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HIS BIRTH AND BOYHOOD

THE DIVINE ANNOUNCINGS

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THE WORD MADE FLESH In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him; and without him was not anything made that hath been made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness apprehended it not.

There came a man, sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for witness, that he might bear witness of the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came that he might bear witness of the light. There was the true light, even the light which lighteth every man, coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and they that were his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth. John beareth witness of him, and crieth, saying, “This was he of whom I said, He that cometh after me is become before me: for he was before me."

For of his fulness we all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

The PROMISED BIRTH OF JOHN THE BAPTIST, There was in the days of Herod, king of Judæa, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abijah: and he had a wife of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.

And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.

Now it came to pass, while he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course, according to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was enter into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the hour of incense.

And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.

And Zacharias was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said unto him, "Fear not, Zacharias: because thy supplication is heard, and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and he shall drink no wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his

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THE PROMISED BIRTH OF JOHN THE BAPTIST

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mother's womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn unto the Lord their God. And he shall go before his face in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to walk in the wisdom of the just; to make ready for the Lordo a people prepared for him."

And Zacharias said unto the angel, “Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.”

And the angel answering said unto him, “I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and I was sent to speak unto thee, and to bring thee these good tidings. And behold, thou shalt be silent and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall come to pass, because thoù believedst not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season."

And the people were waiting for Zacharias, and they marvelled while he tarried in the temple. And when he came out, he could not speak unto them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: and he continued making signs unto them; and remained dumb.

And it came to pass, when the days of his ministration were fulfilled, he departed unto his house.

And after these days Elisabeth his wife conceived; and she hid herself five months, saying, “Thus hath the Lord done unto me in the days wherein he looked upon me, to take away my reproach among men."

THE ANGEL'S VISIT TO MARY. Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was

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Mary. And he came in unto her, and said, “Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee.”

But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this might be.

And the angel said unto her, “Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. And behold, thou I shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son,

and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High: and the Lord God shall give unto 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."

And Mary said unto the angel, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?”

And the angel answered and said unto her, “The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee: wherefore also the holy thing which is begotten shall be called the Son of God. And behold, Elisabeth thy kinswoman, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that was called barren. For no word from God shall be, void of-power.”

And Mary said, “Behold, the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” And the angel departed from her.

Mary's Visit to Her Cousin. And Mary arose in these days and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Judah; and entered into the house of Zacharias and saluted Elisabeth. And it came to pass, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit; and she

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lifted up her voice with a loud cry, 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 unto me? For behold, when the voice of thy salutation came into mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed; for there shall be a fulfilment of the things which have been spoken to her from the Lord.”

MARY'S SONG. And Mary said, “My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath looked upon the low estate of his

handmaid:
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 unto generations and generations
On them that fear him.
He hath showed strength with his arm:
He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of

their heart. He hath put down princes from their thrones, And hath exalted them of low degree. The hungry he hath filled with good things; And the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath given help to Israel his servant, That he might remember mercy (As he spake unto our fathers) Toward Abraham and his seed for ever." And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned unto her house.

THE BIRTH OF JOHN THE BAPTIST. Now Elisabeth's time was fulfilled that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son. And her neighbors and her kinsfolk heard that the Lord had

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