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'O mulier, magna est fides tua: fiat tibi ut vis."-Matt. XV., 28. Mark vii.
Her expression was one of deepest sorrow; gloom and sadness constantly beclouded her otherwise, benignant and amiable countenance: smiles had long forsaken her, and her fairy step had given place to one of hesitancy and faltering; in vain her neighbours employed their arts. to soothe this forlorn daughter of Eve. They could not remove the cause; and, therefore, these sad effects continued.
Her daughter was demoniacally possessed. She, whom she had brought into being was (excepting her human form), closely allied to demons; for she had none of the sensibilities of humanity about her or within her. Day by day she raged and foamed with madness; and even the night slumbers were disturbed by her horrid shrieks; and when the silvery rays of the queen of night, or the dazzling brightness of the king of day penetrated this abode of sorrow and madness, instead of having the effect of cheering and calming, seemed only to increase the lurid glare of perdition by which the possessed one was beset, and make that abode more like the habitation of devils. She was, indeed, a portraiture of the lost. Was the mother wrong in yielding to such agonies of grief? Was it a wonder she never smiled: that she was mantled with perpetual gloom? Was it not sad and trying to her mind that no physician could be found that
had skill enough to prescribe an antidote; that no medicine or regimen could remove the fearful malady? Would you like to have exchanged your position for that of the Syro-phenician woman, for a day, or even an hour? No. How different a thing it is to look at the sufferings and trials of others, however much we may be affected, and sympathize, from actually being the sufferers! No wonder that she sat, and wept, and sighed deeply; that she was a stranger to refreshing sleep; and that the morning light should have no charms for her. Was not her's a condition to excite the sympathies of angels, and melt the frozen ice-bound hearts of earth?
However accustomed this woman's acquaintance might have become to her tale of grief so as to be indifferent to her circumstances, it could not be shaken off by the woman herself. She was obliged to endure it; she lived (if such might be called living) in the midst of it-it met her at every turn-and made her feet run with frantic swiftness to get assistance and relief for her child : her eyes and ears were incessantly engaged to catch at anything which might prove of service,
At length a bright beam of hope flashed across her mind, cheered her heart, chased away her gloom, and lit up her face with gladness. Why not? She had heard that Jesus was in the neighbourhood: He who had cast out devils, and cured all sorts of diseases; He who had proved himself to be the hope of the hopeless, had come -even into her country. How opportune! She lost no time, and soon she found the Saviour. However much
Christ might desire a little quiet and privacy," he could not be hid:" this woman found him. She was satisfied in her own mind that none but Christ could heal her daughter; she had the fullest confidence in his power; and, notwithstanding, she was not included in the Jewish Commonwealth, and had no part in the covenant, she ventured to try his willingness. She needed help, and she knew that none but the Saviour could do for her what she wanted; and because she was helpless and needy she came to Christ. None but such do come to Him. Those who feel the burden of their sins to be intolerable; who groan to be delivered from the bondage of Satan, always come to him. He was her only hope, and she was determined to try his willingness and mercy to the utmost.
Many would have been disheartened and given up their suit had they met with the reception this woman did from Christ. Her faith was not at all shaken, nor did her desire in the least abate. "Our Lord seems to have at first disregarded her; but it is plain from his subsequent behaviour, that he approved her application, and intended to reward her, and delayed his kindness only to prove her faith, and instruct the Jews that the Gentiles should be partakers with them of the benefit of his coming into the world. His answer- 66 Let the children first be filled"-implied, that there was mercy in store for the Gentiles; though according to the plan of divine Providence, it was first to be offered to the Jews the latter, proud of the distinction they enjoyed
as the descendants of Abraham, regarded all other nations with contempt, and deemed them no better than dogs it was in allusion to this pride, that our Lord made use of that epithet, not that HE so despised them ; on the contrary, he willingly allowed the woman's humble plea, supported her faith by divine grace, while he appeared to deny her, and at length granted her request." Faith suffers nothing from being tried. The fruit of tried faith is patience, and when patience is completed, then the Christian is perfected unto and for, every good work. That which costs little or no labour to obtain, yields no satisfaction, and is not valued.
It is worthy of remark that, when this woman came to Christ, she did not make a parade of her many difficulties and fruitless endeavours; but at once presented her plea saying "Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil." Observe, after this earnest prayer, her faith was tried in these four ways:-1st, Christ did not answer her; 2nd, The disciples were annoyed, and begged of him to send her away, "for she crieth after us;" 3rd, The door of hope was almost closed-Jesus said, "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel;" 4th, After she, with her heart well nigh broken, had again urged her plea, saying, "Lord, help me," she was told that it was "not meet to take the children's bread and to cast it to dogs." She, in spite of all this, urged her plea, *Trimmer's Sac. Hist., Vol. V., p.p. 250, 251. †1 Pet. 1 c. 7 v. James 1 c. 3 4 v.
admitting the truth of what the Saviour said; saying, "Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their master's table." This was quite enough: she had proved her sincerity and faith, and her unyielding perseverance caused the Redeemer to say, great is thy faith; be it unto thee as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour." With glad heart did she hasten home, and tell what great things the Lord Jesus had done for her-Gentile as she was. What a bright light, and faithful witness would this Canaanitish woman be for Christ! We have no room for doubting that she was in truth, an EARNEST of the Gentile Church. The Jews rejected Christ and his refused to be fed and instructed. The Gentiles who had sat in heathenish darkness saw a great light thousands believed on the Lord through the preaching of the Apostles; and millions since their day have witnessed a good confession for him; and even now, the faith of Christ is making its way amongst rulers and subjects, and the dark dens of infamy are being irradiated by the light of the knowledge of the Saviour. Reader, may you be encouraged by the successful perseverance of the Syro-phenician woman; your faith, like her's, laying firmly hold on Christ,
Apostles; they thus