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Nor can it be imagined, that any women of distinction and good credit would admit into their company one who had been under the reproach of a disorderly life. By St. Luke they are here enumerated after this manner. Mary called Magdalene, Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others." In St. Matthew xxvii. 55, 56. "And many women were there, beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children." Compare Mark xv. 40, 47. xvi. 1. Luke xxiv. 10. John xix. 25. All these must have been women of an unblemished character. And so far was there from being any exception to Mary Magdalene, that she is several times mentioned as the most honourable, and placed first of all.

Among them, whether she be expressly named or not, was our Lord's mother. And undoubtedly an exact decorum was observed, according to the Jewish custom.

Nor were they idle. As Jerom says, they provided for our Lord's accommodation in his food and garments. And, possibly, Mary Magdalene presided in the direction of the affairs which were under their care.

When they accompanied our Lord in any of his journies, they may have followed at a distance, and in a separate band. And, as may be well supposed, they had some female servants of their own.

The woman called "a sinner," was absolutely excluded from having any part in that company. When she came into the room where our Lord was, and gave proofs of repentance, he graciously and openly received her as a penitent. Having delivered the similitude of two forgiven debtors, he addressed the pharisee, at whose house he was, in these words: "Wherefore, I say unto thee, her sins, which are many, are forgiven," Luke vii. 47. Afterwards, at ver. 48. "And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven." Finally, at ver. 50. "And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee. Go in peace." Nor could any unprejudiced men disallow our Lord's ability to discern her real temper, and to pronounce a right sentence, after he had shown to the pharisee himself, that he knew his inmost thoughts.

In all this our our blessed Lord acted agreeably to his great design, which was to bring sinful men to repentance. And he faithfully discharged the important commission that had been given him, which was "to seek, and to save that which was lost," Matt. xviii. 11. Luke xix. 10.

But it cannot be reasonably supposed, that he would admit such a person into the number of his stated attendants. And I believe, that they who attentively observe our Lord's history, as recorded in the gospels, may perceive his life to have been an example of admirable wisdom and prudence, as well as of the strictest virtue, and the most generous goodness and compassion.

Let us now sum up the evidence, so far as we have gone. Mary of Magdala was a woman of distinction, and very easy in her worldly circumstances. For a while she had laboured under some bodily indisposition, which our Lord miraculously healed. For which benefit she was ever after very thankful. So far as we know, her conduct was always regular, and free from censure. And we may reasonably believe, that after her acquaintance with our Saviour it was edifying and exemplary. I conceive of her, as a woman of a fine understanding, and known virtue and discretion, with a dignity of behaviour becoming her age, her wisdom, and her high station. By all which she was a credit to him, whom she followed as her Master and benefactor. She showed our Lord great respect in his life, at his death, and after it. And she was one of those, to whom he first showed himself after his resurrection. As appears from Matt. xxviii. 1—10. Mark xvi. 9. and John xx. 1-18.

I am very unwilling to trouble you with the intricacies of criticism. But I fear, my argu ment will not be reckoned conclusive by all, unless I proceed a little farther, and take notice of

nisi quod abludere a majestate Domini videatur, quod in
comitatu suo mulierem ob impuritates suas infamem voluerit
circumducere Neque consulit huic difficultati Nat. Alex-
ander, quoad ansa omni scandalo per illustrem atque inter
Judæos notam pœnitentiam præcisa fuerit. Nimis enim
efferata erat Judæorum malitia, quam ut eapropter a conviciis
cessaturi essent. Lampe in Joann, Evang. cap. xix. T. III.
608. Vid. et Basnag. Ann. 31. num. xlii.

secutæ sunt Jesum non otiosa, sed facientes quæ

mandabantur ab eo, et delectabant eum. Ministrantes enim sequebantur eum. Orig. in Matt. Item. 35. num. 141. p. 929. T. III. ed. Bened.

Consuetudinis Judaïcæ fuit, nec ducebatur in culpam, more gentis antiquo, ut mulieres de substantiâ suâ victum atque vestitum præceptoribus ministrarent, &c. Hieron. in Matt. xxvii. tom. IV. p. 140. Bened.

