Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

telling you, in few words, how richly she was rewarded; and how fully all her confidence in Christ was justified. Yes; she was quite right. She could not trust in Him too much; she could not be too sure that with Him there was mercy for all, from the highest to the lowest and the least! She knew Him better than most Christians do! she knew that He could not be unkind! she knew that He was "just, and yet the justifier of them that believe in Him," a just God-but yet a Saviour," and that there was 66 none like him." Our blessed Lord had indeed tried her faith to the uttermost; but it was only that that faith, so precious, might be found unto praise, and honour, and glory in His sight, and before all who should ever hear of it.

66

The trial was over; and our blessed Lord condescended to reward it with peculiar approbation, and to bestow upon it an especial blessing. No doubt, the Syrophenician felt that she was more than repaid for all her sufferings, when our Lord at length turned towards her, and exclaimed, " O woman! great is thy faith! be it unto thee even as thou wilt!" when upon returning to her house, she found that the devil had gone out of her daughter, and that she was quietly laid upon the bed. Happy woman! with her Saviour's praise still sounding in her ears, and His blessing warm upon her heart, and the child for whom she had suffered so much, restored to health and ease: what a changed place must her home have been!

am

E. What an interesting story, Mamma ! I an sure I shall never forget it.

M. I hope not; it is very interesting and full of most wholesome instruction. The trials which this

poor woman went through, may remind us of the many afflictions and disappointments with which the best of God's children are often visited here on earth; her beautiful conduct under them reads us a striking lesson of confidence in God's mercy, as well as patient and entire resignation to His will. It entirely forbids us to despair, it encourages us, under our heaviest sorrows, to hope still in God, to say again and again, with the sweet Psalmist of Israel, "Why art thou cast down, O my soul, and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God; for I shall yet give him praise."

E. And what should we learn, Mamma, from our Saviour's conduct to this poor woman, which seemed to me so very strange?

M. According to our notions, the ways of God, my child, seem often strange. He tells us Himself, in His holy word, "My ways are not as your ways; nor my thoughts as your thoughts." He who sees into the hearts of men, alone knows what is really good for them. He who can so abundantly make up to us for any trials He may see fit to send us, may often deal with us in a manner in which it would be most unbecoming in creatures like us to treat one another. Whatever He does, He does in mercy, and to make us happier in the end; that we may enjoy more abundant peace now, and in the world to come a more exceeding weight of glory. If, for a time, He appears deaf to our prayers, it is only that He may answer them at last more bountifully, when the trial of our faith is over, as He did to the Syrophenician woman. But we must hasten to conclude our long conversation.

The daughter of Tyre, said the Psalmist, shall be there with a gift; and great were the treasures which Tyre in after times expended for the house of God: but what richer gift did she ever bring, than the faith and humility of this poor woman; her first offering to the Son of God-the first fruits of the Gospel in these coasts? Happy would it be for us Gentiles, who are no longer shut out from God's family, but heirs, together with the believing Jews of old, of the promises of the Gospel, if we had humility and faith like that which was shown by this woman of Canaan! God allows us now to sit down at the children's table, to eat the children's bread; He spreads before us the Gospel feast. O may our souls be strengthened and refreshed by it, and our hearts be full of that love and thankfulness, that confidence and submission, which God's children ought ever to exhibit 1.

See Matt. xv. 21-28. Mark vii. 24-30.

THIRTY-FIFTH SUNDAY EVENING.

FAITH AND FRAILTY OF ST. PETER.

E. Mamma, the Syrophenician woman has often been in my thoughts during the week. I think her history is almost the most interesting one you have ever told me.

M. Such instances of faith, and of the gracious rewards bestowed upon it by our divine Lord, are not

1 In this conversation great assistance has been received from Bishop Horsley's well-known Sermons on the subject, especially in the general view of the story.

only very interesting but very encouraging. They seem to invite us to seek the same Saviour; to make Him our friend too; to carry our sorrows, whatever they may be, to Him; and to place our trust also firmly and patiently in His mercy. They seem to say that the Lord Jesus cannot disappoint us, and that, though He may appear to hide His face from us for a little while, it is only that He may in the end pour out upon us a more abundant blessing, and make us more completely happy. The example, indeed, of this poor heathen may well put to shame many a Christian; as it was at the time a striking rebuke to the prevalent unbelief of the Jews.

E. But were they not ashamed of their unbelief when they saw the Syrophenician worship Him, and heard even a heathen call Him "Jesus thou Son of David ?"

M. I wish I could say they were: our blessed Lord indeed departed from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon and came once more to the sea of Galilee, where this gracious miracle might be unknown, even by report: He returned again to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and continued to heap fresh mercies upon them. Again He healed the sick. In multitudes they were brought to Him; "lame, blind, dumb, maimed and many others;" they were cast down at His feet, and He healed them all, so that the crowds of people around wondered exceedingly, "when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see; and they glorified the God of Israel." Again too, He had compassion on the multitude, when they had been with Him a long time without food, and fed them by a miracle, as He had

done before Four thousand men there were, besides women and children, who did all eat and were filled, though there were but seven loaves of bread among them all, and a few small fishes. afterwards we are told how the

Yet immediately Pharisees and the

Sadducees came to Him, tempting Him, and desiring Him, if He were really the Christ, to give them some sign from heaven. The unreasonable demand grieved our Lord exceedingly; so that He “sighed deeply in His spirit" and spoke in very strong terms of their perverseness and wickedness, declaring plainly that no such sign as they desired should be granted them. Nor was it only the obstinacy of His enemies, over which the blessed Jesus was compelled to mourn. Many were the sorrows which His own disciples cost Him, as they gave proof after proof of the dulness of their understandings in spiritual matters, and of the weakness of their faith. Even to them He was obliged to say, "Perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened? Having eyes see ye not, and having ears hear ye not, and do ye not remember?" Observe, Edward, that we may displease the Lord Jesus Christ, not only by openly turning against Him as His enemies do, but by neglecting to make a good use of the religious advantages which He gives us, so as to continue dull and ignorant in divine things, when, if we improved our opportunities of obtaining heavenly knowledge, we might become wise unto salvation, and our Lord would pour His Holy Spirit more abundantly into our hearts. That He would do so, you will feel very sure, when I tell you what He said to Simon Peter very soon after He had complained of the dulness of His disciples.

[Second Series.]

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »