“See that they don’t blame you any longer but honor you and have affection for you because they take part in these things. While the cost is of little account to you, the gift in their time of need will always be remembered. Furthermore, you would not be able to live in cities if the poor did not live there with you and make your happiness possible in countless ways. You would have no one to amaze with your wealth if you were rich alone, in private, and without anyone knowing.
So, let the masses gaze upon and wonder at your silver, your fine tables, and then, when you are toasting them, have them weigh their cups while they drink, consider the weight of the gold applied with skill, and contemplate the truth of the story it tells. In addition to hearing them call you noble and philanthropic, you will fall outside their envy. For who begrudges someone who shares and gives a little portion? And who wouldn’t pray for him to live as long as possible, benefiting from his goods? Right now, your blessings go unwitnessed, your wealth is an object of envy, and your life is not pleasant.”
“And you yourself, bestie Geminus, were clear in holding the same opinion about the man in your letter in which you write verbatim: “in other types of composition it is easy to fall somewhere between praise and blame—but in ornament, what does not succeed, fails completely. For this reason, it seems right to me not to interrogate these men for their few failures but for the greater number of their successes.”
And later after this you say these things an addition: “Even though I am able to mount a defense for all of these passages or most of them, I do not dare to speak against you. But I do take this one point hard—that it is not possible to succeed impressively in every way unless you take these kind of risks and enter those situations in which it is necessary to stumble”.
We don’t diverge from one another—for you agree that it is necessary that one who has great aims sometimes stumbles while I say that Plato in reaching for sublime, magnificent, and surprising phrases did not succeed all the time, but that his mistakes occupy only a small portion of his total attempts. I also add that this is one way in which Plato is less than Demosthenes—for his heightened style at times slips into emptiness and unpleasantry; for Demosthenes this happens never or rarely at all. That’s enough about Plato.”
“I am sailing from Egypt and Phoenicia for twenty-five days at this point, somehow. As the ship was drawing up into Elaious, I dreamed I was reading the words of Homer when he describes the catalog of the Achaeans and that I was inviting all the Achaeans to get on to my ship as if it were large enough to hold them all!
When I was waking from the dream because some shiver had spread over me, I supposed that it prophesied a slow and long journey. For visions of the dead are bad signs for eager people.”
22. “And, look, Joseph was prepared to leave to Judea and there was trouble in Bethlehem. For the Magi had come from the East in Persia, saying, “Where is the child born King of the Jews? For we saw his start in the East and we have come to bow before him. When Herod heard this, he was upset and he sent attendants to the Magi and he also summoned the high priests and asked them, “Where has this “Christ” been born?” and they answered, “In Bethlehem of Judea—for it was written thus.” And he let them go. Then he questioned the Magi, saying to them, “What sign did you see for a king who was born?” And the magi said to him, we say the greatest start blazing among the these stars and making them seem dull. We knew from this that a king had been born for Israel. For this reason we came to bow before him.” And Herod responded, “Go and seek out the child carefully. And when he is found, send me news of it so that I can go and bow to him too.
And so the Magi left and, look, the star which they saw in the east led them on until they came to that place where the cave protected the child’s head. And when they saw him with his mother Mary, they bowed and took from their strongboxes the gifts they brought: gold, frankincense and myrrh. Because they had been warned by a sacred angel not to enter Judea near Herod, they took another route to return to their country.
22 But once Herod figured out that he had been evaded by the Magi, he was enraged and he sent assassins whom he ordered to kill all infants under two years. Once Mary heard that the infants were being killed, she took her child in fear and left to Egypt with Joseph, just as was predicated to them. But when Elisabeth took John and went into the hills and looked around for a place to hide him, there was no safe sanctuary. Then, she said as she cried, “Mountain, mountain—take a mother with her child. For she was not able to leave. And then suddenly, the mountain split into two and welcomed her. The mountain itself was alight for them and there was an angel of the lord looking over them.”