• Ούτω και αυτή αρχηγός των μαθητριών γενομένη. κ. λ. Modest. ap. Phot. Cod. 275. p. 1526.

some other things. For by some it has been supposed, that Mary, sister of Lazarus, was the same as Mary Magdalene. And by some it has been thought, that Mary, sister of Lazarus, is the same as the woman called "a sinner."

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First, Some have supposed, that Mary sister of Martha and Lazarus, was the same as Mary Magdalene. This is an assertion of Baronius, who was confuted by Isaac Casaubon, G. J. Vossius, and others. Grotius likewise has well argued against that opinion.

Indeed I think it very manifest, that they are different persons. For 1. Mary Magdalene was so called from a place situated in Galilee. Lazarus and his sisters were inhabitants of Bethany near Jerusalem in Judea, properly so called. John xi. 1, and elsewhere. 2. Mary Magdalene is frequently named with other women, who attended our Lord in his journies, and came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, at the times of the great feasts as we have seen. But Lazarus and his sisters resided at Bethany. Nor do we read of any attendance, which either of those sisters gave our Lord, except at the place of their ordinary residence. St. Luke has recorded a visit, which our Lord made there, not improbably, as he was going up to the feast of the dedication, mentioned John x. 22. "And it came to pass," says St. Luke," as they went, that he entered into a certain village. And a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister named Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word.” And what there follows: Luke x. 38, 39. And St. John, ch. xi. giving an account of the sickness, and death, and resurrection of Lazarus, assures us, that both his sisters were at home at Bethany. Here likewise it was, that Mary anointed our Lord with precious ointment a short time before his last sufferings, as related John xii. at the beginning. 3. Mary Magdalene is particularly mentioned with others, whom our Lord had miraculously healed of infirmities: and out of her, as is said, went seven dæmons. But nothing of this kind is ever said, or hinted of Mary sister of Lazarus.

Secondly, Some have supposed, Mary sister of Martha and Lazarus, to be the same with the woman called " a sinner," of whom St. Luke speaks in ch. vii.

For St. John writes, ch. xi. 1, 2. "Now a certain man was sick named Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, whose brother Lazarus was sick."

Here therefore we must again recollect what St. Luke says, ch. vii. 37, 38.

"And behold,

a woman in the city which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, and stood at his feet behind him weeping. And she began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment."

Hence, then, it may be argued, that St. John has told us the name of the woman that was "a sinner," though St. Luke omitted it. She is Mary sister of Lazarus.

To which I would answer. 1. Mary, sister of Lazarus, was a woman of good character, without any note of infamy. St. Chrysostom, in a homily upon the beginning of the eleventh chapter of St. John's gospel, says: Some have put the question, whether this be the same with her that is called "a sinner." But without reason, he says, for this was a virtuous woman of good credit.' And in a homily upon Matt. xxvi. 6, &c. he calls the sister of Lazarus, ‘anf admirable woman.' 2. The anointing, mentioned by St. Luke, was done at Naim or Capernaum, or some other place in Galilee. But Mary, sister of Lazarus, as was before shown, dwelt at Bethany. 3. St. John here intends that anointing of our Lord, of which himself has given a particular relation in ch. xii. 1-8. Which therefore we must now observe. "Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, which had been dead. There they made him a supper, and Martha served. But Lazarus was one of them that sat at table. Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus,

In primis dicimus, attestatione Joannis Evangelistæ, immo Christi, apertissime constare, unam eamdemque personam fuisse Mariam Lazari et Marthæ sororem cum Maria Magdalena. Baron. Ann. 32. num. xix.

b Exercit. Antibar. xix. num. xi.

Longius vero a januâ, quod dicitur, videntur mihi aberrâsse, qui arbitrantur, Mariam, a quâ Dominus, priusquam pateretur, inunctus fuit, Mariam fuisse Magdalenam

Hæc enim non eâ notâ ab aliis distinguitur Mariis, quod inunxerit Dominum, sed quod Dominus ex eâ septem ejecerit dæmonia. G. J. Voss. Harm. Ev. 1. 1. c. 3. § vii.


