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THE WOMAN OF CANAAN.
549 children, 80 children through all succeeding ages, have by the just dispensations of God, been the unnatural correctors of their sinful progenitors.
This afflicted mother was a foreigner ; but she was instructed into the truths of God, and had profited by the advantages of her local situation, where the heavenly lamp was not to be extinguished till the gospel-day dawned, and the shadows receded. Sorne about this once highly favoured spot had knowledge; others united with their knowledge a general profession, and became proselytes of the gate ; and others went further, and entered into full communion with the Jewish church. This should encourage hope and expectation, that the fulness of the Gentiles shall be gathered in, and the broken bough of the Jewish church be restored.
This stranger had a daughter under the immediate power of Satan; her indisposition suited his Saianic einpire. He has an infernal pleasure in human misery; the tender mother deeply partook of her daughter's woe: she prays, “ O thou incarnate Jehovah, thou who art David's Lord, and yet David's Son, afford iby gracious relief! I believe that thy power is infinite, and thy grace is free; prove thy compassion, and have mercy upon ine!". Heartfelt prayer, though apparently neglected and discouraged, will in the issue prevail ; it reaches God's throne, it enters his attentive ear, – it touches his compassionate heart; he smiles approbation, - his power is engages, and his hand gives relief. s I have heard the concerning this thing." As yet she seems neglected ; "he answered her not a word.”
“ Behind a frowning providence
lle bides a smiiing face.” Joseph spake roughly to his brethren, yet he turned aside and wept ; she might be ready to say “ Call me not Naomi ; call me Marah ;" there is much bitterness in my allotment. Our Lord's silence was designed to draw forth more of her heart; to prove her real character as a strong believer ; and to exemplify the riches of his wisdom, power, and grace.
The disciples show more concern for her than our Loril; they became her advocate; they little thought he himself was advocating her cause with his Father, under all these discouraging appearances ! The love of Jesus is not to be doubted under the worst of outward calamities, or the deepest darkness we may experience. The disciples say “ Send her away,” grant her request, for “ she crieth alter as;" but our Lord's answer was more discouraging still; he seems to cut off all her hopes: “ I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel ;” my mission is only to the Jews. She was not ignorant of ihis; but she knew his sovereignty ; that his power was unlimited, and that its exertions were only circumscribed by his covenantrule. She un ierstood the extent of that, as reaching to the Gentile world, and on that ground she found a firm slanding.
She urges her case again: 6 she worshipped,” and prayed “ Lord help me!” thou very Jehovah incarnate, be my help! She changes her language ;--it is not thou Son of David;" her faiih rises higher; she views him as God over all, blessed for ever. It is a great mercy to be satisfied that Jesus is the Al. mighty God, willing to save, yea, eager to save the perishing and applying soul. Her faith produced this adoration.
She directs her prayer for mercy. “Ilave mercy on me !" God be nierciful to me a sinner! I am a miserable sinner, a wretched mother; my daughter is a most distressed object : 1 suffer in all her sufferings. O compassionate Jesns, grant relief, and show thy character as abie and willing to save! The word mercy is taken from the propitiatory, or the mercy-seat that was sprinkled with blood, to shew that there was no mercy for sinners but through the blood of Jesus.—The publican so prayed, “ Be propitious unto me!" while in the temple he by faith looked within the vail; so does this distressed woman; and does not ask for arbitrary, or uncovenanted mercy, but the grace and favour secured by the blood of him to whom she prayed.