19. And then I saw a woman walking from the hills and she said to me, “Man, where are you going? And I said to her, “I am looking for a midwife.” And she answered, “From Israel?” and I said to her, “Yes, mistress.” And She said to me, “Who is the woman who is giving birth in the cave?” and I said, “She is my betrothed.” And she responded, “She is not your wife?” and I said to her, “She is Mary and I drew her as my lot to be a wife, but she was raised in the Holiest of Holies. And she is not my wife, but she has become pregnant from the holy spirit. And she said, “Tell me the truth,” and I told her, “Come and see.” And she left with him.”
They stood were the cave was and there was a cloud shading over it. The midwife said, “My soul is ennobled this day because I recognize a new sight and a miracle—since a savior is born for Israel.” Then, immediately, the cloud withdrew from the cave and a great light appeared in it which our eyes could not bear. Soon, that light too receded until the infant appeared and took the breast of its mother Mary.
Then the midwife shouted out, “Today is a great day because I have seen a new wonder.” And then the midwife left the cave and met Salôme and said to her, “Salôme, Salôme, I have a new wonder to explain to you. A virgin gave birth, a thing which human nature does not allow.” And Salôme said, “As the Lord God lives, if I do not see this—if I do not put my hand into her—I will not believe that a virgin gave birth.”
And Salôme entered the cave and said, “Maria, prepare yourself, for no small test of you is at hand.” Then she examined her. And Salôme yelled out and cried, saying, “Oh, my lawlessness and lack of faith, that I tested the living God. And look, my hand is burning and falling away. Then Salôme bent her knees and said toward her Lord, “the God of our fathers, remember me, that I am the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jakob—do not make an example of me before the sons of Israel, but return my poverty to me. And, look, an angel of the Lord appeared saying to Salôme, “Salôme, Salôme, the Lord God heard your prayer. Come near the child and lift him up and he will be your safety.”
Then Salôme went to the child and lifted him up and said, “Truly, a great king has been born to Israel.” Then she was suddenly healed and she left the cave filled with justice. And, look, a voice sounded out and said, “Salôme, Salôme, do not spread the news of the miracles you have witness around until the child enters Jerusalem.”
17. “Then there was a summons from Herod the King [or Augustus] to record how many people there were in Bethlehem of Judea. And Joseph was compelled to return from Nazareth to Bethlehem. So Joseph said, “I will record my sons, but what should I do about the girl? How will I record her? As my wife? I am ashamed to do that. But as my daughter? The sons of Israel know that she is not my daughter. This day of the Lord will accomplish as it wishes.
And he prepared a donkey and put the girl on it and his son led it as [Samuel and] he followed after. Once they came about three miles from the city, Joseph turned and say her looking despondent and said to himself, “Perhaps what is in her is causing her pain.” And then Joseph turned back again and say her laughing and said, “Mary, what is this that I see your face now in laughter and then suddenly in pain?” And she said, “Joseph, I see two people with my eyes, one weeping and mourning and one rejoicing and feeling glory.”
Then they arrived near the middle of the journey, and Mary said to him: “take me down from the donkey, for that which is within me is pressing me to come out.” And he took her down and said to her, “Where will I take you and hide your impropriety, since this place is empty?”
18. Then he found nearby a cave and took her into it and stationed his sons near her as he left to seek a Hebrew midwife in the area near Bethlehem. “Now I, Joseph, was walking and I was not walking. I looked up into the curve of heaven and I saw it stop still. And I looked into the sky and I saw it still, all the birds of the sky had deserted it. And I looked toward the earth and I saw a dish lying there and workmen were placing it there. Their hands were in the vessel. Those who were chewing were not showing and those who were lifting food were not lifting it and those who were pressing something to their mouth were not pressing it. But everyone had their faces looking upward. I saw flocks which were being driven, but the sheep stood still. And The shepherd raised his hand to strike them, but his hand did not come down again. And I looked at the flowing of the river and I saw kids there and even though they had their mouths right next to the water, they did not drink. And then, all of a sudden, everything returned to its normal course.
