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The Forbidden Gospels and Epistles, Complete
by Archbishop Wake
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THE SUPPRESSED GOSPELS AND EPISTLES OF THE ORIGINAL NEW TESTAMENT OF JESUS THE CHRIST

AND OTHER PORTIONS OF THE ANCIENT HOLY SCRIPTURES. NOW EXTANT, ATTRIBUTED TO HIS APOSTLES, AND THEIR DISCIPLES, AND VENERATED BY THE PRIMITIVE CHRISTIAN CHURCHES DURING THE FIRST FOUR CENTURIES, BUT SINCE, AFTER VIOLENT DISPUTATIONS FORBIDDEN BY THE BISHOPS OF THE NICENE COUNCIL, IN THE REIGN OF THE EMPEROR CONSTANTINE AND OMITTED FROM THE CATHOLICS AND PROTESTANT EDITIONS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, BY ITS COMPILERS

TRANSLATED FROM THE ORIGINAL TONGUES, WITH HISTORICAL REFERENCES TO THEIR AUTHENTICITY,

BY ARCHBISHOP WAKE AND OTHER LEARNED DIVINES

THE ORDER OF ALL THE FORBIDDEN BOOKS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT WITH THEIR PROPER NAMES, AND NUMBER OF CHAPTERS



CONTENTS:

Mary Protevangelion I. Infancy II. Infancy Nicodemus Christ and Abgarus Laodiceans Paul and Seneca Acts of Paul and Thecla I. Clement II. Clement Barnabas Ephesians Magnesians Trallians Romans Philadelphians Smyrnaeans Polycarp Philippians I. Hermas—Visions II. Hermas—Commands III. Hermas—Similitudes



PREFACE.

To uphold the "right of private judgment," and our "Christian liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free;" to add fuel to the fire of investigation, and in the crucible of deep inquiry, melt from the gold of pure religion, the dross of man's invention; to appeal from the erring tribunals of a fallible Priesthood, and restore to its original state the mutilated Testament of the Saviour; also to induce all earnest thinkers to search not a part, but the whole of the Scriptures, if therein they think they will find eternal life; I, as an advocate of free thought and untrammelled opinion, dispute the authority of those uncharitable, bickering, and ignorant Ecclesiastics who first suppressed these gospels and epistles; and I join issue with their Catholic and Protestant successors who have since excluded them from the New Testament, of which they formed a part; and were venerated by the Primitive Churches, during the first four hundred years of the Christian Era.

My opposition is based on two grounds; first, the right of every rational being to become a "Priest unto himself," and by the test of enlightened reason, to form his own unbiased judgment of all things natural and spiritual: second, that the reputation of the Bishops who extracted these books from the original New Testament, under the pretence of being Apocryphal, and forbade them to be read by the people, is proved by authentic impartial history too odious to entitle them to any deference. Since the Nicene Council, by a pious fraud, which I shall further allude to, suppressed these books, several of them have been reissued from time to time by various translators, who differed considerably in their versions, as the historical references attached to them in the following pages will demonstrate. But to the late Mr. William Hone we are indebted for their complete publication for the first time in one volume, about the year 1820; which edition, diligently revised, and purified of many errors both in the text and the notes attached thereto, I have re-published in numbers to enable all classes of the nation to purchase and peruse them. As, however, instead of being called by their own designation "Apocryphal," (which yet remains to be proved), they were re-entitled THE FORBIDDEN BOOKS, and, from communications received, appear to have agitated a portion of the great mass of ignorant bigotry which mars the fair form of Religion in these sect-ridden dominions, I have modified the title to its present shape with the hope that in spite of illiberal clerical influence, my fellow Christians will read and inwardly digest the sublime precepts they inculcate;—as pure, as holy, and as charitable as those principles of Christianity taught in the Scriptures they; now read by permission; although their minds may, after mature reflection, doubt the truth of the miraculous records therein given.

To ensure these Gospels and Epistles an unprejudiced and serious attention, which they are entitled to, equally with those now patronised by Church authority, I will briefly refer to that disgraceful epoch in Roman Ecclesiastical Annals, when the New Testament was mutilated, and priestly craft was employed for excluding these books from its pages. HONE, in the preface to his first edition of the Apocryphal New Testament, so called, without satisfactory grounds, by the Council of Nice, in the reign of the Emperor Constantine, thus opens the subject:—

"After the writings contained in the New Testament were selected from the numerous Gospels and Epistles then in existence, what became of the Books that were rejected by the compilers?"

This question naturally occurs on every investigation as to the period when and the persons by whom the New Testament was formed. It has been supposed by many that the volume was compiled by the first Council of Nice, which, according to Jortin (Rem. on Eccl. vol. ii. p. 177), originated thus: Alexander, Bishop of Alexandria, and Arius, who was a presbyter in his diocese, disputed together about the nature of Christ; and the bishop being displeased at the notions of Arius, and finding that they were adopted by other persons, "was very angry." He commanded Arius to come over to his sentiments, and to quit his own; as if a man could change his opinions as easily as he can change his coat! He then called a Council of War, consisting of nearly, a hundred bishops, and deposed, excommunicated, and anathematized Arius, and with him several ecclesiastics, two of whom were bishops. Constantine sent a letter, in which he reprimanded the bishops for disturbing the church with their insignificant disputes. But the affair was gone too far to be thus composed. To settle this and other points, the Nicene Council was summoned, consisting of about 318 bishops. The first thing they did was to quarrel, and to express their resentments, and to present accusations to the Emperor against one another. "The Emperor burnt all their libels, and exhorted them to peace and unity." (See Mosheim's Eccle. Hist.) These were the kind of spiritual shepherds of whom Sabinus, the Bishop Heraclea affirms, that excepting Constantine himself, and Eusebius Pamphilus, they "were a set of illiterate creatures, that understood nothing." And now intelligent Catholics, especially Protestants who are content to read only the books of the Testament authorized by the Council of Nice, and agreed to ever since by your own bishops, although they and you profess to dissent from the Papacy, hear what Pappus in his Synodican to that Council says of their crafty contrivance when they separated the books of the original New Testament:—He tells us, that having "promiscuously put all the books that were referred to the Council for deliberation under the communion-table in a church, they besought the Lord that the inspired writings might get on the table, while the spurious ones remained underneath; and that it happened accordingly!" (See Com. Mace's N. T. p. 875.) Therefore, good reader, every Christian sect from the fourth century to the present period, have been blessed with the books that climbed upon the communion-table, and in consequence were deemed inspired and canonical; at the same time have been forbidden to read the Gospels and Epistles herein published, because they could not perform the same feat, but remained under the table, and were condemned accordingly, as uninspired and apocryphal writings. If you believe this popish legend, you will not read the good books I lay before you, but still continue to possess only HALF THE TESTAMENT, instead of the PERFECT ONE, which will enable you to burst the trammels of priestcraft, and by the light of God's whole truth become free. In conclusion, I implore you to examine for yourselves, and observe the testimony of Archbishop Wake and other learned divines and historians appended thereto; and subscribe myself,

Your well-wisher, EDWARD HANCOCK.



FORBIDDEN BOOKS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT.

THE GOSPEL OF THE BIRTH OF MARY.

CHAPTER I.

1 The Parentage of Mary. 7 Joachim her father, and Anna her mother, go to Jerusalem to the feast of the dedication. 9 Issachar, the high priest, reproaches Joachim for being childless.

THE blessed and ever glorious Virgin Mary, sprung from the royal race and family of David, was born in the city of Nazareth, and educated at Jerusalem, in the temple of the Lord.

2 Her father's name was Joachim, and her mother's Anna. The family of her father was of Galilee and the city of Nazareth. The family of her mother was of Bethlehem.

3 Their lives were plain and right in the sight of the Lord, pious and faultless before men; for they divided all their substance into three parts;

4 One of which they devoted to the temple and officers of the temple; another they distributed among strangers, and persons in poor circumstances; and the third they reserved for themselves and the uses of their own family.

5 In this manner they lived for about twenty years chastely, in the favour of God, and the esteem of men, without any children.

6 But they vowed, if God should favour them with any issue, they would devote it to the service of the Lord; on which account they went at every feast in the year to the temple of the Lord.

7 And it came to pass, that when the feast of the dedication drew near, Joachim, with some others of his tribe, went up to Jerusalem, and at that time, Isachar was high-priest;

8 Who, when he saw Joachim along with the rest of his neighbours, bringing his offerings, despised both him and his offerings, and asked him,

9 Why he, who had no children, would presume to appear among those who had? Adding, that his offerings could never be acceptable to God, who was judged by him unworthy to have children; the Scripture having said, Cursed is every one who shall not beget a male in Israel.

10 He further said, that he ought first to be free from that curse by begetting some issue, and then come with his offerings into the presence of God.

11 But Joachim being much confounded with the shame of such reproach, retired to the shepherds who were with the cattle in their pastures;

12 For he was not inclined to return home, lest his neighbours, who were present and heard all this from the high-priest, should publicly reproach him in the same manner.



CHAPTER II.

1 An angel appears to Joachim, 9 and informs him that Anna shall conceive and bring forth a daughter, who shall be called Mary, 11 be brought up in the temple, 12 and while yet a virgin, in a way unparalleled, bring forth the Son of God: 13 Gives him a sign, 14 and departs.

BUT when he had been there for some time, on a certain day when he was alone, the angel of the Lord stood by him with a prodigious light.

2 To whom, being troubled at the appearance, the angel who had appeared to him, endeavouring to compose him, said:

3 Be not afraid, Joachim, nor troubled at the sight of me, for I am an angel of the Lord sent by him to you, that I might inform you that your prayers are heard, and your alms ascended in the sight of God.

