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driven from their own country, settled on the coasts of Tyre and Şidon. We know the curse to which that people were devoted, even from the days of their ancestor Canaan, the Son of Ham. We know also that Joshua was commanded not to spare them, and that Israel was forbidden to make leagues with them. This curse, however came upon them for their being an exceedinly wicked people. The abominations of which they were guilty, and which were nursed by their idolatry as by a parent sin, are given as the reason why the land vomited out its inhabitants, and why Israel must form no alliances with them, lest they should learn their ways. There was no time in which the God of Israel refused even a Canaanite, who repented, and embraced his word. of this, Rahab the barlot, Uriah the Hittite, Ornan the Jebusite, and others were examples. The door of mercy has ever been open to faith : and though it seemed, in this instance, to be shut, it was only to prove the party, and to induce her to plead with greater importunity.
II. Let us notice HER ERRAND. It was not her own case, but a case which she had made her own; that of her young daughter. She pleaded it, however, as if it were her own-Have mercy on ME!~Lord help me! From this part of the subject we may learn,
1. That in our approaches to Christ, it becomes us to go not for ourselves only, but for others around us, and to make their cases ours. He to whom the application was made, could not but approve of this principle ; for it was that on which he himself was acting at the time. He took the cause of perishing sinners, and made it his own. He bore our griefs, and carried our sorrows. А spirit of sympathy is the very spirit of Christ, which they that are joined to him must needs possess,
2. That it behoves us more, especially, to carry the cases of our children to the Lord, and to make them our own. It
may be, they are too young to understand or feel their own malady, or to know wbere help is to be had ; in this case, surely it is our proper business to personate them before the Lord : or, it may be, their minds are blinded, and their hearts hardened by the deceitfulness of sin, go as to have no desire to pray for themselves; and then we
can do no less than carry their case to him, who alone is able to help. What less, and in many instances, what more can an afflicted parent do for an ungodly child ? It is true, we have no ground to except the salvation of our children, while they continue hardened ; but Jesus is exalted to give repentance and remission of sins; and, while we present our supplication in a way of submission to his will, he will not be offended with us. It was the practice of holy Job to offer sacrifices for his children; and it seems to be a part of God's plan. frequently to bless the children at the intercession of the parent, and thus to express his approbation of something which they have done for him. The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus, said Paul, for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain.
III. Let us remark THE REPEATED APPLICATIONS, THE REPEATED REPULSES, AND THE ULTIMATE SUCCESS WHICH CROWNED
Here were no less than four applications ; three of which were made by tbe woman herself, and one by the disciples, on her behalf. Three out of the four failed; but the fourth succeeded. Let us examine them, and the success they met with, distinctly.
The first was made by the woman, and is described as follows: -She cried unto him saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. We might remark the brevity, the fullness, and the earnestness of this petition ; but there is one thing, which our Lord himself afterwards noticed, and which, therefore, is particularly deserving of our attention : it was the prayer of faith. She believed, and confessed bim to be the Messiah. Her addressing him under the character of Lord, and as the son of David, amounted to this. It was a principle universally acknowledged among the Jews, that the Lord, or king Messiah, should be of the seed of David. To address him, therefore, under this character, was confessing him to be the Christ. This was the appellation under which he was more than once invoked by certain blind men; and, in every instance, the same idea was meant to be conveyed. These poor people did not address our Saviour in a way of unmeaning com
plaisance : they understood that the Messiah, the son of David, was to be distinguished by the exercise of mercy: hence, they continually associated these ideas, Have MERCY on me, O Lord, thou son of David!- Jesus, thou son of DaviD, have mercy on
And this is the very character given to the Messiah in the Old Testament, especially in the Seventy-second Psalm. He shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper. Thus they had heard, thus they believed, and thus their faith wrought in a way of effectual prayer.
But whence had this woman, an alien from the commonwealth of Israel, a stranger to the covenant of promise, this wisdom? Providence had placed ber on the borders of the Holy Land, and she appears to have profited by it. The true religion, contained in the oracles of God, had its influence not only on Israel, but on many individuals in the neighbouring nations. It was foretold, that they who dwelt under his shadow should return; and here we
I see it accomplished. Probably this poor Canaanite had often gone into the Jewish synagogue, to hear the reading of the law and the prophets ; and, while many of those who read them gained only a superficial acquaintance with them, she understood them to purpose. One would almost think she must lately have heard the Seventy-second Psalm read, at one of these assemblies, and have made up her petition out of the passage forecited. He shall deliv- . er the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper ;-then why not me? I will go, and turn this prophecy into a prayer ; Have mercy upon me, O Lord, thou son of David ! It is good to have our residence near to the means of grace, and to bave a heart to make use of them. It is good to grow upon the banks of this river of the water of life. It is pleasant, also, to think of the good effects of the true religion among the posterity of Abraham. It is thus we see the fulfilment of the promise to that faithful man, I will bless thee, and thou shalt be a blessing.
