke, and when he understood how Ham his son had scorned him, he cursed him and also his son Canaan, and blessed Shem and Japhet. All the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years and then he died. And after his death his sons dealed all the world between them, Shem had all Asia, Ham Africa, and Japhet all Europe. Thus was it departed. Asia is the best part and is as much as the other two, and that is in the east. Africa is the south part, and therein is Carthage and many rich countries, therein be blue and black men. Ham had that to his part Africa. The third part is Europe which is in the north and west, therein is Greece, Rome, and Germany. In Europe reigneth now most the christian law and faith, wherein is many a rich realm. And so was the world departed to the three sons of Noah.



THE RAINBOW

Triumphal arch, that fill'st the sky When storms prepare to part, I ask not proud Philosophy To teach me what thou art.

Still seem, as to my childhood's sight, A midway station given, For happy spirits to alight, Betwixt the earth and heaven.

Can all that optics teach, unfold Thy form to please me so, As when I dreamt of gems and gold Hid in thy radiant bow?

When science from creation's face Enchantment's veil withdraws, What lovely visions yield their place To cold material laws!

And yet, fair bow, no fabling dreams, But words of the Most High, Have told why first thy robe of beams Was woven in the sky.

When o'er the green undeluged earth Heaven's covenant thou didst shine, How came the world's gray fathers forth To watch thy sacred sign!

And when its yellow lustre smiled O'er mountains yet untrod, Each mother held aloft her child To bless the bow of God.

The earth to thee her incense yields, The lark thy welcome sings, When, glittering in the freshen'd fields, The snowy mushroom springs.

How glorious is thy girdle, cast O'er mountain, tower, and town, Or mirror'd in the ocean vast A thousand fathoms down!

As fresh in yon horizon dark, As young thy beauties seem, As when the eagle from the ark First sported in thy beam.

For, faithful to its sacred page, Heaven still rebuilds thy span; Nor lets the type grow pale with age That first spoke peace to man.

T. CAMPBELL.



HERE FOLLOWETH THE LIFE OF ABRAHAM

The Sunday called Quinquagesima is read in the church the history of the holy patriarch Abraham which was the son of Terah. This Terah was the tenth from Noah in the generation of Shem. Japhet had seven sons and Ham four sons. Out of the generation of Ham Nimrod came, which was a wicked man and cursed in his works, and began to make the tower of Babel which was great and high. And at the making of this tower, God changed the languages, in such wise that no man understood other. For tofore the building of that tower was but one manner speech in all the world, and there were made seventy-two speeches. The tower was great, it was ten miles about and five thousand and eighty-four steps of height. This Nimrod was the first man that found mawmetry and idolatry, which endured long and yet doth. Then I turn again to Terah which had three sons, which was Abram, Nahor, and Haran. Of Nahor came Us, Bus, and Batuel. Of Us came Job, of Bus came Balaam, and of Batuel Rebekah and Laban. Of Haran came Lot and two daughters, Melcha and Sara.

Now I shall speak of Abram of whom our blessed lady came. He wedded Sara, daughter of his brother Haran. Abram was ever faithful and true, he was sixty-five years old when his father died, for whom he mourned till our Lord comforted him, which said to Abram: Abram, make thee ready and go out of thy land and kindred, and also from the house of thy father, and come into the land that I shall show to thee. I shall make thee grow into much people; I shall bless thee and magnify thy name, and thou shalt be blessed, and I shall bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee, and in thee shall be blessed all the kindreds of the earth.

Abram was seventy years old when he departed from the land of Haran, and he took with him Sara his wife, and Lot the son of his brother, and their meiny [company], and his cattle and his substance, and came into the land of Canaan, and came into the vale of Sichem, in which were ill people which were the people of Canaan. And our Lord said to Abram: I shall give to thee this land and to thine heirs. Then Abram did raise an altar on which he did sacrifice, and blessed and thanked our Lord. Abram beheld all the land toward the south, and saw the beauty thereof, and found it like as our Lord told him. But he had not been long in the land but that there fell great hunger therein, wherefore he left that country and went into Egypt and took with him Sara his wife. And as they went by the way Abram said to his wife: I fear and dread sore that when we come to this people, which be lawless, that they shall take thee for thy beauty and slay me, because they would use thee. Wherefore say thou art my sister, and I thy brother, and she agreed thereto. And when they were come in to that country the people saw that she was so fair, and anon they told the king, which anon commanded that she should be brought into his presence. And when she was come, God of his good grace so purveyed for her, that no man had power to do her villany. Wherefore the king was feared that God would have taken vengeance on him for her, and sent for Abram and said to him that he should take his wife, and that he had evil done to say, that she was his sister, and so delivered her again, and gave him gold and silver, and bade that men should worship him in all his land, and he should freely at his pleasure depart with all his goods. Then after this Abram took his wife Sara and went home again, and came unto Bethel, and set there an altar of stone, and there he adored and worshipped the name of God. His store and beasts began to multiply, and Lot with his meiny was also there. And their beasts began so sore to increase and multiply, that unnethe [hardly] the country might suffice to their pasture, in so much that rumor and grudging began to sourde and arise between the herdmen of Abram and the herdmen of Lot. Then Abram said to Lot: Lo! this country is great and wide, I pray thee to choose on which hand thou wilt go, and take it for thy meiny and thy beasts. And let no strife be between me and thee, ne between my herdmen ne thy herdmen. Lo! behold all the country is tofore thee, take which thou wilt; if thou go on the right side, I shall go on the left side, and if thou take the left, I will go on the right side. Then Lot beheld the country and saw a fair plain toward flom Jordan, which was pleasant, and the flood ran toward Sodom and Gomorrah, which was like a paradise, and took that part for him. And Abram took toward the west, which was beside the people of Canaan at the foot of mount Mamre. And Lot dwelled in Sodom. The people of Sodom were worst of all people.

