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for he is a present help in the time of trouble, and is certainly nigh to all that call upon him. When a soul but begins to feel his wants, it is no wonder if our Saviour does not immediately an
He knows it is best for us and safest, when we experience and feel how deeply our hearts are spoiled and corrupted, that nothing but God can save us : and when it comes so far with an awakened conscience, he is not far from the kingdom of God: he shall find, that though our Redeemer may have seemed to hide away his face for a little moment in displeasure, yet with everlasting kind ness he will remember him, and end the days of his mourning, and wipe the tears from his eyes. If any therefore think, This is my case; I cry, but none hears; I am afraid Jesus will not answer me a word.
Let me intreat such not to indulge unbelief: our Saviour has no pleasure in your smart or pain, but it is wholesome and good for you; you will learn thereby the need you have of a Saviour, and know a little of that estate and torment from whence his painful death and sufferings have saved you to eternity. Learn then of the woman in the text, to follow Jesus with faith, and cry after him.
But now she meets with another discouragement, “ his disciples came and besought him to put her away; for they said she crieth after us.”. By this we may see she kept on crying, and was resolved not to go away till she had got her answer.
So it was with Jacob when he wrestled with the Lord in the plains: he said, “I will vot let thee go till thou hast blessed me," and accordingly prevailed and got the blessing So it is with all those who take the kingdom of heaven by violence; and those that are thus violent, those that cannot and will not rest without salvation, shall surely find it. Woe be.to 2 H 3
them who slightly heal their wounds, who
cry peace when there is no peace; who content themselves because men call them good people, or because they go to church or meeting often, and at-. tend the duties of their religion, and come no farther. These are they of whom our Saviour says, .66 Thou hast a name to live, but thou art dead." I wish this may not be the case of many who appear to have no great concern farther than to enjoy their health, to be prospered in the world, and to live easy, and whose hearts never knew the want of God's redemption. O that such people knew once their danger, they would imitate this woman, they would go out and cry after him, and not rest till he bad shewn them mercy!
I had observed that the disciples were for sending her away; and I know some think they meant, Lord, give her what she wants, and send her away? But I rather believe they were offended, and thought. she is a heathen, and as they did not know Jesus was come to be their Saviour, but thought the family of Israel only was elected out of all nations, and the rest reprobated, therefore they besought him to send her away; and I do not doubt would have been pleased if their Master had said to her, Get thee hence to the gods of the land, and let them help thee; thou hast despised the God of Israel, he also has despised thee. Thou hast no right to the blessing of Jacob, depart from
But Jesus could not do so; he loved both Jews and Gentiles, and was not willing either should perish, but have eternal life.
However, it was enough to damp all her hopes of mercy, when his own disciples besought him to send her away; but her great thirst for mercy made her press on yet, till Jesus himself made her
My dear friends, I mean ye who
are apt to be discouraged, learn hence, that though the children of God, the disciples and followers of Christ, should seem to be against you and slight
that therefore, and alone on that account, you
should not faint; their master is more merciful than they; and even those are saved by him, who are often despised by their own mother's children: Be of good comfort then till he answers : and resolve to lie at his feet, and if you perish, perish there.
« Who down at Jesu's feet resolves to lie,
And now Jesus answered, but to the woman it must have been a cutting and painful answer, “I am not sent, says be, but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel." I dare say every joint trembled in her. Methinks I see the poor heart look quite dejected and troubled, not knowing what to reply for very grief; but the scripture says, she fell down before him. I should have thought indeed, that she would have turned away displeased, or angry, or in despair, for she must have took it for an absolute answer : and had she reasoned much about the matter, she would have been confirmed in it, that his not answering a word, and the beseeching of his disciples that
he would send her
away, were plain proofs that he did not love her, and had no mind to shew her mercy; but the Holy Ghost bad done much in her heart; for though she could think, I am not of Israel, I am one of the daughters of the uncircumcised, and might have made some melancholy reflections on that head, yet it all served to awaken her the more, to see her soul's estate ; for she, no doubt, thought, if it be true that he is the Lord, who is come to save his people from their sins, if he is the Messiah, for whose mercy all the tribes are waiting, and he is sent to none but the lost sheep of the house of Israel ; then what will become of me? And thenceforward we hear her no more name her daughter, but she falls down and worships bim, saying, “ Lord! help me!" As if she had said, Lord, what then shall I do? If thou art only sent to Israel, then I am afraid I shall perish for ever! O Lord help me! But she might think more properly thus, though I am a lost sheep, and though I am not of the house of Israel, he can make me an Israelite indeed, and therefore in the most humble manner, she fell down at his feet and worshipped him. This is a plain and evident proof she believed him to be the Lord ; and besides, she believed he could help her, and therefore it was a short but a comprehensive and pretty prayer, “ Lord, help me!” As if she would have said, Lord, I came hither on account of my daughter, but I have found I want thee more than her, help me! make me a child of God, a true Israelite. Have mercy upon me!
But our Saviour answers again strangely, “ not fit to take the children's bread and give it to the
dogs.” This was the manner in which the Jews treated the Gentiles, and perhaps looked upon them as dogs in the worst sense, namely, such as were not to be reckoned among the flock of the good Shepherd, but such as were without, and who might not and could not enter the fold. But this sounded hard from the mouth of the Saviour of the world, yet we find it had its good end and effect; for the woman did not fall into a rage, and ask in an angry manner, why does he call me dog? If I am the child of a rejected and forsaken people, how can I help it? If it has been my hard lot to be born of uncircumcised parents, and to be educated an heathen, why does he
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blame me? Can I alter the decree of the Creator, or change my state or nature ? No, this was not her reply: If she had not been too deeply convinced of her sin, and wanted so earnestly a Saviour, she might have reasoned thus; but she knew no dogs had ever lived so unclean and bad a life as she had done; she knew she was worse than a dog, and, as David confessed, “I am even like a beast before thee,” so she Owns,
“ It is truth, Lord!" As if she had said, I am a vile, nasty, polluted and defiled sinner; but dogs lick up
the crunibs which fall from their Master's table ; let me only enjoy the least of thy mercies, what thy own people Israel slight and disesteem: O give me but the crumbs which fall, as it were, from their table! And again she said, “ Lord, help me.” Now Jesus could stand out no longer; he said to her, “O woman! great is thy faith, be it unto thee even as thou wilt!" It was as if he had said, Ask any thing, and it shall be done ; thy daughter shall be made whole: thy sius be forgiven thee: thou shalt be henceforth of the flock and family of the true Israel; thy name shall be written in heaven; thy place shall be for ever there: “ Great is thy faith! be it unto thee even as thou wilt.”
It is said she worshipped him before, but now I suppose, she adored with double respect and reverence, and was ready, like Magdalen, to wash his feet with her tears. I dare say she could not tell how to express herself with joy; for so it always is when oue has found salvation.
It would not be amiss to observe again, that trouble first brought her to the Lord. Had she met with no uncommon trial in the world, she had probably gone on like others, without ever thinking who or what the Redeemer was! or, it may be, have despised him with the multitude and perished. Before the end was therefore known, it appeared to be a