In appearance, the miserable is denied mercy by the most merciful; and probably the first case he ever objected to; if so, this must have been the more trying to her faith. However, all this only serves to increase her importunity. She wanted the provision Jesus had to give ; but she is told, “ It is not meet to take the children's bread and cast it to dogs:" - It is unfit to give the blessings of the covenant to the Gentiles, who are out of the Jewish church:-" Without are dogs;" so they were esteemed. She well understood our Lord's meaning, and being taught by a degree of the same wisdom by wbich he spike, :lie acknowledges its justice and propriety. “Truth, Lord: yet the dogs cat of the crumbs which fall from their master's table." She knew the plan of the covenant of grace, revealed in the first promise, illustrated by types and sacrifices, explained in the con. tinued ministry of the prophets, and all substantiated in Jesus; the Holy Spirit was upon her, testifying to her that Jesus was the promised and expected Saviour. Jesus heard the voice of his own Spirit in her, and she prevailed ; her daughter was healed; she was made happy: Jesus bore testimony to her singular knowledge and faith, while he displayed his own matclikss love, power, and faithfulness.
1. Here is an extraordinary testimony, borne by a very unexpected person, to the Messiah as the light of the Gentiles, and the glory of his people Israel ; while those of his own na. tion despised and rejected him, “ He came to his own, but his own received him not; but to as many as received him, to them gave lic the privileges of his children ; a new birth ; adopted them into his family, and bestowed on them the inlcritance of grace here, and glory for ever,
2. We learn the power and perseverance of paternal anxiety for the good of children.
3. That there is no case so distressing but Jesus can relieve it: he heals all manner of diseases, and suits all cases. His infinitely gracious variety of character qualifies him for every work peedful for any sinner's salvation, or the comfort and blessedness of any of his people. Fear not; only believe.
4. Faith, founded on the true character, promises, and power of the Lord Jesus, will conquer all difficulties ; increased discouragements will but increase its exertions, and exemplify its glory and virtue. *
5. The issue will prove successful and triumphant,--as in this case Jesus is glorified, the daughter is healed, and the mother is hapny. Tooburn.
UNCONSUMED. * Heb ii.
EXPLANATION OF 1 TIMOTHY I. 20.
REQUESTED BY A COA RESPONDENT.
Of whom is Hymeneus and Alexander ; whom I have delivered
unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.
Sr. Paul is here animating the evangelist Timothy to maintain the truth of the gospel at Ephesus, in opposition to some false teachers who had crept in there, and who taught differently from the inspired apostles of Christ. Instead of inculcating the "love" of God and man, proceeding from “ a pure heart," directed by " a good conscience," and nourished by an unfeigned faith” in gospel docirine *, they had insisted upon fabulous traditions," invented to prove that men could not be saved unless they obeyed the law of Moses; and they had dwelt on" uncertain genealogies," which occasioned “dis-, putes” and prevented “edification.” Of this description were two members of the church at Ephesus, who had set up themselves as teachers t, viz. Hymeneus and Alexander I, whom,
* Ver 5.
so the copper
+ Ver. 7. | Hymeneus was probably the same person mentioned by St. Paul in his second epistie to Timothy (ii. 17) who affirmed, that “the resurrection had already taken place," meaning a spiritual resurrection; and that no other was to be expected ; and Alexander was probably sínith,” complained of in 2 Tim.iv. 14, who“ had done many ill offices" to the apostle, ny stirring up others against him. There is reason to fear that he continued an incorrigible enemy to the gospel; fer St. Paul ands,“ The Lord reward him,” or “ The Lord will reward him, according to his works.” This wicked man seems to have taken an active part in the riot at Ephesus, in wbich the apostle's life was so much endangered.
on account of their obstinate persistence in wilfully corrupting the gospel, the apostle, by virtue of his authority from Christ, had “ delivered to Satan;" that is, had delivered up to the power of Satan, who was permitted to inflict upon them bodily pains and diseases, that, by so severe a discipline, they“ might be taughii” (Taldeubaon, taught by chastisement)“ not to blaspheme, - not to revile Christ, or bis doctrine concerning the salvation of the Gentiles:- by feeling the dreadful consequences of their crimes, they might desist from their pernicions tenets.