Our Lord said to Abram: Lift up thine eyes and see directly from the place that thou art now in, from the north to the south, and from the east to the west. All this land that thou seest I shall give thee, and to thy seed for evermore. I shall make thy seed as powder or dust of the earth, who that may number the dust of the earth shall number thy seed. Arise therefore and walk the land in length and in breadth, for I shall give it to thee. Abram moved then his tabernacle and dwelled in the valley of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and set there his tabernacle. It happened soon after that there was a war in that land, that four kings warred again other five kings, which were of Sodom, Gomorrah and other. And the four kings overthrew the five and slew them, and spoiled and took all the substance of the country and took also with them Lot and all his goods. And a man gat away from them and came to Abram, and told him how that Lot was taken and led away. And then anon Abram did do gather his people together, the number of three hundred and eighteen. And followed after, and departed his people in two parties because they should not escape. And Abram smote in among them, and slew the kings, and rescued Lot and all his goods, and delivered the men of Sodom that were taken and the women. And they of Sodom came against him, and Melchisedech came and met with him, and offered to him bread and wine. This Melchisedech was king and priest of Jerusalem and all the country, and blessed Abram. And there Abram gave to him the tythes of all he had. And the king of Sodom would that Abram should have had such prey as he took, but he would not have as much as the latchet of a shoe, and thus gat Abram much love of all the people.

After this our Lord appeared to Abram in a vision and said: Abram, dread thee nothing, I am thy protector, and thy reward and meed shall be great. Abram answered: Lord God, what wilt thou give me? Thou wottest well I have no children, and sith I have none I will well that Eleazar the son of my bailiff be my heir. Nay, said our Lord, he shall not be thine heir, but he that shall issue and come of thy seed shall be thine heir. Our Lord led him out and bade him behold the heaven, and number the stars if thou mayst, and said to him, so shall thy offspringing and seed be. And Abram believed it and gave faith to our Lord's words, and it was reputed to him to justice. And our Lord said to him, I am the Lord that led thee out of the land of Ur of the Chaldees for to give to thee this land into thy possession. And Abram said: Lord, how shall I know that I shall possess it? A voice said to Abram: Thy seed shall be exiled into Egypt by the space of four hundred years, and shall be there in servitude, and after, I shall bring them hither again in the fourth generation. Thou shalt abide here unto thy good age, and shalt be buried here, and go with thy fathers in peace. Sara was yet without child, and she had a handmaid named Hagar, an Egyptian, and she on a day said to Abram her husband: Thou seest I may bear no child, wherefore I would thou took Hagar my maid, that thou might get a child which I might keep and hold for mine. And ten year after that Abram had dwelled in that land, he took Hagar, and anon she despised her mistress. Then Sara said to Abram: Thou dost evil. My servant now hath me in despite, God judge this between thee and me. To whom Abram answered: Thine handmaid is in thine hands, chastise her as it pleaseth thee. After this Sara chastised Hagar and put her to so great affliction that she went away; and as she went an angel met with her in the wilderness by a well, and said: Hagar, whence comest and whither goest thou? She answered: I flee away from the face of my lady Sara. To whom the angel said, return again and submit thee by humbleness unto thy lady, and I shall multiply thy seed, and so much people shall come of it that it cannot be numbered for multitude. And he said furthermore: Thou shalt bear a child and shalt call him Ishmael. He shall be a fierce man, he shall be against all men, and all men against him. Then Hagar returned home and served her lady, and soon after this she was delivered of Ishmael. Abram was eighty-six years old when Ishmael was born.

When Abram was ninety-nine years, our Lord appeared to him and said: Abram, lo! I am the Lord Almighty, walk thou before me and be perfect, and I shall keep covenant between me and thee and shall multiply thy seed greatly. And Abram fell down lowting low to the earth and thanked him. Then our Lord said I AM, and my covenant I shall keep to thee, thou shalt be father of much people. Thou shalt no more be called Abram, but Abraham, for I have ordained thee father of much people. I shall make thee to increase most abundantly; kings and princes shall come of thee, and shall stablish my covenant between me and thee, and thy seed in thy generations. I shall give to thee and to thy seed after thee the land of thy pilgrimage, all the land of Canaan, into their possession and I shall be their God. Yet said God to Abraham: And thou shalt keep thy covenant to me, and thine heirs after thee in their generations, and this shall be the covenant that ye shall keep and thine heirs after thee. Every child masculine that shall be born shall be circumcised when he is eight days old. And see that the men in your generation be circumcised, begin at thyself and thy children. And all that dwell in thy kindred, who of you that shall not be circumcised shall be cast and put out for ever from my people, because he obeyeth not my statute and ordinance. And thy wife Sara shall be called no more Sara but she shall be called Sarah, and I shall bless her, and shall give to thee a son of her, whom I shall bless also. I shall him increase into nations, and kings of peoples shall come of him. Abraham fell down on his face toward the earth and laughed in his heart, saying: May it be that a woman of ninety years may bear a child? I beseech thee, Lord, that Ishmael may live before thee. Our Lord said to Abraham, Sarah shall bring forth a son whom thou shalt name Isaac, and I shall keep my covenant to him for evermore, and to his heirs after him. And I have heard thy request for Ishmael also. I shall bless him and increase, and shall multiply his seed into much people, twelve dukes shall come of him. I shall keep my covenant to Isaac, whom Sarah shall bring forth the next year.

