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TABLE OF CONTENTS.
play of Christ's descent into hell, formerly acted by the Monks
Page 5. Read. Joachim for Zachariah. 50. After Christ's avoiding to condemn a woman taken in ädul
tery, add, Jesus said unto the Jews, Verily, verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was I am. Then took they up stones to cast at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so
passed by. John viii. p. 58 and 59. 72. Read Cousturier for Coustrouyer. The folios 177, 178, and 179, are repeated.
THE only perfectly authentic history of Jesus is contained in the four gospels. The numerous commentaries on these sacred writings, reconcile the apparent contradictions-elucidate the obscurities-answer the objections—and prove the accomplishment of prophecy by the various circumstances and actions of the Redeemer's life. The historical, geographical, and philological particulars have received the amplest and most satisfactory elucidation; and the principles, duties, and prospects of christianity, declared or exemplified by Jesus, are the subjects of innumerable explanations from the pulpit and the press. The life and doctrines of Jesus being thus rendered familiar and intelligible to every christian, no entirely new information can be communicated by his biographers; and as the detailed narration of occurrences, fully narrated by the Evangelists, and the illustration of frequently illustrated facts and opinions is superfluous and uninteresting, this article will be principally a chronological index to the life of Christ, interspersed with anecdotes and details from books but little known to general readers. Some of these books being confessedly
apocryphal, laying them under contribution, may be deemed improper or dangerous; but besides their evident inconsistency and improbability rend ering them harmless, their characters will be briefly described in the notes; and they will at least furnish some carious specimens of that taste for the marvellous which characterised former ages.
The sacred historians have given genealogies of the family of Jesus, Matt. i. 1, 17, Luke iii. 23, 38, without furnishing any particulars of their lives. Other writers have, however, written biographies of his maternal ancestors to the third generation.
A legendary history of St. Anne*, mother of the Virgin Mary, relates, that in former times, there was in the land of Juda, in a village named Sephor, situated two leagues from Nazareth, a damsel, called Emerentiana, descended from the family of King David. This damsel proposed in her heart to live in the fear of God, in celibacy, during the course of her life, if it should be agreeable to our Lord. She was often accustomed to visit the holy disciples of the holy prophets Elijah and Elisha, who dwelt on Mount Carmel, to confer with them on the birth of the Son of God, by a young virgin, to redeem human nature; and why its accomplishment was so long delayed. She one day said to Archos, who was 133 years old, and the senior of the disciples, Venerable father my poor heart cannot comprehend if ever any woman in the state of matrimony will be found in this transitory world that will bear the holy and blessed child, who will merit to bring the Son of God into the world, whom heaven and earth cannot contain? Father Archos said, O noble and excellent damsel in Jesus Christ, Emerentiana, young in years, but
L'histoire de Madame Saincte Anne de ses parens et de la vie Miracles et exemples. Anvers, Mürlilii. The British Museum copy of this book contains only the first three chapters; and it is not known to exist in any of our other Public Libraries.
aged in sense and understanding, you appear to me to be the root of that holy and uncontaminated shoot-that most holy damsel-the future mother of the Son of God!
When Emerentiana was eighteen years old, her friends proposing marriage, she entreated the disciples of the prophets to enquire of God if she should marry or remain in a state of celibacy. On the third day of their praying, a large branch of a tree, bearing only one fruit, appeared; and as soon as this fruit was plucked the branch suddenly withered. A fruit, beautiful to the sight, was afterwards placed on the withered branch, which was encircled with a brilliant light: this fruit appeared so dazzling, that the human sight could not behold it.
After the disciples of the prophets had prayed three days for an explanation of this vision, a voice was heard from heaven, declaring the meaning of this sign, saying, The green branch signifies the marriage that will be consummated by Emerentiana; the fruit proceeding from it denotes the infant who will be born in a short time. The withering of the branch denotes her sterility; the brilliancy attached to the fruit denotes the divine power, by which Emerentiana will produce a fruit in her old age, which shall carry salvation to all the world; whose name shall chase the evil spirits; and shall be had in great reverence by the holy Angels; and shall be manifested and announced in all parts of the world.
In consequence of this vision, she was married to Stollanus*, and had a daughter, named Hilmarie. And
* This History of the Parents of St. Anne appears to be fabricated, as no ancient historical materials exist relating to them; and writers are not agreed even about their names. The names given above correspond with those in Motivos a la devocion de la gloriosa Santa Ana; and those in a life of St. Aạne without a title, beginning Incipit prologus in primum librum de origine Sancte Anne. But two MSS. in the British Museum more plau. sibly give them the Hebrew names Issachar and Nasaphat. Cottonian Library. Vespasian 3, 7, 126. King's Library, 1 B. X. They are cal. led by other names in addition to these by different authors.