4 For he hath surely seen your shame, and heard you unjustly reproached for not having children: for God is the avenger of sin, and not of nature;

5 And so when he shuts the womb of any person, he does it for this reason, that he may in a more wonderful manner again open it, and that which is born appear to be not the product of lust, but the gift of God.

6 For the first mother of your nation, Sarah, was she not barren even till her eightieth year: and yet even in the end of her old age brought forth Isaac, in whom the promise was made of a blessing to all nations.

7 Rachel, also, so much in favour with God, and beloved so much by holy Jacob, continued barren for a long time, yet afterwards was the mother of Joseph, who was not only governor of Egypt, but delivered many nations from perishing with hunger.

8 Who among the judges was more valiant than Sampson, or more holy than Samuel? And yet both their mothers were barren.

9 But if reason will not convince you of the truth of my words, that there are frequent conceptions in advanced years, and that those who were barren have brought forth to their great surprise; therefore Anna your wife shall bring you a daughter, and you shall call her name Mary;

10 She shall, according to your vow, be devoted to the Lord from her infancy, and be filled with the Holy Ghost from her mother's womb;

11 She shall neither eat nor drink any thing which is unclean, nor shall her conversation be without among the common people, but in the temple of the Lord; that so she may not fall under any slander or suspicion of what is bad.

12 So in the process of her years, as she shall be in a miraculous manner born of one that was barren, so she shall, while yet a virgin, in a way unparalleled, bring forth the Son of the most High God, who shall, be called Jesus, and, according to the signification of his name, be the Saviour of all nations.

13 And this shall be a sign to you of the things which I declare, namely, when you come to the golden gate of Jerusalem, you shall there meet your wife Anna, who being very much troubled that you returned no sooner, shall then rejoice to see you.

14 When the angel had said this, he departed from him.



CHAPTER III.

1 The angel appears to Anna; 2 tells her a daughter shall be born unto her, 3 devoted to the service of the Lord in the temple, 5, who, being a virgin, and not knowing man, shall bring forth the Lord, 6 and gives her a sign therefore. 8 Joachim and Anna meet, and rejoice, 10 and praise the Lord. 11 Anna conceives, and brings forth a daughter called Mary.

AFTERWARDS the angel appeared to Anna his wife, saying; Fear not, neither think that which you see is a spirit;

2 For I am that angel who hath offered up your prayers and alms before God, and am now sent to you, that I may inform you, that a daughter will be born unto you, who shall be called Mary, and shall be blessed above all women.

3 She shall be, immediately upon her birth, full of the grace of the Lord, and shall continue during the three years of her weaning in her father's house, and afterwards, being devoted to the service of the Lord, shall not depart from the temple, till she arrive to years of discretion.

4 In a word, she shall there serve the Lord night and day in fasting and prayer, shall abstain from every unclean thing, and never know any man;

5 But, being an unparalleled instance without any pollution or defilement, and a virgin not knowing any man, shall ring forth a son, and a maid shall bring forth the Lord, who both by his grace and name and works, shall be the Saviour of the world.

6 Arise therefore, and go up to Jerusalem, and when you shall come to that which is called the golden gate (because it is gilt with gold), as a sign of what I have told you, you shall meet your husband, for whose safety you have been so much concerned.

7 When therefore you find these things thus accomplished, believe that all the rest which I have told you, shall also undoubtedly be accomplished.

8 According therefore to the command of the angel, both of them left the places where they were, and when they came to the place specified in the angels prediction, they met each other.

9 Then, rejoicing at each other's vision, and being fully satisfied in the promise of a child, they gave due thanks to the Lord, who exalts the humble.

10 After having praised the Lord, they returned home, and lived in a cheerful and assured expectation of the promise of God.

11 So Anna conceived, and brought forth a daughter, and, according to the angel's command, the parents did call her name Mary.



CHAPTER IV.

1 Mary brought to the temple at three years old. 6 Ascends the stairs of the temple by miracle. 8 Her parents sacrifice and return home.

AND when three years were expired, and the time of her weaning complete, they brought the Virgin to the temple of the Lord with offerings.

2 And there were about the temple, according to the fifteen Psalms of degrees, fifteen stairs to ascend.

3 For the temple being built in a mountain, the altar of burnt- offering, which was without, could not be come near but by stairs;

4 The parents of the blessed Virgin and infant Mary put her upon one of these stairs;

5 But while they were putting off their clothes, in which they had travelled, and according to custom putting on some that were more neat and clean,

6 In the mean time the Virgin of the Lord in such a manner went up all the stairs one after another, without the help of any to lead her or lift her, that any one would have judged from hence, that she was of perfect age.

7 Thus the Lord did, in the infancy of his Virgin, work this extraordinary work, and evidence by this miracle how great she was like to be hereafter.

8 But the parents having offered up their sacrifice, according to the custom of the law, and perfected their vow, left the Virgin with other virgins in the apartments of the temple, who were to be brought up there, and they returned home.



CHAPTER V.

2 Mary ministered unto by angels. 4 The high priest orders all virgins of fourteen years old to quit the temple and endeavour to be married. 5 Mary refuses, 6 having vowed her virginity to the Lord. 7 The high-priest commands a meeting of the chief persons of Jerusalem, 11 who seek the Lord for counsel in the matter. 13 A voice from the mercy-seat. 15 The high-priest obeys it by ordering all the unmarried men of the house of David to bring their rods to the altar, 17 that his rod which should flower, and on which the Spirit of God should sit, should betroth the Virgin.

BUT the Virgin of the Lord, as she advanced in years, increased also in perfections, and according to the saying of the Psalmist, her father and mother forsook her, but the Lord took care of her.

2 For she every day had the conversation of angels, and every day received visitors from God, which preserved her from all sorts of evil, and caused her to abound with all good things;

3 So that when at length she arrived to her fourteenth year, as the wicked could not lay any thing to her charge worthy of reproof, so all good persons, who were acquainted with her, admired her life and conversation.

4 At that time the high-priest made a public order, That all the virgins who had public settlements in the temple, and were come to this age, should return home, and, as they were now of a proper maturity, should, according to the custom of their country, endeavour to be married.

5 To which command, though all the other virgins readily yielded obedience, Mary the Virgin of the Lord alone answered, that she could not comply with it,

6 Assigning these reasons, that both she and her parents had devoted her to the service of the Lord; and besides, that she had vowed virginity to the Lord, which vow she was resolved never to break through by lying with a man.

7 The high-priest being hereby brought into a difficulty,

8 Seeing he durst neither on the one hand dissolve the vow, and disobey the Scripture, which says, Vow and pay,

9 Nor on the other hand introduce a custom, to which the people were strangers, commanded,

10 That at the approaching feast all the principal persons both of Jerusalem and the neighbouring places should meet together, that he might have their advice, how he had best proceed in so difficult a case.

11 When they were accordingly met, they unanimously agreed to seek the Lord, and ask counsel from him on this matter.

12 And when they were all engaged in prayer, the high-priest according to the usual way, went to consult God.

13 And immediately there was a voice from the ark, and the mercy seat, which all present heard, that it must be enquired or sought out by a prophecy of Isaiah, to whom the Virgin should be given and be betrothed;

14 For Isaiah saith, there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a flower shall spring out of its root,

15 And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel and Might, the Spirit of Knowledge and Piety, and the Spirit of the fear of the Lord shall fill him.

16 Then, according to this prophecy, he appointed, that all the men of the house and family of David, who were marriageable, and not married, should bring their several rods to the altar,

17 And out of whatsoever person's rod after it was brought, a flower should bud forth, and on the top of it the Spirit of the Lord should sit in the appearance of a dove, he should be the man to whom the Virgin should be given and be betrothed.



CHAPTER VI.

1 Joseph draws back his rod. 5 The dove pitches on it. He betroths Mary and returns to Bethlehem. 7 Mary returns to her parents' house at Galilee.

AMONG the rest there was a man named Joseph of the house and family of David, and a person very far advanced in years, who kept back his rod, when every one besides presented his.

2 So that when nothing appeared agreeable to the heavenly voice, the high-priest judged it proper to consult God again.

3 Who answered that he to whom the Virgin was to be betrothed was the only person of those who were brought together, who had not brought his rod.

4 Joseph therefore was betrayed.

5 For, when he did bring his rod, and a dove coming from Heaven pitched upon the top of it, every one plainly saw, that the Virgin was to be betrothed to him.

6 Accordingly, the usual ceremonies of betrothing being over, he returned to his own city of Bethlehem, to set his house in order, and make the needful provisions for the marriage.

7 But the Virgin of the Lord, Mary, with seven other virgins of the same age, who had been weaned at the same time, and who had been appointed to attend her by the priest, returned to her parents' house in Galilee.

CHAPTER VII.

7 The salutation of the Virgin by Gabriel, who explains to her that she shall conceive, without lying with a man, while a Virgin, 19 by the Holy Ghost coming upon her without the heats of lust. 21 She submits.

NOW at this time of her first coming into Galilee, the angel Gabriel was sent to her from God, to declare to her the conception of our Saviour, and the manner and way of her conceiving him.

2 Accordingly going into her, he filled the chamber where she was with a prodigious light, and in a most courteous manner saluting her, he said,

3 Hail, Mary! Virgin of the Lord most acceptable! O Virgin full of grace! The Lord is with you. You are blessed above all women, and you are blessed above all men, that have been hitherto born.