After this on a time, as Abraham sat beside his house in the vale of Mamre in the heat of the day, and as he lift up his eyes, he saw three young men coming to him, and anon as he saw these three standing by him he ran to them and worshipped one alone; he saw three and worshipped but one. That betokeneth the Trinity, and prayed them to be harboured with him, and took water and washed their feet: and prayed them to tarry under the tree, and he would bring bread to them for to comfort them. And they bade him do as he had said, he went and bade Sarah to make three ashy cakes and sent his child for a tender fat calf, which was sodden and boiled. And he served them with butter and milk, and the calf, and set it tofore them. He stood by them, and when they had eaten they demanded him: Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said: Yonder in the tabernacle. And he said, I shall go and come again, and Sarah thy wife shall have a child. And she stood behind the door and heard it and laughed, and said softly to herself: How may it be that I should bear a child? She thought it impossible. Then said our Lord to Abraham: Why laugheth Sarah thy wife, saying in scorn, Shall I bear a child? but as I said to thee before, I shall return and come again, and she shall have a child in that time. And he asked Sarah why she smiled in scorn, and she said she smiled ne laughed not, and our Lord said, It is not so, for thou laughedst.

When they had rested Abraham conveyed them on the way. And our Lord said to Abraham: I have not hid from thee what I purpose to do. The cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is multiplied and their sin is much grievous. I shall descend and see if the sin be so great, the stench thereof cometh to heaven, I shall take vengeance and destroy them. Then Abraham said: I hope, Lord, thou wilt not destroy the just and righteous man with the wicked sinner. I beseech thee, Lord, to spare them. Our Lord said: If there be fifty good and righteous men among them, I shall spare them. And Abraham said: Good Lord, if there be found forty, I pray thee to spare them. Our Lord said: If there be forty, I shall spare them, and so from forty to thirty and from thirty to twenty and from twenty to ten, and our Lord said: If there be found ten good men among them, I shall not destroy them. And then our Lord went from Abraham, and he returned home again. That same eventide came two angels into Sodom, and Lot sat at his gate, and when he saw them he went and worshipped them and prayed them to come and rest in his house, and abide there and wash their feet. And they said: Nay, we shall abide here in the street, and Lot constrained them and brought them into his house and made a feast to them. Then said the angels to Lot: If thou have here of thy kindred, sons or daughters, all them that long to thee, lead out of this city, we shall destroy this place, for the cry thereof is come to our Lord, which hath sent us for to destroy them. Lot went unto his kinsmen and said: Arise and take your children, and go out of this city, for our Lord shall destroy it. And they supposed that he had raved or japed [jested]. And as soon as it was day the angels said to Lot: Arise, and take thy wife and thy two daughters, and go out of this town lest ye perish with them. Yet he dissimuling, they took him by the hand and his wife and two daughters, because that God should spare them, and led them out of the city. And there they said to him: Save thy soul and look not behind thee lest thou perish also, but save thee in the mountain. Lot said to them: I beseech thee, my Lord, forasmuch as thy servant hath found grace before thee, and that thou hast showed thy mercy to me, and that peradventure I might take harm on the hill, that I may go into the little city hereby and may be saved there. He said to Lot: I have heard thy prayers, and for thy sake I shall not subvert this town for which thou hast prayed, hie thee and save thyself there, for I may do nothing till thou be therein. Therefore that town is called Zoar. So Lot went in to Zoar; and the sun arose, and our Lord rained from heaven upon Sodom and Gomorrah sulphur and fire, and subverted the cities and all the dwellers of the towns about that region, and all that was there growing and burgeoning. Lot's wife turned her and looked toward the cities, and anon she was turned into a statue or image of salt, which abideth so unto this day. Abraham arose in the morning early, and looked toward the cities, and saw the smoke ascending from the places, like as it had been the light of a furnace. What time our Lord subverted these cities he remembered Abraham, and delivered Lot from the vengeance of the cities in which he dwelled. Then Lot ascended from Zoar and dwelled in the mountain, and his two daughters with him. He dreaded to abide any longer in the town, but dwelled in a cave, he and his two daughters with him.

Abraham departed from thence and went southward and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and went a pilgrimage to Gerar. He said that his wife was his sister. Abimelech the king of Gerar sent for her and took her. God came to Abimelech in his sleep and said: Thou shalt be dead for the woman that thou hast taken, she hath an husband. Abimelech said: Lord, wilt thou slay a man ignorant and rightful? She said that she was his sister, in the simpleness of my heart and cleanness of my hands I did this. And God said to him: I know well that with a simple heart thou didst it, and therefore I have kept thee from her, now yield the woman to her husband, and he shall pray for thee, he is a prophet and thou shalt live. And if thou deliver her not, thou shalt die, and all they that be in thy house. Abimelech arose up the same night and called all his servants, and told them all these words. All they dreaded sore. Also Abimelech called Abraham and said to him: What hast thou done to us, that we have trespassed to thee? Thou hast caused me and my realm to sin greatly. Thou hast done that thou shouldst not have done. What sawest thou for to do so? Abraham said: I thought that the dread of God was not in this place, and that ye would slay me for my wife; and certainly otherwise she is also my sister, the daughter of my father but not of my mother, and I have wedded her. And after that I went from the house of my father, I said to her: Wheresomever we go say thou art my sister.

