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heavy judgment that had befallen her, that her daughter, and perhaps her only child, was so visited; but though it might have given her no small concern and pain, she can now say with the sweet singer of Israel, “ It is good for me that I have been afflicted
; for before I was afflicted I went wrong, but now I have kept thy word.” She is not the only one whom crosses, troubles and disappointments in the world have served as a means to bring them to Jesus Christ. Many have thus been surrounded on every side, and their way hedged up, as it were, with thorns, that they might cry to God in their trouble, and be delivered out of all their distress. It is sometimes necessary that the Lord should serve us as he served Job, and let Satan touch all that we have, that we may learn to have our treasure in heaven, and lay hold on eternal life. Many have lost all that they have had, been forsaken of friends, destitute, persecuted, slighted and despised, inured to disappointments and afflictions, so that their lives have been often bitter. They have been poor and diseased like Lazarus, but, after all, were carried by angels into Abrahani's bosom, who else might bave perished bad they been beloved and prospered in the world; and after a gay and sensual life ended, after all their honour, glory, fulness, and their easy time was come to a period, and they ready to be dissolved, might possibly bave heard, like Dives, “ Remember 'in thy life-time thou hadst thy good things!” O may this never be the case of one who hears me this day! May our dear and wise. Lord lay upon us what he will, and disappoint and eross us as he pleases. May we raiber live the most troubled and grievous life, and enjoy peace with him in our hearts, and have the assurance of our part in the world to come, than be ever so free and unin. terrupted in all riches, honours, and pleasures, and lose eternal happiness. Look upon the woman of Canaan, she was once a poor unhappy creature, a woman like Hannah, of a sorrowful spirit, and acquainted with grief. She was once in tears and prayers at the feet of our Saviour, when every thing seemed to make against her. But where is she now? Yonder, she adores before the same feet of God her Saviour in eternal life! She now thanks him for all that happened to her; she now sees his tender mercies through all he suffered to come upon her, and worships before that gracious and good Lamb of God, who came to seek and save that which was lost, and to be a friend of the friendless, the husband of the widow, and a refuge and sauctuary for all ready to perish and oppressed of the devil.
Be not then confused and unhappy about it, ye dear people, if you should meet with many trials, if it should appear as if you were singled out to endure hardships or distress, still speak to our Saviour and say, “ Have mercy upon me!" If a sense of your sin bows you down and dejects you, still pray, “ Have mercy upon me!" If you can't say many words, if you can't speak much, remember it was the case of the woman before us: Her prayer was very short, but it reached the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. It was only, “ Lord, help me!" but it prevailed, because it came out of the heart. Our Saviour is not cheated with long prayers, vor must we think, like the heathen, that we are heard for our much speaking. Our God looks upon the heart; and all the churches shall know he judges according to the heart, and not according to our words: Lift up therefore the heart to the Lord; let your tears and sighs speak the unutterable language of your breast. Do not want to say much, nor study fine words, and dead and dry forms to bring before him, it is like offering the lame and blind upon his altar; appear a poor
sinner, sinner, just as thou art; 'come a poor diseased soul to be healed, a sick soul to be cured, a trembling and afflicted creature that wants a rest for thy soul, and he will receive thee. If at first thou dost not seem to succeed, do not let thy faith fail, it is his custom to try the children of men. Thus Joseph tried bis brethren, and seemed to answer roughly, till their tears and sighs, overcame him, and he could not contain any longer, and then he ordered all the Egyptians to withdraw, and burst out into tears himself, and fell upon their necks and kissed them, saying, “I am Joseph," and then all their sorrows and troubles ended in joy and comfort. So our Saviour dealt with the two disciples travelling to Emmaus; at first he blamed them for their incredulity, and being slow of heart to believe ; but in a very little while shewed them his hands, and then were the disciples glad : So he used this woman, as if he had no mind to belp her, but see only what she found after so many repulses ; her faith bore her up; she believed bim to be the Lord; she knew he could help her ; she knew none else could do it, and was resolved not to leave him. Do thou likewise, till he falls upon thy neck and says, I am Jesus ; till he shews thee his hands and thy new name graven there ; till he says, Man! O Woman! Great is thy faith, be it unto thee even as thou wilt.”
Before I conclude this discourse I must observe, that her faith was what pleased our dear Saviour so mach; and for this, Abel, Noah, Abraham, Enoch, David, Gideon, Sampson, and all the Saints are praised in the Scriptures; and we meet with many places of this sort, i Thy faith hath saved thee," Luke vii. 50. “ Thy faith hath made thee whole,” Luke viii. 48. “ If thou believest, thou shalt see the Glory of God,” Jolin xi. 40.
These and many of the same nature and strain, confirm to us that blessed doctrine that we are justified and saved through faith, and not by means of our works or deserving. Whenever men suppose our duties, obedience, merits, or good works, are the cause of our salvation, they reject the Head Stone in the corner, and without a foundation build the house upon the sand. The sole cause, reason, and author of our salvation is Jesus Christ. He himself saves us, and by faith we receive in him all we want in time and in eternity. Is our faith little in him? We shall receive little, yea little else beside death and hell; and feel to our hurt that we have despised the blood of the covenant, and thought little of God's salvation. Is our faith great in him? We shall receive much at his hands. “ Great is thy faith, be it unto thee even as thou wilt.”
We cannot believe too highly of Jesus: We cannot think him more gracious or loving than he is : There is more in him thay we can ask or think : He is Almighty God, who has left all in heaven, and in the bosom of his father, and came down with no other view or design but to redeem lost souls out of the slavery and service of Satan, and to open a way for them by his own blood, into the holiest place of all, even heaven itself, whither he is now entered to prepare a place for us. There was no other remedy, he knew nothing we could do was sufficient to atone for our sins, or make up the breach, therefore he said, “ Lo! I come," and has now in his own body made satisfaction to divine justice : He has obtained the right of eternal redemption, and can give it to whom he will. If thou art not of the seed or selected ones of Israel, yet he can save thee. There is not a single soul out of the reach of his mercy. He is Lord of all: He is Lord of the living and of the dead. His haniel VOL, 1.
is not cramped or shortened that it cannot save, or his ear heavy that it cannot hear; and when it has gone so far, that to all human appearance there is no hope, all things are possible with him ; veuture then and pray to him, be your case what it will, Lord, help me! Fix your eyes upon his cross. Trust only and entirely, body and soul, upon that crucified God, and worship before his feet, which once burned with anguish, and were red like brass in the furnace; to him say, “ Have mercy upon me!" He has felt your need, and knows how to shew mercy. When no eye pitied us in our fallen estate, or had compassion on us, be saw us in our blood, cast out to the loathing of our persons, and polluted, and had mercy on us. His heart was touched at our fall and loss, and undertook to be our Saviour. Let nothing then take away your confidence in his great and boundless mercy; but let what will try you, yet believe in him, and you shall see the end of the Lord's dealings shall be, to be gracious, merciful, long-suffering and of great goodness. Let your faith in him only be great, and it shall be done to you even as you will. You shall find the same loving Redeemer, who dealt thus bountifully with an outcast woman of the Gentiles, still rich in mercy to all them that call upon him in faith.
Let us pray the Holy Ghost to grant uş such a deep, and continual sense of our great poverty and need of redemption, and the Redeemer, that till our last moments that may be our inmost heart's prayer, “ Have pity upon ine! Have mercy upon me! Lord, help me!" And may our compassionate high-priest, indeed, have mercy upon us and help us now in this present life, as long as we are strangers and pilgrims in the world; in our last hour, when our strength fails us, and we must go into eternity; and also in the day of judgment, when heaven and earth shall