Parable 35. Christ and Mary Magdalen at the Pharisee's Entertainment


Christ and Mary Magdalen at the Pharisee's Entertainment.

A pharisee the Lord implor'd,
To come and bless his social board:
The Lord accepted of his treat,
And went and sat him down to meat;
When, lo! a woman of the place,
Fall'n by her sins into disgrace,
And knowing that the Lord was there,
Did to the Pharisee's repair,
And brought a box of sweet perfume,
And stood behind him in the room,
There bath'd his feet the while she cry'd,
And with her locks dishevell'd dry'd;
Then with her lips she kiss'd his feet,
And pour'd thereon her ointment sweet.
This, when the Pharisee, that made
The entertainment, had survey'd,
He thus within himself agreed,
If this man was a seer indeed,
He would have known, that she, who came
And touch'd him, was of evil fame.
But Christ unto his thought reply'd,
‘Simon, there's something to decide,
‘Which I shall speak to thee anon.’
And Simon answer'd, Lord, say on
‘A certain creditor from two
‘Had got a sum of money due,
‘The one five hundred pence he lent,
‘The other fifty—in event,
‘When neither had a mite to pay,
‘He both forgave. Now, therefore, say,
‘Which of the twain shall love and bless
‘The most?—Says Simon, As I guess
The person whom the most he spar'd.
Says Christ, ‘Thou rightly hast declar'd.’
Then turning from his seat aside,
Seest thou this object here, he cry'd:
When I came in thy house to greet,
Thou gav'st me nought to wash my feet;
But she for that her tears has us'd,
And wip'd them with her hairs diffus'd.
Thy welcome no kind kiss endear'd,
But ever since I first appear'd,
This woman here has been profuse
To kiss my feet. From out thy cruse
Thou pourd'st no oil upon my head,
But she her precious balsam shed:
Wherefore, I tell thee, I think fit
Her sins, though many, to remit.
For much she lov'd, as much she ow'd:
But she that has the grace bestow'd
Of mercy for a small concern,
Will love but little in return
Thou from thy sins (he cries) art free
Then certain of the company
Said in themselves, ‘Who's this, forsooth,
‘That pardons sins?’ But God the truth
Did his poor penitent release,
‘Thy faith has sav'd thee, go in peace!’
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