Then Abimelech took sheep and oxen and servants and maidens, and gave to Abraham, and delivered to him Sarah his wife, and said: Lo! the land is here tofore thee, wheresoever thou wilt, dwell and abide. And he said to Sarah: Lo! I have given to thy brother a thousand pieces of silver, this shall be to thee a veil of thine eyes, and wheresomever thou go, remember that thou wert taken. Abraham prayed for Abimelech and his meiny [company] and God healed him, his wife and all his servants. Our Lord then visited Sarah, and she brought forth a son in her old age, that same time that God had promised. Abraham called his son that she had borne, Isaac, and when he was eight days old he circumcised him as God had commanded, and Abraham was then an hundred years old. Then said Sarah: Who would have supposed that I should give suck to my child, being so old? I laughed when I heard our Lord say so, and all they that shall hear of it may well laugh. The child grew and was weaned, and Abraham made a great feast at the day of his weaning. After this, on a day when Sarah saw the son of Hagar her handmaid play with her son Isaac, she said to Abraham: Cast out this handmaid with her son, the son of the handmaid shall not be heir with my son Isaac. Abraham took this word hard and grievously for his son. Then said God to him: Let it not be hard to thee for thy son and handmaid, whatsomever Sarah say to thee hear her voice, for in Isaac shall thy seed be called. Yet shall I make the son of the handmaid grow into great people, for he is of thy seed. Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a bottle of water, and laid it on her shoulder, and gave to her the child and let her go, which, when she was departed, erred in the wilderness of Beersheba. And when the water was consumed that was in the bottle, she left the child under a tree that was there and went thence as far as a bow shot and sat her down, and said: I shall not see my son die, and there she wept. Our Lord heard the voice of the child, and an angel called Hagar saying, What doest thou, Hagar? Be not afeard, our Lord hath heard the voice of the child from the place which he is now in. Arise and take the child and hold him by the hand, for I shall make him to increase into much people. God opened her eyes and she saw a pit of water, and anon she went and filled the bottle, and gave the child to drink, and abode with him, which grew and dwelled in the wilderness, and became there a young man and an archer, and dwelled also in the desert of Paran. And his mother took to him a wife of the land of Egypt.

That same time said Abimelech, and Phicol the prince of his host, unto Abraham: Our Lord is with thee in all things that thou doest. Swear thou by the Lord that thou grieve not me, ne them that shall come after me, ne my kindred, but after the mercy that I have showed to thee, so do to me and to my land in which thou hast dwelled as a stranger. And Abraham said, I shall swear. And he blamed Abimelech for the pit of water which his servants had taken away by strength. Abimelech answered: I know not who hath done this thing, and thou toldest me not thereof, and I never heard thereof till this day. And then after this they made covenant together, and promised each to other to be friends together.

After all these things God tempted Abraham, and said to him: Abraham, Abraham. He answered and said: I am here, and he said to him: Take thou thine only son that thou lovest, Isaac, and go into the land of Vision and offer him in sacrifice to me upon one of the hills that I shall show to thee. Then Abraham arose in the night, and made ready his ass, and took with him two young men and Isaac his son. And when they had hewn and gathered the wood together to make sacrifice, they went to the place that God commanded him. The third day after, he lift up his eyes and saw from afar the place, and he said to his children: Abide ye here with the ass, I and my son shall go to yonder place, and when we have worshipped there we shall return to you. Then he took the wood of the sacrifice and laid it on his son Isaac, and he bare in his hands fire and the sword. And as they went both together, Isaac said to his father: Father mine. What wilt thou, my son? said Abraham, and he said: Lo! here is fire and wood, where is the sacrifice that shall be offered? Abraham answered: My son, God shall provide for him a sacrifice well enough. They went forth and came to the place that God had ordained, and there made an altar, and laid the wood thereon, and took Isaac and set him on the wood on the altar, and took his sword and would have offered him up to God. And lo! the angel of God cried to him from heaven saying: Abraham, Abraham, which answered: I am here, and he said to him: Extend not thy hand upon my child, and do nothing to him, now I know that thou dreadest God, and hast not spared thine only son for me. Abraham looked behind him, and saw among the briars a ram fast by the horns, which he took, and offered him in sacrifice for his son. He called that place: The Lord seeth. The angel called Abraham the second time saying: I have sworn by myself, saith the Lord, because thou hast done this thing, and hast not spared thine only son for me, I shall bless thee and shall multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and like the gravel that is on the seaside, thy seed shall possess the gates of their enemies, and in thy seed shall be blessed all the people of the earth, for thou obeyedst to me. Abraham then returned to his servants, and went into Beersheba and dwelled there. Sarah lived an hundred and twenty-seven years and died in the city of Arba, which is Hebron in the land of Canaan; for whom Abraham made sorrow and wept, and bought of the children of Heth a field, and buried her worshipfully in a double spelunke.

Abraham was an old man, and God blessed him in all his things. He said to the eldest and upperest servant in all his house: I charge and conjure thee by the name of God of heaven and of earth that thou suffer not my son Isaac to take no wife of the daughters of Canaan amongst whom I dwell, but go into the country where my kindred is, and take of them a wife to my son. And the servant answered: If no woman there will come with me into this country, shall I bring thy son into that country from whence thou earnest? Abraham said: Beware that thou lead not my son thither. The Lord of heaven and of earth, that took me from the house of my father and from the place of my nativity, hath said and sworn to me, saying: To thy seed I shall give this land. He shall send his angel tofore thee, and thou shalt take there a wife for my son. If no woman will come with thee thou shalt not be bounden by thine oath, but in no wise lead my son thither. His servant then swore and promised to him that he would so do.

