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Arise, be thou enlightened, for thy light is come,
THE SON OF GOD.
From the Birth of John the Baptist to the Present
ation of Christ in the Temple.
FORASMUCH as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely belie among us, even as they who from the beginning were eye-witnesses and ministers of the WORD *, delivered them unto us, it seemed
* THE WORD, that is, Jesus Christ; the term translated ministers, means strictly personal attendants, the expression “ eye-witnesses and ministers of The Word ” necessarily implies, therefore, that The Word
good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus *, that thou mightest know the certainty of those things wherein thou hast been instructed.
In the days of Herod, the king of Judæa, there was a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia : and his wife was 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. And it came to pass, that 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 to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense. And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and
was a Person capable of being seen and ministered unto. The same is obvious from the testimony of Saint John, both in the beginning of his gospel, where the Divinity and office of The Word are expressly set forth, and in the Apocalypse, where He who sitteth on the white horse, and is called Faithful and True, and judges in righteousness, “ hath on his vesture a name written King of kings and LORD of lords, and his name is called The Word of God."
* As the literal import of the name Theophilus is friend or lover of God, some have imagined that under this appellation, Saint Luke meant to comprise all the faithful followers of Christ, to whom, as friends of God, he thus dedicates his history of our Saviour's life. The more probable opinion, however, is, that as Saint Luke composed his gospel in Greece, and specially for the use of the Gentile converts, Theophilus was a Greek Christian, whose eminent rank is marked by the title most excellent, which Saint Paul also uses in his addresses to Felix and to Festus.
JOHN THE BAPTIST PROMISED.
fear fell upon him. But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer 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 shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.
And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just ; To make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
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 t, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season. And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long 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: for he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless. And it came to pass, that,
* The name John means “ Gracious,” the grace, or favour, of God.
+ “ Gabriel” signifies “the power of God,” or “ the mighty one of God."
as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house. And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying, Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.
And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused * to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David ; and the virgin's name was Mary.t
And the angel came in unto her, and said,
And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name
JESUS. I He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest : 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. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this * That is, betrothed, or promised but not yet given, in marriage. + The name Mary is the same with Miriam ; it signifies “ exalted.” 1 The name Jesus signifies“ Saviour ;” Christ means Anointed," and is the same with the Hebrew name Messiah : the two together indicate the offices of our Lord as prophet, priest, and king.