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ceitful inclinations, or that we have scription that our duty in this respect
no other rule to direct us with regard
is to be collected, numerous and ex-
But it is not only from general de- tience, and to patience godliness, and
to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you," says he, "and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." But that memorable declaration which the Apostle of the Gentiles makes of his own personal feelings and conduct, with relation to the subject before us, may well stand in the place of a thousand precepts and requests of others. "Brethren I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore," he immediately applies his own example to his brethren, "let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded." And with what force is the application made, what a lesson of humility and at the same time what a sphere of exertion is here, if he, this high and gifted one, he who was not a whit behind the very chief of the Apostles, he who had laboured more abundantly than they all, yet found further advancement continually necessary, what must we the best, the holiest, the most active amongst us think of our spiritual attainments?
Briefly then, my brethren, let us bring home the foregoing considerations to ourselves.
Have we now
a lively and vigourous faith in our hearts, a faith which is the root of all good works?-let us by reading, by imitation, by prayer, in a word, by all the means which God has put in our power, labour to increase and strengthen this faith more and more. Have we imbibed much of the spirit of the Gospel?-let it be our daily endeavour to
incorporate a still larger portion of it with our dispositions and affections. Have we been earnest and diligent in doing the duties of our several callings on Christian principles ?-let our zeal and industry in the discharge of them shine with a still brighter light before men, "that they may see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven." Have we by God's blessing and by our own care and watchfulness brought one evil passion under control ?-let us proceed without delay to the subjection of another and another. And when can we set about these things with more effect than the present season, set apart, as it is, for a careful review of our spiritual estate?
On the internal satisfaction resulting from such advances in the Christian life I will not now enlarge; a satisfaction, my brethren, far surpassing any mere sensual or worldly gratification. By those alone who have tasted it can it be rightly understood or duly estimated. Of one thing, however, by way of conclusion, I will remind you, namely, that this recompense, rich though it be, is only the earnest of something incomparably better. certain from God's word, that there are different degrees of happiness reserved for the faithful hereafter, according to the different measures of their improvement of faith and holiness here. He who has gained ten talents shall be made ruler over ten cities, and he who has gained five talents shall be made ruler over five cities. While, therefore, we are going on from strength to strength with reference to this our earthly state of probation, we are at the same time going on from glory to glory with reference to our appearance before God in the heavenly Zion:
DELIVERED BY THE REV. T. MORTIMER,
ON SUNDAY EVENING, AT ST. MARK'S CHURCH, CLERKENWell, Feb. 27, 1831.
Matthew, xv. 21. 28.-" 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 rexed 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
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 cast it to the dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord; yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master's table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt, and her daughter was made whole from that very hour."
You have all heard these words or
We will consider the incident in three different points of view. We will First regard this poor woman, the applicant for mercy. We will then
look at the conduct of our Saviour. And then we shall endeavour to ascertain what the history suggests to ourselves. The poor Canaanitish woman— the Saviour of the world-and ourselves; to these three points let us attend, and may the God of heaven be with us.
Notice then, FIRST, WHO THIS WOMAN WAS. She was not an Israelite. No, no. She was not one of that favoured, that peculiar, that holy people the Jews. She knew she was not, she was aware of it. O, my brethren, there is not one man in fifty among us that honours the Jews as he ought to do. One in fifty! not one in five thousand in this great city honours the Jews as the Jews ought to be honoured. It was a great favour, a great honour, a great privilege to belong to that people. This woman felt that she did not possess this privilege. Our Lord came into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, this poor woman had heard of it, the name by which he went was the Son of David; she was not interested in the promise specially made to Israel, but she had heard of the wonderful works that he did, and she applied to him. Mark who she was. She was not a Jewess,
but a Gentile, a Cyro-Phonecian | become a devil, and to delight in the
torture and misery of a child!