He took ten camels of the flock of his lord, and of all his goods bare with him, and went in to Mesopotamia unto the town of Nahor. And he made the camels to tarry without the town by a pit side at such time as the women be wont to come out for to draw water. And there he prayed our Lord, saying: Lord God of my lord Abraham, I beseech thee to help me this day, and do mercy unto my lord Abraham. Lo! I stand here nigh by the well of water, and the daughters of the dwellers of this town come hither for to draw water, therefore the maid to whom I say: Set down thy pot that I may drink, and then she set down her pot and say: I will give to thee drink, and to the camels, that I may understand thereby that she be the maid that thou hast ordained to thy servant Isaac, and thou showest thy mercy to my lord Abraham. He had not fully finished these words with himself, but that Rebekah, daughter of Bethuel, son of Milcah wife of Nahor, brother of Abraham, came out of the town, having a pot on her shoulder, which was a right fair maid, and much beauteous and unknown to the man. She went down to the well and filled her pot with water and returned. The servant of Abraham ran to her and said: I pray thee to give me a little of the water in thy pot for to drink. Which said: Drink, my lord, and lightly took the pot from her shoulder, and held it, and gave him drink. And when he had drunk she said: Yet I shall give to thy camels drink, and draw water for them till all have drunken; and she poured out the water into a vessel that was there for beasts to drink, and ran to the pit and drew water that every one drank his draught. He then thought in himself secretly that God had made him to have a prosperous journey.

After they had drunk, he gave her two rings to hang on her ears weighing two shekels, and as many armlets weighing ten shekels, and asked her whose daughter she was, and if there were any room in her father's house to be lodged. And she answered: I am daughter to Bethuel, Nahor's son, and in my father's house is place enough to lodge thee and thy camels, and plenty of chaff and hay for them. And the man inclined down to the ground and worshipped God saying: Blessed be the Lord God of my lord Abraham, which hath not taken away his mercy ne his truth from my lord, and hath brought me in my journey right into the house of my lord's brother. The maid Rebekah ran and told at home all that she had heard. Rebekah had a brother named Laban, which hastily went out to the man where as he was when he had seen the rings in his sister's ears and her poinettes or armlets on her hands; and had heard her say all that the man said. He came to the man that stood by the well yet, and said to him: Come in, thou blessed of God, why standest thou without? I have made ready the house for thee, and have ordained place for thy camels. And brought him in, and strawed his camels, and gave them chaff and hay, and water to wash the camels' feet, and the men's feet that came with him.

And they set forth bread tofore him, which said: I shall not eat till I have done mine errand and said wherefore I am come. And it was answered to him, say on, and he said: I am servant of Abraham, and God hath blessed and magnified him greatly and hath given to him oxen and sheep, silver and gold, servants men and women, camels and asses. And Sarah his wife hath brought him forth a son in her old age, and he hath given to him all that he had. And my lord hath charged and adjured me saying: In no wise let my son Isaac have no wife of the daughters of Canaan in whose land he dwelleth, but go unto the house of my father and of my kindred, and of them thou shall take a wife to my son, wherefore I am come hither. And told all how he prayed God of some token, and how Rebekah did to him, and in conclusion desired to have Rebekah for his lord Isaac; and if he would not, that he might depart and go into some other place, on the right side or on the left, to seek a wife for his lord's son. Then Bethuel and Laban said to him: This word is come of God, against his will we may nothing do. Lo! Rebekah standeth tofore thee, take her and go forth that she may be wife unto the son of thy lord, as our Lord hath said. Which words when Abraham's servant had heard, he fell down to the ground and thanked our Lord, and anon took forth silver vessels and of gold and good clothes and gave them to Rebekah for a gift. And to her brethren and mother he gave also gifts, and anon they made a feast, and ate and were joyful together. On the morn betimes, the servant of Abraham arose, and desired to depart and take Rebekah with him and go to his lord. Then the mother and her brethren said: Let the maid abide with us but only ten days, and then take her and go thy way. I pray you, said he, retain ne let [hinder] me not, our Lord hath addressed my way and achieved my errand, wherefore let me go to my lord. And they said: We shall call the maid and know her will; and when she was demanded if she would go with that man, she said: Yea, I shall go with him. Then they let her go, and her nurse with her, and so she departed, and they said to her: Thou art our sister, we pray God that thou mayst increase into a thousand thousand, and that thy seed may possess the gates of their enemies. Then Rebekah and her maidens ascended upon the camels, and followed the servant of Abraham which hastily returned unto his lord.

That same time, when they were come, Isaac walked by the way without forth and looked up and saw the camels coming from far. Rebekah espied him and demanded of the servant who that he was that came in the field against them. He answered and said: That is my lord Isaac, and anon she took her pall or mantle and covered her. The servant anon told unto his lord Isaac all that he had done; which received her and led her into the tabernacle of Sarah his mother and wedded her, and took her in to his wife, and so much loved her, that the love attempered the sorrow that he had for his mother. Abraham after this wedded another wife, by whom he had divers children. Abraham gave to Isaac all his possessions, and to his other children he gave movable goods, and departed the sons of his concubines from his son Isaac whilst he yet lived. And all the days of the life of Abraham were one hundred and seventy-five years, and then died in good mind and age, and Isaac and Ishmael buried him by his wife Sarah in a double spelunke [cave].



HERE BEGINNETH THE LIFE OF ISAAC

WITH THE HISTORY OF ESAU AND OF JACOB

Which is read in the Church the Second Sunday in Lent

Isaac was forty years old when he wedded Rebekah and she bare him no children. Wherefore he besought our Lord that she might bring forth fruit. Our Lord heard his prayer, and she had twain sons at once. The first was rough from the head to the foot, and he was named Esau; and the other was named Jacob. Isaac the father was sixty years old when these children were born. And after this, when they were grown to reasonable age, Esau became a ploughman, and a tiller of the earth, and an hunter. And Jacob was simple and dwelled at home with his mother. Isaac the father loved well Esau, because he ate oft of the venison that Esau took, and Rebekah the mother loved Jacob.