4 But the Virgin, who had before been well acquainted with the countenances of angels, and to whom such light from heaven was no uncommon thing,

5 Was neither terrified with the vision of the angel, nor astonished at the greatness of the light, but only troubled about the angel's words,

6 And began to consider what so extraordinary a salutation should mean, what it did portend, or what sort of end it would have.

7 To this thought the angel, divinely inspired, replies;

8 Fear not, Mary, as though I intended anything inconsistent with your chastity in this salutation:

9 For you have found favour with the Lord, because you made virginity your choice.

10 Therefore while you are a Virgin, you shall conceive without sin, and bring forth a son.

11 He shall be great, because he shall reign from sea to sea, and from the rivers even to the ends of the earth?

12 And he shall be called the Son of the Highest; for he who is born in a mean state on earth, reigns in an exalted one in heaven.

13 And the Lord shall give him the throne of his father David, and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

14 For he is the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, and his throne is forever and ever.

15 To this discourse of the angel the Virgin replied, not, as though she were unbelieving, but willing to know the manner of it.

16 She said, How can that be? For seeing, according to my vow, I have never known any man, how can I bear a child without the addition of a man's seed.

17 To this the angel replied and said, Think not, Mary, that you shall conceive in the ordinary way.

18 For, without lying with a man, while a Virgin, you shall conceive; while a Virgin, you shall bring forth; and while a Virgin shall give suck.

19 For the Holy Ghost shall come upon you, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow you, without any of the heats of lust.

20 So that which shall be born of you shall be only holy, because it only is conceived without sin, and being born, shall be called the Son of God.

21 Then Mary stretching forth her hands, and lifting her eyes to heaven, said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord! Let it be unto me according to thy word.



CHAPTER VIII.

1 Joseph returns to Galilee, to marry the Virgin he had betrothed; 4 perceives she is with child, 5 is uneasy, 7 purposes to put her away privily, 8 is told by the angel of the Lord it is not the work of man but the Holy Ghost; 12 Marries her, but keeps chaste, 13 removes with her to Bethlehem, 15 where she brings forth Christ.

JOSEPH therefore went from Judaea to Galilee, with intention to marry the Virgin who was betrothed to him:

2 For it was now near three months since she was betrothed to him.

3 At length it plainly appeared she was with child, and it could not be hid from Joseph:

4 For going to the Virgin in a free manner, as one espoused, and talking familiarly with her, he perceived her to be with child,

5 And thereupon began to be uneasy and doubtful, not knowing what course it would be best to take;

6 For being a just man, he was not willing to expose her, nor defame her by the suspicion of being a harlot, since he was a pious man:

7 He purposed therefore privately to put an end to their agreement, and as privately to send her away.

8 But while he was meditating these things, behold the angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, and said, Joseph, son of David, fear not;

9 Be not willing to entertain any suspicion of the Virgin's being guilty of fornication, or to think any thing amiss of her, neither be afraid to take her to wife:

10 For that which is begotten in her and now distresses your mind, is not the work of man, but the Holy Ghost.

11 For she of all women is that only Virgin who shall bring forth the Son of God, and you shall call his name Jesus, that is, Saviour: for he will save his people from their sins.

12 Joseph thereupon, according to the command of the angel, married the Virgin, and did not know her, but kept her in chastity.

13 And now the ninth month from her conception drew near, when Joseph took his wife and what other things were necessary to Bethlehem, the city from whence he came.

14 And it came to pass, while they were there, the days were fulfilled for her bringing forth.

15 And she brought forth her first-born son, as the holy Evangelists have taught, even our Lord Jesus Christ, who with the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, lives and reigns to everlasting ages.



REFERENCES TO MARY'S GOSPEL

[In the primitive ages there was a Gospel extant bearing this name, attributed to St. Matthew, and received as genuine and authentic by several of the ancient Christian sects. It is to be found in the works of Jerome, a Father of the Church, who flourished in the fourth century, from whence the present translation is made. His contemporaries, Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamis, and Austin also mention a gospel under this title. The ancient copies differed from Jerome's, for from one of them the learned Faustus, a native of Britain, who became Bishop of Riez, in Provence, endeavoured to prove that Christ was not the Son of God till after his baptism; and that he was not of the house of David and tribe of Judah, because, according to the Gospel he cited, the Virgin herself was not of this tribe, but of the tribe of Levi; her father being a priest of the name of Joachim. It was likewise from this Gospel that the sect of the Collyridians established the worship and offering of manchet bread and cracknels, or fine wafers, as sacrificed to Mary, whom they imagined to have been born of a Virgin, as Christ is related in the Canonical Gospels to have been born of her. Epiphanius likewise cites a passage concerning the death of Zacharias, which is not in Jerome's copy, viz.: "That it was the occasion of the death of Zacharias in the temple, that when he had seen a vision, he, through surprise, was willing to disclose it, and his mouth was stopped. That which he saw was at the time of his offering incense, and it was a man standing in the form of an ass. When he was gone out, and had a mind to speak thus to the people, Woe unto you, whom do you worship? he who had appeared to him in the temple took away the use of his speech. Afterwards when he recovered it, and was able to speak, he declared this to the Jews; and they slew him. They add (viz. the Gnostics in this book), that on this very account the high-priest was appointed by their lawgiver (by God to Moses) to carry little bells, that whensoever he went into the temple to sacrifice he, whom they worshipped, hearing the noise of the bells, might have time enough to hide himself, and not be caught in that ugly shape and figure." The principal part of this Gospel is contained in the Protevangelion of James which follows next in order.]



THE GOSPEL CALLED THE PROTEVANGELION;

Or, an Historical Account of the BIRTH of CHRIST, and the perpetual VIRGIN MARY, his Mother, by JAMES THE LESSER, Cousin and Brother of the Lord Jesus, chief Apostle and first Bishop of the Christians in Jerusalem.



CHAPTER I.

1 Joachim, a rich man, 2 offers to the Lord, 3 is opposed by Reuben the high priest, because he has not begotten issue in Israel, 6 retires into the wilderness and fasts forty days and forty nights.

IN the history of the twelve tribes of Israel we read there was a certain person called Joachim, who being very rich, made double offerings to the Lord God, having made this resolution: My substance shall be for the benefit of the whole people, that I may find mercy from the Lord God for the forgiveness of my sins.

2 But at a certain great feast of the Lord, when the children of Israel offered their gifts, and Joachim also offered his, Reuben the high-priest opposed him, saying, it is not lawful for thee to offer thy gifts, seeing thou hast not begot any issue in Israel.

3 At this, Joachim being concerned very much, went away to consult the registries of the twelve tribes, to see whether he was the only person who had begot no issue.

4 But upon inquiry he found that all the righteous had raised up seed in Israel;

5 Then he called to mind the patriarch Abraham, How that God in the end of his life had given him his son Isaac; upon which he was exceedingly distressed, and would not be seen by his wife:

6 But retired into the wilderness, and fixed his tent there, and fasted forty days and forty nights, saying to himself,

7 I will not go down either to eat or drink, till the Lord my God shall look down upon me, but prayer shall be my meat and drink.



CHAPTER. II.

1 Anna, the wife of Joachim mourns her barrenness, 6 is reproached with it by Judith her maid, 9 sits under a laurel tree and prays to the Lord.

IN the mean time his wife Anna was distressed and perplexed on a double account, and said, I will mourn both for my widowhood and my barrenness.

2 Then drew near a great feast of the Lord, and Judith her maid, said, How long will you thus afflict your soul? The feast of the Lord is now come, when it is unlawful for any one to mourn.

3 Take therefore this hood which was given by one who makes such things, for it is not fit that I, who am a servant should wear it, but it well suits a person of your greater character.

4 But Anna replied, Depart from me, I am not used to such things; besides, the Lord hath greatly humbled me.

5 I fear some ill-designing person hath given thee this, and thou art come to reproach me with my sin.

6 Then Judith her maid answered, what evil shall I wish you, when you will not hearken to me?

7 I cannot wish you a greater curse than you are under, in that God hath shut up your womb, that you should not be a mother in Israel.

8 At this Anna was exceedingly troubled, and having on her wedding garment, went about three o'clock in the afternoon to walk in her garden.

9 And she saw a laurel-tree and sat under it, and prayed unto the Lord, saying,

10 O God of my fathers, bless me and regard my prayer, as thou didst bless the womb of Sarah; and gavest her a son Isaac.



CHAPTER III.

1 Anna perceiving a sparrow's nest in the laurels bemoans her barrenness.

AND as she was looking towards heaven she perceive a sparrow's nest in the laurel,

2 And mourning within herself, she said, Wo is me, who begat me? and what womb did bear me, that I should be thus accursed before the children of Israel, and that they should reproach and deride me in the temple of my God: Wo is me, to what can I be compared?

3 I am not comparable to the very beasts of the earth, for even the beasts of the earth are fruitful before thee, O Lord! Wo is me, to what can I be compared?

4 I am not compared to the brute animal, for even the brute animals are fruitful before thee, O Lord! Wo is me, to what am I comparable?

5 I cannot be comparable to these waters, for even the waters are fruitful before thee, O Lord! Wo is me, to what can I be compared?

6 I am not comparable to the waves of the sea; for these, whether they are calm, or in motion, with the fishes which are in them, praise thee, O Lord! Wo is me to what can I be compared?

7 I am not comparable to the very earth, for the earth produces its fruits, and praises thee, O Lord!



CHAPTER IV.

1 An Angel appears to Anna and tells her she shall conceive; two angels appear on the same errand. 5 Joachim sacrifices. 8 Anna goes to meet him, 9 rejoicing that she shall conceive.

THEN an angel of the Lord stood by her and said, Anna, Anna, the Lord hath heard thy prayer; thou shalt conceive and bring forth, and thy progeny shall be spoken of in all the world.

2 And Anna answered, As the Lord my God liveth, whatever I bring forth, whether it be male or female, I will devote it to the Lord my God and it shall minister to him in holy things, during its whole life.

3 And behold there appeared two angels, saying unto her, Behold Joachim thy husband is coming with his shepherds.

4 For an angel of the Lord hath also come down to him, and said, The Lord God hath heard thy prayer, make haste and go hence, for behold Anna thy wife shall conceive.

5 And Joachim went down and called his shepherds, saying, Bring me hither ten she-lambs without spot or blemish, and they shall be for the Lord my God.

6 And bring me twelve calves without blemish, and the twelve calves shall be for the priests and the elders.

7 Bring me also a hundred goats, and the hundred goats shall be for the whole people.

8 And Joachim went down with the shepherds, and Anna stood by the gate and saw Joachim coming with the shepherds.

9 And she ran, and hanging about his neck, said, Now I know that the Lord hath greatly blessed me:

10 For behold, I who was as a widow am no longer as a widow, and I who was barren shall conceive.



CHAPTER V.

1 Joachim abides the first day in his house but sacrifices on the morrow. 2 Consults the plate on the priests forehead, 3 and is without sin. 6 Anna brings forth a daughter, 9 whom she calls Mary.

AND Joachim abode the first day in his house, but on the morrow he brought his offerings, and said,

2 If the Lord be propitious to me let the plate which is on the priests forehead make it manifest.

3 And he consulted the plate which the priest wore, and saw it, and behold sin was not found in him.

4 And Joachim said, Now I know that the Lord is propitious to me, and hath taken away all my sins.

5 And he went down from the temple of the Lord justified, and he went to his own house.

6 And when nine months were fulfilled to Anna, she brought forth, and said to the midwife, What have I brought forth?

7 And she told her, A girl.

8 Then Anna said, The Lord hath this day magnified my soul; and she laid her in bed.

9 And when the days of her purification were accomplished, she gave suck to the child; and called her name Mary.



CHAPTER VI.

1 Mary at nine months old, walks nine steps. 3 Anna keeps her holy. 4 When she is a year old, Joachim makes a great feast. 7 Anna gives her the breast, and sings a song to the Lord.

AND the child increased in strength every day, so that when she was nine months old, her mother put her upon the ground, to try if she could stand; and when she had walked nine steps, she came again to her mother's lap.

2 Then her mother caught her up, and said, As the Lord my God liveth, thou shalt not walk again on this earth, till I bring thee into the temple of the Lord.

3 Accordingly she made her chamber a holy place, and suffered nothing uncommon or unclean to come near her, but invited certain undefiled daughters of Israel, and they drew her aside.

4 But when the child was a year old, Joachim made a great feast, and invited the priests, scribes, elders, and all the people of Israel;

5 And Joachim then made an offering of the girl to the chief- priests, and they blessed her, saying, The God of our fathers bless this girl, and give her a name famous and lasting through all generations. And all the people replied, So be it, Amen:

6 Then Joachim a second time offered her to the priests, and they blessed her, saying, O most high God, regard this girl, and bless her with an everlasting blessing.

7 Upon this her mother took her up, and gave her the breast, and sung the following song to the Lord.

8 I will sing a song unto the Lord my God, for he hath visited me, and taken away from me the reproach of mine enemies, and hath given me the fruit of his righteousness, that it may now be told the sons of Reuben, that Anna gives suck.

9 Then she put the child to rest in the room which she had consecrated, and she went out and ministered unto them.

10 And when the feast was ended, they went away rejoicing, and praising the God of Israel.



CHAPTER VII.

3 Mary being three years old, Joachim causes certain virgins to light each a lamp, and goes with her to the temple. 5 The high-priest places her on the third step of the altar, and sits dances with her feet.

BUT the girl grew, and when she was two years old, Joachim said to Anna, Let us lead her to the temple of the Lord, that we may perform our vow, which we have vowed unto the Lord God, lest he should be angry with us, and our offering be unacceptable.

2 But Anna said, Let us wait the third year, lest she should be at a loss to know her father. And Joachim said, Let us then wait.

3 And when the child was three years old, Joachim said, Let us invite the daughters of the Hebrews, who are undefiled, and let them take each a lamp, and let them be lighted, that the child may not turn back again, and her mind be set against the temple of the Lord,

4 And they did thus till they ascended into the temple of the Lord. And the high-priest received her, and blessed her, and said, Mary, the Lord God hath magnified thy name to all generations, and to the very end of time by thee will the Lord shew his redemption to the children of Israel.

5 And he placed her upon the third step of the altar, and the Lord gave unto her grace, and she dance with her feet, and all the house of Israel loved her.



CHAPTER VIII.

2 Mary fed in the temple by angels. 3 When twelve years old the priests consult what to do with her. 6 The angel of the Lord warns Zacharias to call together all the widowers, each bringing a rod. 7 The people meet by sound of trumpet. 8 Joseph throws away his hatchet, and goes to the meeting. 11 A dove comes forth from his rod, and alights on his head. 12 He is chosen to betroth the Virgin, 13 refuses because he is an old man, 14 is compelled, 16 takes her home, and goes to mind his trade of building.

AND her parents went away filled with wonder, and praising God, because the girl did not return back to them.

2 But Mary continued in the temple as a dove educated there, and received her food from the hand of an angel.

3 And when she was twelve years of age, the priests met in a council, and said, Behold, Mary is twelve years of age, what shall we do with her, for fear lest the holy place of the Lord our God should be defiled?

4 Then replied the priests to Zacharias the high-priest, Do you stand at the altar of the Lord, and enter into the holy place, and make petitions concerning her, and whatsoever the Lord shall manifest unto you, that do.

5 Then the high-priest entered into the Holy of Holies, and taking away with him the breast-plate of judgment made prayers concerning her;

6 And behold the angel of the Lord came to him, and said, Zacharias, Zacharias, Go forth and call together all the widowers among the people, and let every one of them bring his rod, and he by whom the Lord shall shew a sign shall be the husband of Mary.

7 And the criers went out through all Judaea, and the trumpet of the Lord sounded, and all the people ran and met together.

8 Joseph also throwing away his hatchet, went out to meet them; and when they were met, they went to the high-priest; taking every man his rod.

9 After the high-priest had received their rods, he went into the temple to pray;

10 And when he had finished his prayer, he took the rods, and went forth and distributed them, and there was no miracle attended them.

11 The last rod was taken by Joseph, said behold a dove proceeded out of the rod, and flew upon the head of Joseph.

12 And the high-priest said, Joseph, Thou art the person chosen to take the Virgin of the Lord, to keep her for him:

13 But Joseph refused, saying, I am an old man, and have children, but she is young, and I fear lest I should appear ridiculous in Israel.

14 Then the high-priest replied, Joseph, Fear the Lord thy God, and remember how God dealt with Dathan, Korah, and Abiram, how the earth opened and swallowed them up, because of their contradiction.

15 Now therefore, Joseph, fear God lest the like things should happen in your family.

16 Joseph then being afraid, took her unto his house, and Joseph said unto Mary, Behold, I have taken thee from the temple of the Lord, and now I will leave thee in my house; I must go to mind my trade of building. The Lord be with thee.



CHAPTER IX.

1 The priests desire a new veil for the temple, 3 seven virgins cast lots for making different parts of it, 4 the lot to spin the true purple falls to Mary. 5 Zacharias, the high priest, becomes dumb. 7 Mary takes a pot to draw water, and hears a voice, 8 trembles and begins to work, 9 an angel Appears and salutes her, and tells her she shall conceive by the Holy Ghost, 17 she submits. 19 Visits her cousin Elizabeth, whose child in her womb leaps.

AND it came to pass, in a council of the priests, it was said, Let us make a new veil for the temple of the Lord.

2 And the high-priest said, Call together to me seven undefiled virgins of the tribe of David.

3 And the servants went and brought them into the temple of the Lord, and the high-priest said unto them, Cast lots before me now, who of you shall spin the golden thread, who the blue, who the scarlet, who the fine linen, and who the true purple.

4 Then the high-priest knew Mary; that she was of the tribe of David; and he called her, and the true purple fell to her lot to spin, and she went away to her own house.

5 But from that time Zacharias the high-priest became dumb, and Samuel was placed in his room till Zacharias spoke again.

6 But Mary took the true purple; and did spin it.

7 And she took a pot, and went out to draw water, and heard a voice saying unto her, Hail thou who art full of grace, the Lord is with thee; thou art blessed among women.

8 And she looked round to the right and to the left (to see) whence that voice came, and then trembling went into her house, and laying down the water-pot, she took the purple, and sat down in her seat to work it.

9 And behold the angel of the Lord stood by her, and said, Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found favour in the sight of God.

10 Which when she heard, she reasoned with herself what that sort of salutation meant.

11 And the angel said unto her, The Lord is with thee, and thou shalt conceive:

12 To which she replied, What! shall I conceive by the living God and bring forth as all other women do?

13 But the angel returned answer, Not so, O Mary, but the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee;

14 Wherefore that which shall be born of thee shall be holy, and shall be called the Son of the Living God, and thou shalt call his name Jesus; for he shall save his people from their sins.

15 And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age.

16 And this now is the sixth month with her, who was called barren: for nothing is impossible with God.

17 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; let it be unto me according to thy word.

18 And when she had wrought her purple, she carried it to the high-priest, and the high-priest blessed her, saying, Mary, the Lord God hath magnified thy name, and thou shalt be blessed in all the ages of the world.

