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daughter's vexation is her own, her infirmity is her own. Faith wrought the love here. Oh, that parents would imitate this woman, and
unto Jesus Christ for their children that are vexed with devils. If a child be sick in body, a parent will run to God and cry for help; but children's souls may be vexed with devils, every lust and sin is a devil, and they do not run to Christ, and say, Oh, Lord, have mercy on me; for my daughter, or my son, or my child is vexed with an unclean devil, or a profane devil ; but this woman, having planted her faith rightly, her faith here it does work by prayer, and it works by love, and she says thus, “ Have mercy upon me, O Lord, thou Son of David, my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.”
But what now is Christ's answer to her ? “ He answered her not a word.” Now comes the temptation, the three great temptations ; do not wonder that I call these temptations. It is true, God tempteth no man, and Christ tempteth no man; but take temptation for trial, so Christ tempts, so God tempteth. Satan, he tempts a man for to draw out his sin; but Christ tempts for to draw out our faith. Satan's temptations are black within, white and sweet without ; but Christ's temptations are black without, white and sweet within.
The first temptation therefore, you have here, “He answered her not a word.” Not a word! Christ is called the Word: the Word answers not a word. The fountain of mercy seems to be enclosed; as if he rejected her, and her condition; as if he cared not for it, nor for her; he answered her not a word. Here was a great temptation upon the woman, a great trial; for she might say thus: I have heard “ that the Lord heareth prayer ;” and now I come and pray unto him, he answers me not a word; how is the Scripture true? I have heard that this man says, “ Come unto me all that are weary and heavy laden, and I will ease you :" and now I do come unto him, he answers me not a word. The centurion came unto him, and he helped him. A poor leper came unto him, and he helped him: my condition is worse than any body's. Here was a great temptation, Christ answered her not a word.
Though Christ answered her not a word, he heard every word; in not answering her, he answered her.
speaking, Christ speaketh much, many times, for when he speaks no answer to your prayers, the language of his actions speaks thus: Pray on, cry on, and lift up your voice on high. Christ holds the door close, not that he may keep you out, but that he may make you knock the more.
Christ lets you continue praying, not because he does not regard your prayer, but because he loves your prayer so well, that he would hear your prayer again and again. Christ knows that strength comes in wrestling.
It is no new thing, then, for believers to have no present, vible answer to their prayers. But mark, although they have no visible answer to their prayers, they have invisible strength : he answered her not a word to her prayer, but he assisted her all that while in praying: he gives her no answer to her prayer, but he gave her prayer, he gave her faith to continue in prayer. So long therefore, as the Lord Jesus Christ does send down his Spirit upon your heart in prayer; though you have no visible answer unto your prayer, yet if he uphold your heart in believing, still to hang upon him, still to wait upon him, your condition is not new, it is no other than that which befals the best of God's children and true believers : thus it befel this woman.
If this temptation do befal any of you as it befel this woman, to have no visible answer unto your prayer; pray do as this woman did. What did she ?
He answered her not a word; but still she does acknowledge that he was able to help her, does acknowledge his Deity, and says, “Lord.” So do you.
She does acknowledge; that it is his office for to help : and therefore she says, “Thou Son of David.” So do you also say in your heart, Though I have not help for the present, it is the office of Christ to help me; he is the Son of David.
She does not rest upon her own duty, or her own righteousness; but she comes unto mere mercy, and she waits on that. So do
also. She does propound her misery, leave her misery at the feet of Christ, and does not stint or limit him to this or that
“Lord,” says she, “my daughter is grievously vexed;" but she does not say how she would have her daughter cured, she leaves that to Christ, only propounds
her misery, and leaves that at the feet of Christ, to take his own way, and use his own means. So do
also. She continues yet praying, yea, when the disciples had done. The disciples they said, “Send her away for she crieth after us,” verse 23. Christ made an answer to them, and ye hear no more of the disciples, they had done. Thus do you also, as this woman did, though your friends, and the disciples of Christ that have been praying for you, be weary, have done, and have no more to speak for you; yet hold you out, and continue praying. Thus did this woman, she would not leave Christ, but she comes on afresh, she comes unto him again.