“Then the Scribe Annas came to him and said to him, “Why didn’t you appear at our assembly?” And Joseph said to him, “Because I was completely worn out from my travel and I had rested only a day.” Then Annas turned and saw the pregnant virgin. Then he left the house quickly and told the top-priest, “Joseph, whom you will witness, has broken the law severely.” And the Priest said, “What is this?” and Annas responded, “The virgin whom he took from the temple of the Lord, he has defiled her. And the priest said to him in response, “Joseph, Joseph did this?” And Annas said, “Send your attendents and you will discover a pregnant virgin.
So the attendants left and they found her, just as he said, and they led her with Joseph to judgment. The priest said, “Mary, why did you do this and lay low your soul and forget the Lord, your God, when you were raised up in the Holiest of Holies and took food from an angel’s hand—you even heard their hymn and you danced among them? Why did you do this?” She wept bitterly, saying, “As the Lord God lives, I am clean before him and I have known no man.”
So then the priest said, “Joseph, why did you do this?” And Joseph responded, “As the Lord, my God lives, I am innocent concerning her.” Then the priest said, “Do not bear false witness, but speak the truth. You hid your marriage and you did not declare it openly to the sons of Israel, and you did not bow your head under the powerful hand so that your seed would be blessed.” Then Joseph was silent.
Then the priest spoke, “Give the virgin whom you took from the temple of the Lord back. And, as he cried, Joseph stood still. Then the Priest said, “I will make you drink the Lord’s water of testing and it will make your sins clear in your eyes.” Then the priest had Joseph drink the water and sent him to the hills. And he came back, whole. He also made the virgin drink and sent her into the hills. She came back too. The whole people wondered at this, that there was no sin revealed among them. And the priest said, “If the Lord God does not make their sin manifest, then I do not judge them and he has freed them.” Then Joseph took Mary and returned to his own home, feeling joy and glorying the god of Israel.”
10.“There was another council of the priests where they were saying, “Let’s make a veil for the temple of the Lord.” Then a priest said, “Call to me her seven unsullied maidens from the tribe of David.” So his assistants went out and looked for seven and found six. Then the priest remembered that Mary was from the tribe of David and was unsullied. So his assistants went and brought her back.
The priest led the virgins into the temple of the Lord and said, “Draw lots for me here as to who will weave the gold and unsullied cloth and the silk and linen and hyacinth and the red and the undiluted purple. The red and purple lot fell to Mary. She took it and went to her home. In that season, Zakharias went silent. Mary took the red and was weaving it.
11. Later, she went out with a pitcher to fill it with water, and , look, there was a voice speaking, “Greetings, most gracious one, the Lord is with you and you are blessed among women.” Then Mary was looking left and right for where the voice came from. Filled with a tremble, she returned to her house where she put the pitcher down, took up the purple again, sat down on a seat and was working it. Then, look, an angel of the Lord appeared and said to hear, “Don’t be afraid, Mary, for you have found grace from the Lord openly and you will conceive from his word.”
Once Mary heard this, she responded, asking, “Will I conceive, as every woman bears children?” and the messenger responded to her, “Not, in that way, Mary. For the power of God will cast a shadow over you and from that a sacred child will be born from you who will be called the Son of the Highest. And you will give him the name Jesus. For he will save his people from their sins.” And Mary said, “Look, I am the slave of the Lord. May it happen according to your word.”
12.1 “So Mary spun the purple and red cloth and returned them to the temple. The priest praised her and said, “Mary, the Lord God is glorifying your name among every race on the earth, and you will be praised by the Lord.” Mary found some joy in this and went to her relative Elisabeth and knocked on her door. When Elisabeth heard, she threw up her hands and rant to open the door and greet her, saying, “From where is it that this comes to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me! Look, the child which is in me has jumped and blessed you.” Mary had forgotten the mysteries which Gabriel had mentioned to her, and she looked up to heaven, saying, “Who am I that all the women are blessing me?”