19 Then Mary, filled with joy, went away to her cousin Elizabeth, and knocked at the door.

20 Which when Elizabeth heard, she ran and opened to her, and blessed her, and said, Whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come unto me?

21 For lo! as soon as the voice of thy salutation reached my ears, that which is in me leaped and blessed thee.

22 But Mary, being ignorant of all those mysterious things which the archangel Gabriel had spoken to her, lifted up her eyes to heaven, and said, Lord! What am I, that all the generations of the earth should call me blessed?

23 But perceiving herself daily to grow big, and being afraid, she went home, and hid herself from the children of Israel; and was fourteen years old when all these things happened.



CHAPTER X.

1 Joseph returns from building houses, finds the Virgin grown big, being six months gone with child, 2 is jealous and troubled, 8 reproaches her, 10 she affirms her innocence, 13 he leaves her, 16 determines to dismiss her privately, 17 is warned in a dream that Mary is with child by the Holy Ghost, 20 and glorifies God who had shewn him such favour.

AND when her sixth month was come, Joseph returned from his building houses abroad, which was his trade, and entering into the house, found the Virgin grown big:

2 Then smiting upon his face, he said, With what face can I look up to the Lord my God? or, what shall I say concerning this young woman?

3 For I received her a Virgin out of the temple of the Lord my God, and have not preserved her such!

4 Who has thus deceived me? Who has committed this evil in my house, and seducing the Virgin from me, hath defiled her?

5 Is not the history of Adam exactly accomplished in me?

6 For in the very instant of his glory, the serpent came and found Eve alone, and seduced her.

7 Just after the same manner it has happened to me.

8 Then Joseph arising from the ground, called her, and said, O thou who hast been so much favoured by God, why hast thou done this?

9 Why hast thou thus debased thy soul, who wast educated in the Holy of Holies, and received thy food from the hand of angels?

10 But she, with a flood of tears, replied, I am innocent, and have known no man.

11 Then said Joseph, How comes it to pass you are with child?

12 Mary answered, As the Lord my God liveth, I know not by what means.

13 Then Joseph was exceedingly afraid, and went ay from her, considering what he should do with her; and he thus reasoned with himself:

14 If I conceal her crime, I shall be found guilty by the law of the Lord;

15 And if I discover her to the children of Israel, I fear, lest she being with child by an angel, I shall be found to betray the life of an innocent person.

16 What therefore shall I do? I will privately dismiss her.

17 Then the night was come upon him, when behold an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, and said,

18 Be not afraid to take that young woman, for that which is within her is of the Holy Ghost,

19 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins.

20 Then Joseph arose from his sleep, and glorified the God of Israel, who had shewn him such favour, and preserved the Virgin.



CHAPTER XI.

3 Annas visits Joseph, perceives the Virgin big with child, 4 informs the high priest that Joseph had privately married her. 8 Joseph and Mary brought to trial on the charge. 17 Joseph drinks the water of the Lord as an ordeal, and receiving no harm, returns home.

THEN came Annas the scribe, and said to Joseph, Wherefore have we not seen you since your return?

2 And Joseph replied, Because I was weary after my journey, and rested the first day.

3 But Annas turning about perceived the Virgin big with child.

4 And went away to the priest, and told him, Joseph in whom you placed so much confidence, is guilty of a notorious crime, in that he hath defiled the Virgin whom he received out of the temple of the Lord, and hath privately married her, not discovering it to the children of Israel.

5 Then said the priest, Hath Joseph done this?

6 Annas replied, If you send any of your servants you will find that she is with child.

7 And the servants went, and found it as he said.

8 Upon this both she and Joseph were brought to their trial, and the priest said unto her, Mary, what hast thou done?

9 Why hast thou debased thy soul, and forgot thy God, seeing thou wast brought up in the Holy of Holies, and didst receive thy food from the hands of angels, and heardest their songs?

10 Why hast thou done this?

11 To which with a flood of tears she answered, As the Lord my God liveth, I am innocent in his sight, seeing I know no man.

12 Then the priest said to Joseph, Why hast thou done this?

13 And Joseph answered, As the Lord my God liveth, I have not been concerned with her.

14 But the priest said, Lie not, but declare the truth; thou hast privately married her, and not discovered it to the children of Israel, and humbled thyself under the mighty hand (of God), that thy seed might be blessed:

15 And Joseph was silent.

16 Then said the priest (to Joseph), You must restore to the temple of the Lord the Virgin which you took thence.

17 But he wept bitterly, and the priest added, I will cause you both to drink the water of the Lord, which is for trial, and so your iniquity shall be laid open before you.—[bitter water that causeth the curse]

18 Then the priest took the water, and made Joseph drink, and sent him to a mountainous place,

19 And he returned perfectly well, and all the people wondered that his guilt was not discovered.

20 So the priest said, Since the Lord hath not made your sins evident, neither do I condemn you.

21 So he sent them away.

22 Then Joseph took Mary, and went to his house, rejoicing and praising the God of Israel.



CHAP. XII.

1 A decree from Augustus for taxing the Jews. 5 Joseph puts Mary on an ass, to return to Bethlehem, 6 she looks sorrowful, 7 she laughs, 8 Joseph inquires the cause of each, 9 she tells him she sees two persons, one mourning and the other rejoicing. 10 The delivery being near, he takes her from the ass, and places her in a cave.

AND it came to pass, that there went forth a decree from the Emperor Augustus, that all the Jews should be taxed, who were of Bethlehem in Judaea.

2 And Joseph said, I will take care that my children be taxed; but what shall I do with this young woman?

3 To have her taxed as my wife I am ashamed; and if I tax her as my daughter, all Israel knows she is not my daughter.

4 When the time of the Lord's appointment shall come, let him do as seems good to him.

5 And he saddled the ass, and put her upon it, and Joseph and Simon followed after her, and arrived at Bethlehem within three miles.

6 Then Joseph turning about saw Mary sorrowful, and said within himself, Perhaps she is in pain through that which is within her.

7 But when he turned about again, he saw her laughing, and said to her,

8 Mary, how happens it, that I sometimes see sorrow, and sometimes laughter and joy in thy countenance?

9 And Mary replied to him, I see two people with mine eyes, the one weeping and mourning, the other laughing and rejoicing.

10 And he went again across the way, and Mary said to Joseph, Take me down from the ass, for that which is in me presses to come forth.

11 But Joseph replied, Whither shall I take thee? for the place is a desert.

12 Then said Mary again to Joseph, take me down, for that which is within me mightily presses me.

13 And Joseph took her down.

14 And he found there a cave, and let her into it.



CHAPTER XIII.

1 Joseph seeks a Hebrew midwife, 2 perceives the owls stopping in their flight, 3 the working people at their food not moving, 8 the sheep standing still, 9 the shepherd fixed and immoveable, 10 and kids with their mouths touching the water but not drinking.

AND leaving her and his sons in the cave, Joseph went forth to seek a Hebrew midwife in the village of Bethlehem.

2 But as I was going (said Joseph), I looked up into the air, and I saw the clouds astonished, and the fowls of the air stopping in the midst of their flight.

3 And I looked down towards the earth, and saw a table spread, and working people sitting around it, but their hands were upon the table and they did not move to eat.

4 They who had meat in their mouths did not eat.

5 They who lifted their hands up to their heads did not draw them back,

6 And they who lifted them up to their mouths did not put any thing in;

7 But all their faces were fixed upwards.

8 And I beheld the sheep dispersed, and yet the sheep stood still.

9 And the shepherd lifted up his hand to smite them, and his hand continued up.

10 And I looked unto a river, and saw the kids with their mouths close to the water, and touching it, but they did not drink.



CHAPTER XIV.

1 Joseph finds a midwife. 10 A bright cloud overshadows the cave. 11 A great light in the cave, gradually increases until the infant is born. 13 The mid-wife goes out, and tells Salome that she has seen a virgin bring forth. 17 Salome doubts it. 20 her hand withers, 22 she supplicates the Lord, 28 is cured, 30 but warned not to declare what she had seen.

THEN I beheld a woman coming down from the mountains, and she said to me, Where art thou going, O man?

2 And I said to her, I go to enquire for a Hebrew midwife.

3 She replied to me, Where is the woman that is to be delivered?

4 And I answered, In the cave, and she is betrothed to me.

5 Then said the midwife, Is she not thy wife?

6 Joseph answered, It is Mary, who was educated in the Holy of Holies, in the house of the Lord, and she fell to me by lot, and is not my wife, but has conceived by the Holy Ghost.

7 The midwife said, Is this true?

8 He answered, Come and see.

9 And the midwife went along with him, and stood in the cave.

10 Then a bright cloud over- shadowed the cave, and the mid- wife said, This day my soul is magnified, for mine eyes have seen surprising things, and salvation is brought forth to Israel.

11 But on a sudden the cloud became a great light in the cave, so that their eyes could not bear it.

12 But the light gradually decreased, until the infant appeared, and sucked the breast of his mother, Mary.

13 Then the midwife cried out, and said, How glorious a day is this, wherein mine eyes have seen this extraordinary sight!

14 And the midwife went out from the cave, and Salome met her.

15 And the midwife said to her, Salome, Salome, I will tell you a most surprising thing which I saw,

16 A virgin hath brought forth, which is a thing contrary to nature.

17 To which Salome replied, As the Lord my God liveth unless I receive particular proof of this matter, I will not believe that a virgin hath brought forth.

