THE CHILDHOOD OF JESUS
THE GOSPEL OF JAMES

Biographical Gospel of the Lord

- Chapter 6 -
Mary Discourses On The Just Life


 
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RRIVED AT Elizabeth's house in a timid frame of mind, Mary knocked on the door according to Jewish custom.
 
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When Elizabeth heard the timid knocking she thought to herself, 'Now who knocks there so very lightly?
 
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It probably is my neighbor's child, for it cannot be my husband who is still mute in the temple and awaits deliverance.
 
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My work is important - should I put it aside for a prankish child?
 
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No, that I shall not do, for it is a work for the temple which is more important than the prank of a child which has nothing else in mind, as I know from the past, than to tease and mock me.
 
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Therefore I shall stay right with my work and let the child knock good and long.'
 
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Here Mary knocked once more, and the child in Elizabeth's body began to leap with joy, and the mother heard a gentle voice from the direction of the child leaping within her, saying,
 
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'Mother, go, go very quickly, for it is the mother of my and your Lord, of my and your God, who knocks there on the door and visits you in peace!'
 
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When Elizabeth heard this, she instantly cast everything she had in her hands from her, ran and opened the door for Mary,
 
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quickly gave her her blessing according to custom, then embraced her with open arms and exclaimed,
 
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'Oh Mary, blessed among women - you are blessed among all women, and blessed is the fruit of your body!
 
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Oh Mary, purest maiden of God - how can I deserve such high grace, that the mother of my Lord and My God should visit me?'
 
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At this Mary, who did not understand such mysterious words, inquired of Elizabeth,
 
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'But dear aunt, I just came to you for a friendly visit! What things are you saying about me which I do not understand? Am I then already pregnant, that you call me a mother?'
 
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And Elizabeth answered, 'See, when you knocked on the door the second time, the wee child which I am carrying under my heart leaped for joy, told me this and greeted you from within me in advance!'
 
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Here Mary looked up to heaven and recalled what the archangel Gabriel had spoken to her, although she still did not understand it, and said,
 
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'O You great God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, what have You done with me? What after all am I, that all generations of the earth should call me blessed?'
 
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Elizabeth said, 'Oh Mary, you chosen one of God, step into my house and refresh yourself - there we will talk and together praise and glorify God with all our might!'
 
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At this Mary followed Elizabeth into her house, ate and drank, refreshed herself and was full of good cheer.
 
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Elizabeth now inquired of Mary about the many things she had learned during her stay in the temple as a ward of the Lord and how it all had impressed her.
 
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And Mary replied, 'Dear aunt, ever so well blessed of the Lord! I believe that these matters are beyond our understanding, and we women would be unwise to deliberate on matters with which the Lord has charged the sons of Aaron.
 
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So I would say that we women should leave the matters of God to Him and to those whom He has given charge over them, and should not speculate about them.
 
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If we just love God above all and keep His holy commandments, we then live wholly according to our station; anything beyond that belongs of right to those men whom the Lord calls and elects.
 
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I would say, dear aunt, that is right, so excuse me from vain gossip about the temple - for it will not get better or worse from it. When the Lord decides, He will surely chasten and reform the temple at the proper time.'
 
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Elizabeth recognized Mary's modesty and deep humility in these words and agreed,
 
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'Yes, oh maiden filled with God's grace! With such sentiments one must surely find the highest grace before God.
 
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For as you now speak, only purest innocence can speak, and whoever lives according to that, surely lives justly before God and the whole world.'
 
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And Mary said: 'The just life is not ours, but the Lord's, and is of His grace.
 
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Whoever believes that he lives justly, he is surely the least just before God - but he who always confesses his guilt before God, he it is who lives justly before God.
 
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I do not know how I live - my life is wholly a grace of the Lord; so I can do nothing else than to love, praise and exalt Him with all my might! Is your life like mine, then do the same, and the Lord will be more pleased with that, than if we should talk ever so much about the business of the temple.'
 
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Elizabeth discerned only too well that a divine spirit emanated from Mary, therefore ceased her questions about the temple and resigned herself, praising and glorifying God, into His will.
 
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Thus Mary spent three whole months with Elizabeth and helped her like a maid-servant in performing all housework.
 
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In the meantime Joseph had completed his building, was at home again with his four sons and looked after his small piece of land, which he only leased.
 
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And one evening Joseph said to his oldest son, 'Joel, go and prepare me my pack animal, for tomorrow morning I must go and get Mary.
 
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The girl is already out of my house by three months, and I do not know what goes on with her.
 
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For although she is with the wife of the high priest who is become mute, still one cannot know whether this house is free from all temptation of him who enticed Eve.
 
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Therefore I will journey there tomorrow and bring the girl back, lest in time the sons of Israel speak ill of me and and the Lord chastise me for lack of concern for the girl.'
 
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And Joel did according to Joseph's words; but hardly had Joel Finished his work, when behold, Mary already stood before the entrance, greeted Joseph and asked to be taken into his house again.
 
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Joseph, quite astonished at Mary's appearance, promptly asked, 'Is it really you, oh unfaithful one to my house?'
 
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And Mary answered, 'Yes, it is I - but not unfaithful to your house, for I would gladly have been back here long ago, but I did not trust myself to cross the wooded highlands alone - and then you sent no messenger for me! So I just had to stay away for so long!
 
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Then three Levites visited Zacharias' wife, and when they returned home to Jerusalem they took me along with them and brought me to the boundary of your land, blessed me and your house and then went their way, and I hurried here to you again, my dear father Joseph.'
 
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While Joseph at first would have liked to scold Mary a little for her long absence, he did not have the heart to do so; for one thing Mary's voice had touched his noble heart too strongly, and then he felt himself to be the guilty one, since he had not sent a messenger for Mary for so long.
 
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He therefore let the girl come to him so he might bless her, and the girl sprang to Joseph and caressed him like innocent little children caress their parents and other benefactors.
 
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Joseph was quite moved by this, was filled with great happiness and said, 'See, I am a poor man and stricken in years, but your childlike love makes me forget my poverty and my age! The Lord has given you to me to be a great joy, therefore I will go and labor with joy so I may provide you, my dear little child, with a good piece of bread.'
 
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At these words the tears fell from the old man's eyes. Here Mary quickly dried his moist cheeks and thanked God for giving her such a good foster-father. -
 
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And at that time it suddenly seemed to Joseph as if psalms were being sung in front of His house.