Forasmuch as many haue taken in hand to set foorth the storie of those things, whereof we are fully persuaded,
As they haue deliuered them vnto vs, which from the beginning saw them their selues, & were ministers of ye word,
It seemed good also to me ( most noble Theophilus) assoone as I had searched out perfectly all things from the beginning, to write vnto thee thereof from point to point,
That thou mightest acknowledge the certaintie of those things, whereof thou hast bene instructed.
In the time of Herod King of Iudea, there was a certaine Priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabet.
Both were iust before God, and walked in all the commandements and ordinances of the Lord, without reproofe.
And they had no childe, because that Elisabet was barren: and both were well stricken in age.
And it came to passe, as he executed the Priestes office before God, as his course came in order,
According to the custome of the Priests office, his lot was to burne incense, when he went into the Temple of the Lord.
And the whole multitude of the people were without in prayer, while the incense was burning.
Then appeared vnto him an Angel of the Lorde standing at the right side of the altar of incense.
And when Zacharias sawe him, he was troubled, and feare fell vpon him.
But the Angel saide vnto him, Feare not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard, and thy wise Elisabet shall beare thee a sonne, and thou shalt call his name Iohn.
And thou shalt haue ioy and gladnes, and many shall reioyce at his birth.
For he shalbe great in the sight of the Lord, and shall neither drinke wine, nor strong drinke: and he shalbe filled with the holy Ghost, euen from his mothers wombe.
And many of the children of Israel shall he turne to their Lord God.
For he shall goe before him in the spirite and power of Elias, to turne the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisedome of the iust men, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
Then Zacharias said vnto ye Angel, Whereby shall I knowe this?
For I am an olde man, and my wife is of a great age.
And the Angell answered, and sayde vnto him, I am Gabriel that stand in the presence of God, and am sent to speake vnto thee, & to shew thee these good tidings.
And beholde, thou shalt be domme, & not be able to speake, vntill the day that these things be done, because thou beleeuedst not my words, which shalbe fulfilled in their season.
Now the people waited for Zacharias, and marueiled that he taried so long in the Temple.
And when hee came out, hee coulde not speake vnto them: then they perceiued that hee had seene a vision in the Temple: For he made signes vnto them, and remained domme.
And it came to passe, when the daies of his office were fulfilled, that he departed to his owne house.
And after those daies, his wife Elisabet conceiued, and hid her selfe fiue moneths, saying,
Thus hath the Lorde dealt with me, in the daies wherein he looked on me, to take from me my rebuke among men.
And in the sixth moneth, the Angell Gabriel was sent from God vnto a citie of Galile, named Nazareth,
To a virgin affianced to a man whose name was Ioseph, of the house of Dauid, & the virgins name was Marie.
And the Angel went in vnto her, and said, Haile thou that art freely beloued: the Lorde is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and thought what maner of salutation that should be.
Then the Angel saide vnto her, Feare not, Marie: for thou hast found fauour with God.
For loe, thou shalt conceiue in thy wobe, and beare a sonne, and shalt call his name Iesus.
He shall be great, and shall be called the Sonne of the most High, and the Lorde God shall giue vnto him the throne of his father Dauid.
And hee shall reigne ouer the house of Iacob for euer, and of his kingdome shall bee none ende.
Then sayde Marie vnto the Angel, How shall this be, seeing I knowe not man?
And the Angel answered, & said vnto her, The holy Ghost shall come vpon thee, and the power of the most High shall ouershadowe thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall bee borne of thee, shall be called the Sonne of God.
And behold, thy cousin Elisabet, she hath also conceiued a sonne in her olde age: and this is her sixt moneth, which was called barren.
For with God shall nothing be vnpossible.
Then Marie said, Behold the seruant of the Lord: be it vnto me according to thy woorde.
So the Angel departed from her.
And Marie arose in those daies, & went into ye hil countrey with hast to a citie of Iuda,
And entred into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabet.
And it came to passe, as Elisabet heard the salutation of Marie, the babe sprang in her bellie, and Elisabet was filled with the holy Ghost.
And she cried with a loud voice, and saide, Blessed art thou among women, because the fruit of thy wombe is blessed.
And whence commeth this to mee, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For loe, assoone as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine eares, the babe sprang in my bellie for ioye,
And blessed is shee that beleeued: for those things shall be perfourmed, which were tolde her from the Lord.
Then Marie sayde, My soule magnifieth the Lorde,
And my spirite reioyceth in God my Sauiour.
For hee hath looked on the poore degree of his seruaunt: for beholde, from henceforth shall all ages call me blessed,
Because hee that is mightie, hath done for me great things, and holy is his Name.
And his mercie is from generation to generation on them that feare him.
Hee hath shewed strength with his arme: hee hath scattered the proude in the imagination of their hearts.
Hee hath put downe the mighty from their seates, and exalted them of lowe degree.
Hee hath filled the hungrie with good things, and sent away the rich emptie.
Hee hath vpholden Israel his seruaunt to be mindefull of his mercie
( As hee hath spoken to our fathers, to wit, to Abraham, and his seede) for euer.
And Marie abode with her about three moneths: after, shee returned to her owne house.
Nowe Elisabets time was fulfilled, that shee should be deliuered, and shee brought foorth a sonne.
And her neighbours, and cousins heard tell howe the Lorde had shewed his great mercie vpon her, and they reioyced with her.
And it was so that on the eight day they came to circumcise the babe, and called him Zacharias after the name of his father.
But his mother answered, and saide, Not so, but he shalbe called Iohn.
And they saide vnto her, There is none of thy kindred, that is named with this name.
Then they made signes to his father, howe he would haue him called.
So hee asked for writing tables, and wrote, saying, His name is Iohn, and they marueiled all.
And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue, and he spake and praised God.
Then feare came on all them that dwelt neere vnto them, and all these woordes were noised abroade throughout all the hill countrey of Iudea.
And al they that heard them, laid them vp in their hearts, saying, What maner childe shall this be!
and the hand of the Lord was with him.
Then his father Zacharias was filled with the holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, because he hath visited and redeemed his people,
And hath raised vp the horne of saluation vnto vs, in the house of his seruant Dauid,
As he spake by ye mouth of his holy Prophets, which were since the world began, saying,
That he would sende vs deliuerance fro our enemies, and from the hands of all that hate vs,
That he might shewe mercie towards our fathers, and remember his holy couenant,
And the othe which he sware to our father Abraham.
Which was, that he would graunt vnto vs, that we being deliuered out of the handes of our enemies, should serue him without feare,
All the daies of our life, in holinesse and righteousnesse before him.
And thou, babe, shalt be called the Prophet of the most High: for thou shalt goe before the face of the Lord, to prepare his waies,
And to giue knowledge of saluation vnto his people, by the remission of their sinnes,
Through ye tender mercy of our God, wherby the day spring from an hie hath visited vs,
To giue light to them that sit in darknes, and in the shadow of death, & to guide our feete into the way of peace.
And the childe grewe, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the wildernesse, til the day came that he should shewe him selfe vnto Israel.