Page images


SERM. think that this is an indignity ? that He is not worthy, hath

not deserved, and doubly deserved this, and ten times more, at our hands ?

An extraordinary conceit is entered into the world, by a new found gloss, to make whatsoever we like not, or list not to do ourselves, extraordinary; and so some deem of this as extraordinary, and whereof no example is to be made. No

ancient writer is of that mind, but that for us it was written; Lu. 10. 37. and that, Vade tu et fac similiter, may be written upon her

box. But be it so. Why may not I wish on our parts, Let us be extraordinary ? For God hath not dealt ordinarily with us of this land; He hath not been to us a wilderness or a barren land, but hath, even our enemies being judges, been extraordinary in His goodness toward us all. And sure in us ordinary common thankfulness is not enough.

Shall I set myself to recount His benefits? An easy matter to find entrance; but when then should I make an end? In one I will abridge them all. We spake of ointment. Verily, Christ hath anointed over us, and given us a most gracious sovereign, by whose happy and blessed reign we long have—and longer may we He grant !-enjoyed both the inward and outward

anointing; the inward, the holy and heavenly comfort of Ps. 45. 7. God's truth, and true “oil of gladness ;” the outward, of

earthly plenty and delight, which nard or any rich confection may afford; and, in a word, whatsoever happiness can fall to

any nation under Heaven. From the holy oil of whose Ps 133.2,3. anointing, as the “dew of Hermon on Sion," and as “ Aaron's

ointment upon the skirts of his clothing," there daily droppeth upon this whole realm pure nard, or if any thing else be more precious, whether in these earthly, or in those Heavenly blessings. I speak no more than we all feel. This is that one I spake of, and in this one is all—even the Lord's anointed. Whom, I make no question, but the Lord hath, and will more and more bless, for that her Highness hath said, as Himself said, Sinite illam. And blessed be God That hath put into her heart so to say, to like well of Ut quid perditio, but to have it so applied. I doubt not but this heroical virtue, among many others, shall make her sceptre long to flourish, shall make her remembrance to be in blessing to all posterity, and shall be, among other, her rejoicing in the

[ocr errors]

day of the Lord, and an everlasting crown of glory upon her head.

This is that ointment I spake of, that itself alone may make us all confess, we have received from Christ extraordinary mercy, and are therefore to return more than ordinary duty. Non taliter fecit omni, nay, non taliter fecit ulli populo; “He Ps. 147. 20. hath not dealt so with every, nay, not so with any people,” as with us; and therefore not any people to deal so thankfully with Him again.

This, if it were extraordinary. Howbeit, if antiquity may be admitted judge, this, as “a good work,” is to be ordinary with us.

Since every thing done in this kind to Christ's Church, only upon a thankful regard, is with them reckoned a dram of Mary Magdalene's ointment.

At least, if we will not come so far as operata est, we do yet thus far favour it as to yield to Sinite illam ; seeing Mary Magdalene, that gave it, paid for it, and it never came out of our purse.

And now this question being thus dilated, it is every man's duty, saith Theophylact, to set down, cujus partis sit, 'whose [Thepart he will take, whose mind he will be of. Whether with ophyl. in

Evang. Judas, Perditio est; or with Christ, Bonum opus est; whether

Enar.c.14.] Potuit vendi, or Sinite illam.

But I trust we will stand to Christ's judgment, and rather take part with Him for Mary Magdalene, than with Judas against her; that we may be with Mary Magdalene, that are of her mind, which at the hour of death we all shall desire.

The entrance I make. From this unhappy conjunction of Mary's good work and Judas' evil speech, this first considera- trine. tion offereth itself, nothing pleasant, but wholesome and requi- good site to be called to mind of all that mean to do well. That

maligned. things well done shall be evil taken, and often good affections have no good constructions, and that received with the left hand that is reached with the right.

For this her act that was well done, if Christ knew what it was to do well, yet we see it is disdained, grudged at, and she molested for it;—all three are in my text.

Whence we learn, Be a thing done to never so good purpose, yet some Judas will mutter and malign, and come forth with his Ut

III. The doc

works are

SERM. quid ? some Judas will cast his dead fly into Mary Magdalene's III.

box of ointment.

No one creature had so good experience of this as this poor woman had. Three special virtues of hers the Gospels record, and in every one of the three she was repined at. 1. When,

in the bitterness of her soul she shewed her repentance with Lu. 7. 39. tears, Simon the Pharisee did what he could to disgrace her.

