lived in the Temple, a pure and holy worshipper, till twelve years of age. She had been her first three years in her parents' home, and nine years in the Temple. Then the Priests seeing that she was growing up a virtuous and God-fearing maiden, consulted together, saying:— "We must seek for a righteous God-fearing man to whom she may be given in marriage." And so having summoned the tribe of Judah together, they chose twelve men according to the names of each of the twelve tribes of Israel, and the lot came out upon that good old man Joseph.1

Then when she became with child, Mary was summoned with Joseph before the High priest, who thus addressed her: — O Mary, what is this thou hast done, and debased thy soul: thou who in the Holy of holies feddest from the hand of an angel, and heardest their hymns, ....what is this thou hast done? Weeping bitterly she answered:—  By the living God I swear that I am pure before him and have known no man.2

After that we have the account of Joseph and Mary leaving Nazareth for Bethlehem, where they rested in a cave, and there Jesus was born: —

And Joseph having found a cavern, brought Mary into it .... And he tells us: — I looked up to the heavens, and saw the heavenly vault standing still, and the birds of the air trembling; then looking down upon the earth, I beheld a dish laid, and the workers sitting at meat around it, their hands therein, yet not taking out anything, or putting a morsel to their mouths, but their faces all looking upwards. And I saw sheep being driven, but they stood still, and the shepherd raised his crook to strike them, but his hand remained raised. And by the bed of the river I saw kids with their mouths as it were touching the water, but stopped from drinking. All things in fear and alarm.3

1 Story of Joseph's dream.  2 Protoevangelium.
3 It is remarkable that we have the same story repeated in the Rauzat al Ahbab regarding the birth of Muhammad himself!

Referring now to what is told us in a quotation from the Qur'an given above, regarding Mary, the Palm-tree, etc., we give an extract from an apocryphal book called the History of the Nativity of Mary and the Saviour's Infancy:—

Now on the third day after she had set out, Mary was wearied in the desert by the heat, and asked Joseph to rest for a little under the shade of a palm-tree. So he made haste and made her sit down beneath it. Then Mary looking up and seeing its branches laden with fruit, said, — I desire if it were possible to have some of that fruit. Joseph answered:— I wonder at what thou sayest, since thou must see how lofty the branches of the palm-tree are; and besides, I am anxious to get water, for all in my vessel is done, and there is none anywhere about to fill it with. Just then the child Jesus, looking up with a cheerful smile from his mother's bosom, said to the palm-tree:- Send down thy branches here below, that my Mother may eat fresh fruit of thee. Forthwith it bent itself at Mary's feet, and so they all ate of its fruit. When they had gathered all the fruit, it still remained bent, waiting for orders to arise. Then Jesus said:— O palm-tree, arise with cheerfulness, be one of my Father's trees in Paradise; but with thy roots open the fountain beneath thee; and bring me here for my refreshment some of the water flowing from that fount. At once the tree became erect, and began to pour from its roots water beautifully clear and sweet before them. So when they saw the water, they were all filled with delight, and drank of it with their cattle and servants, till they were satisfied and praised the Lord.

Between this story, as told here and in the Qur'an, there is just this divergence, that with the latter the Palm-tree appears at the time of the Messiah's birth, whereas this ancient Christian tale belongs to a somewhat later period, namely, after the journey of Joseph and Mary into Egypt.

III. The childhood of Jesus. - In the Qur'an we