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years before. He went to offer Himself as a sacrifice for sin, because His hour was well-nigh come, and He was straitened till it was accomplished.
Outside a village through which our Lord and His disciples had to pass, stood ten lepers. We read how He healed them, in St. Luke, xyii. 11-19.
And it came to pass, as He went to Jerusalem, that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. And as He entered into a certain village, there met Him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: and they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on
And when He saw them, He said unto them, Go, shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that as they went they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks : and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed ? but where are the nine ? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And He said unto him, Arise, go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole.
We must think of these poor men as scarred and spotted with leprosy, their clothes torn, their heads bare, their lips covered, to mark them from other people, crying, Unclean, unclean! Their disease was a type and symbol of sin.
What they were in the eyes of men, a sinner is in the sight of God. They did not dare to go into the
Deut. xvi. 16.
village. They did not dare come near our Lord. They only cried for mercy from a distance. He granted it, but first He tried their faith. The good Physician did not treat all alike. Once before He cleansed a leper, and then sent him to the priest. Now He sends the lepers to the priest while they are still foul with leprosy. But their faith stood the trial. They obeyed Christ. They set out to go, and on the way they were cleansed.
Ten were cleansed, but only one came back to Christ's feet to give thanks. And who was this one? A Samaritan; a descendant of those heathens whom the king of Assyria had placed in the cities of Samaria when he carried the ten tribes captive. From this stranger our Lord received the thanks which the nine Israelites denied Him. And He who knew what was in man is said to have marvelled at his thankfulness and their ingratitude.
We learn from this history how inuch harder it is to give thanks than to pray. Ten prayed so as to be heard; only one gave thanks. We learn, too, that Christ has a special blessing for thankful hearts. He said to the Samaritan, and only to him, 'Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole.'
• O thou who only wouldst be blest,
For evermore of Me.'
i St. Matt. viii. 2, 4.
? 2 Kings, xvii. 24.
XXIII.—THE HEALING OF THE WOMAN
OF CANAAN'S DAUGHTER.
Our Lord Jesus brought tidings of salvation first to the Jews. It was necessary that the Word of God should first be spoken to them. We are told in the parable that the Father sent His Son into the vineyard ;' and 'the vineyard of the Lord of Hosts is the house of Israel?? During His ministry, our Saviour Christ remained within the Holy Land; but once He was very near its boundaries. He went into the borders of the heathen cities of Tyre and Sidon. St. Matthew relates what took place there, in chapter xv. 21-28; St. Mark, in chapter vii. 24–30. St. Matthew's account is read for the Gospel on the Second Sunday in Lent. It is as follows :
Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto Him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, Thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and besought Him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But He answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped Him, saying, Lord, help me. But He answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord : yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, Owoman, great is St. Luke, xx. 9-16.
2 Isaiah, v. 7.
thy faith : be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
This woman came of an evil race. She was certainly a heathen-most likely she was descended from Canaan, son of Ham, of whom Noah had said, “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.' The Canaanites had been destroyed by the children of Israel because of their wickedness; only a few were left in far-away corners of the land.
Such a one was this poor woman.
A heavy sorrow brought the woman of Canaan to Jesus, the Prophet of Nazareth. Her daughter was grievously vexed with a devil. The devil has great power in heathen countries. It is in Galilee, which was far from the Holy City, and where many Gentiles dwelt, that we read of such numbers of men possessed with unclean spirits. We are not told of anyone possessed of a devil in Judea.
Putting St. Matthew's and St. Mark's accounts together, we see that the woman of Canaan began to cry
for mercy to our Lord in the streets. At first He took no notice of her, then He gave her discouraging answers ; but still she went after Him, praying for her daughter. At last He went into a house, as if to get rid of her; but she followed Him there, fell at His feet, and worshipped Him.
We know that our Saviour Christ is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. His heart must have been moved at this sad sight of a mother entreating for a daughter so heavily afflicted. Why, then, did He make as though' He heard her not? Why did He not answer her at once ?
Genesis, ix. 25.
He delayed, as He often delays now in answering our prayers. He delayed that He might prove her faith, her patience, and her humility. Therefore will the Lord wait, that He may be gracious unto you.' And He was very gracious in the end to this woman of Canaan. He gave her her heart's desire, and more. She had asked for the children's crumbs, the portion of the dogs beneath the table; and He said unto her, “Be it unto thee even as thou wilt.'
XXIV.-THE HEALING OF A DEAF AND
St. MATTHEW tells us, that when our Lord came back from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon to the shores of the Sea of Galilee, "great multitudes came unto Him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus' feet; and He healed them.' St. Mark gives a full account of one of these healings in chapter vii. 31–37.
And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, He came unto the Sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis. 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, L' Isaialı, xxx. 18.
2 St. Matt. xv. 30.