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magnificence of Tyre, which at one time commanded the admiration of the world, had then faded away. But since it has been reduced still lower; for it is now merely a rock, on which are a few huts, where the fishermen spread their nets; as, in the time of its highest prosperity, prophecy had declared that it should be. It is thus a monument of the instability of all human affairs, and affords a warning to other nations not to trust in their prosperity.
It appears that our blessed Saviour sometimes visited the countries that bordered on the land of Israel. He might not, however, have gone at this time beyond the limits of the tribe of Asher. He went to a remote part of the country, it seems, to avoid the persecution of the Pharisees. It is said, that He walked in Galilee ; for He would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill Him. He never courted persecution, but kept out of the way of it as much as possible.
But although He had retired to the utmost borders of the land of Israel, the fame of His miracles had gone before Him ; for, 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 vered with a devil. St. Mark says, that He had entered into a house, and would have no
! Ezek. xxvi. 4, 5, 14. Zech. ix, 3, 1.
% John vii. 1.
man know it; but He could not be hid; for a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of Him, and came and fell at His feet. The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation. She was a poor heathen idolater. But this had not prevented her from hearing of the Lord Jesus, and of the miracles which He had wrought in behalf of the afflicted. She had heard that He was called the Son of David, the Messiah, who was expected to be the great Deliverer of His people. And as she was in great distress on account of her daughter, whose dreadful malady gave her a great deal of trouble; when she heard of Jesus being in the neighbourhood, she went to Him, and began to implore His compassion in the most earnest
Her distresses led her to seek for the aid of the Lord Jesus. Had she not been in distress she would never have thought of going to Him. And this is the general case with mankind. Unless they are in distress or trouble of mind, body, or estate, they are not sensible of their need of the salvation of Christ, nor of the blessings which He bestows; and therefore they do not inquire after Him. They that are whole have no need of a physician, but they that are sick. What then are the feelings of our minds? Are we whole, having a good opinion of ourselves,
3 Mark vii. 24-26.
4 Mark ji. 17.
self-confident, self-righteous ? Or, are we distressed on account of the temptations of Satan, and the sinfulness of our hearts and lives? If we have no anxieties, no distress, we shall not think of adopting the language of the woman of Canaan respecting ourselves, we shall not be sensible that we need His mercy.
But if we are grievously vered with the devil, by his temptations to do what we know to be displeasing to God, or by trials of
other kind, which may harass and trouble us, then the mercy of the Lord Jesus will be the very thing that we need ; and we shall be disposed to supplicate it earnestly,
When the poor woman had uttered her piteous cry for mercy, it is said that Jesus answered her not a word. He seemed to take no notice of her. How strange was this ! How different from His usual conduct. He had said before, Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. distressed creature came to Him, and implored His mercy and compassion, and yet He paid no attention to her earnest cry. He was silent as though He heard not. But her distress was too great to suffer her to depart because He took no notice of her complaint. She therefore continued her importunity ; she would not be satisfied without obtaining an answer. She followed Him with her cries, so that the disciples
But here a poor
became anxious to have her dismissed, that they might not be disturbed by her clamour. His disciples came and besought Him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. As our Saviour had expressed a wish not to be known, they might think that the clamour of this poor woman would attract the attention of every one to Him, and that the end of His going to that retired part of the country would be thereby defeated.
As they applied to Him, He gave them to understand the reason of His silence; a reason which would be quite satisfactory to their own prejudices, as Jews. He answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. This answer silenced the disciples; and seemed a death-blow to all the hopes which the
poor woman had entertained, that her importunity would prevail upon Him to grant her request. She was not an Israelite, but a Canaanite; not one of those who professed to be the people of God, but an idolatrous heathen; and therefore she could have no right to hope for a favourable regard from the Son of David. But although this reply prevented any further interference of the disciples in her favour: and seemed to put the holy Prophet of Israel at a hopeless distance from a poor heathen woman; yet she did not deem it a sufficient reason to compel her departure. On the contrary, it made her still more earnest in her supplications. Her distress was too great to suffer her to lose an opportunity of obtaining relief, which, if it were once gone, was never likely to occur again. She knew that if His compassion was not extended to her, she must remain subject to the tyranny and oppression of the devil, which was exercised over her by means of her daughter, without hope of relief, until death should remove the one or the other from the state of misery in which they lived together. When therefore Jesus had entered into a house, then came she, and worshipped Him, saying, Lord, help me. She ventured to press forward, poor and unworthy of His regard as she felt herself to be, but urged by her deep distress, she fell down at His feet, in the most humble and earnest manner imploring His commiseration and help.
But the more earnest and importunate she became, the more inexorable He seemed to be. He answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs. These were the first words that He spoke to her. And they seemed entirely to cut off from her all hope of obtaining the relief which she had so earnestly sought. He appeared rather to insúlt over her misery than to compassionate her case, to add reproach to distress. Such words had never before passed the lips of the Lord Jesus to any suppliant at His feet. The Jews were accustomed to call the Gentiles, dogs; and to