18 If Then Salome went in, and the midwife said, Mary, shew thyself, for a controversy is risen concerning thee.

19 And Salome received satisfaction.

20 But her hand was withered, and she groaned bitterly;

21 And said, Woe to me, because of mine iniquity; for I have tempted the living God, and my hand is ready to drop off.

22 Then Salome made her supplication to the Lord, and said, O God of my Fathers, remember me, for I am of the seed of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob.

23 Make me not a reproach among the children of Israel, but restore me sound to my parents.

24 For thou well knowest, O Lord, that I have performed many offices of charity in thy name, and have received my reward from thee.

25 Upon this an angel of the Lord stood by Salome, and said, The Lord God hath heard thy prayer, reach forth thy hand to the child, and carry him, and by that means thou shalt be restored.

26 Salome filled with exceeding joy, went to the child, and said, I will touch him.

27 And she purposed to worship him, for she said, This is a great king, which is born in Israel.

28 And straightway Salome was cured.

29 Then the midwife went out of the cave, being approved by God.

30 And lo! a voice came to Salome. Declare not the strange things which thou hast seen, till the child shall come to Jerusalem.

31 So Salome also departed, approved by God.



CHAPTER XV.

1 Wise men come from the east. 3 Herod alarmed; 8 desires them if they find the child to bring him word. 10 They visit the cave and offer the child their treasure, 11 and being warned in a dream, do not return to Herod, but go home another way.

THEN Joseph was preparing to go away, because there arose a great disorder in Bethlehem by the coming of some wise men from the east,

2 Who said, Where is the King of the Jews born? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

3 When Herod heard this, he was exceedingly troubled, and sent messengers to the wise men, and to the priests, and enquired of them in the town-hall,

4 And said unto them, Where have you it written concerning Christ the king, or where should he be born?

5 Then they say unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea; for thus it is written: And thou Bethlehem in the land of Judah, art not the least among the princes of Judah, for out of thee shall come a ruler, who shall rule my people Israel.

6 And having sent away the chief priests, he enquired of the wise men in the town-hall, and said unto them, What sign was it ye saw concerning the king that is born?

7 They answered him, We saw an extraordinary large star shining among the stars of heaven, and so out-shined all the other stars, as that they became not visible, and we knew thereby that a great king was born in Israel, and therefore we are come to worship him.

8 Then said Herod to them, Go and make diligent inquiry; and if ye find the child, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.

9 So the wise men went forth, and behold, the star which they saw in the east went before them, till it came and stood over the cave where the young child was with Mary his mother.

10 Then they brought forth out of their treasures, and offered unto him gold and frankincense, and myrrh.

11 And being warned in a dream by an angel, that they should not return to Herod through Judaea, they departed into their own country by another way.



CHAPTER XVI.

1 Herod enraged, orders the infants in Bethlehem to be slain. 2 Mary puts her infant in an ox-manger. 3 Elizabeth flees with her son John to the mountains. 6 A mountain miraculously divides and receives them. 9 Herod incensed at the escape of John, causes Zacharias to be murdered at the altar. 23 The roofs of the temple rent, the body miraculously conveyed, and the blood petrified. 25 Israel mourns for him. 27 Simeon chosen his successor by lot.

THEN Herod perceiving that he was mocked by the wise men, and being very angry, commanded certain men to go and to kill all the children that were in Bethlehem, from two years old and under.

2 But Mary hearing that the children were to be killed, being under much fear, took the child, and wrapped him up in swaddling clothes, and laid him in an ox-manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

3 Elizabeth also, hearing that her son John was about to be searched for, took him and went up unto the mountains, and looked around for a place to hide him;

4 And there was no secret place to be found.

5 Then she groaned within herself, and said, O mountain of the Lord, receive the mother with the child.

6 For Elizabeth could not climb up,

7 And instantly the mountain was divided and received them.

8 And there appeared to them an angel of the Lord to preserve them.

9 But Herod made search after John, and sent servants to Zacharias, when he was (ministering) at the altar, and said unto him, Where hast thou hid thy son?

10 He replied, to them, I am a minister of God, and a servant at the altar: how should I know where my son is?

11 So the servants went back, and told Herod the whole; at which he was incensed, and said, Is not this son of his like to be king of Israel?

12 He sent therefore again his servants to Zacharias, saying, Tell us the truth, where is thy son, for you know that your life is in my hand.

13 So the servants went and told him all this:

14 But Zacharias replied to them, I am a martyr for God, and if ye shed my blood, the Lord will receive my soul.

15 Besides know that ye shed innocent blood.

16 However Zacharias was murdered in the entrance of the temple said altar, and about the partition;

17 But the children of Israel knew not when he want killed.

18 Then at the hour of salutation the priests went into the temple but Zacharias did not according to custom, meet them and bless them.

19 Yet they still continued waiting for him to salute them;

20 And when they found he did not in a long time come, one of them ventured into the holy place where the altar was, and he saw blood lying upon the ground congealed:

21 When, behold, a voice from heaven said, Zacharias is murdered, and his blood shall not be wiped away, until the revenger of his blood come.

22 But when he heard this, he was afraid; and went forth and told the priests what he had seen and heard; and they all went in, and saw the fact.

23 Then the roofs of the temple howled, and were rent from the top to the bottom:

24 And they could not find the body, but only blood made hard like stone.

25 And they went away, and told the people, that Zacharias was murdered, and all the tribes of Israel heard thereof, and mourned for him, and lamented three days:

26 Then the priests took council together concerning a person to succeed him.

27 And Simeon and the other priests cast lots, and the lot fell upon Simeon.

28 For he had been assured by the Holy Spirit, that he should not die, till he had seen Christ come in the flesh.

(I James wrote this History in Jerusalem: and when the disturbance was I retired into a desert place, until the death of Herod, and the disturbances ceased at Jerusalem. That which remains is, that I glorify God that he hath given me such wisdom to write unto you who are spiritual, and who love God: to whom (be ascribed) glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.)



THE PROTEVANGELION. Note on the death of Zacharias in Chap. 16.

There is a story both in the Jerusalem and Babylonish Talmud very similar to this. It is cited by Dr. Lightfoot, Talmud, Hierosol, in Taanith, fol. 69; and Talmud. Babyl. in Sanhedr., fol. 96. "O Rabbi Jochanan said, Eighty thousand priests were slain for the blood of Zacharias. Rabbi Judas asked Rabbi Achan, Where did they kill Zacharias? Was it in the woman's court, or in the court of Israel? He answered, Neither in the court of Israel, nor in the court of women, but in the court of the priests; and they did not treat his blood in the same manner as they were wont to treat the blood of a ram or young goat. For of these it is written, He shall pour out his blood, and cover it with dust. But it is written here, The blood is in the midst of her: she set it upon the top of a rock; she poured it not upon the ground. (Ezek. xxiv. 7.) But why was this? That it might cause fury to come up to take vengeance: I have set his blood upon the top of a rock, that it should not be covered. They committed seven evils that day: they murdered a priest, a prophet, and a king; they shed the blood of the innocent; they polluted the court: that day was the Sabbath: and the day of expiation. When therefore Nebuzaradan came there (viz. to Jerusalem,) he saw his blood bubbling, and said to them, What meaneth this? They answered, It is the blood of calves, lambs, and rams, which we have offered upon the altar. He commanded then, that they should bring calves, and lambs, and rams, and said I will try whether this be their blood: accordingly they brought and slew them, but the blood of Zacharias still bubbled, but the blood of these did not bubble. Then he said, Declare to me the truth of this matter, or else I will comb your flesh with iron combs. Then said they to him, He was a priest, prophet, and judge, who prophesied to Israel all these calamities which we have suffered from you; but we arose against him, and slew him. Then, said he, I will appease him; then he took the rabbis and slew them upon his (viz. Zacharias's) blood, and he was not yet appeased. Next he took the young boys from the schools, and slew them upon his blood; and yet it bubbled. Then he brought the young priests and slew them in the same place, and yet it still bubbled. So he slew at length ninety-four thousand persons upon his blood, and it did not as yet cease bubbling; then he drew near to it, and said, O Zacharias, Zacharias, thou halt occasioned the death of the chief of thy countrymen, shall I slay them all? then the blood ceased, and did bubble no more."



REFERENCES TO THE PROTEVANGELION.

[This Gospel is ascribed to James. The allusions to it in the ancient Fathers are frequent, and their expressions indicate that it had obtained a very general credit in the Christian world. The controversies founded upon it chiefly relate to the age of Joseph at the birth of Christ, and to his being a widower with children, before his marriage with the Virgin. It seems material to remark, that the legends of the latter ages affirm the virginity of Joseph, notwithstanding Epiphanius, Hilary, Chrysostom, Cyril, Euthymius, Thephylaet, Occumenius, and indeed all the Latin Fathers till Ambrose, and the Greek Fathers afterwards, maintain the opinions of Joseph's age and family, founded upon their belief in the authenticity of this book. It is supposed to have been originally composed in Hebrew. Postellus brought the MS. of this Gospel from the Levant, translated it into Latin, and sent it to Oporimus, a printer at Basil, where Bibliander, a Protestant Divine, and the Professor of Divinity at Zurich, caused it to be printed in 1552. Postellus asserts that it was publicly read as canonical in the eastern churches they making no doubt that James was the author, of it. It is, nevertheless considered apocryphal by some of the most learned divines in the Protestant and Catholic churches.]



THE FIRST GOSPEL OF THE INFANCY OF JESUS CHRIST.



CHAPTER I.

1 Caiphas relates that Jesus, when in his cradle, informed his mother that he was the Son of God. 5 Joseph and Mary going to Bethlehem to be taxed, Mary's time of bringing forth arrives, and she goes into a cave. 8 Joseph fetches in a Hebrew woman. The cave filled with great lights. 11 The infant born, 17 and cures the woman. 19 Arrival of the shepherds.

