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Chapter 20. – Cornelius' questions about the Messiah. Joseph's embarrassment. The captain's questions to Mary, Salome and the midwife. The angels' warning of the betrayal of the Divine Secret. Cornelius' premonition of the Divinity of the Child Jesus.
20,1. But Joseph, who was very happy about this, spoke to the captain: "Upholder of the great Emperor's power, what can I, a poor man, offer you for your great friendship? – What can I serve you in this humid cave?
20,2. How can I treat you in accordance with your high position? – Look, here in my cart are all my belongings, partly brought from Nazareth, but partly a present from the local shepherds!
20,3. If you're able to take some of it, may each bite fed to your mouth be a thousand times blessed!"
20,4. But Cornelius said: "Good fellow, worry not about me; see, here is my landlady, who will take care of the kitchen and we shall all have enough for only one small coin adorned by the emperor's head!"
20,5. And the captain gave a gold coin to the midwife and told her to arrange for a good lunch and dinner and for better housing, as soon as the woman in childbed would be able to move.
20,6. But then Joseph said to Cornelius: "Oh splendid friend! Please, do not go to any trouble or expense for us; because for the few days we shall spend here, we are – praise the Lord, God of Israel! - Well taken care of!"
20,7. The captain then said: "Good is good, but better is better! Therefore just let it happen and let me make a happy sacrifice to God as well; see, I honour the gods of all peoples!
20,8. I also want to honour your God, because ever since I saw His temple at Jerusalem I am pleased by Him. He must be a God of great wisdom, that you have learned such great skill from him?"
20,9. But Joseph spoke: "Oh friend! If it would be possible for me to convince you of the one and only nature of our God, how much I would like to do it for your eternal well being!
20,10. But I am weak and ignorant and am not able to do so. But just look into some of our books and read them, you know our language well, and you will find things which will amaze you!"
20,11. And Cornelius said: "Good fellow, I have already done what you have now kindly advised me to do, and I have found truly astonishing things therein!
20,12. Among other things I discovered a prediction, in which the Jews are promised a new eternal king. Tell me, do you know, after interpreting such prediction, when this king will come - and from where?"
20,13. After some moments of embarrassment, Joseph said: "He will come from the heavens as the son of the everlasting God! And his Kingdom will not be of this world, but of the world of the spirit and truth!"
20,14. And Cornelius spoke: "Well, I understand you, but I have also read that this king shall be born to a virgin in a stable, near this town! – How can this be understood?"
20,15. But Joseph spoke: "Oh good man, you have a keen perception! - I cannot tell you anything else than this: Go and see the maid with the new born Child; there you will find what you want to find."
20,16. And Cornelius went and looked with sharp eyes at the virgin and the Infant, in order to discover, from her and the Child, the future king of the Jews.
20,17. He also asked Mary how she had become pregnant at such an early age.
20,18. And Mary replied: "Honest man, as truly as God exists have I never known a man!
20,19. But it so happened nine months ago, that a messenger of the Lord came to me and taught me in a few words that I would become pregnant from the spirit of God.
20,20. And it happened so: I became pregnant without ever having known a man; and look, before you is the fruit of the Divine promise! As God is my witness, this has happened so!" –
20,21. Now Cornelius turned to both of the sisters and said: "What do you say to this story? Is this a fine deception of this old man, a good pretext for blind, superstitious people to escape legal punishment under such circumstances?
20,22. For I know that Jews have set the death penalty for such cases! – But should there be anything more serious to it - which would be worse than in the first case, because then the emperor's law has to be applied severely, to make short work of any agitator?! Oh speak truth, so that I know what to think of this extraordinary family!"
20,23. But Salome spoke: " Listen to me, oh Cornelius, I plead to you by all your great imperial authority! There will be no need for you to take any serious steps with regard to this poor, yet infinitely rich, family!
20,24. You can believe me, for I stand for the truth with my life: all the powers of the heavens are at the disposal of this family, like your arm to you, of this I am truly convinced."
20,25. Now Cornelius was taken aback even more and asked Salome: "Even the powers of Rome's holy Gods, Rome's heroes, weapons and invincible power? – Oh Salome! what are you talking about?!"
20,26. But Salome said: "As you have said, so it is! – This is my conviction; in case you may not believe it, you might go outside and look at the sun! It is already shining for four hours today, and look, it is standing still in the east and does not dare to move on!"
20,27. And Cornelius went outside, looked at the sun, came back and said in astonishment: "Indeed, you are right, if this is in connection with this family, then even the god Apollo obeys them!
20,28. Zeus must be here as well, the mightiest of all gods and the time of Deucalion and of Pyrrha seems to come again; but if that is the case, then I have to report such an incident to Rome immediately!"
20,29. When these words were spoken, two mighty angels appeared; their faces were radiant like the sun and their clothes like a flash of lightning. And they spoke: "Cornelius! – Be silent about all you have seen, even to yourself – otherwise you and Rome will perish this day!"
20,30. Cornelius was then overcome by great fear. The two angels disappeared; but he went to Joseph and spoke: "Oh man! – Here is infinitely more than a future king of the Jews! Here is the One, whom all heaven and hell obeys! Therefore let me go from here; for I am not worthy of being so close to the presence to God!" – –
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