Vid. Grot. in Matt. xxvi. 6.

Αυτη δε και σεμνη και σπεδαια. In Joan. hom. 62 al. 61. T. VIII. p. 368.

8 'Αλλ' έτερα τις θαυμαση, ή το Λαζαρο αδελφη. In Matte hom. 80. al. 81. T. VII. p. 765.

and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. Then said one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray him: Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? Then said Jesus : Let her alone against the day of my burying has she kept this. For the poor always ye have with you but me ye have not always."

That this is a different anointing from that mentioned by St. Luke, is manifest from divers particulars. They differ in the circumstances of time and place as just shown. Again, in the former it was Simon the pharisee, who took offence at our Lord's suffering himself to be touched by a woman that was a sinner. Here it is Judas, one of the disciples, who murmurs at the expence. And our Lord's vindications are quite different. To which might be added, that the woman, of whom St. Luke writes, stood behind our Lord " weeping, and washing his feet with tears." But St. John has not a word of Mary's shedding any tears, though he has twice said, that "she wiped his feet with her hair." See ch. xi. 2, and xii. 3.

In Matt. xxvi. 6-13, and Mark xiv. 3-9, as is well known, is an account of our Saviour's being anointed by a certain woman a short time before the passover. Some learned interpreters think, that these are different histories, and that our Lord was twice anointed in Bethany, in the space of a few days: once by Mary sister of Lazarus, as related by St. John, and a second time by another woman not named, as related by those two evangelists. Others think, that these three evangelists speak of one and the same anointing. Which to me appears very right. But it is not needful, that I should now stay to reconcile those accounts.

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I have aimed to show, that Mary Magdalene is not the woman called "a sinner," of whom St. Luke writes, ch. vii. And I suppose, that most Protestant divines are of the same opinion. The learned Romanists have been divided. The grounds and reasons of the controversy among them may be seen in several."

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Nevertheless the learned Benedictine editor of St. Chrysostom's works has expressed himself very freely concerning this point, in a note upon one of the homilies above cited. • It is a difficult question,' says he, whether the woman that was a sinner, who washed Christ's feet, be the same as Mary, sister of Lazarus. But that Mary Magdalene is different from them, is • now denied by very few."

Tillemont begins his article of Mary Magdalene with these words: It is an ancient question in the church, and upon which all are not yet entirely agreed, whether Mary Magdalene be the same as Mary sister of Lazarus, and the woman that is said to be a sinner, or whether they are three different persons. The most illustrious churches of France, and almost all the ⚫ learned men of our times, have declared for the distinction of these three persons. And it has been proved by reasons, which seem fully to decide the difficulty, if we will judge without prejudice.'

Du Pin, referring to Luke vii. says: It is commonly thought, that this woman was Mary Magdalene. Nevertheless the evangelist, who relates this history, does not name her. All he says, is, that she was a woman in that city, known for her disorderly life. It is not at all probable, that she was Mary Magdalene, or Mary sister of Lazarus, who were women of quality, and good • condition.'

After this long argument, and so many good authorities, I may leave you to consider, whether

* Et quæ secundum Lucam est, plorat, et multum laerymat, ut pedes Jesu lacrymis lavet. Quæ autem secundum Joannem est Maria, neque peccatrix, neque lacrymans introducitur. Orig. in Matt. hom. 35. num. 77. p. 992. Vid. et Hieron. in Matt. xxvi. 7. T. IV. 1 .p. 125.

b Cleric. Harm. Evang. cap. lii. p. 350. 351. et cap. lix. p. 404, 405. See also Mr. Macknight's Harm. §. 109. p. 97, 98. and §. 124. p. 146.

G. J. Voss. Harm. Ev. 1. i. cap. 3. §. 7. Calvin in Joan. Ev. xii. 1. Lampe Comm. in Jo. T. II. p. 822. Bynæus de Morte Christi. . i. cap. 3. num. v. &c. Lenfant sur Matt. xxvi. 6. et Jean. xii. 2, 3. Doddridge's Family Expositor. vol. II. p. 283. note (a). Hammond upon Luke vii. 37. Vid. et Hieron. in Matt. xxvi. T. IV. p. 125. fin.

