¶ Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to compile a treatise of those things, which are surely known among us, even as they declared them unto us, which from the beginning saw them with their eyes, and were ministers at the doing: I determined also, as soon as I had searched out diligently all things from the beggining, that then I would write unto thee, good Theophilus, that thou mightest know the certainty of those things, whereof thou art informed.
¶ In the time of Herode king of jewry, there was a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abie. And his wife was of the daughters of Aaron: And her name was Elizabeth. Both were perfect before God, and walked in all the laws and ordinances of the Lord that no man could find fault with them. And they had no child, because that Elizabeth was barren, And both were well stricken in age.
¶ It came to pass, as he executed the priest's office, before God as his course came (according to the custom of the priest's office) his lot was to burn odoures. And went into the temple of the Lord, and all the multitude of people were without in their prayers while the odoures were a burning. There appeared unto him the Lord's angel, standing on the right side of the altar of odoures. And when Zacharias saw him, he was abashed, and fear came on him.
¶ The angel said unto him: fear not Zacary, for thy prayer is heard: And thy wife Helizabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name Ihon: And thou shalt have joy and gladness: And many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of God, and shall neither drink wine nor strong drink. And he shall be filled with the holy ghost, even in his mother's womb: and many of the children of Israhel shall he turn to their Lord God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Helias to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the unbelievers to the wisdom of the just men: to make the people ready for the Lord.
¶ And Zacary said unto the angel: Whereby shall I know this? seeing that I am old, and my wife well stricken in years. And the angel answered, and said unto him: I am Gabriel that stand in the presence of God, and am sent to speak unto thee: and to shew thee this glad tidings. And take heed thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak until the time that these things be performed, because thou believedst not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.
¶ And the people waited for Zacharias and marvelled that he tarried in the temple. When he came out, he could not speak unto them. And they perceived, that he had seen some vision in the temple. And he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless.
¶ And it fortuned, as soon as the time of his office was out, he departed home into his own house. And after those days, his wife Elizabeth conceived, and hid herself v. months, saying: This wise hath God dealt with me in the days when he looked on me, to take from me the rebuke that I suffered among men.
¶ And in the vi. month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galile, named Nazareth, to a virgin spoused to a man, whose name was Ioseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel went in unto her, and said: Hail full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. When she saw him, she was abashed at his saying: and cast in her mind what manner of salutation that should be. And the angel said unto her: fear not Mary, thou hast found grace with God. Lo: thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bear a child, and shalt call his name Iesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the son of the highest. And the Lord God shall give unto him the seat of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Iacob for ever, and of his kingdom shall be none end.
¶ Then said Mary unto the angel: How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered, and said unto her: The holy ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the highest shall overshadow thee. Therefore also that holy thing which shall be born, shall be called the son of God. And mark, thy cousin Elizabeth, hath also conceived a son in her old age. And this is the. vi. month to her, which was called barren, for with God shall nothing be unpossible. Mary said: behold the handmaiden of the Lord, be it unto me even as thou hast said. And the angel departed from her.
¶ Mary arose in those days, and went into the mountains with haste into a city of jewrie, and entered into the house of Zachary, and saluted Elizabeth: And it fortuned, as Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe sprang in her belly. And Elizabeth was filled with the holy ghost, and cried with a loud voice, and said: Blessed art thou among the women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence happeneth this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? Lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe sprang in my belly for joy. And blessed art thou that believedst: For those things shall be performed which were told thee from the Lord.
¶ And Mary said: My soul magnifieth the Lord. And my spirit rejoiceth in God my saviour: For he hath looked on the poor degree of his handmaiden. Behold now from hence forth shall all generations call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things, and blessed is his name. And his mercy is always on them that fear him thorowout all generations. He hath shewed strength with his arm, he hath scattered them that are proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put Down the mighty from their seats, and hath exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things: And hath sent away the rich empty. He hath remembered mercy: and hath holpen his servant Israhel. Even as he promised to our fathers, Abraham and to his seed for ever. And Mary abode with her about a iij. months, And returned home again.
¶ Elizabeth's time was come that she should be delivered, And she brought forth a son. And her neighbours and her cousins heard tell how, the Lord had magnified his mercy upon her, and they rejoiced with her.
¶ And it fortuned the eighth day: they came to circumcise the child: and called his name Zacari after the name of his father, and his mother answered, and said: not so, but he shall be called Ihon. And they said unto her: There is none of thy kin, that is named with this name. And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called. And he asked for writing tables and wrote saying: his name is Ihon. And they marvelled all. And his mought was opened immediately, and his tongue, and he spake lauding God. And fear came on all them that dwelt nye: And all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of jewrie: and all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying: What manner child shall this be? And the hand of God was with him.
¶ And his father Zacharias was filled with the holy ghost, and prophesied saying: Blessed be the Lord God of Israhel, for he hath visited and redeemed his people. And hath raised up an horn of salvation unto us, in the house of his servant David. Even as he promised by the mouth of his holy prophets which were since the world began. That we should be saved from our enemies: And from the hands of all that hate us: To shew mercy towards our fathers, And to remember his holy promise. That is to say the oath, which he sware to our father Abraham, for to give us. That we delivered out of the hands of our enemies, might serve him without fear: all the days of our life, in such holiness and righteousness that are accept before him. And thou child, shalt be called the prophet of the highest, for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord, to prepare his ways: And to give knowledge of health unto his people, for the remission of sins: Through the tender mercy of our Lord, wherewith hath visited us the day spring from on high: To give light to them that sat in darkness, and in shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace. And the child increased and waxed strong in spirit, and was in wilderness, till the day came, when he should shew himself unto the Israhelites.
© Faith of God
William Tyndale 1526