ABU(i) 1 FORASMUCH as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a narration concerning the things fully believed among us, 2 as they, who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, delivered them to us; 3 it seemed good to me also, having accurately traced all from the very first, to write to thee in order, most excellent Theophilus; 4 that thou mightest know the certainty concerning those things wherein thou wast instructed. 5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest, Zachariah by name, of the course of Abijah; and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. 7 And they had no child, because Elisabeth was barren; and they both were now far advanced in years. 8 And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's office before God, in the order of his course, 9 it fell to his lot, according to the custom of the priest's office, to burn incense, going into the temple of the Lord. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying without, at the hour of incense. 11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And Zachariah seeing him was troubled, and fear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said to him: Fear not, Zachariah; for thy prayer was heard, and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. 14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. 15 For he shall be great before the Lord; and he shall not drink wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb. 16 And many of the sons of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. 17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a prepared people for the Lord. 18 And Zachariah said to the angel: Whereby shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is far advanced in years. 19 And the angel answering said to him: I am Gabriel, that stands in the presence of God; and I was sent to speak to thee, and to bring thee these glad tidings. 20 And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou didst not believe thy words, which shall be fulfilled in their season. 21 And the people were waiting for Zachariah; and they were wondering at his long tarrying in the temple. 22 And when he came out he was not able to speak to them, and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple; and he was making signs to them, and remained speechless. 23 And it came to pass, when the days of his ministration were completed, that he departed to his own house. 24 And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived; and she hid herself five months, saying: 25 Thus has the Lord dealt with me, in the days wherein he looked on me to take away my reproach among men. 26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. 28 And the angel coming in to her, said: Hail, highly favored! The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women. 29 And she was troubled at the saying; and was considering what manner of salutation this might be. 30 And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary; for thou didst find favor with God. 31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of David his father; 33 and he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. 34 Then said Mary to the angel: How shall this be, seeing that I know not a man? 35 And the angel answering said to her: The Holy Spirit will come upon thee, and the power of the Highest will overshadow thee; therefore also the Holy One that is born shall be called the Son of God. 36 And, behold, Elisabeth thy kinswoman, she also has conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her who is called barren. 37 For with God nothing shall be impossible. 38 And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. 39 And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill-country with haste, into a city of Judah; 40 and entered into the house of Zachariah, and saluted Elisabeth. 41 And it came to pass, as Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 And she spoke out with a loud voice and said: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. 43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For, behold, as the voice of thy salutation came into my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. 45 And happy is she, who believed that there shall be a fulfillment of the things told her from the Lord. 46 And Mary said: My soul magnifies the Lord; 47 and my spirit rejoiced in God my Savior. 48 Because he looked upon the low estate of his handmaid; for, behold, henceforth all generations will call me happy. 49 Because the Mighty One did great things for me; and holy is his name. 50 And his mercy is from generation to generation, to those who fear him. 51 He wrought might with his arm; he scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. 52 He cast down princes from thrones, and exalted those of low degree. 53 The hungry he filled with good, and the rich he sent empty away. 54 He helped Israel, his servant; to remember mercy, 55 as he spoke to our fathers, for Abraham and for his seed forever. 56 And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house. 57 Now Elisabeth's full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son. 58 And her neighbors and her kindred heard that the Lord showed great mercy toward her; and they rejoiced with her. 59 And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zachariah, after the name of his father. 60 And his mother answered and said: Nay; but he shall be called John. 61 And they said to her: There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name. 62 And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called. 63 And asking for a writing-tablet, he wrote, saying: His name is John. And they all wondered. 64 And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue was loosed; and he spoke, blessing God. 65 And fear came on all that dwelt around them. And all these things were told abroad in all the hill-country of Judaea. 66 And all who heard laid them up in their hearts, saying: What then will this child be! And the hand of the Lord was with him. 67 And Zachariah his father was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying: 68 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, that he visited and wrought redemption for his people; 69 and raised up a horn of salvation for us, in the house of David his servant, 70 (as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets of old,) 71 salvation from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; 72 to show mercy to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; 73 the oath which he swore to Abraham our father, 74 to grant to us, that without fear, being rescued from the hand of our enemies, we should serve him, 75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. 76 And also thou, O child, shalt be called Prophet of the Highest; for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord, to prepare his ways, 77 in order to give knowledge of salvation to his people in remission of their sins; 78 through the tender mercies of our God, whereby the dayspring from on high visited us, 79 to give light to those sitting in darkness and the shadow of death, in order to guide our feet into the way of peace. 80 And the child grew, and became strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his manifestation to Israel.