Dedication to Theophilus
1FORASMUCH as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a narration of the things that have been accomplished among us; 2According as they have delivered them unto us, who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word: 3It seemed good to me also, having diligently attained to all things from the beginning, to write to thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, 4That thou mayest know the verity of those words in which thou hast been instructed.
The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold
(Matthew 11:7-19; Luke 7:24-35; Luke 16:14-17)
5There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zachary, of the course of Abia; and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name Elizabeth. 6And they were both just before God, walking in all the commandments and justifications of the Lord without blame. 7And they had no son, for that Elizabeth was barren, and they both were well advanced in years.
8And it came to pass, when he executed the priestly function in the order of his course before God, 9According to the custom of the priestly office, it was his lot to offer incense, going into the temple of the Lord. 10And all the multitude of the people was praying without, at the hour of incense. 11And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing on the right side of the alter of incense. 12And Zachary seeing him, was troubled, and fear fell upon him. 13But the angel said to him: Fear not, Zachary, for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John: 14And thou shalt have joy and gladness, and many shall rejoice in his nativity. 15For he shall be great before the Lord; and shall drink no wine nor strong drink: and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. 16And he shall convert many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. 17And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias; that he may turn the hearts of the fathers unto the children, and the incredulous to the wisdom of the just, to prepare unto the Lord a perfect people.
18And Zachary said to the angel: Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years. 19And the angel answering, said to him: I am Gabriel, who stand before God: and am sent to speak to thee, and to bring thee these good tidings. 20And behold, thou shalt be dumb, and shalt not be able to speak until the day wherein these things shall come to pass, because thou hast not believed my words, which shall be fulfilled in their time.
21And the people were waiting for Zachary; and they wondered that he tarried so long in the temple. 22And when he came out, he could not speak to them: and they understood that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he made signs to them, and remained dumb. 23And it came to pass, after the days of his office were accomplished, he departed to his own house.
24And after those days, Elizabeth his wife conceived, and hid herself five months, saying: 25Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he hath had regard to take away my reproach among men.
The Birth of Jesus Foretold
26And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, 27To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. 28And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 29Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. 30And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. 31Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. 32He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. 33And of his kingdom there shall be no end. 34And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man? 35And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. 36And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren: 37Because no word shall be impossible with God. 38And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
Mary Visits Elizabeth
39And Mary rising up in those days, went into the hill country with haste into a city of Juda. 40And she entered into the house of Zachary, and saluted Elizabeth. 41And it came to pass, that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: 42And she cried out with a loud voice, and said: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. 43And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44For behold as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. 45And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord.
Mary's Song of Praise
46And Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord.
47And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
48Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
49Because he that is mighty, hath done great things to me; and holy is his name.
50And his mercy is from generation unto generations, to them that fear him.
51He hath shewed might in his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
52He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble.
53He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.
54He hath received Israel his servant, being mindful of his mercy:
55As he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed for ever.
56And Mary abode with her about three months; and she returned to her own house.
The Birth of John the Baptist
57Now Elizabeth's full time of being delivered was come, and she brought forth a son. 58And her neighbours and kinsfolks heard that the Lord had shewed his great mercy towards her, and they congratulated with her.
59And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they called him by his father's name Zachary. 60And his mother answering, said: Not so; but he shall be called John. 61And they said to her: There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name. 62And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called. 63And demanding a writing table, he wrote, saying: John is his name. And they all wondered. 64And immediately his mouth was opened, and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. 65And fear came upon all their neighbours; and all these things were noised abroad over all the hill country of Judea. 66And all they that had heard them laid them up in their heart, saying: What an one, think ye, shall this child be? For the hand of the Lord was with him.
67And Zachary his father was filled with the Holy Ghost; and he prophesied, saying:
68Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; because he hath visited and wrought the redemption of his people:
69And hath raised up an horn of salvation to us, in the house of David his servant:
70As he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets, who are from the beginning:
71Salvation from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us:
72To perform mercy to our fathers, and to remember his holy testament,
73The oath, which he swore to Abraham our father, that he would grant to us,
74That being delivered from the hand of our enemies, we may serve him without fear,
75In holiness and justice before him, all our days.
76And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways:
77To give knowledge of salvation to his people, unto the remission of their sins:
78Through the bowels of the mercy of our God, in which the Orient from on high hath visited us:
79To enlighten them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death: to direct our feet into the way of peace.
80And the child grew, and was strengthened in spirit; and was in the deserts until the day of his manifestation to Israel.