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Matt. xv. 28. Jesus answered and said unto her, 0 woman great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

RETIREMENT is necessary for all; especially for those who minister in holy things-But on certain occasions it must be sacrificed to the pressing calls of duty-Jesus had retired to the country near to Tyre aud Sidon on purpose that he might enjoy some privacy-But this Canaanitess, having heard of him, went to importune him on behalf of her afflicted daughter-Nor was her intrusion, however unseasonable, displeasing to him—

In discoursing on the relief afforded her, we shall


I. The disposition and conduct of this distressed heathen

The commendation which our blessed Lord himself bestowed on her, naturally leads us to a minute investigation of her character-Behold

1. Her love

[She considered her daughter's affliction as her own; and, when imploring relief for her, cried, "Have mercy upon ME"-And knowing that there was One able to help, she sought him out with diligence, and applied to him with importunity

We too, like her, may be deeply affected with the bodily disorders of our children; and may make application to physicians on their behalf-But, though we know the power of Jesus to heal disorders, and the utter inefficacy of all human means without his blessing, how rarely do we spread our wants before HIM in fervent prayer!-Yea, when we see the souls of our relatives possessed by Satan, and are assured that none but Jesus can deliver them, we profess perhaps to pity them, but find no disposition to intercede for them at the throne of grace-Or, if we occasionally put up a petition for them, we shew by the coldness of our prayers how little regard we have for their eternal interests-Alas! that an heathen woman should have so much greater concern for the bodily welfare of her child, than we feel for the souls of those who are most nearly related to us!-]

2. Her humility

[Nothing could express more unfeigned humility_than her demeanor did on this occasion-She addressed our Lord

in terms of most profound respect, and prostrated herself before him with the deepest reverence- -And, when he, by insinuation at least, compared her to a dog, she, instead of deeming it an insult, acquiesced in the appellation given her, and, with an ingenuity which nothing but the most unfeigned humility could have dictated, turned into a plea the name which seemed to convey nothing but discouragement; Truth, Lord, I am a dog; yet as the dogs eat of the crumbs that fall from the master's table, without being considered as robbing the children, so, if thou grant me this one favour, it need not be any diminution of the mercy which thou hast treasured up for the Jews, in comparison of whom I am worthily esteemed a dog"


Thus should we also conduct ourselves in all our addresses at the throne of grace; our posture should be humble, our spirit contrite, and our acknowledgments full of self-loathing and self-abhorrence-]

3. Her faith

[This, as being the root of all, our Lord more especially commended-Indeed her faith was exceeding great: she beheld him as "the Lord, the son of David," the true Messiah She believed him able to effect a cure, when it far surpassed all human power; yea, she believed that he could effect it at a distance, and by a word only-She was no less persuaded of his willingness to grant her petition; and therefore she persevered in her request in spite of all his discouragementsAnd, when our Lord declared that her request was granted, she departed with as full a persuasion that her daughter was delivered from the unclean spirit as if she had seen the change accomplished before her eyes

What an admirable pattern was she in this respect! It is thus that we also should approach him, not doubting either bis ability or willingness to help us; and, when we hear his gracious declarations, we should trust in them with the fullest assurance that they shall be accomplished to us-]

4. Her patience

[When first she besought our Lord, he took no notice of her When she followed him with her intreaties, insomuch that the disciples, merely to get rid of her, became her advocates, he refused to hear their intercessions, and assigned to them a reason which to them appeared unanswerable-When she still, with increasing humility and fervour, urged her request, she also was repulsed, and that too in terms which might have been interpreted as reproachful and injuriousNow persons in bitter anguish of mind are peculiarly susceptible of neglect, and much more of insult, especially from those

of whom they had entertained an high opinion, and from whom they had expected a very different treatment-But, instead of being irritated, she endured all with the meekest submission, and determined to persevere till she should obtain her request

Thus when answers to prayers are delayed, we should continue urging our petitions, saying, "I will not let thee go except thou bless me"--Nor should any thing ever induce us to entertain hard thoughts of God, or to murmur at his dispensations towards us, seeing that we deserve nothing at his hands but shame and contempt-]

