Then sent God the angel to the noble virgin of royal descent,
Who sweetly saluted her according to the command of him that sent him,
And after said unto her, Fear not Mary,
For the Holy Ghost shall overshadow thee;
Thous shalt bear a son whom thou shalt call Jesus,
He shall save his people from their sins.
Nine months the glorious virgin bare him in her womb,
But that she might not be made a public example, she was espoused by Joseph;
Pure was this virgin, and Joseph also.
But this we ought to believe, for the Scripture saith it,
That they put the infant in the manger when it was born,
They wrapt him in swaddling cloths, and lodged him but very meanly.
Here may be reprehended those covetous and avaricious men,
Which never cease to heap up riches together.
Now there were many miracles wrought when the Lord was born:
God sent the angel to reveal this mystery to the shepherds:
In the East appeared a star to the three wise men.
Glory was given to God on high, and on earth peace to the good.
Afterwards the little child suffered persecution,
But the infant increased in grace and age,
And in divine wisdom, in which he was instructed,
And called the twelve apostles, which were rightly so named,
And would change the law which heave before;
He changed it not, that it should be abandoned,
But renewed it, that it might be better kept;
He received baptism for to give salvation,
And commanded the apostles to baptize the nations,
(For then began the renewing)
The ancient law forbad fornication and adultery,
But the new reprehends looking and lusting after a woman;
The old law had power to make null marriage, and that bills of divorcement might be given;
But the new saith, Thou shalt not marry her that is put away
And what God hath joined let no man separate.
The old law cursed the barren womb,
But the new counselleth to keep virginity,
The old law forbiddeth only to forswear,
But the new saith, Swear not at all;
And that thy speech be no more than Yea and Nay.
The old law biddeth to fight against enemies, and render evil for evil,
But the new one saith, Avenge not thyself,
But leave they vengeance to thy heavenly king,
And let those live in peace which do thee hurt,
And then shalt thou find pardon with the heavenly king.
The old law saith, Thou shalt love thy friend, and hate thine enemy,
But the new one saith, Thou shalt do no more so,
But ye shall love your enemies, and do good to them that hate you,
And pray for them that persecute you, and seek for occasion against you,
That ye may be the children of your father which is in heaven.
The old law saith, Punish malefactors,
But the new saith, Pardon all sorts of people,
And thou shalt find pardon with the Father Almighty,
For if thou dost not pardon, thou shalt not be saved.
None ought to hate or kill any person,
Much less ought we to mock either simple or poor men,
Nor despise the stranger that cometh from far,
For in this world we are all pilgrims.
Thus all we that are brethren ought to serve God.
And this is the new law which Jesus Christ saith we ought to keep.