Jacob on a time had made a good pottage, and Esau his brother had been an hunting all day and came home sore an hungred, and found Jacob having good pottage, and prayed him to give him some, for he was weary and much hungry. To whom Jacob said: If thou wilt sell to me thy patrimony and heritage I shall give thee some pottage. And Esau answered, Lo! I die for hunger, what shall avail me mine inheritance if I die, and what shall profit me my patrimony? I am content that thou take it for this pottage. Jacob then said: Swear that to me thou shalt never claim it, and that thou art content I shall enjoy it, and Esau sware it, and so sold away his patrimony, and took the pottage and ate it, and went his way, setting nothing thereby that he had sold his patrimony. This aforesaid is to bring in my matter of the history that is read, for now followeth the legend as it is read in the church.

Isaac began to wax old and his eyes failed and dimmed that he might not clearly see. And on a time he called Esau his oldest son and said to him: Son mine, which answered: Father, I am here ready, to whom the father said: Behold that I wax old and know not the day that I shall die and depart out of this world, wherefore take thine harness, thy bow and quiver with tackles, and go forth an hunting, and when thou hast taken any venison, make to me thereof such manner meat as thou knowest that I am wont to eat, and bring it to me that I may eat it, and that my soul may bless thee ere I die. Which all these words Rebekah heard. And Esau went forth for to accomplish the commandment of his father, and she said then to Jacob: I have heard thy father say to Esau, thy brother: Bring to me of thy venison, and make thereof meat that I may eat, and that I may bless thee tofore our Lord ere I die. Now my son, take heed to my counsel, and go forth to the flock, and bring to me two the best kids that thou canst find, and I shall make of them meat such as thy father shall gladly eat, which when thou hast brought to him and hast eaten he may bless thee ere he die: To whom Jacob answered: Knowest thou not that my brother is rough and hairy and I am smooth? If my father take me to him and taste me and feel, I dread me that he shall think that I mock him, and shall give me his curse for the blessing. The mother then said to him: In me, said she, be this curse, my son, nevertheless hear me; go to the flock and do that I have said to thee. He went and fetched the kids and delivered them to his mother, and she went and ordained them into such meat as she knew well that his father loved, and took the best clothes that Esau had, and did them on Jacob. And the skins of the kid she did about his neck and hands there as he was bare, and delivered to him bread and the pulment that she had boiled. And he went to his father and said: Father mine, and he answered: I am here; who art thou, my son? Jacob said: I am Esau, thy first begotten son, I have done as thou commandedst me, arise, sit and eat of the venison of my hunting that thy soul may bless me. Then said Isaac again to his son: How mightest thou, said he, so soon find and take it, my son? To whom he answered: It was the will of God that such thing as I desired came soon to my hand. Isaac said to him: Come hither to me, my son, that I may touch and handle thee, that I may prove whether thou be my son Esau or not. He came to his father, and when he had felt him, Isaac said: The voice truly is the voice of Jacob, but the hands be the hands of Esau. And he knew him not, for his hands expressed the likeness and similitude of the more brother. Therefore blessing him, he said to him: Thou art then my son Esau? He answered and said: I am he. Then said Isaac: Bring to the meat of thine hunting, my son, that my soul may bless thee; which he offered and gave to his father, and also wine. And when he had eaten and drunken a good draught of the wine, he said to Jacob: Come hither to me, my son, and kiss me; and he went to him and kissed him. Anon as he felt the sweet savour and smell of his clothes, blessing him he said: Lo! the sweet odour of my son is as the odour of a field full of flowers, whom our Lord bless. God give to thee of the dew of heaven, and of the fatness of the earth, abundance of wheat, wine, and oil, and the people serve thee, and the tribes worship thee. Be thou lord of thy brethren, and the sons of thy mother shall bow down and kneel to thee. Whosomever curseth thee, be he accursed, and who that blesseth thee, with blessings be he fulfilled.