See in Bayle's Dictionary J. Fevre, d'Etaples, or Faber Stapulensis, particularly Note (E). They who have leisure

might also consult Tillemont's chapter of S. Marie Madelaine, Mem. Tom. II. and the Notes upon it, which are long, and contain a great deal of learning, relating to this subject.

e Grandis quæstio, utrum peccatrix illa, que Christi pedes abluit, eadem ipsa sit, quæ soror Lazari; quam tractare præsentis non est instituti. Mariam autem Magdalenam ab his diversam esse, pauci jam negant. Ap. Chryst. T. VII. p. 765. f On croit communément, que cette femme étoit Marie Madelaine. Cependant l' Evangeliste S. Luc, qui rapporte cette histoire, ne la nomme point. C'étoit une femme connue dans la ville pour une femme de mauvaise vie. Il n'y a pas d'apparence, que ce fût ni Marie Madeleine, ni Marie Sœur de Lazare, dont nous parlerons, qui étoient des femmes de qualité, et de bonne condition. Du Pin Histoire de l'Eglise en Abrégé. Vol. i. p. 451.

they have not some good reason for their judgment, who dislike the denomination or inscription, taken notice of at the beginning of this letter. A Magdalen house for penitent pr-tes.'

It appears to me a great abuse of the name of a truly honourable, and I think truly excellent woman. If Mary's shame had been manifest, and upon record, she could not have been worse stigmatized: whereas the disadvantageous opinion concerning the former part of her life is founded only in an uncertain and conjectural deduction. And if the notion, that she was the woman in Luke vii. be no more than a vulgar error, it ought to be abandoned by wise men, and not propagated, and perpetuated.*

Besides, are there no bad consequences of a moral kind to be apprehended from this mistaken, or at best very doubtful opinion? Some, perhaps many, will be admitted into these houses, who have lived very dissolute lives, and have been very abandoned creatures. And the proofs of the repentance of some may be very ambiguous. Nevertheless all who get into houses, called Magdalen houses, will reckon themselves Magdalens. If they have been first taught to impute to her their own vices, they will soon learn to ascribe to themselves her virtues, whether with reason or without. At the lowest, they will be encouraged to magnify themselves beyond what might be wished; where humility, as we may think, should be one requisite qualification. And indeed I imagine, it would be best, that these houses should not have the denomination of any saint at all.

It is not my intention to disparage your institution. I hope that many of your patients may be recovered to wisdom and virtue: though I cannot see the reason why they should be called Magdalens.

It may not be proper for me to recommend another inscription: but I apprehend that a variety might be thought of, all of them decent and inoffensive. I shall propose one, which is very plain: A charity house for penitent women:' which, I think, sufficiently indicates their fault; and yet is, at the same time, expressive of tenderness, by avoiding a word of offensive sound and meaning, denoting the lowest disgrace that human nature can fall into, and which few modest men and women can think of without pain and uneasiness. Or, if that title is not reckoned distinct and particular enough, with a small alteration, it may be made, for penitent harlots.'

Perhaps you will say, that this letter has been brought to you too late; and I could now almost wish you had had it sooner, provided it contains any thing deserving your regard: for these thoughts, or most of them did early arise in my mind upon the first intelligence concerning this new design; but I declined the labour of putting them together. And I was also in hopes, that the point would be considered by some pious clergyman, or other learned man, apprehensive of consequences, and concerned for the honour of our Saviour, and his friends, as well as desirous to promote the good of his neighbours, and other fellow-creatures of his own time.

October 2, 1758.

