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THE HEALING OF THE DAUGHTER OF THE SYROPHENICIAN
Matt. xv, 21-28; Mark vii. 27-30.
BY THE REV. RICHARD CHENEVIX TRENCH, M.A.* It is not probable that our blessed Lord ac- | And she has a boon to ask for her daughter, tually overpassed the limits of the Jewish land, or rather indeed for herself, for so entirely has now or at any other moment of his earthly she made her daughter's misery her own, that ministry; though, when it is said that he “de. she comes saying, “Have mercy on me, o parted into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon,” this | Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is may seem at first to favour such a supposition. I grievously vexed with a devil ;” as on a later St Mark, however, tells us that he only “ went occasion the father of the lunatic child, “ Have into the borders of Tyre and Sidon,” and the compassion on us, and help us.”—(Mark ix. 22.) true meaning, which even St Matthew's words But very different she finds him from that will abundantly bear, is, that he came into the which report lad described him to her; for confines of that heathen land. The general that spoke of him as the merciful Son of man, fitness of things, and more especially his own who would not break the bruised reed, nor words on this very occasion, "I am not sent quench the smoking flax, who encouraged but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel," | every weary and afflicted soul to come and would make it extremely unlikely that he had find rest with him. He who of himself came now brought his healing presence into an hea to meet the needs of others, withdrew himself then land; and, moreover, when St Matthew from hers : “He answered her not a word.” speaks of the “woman of Canaan ” as coming in the language of Chrysostom, " The Word out of that district, “ of the same coasts," he has no word; the fountain is sealed; the physiclearly shows that he has no other intention cian withholds his remedies ;” until at last the than to describe the Lord as having drawn disciples, wearied out with her long entreaties, close to the skirts of that profane land. and seemingly more merciful than their Lord,
Being there, he “entered into a house, and themselves come to him, making intercession would have no man know it:" but as the oint. for her that he would grant to her her petition ment bewrayeth itself, so he whose name is and send her away. Yet was there in truth like ointment poured out, “could not be hid;" | the worm of selfishness at the root of this seemand among those attracted by its sweetness, ingly greater compassion of theirs, and it shows was a woman of that country_"a woman of itself when they give their reason why he Canaan," as St Matthew terms her, "a Greek, should dismiss her with the boon she asks : a Syrophenician,” as St Mark, meaning by the “For she crieth after us ;” she is making a first term to describe her religion, that it was scene; she is drawing on us unwelcome obsernot Jewish but heathen; by the second, the vation. Theirs is one of those heartless grantstock of which she came, which was even that ings of a request, whereof we all are conscious; accursed stock which God had once doomed to when it is granted out of no love to the sup. a total excision, but of which some branches pliant, but to leave undisturbed the peace and had been spared by those first generations of selfish ease of him from whom at length it is Israel that should have extirpated them root extorted—such as his who said, “ Lest by her and branch. Every thing, therefore, was continual coming she weary me.” Here, as so against her; yet she was not hindered by that often, under a seeming severity lurks the real every thing from coming and craving the boon | love, while selfishness hides itself under the that her soul longed after. She had heard of mask of bounty. But these intercessors meet the mighty works which the Saviour of Israel with no better fortune than the suppliant her. had done ; for already his fame had gone self; and Christ stops their mouth with words through all Syria, so that they brought unto unpromising enough for her suit : “I am not him, besides other sick, “ those which were sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of possessed with devils, and those which were Israel."-(Cf. Matt. x. 5, 6.) lunatic, and he healed them.”—(Matt. iv. 24.) But in what sense was this true? All pro. * In his admirable work on the “Miracles" of Christ. phecy which went before declared that in Him,
