THE CHILDHOOD OF JESUS
THE GOSPEL OF JAMES

Biographical Gospel of the Lord

- Chapter 18 -
Peace On Earth, Good Will To Men


 
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HEN ALL WERE gathered together in the cave, the sons of Joseph asked their father,
 
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'Father, what shall we do now? Everything has been well attended to! The trip has tired our bodies, may we not retire?'
 
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Joseph replied, 'Children, you have witnessed the infinite grace which has befallen us all from above - so you should stay up and glorify God with me!
 
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And you have witnessed what happened to Salome in the cave because she would not believe - so we should not be sleepy either when the Lord visits us!
 
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Now go over to Mary and touch the Baby! Who knows, whether your eyelids will not quickly be so refreshed as if you had slept solidly for several hours!'
 
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The sons of Joseph now went over and touched the Baby, and the Baby smiled at them and stretched His hands toward them, as if He recognized them as brothers.
 
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At this all were surprised and said, 'Truly, that is no ordinary Child! For where has it happened to anyone, that he was greeted so heartily by a newly-born child?
 
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Besides, we now have all been so completely restored in all our limbs as if we had never made a journey and were at home on a morning with a fully rested body!'
 
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Joseph said, 'See, so my advice was good! But now I feel that it is becoming quite cool, so bring the donkey and the ox here. The animals will lie close to us and will give off some warmth by their breath and their body heat, and we will place ourselves close to Mary also.'
 
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This the sons did. And when they brought the two animals close to Mary, these immediately lay down at the head end of Mary's resting place, breathed diligently over Mary and the Baby and thus warmed Him quite well.
 
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And the midwife said, 'Truly, that cause can be of no little importance before God, which even the animals serve as if they had reason and understanding.'
 
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Here Salome added: 'Oh sister, the animals seem to see more here than we do! While we hardly dare to think, the animals already worship Him who has created them!
 
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Believe me, sister, as truly as God lives, that truly also is the promised Messiah here before us - for we know that such wonderful things have never taken place even at the birth of the greatest prophet!'
 
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And Mary said to Salome, 'The Lord God has shown you great grace in that you behold That before which my soul quakes itself.
 
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But be silent about it, as the angel of the Lord bid you to do previously, or you could prepare a bitter lot for us!'
 
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At this Salome vowed to Mary that she would remain silent the rest of her life, and the midwife followed her sister's example.
 
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Everything now became still in the cave. And in the First hour before sunrise all heard ever-so-mighty songs of praise outside the cave.
 
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Joseph at once sent his oldest son to investigate what it was, and who was singing so mightily to God's glory out in the open.
 
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And Joel went outside and saw that all the reaches of the Firmament were Filled - high and low - with countless myriads of shining angels. And he hastened back into the cave in astonishment and told them all what he had seen.
 
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All were highly astonished at Joel's report and went outside and convinced themselves of the truth of Joel's assertion.
 
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When they had seen such glory of the Lord, they went back into the cave and bore witness to Mary. And Joseph said to Mary:
 
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'Hear, oh purest maiden of the Lord, the fruit of your body is truly conceived by the Holy Spirit of God - for all the heavens now bear witness thereto!
 
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But what will happen to us, when all the world is now sure to Find out what took place here? For I have just seen by the many shepherds that not only we, but all other people now see what manner of witness shines for us through all the heavens, for the shepherds had their faces turned upward
 
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and sang in harmony with the mighty choirs of angels which now visibly fill all the reaches of the heavens high and low down to the earth.
 
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And their song sounded like that of the angels: Descend with your grace, o ye heavens, upon the just! Peace on earth to all men of good will! And glory to God on high in Him who comes in the name of the Lord!
 
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See, Mary, the whole world now hears and sees this, therefore it will also come here and will persecute us, and we will have to flee over hill and dale!
 
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And so I believe that we should depart from here as soon as we possibly can, and as soon as I shall be recorded - which shall take place still early today - we shall go back to Nazareth and from there over to the Greeks of whom I know several very well. Do you not agree with me?'
 
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Here Mary said to Joseph, 'But you can see that I cannot leave this resting place today, so let us leave everything to the Lord. He has led and protected us up to now, so He surely will continue to lead us and protect us ever so faithfully!
 
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If He wants to reveal us before the world, say: to where would we flee where He could not find us?
 
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Therefore His will be done! What He wants, that will be right. See, here on my bosom rests He whom all this concerns!
 
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He will surely remain with us, and thus God's great glory will not depart from us either, though we flee wherever we will!'
 
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Mary had hardly finished speaking, when behold, two angels stood before the cave as leaders of a large group of shepherds and made it known to the shepherds that here was born the One who was the object of their songs of praise.
 
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And the shepherds went into the cave, knelt down before the Baby and worshiped Him; and the angels also came in bands and worshiped the Baby.
 
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Here Joseph with his sons looked over toward Mary and the Baby in great astonishment and asked, 'O God, what does this mean? Have You Yourself assumed flesh in this Child?
 
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For how could it otherwise be possible that He would be worshiped even by Your holy angels? But if You are here, o Lord, how then do matters stand with the temple and the Holy of Holies?'
 
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Thereupon an angel went over to Joseph and said to him: 'Do not ask, and have no concern - for the Lord has chosen the earth to be the stage of His mercies and has now visited His people, as He has foretold through the mouths of His children, His servants and prophets!
 
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What now happens before your eyes takes place according to the will of Him who is holy, most holy.'
 
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The angel then left Joseph and again went over and worshiped the Baby, who now smiled on all the worshipers with open hands.
 
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When the sun rose, the angels disappeared, but the shepherds remained and inquired of Joseph how this had come to be.
 
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And Joseph answered, 'Hear, as wondrously as the grass grows out of the earth, so also did this wonder happen! Now who knows how the grass grows? Just as little also am I able to tell you about this wonder. God wanted it this way - that is all I can tell you!'