Mark another thing, the cause of Mark this poor Canaanitish woman her trouble. It was not her own sick-mark her prayer. The Evangelist ness, it was the sickness of her daugh- tells us, "That she fell down and worter. Let children know it, they twine shipped him, saying, O Lord, thou about the hearts of their parents. The Son of David, have mercy upon me, sorrows of the child almost broke the for my daughter is grievously vexed heart of the mother. Her daughter with a devil." Here was a very little was grievously vexed with a devil. prayer, very short; but it told a great The Bible says it, and upon that tes- deal, it said that she wanted much. timony I believe it. Away with that The trouble of her daughter was hers. false system which would explain Satan had been allowed to afflict her away every statement of the Bible, poor little daughter. She did not know and attribute every thing mentioned where to go, where to look for helpin Scripture to natural causes-away she was a poor Gentile woman, and with such damnable heresy from the had no right to any of the promises earth. The church of God in these made to the Israelites; yet she had days cannot watch too narrowly, too heard of the mercy of the Son of David, closely, against all such attempts to and to the Son of David she came. explain away the plain and simple There was more faith in this applicameaning of God's word. At the time tion to Christ, than probably any of our Lord made his appearance it you ever showed in your lives-a pleased God to permit Satan to have greater degree of faith than perhaps a very singular power over the body. (except in the instance of the CentuIt was all wisely ordered on purpose, rion) was ever known in this lower that a stronger than the strong man world. This was the principle on might bind the strong man, and take which she acted; you will see what a from him the armour wherein he mighty principle it is as we go on with trusted, in order that the power and the history. Well has it been said by grace of Christ might be magnified. | one of our British poets— What a picture—I stop not to dwell upon it, I merely throw out the thought and leave it with you-what a picture of the mind of the Devil have we here, that he could take delight in tormenting a little child. And is this Lucifer, son of the morning? Is this he who once soared high in glory and worshipped before the throne of God, and led the choirs of angels, and to whom subordinate angels looked up with wonder and amazement at his vast powers, and the strength of his devotion? O, what an accursed thing is sin! What can sin do? Nay, should rather ask, what can it not do? How dreadful, how painful, how distressing it is to think that sin could make a pure and a benevolent mind to
"Faith, mighty faith, the promise sees,
Mark now, there was no promise to the poor woman-depend upon it, there was no promise made to the poor outcast Gentile. No; and therefore it argued an immense measure of faith that she should thus go and apply to the Son of David.
Mark her first application-how is it met? No notice is taken of it. I" He answered her not a word." This was not his usual manner. He generally showed his love, his tenderness, his pity; but he here appears to have a very hard heart. A subsequent part
of the history will tell you it was only | to thy disciples, I thought they would
"Behind the cloud he hides a smile."
have cared for me; but it is far otherwise, they wish me to be sent away, I appeal unto thee, "Lord, help me." I dwell not on his conduct further. Here is no fine prayer, no long train After such a rebuff, what does she do? of reasoning; but here is a broken She seems, then, to have applied to the heart-here is a contrite spirit-here disciples, to use their efforts with their is a soul that feels its wants-here is a Master. How did they receive her ap- soul that feels that none but Christ plication? They entreated our Lord can help—here is a soul that goes to to send her away. I never see the Christ for help and now mark, my disciples and their Master put toge- beloved brethren, if that soul goes to ther, but what I see in the end how Christ for help in vain. I wonder at poor and little the disciples look, and the woman-I stand astounded at her how great the Master appears. Send faith-I never met with any instance her away! he did not intend to send that can be compared with it. We her away till he had granted her re-talk of our faith; why, my brethren, quest. My brethren, your ministers compared with this we have scarce a do not feel what they seem to feel for grain of faith. A poor woman, brokenyou in your troubles and in your sor-hearted, who has no promise to go rows; but your great Master always feels for you. Learn the great superiority of the Master over all his disciples. "Send her away! she crieth after us." What could the poor broken-hearted woman do-and yet are these the disciples? O, my brethren, learn that there may be grace and real grace, where grace has much to do even yet, in order to bring the mind into a right state. It would not appear that these disciples, excellent men as they were, had not, as they ought to have had, a heart to pity for this poor suffering woman.
But this only makes way for another rebuff. What does our Lord say to the request of his disciples ? "He answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the House of Israel." He was now like Joseph, he was concealing his real feelings. He was speaking in order to probe and try the faith, and at length to remove the fear of the party. But how does she meet this second rebuff? She says very little one of the shortest prayers in the Bible-three little monosyllables. "She came and worshipped him, and said, Lord help me." As much as if she had said, I have gone
upon, ventures still by faith to apply to the Redeemer. He meets her by silence-" he answered not a word." She afterwards goes to the disciples, tells them her tale, and probably, entreating them to intercede with their Master, but they evidently show that they care little concerning her. The very reply that the Redeemer makes to her only serves to add to her sorrows; he says, "He is not sent but to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.
There is still something far more discouraging. She goes and cries for help. Lord, help me"-and what is the strange and singular answer, "It is not meet to take the children's bread, and cast it to the dogs." There are the Jews again-they are the children, and the Gentiles are the dogs. I have often wondered at our Lord using such an expression, and if I had not found in the Bible that he did use it, I never would have believed that he did. But I find it here; and I know that he doth all things well; and I know that he hath a perfect right to do and to say what he pleaseth. It seems one of the most cruel and cutting things that was ever said to a human being in this world; and yet it was