TIIE CHRISTIAN TREASURY. the promised Seed, not one nation only, but all any contradiction in this; for here he is speaknations of the earth, should be blest: he Him. ing of the position which God has given them self declared, “ Other sheep I have, which are in his kingdom; there, of the manner in which not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they have realized that position. On the other they shall hear my voice."-(John x. 16.) It hand, extreme contempt was involved in the has happened indeed with others, as with the title of dog given to any one, it being remarkfounders of false religions, that as success in able that the nobler characteristics of the ani. creased, the circle of their vision has widened; mal, which yet were not unknown to antiquity, and they who meant at first but to give a faith are never brought out in Scripture. (See Deut. to their nation, have aspired at last to give one xxxii. 18; Job xxx. 1; 1 Sam. xvii. 43, xxiv. to the world. But here all must have been 15; 2 Sam. iii. 8, ix. 8, xvi. 9; 2 Kings viii. 13; known; the world-embracing reach of his faith Matt. vii. 6; Phil. iii. 2; Rev. xxi. 15.) was contemplated by Christ from the first. In This at length would have been enough for what sense, then, and under what limitations, many; and, even if they had persevered thus could it be said with truth that he was not sent far, now at least they would have gone away in but unto Israel only? Clearly in his own per anger or despair. But not so this woman; she, sonal ministry. That, for wise purposes in the like the centurion, and under still more uncounsels of God, was to be confined to his own favourable circumstances than his, was mighty pation; and every departure from this was, and in faith; and from the very word which seemed was clearly marked as, an exception. Here to make most against her, with the ready wit and there, indeed, he gave preludes of the of faith, she drew an argument in her own coming mercy; yet before the Gentiles should favour. She entangled the Lord, himself most glorify God for his mercy, Christ was first to willing thus to be so entangled, in his own, be “a minister of the circumcision for the truth speech; she takes the sword out of his own of God, to confirm the promises made unto the hand, with that sword to overcome him: "Truth, fathers.”—(Rom. xv. 8, 9.) It was only as it Lord; yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which were by a rebound from them that the grace fall from their master's table." Upon these was to light upon the heathen world; while words Luther, who has dwelt on all the circumyet that issue, which seemed thus accidental, stances of this little history with a peculiar was laid deep in the deepest counsels of God. love, and seems never weary of extolling the (Acts xiii. 44-49; Rom. xi.) In the form of mighty faith of this woman, exclaims, “ Was Christ's reply, as St Mark gives it, “ Let the not that a master-stroke? she snares Christ in children first be filled,” the refusal does not his own words.” And oftentimes he sets this appear so absolute and final, and a glimpse ap. Canaanitish woman before each troubled and pears of the manner in which the blessing will fainting heart, that it may learn from her how pass on to others, when as many of these, of to wring a Yea from God's Nay; or rather, how " the children,” as will, have accepted it. But to hear the deep-hidden Yea, which many times there, too, the present repulse is absolute : the lies in his seeming Nay. “ Like her, thou must time is not yet; others intermeddle not with give God right in all he says against thee, the meal, till the children have had enough. and yet must not stand off from praying, till
The woman hears the repulse, which the dis thou overcomest as she overcame, till thou hast ciples who had ventured to plead for her returned the very charges made against thee into ceive; but she is not daunted or disheartened arguments and proofs of thy need-till thou thereby. Hitherto she had been crying after hast taken Christ in his own words." the Lord, and at a distance; but now, instead Our translation of the woman's answer is of being put further still, “ came she and wor not, however, altogether satisfactory. For inshipped lim, saying, Lord, help me.” And now deed she consents to Christ's declaration, not he breaks the silence which hitherto he has immediately to make exception against the maintained toward her; but it is with an answer conclusion which he draws from it, but to show :' more discomfortable than was the silence it- how in that very declaration is involved the '! self: “He answered and said, It is not meet to granting of her petition. “Saidest thou dogz ? take the children's bread, and to cast it to it is well; I accept the title and the place : dogs.” “ The children” are, of course, the for the dogs have a portion of the meal-not Jews,“ the children of the kingdom.”—(Matt. the first, not the children's portion, but a porviii. 12.) He who spoke so sharply to them, | tion still-the crumbs which fall from the speaks thus honourably of them; nor is there table. In this very statement of the case thou
