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The Year of Rome, 749.

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The Birth of Chrift predicted by an Angel. The converfation of Mary and Elizabeth about it. The Birth of John the Baptift, and the Difcourfe of his Father Zacharias upon the recovery of bis Speech.

SIX months after Elizabeth was with child, God fent the fame Angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a City of Galilee, to declare the like tidings to a Virgin whofe name was Mary: fhe was engag'd by Contract to one Jofeph a man of a mean condition, but defcended from the Family of King David. The Angel appear'd fud-denly in the Room where Mary was, and thus faluted her : O happy Virgin whom God highly favors, on whom he will bestow fingular Bleffings, and whom all Nations fhall call the happieft of Women! Mary being very much furpriz'd with thefe words, made no Reply, but filently revolv'd in her mind what fuch a Salutation as this fhould mean, having never heard any thing before like it. The Angel goes on: Be not afraid Mary, for God is gracious to thee; and be affur'd thou


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fhalt conceive immediately, and bring forth a Son whom thou shalt name JESUS.
He fhall receive great Power from God, and be call'd his Son on a moft peculiar
account. He fhall poffefs the Throne of David, from whofe Family he derives his
Birth. He hall reign over the Ifraelites, as his Ancestors have done, but there fhall
be no end of his Empire; whereas the Kingdom of David and his Succeffors en-
dur'd only for a few Ages. Mary upon hearing this made anfwer, that fhe did not
comprehend how the fhould immediately become with Child, feeing fhe was as yet
a Virgin. But, fays the Angel, thou shalt be impregnated by the Divine Power,,
without the concourfe of a Man; and therefore that moft Holy Son thou fhalt bear,
fhall defervedly be call'd the Son of God, by them that come to understand this
matter. And that thou mayeft know that what I tell thee fhall come to pass, I am
to acquaint thee that thy Coufin Elizabeth, who (as thou very well knoweft) has
long been old, and deftitute of all hope of having Children, has alfo by the power
of God been made to conceive fix months ago; nor can any thing be fuppos'd too


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hard for God to do if he pleafes. When the Angel had faid this, Mary replied, that he was ready to fubmit to the Divine Commands whatever they were, and that The did not doubt of the accomplishment of what he had predicted to her. Upon which the Angel difappear'd.

Soon after this, Mary went in great hafte from Nazareth towards a City of the Hill Country of Judea, where Elizabeth dwelt, to give her a Vifit, who was now big with Child, as the Angel had declar'd to her. She was no fooner arriv'd, and had faluted Elizabeth as the enter'd into the houfe of Zacharias, but the Child Elizabeth went with began to fpring in her Womb after an unusual manner; and immediately the Mother, infpir'd and inftructed by the Holy Spirit of what had happen'd to Mary, broke forth into thefe Expreffions: O thou moft bleffed of all Women! and O incomparably happy Son whom thou carrieft in thy Womb! But how comes it to pass that I fhould be fo highly honour'd to have the Mother of Chrift my Lord come first to vifit me? for no fooner did the Voice of thy Sa



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lutation ftrike my ears, but my Child leap'd within me, as if he too had know that the Mother of the Mefliah, big with that happy Burden, was prefent. Bleffed art thou who haft believ'd in God! for whatever has been foretold thee fhall be accomplish'd; nor fhalt thou fuffer any punishment as my Husband doth for his doubting, having been ftruck dumb for feveral months. To which Mary with a pious emotion of Mind thus replied: I have reafon to extol the Power and Goodnefs of God with the highest praises I can offer, and to conceive the greatest joy imaginable on the account of thofe uncommon favors I have receiv'd from the hand of God, who has continually deliver'd me from all Evils. He has not defpis'd my low Condition, fince he does not difdain that Chrift fhall be born of me. For this all Generations to come fhall call me bleffed. These are great and wonderful Bleffings indeed, which God has confer'd on me, who as he is moft holy, fo his Merey and Bounty will never fail to manifeft their Effects on them who ftrictly obferve his Laws. His Power performs the greatest things by Perfons of a low and abject Condition, and fruftrates the attempts of the Proud and Mighty, tho never fo prudently concerted. He throws down Princes when he



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pleafes from their Thrones, and makes the Poor and Mean fucceed 'em. He heaps Plenty upon the Indigent, and spoils the Rich of the Wealth that made 'em proud. He always defends the Ifraelites who are devoted to his Worship, and renews to them those former Bleffings with which he promis'd to favor Abraham and his Pofterity.

Thus Mary at that time exprefs'd her felf, and continued three months with her Coufin, after which the time of Elizabeth's Travel approaching, fhe return'd home.

When Elizabeth's time was come, he was deliver'd of a Son, as the Angel had promis'd. Her Neighbors and Kindred hearing how gracious God had been to her, came to congratulate her Happiness, and vifited her efpecially on the eighth day, when the Child was to be circumcis'd according to the Cuftom of the Jews This being perform'd, they call'd him after his Father's name, Zacharias; and

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