THE following accounts we found in the book of Joseph the high-priest, called by some Caiphas:

2 He relates, that Jesus spake even when he was in the cradle, and said to his mother:

3 Mary, I am Jesus the Son of God, that word, which thou didst bring forth according to the declaration of the angel Gabriel to thee, and my father hath sent me for the salvation of the world.

4 In the three hundred and ninth year of the era of Alexander, Augustus published a decree that all persons should go to be taxed in their own country.

5 Joseph therefore arose, and with Mary his spouse he went to Jerusalem, and then came to Bethlehem, that he and his family might be taxed in the city of his fathers.

6 And when they came by the cave, Mary confessed to Joseph that her time of bringing forth was come, and she could not go on to the city, and said, Let us go into this cave.

7 At that time the sun was very near going down.

8 But Joseph hastened away, that he might fetch her a midwife; and when he saw an old Hebrew woman who was of Jerusalem, he said to her, Pray come hither, good woman, and go into that cave, and you will there see a woman just ready to bring forth.

9 It was after sunset, when the old woman and Joseph with her reached the cave, and they both went into it.

10 And behold, it was all filled with lights, greater than the light of lamps and candles, and greater than the light of the sun itself.

11 The infant was then wrapped up in swaddling clothes, and sucking the breasts of his mother St. Mary.

12 When they both saw this light, they were surprised; the old woman asked St. Mary, Art thou the mother of this child?

13 St. Mary replied, She was.

14 On which the old woman said, Thou art very different from all other women.

15 St. Mary answered, As there is not any child like to my son, so neither is there any woman like to his mother.

16 The old woman answered, and said, O my Lady, I am come hither that I may obtain an everlasting reward.

17 Then our Lady St. Mary said to her, Lay thine hands upon the infant, which, when she had done, she became whole.

18 And as she was going forth, she said, From henceforth, all the days of my life, I will attend upon and be a servant of this infant.

19 After this, when the shepherds came, and had made a fire, and they were exceedingly rejoicing, the heavenly host appeared to them, praising and adoring the supreme God.

20 And as the shepherds were engaged in the same employment, the cave at that time seemed like a glorious temple, because both the tongues of angels and men united to adore and magnify God, on account of the birth of the Lord Christ.

21 But when the old Hebrew woman saw all these evident miracles, she gave praises to God, and said, I thank thee, O God, thou God of Israel, for that mine eyes have seen the birth of the Saviour of the world.



CHAP. II.

1 The child circumcised in the cave, 2 and the old woman preserving his foreskin or navel-string in a box of spikenard, Mary afterwards anoints Christ with it. 5 Christ brought to the temple; 6 He shines, 7 and angels stand around him adoring. 8 Simeon praises Christ.

AND when the time of his circumcision was come: namely, the eighth day, on which the law commanded the child to be circumcised; they circumcised him in the cave.

2 And the old Hebrew woman took the foreskin (others say she took the navel-string), and preserved it in an alabaster-box of old oil of spikenard.

3 And she had a son who was a druggist, to whom she said, Take heed thou sell not this alabaster- box of spikenard-ointment, although thou shouldst be offered three hundred pence for it.

4 Now this is that alabaster- box which Mary the sinner procured, and poured forth the ointment out of it upon the head and the feet of our Lord Jesus Christ, and wiped them off with the hairs of her head.

5 Then after ten days they brought him to Jerusalem, and on the fortieth day from his birth they presented him in the temple before the Lord, making the proper offerings for him, according to the requirement of the law of Moses: namely, that every male which opens the womb shall be called holy unto God.

6 At that time old Simeon saw him shining as a pillar of light, when St. Mary the Virgin, his mother, carried him in her arms, and was filled with the greatest pleasure at the sight.

7 And the angels stood around him, adoring him, as a king's guards stand around him.

8 Then Simeon going near to St. Mary, and stretching forth his hands towards her, said to the Lord Christ, Now, O My Lord, thy servant shall depart in peace, according to thy word;

9 For mine eyes have seen thy mercy, which thou hast prepared for the salvation of all nations; a light to all people, and the glory of thy people Israel.

10 Hannah the prophetess was also present, and drawing near, she gave praises to God, and celebrated the happiness of Mary.



CHAPTER III.

1 The wise men visit Christ. Mary gives them one of his swaddling clothes. 3 An angel appears to them in the form of a star. 4 They return and make a fire, and worship the swaddling cloth, and put it in the fire where it remains unconsumed.

AND it came to pass, when the Lord Jesus was born at Bethlehem, a city of Judaea, in the time of Herod the King;—the wise men came from the East to Jerusalem, according to the prophecy of Zoradascht, [Zoroaster] and brought with them offerings: namely, gold, frankincense, and myrrh, and worshipped him, and offered to him their gifts.

2 Then the Lady Mary took one of his swaddling clothes in which the infant was wrapped, and gave it to them instead of a blessing, which they received from her as a most noble present.

3 And at the same time there appeared to them an angel in the form of that star which had before been their guide in their journey; the light of which they followed till they returned into their own country.

4 On their return their kings and princes came to them inquiring, whom they had seen and done? What sort of journey and return they had? What Company they had on the road?

5 But they produced the swaddling cloth which St. Mary had given them, on account whereof they kept a feast.

6 And having, according to the custom of their country, made a fire, they worshipped it.

7 And casting the swaddling cloth into it, the fire took it and kept it.

8 And when the fire was put out, they took forth the swaddling cloth unhurt, as much as if the fire had not touched it.

9 Then they began to kiss it, and put it upon their heads and their eyes saying, This is certainly an undoubted truth, and it is really surprising that the fire could not burn it, and consume it.

10 Then they took it, and with the greatest respect laid it up among their treasures.



CHAPTER IV.

1 Herod intends to put Christ to death. 3 An angel warns Joseph to take the child and his mother into Egypt. 6 Consternation on their arrival. 13 The idols fall down. 15 Mary washes Christ's swaddling clothes, hangs them to dry on a post, and the son of a priest puts one on his head; 16 And being possessed of devils they leave him.

NOW Herod perceiving that the wise men did delay and not return to him, called together the priest and wise men, and said, Tell me in what place the Christ should be born.

2 And when they replied, in Bethlehem,—a city of Judaea, he began to contrive in his own mind the death of the Lord Jesus Christ.

3 But an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in his sleep, and said, Arise, take the child and his mother, and go into Egypt as soon as the cock crows. So he arose, and went.

4 And as he was considering with himself about his journey, the morning came upon him.

5 In the length of the journey the girts of the saddle broke.

6 And now he drew near to a great city, in which there was an idol, to which the priests of the other idols and gods of Egypt brought their offerings and vows.

7 And there was by this idol a priest ministering to it, who, as often as Satan spoke out of that idol, related the things he said to the inhabitants of Egypt, and those countries.

8 This priest had a son three years old, who was possessed with a great multitude of devils, who uttered many strange things and when the devils seized him, walked about naked with his clothes torn, throwing stones at those whom he saw.

9 Near to that idol was the inn of the city, into which when Joseph and St. Mary were come, and had turned into that inn, all the inhabitants of the city were astonished.

10 And all the magistrates and priests of the idols assembled before that idol, and made inquiry there, saying, What means all this consternation, and dread, which has fallen upon all our country?

11 The idol answered them, The unknown God is come thither, who is truly God; nor is there any one besides him, who is worthy of divine worship for he is truly the Son of God.

12 At the fame of him this country trembled, and at his coming it is under the present commotion and consternation, and we ourselves are afrighted by the greatness of his power.

13 And at the same instant this idol fell down, and at his fall all the inhabitants of Egypt, besides others ran together.

14 But the son of the priest, when his usual disorder came upon him going into the inn, found there Joseph and St. Mary, whom all the rest had left behind and forsook.

15 And when the Lady St. Mary had washed the swaddling clothes of the Lord Christ, and hanged them out to dry upon a post, the boy possessed with the devil took down one of them, and put it upon his head.

16 And presently the devils began to come out of his mouth, and fly away in the shape of crows and serpents.

17 From that time the boy was healed by the power of the Lord Christ and he began to sing praises, and give thanks to the Lord who had healed him.

18 When his father saw him restored to his former state of health, he said, My son, what has happened to thee, and by what means wert thou cured?

19 The son answered, When the devils seized me, I went into the inn, and there found a very handsome woman with a boy, whose swaddling clothes she had just before washed, and hanged out upon a post.

20 One of these I took, and put it upon my head, and immediately the devils left me, and fled away.

21 At this the father exceedingly rejoiced, and said, My son, perhaps this boy is the son of the living God, who made the heavens and the earth.

22 For as soon as he came amongst us, the idol was broken, and all the gods fell down, and were destroyed by a greater power.

23 Then was fulfilled the prophecy which saith, Out of Egypt I have called my son.



CHAPTER V.

1 Joseph and Mary leave Egypt. 3 Go to the Haunts of robbers, 4 Who hearing a mighty noise, as of a great army flee away.

NOW Joseph and Mary when they heard that the idol was fallen down and destroyed, were seized with fear and, trembling, and said, When we Were in the land of Israel, Herod, intending to kill Jesus, slew for that purpose all the infants at Bethlehem, and that neighbourhood.

2 And there is no doubt but the Egyptians if they come to hear that this idol is broken and fallen down, will burn us with fire.

3 They went therefore hence to the secret places of robbers, who robbed travellers as they pass by, of their carriages and their clothes and carried them away bound.

