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The Two Saint Maries at the Cross.

The Two Saint Maries at the Cross.

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Published by glennpease

REV. J. M. NEALE, D.D.,



"There stood by the Cross of Jesus, His Mother and Mary
Magdalene."— S. John xix. 25.

REV. J. M. NEALE, D.D.,



"There stood by the Cross of Jesus, His Mother and Mary
Magdalene."— S. John xix. 25.

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Published by: glennpease on Jul 06, 2013
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THE TWO SAIT MARIES AT THE CROSS.REV. J. M. EALE, D.D.,"There stood by the Cross of Jesus, His Mother and MaryMagdalene."— S. John xix. 25.If I had not read it in the Gospel, I would not havebelieved it. God dying for the sins of the world, Godbecome a scorn and derision to men, God made a won-der to the Angels ; — whom did He choose to be nearHim while He was bearing the burden and heat of theday, — while He was treading the wine-press alone, — while He was engaged in His great and tremendousbattle with the devil ? His Blessed Mother, — that isbut natural, to speak after the manner of men. Shethat was pure enough to carry Him in her womb, waspure enough to stand by Him at the Cross. But MaryMagdalene! She, — the woman that was a sinner; she — out of whom He had cast seven devils; she, — whosepresence Simon the Pharisee had thought a disgrace tohis house ! Think of them, the two together : S. Marythe Mother of God, the purest and holiest of all createdbeings : S. Mary Magdalene, that had been the slave68 The Two Saint Maries at the Cross. [Scrm.of Satan, well known to all among the impure and un-holy. And learn how mighty is the grace of God : itwas the same grace which made the Blessed Virginwhat she was, and kept her so, and which raised S.Mary Magdalene from being what she had been, andset her at the foot of the Cross.ow, no doubt, this was a greater honour to her thaneven that it was she to whom our Lokd first appeared.
 
We should think it a greater glory, if a king, going outto war, said to us, " Be near me in the battle," than if he were to say, " Be near me in my triumph." OurLord chose S. Mary Magdalene to be one of the fourof His followers upon whom His dying eyes rested. Asperfect Man, He felt as man in death. And whomshould we wish to stand by our dying beds, to speak the last earthly words that we shall ever hear, to be thelast objects that we can look upon and touch? Wouldit not be those that we had loved most? Could wegive any greater proof of our love than this? I think not.Our Lord chose four to be near Ilis death-bed, thehard wood of the Cross : the three Saint Maries and S.John. There were also the two thieves. And noticethat, of the six who were nearest to Him in death, twowere penitents: the dying thief and S. Mary Magda-lene. So great an honour lie puts on repentance, thattwo out of five of the servants who are witli Him in Hislast battle should be penitents.This we must also remember. If our Lokd showedthe exceeding greatness of His love in permitting thatS. Mary Magdalene should be at His feet, she, in turnshowed even more love than others in desiring to bethere. The Chief Priests and Scribes knew perfectlyXII.] The Two Saint Maries at the Cross. 69well who and what manner of woman she had been ;and it is easy to imagine how they scoffed at her forthinking to show honour to any one, — how they re-minded her that she could only bring disgrace and de-filement wherever she went, — how they reviled a KingWho could find no better servants than this. And wecan imagine also concerning those that had been hercompanions in sin, but not in repentance, how they also
 
spoke of, and mocked at, her standing by the Cross.S. Paul tells us of martyrs that had trial of cruel mock-ings. I doubt whether any one ever could have enduredmore than S. Mary Magdalene by the Cross. Others,too, might glory in mockings and revilings; that whichtheir enemies scoffed at, they knew to be their greatesthonour. She could not. She could only say with thethief, "And we indeed justly."Truly, the Captain of our Salvation, Who knew whatwas in man, chose for Himself most valiant soldiers toassist at His Death. His Blessed Mother, whose trustnever wavered ; the thief, who, next to her, showedgreater faith than any other Saint ; S. Mary Magda-lene, who so resolutely followed His example in des-pising the shame. We read of a captain in the OldTestament, who chose out a place where he knew thatthe valiant men were. Of all such places that the worldhas ever seen, the greatest was the foot of the Cross.But there were others looking on at that sight be-sides the Scribes and Pharisees. Satan was beholding,no doubt, that which was done. And what do youthink he must have felt, when he saw one of his cap-tives made into such a miracle of grace as this Saint ?One weak woman, standing by the Lord's feet, musthave terrified all the powers of hell. If she had thus70 The Two Saint Maries at the Cross. [Serm.triumphed over them, whom could they ever hope toconquer? If the sin which God hates more than anyother — impurity — could not keep her back from Him,what new devices had they to destroy men ? o doubtSatan desired to have S. Mary Magdalene, as much asever he had desired S. Peter, that he might sift her aswheat: no doubt, also, our Lord prayed for her, thather faith might not fail. She also was made a spectacle

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