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INTERVIEW BETWEEN MARY AND ELISABETH. 5

be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible.

And Mary said,
Behold the handmaid of the Lord ;

Be it unto me according to thy word.
And the angel departed from her.

And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; and entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost :

And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, The babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: For there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord. And Mary said*, My soul doth magnify the Lord,

* Magnificat.

And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his hand. maiden: For, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. * For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; And holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath showed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, And exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; And the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; As he spake to our fathers,

to Abraham, and to his seed for ever. And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.

Now Elisabeth's full time came that she should be delivered ; and she brought forth a son. And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her.

And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise + the child ; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father.

And his mother answered and said, Not so; but

* The word here rendered “ blessed” means “happy;" an object of gratulation, not of worship or homage.

+ Circumcision was the initiatory rite under the Jewish dispensation, answering to baptism in the Christian.

HYMN OF ZACHARIAS.

7

name.

he shall be called John. And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this

And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called. And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all. And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God. And fear came on all that dwelt round about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judæa. And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be!

And the hand of the Lord was with him. And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost,

And prophesied, saying, * Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; For he hath visited and redeemed his people, And hath raised up a horn † of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us ; To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant ; The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.

* Benedictus.

+ “ Horn” is a term used to express strength; it is a symbol of power and authority.

And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the
Highest : For thou shalt go before the face of the
Lord, to prepare his ways ;
To give knowledge of salvation unto his people
By the remission of their sins,
Through the tender mercy of our God;
whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,
To give light to them that sit in darkness
and in the shadow of death,

To guide our feet into the way of peace.
And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and
was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto
Israel.

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The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham ; all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise : When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife : for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sinş.

BIRTH OF CHRIST AT BETHLEHEM.

9

Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not * till she had brought forth her firstborn son:

And he called his name JESUS.

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Cæsar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judæa, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem ; (because he was of the house and lineage of David :) to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger ; because there was no room for them in the inn. t

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about

* That is, never lived with her in wedlock.

+ Christ was born at an inn ; as if to intimate that he came into the world but to sojourn here for a while, as at an inn, and to teach us, to whom he is the great ensample as well as only Saviour, to remember that in this world we are but strangers and pilgrims.

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