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LOVE, FAITH, AND HUMILITY.
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 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 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.
We have here the clearest proof, how well pleased Jesus is with love, faith, and humility. This poor woman gained all that she asked from the Saviour; and He, at the same time, commends her graces, especially her faith in him.
Her love was manifested in bringing the case of her daughter before Christ. No doubt she cared for the soul, as well as for the body, of her daughter. She prays that Christ would deliver her from the
power of the devil. Satan was permitted to torment her body by some grievous disease; and through this disease he would tempt and vex her soul.
When our bodies are afflicted, our souls are often disordered with fretful and impatient thoughts. We may pray to God to give us health; and if He pleases, he can and will do so. But what we should chiefly pray, is, that Satan may get no advantage over us. We should also be very gentle towards those that are distracted, or in great pain. We should pray of God, that he would save their souls, and keep them peaceful. Especially if persons in our own family be any way afflicted, we should earnestly pray for them, to Jesus, our compassionate Saviour. This praying for others is called intercessory prayer-making intercession for them.
Christ, at first, seemed not to hear her; and the disciples foolishly thought that he did not like to be troubled. Most likely the disciples had already tried to keep her back; but she did not mind them. They therefore came to Jesus, and desire him to "send her away." Was ever such a strange request made to him before?-to send away a praying soul! Had these disciples never heard him say, "Come unto me, all ye that are weary, and heavy laden"? How long will it be, before they understand their Master? He loves to hear us crying after him! Let no one hinder the afflicted in their prayers, but rather help them forward to Christ.
The afflicted mother understood Christ better than his disciples did. She does not take his silence
for neglect, but rather as an encouragement to persevere in prayer. And when Christ mentions his being sent chiefly to the Jews, she entreats him to extend his mercy a little further, to a weeping and worshipping Gentile. Lord, help me!"
She had at the beginning addressed him, “O Lord, thou son of David!" which showed that she knew who, and what, he was-Emmanuel,
with us.' Now she adores him. Her faith was clear and strong. When we come to Christ, we should remember that He is the Almighty God-that He is able to save to the uttermost-that all power is given unto Him, in heaven and in earth.
The Saviour next appears to change his silence for roughness. The Jews were accustomed to call people of other nations, dogs. Jesus condescends to use this low word, in order once more to try her faith and humility. He wishes us to trust his kindness, even when every thing around seems the opposite of kindness.
The woman's humility was equal to her faith. If she may not have bread, she will beg for crumbs. Lowly-minded believers know that the smallest favour from Christ is more than they deserve: they are thankful for the least kindness.
Now, Jesus can refuse no longer. As faith honours Christ, so will Christ honour faith. This afflicted mother, so wise in her humility, and so strong in her faith, gains all that she asked for.-A crumb of real grace is food sufficient to save the soul from perishing. But they who continue instant in prayer
shall have abundance of that bread which endureth unto everlasting life.
O Lord God, merciful and gracious, bow down thine ear, and hear us! Cast not out our prayer, and take not away thy mercy from us! On Thee, O Lord, would we wait continually, until thou have mercy upon us. Be not silent to us; lest, if thou make as though thou hearest not, we become like them that go down into the pit, and all our hopes perish. Though thou tarry long, we will wait for thee; and not let thee go, except thou bless us.
We are not worthy, O Lord, of the least of all thy mercies: we are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs that fall from thy table. Who are we, that we should ever complain of thee, as dealing hardly by us? Thou hast borne with us; thou hast waited for us; and Jesus hath bled on the cross for our sins. O Thou, that hast not spared thine own Son, but hast freely given Him up for us all, how wilt thou not, with Him, also freely give us all things? In Jesus, we trust we shall obtain far more than we are able to conceive, and far better than we deserve.
Pity, O Lord, all the sons and daughters of affliction! Thou that carest for the stranger, the widow, and the fatherless, teach us also to care for them. Raise up them that are bowed down: comfort all that mourn in Zion. Lift up upon us the light of Thy countenance; and lead us into the way of perfect peace, through Christ our Lord!
THE WOMAN THAT WAS A SINNER.
LUKE Vii. 40-50.
And Jesus, answering, said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.
There was a certain creditor, which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me, therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged
And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet; but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.
Thou gavest me no kiss; but this woman, since the time I came in, hath not ceased to kiss my feet.
My head with oil thou didst not anoint; but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.
Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.
And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.
And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also ?
And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee: go in peace.
A PHARISEE, named Simon, had invited Jesus to eat with him. Jesus did not refuse; though his heart was not set on visiting and feasting. He never ceased from his delightful work of showing mercy and pity.
A poor miserable soul, a wanderer in the ways of sin, a woman lost in character, had been in the