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Here followeth the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ.

When the world had endured five thousand and nine hundred years, after Eusebius the holy saint, Octavian the Emperor commanded that all the world should be described, so that he might know how many cities, how many towns, and how many persons he had in all the universal world. Then was so great peace in the earth that all the world was obedient to him. And therefore our Lord would be born in that time, that it should be known that he brought peace from heaven. And this Emperor commanded that every man should go into the towns, cities or villages from whence they were of, and should bring with him a penny in acknowledgment that he was subject to the Empire of Rome. And by so many pence as should be found received, should be known the number of the persons. Joseph which then was of the lineage of David, and dwelled in Nazareth, went into the city of Bethlehem, and led with him the Virgin Mary his wife. And when they were come thither, because the hostelries were all taken up, they were constrained to be without in a common place where all people went. And there was a stable for an ass that he brought with him, and for an ox. In that night our Blessed Lady and Mother of God was delivered of our Blessed Saviour upon the hay that lay in the rack. At which nativity our Lord shewed many marvels. For because that the world was in so great peace, the Romans had done made a temple which was named the Temple of Peace, in which they counselled with Apollo to know how long it should stand and endure. Apollo answered to them that, it should stand as long till a maid had brought forth and borne a child. And therefore they did do write on the portal of the Temple: Lo! this is the temple of peace that ever shall endure. For they supposed well that a maid might never bear nor bring forth a child. This temple that same time that our Lady was delivered and our Lord born, overthrew and fell all down. Of which christian men afterward made in the same place a church of our Lady which is called Sancta Maria Rotunda, that is to say, the Church of Saint Mary the Round. Also the same night, as recordeth Innocent the third, which was Pope, there sprang and sourded in Rome a well or a fountain, and ran largely all that night and all that day unto the river of Rome called Tiber. Also after that, recordeth S. John Chrysostom, the three kings were in this night in their orisons and prayers upon a mountain, when a star appeared by them which had the form of a right fair child, which had a cross in his forehead, which said to these three kings that they should go to Jerusalem, and there they should find the son of the Virgin, God and Man, which then was born. Also there appeared in the orient three suns, which little and little assembled together, and were all on one. As it is signified to us that these three things are the Godhead, the soul, and the body, which been in three. natures assembled in one person. Also Octavlan the Emperor, like as Innocent recordeth, that he was much desired of his council and of his people, that he should do men worship him as God. For never had there been before him so great a master and lord of the world as he was. Then the Emperor sent for a prophetess named Sibyl, for to demand of her if there were any so great and like him in the earth, or if any should come after him. Thus at the hour of mid-day she beheld the heaven, and saw a circle of gold about the sun, and in the middle of the circle a maid holding a child in her arms. Then she called the Emperor and shewed it him. When Octavian saw that he marvelled over much, whereof Sibyl said to him: Hic puer major te est, ipsum adora. This child is greater lord than thou art, worship him. Then when the Emperor understood that this child was greater lord than he was, he would not be worshipped as God, but worshipped this child that should be born. Wherefore the christian men made a church of the same chamber of the Emperor, and named it Ara coeli. After this it happed on a night as a great master which is of great authority in Scripture, which is named Bartholemew, recordeth that the Rod of Engadi which is by Jerusalem, which beareth balm, flowered this night and bare fruit, and gave liquor of balm. After this came the angel and appeared to the shepherds that kept their sheep, and said to them: I announce and show to you a great joy, for the Saviour of the world is in this night born, in the city of Bethlehem, there may ye find him wrapt in clouts. And anon, as the angel had said this, a areas multitude of angels appeared with him, and began to sing. Honour, glory and health be to God on high, and in the earth peace to men of goodwill. Then said the shepherds, let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing. And when they came they found like as the angel had said. And it happed this night that all the sodomites that did sin against nature were dead and extinct; for God hated so much this sin, that he might not suffer that nature human, which he had taken, were delivered to so great shame. Whereof S. Austin saith that, it lacked but little that God would not become man for that sin. In this time Octavian made to cut and enlarge the ways and quitted the Romans of all the debts that they owed to him. This feast of Nativity of our Lord is one of the greatest feasts of all the year, and for to tell all the miracles that our Lord hath showed, it should contain a whole book; but at this time I shall leave and pass over save one thing that I have heard once preached of a worshipful doctor, that what person being in clean life desire on this day a boon of God, as far as it is rightful and good for him, our Lord at the reverence of this blessed high feast of his Nativity will grant it to him. Then let us always make us in clean life at this feast that we may so please him, that after this short life we may come unto his bliss. Amen.

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