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Saint Mary Under the Cross.

Saint Mary Under the Cross.

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Published by glennpease

BY TRACTS FOR THE TIMES

PREACHED ON GOOD FRIDAY, 1842, BEING ALSO THE FEAST OF THE
ANNUNCIATION.

St. John xix. 25.
" There stood by the Cross of Jesus, His Mother."

BY TRACTS FOR THE TIMES

PREACHED ON GOOD FRIDAY, 1842, BEING ALSO THE FEAST OF THE
ANNUNCIATION.

St. John xix. 25.
" There stood by the Cross of Jesus, His Mother."

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Published by: glennpease on May 04, 2014
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SAINT MARY UNDER THE CROSS.
BY TRACTS FOR THE TIMES
PREACHED ON GOOD FRIDAY, 1842, BEING ALSO THE FEAST OF THE ANNUNCIATION. St. John xix. 25. " There stood by the Cross of Jesus, His Mother." It might have been thought that the One Great Unspeakable Object, which is this day presented to the eyes of Men and Angels, God Incarnate crucified and dying, should so take up all our regard, that we should hardly have eyes or ears, or any sort of attention, for any thing besides. It might almost seem disrespectful, to turn away our thoughts for a moment, from Him who hangs on the Cross, to any thing else, though ever so near it. But Holy Scripture teaches us otherwise, surrounding as it does that glorious and awful Cross with so many objects more or less closely approaching it, which it even invites us to look on : friends and enemies and indifferent spectators ; blasphemers and penitents ; Jews and Gentiles ; the earth quaking and the sun hiding its face, the vail of the Temple rent in twain, and the very bodies of the Saints which slept coming out of their graves. All these things we are to attend to : why else are they set down in the Gospels? and without due attention to them, we shall be less perfect than we might be in our thoughts of that great over- powering Object, Who is set in the midst of them, and towards Whom they all look. And among them all there is one circumstance, which must 76 SAINT MARY UNDER THE CROSS. draw in an especial manner the attention of all thoughtful adorers of our Saviour, because it seems to come nearer to Him than all the rest : I mean that which is mentioned in the Text, " There stood by the Cross of Jesus, His Mother ;" she who was the nearest to Him of all created beings ; of whom He became incar- nate ; concerning whom our Church teaches, that of her substance, in her w-omb. He took man's nature upon Him ; whom, therefore, the whole Church teaches us to call. The Mother of God : she stood by, and beheld Him in all that deep suffering ; heard, as it seems, His last words, and saw Him die.
 
For a mother to be present at the death of an only son, is an affecting thought at any time ; a grief too deep and mysterious for any quite to understand, but those who have felt it : but for her who is highly favoured, the Virgin Mother of the Blessed Jesus, to stand by and see Him crucified between two thieves, and hear Him cry out, " Why hast Thou forsaken Me ?" — this surely is a secret and mystery of anguish, as much above what ordinary mothers can understand, as their grief is more than can be com- prehended bv any but mothers. Therefore the eye of every one, who has but ordinary human feeling, turns of course towards her more especially, among the circumstances of our Lord's Passion : much more the eye of a thoughtful Christian, believing and considering the unspeakable honour she had received, in becoming the Mother of Him who is Very God ; to such an one, the presence of the Blessed Mrgiii by the Cross will seem a very remarkable circumstance, setting forth His adorable Providence, in bringing nearest to Him in sufferings, her who was nearest in Blood, and w'hora He most loved and honoured. And this train of thought, so natural to a Christian in all years, when the Holy Week comes round, seems to come recommended to us this year, by the remarkable circumstance that Good Friday falls on the same day witli the Feast of the Annunciation. Tlie day of our remembering the Lord's death is the same with that on which the Angel came to declare His wonderful Incarnation. The moment in which He emptied Himself of His glory, and took on Him the form of a servant ; and the other moment in which Hk became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross ; the first beginning and the final consummation of His SAINT MARY UNDER THE CROSS. 77 sacrifice ; these two awful moments are in this year's Calendar gathered together in one. The Blessed Virgin seems in a re- markable way to be brought and set by the Cross : and the Church's Collect, for the Feast of her Annunciation, seems to come home to our minds v»'ith more than its usual meaning. For in that Collect we pray that all of us, " as we have known the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ by the message of an Angel, so by His Cross and Passion we may be brought unto the glory of His Resurrection ;" which words seem clearly to connect the Annun- ciation with the Crucifixion, and to set before us in some sort the Mother of our Lord, the highly favoured and deeply afflicted one, as our pattern how to wait on Christ from the beginning to the end, with the Cross always in view.
 
Let us then try to fix our minds for a short time, with the best of our weak adoration, on this particular point of our Lord's Passion, that He had His blessed Mother in sight, and tasted to the full that deep and piercing affliction, which dutiful hearts feel, when those dear to them are £ufl:ering, especially if that suffering be on their account. We see at once that He graciously teaches us hereby, to turn towards His Cross for a remedy, as in all other sorrows, so in every kind of family distress ; in the sickness, death, and sufi'er- ings of kinsmen or near friends, and in our own sufferings, so far as they affect our friends. No burthen of that kind so heavy, but a man may find strength to bear it, if he will place himself by the Blessed Virgin under the Cross, and look up and hear the gracious words there spoken to her. He who recommended to one another's care His Mother and His most favoured Disciple, in some of His last words, when the pains of death had begun ; it cannot be that He should be igno- rant of any part of what His servants feel, when His Providence calls them to separate one from another. He knows it all, for He put it into our minds. He created us at first with that tender affection, which all bear to parents and children, brethren and sisters ; and His Holy Spirit is ever pouring more and more charity into our hearts, if we will but dutifully open them to Him. We are sure, therefore, that the gracious Sox of Man feels for and with us His poor creatures, both in our aflliction on losing friends or seeing them suffer, and in the comfort we take in their 78 SAINT MARY UNDER THE CROSS. presence when we are afflicted. Hk had before wept at Lazarus' death ; 11k had had compassion on the widowed mother at Naiu ; and now He looks down from His Cross, in the midst of His pangs, and is afflicted in the affliction of Ilis Mother. And because, as it seems, she had no near kinsman at hand, and Joseph her husband was probably now dead. He points out one who should do a son's part by her, saying to her, " Behold thy Son," and to him, " Behold thy Mother :" by which He teaches us, that in all our bereavements, the comfort we take in one another's presence and care comes in truth from no other but Him : it is He who provides so wonderfully, as we often see, for those who would otherwise seem to be left helpless : " He is a Father of the fatherless, and defendeth the cause of the widows ;" causing con-

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