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on her, for she was truly miserable. (v. 26.) “ But he answered and said ; It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to the dogs.”
Dog was a term of reproach which the Jews gave to other nations, whom they reckoned so much inferior to themselves. Our Lord, though far from approving their haughty treatment of others, chose to make use of the term now to draw out the inward disposition and character of this worthy woman.
What can she now allege in her behalf? Has she any merit or desert of her own to plead? No: On the contrary, she owns the truth of all that Christ said of her unworthiness ; but
that, with great ingenuity and loveliness, she grounds an argument in her favour which he could not resist. (v. 27.) “ And she said ; Truth, Lord; yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master's table.” 9. d. All you say
very true: and I desire only to have such kindness as the dogs in a family enjoy. For the crumbs that drop from their master's table fall to their share, and I desire no more.
“ Then Jesus said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith.”
I shall now lay before you some remarks. And
I. The design of our Lord's strange and distant behaviour at first, towards this unhappy disconsolate mother, now appears. It was for the trial and discovery of her eminent faith and virtue.
Dwelling on the borders of Galilee, and in the neighbourhood of the Jews, she would become acquainted with their expectation of a divine prophet to be raised up amongst them, of the royal family of David. And she had probably learned from them the knowledge of the one living and true God; for she applies to Christ as one coming from the God of the Hebrews, the great God and father of all.
If she had not seen any of his miraculous works herself, or heard his holy doctrine, she had sufficient evidence from the testimony of others to believe both, and to address him as invested with authority from God, and power to heal diseases, and help the miserable, as the Christ, the son of David, a name by which he was commonly and familiarly spoken of. It shows a mind pious, rational, rightly dis
posed to be attentive to whatever comes with proper credentials from God. For assuredly our first and principal business is to inquire after him that gave us our being, and who continually sustains us ; to be awake to him, and to whatever discoveries he shall make of his will to us; for to conform to this must be our duty and true happiness.
But where any are under the power of vicious irregular desires, are slaves to avarice or ambition; or where, out of the
great crimes, their time and thoughts are wholly engrossed by frivolous amusements, or even the pursuit of the more elegant arts of life; in such characters, an indisposition, an aversion to things serious creeps on by degrees; the thought of a holy God and righteous governor becomes irksome, with some is entirely laid aside and forgotten: so that on such persons the fullest evidence of a divine revelation will make but slight impressions; their minds are turned another way. None will be disposed to believe the Gospel, or, though they profess to believe, to pay any proper regard to it, till their thoughts are turned to God, and how to secure his favour in a future state; and they have an earnest desire after wisdom, piety,
and virtue excited in them, to qualify them for it, and look upon the attainment of these excellencies of the rational nature, and improvements therein, as the primary end of their being, and their true happiness.
The faith then of this person, for which she is so highly praised, was not a blind credulity, but a pious disposition to believe in and listen to Christ as coming from God, upon satisfactory proof of his divine authority.
And in general the faith which will recommend us to God as Christians, is the receiving that revelation of his will and our duty which he has made to us by Christ, upon a thorough conviction of its truth; and adhering to it, however contrary to our former prejudices, and worldly interests and pursuits.
But it was not only her readiness to acknowledge the power of God manifested in and by Christ, but her humility, that profound humility which ever accompanies a true sense of God, which completed this woman's faith.
Nursed in vain flattery and selfish conceit and indulgence, we are all prone to think too highly of ourselves; that we deserve favours from our Maker; or, at least, that we have as
good a claim as others. Few can endure to have others preferred before them; although this is a temper of all others the most opposite to true happiness, and from which we are miserable if we are not delivered.
But where we see ourselves in our true light—that we are nothing-have no claim to any favours from our Maker; that we never
any--that all we have and hope for is, and will be for ever, mere bounty from him: then, wherever we are put, we shall acknowledge ourselves to be in our place; whatever our lot, that we are not unkindly dealt with; persuaded that it is not the outward situation and circumstances, but our inward disposition to him and his laws, and our benevolence to others, which will recommend us to his final favour and acceptance.
This woman, therefore, was worthy of the extraordinary blessing of Heaven, because she esteemed herself unworthy. And she, though a heathen, might be called a daughter of Israel in the truest sense. For, as we read, (Gen. xxxii.) that after the patriarch Jacob had made solemn application to God for his protection of himself and his family, to show him that his prayer was heard he had a vision