Biographical Gospel of the Lord

- Chapter 8 -
Joseph Questions Mary

OSEPH'S FRIEND was an expert, for he was a doctor familiar with the herbs who not infrequently stood by the mid-wives in times of critical births.
He went with Joseph and secretly looked at Mary; and when he had viewed her he said to Joseph,
'Listen to me, brother from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! A great misfortune has befallen your house, for the maiden is highly pregnant!
Now you are to blame for that yourself! See, it is already the sixth month since you have been away with your house-building. Tell me, who could then have well looked after the maiden?'
Joseph answered, 'See, during that time Mary was home alone only three weeks and that in the beginning when she came into my house. Then she spent three whole months with her aunt Elizabeth.
By now it is two months that she has constantly been under my care, and I have never seen anyone who might have gone to her openly or in secret.
And while I was gone she was anyhow in the best of hands - my son, who led her to Elizabeth, first gave me his most solemn vow that except in an emergency, he would not touch even her garment during the whole trip.
Therefore I know with great certainty that Mary must be perfectly clean as far as my house is concerned; but whether such is also the case with the house of Zacharias is another question.
Could that possibly have happened to her in the temple by one of its servants? May the Lord preserve me from such an opinion, for He would have exposed that long ago by the constant wisdom of the high priest!
But I know now what I shall do to get at the truth of the matter! - You, friend, may go again in peace, and I shall subject my house to a strict examination.'
Joseph's friend soon departed, whereupon Joseph promptly turned to Mary and demanded:
'Child, with what countenance shall I now look up to my God? What shall I say about you now?
Did I not receive you from the temple as a pure maiden, and did I not faithfully protect you by my daily prayer and by the faithful who are in my house?
I adjure you therefore to tell me who it is that has dared to deceive me and to so shamefully profane himself against me, a son of David, and against you, who are also come forth from the same house.
Who has seduced and defiled you, a maiden of the Lord? Who has managed to so becloud your purest inclination - and who was it that made of you a second Eve?
Why, in this the old story of Adam repeats itself with me in the flesh, for you have obviously been deluded by a serpent just like Eve was.
Now answer me my question. But see that you collect yourself, for you shall not succeed in deceiving me!' Here Joseph in his grief threw himself on his face on a sack filled with ashes and wept.
And Mary trembled from great fright, began to weep and sob and could not speak in her great dread and sorrow.
Here Joseph raised himself up from the sack and asked Mary in a somewhat moderate tone,
'Mary, child of God, whom He Himself has taken into His care, why did you do this to me? Why did you degrade your soul so greatly and forget your God?
How could you do this, you who were raised in the Holy of Holies and received your food from the hand of the angels and always had these shining servants of God as your playmates? Oh, speak, and do not be silent with me!'
Here Mary took courage and replied, 'Father Joseph, you just, hard man! I say to you, as truly as God lives, that truly am I clean and innocent and have never had anything to do with any man!'
At this Joseph asked, 'From whence then is That which you carry under your heart?'
And Mary answered, 'See, I am still only a child and do not understand the secrets of God! But listen, and I will tell you what happened to me. - And that is surely as true as there lives a just God above us!'