She spent three months with Elisabeth and then returned to her on home. As each day went by, her stomach grew larger and she was hiding herself from the sons of Israel. She was then fifteen years old, when these mysteries were happening.”
13.1. In the sixth month, Joseph came from his building and returned to his home and found Mary, who was growing. He struck his forehead and threw himself to the ground and wept, saying, “With what kind of face can I look to the Lord, my God? What shall I say about this girl, who I took from the temple of the Lord as a virgin and did not keep her safe? Who set a snare for me? Who did this terrible thing in my home and defiled the virgin? Hasn’t Adam’s story been repeated in me? For just as Adam was in the hour of his thanksgiving, a snake came, found Eve alone, and deceived her. That has happened to me too.
And then Joseph rose up from his his sackcloth and called Mary and said to her, “beloved to god, why did you do this? Why did you lay your soul low? Have you forgotten the Lord, your God? Your soul was raised up in the Holiest of Holies and took food from the hands of an angel and danced among them.” She wept, bitterly, saying, “As the Lord God lives, I am clean and I have not known a man.” Joseph said to her, “Where this this thing in your stomach come from?” And she said, “As the Lord God Lives, I do not know where this thing in my stomach came from.”
14“And Joseph, because he was terribly afraid, departed from her and was debating what he should do about her. He said to himself, “If I should hide her error, I will be found to be fighting the law of the Lord. And if I make this clear to the sons of Israel, I fear that, should what is inside her be angelic seed, I will be found to betray innocent blood to a punishment of death. What should I do about her? I will let her leave me in secret.” As he considered these things, night overtook him.
And, look, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not feel fear about this child. For this offspring has been sewn in her from divine breath. You will give him the name Jesus. For he will save his people from their sins.” Then Joseph woke from his dream and believed that the God of Israel had given to him this blessing—so he guarded the girl.”
7.2 “When [Mary] was twelve years old, the priests held a council where they were saying: “Look, Mary is twelve years old in the Temple of the Lord. What shall we do about her, since we don’t want her to defile the Temple of the Lord when women’s matters come to her.” And they said to the chief-priest: “you, you preside over the sacred place of the god—go there and pray about her and let us do whatever the Lord God reveals to you.
So the priest entered, once he took the twelve-belled cloak, the clothing of a priest, into the Most Holy of Holy Places and he prayed about her. And, look, an angel of the lord appeared, saying to him: “Zacharias, Zacharias, go out and hold an assembly of the people’s widowers and have every man carry a staff. To whomever the lord shows a sign, she will be his wife.” So, the heralds went throughout the land of Judea and the Lord’s trumpet sounded, and every one ran there.
Joseph dropped his sickle and hurried to the assembly too. And when they were all gathered, they approached the priest. The priest took all of their staves, went into the temple and prayed. Once he finished the prayer, he came out and gave each man his staff back. There was no sign upon any of them. But when Joseph received his staff last, look!, a dove came out if it and alighted upon Joseph’s head.
Then the priest said, “It is your fate to take the Lord’s virgin. Take her and keep her as your own.” Joseph responded, “I have two sons and I am an old man; she is a young girl. Should I become a joke among the sons of Israel?” Then the priest said to him, “Joseph, fear the Lord God and the things he did to Datham and Koreh and Abêrôm—how the earth opened in two and they were all drowned inside because of their refusals.You should fear too, now, Joseph, that these things will happen in your house too.” So, because he was afraid, Joseph took her into his own care. And he said to her, “Mary, look, I took you from the Temple of the Lord, My God, and now I will leave you in my home. I am leaving to build some of my buildings. And I will come back to you in turn. May the Lord keep you safe.”
This is reflected in the iconography for Nativity (Christmas.) Joseph is lower left (being tempted by Satan in the guise of an old man.) Even though the gospel of James as a whole isn’t “canon” there are elements that both Orthodox and Catholics believe. pic.twitter.com/0ny8U32vPf