What is Christ's answer ? “ He answered and said, I am not sent, but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Here now is the second temptation. And this indeed seems to be greater than the former. Before, he answered her not a word; and now here is denial, seeming denial, “I am not sent, but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” This temptation is greater: for now in this his dealing, his way seems to run cross unto promises. The promise was made unto the gentiles; the Old Testament is full of it, Isa. xlii. 1. “He shall bring forth judgment unto the gentiles." verse 6. “I have given thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the gentiles." And
And so in many places, mercy is promised unto the gentiles. Here now our Saviour says, “I am not sent, but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." His dealing with this woman seems to run cross to the promises. Yea, now he comes to the great unanswerable objection; as if he should say thus : There are a company
lost ones, that are my sheep, elected, predestinated to salvation from all eternity; and I am sent unto them, I am not sent, but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Whereupon this woman might say, Nay then, what do I waiting any longer? for if I be not one of the elect, if I be not one of Christ's sheep, then there is no hope for me.
This was a great, and a very great temptation, to lay these words before her, a great trial, “I am not sent, but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But mark her carriage; she does not fall to dispute the matter of election, or predestination; she came and worshipped him, saying, “ Lord help me," verse 24. As if she should say, Lord, whether I be elected or not, I
do not know; whether I be one of those lost sheep or no, I cannot tell, but I am sure I am lost, and therefore, O Lord, help rre. Observe,
A man's temptations may rise higher and higher, even after prayer; and yet pray aright. This woman did pray before, and her temptation arises after prayer, yet her prayer right, and her faith right.
Observe this, that God's dealings, or Christ's dealings with a man, may sometimes seem to be cross to his very promise, and yet a man's condition right. So here with this woman.
That it may be the case of some of God's children, to be exercised about their election and predestination ; and temptations concerning election and predestination thrown in
That in case any poor believer, that is a weak person, weak in the faith, be tempted and tried about election or predestination, the best way for the present is, to lay that dispute by; and to run to mercy, and say, “Lord help me :" and for the present, not to dispute whether he be a sheep or no, elected or no, predestinated or no, but run to Christ, and go to prayer, and say, Lord help me, and lay the dispute by.
Again, As our temptations increase, so our faith shall increase. The woman's temptations rose, so did her faith too; “She came and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me:" still she held on and and hung upon Jesus Christ. According to the increases of our temptations, so shall the increases of our faith be.
If all this will not do, behold now a third, and a greater temptation. “He answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread and to cast it to dogs."
“ It is not meet to cast children's bread to dogs.” The word in the original is, a whelp.- A dog grown, or a mastiff, may be, and is good for something, of great use; but what is a whelp good for, for the present, of what use ? It is not meet to cast children's bread unto whelps.
“To cast children's bread.” It intimates thus much, that God does cast out some outward blessings upon wicked men that are even dogs : but the bread of children is so dispensed, gospel bread is so dispensed, as nothing shall be lost.
Here was a very great temptation, and greater than the
other. Dog is most unworthy. When the Scripture would set out the unworthiness of a man, and the abject condition of any, he is called a dog. Goliah could understand this, “ Am I a dog, that thou comest out thus against me,” i Sam. xvii. 43. Am I so base, vile, and unworthy ? am I a dog? And so Mephibosheth, when he would acknowledge his own unworthiness to David he calls himself, a dog, and a dead dog. So Hazael, “ Am I a dog?" Yet says our Saviour here, “ It is not meet to cast children's bread unto dogs." This woman now, her heart might have risen, and she might have said thus, One would think I am no dog; I am no dog; I am a woman, though a sinful woman, but I am no dog : I have now come and spread my condition, and misery before ye; if ye will not relieve me, do not miscall me;
will not help me, yet pity me, do not call me dog, I am no dog. The Jews, that you call the children of the kingdom, they indeed are dogs, they turn again and rend you, but I do not turn again and rend you, I am no dog. Her heart might have risen at this phrase : here was a great temptation now, a mighty trial here in this third thing.
It is no new thing for true believers, God's own people, to have their unworthiness objected to them. It is an ordinary thing amongst men and women: I am unclean, I am unworthy of communion with the saints, communion with God's people, with Christ, I am a dog, I am most unworthy; it is no new thing for true believers to have their own unworthiness objected to them.
But mark, how this woman's faith works through this temptation. Says she," True, Lord, yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master's table.”
“ True.” The word is the same that in the Corinthians, ye translate, protest. “I protest by our rejoicing, that I die daily," i Cor. xv. 33. And it should rather be translated so;
Yea, by our rejoicing we die daily :" rather than in the form of an oath, as it is there, it is the same word that is here for, true.
Ye cannot charge a believer so deeply, or speak so meanly of him, but he does think and speak as meanly of himself: Lord, that dost call me a dog, and one that is most unworthy; true, Lord, I am most unworthy. Some, they will