Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol VIII:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Apocrypha of the New Testament.: Chapter 35
There is a road going out of Jericho and leading to the river Jordan, to the place p. 381 where the children of Israel crossed: and there the ark of the covenant is said to have rested. And Jesus was eight years old, and He went out of Jericho, and went towards the Jordan. And there was beside the road, near the bank of the Jordan, a cave where a lioness was nursing her cubs; and no one was safe to walk that way. Jesus then, coming from Jericho, and knowing that in that cave the lioness had brought forth her young, went into it in the sight of all. And when the lions saw Jesus, they ran to meet Him, and adored Him. And Jesus was sitting in the cavern, and the lions cubs ran hither and thither round His feet, fawning upon Him, and sporting. And the older lions, with their heads bowed down, stood at a distance, and adored Him, and fawned upon Him with their tails. Then the people who were standing afar off, not seeing Jesus, said: Unless he or his parents had committed grievous sins, he would not of his own accord have offered himself up to the lions. And when the people were thus reflecting within themselves, and were lying under great sorrow, behold, on a sudden, in the sight of the people, Jesus came out of the cave, and the lions went before Him, and the lions cubs played with each other before His feet. And the parents of Jesus stood afar off, with their heads bowed down, and watched; likewise also the people stood at a distance, on account of the lions; for they did not dare to come close to them. Then Jesus began to say to the people: How much better are the beasts than you, seeing that they recognise their Lord, and glorify Him; while you men, who have been made after the image and likeness of God, do not know Him! Beasts know me, and are tame; men see me, and do not acknowledge me.
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