4 These thieves upon their coming heard a great noise such as the noise of a king with a great army, and many horse and the trumpets sounding at his departure from his own city, at which they were so affrighted, as to leave all their booty behind them and fly away in haste.

5 Upon this the prisoners arose, and loosed each other's bonds, and taking each man his bags, they went way, and saw Joseph and Mary coming towards them, and inquired, Where is that king, the noise of whose approach the robbers heard, and left us, so that we are now come off safe?

6 Joseph answered, He will come after us.



CHAPTER VI.

1 Mary looks on a woman in whom Satan had taken up his abode, and she becomes dispossessed. 5 Christ kissed by a bride made dumb by sorcerers, cures her. 11 Miraculously cures a gentlewoman in whom Satan had taken up his abode. 16 A leprous girl cured by the water in which he was washed, and becomes the servant of Joseph and Mary. 20 The leprous son of a prince's wife cured in like manner. 37 Has mother offers large gifts to Mary, and dismisses her.

THEN they went into another city where there was a woman possessed with a devil, and in whom Satan, that cursed rebel, had taken up his abode.

2 One night, when she went to fetch water, she could neither endure her clothes on, nor to be in any house; but as often as they tied her with chains or cords, she brake them, and went out into desert places, and sometimes standing where roads crossed, and in church yards, would throw stones at men.

3 When St. Mary saw this woman, she pitied her; where upon Satan presently left her, and fled away in the form of a young man, saying, Wo to me, because of thee, Mary, and thy son.

4 So the woman was delivered from her torment; but considering herself naked, she blushed, and avoided seeing any man and having put on her clothes, went home, and gave an account of her case to her father and relations who, as they were the best of the city, entertained St. Mary and Joseph with the greatest respect.

5 The next morning having received a sufficient supply of provisions for the road, they went from them, and about the evening of the day arrived at another town, where a marriage was then about to be solemnized; but by the arts of Satan and the practices of a sorcerers, the bride was become so dumb, that she could not so much as open her mouth.

6 But when this dumb bride saw the Lady St. Mary entering into the town, and carrying Lord Christ in her arms, she stretched out her hands to the Lord Christ, and-took him in her arms, and closely hugging him, very often kissed him, continually moving him and, pressing him to her body.

7 Straightway the string of her tongue was loosed, and her ears were opened, and she began to sing praises unto God, who had restored her.

8 So there was great joy among the inhabitants of the town that night, who thought that God and his angels were come down among them.

9 In this place they abode three days, meeting with the greatest respect and most splendid entertainment.

10 And being then furnished by the people with provisions for the road, they departed and went to another city, in which they were inclined to lodge, because it was a famous place.

11 There was in this city a gentlewoman, who, as she went down one day to the river to bathe, behold cursed Satan leaped upon her in the form of a serpent.

12 And folded himself about her belly, and every night lay upon her.

13 This woman seeing the Lady St. Mary, and the Lord Christ the infant in her bosom, asked the Lady St. Mary, that she would give her the child to kiss, and carry in her arms.

14 When she had consented, and as soon as the woman had moved the child, Satan left her, and fled away, nor did the woman ever afterwards see him.

15 Hereupon all the neighbors praised the Supreme God, and the woman reward them with ample, beneficence.

16 On the morrow, the same woman brought perfumed water to wash the Lord Jesus; and when she had washed him, she preserved the water.

17 And there was a girl there, whose body was white with a leprosy, who being sprinkled with this water, and washed, was instantly cleansed from her leprosy.

18 The people therefore said Without doubt Joseph and Mary, and that boy are Gods, for they do not look like mortals.

19 And when they were making ready to go away, the girl, who had been troubled with the leprosy, came and desired they would permit her to go along with them; so they consented and the girl went with them till they came to a city in which was the palace of a great king, and whose house was not far from the inn.

20 Here they staid, and when the girl went one day to the prince's wife, and found her in a sorrowful and mournful condition, she asked her the reason of her tears.

21 She replied, wonder not at my groans, for I am under a great misfortune, of which I dare not tell any one.

22 But, says the, girl, if you will entrust me with your private grievance, perhaps I may find you a remedy for it.

23 Thou, therefore, says the prince's wife, shall keep the secret, and not discover it to any one alive.

24 I have been married to this prince, who rules as king over large dominions, and lived long with him before he had any child by me.

25 At length I conceived by him, but alas! I brought forth a leprous son; which, when he saw him would not own to be his, but said to me,

26 Either do thou kill him, or send him to some nurse in such a place, that he may be never heard of; and now take care of yourself; I will never see you more.

27 So here I pine, lamenting my wretched and miserable circumstances. Alas, my son! alas, my husband; Have I disclosed it to you?

28 The girl replied I have found a remedy for your disease, which I promise you, for I also was leprous, but God hath cleansed me, even he who is called Jesus the son of the Lady Mary.

29 The woman inquiring where that God was, whom she spake of; the girl answered, He lodges with you here, in the same house.

30 But how can this be? says she; where is he? Behold, replied the girl, Joseph and Mary; and the infant who is, with them is called Jesus; and it is he who delivered me from my disease and torment.

31 But by what means, says she, were you cleansed from your leprosy? Will not you tell me that?

32 Why not? says the girl; I took the water with which his body had been washed, and poured it upon me, and my leprosy vanished.

33 The prince's wife then arose and entertained them, providing a great feast for Joseph among a large company of men.

34 And the next day took perfumed water to wash the Lord Jesus, and afterwards poured the same water upon her son, whom she had brought with her, and her son was instantly cleansed from his leprosy,

35 Then she sang thanks and unto God, and said, Blessed is the mother that bare thee, O Jesus!

36 Dost thou thus cure men of the same nature with thyself, with the water with which thy body is washed?

37 She then offered very large gifts to the Lady Mary, and sent her away with all imaginable respect.



CHAPTER VII.

1 A man who could not enjoy his wife, freed from his disorder. 5 A young man who had been bewitched, and turned into a mule miraculously cured by Christ being put on his back, 28 and is married to the girl who had been cured of leprosy.

THEY came afterwards to another city, and had a mind to lodge there.

2 Accordingly they went to a man's house, who was newly married but by the influence of sorcerers could not enjoy his wife.

3 But they lodging at his house that night, the man was freed of his disorder.

4 And when they were preparing early in the morning to go forward on their journey, the new-married person hindered them, and provided a noble entertainment for them.

5 But going forward on the morrow, they came to another city, and saw three women going from a certain grave with great weeping.

6 When St. Mary saw them, she spake to the girl who was their companion, saying, Go and inquire of them, what is the matter with them, and what misfortune has befallen them?

7 When the girl asked them, they made her no answer, but asked her again, Who are ye? and where are you going? For the day is far spent, and night is at hand.

8 We are travellers, saith the girl, and we are seeking for an inn to lodge at.

9 They replied, Go along with us, and lodge with us.

10 They then followed them, and were introduced into a new house, well furnished with all sorts of furniture.

11 Now it was winter-time, and the girl went into the parlour where these women were, and found them weeping and lamenting as before.

12 By them stood a mule, covered over with silk, and an ebony collar hanging down from his neck, whom they kissed and were feeding.

13 But when the girl said, How handsome, ladies, that mule is! they replied with tears, and said, This mule, which you see, was our brother, born of this same mother as we;

14 For when our father died, and left us a very large estate, and we had only this brother, and we endeavoured to procure him a suitable match, and thought he should be married as other men, some giddy and jealous women bewitched him without our knowledge.

15 And we one night, a little before day, while the doors of the house were all shut fast, saw this our brother was changed into a mule, such as you now see him to be:

16 And we in the melancholy condition in which you see us, having no father to comfort us, have applied to all the wise men, magicians, and diviners in the world, but they have been of no service to us.

17 As often therefore as we find ourselves oppressed with grief, we rise and go with this our mother to our father's tomb, where, when we have cried sufficiently, we return home.

18 When the girl had heard this she said, Take courage, and cease your fears, for you have a remedy for your afflictions near at hand even amoung you and in the midst of your house.

19 For I was also leprous; but when I saw this woman, and this little infant with her, whose name is Jesus, I sprinkled my body with the water with which his mother had washed him and I was presently made well.

20 And I am certain that he is also capable of relieving you under your distress. Wherefore arise, go to my mistress Mary, and when you have brought her into your own parlour, disclose to her the secret, at the same time earnestly beseeching her to compassionate your case.

21 As soon as the women had heard the girl's discourse, they hastened away to the Lady St. Mary, introduced themselves to her, and sitting down before her, they wept.

22 And said, O our Lady St. Mary, pity your handmaids, for we have no head of our family, no one elder than us; no father or brother to go in or out before us.

23 But this mule, which you see, was our brother, which some women by witchcraft have brought into this condition which you see: we therefore entreat you to compassionate us.

24 Hereupon St. Mary was grieved at their case, and taking the Lord Jesus, put him upon the back of the mule.

25 And said to her son, O Jesus Christ, restore (or heal) according to thy extraordinary power this mule, and grant him to have again the shape of a man and a rational creature, as he had formerly.

26 This was scarce said by the Lady St. Mary, but the mule immediately passed into a human form, and became a young man without any deformity.

27 Then he and his mother and the sisters worshipped the Lady St. Mary, and lifting the child upon their heads, they kissed him, and said, Blessed is thy mother, O Jesus, O Saviour of the world! Blessed are the eyes which are so happy to see thee.

28 Then both the sisters told their mother, saying, Of a truth, our brother is restored to his former shape by the help of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the kindness of that girl who told us of Mary and her son.

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