But, while these things afford pleasure to us, they must, methinks, have been very provoking to the Jews; and happy had it been for them, if they had been provoked to a godly jealousy. Many among them were far behind these strangers in knowledge and in faith, though they enjoyed very superior advantages. The
Saviour was continually among them, crying, and calling at their gates, and at the entering in of their cities; yet they generally disregarded bin: whereas, in this case, he only took an occasionat journey, and that in secret; (for when he entered into an house, he would have no man know it ;) yet here this poor woman found him out, and presented her supplication. How true is that saying of our Lord, The last shall be first, and the first last; and how often do we still see persons of inferior advantages enter into the kingdom of God before others who have possessed the greatest abundance of means.
But what treatment did she receive from our Saviour, on this her first application ? He answered her not a word. Who would have expected this? Does it accord with his usual conduct: In what instance had he been known to refuse such an application ? It was very mysterious, and very discouraging. Is his ear beavy; then, that it cannot hear? or his arm shortened, that it cannot saye? Answered her not a word! Who could understand this as any other than a repulse? If the faith of the petitioner bad been weak, she might have concluded that he would not answer her, because he could not help her. If her heart had been cold, she might have gone away, as many do after baving said their prayers, contented without the blessing. If her spirit had been baughty, she must and would have resented it, and have asked no more. In short, had she been any thing but what she was, great in faith in love, and in bumility, she would bave turned away. And here: we may see the wisdom of our Saviour's conduct: had be imme. diately granted her request; we had seen little or nothing of the exercise of these graces. But let us proceed.
Here is a second application made on her behalf; and this is by the disciples ; they came and besought him to send her away. I. hope they meant that he would grant her petition. One might . have expected something considerable from the intercession of the twelve apostles. He had consented to go and heal the centurion's servant, at the request of the Jewish elders : aod surely his own disciples must have an interest with him, equal to theirs. If the vi poor woman knew of their becoming her advocates, it is natural! to suppose her expectations must have been raised : and this it is 'ı
likely she did ; for, while they were speaking, she seems to have beld her peace. Neither need they hare been at a loss for a precedent ; for though she was a heathen, yet they had lately witbessed his kind attention to a Roman cepturion : nd, had they pleaded this, he might have shown mercy at their request. But to what does their intercession amount ? Alas, it is mean and pitiful: it does not appear to have a spice of benevolence in it, but to, have been merely the effect of self-love: Send her away, said they, for she crieth after us. O disciples! And does the voice of prayer trouble you? How little at present do you resemble your Master ! We never read of his being troubled with the cry of the poor and needy. And this is all you have to urge, is it? Your charity amounts to just so much as that of some wealthy per9008, who give a poor man a penny, not out of compassion, but in order to get rid of him !
What is the answer to this miserable petition ! Our Lord takes no notice of the mercenary nature of the plea; and this was like himself: amidst the numerous faults of his disciples, he often exercised a dignified forbearance towards them. But what answer did he'make! I am not sent, but' unto the lost sheep of the house of
It was true, that bis commission was especially directed to Israel; and, previously to his resurrection, he even forbad bis disciples to go in the way of the Gentiles: por is it any wonder, that he should avail himself of this general truth, still to withhold his favour, rather than grant it at such a request as this. The motive which they had urged was not likely to work upon him.
But think how it must affect the poor petitioner. Silence was discouraging ; but this must have been more so. That might be imputed to other causes : she might suppose he was considering of her request; and, though he had said nothing in her favour, yet he had said nothing against her: this, however, is not only giving her a denial, but giving the reason of it; which would seem to render it irrevocable. To an eye of sense, it would now seem to be a lost case. It is not so, however, to an eye of faith.
Let us proceed to the third application. The disciples had been poor advocates. Make way for her, and let her plead her own cause : she can do it best. It is not one, nor two repulses, that Vol. VII.