We have a similar phrase in 1 Cor. v. 4, 5, “ In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of the Lord Jesus Christ, to deliver such an one (as the incestuous Corinthian) unto Satan, for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” This inust be understood of the act of excommunication, performed by the whole church, according to the authority of Christ, and agreeably to the direction of the apostle, who was inspired by the Holy Spirit to give the order for it. This offender was to be “ delivered unto Šatan;" that is, expelled from the family or kingdom of God, of which he was unworthy, and sent back, by this exclusion, into the family or kingdom of Satan, to share in all the miseries of his usurped dominion. The excluded person is thus deprived of all the advantages of church communion (by which men are, instrumentally, defended from the snares of the Devil) and given over to the enemy. By“ the destruction of the flesh," many of the fathers understood the weakening or wasting the body by some painful disease || ; but Beza and
others think that the destruction of the offender's pride, lust, and other fleshly passions is to be understood. In whichever way, however, it is taken, the design was corrective," that the spirit might be saved in the day of judgment."
But when St. Paul says of Hymeneus and Alexander," 1 have delivered them unto Satan,” we are not to consider it as the ordinary act of excommunication, which, according to 1 Cor. v. 4, 5, must be the act of the church, assembled in the name of the Lord Christ; but as the act of the apostle himself, by the authority and under the immediate direction of the Lord, for it was done without the knowledge or concurrence of the church at Ephesus, who were probably first informed of it, through Timothy, to whom this epistle is addressed.
These passages serve to shew is the great importance both of gospel-truth and gospel-boliness; and that those who obsti. nately and grossly depart from either, are no fit members of a gospel-church.
See I Cor. xi. 30, 32.
THE IMPENITENCE OF JERUSALEM.
How often would I have gathered thy Children together, and ye would not?
Matt. xxiii. 37. REJECTION of Christ is a chief sin; it belongs to the first class of impieties. If the God of mercy give his Son from his bosom; if that blessed Saviour suffer, bleed, and die; if he extend his arms to receive the vile, the guilty, and Hell-deserving; and these, in return, despise his grace, turn their eyes disdainfully from his cross, and treat his atonement with contempt, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin; the offended Saviour retires from these Jerusalem-sinners; but ere he departs, weeps over their folly, and pronounces their awful sentence, — “ Behold, your house is left unto you desolate."
Jerusalem was a place rendered illustrious, on account of its superb temple, where God deigned to dwell; and while he honoured other places with his general visits, here he fixed his abode, manifested his gracious presence, and revealed himself in all his beauties. From Jerusalem too the word of the Lord was to go forth ; hence flowed the river whose streams, everywhere diverging, made glad the city of God. Highly honoured, but guilty city! The compassionate Saviour, perceiving thy future miseries, exclaims, " o Jerusalem! Jerusalem ! thou hast been the residence of Jehovah, but thine inhabitant shall depart; thou hast been honoured with his presence, but thy sun shall go down; thou hast been the repository of divine truth; from thee knowledge has flowed in abundance, but soon the river shall change its course; soon thou shalt dwell in the horrors of darkness! yea, thou shalt seek the water of life, and none shall be found, because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation."
The charges brought against this devoted city are very weighty. God had sent his servants, the prophets; but these had been slain. Messengers of mercy had been commissioned to publish glad tidings; but these had been stoned. But shall not God avenge them? Yes: for none shall with impunity slight the messages of the servants of God. Their Master will rise up in their defence; he will avenge them speedily. that despiseth you, despiseth me,” is the reason why he will come to judge those that obey not his gospel.
Prophets had been killed; messengers bad been stoned !' at length the Son himself appears: He comes to gather his revolt ing children together. How often would he have done this! The Saviour's mission to the world, the establishment of a gospel ministry, - the appointment of a Sabbath, - the smiles of divine bounty, the rod of affliction, the convictions of con, science, - all are designed as external means to gather souls to Christ, and secure them from the horrors of eternal destruction. How often! - Brethren, God speaks once, twice, thrice, “but XV.