2. When, in a hungry desire to receive comfort by the word

of grace, she shewed her devotion in sitting at Christ's feet, Lu. 10. 40. Martha, her own sister, made complaint of her. 3. And now

here again the third time; when, in an honest regard of her duty she sheweth her thankfulness for comfort received, Christ's own Disciples both grudge and speak against her. So that, if she washeth His feet with tears, it contents not; if she anoint His head with balm, it is matter of mislike; if she sit still and say nothing, it is all one; still Mary is found fault with, ever her doings stand awry.

This is the lot and portion of all those that will follow their

steps. Not only we of private estate, but even great personNeh. 6. 6. ages, as Nehemias by Geshem', to bring detriment to the ['Gashmu.] state by favouring the Church's case. Even princes: David 2Sam. 16.7. by Shimei, to be a bloody persecutor, when, if in any thing he

offended, it was in too much lenity. Even Christ Himself the Son of God, Who neither could have His feet, but Simon the Pharisee—nor His head anointed, but Judas His Apostle, malign and speak against it.

So that not only regium est, as the heathen said, bene cum

feceris, audire male, “to have evil speech for good deeds, but Joh. 10. 32. divinum, a heavenly thing, as Christ saith, de bono opere


This is their lot. And it serveth us to two purposes. 1. For judgment; to see this evil disease under the sun the evil aspect which the world looks with on Mary Magdalene. Whereby many times that which is commended in Heaven is condemned in earth, and Judas' bag carrieth away even from Christ's.

Whereby many times all good is · said of them by whom little good is done, and some men's flagitia, which the heathen story lamenteth in Drusus, shall find more favour and be better rewarded than Drusus' optime cogitata, the good counsel and course of many a better man.

2. Yet to be

Such is the deceitfulness of the sons of men upon the Ps. 62. 9. weights. It serveth us, I say, to see and to sorrow at, and to say with Augustine, Ve tibi miser, bonus odor occidit te ! Miserable man that thou art, how art thou choked with so good a scent! To sorrow it, and to prepare ourselves to it, and resolve that though we do well, yet we shall be evil spoken of.

That first, and second this for practice. That though we be evil spoken of, yet not to be dismayed or troubled with this done. hard measure, but to go on and do as Mary Magdalene did; not once, or twice, but three several times, one after another; neither to hold our hand or shut our box, nor spare our ointment, if things well done be evil taken. To look not to Judas on earth, who disliketh, but to Christ in Heaven Who approveth it, and in all three cases made answer for Mary Magdalene, against Martha, Simon, and Judas, and all her accusers.

To know that that which in Judas' divinity is perditio, in Christ's divinity is bonum opus. In regard therefore of our own duty, to be resolute with the Apostle, Quod facio, 2 Cor. 11. hoc et faciam, “ What I do, that will I do.” In respect of misconstruction with them, Mihi pro minimo est; because we may 1 Cor. 4. 3. truly say and in the sight of God, sicut deceptores et veraces, 2 Cor. 6. 8. “as deceivers, yet true;" or, with Mary Magdalene, as wasters, yet well-doers. Assuring ourselves, that it is well done ; and shall be both commended on earth and rewarded in Heaven. On earth; for posterity shall better like of the shedding, than of the sale of this ointment. In Heaven; for the day will come, qui male judicata rejudicabit, “when all perverse judgments shall have judgment against them; and Mary Magdalene shall look cheerfully on Him on Whom she bestowed it, and Judas ruefully behold Him from Whom he sold it.

This is Mary Magdalene's part, as Christ telleth; that howsoever Mary Magdalene be, in Simon's house, or in a corner, found fault with, amends shall be made her; and as wide as the world is, and as far as the Gospel shall sound, “she shall Mark14. 9. be well spoken of.” Yea, when the great and glorious acts of many monarchs shall be buried in silence, this poor box of (Vide S. nardus shall be matter of praise, and never die. And contrary, in cap. 26. howsoever Judas' motion may find favour and applause in the ... Mat.

Hom. 81.] present, yet posterity shall dislike and discommend it; and he



SERM. be no less infamous and hateful, than Mary famous and well

spoken of, in all ages to the end of the world.

This is her portion from Christ; her soul refreshed with the sweet joys of Heaven, and her name as nardus throughout

all generations. This is his lot from the Lord; a name Mat. 24. 51. odious and loathsome to all that hear it, and his “ portion with

hypocrites,” in the lake of fire and brimstone. From which, &c.

To which, &c.

« PreviousContinue »