Unnethe [hardly] had Isaac fulfilled these words and Jacob gone out, when that Esau came with his meat that he had gotten with hunting, entered in, and offered to his father saying: Arise, father mine, and eat of the venison that thy son hath ordained for thee, that thy soul may bless me. Isaac said to him: Who art thou? To whom he answered, I am thy first begotten son Esau. Isaac then was greatly abashed and astonied, and marvelled more than can be thought credible. And then he was in a trance, as the master of histories saith, in which he had knowledge that God would that Jacob should have the blessing. And said to Esau: Who then was he that right now a little tofore thy coming brought to me venison? And I have eaten of all that he brought to me ere thou camest. I have blessed him, and he shall be blessed. When Esau heard these words of his father, he cried with a great cry, and was sore astonied and said: Father, I pray thee bless me also. To whom he said: Thy brother germain is come fraudulently, and hath received thy blessing. Then said Esau: Certainly and justly may his name be called well Jacob, for on another time tofore this he supplanted me of my patrimony, and now secondly he hath undernome from me my blessing. And yet then he said to his father: Hast thou not reserved to me one blessing? Isaac answered: I have ordained him to be thy lord, I have subdued all his brethren to his servitude. I have stablished him in wheat, wine and oil. And after this what shall I do to thee, my son? To whom Esau said: Hast thou not, father, yet one blessing? I beseech thee to bless me. Then with a great sighing and weeping Isaac moved said to him: In the fatness of the earth and in the dew of heaven shall be thy blessing, thou shalt live in thy sword, and shalt serve thy brother. Then was Esau woebegone, and hated Jacob for supplanting him of his blessing that his father had blessed him with, and said in his heart: The days of sorrow shall come to my father, for I shall slay my brother Jacob. This was told to Rebekah, which anon sent for Jacob her son, and said to him: Lo! Esau thy brother threateneth to slay thee, therefore now my son hear my voice and do as I shall counsel. Make thee ready and go to my brother in Aran, and dwell there with him unto the time that his anger and fury be overpast, and his indignation ceased, and that he forget such things that thou hast done to him, and then after that I shall send for thee, and bring thee hither again. And Rebekah went to Isaac her husband and said: I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth, if Jacob take to him a wife of that kindred, I will no longer live. Isaac then called Jacob and blessed him and commanded to him saying: I charge thee in no wise to take a wife of the kindred of Canaan, but go and walk into Mesopotamia of Syria, unto the house of Bethuel, father of thy mother, and take to thee there a wife of the daughters of Laban thine uncle. God Almighty bless thee, and make thee grow and multiply, that thou mayst be increased into tourbes of people, and give to thee the blessings of Abraham, and to thy seed after thee, that thou mayst possess and own the land of thy pilgrimage which he granted to thy grandsire. When Isaac had thus said, and given him leave to go, he departed anon, and went into Mesopotamia of Syria to Laban, son of Bethuel, brother of Rebekah his mother. Esau seeing that his father had blessed Jacob and sent him into Mesopotamia of Syria to wed a wife there, and that after his blessing commanded to him saying: Take thou no wife of the daughters of Canaan; and he obeying his father went into Syria, proving thereby that his father saw not gladly the daughters of Canaan, he went to Ishmael, and took him a wife beside them that he had taken tofore, that was Melech, daughter of Ishmael, son of Abraham.

Then Jacob departed from Beersheba and went forth on his journey toward Aran. When he came to a certain place after going down of the sun and would rest there all night, he took of the stones that were there and laid under his head and slept in the same place. And there he saw in his sleep a ladder standing on the earth, and the upper end thereof touched heaven, and angels of God ascending and descending upon it, and our Lord in the midst of the ladder saying to him: I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and of Isaac; the land on which thou sleepest I shall give to thee and to thy seed, and thy seed shall be as dust of the earth; thou shalt spread abroad unto the east and unto the west, and north and south, and all the tribes of the earth shall be blessed in thee and in thy seed. And I shall be thy keeper wheresoever thou shalt go, and shall bring thee again into this land, and I shall not leave till I have accomplished all that I have said. When Jacob was awaked from his sleep and dreaming, he said: Verily God is in this place, and I wist not of it. And he said dreadingly: How terrible is this place, none other thing is here but the house of God and the gate of heaven. Then Jacob arose early and took the stone that lay under his head, and raised it for witness, pouring oil thereon, and called the name of the place Bethel which tofore was called Luza. And there he made a vow to our Lord, saying: If God be with me and keep me in the way that I walk, and give me bread to eat, and clothes to cover me, and I may return prosperously into the house of my father, the Lord shall be my God, and this stone that I have raised in witness, this shall be called the house of God. And the good of all things that thou givest to me, I shall offer to thee the tithes and tenth part. Then Jacob went forth into the east, and saw a pit in a field and three flocks of sheep lying by it, for of that pit were the beasts watered. And the mouth thereof was shut and closed with a great stone, for the custom was when all the sheep were gathered, they rolled away the stone, and when they had drunken they laid the stone again at the pit mouth. And then he said to the shepherds: Brethren, whence are ye? Which answered: Of Aran. Then he asking them said: Know ye not Laban, son of Nahor? They said: We know him well. How fareth he, said he, is he all whole? He fareth well, said they; and lo! Rachel his daughter cometh there with her flock. Then said Jacob: It is yet far to even, it is yet time that the flocks be led to drink, and after be driven to pasture, which answered: We may not so do till all the beasts be gathered, and then we remove the stone from the mouth of the pit and water our beasts. And as they talked, Rachel came with the flock of her father, for she kept that time the beasts. And when Jacob saw her and knew that she was his erne's [uncle's] daughter, and that they were his erne's sheep, he removed the stone from the pit's mouth, and when her sheep had drunken, he kissed her, and weeping he told her that he was brother to her father and son of Rebekah. Then she hied her and told it to her father, which when he understood that Jacob, his sister's son, was come, he ran against him and, embracing, kissed him, and led him into his house. And when he had heard the cause of his journey he said: Thou art my mouth and my flesh.

And when he had been there the space of a month, he demanded Jacob if he would gladly serve him because he was his cousin, and what hire and reward he would have. He had two daughters, the more was named Leah, and the less was called Rachel, but Leah was blear-eyed, and Rachel was fair of visage and well-favored, whom Jacob loved, and said: I shall serve thee for Rachel thy younger daughter seven years. Laban answered: It is better that I give her to thee than to a strange man; dwell and abide with me, and thou shalt have her. And so Jacob served him for Rachel seven years, and him thought it but a little while, because of the great love that he had to her. And at the end of seven years, Jacob said to Laban: Give to me my wife, for the time is come that I should have her. Then Laban called all his friends and made a feast for the wedding, and at night he brought in Leah, the more daughter, and delivered to her an handmaid named Zilpah. Then Jacob, when the morning came, saw that it was Leah. He said to Laban her father: What hast thou done? Have I not served thee for Rachel, why hast thou brought Leah to me? Laban answered: It is not the usage ne custom of our country to give the younger first to be wedded, but fulfil and make an end of this marriage this week, and then shall I give to thee Rachel my daughter for other seven years that thou shalt serve to me. Jacob agreed gladly, and when that week was passed, he wedded Rachel to his wife. To whom Laban her father gave an handmaid named Bilhah. Nevertheless when the wedding of the younger was finished, because of the great love that he had to her, him thought that the other seven years were but short.

