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THE LIFE OF JESUS CHRIST.

CHAPTER I.

THE ANNUNCIATION.”

WHEN the time of the “ Advent” drew near, a messenger of the most exalted rank, elevated above all the prophets, was commissioned to communicate the joyful news to the earth.

This was the “ Angel Gabriel.” In selecting Gabriel there was a wonderful propriety. For it was the same angel who, more than five hundred years before, had delivered to Daniel. the prophecy of the “ Seventy weeks of years, had first mentioned the Messiah by name, and pointed out the precise time of His arrival.

After so long an interval, he was again sent to Zacharias to inform him that a son should be born to him, Who should be the Prophet of the Highest, to go before the Lord as His herald, to proclaim His approach.

Then, again, Gabriel was sent to Mary, of the family of David, to announce the coming of the Messiah in person.

It appears that, soon after the interview with the Angel Gabriel, Mary was impatient to tell the extraordinary tidings to Elizabeth, her relative, and accordingly we are told she went in haste to the hill-country, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and saluted Elizabeth.

But Elizabeth already knew what Mary had come to impart. She already knew that Mary was to have a son, of a superior nature, Who might with propriety be designated Lord—even prior to His birth. No sooner had Elizabeth concluded than Mary raised above herself, poured out her inspirations in a poetical strain, expressive of the high honor conferred on her, and her deep sense of gratitude.

The prophecies concerning John the Baptist, the message of Gabriel to Zacharias-his loss of speech and its recovery after the birth of John; all these were preparatory and subservient to the arrival of that Illustrious Person, Who was to be the Redeemer of the Race of Mankind.

At this time Augustus Cæsar, the Roman Emperor, issued an edict that all the inhabitants of the Empire should be registered or enrolled. It was customary, in the case of registration, for the Jews to assemble at the town or village which had belonged to their ancestors, and as Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem, it is satisfactory fulfillment of those prophecies which had declared that Jesus was to be a direct descendant of David, King of Israel.

Joseph and Mary arrived at Bethlehem, and while they sojourned there, Jesus was born. “ But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto me that is to be a Ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”

In the sixth month the Angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a Virgin espoused to a whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the Virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said: “Hail, thou art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: Blessed art thou among women.” And when

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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 favor with God; and, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: and He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end."

Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, “Behold, a Virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel," which, being interpreted, is God with us.”

And when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, that He might redeem us who were under the law."

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BETHLEHEM, the place chosen by God for the Nativity, lies five miles south of Jerusalem. To the east spreads a softly undulating plain upon which grass grows abundantly, and upon which, most probably, the shepherds were grazing their flocks when the angel announced the birth of Jesus.

Bethlehem had already become famous as the birthplace of David, and about the valleys and plains where he had roamed whilst attending his father's herds, before being crowned King of Israel.

About this sacred place, also, attaches a holy feeling, because it was here that Ruth gleaned and Boaz won her for his wife.

Although Jesus was born among the poorest and was cradled in a manger, the glory of God shone round the Babe, while angels sped on

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