Page images

their flock. And behold an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them and they feared exceedingly. And the angel said to them ; Fear not; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, that shall be to all the people :* for this day is there born to you, in the city of David, a SAVIOUR, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; you shall find the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God, and saying: Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace, good will towards men.

And it came to pass, that after the angels departed from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another : Let us go over to Bethlehem, and let us see this thing that is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known to us. And they came with haste; and they found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in a manger. And seeing, they made known what had been spoken to them concerning this child. And all that heard wondered at the things that were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart.

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

And after eight days were accomplished that the ebild should be circumcised, his name was called Jesus, which it was called by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

And when the days of her purification, according to the law of Moses, were accomplished, they carried him to Jerusalem, to present him to the

* The people.The word so rendered always means God's people Israel, as distinguished from the ‘nations,' or 'Gentiles.' Lord. As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord: and to offer a sacrifice according to that which is written in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtle doves or two young pigeons.*

And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Christ t of the Lord. And he came by the Spirit to the temple: † and when the parents

* A pair of turtle doves or two young pigeons.—This was the offering appointed for the poor, all who could afford it being required to offer a lamb on such occasions. The mention of this offering shows that Joseph and Mary were in very humble circumstances.

Christ.-A Greek word signifying anointed. Messiah is the Hebrew word, having the same signification. The Lord Jesus is called the Christ or Messiah, because, like the prophets, priests and kings, under the Old Testament, he was anointed to be prophet, priest, and king in his church. They were anointed with oil; he with the Holy Ghost.

Temple. There are two words used to express what is implied in the English word temple. The one Naos, signified the sacred house in which was the sanctuary, and the Holy of Holies, or most Holy place: the other Hieron, induded not only the sacred house, but all the courts and buildings connected with it. Into the sacred house, Naos, only the priests were permitted to enter; and into the inner part of the sacred house, called the Holy of Holies, none but the High-priest could enter; and he only once in the year. When therefore we read of any person except a priest entering into the temple, we must understand the word in its most general sense to include all the sacred inclosures and edifices. Neither Simeon, nor Anna, nor Joseph, nor Mary, could have been admitted into the Naos or sanctuary, and doubtless worshipped in the courts appropriated for those who were not priests. In these extracts the word Temple will be employed in the translation of the more general word Hieron, and the word sanctuary, or sacred house, to express the more limited word Naos.

brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, then took he him up

in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people: a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.* And Joseph and his mother wondered at those things which were spoken of him. And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel : and to serve as a mark for contradiction; (yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser; she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity: and she was a widow of about four score and four years, who departed not from the temple, with fastings and prayers, serving night and day. And she coming in that instant


thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spoke of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.t

And after they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee to their own city Nazareth, And the child grew, and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was in him.

Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. And when he was twelve years old, they, going up to Jerusa

* People Israel.-See note, page 9. † For Redemption in Jerusalem, or, ‘for the redemption of Israel, so the Vulgate and several Greek MSS. read.

lem after the custom of the feast, and having fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem ; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.* And thinking that he was in the company, they went a day's journey, and sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And not finding him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking him. And it came to pass that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him, were astonished at his wisdom and his answers. And seeing him they were amazed. And his mother said to him : Son, why hast thou done so to us? behold thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said to them: How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be about


father's business? And they understood not the word that he spoke unto them. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth; and was subject to them. And his mother kept all these words in her heart.

And Jesus advanced in wisdom, and stature, and in favour with God and men.


Of the house,

Depart in peace,

Waxed strong,
Was subject to.

* It was usual for people to travel in large companies, (caravans) for security against robbers.


What decree was issued at this time by Cæsar Augustus?
Where did the people go to be registered ?
To what place did Joseph go?
Why did he go to that particular place?
What did Mary do to her son when he was born ?
Why was he put in a manger ?
Tell me what happened to the shepherds?
How.were they to know the child ?
When the angel had left them, what did they say?
What did Mary say to all this?
Why was the child called Jesus ?
Why did they take the child to Jerusalem ?
What did they offer?
What is told us of Simeon ?
What is told us of Anna the prophetess?

When Joseph and Mary had fulfilled the law, where did they go to reside?

How old was Christ when his parents went to Jerusalem ? What is told us of this visit?

What answer did Christ give to Mary when she told him that she had been seeking him?

Did they understand his answer ?


Ministry of John the Baptist.


Now, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Cæsar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea, and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene; under the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came unto John, the son of Zacharias, in the desert. And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the

« PreviousContinue »