While we admire the conduct of this woman, let us also contemplate

II. The behaviour of Jesus towards her

For some time he seemed to act in a manner unworthy of himself

[Towards all others he shewed himself kind and condescending, and ready to administer the relief they solicitedYea, he frequently almost obtruded himself upon the notice of men, and urged them, as it were, to ask for blessings at his hands-Even to the abandoned of all characters he displayed this readiness to impart mercy-But towards this distressed suppliant he seemed destitute of all sympathy, or compassionHe had indeed reasons abundantly sufficient to justify his conduct: he chose to draw forth the grace that was in her heart, and thereby to reprove the indifference of those who called themselves exclusively the children of God-By the delay too he rendered the benefit more acceptable to the woman, and the woman herself a brighter pattern unto us

In a similar way, and for similar reasons, he sometimes hides his face from us, and turns, as it were, a deaf ear to our complaints-And, if we listened to the dictates of impatience and unbelief, we should be ready to exclaim, "What profit is there that we should call upon him?"-]

But at last he answered her most sanguine expectations

[He who had appeared so regardless of her cry, at last bare testimony to the greatness of her faith-How cheering must his commendations have been to her disconsolate spirit!And how has he shewn to us, that there may be great faith even where we suppose there is little, or perhaps none at all; and that when we account no terms too humiliating whereby

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a How different was her conduct, though a heathen, from David's under a far less disappointment! 1 Sam. xxv. 21, 22. © John iv. 10.

b Gen. xxxii. 26.

to express our vileness, he approves and even admires the graces that we exercise!

With this condescension in his manner of shewing mercy, he manifested the greatest liberality in the favour he conferred: he made her own wishes the measure of his gifts-Nor will he shew less kindness to us, if we call upon him with our whole hearts" What will ye that I should do unto you?" is his address to every one of us: and when we have made known our requests, he will say to each, "Be it unto thee even as thou wilt"-With respect to temporal mercies, he will give or withhold as he foresees will be best for us: but in spiritual things he will do for us not only what we ask, but "exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think"-] We may LEARN from hence that

1. There is no respect of persons with God

[No man can say, God will not hear me, because I am not of the number of his elect: for we cannot tell who are, or who are not, the elect of God, any farther than we are enabled to judge by their respective fruits-There is no man of any nation, or any character, who shall not find favour with God, if he seek it earnestly through the Lord Jesus ChristLet secret things then be left to God; and let all, whether they account themselves dogs or children, seek a portion of that bread which came down from heaven-So shall their souls be liberated from Satan's yoke, and experience the saving efficacy of the Redeemer's word-]

2. Persevering prayer will and must prevail

[Never was there an instance wherein the prayer of faith failed of success-It has opened the windows of heaven;d and imposed, if we may so speak, restraints upon the Deity himself If we can only wait patiently upon the Lord, he will soon pluck our feet out of the mire, and " put a new song into our mouths, even a thanksgiving unto our God" Let us then " pray, and not faint"Let us call upon the Lord, and "give him no rest till he arise" for our helps-Then shall we assuredly succeed at last, and find, that his answers, however delayed, are vouchsafed in the fittest seaeon, and in the most perfect correspondence with our necessities-]

d Jam, v. 17, 18.
Ps. xl. 1-3.

e Exod. xxxii. 10, 11, 14.
Isai. Ixii. 7.


Mark vii. 32-36. And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him. And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue. And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain. And he charged them that they should tell no man.

THE astonishing frequency of our Lord's miracles renders them the less noticed

And we are ready to suppose that, after a few of them have been considered, the rest will afford us nothing


But every distinct miracle was attended with some peculiar circumstances

And ought to excite our admiration as much as if it had been the only one recorded—

To improve that which is now before us, we may consider

I. The manner in which it was wrought

Many instructive lessons may be learned from an attentive survey of our Lord's conduct in every part of his life

His manner of performing this miracle was peculiarly worthy of notice-It was


[He" took the man aside from the multitude" th rounded him

Not that he was afraid of having his miracles inspected and scrutinized

The greater part of them were wrought publicly before allBut on some occasions he sought rather to conceal his works

He wished not to excite the envy of the priests or the jealousy of the rulers

He laboured also to avoid all appearances of ostentationHe would shew us by his example how our acts of beneficence should be performeda

• Matt, vi. 3.

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