[And Jacob while he served Laban had these sons: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulon, Joseph.] When Joseph was born, Jacob said to Laban his wives' father: Give me leave to depart that I may go in to my country and my land; give to me my wives and children for whom I have served thee that I may go hence. Thou knowest what service I have served thee. Laban said to him: I have founden grace in thy sight; I know it by experience that God hath blessed me for thee; I have ordained the reward that I shall give to thee. Then Jacob answered: Thou knowest how I have served thee, and how much thy possession was in my hands. Thou hadst but little when I came to thee, and now thou art rich, God hath blessed thee at mine entry; it is now right that I provide somewhat toward mine house. Laban said: What shall I give to thee? Jacob answered: I will nothing but that thou do that I demand. I shall yet feed and keep thy beasts, and depart asunder all the sheep of divers colors. And all that ever shall be of divers colors and spotty, as well in sheep as in goats, let me have them for my reward and meed, and Laban granted thereto. Then at time of departing, Laban took them of two colors, and Jacob them that were of one color. Thus was Jacob made much rich out of measure, and had many flocks, and servants both men and women, camels and asses.

After that Jacob had heard Laban's sons say: Jacob hath taken all that was our father's from him, and of his faculty is made rich, he was abashed and understood well by Laban's looking that he was not so friendly to himward as he had been tofore. And also our Lord said to him that he should return into the land of his fathers and to his generation, and that he would be with him. He then called Rachel and Leah into the field whereas he fed his flocks, and said to them: I see well by your father's visage that he is not toward me as he was yesterday or that other day; forsooth the God of my father was with me, and ye know well how I have served your father with all my might and strength, but he hath deceived me, and hath changed mine hire and meed ten times, and yet our Lord hath not suffered him to grieve me. When he said the beasts of party color should be mine, then all the ewes brought forth lambs of variable colors. And when he said the contrary they brought forth all white. God hath taken the substance of your father and hath given it to me. And now God hath commanded me to depart, wherefore make you ready and let us depart hence. Then answered Rachel and Leah: Shall we have nothing else of our father's faculty and of the heritage of his house? Shall he repute us as strangers, and he hath eaten and sold our goods? Sith God hath taken the goods of our father and hath given it to us and to our children, wherefore all that God commanded to thee, do it.

Jacob arose and set his children and his wives upon his camels, and went his way and took all his substance, and flocks, and all that he had gotten in Mesopotamia and went toward his father Isaac into the land of Canaan. That time was Laban gone to shear his sheep, and Rachel stole away the idols of her father. Jacob would not let Laban know of his departing, and when he was departed with all that longed to him of right, he came to the mount of Gilead. It was told to Laban, the third day after, that Jacob was fled and gone, who anon took his brethren and pursued him by the space of seven days and overtook him in the mount of Gilead. He saw our Lord in his sleep saying to him: Beware that thou speak not angrily ne hard words to Jacob. That time Jacob had set his tabernacle in the hill, and when he came thither with his brethren, he said to Jacob: Why hast thou done thus to me to take away my daughters as prisoners taken by sword? Why fleddest thou from me and wouldst not let me have knowledge thereof? Thou hast not suffered me to kiss my sons and daughters, thou hast done follily. Now may I do thee harm and evil, but the God of thy father said to me yesterday: Beware that thou speak no hard words against Jacob. Thou desirest to go to the house of thy father, why hast thou stolen my gods? Jacob answered: That I departed thee not knowing, I dreaded that violently thou wouldst have taken from me thy daughters. And where thou reprovest me of theft, whosoever have stolen thy gods let him be slain tofore our brethren. Seek and what thou findest that is thine, take with thee.

He, saying this, knew not that Rachel had stolen her father's gods. Then Laban entered the tabernacle of Jacob and Leah, and sought and found nothing. And when he came into the tabernacle of Rachel, she hied her and hid the idols under the litter of her camel and sat upon it. And he sought and found nought. Then said Rachel: Let not my lord be wroth for I may not arise to thee, for sickness is fallen to me, and so she deceived her father. Then Jacob, being angry and grudging, said to Laban: What is my trespass and what have I sinned to thee that thou hast pursued me, and hast searched everything? What hast thou now founden of all the substance of thy house? Lay it forth tofore my brethren and thy brethren, that they judge between me and thee. I have served thee twenty years and have been with thee, thy sheep and thy goats were never barren. I have eaten no wethers of thy flock, nor beast hath destroyed none. I shall make all good what was stolen. I prayed therefore day and night, I labored both in heat and in cold, sleep fled from mine eyes. Thus I served thee in thy house twenty years, fourteen for thy daughters and six for thy flocks. Thou hast changed mine hire and reward ten times. But if the God of my father Abraham and the dread of Isaac had been with me, haply thou wouldst now have left me naked. Our Lord God hath beholden mine affliction and the labor of mine hands and reproved thee yesterday. Laban answered to him: My daughters and sons, and thy flocks, and all that thou beholdest are thine, what may I do to my sons and nephews? Let us now be friends, and make we a fast league and confederacy together. Then Jacob raised a stone, and raised it in token of friendship and peace, and so they ate together in friendship, and sware each to other to abide in love ever after. And after this Laban arose in the night, and kissed his daughters and sons, and blessed them, and returned into his country.

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