Your humble Servant,

A. B.


Since writing what is above, and indeed the whole of this Letter, I have met with a book, entitled Thoughts on the Plan for a Magdalen House for Repentant Prostitutes, addressed to the promoters of this charity. Where, at p. 23, is this paragraph. 'Give me leave to take notice of the name of your charity. It does not appear to me, that Mary Magdalene was deficient in point of chastity, as is vulgarly ⚫ understood. I rather imagine she was not. It is certain, she was a lady of distinction, and of a great and noble mind. Her gratitude for the miraculous cure performed upon her was so remarkable, that her story is related with the greatest 'honour. And she will ever stand fair in the records of fame. Your charity requires a zeal like hers. You are her dis'ciples. And the dedication of your institution to her memory is entirely cousistent with the honour due to her character. And in this light no name more proper could be given to it.' Any one may be sensible, that the justice done to Mary Magdalene in the former part of this paragraph, is very pleas

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ing to me. But I do not perceive, how the title, pleaded for, can be consistent with the honour due to her character. For it carries in it an implication, that she once laboured under the like bad habits with the women placed under the roof of the houses dedicated to her; which houses, with this title, will uphold the popular opinion against the best arguments. And Mary Magdalene, rather than any other, must still be the patroness of penitents, because she is supposed to have been for some while a great sinner. An understanding man, like the author of these thoughts, may now and then declare in conversation, and in writing, that Mary Magdalene was not deficient in point of chastity: but to little or no purpose. These houses, so named, will be new monuments erected, in a protestant country, to the dishonour of a virtuous woman, added to all others of the like kind, which there are already in popish countries; in which, especially some of them, ignorance and superstition prevail to a great degree. And may they never so prevail, and be so general among us!





I HOPE you will find room in your Magazine for some critical observations upon the Scriptures. I send you the following, which you are at liberty to make such use of as you please.

2 Cor. v. 14. "For the love of Christ constraineth us, because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead." I think it should be rendered, "then should all die."

That this is the sense, appears from the connection in the next verse: I therefore shall briefly paraphrase both the verses.

"For the love of Christ constraineth us, we judging this, that if," or, forasmuch as, "one died for all:" then without all doubt, "all should die," to sin, and the world: " and that he died for all, that they which live, should not henceforth live unto themselves," seeking only their own gratification, but rather should live to him, to the glory, and according to the will and the commandments of him, "who died for them, and rose again.

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This interpretation is much confirmed by divers other texts, which may be reckoned parallel, particularly Rom. vi. 1, 11. xiv. 7, 8. 1 Pet. iv. 2.


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Isaiah Ixiii. 1-6. "Who is this, that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah ?" The proper and primary meaning of this passage of scripture, seems to be to this purpose. The prophet in a vision, or ecstasy, foresees some great deliverance of the Jewish nation from their enemies, particularly the Edomites; and, being fully persuaded of the event, he addresseth the deliverer, as if seeing him coming from the defeat of the enemy. "Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah ?" the capital city of the Edomites: "this, that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength?" Approaching toward me, like a mighty and glorious conqueror in triumph?" I, that speak in righteousness. It is I, whom you have seen in vision, who speak the truth, and am concerned for true religion: mighty to save," who labour for the welfare of my people, and expose myself to the greatest dangers for their safety. "Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the wine-fat?" Tell me, then, says the prophet, whence this redness of blood upon thine apparel, so that thy garments look like those of one that treadeth in the wine-fat? The deliverer answers: "I have trodden the wine-press alone, and of the people there was none with me:" I have performed this difficult work almost alone, few of my own people joining with me, and without the concurring assistance of neighbouring nations, our allies around us. "For I will tread them," or, for I have trodden them "in my anger; and I will trample," or I have trampled " them in my fury; and their blood shall be," or has been sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain," or have stained" all my raiment. For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and the day of my redeemed," or, of redeeming my people, come. And I looked, and there was none to help." I looked round, and well considered the matter: but none of our neighbours were willing to help us, nor were many of my own people ready to join with me, " and I wondered, that there was none to uphold;" this appeared to me very strange, and even astonishing: nevertheless I was not discouraged: "therefore my own arm brought salvation unto me, and my fury," or zeal for religion, and for the welfare of my people, "it upheld me," and carried me through all the dangers and difficulties of this arduous service. You see the reason therefore, and you need not wonder at it, that I “am red in my apparel, and that my garments are like him that treadeth in the wine-fat.



• First published in the LIBRARY (a periodical Work printed in 1761 and 1762), for May 1761.


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