bringest us heathen, thou bringest me, within hand of that faith she had held on to that the circle of the blessings which God, the great Lord in whom all healing grace was stored, householder, is ever dispensing to his family. with the other to her suffering child-thus We also belong to his household, though we herself a living conductor by which the power occupy but the lowest place in it. According of Christ might run like an electric flash from to thine own showing, I am not wholly an him to her beloved. “And when she was alien, and therefore I will abide by this name, come to her house, she found the devil gone and will claim from thee all its consequences." out, and her daughter laid upon the bed," weak By the “masters” she does not mean the and exhausted as it would appear from the Jews, which is Chrysostom's mistake; for thus paroxysms of the spirit's going out; or, the the whole image would be disturbed; they are circumstance which last is mentioned may in“the children;" but by the “masters," she dicate only that she was now taking that quiet ! would signify God, using the plural on account rest, which hitherto the evil spirit had not of the plural “dogs," which Christ had used allowed. It will answer so to the “ clothed and before; in the same way as Christ himself in his right mind” (Luke viii. 30) of another says, “ Then the sons are free," (Matt. xvii. who had been tormented in the same way. 29), having spoken plurally before of “the But the interesting question remains, Why kings of the earth,” while yet it is only the one this bitterness was not spared her, why the Son, the only-begotten of the Father, whom Lord should have presented himself under so he has in his eye. He, the great Master and different an aspect to her, and to most other Lord, spreads a table, and all that depend on suppliants? Sometimes he anticipated their him, in their place and order are satisfied from needs, “ Wilt thou be made whole ?” (John it—the children at the table, the dogs beneath v. 6), or if not so, he who was waiting to be the table. There is in her statement some. gracious required not to be twice asked for thing like the Prodigal's petition, “Make me his blessings. Why was it that in this case, to as one of thy hired servants"-a recognition use the words of an old divine, Christ " stayed of diverse relations, some closer, some more long, wrestling with her faith, and shaking distant, in which divers persons stand to God and trying whether it were fast rooted” or -yet all blest, who, whether in a nearer or no? Doubtless, because he knew that it was remoter station, are satisfied from his hands. a faith which would stand the proof, and that
And now she has conquered. She who be- she would come out victorious from this sore fore heard only those words of a seeming con- trial; and not only so, but with a stronger, tempt, now hears words of a most gracious higher, purer faith than if she had borne away commendation, words of which the like are her blessing at once. Now she has learned, as recorded as spoken but to one other in all the then she never could have learned, that men gospel history; “O woman, great is thy faith!” ought always to pray and not to faint; that, He who at first seemed as though he would with God, to delay a boon is not therefore to have denied her the smallest boon, now opens deny it. She had learned the lesson which to her the full treasure-house of his grace, and Moses must have learned, when “the Lord bids her to help herself, to carry away what met him, and sought to kill him” (Exod. vi. she will : “Be it unto thee even as thou wilt.” 24); she won the strength which Jacob had He had shown to her for a while, like Joseph won before, from his night-long struggle with to his brethren, the aspect of severity; but, the angel. There is, indeed, a remarkable like Joseph, he could not maintain it long-or analogy between this history and that last.rather, he would not maintain it an instant (Gen. xxxii. 24-32.) There as here, there is longer than it was needful, and after that the same persevering struggle on the one side, word of hers, that mighty word of an un- the same persevering refusal on the other; daunted faith, it was needful no more : in the there as here, the stronger is at last overcome words of St Mark, “For this saying go thy by the weaker. God himself yields to the way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter.” might of faith and prayer; for a later prophet,
Like the centurion at Capernaum, like the interpreting that mysterious struggle, tells us nobleman at Cana, she made proof that his the weapons which the patriarch wielded : word was potent, whether spoken far off or “He wept and made supplication unto him," | near. Her child, indeed, was at a distance; connecting with this the fact that “he had but she offered in her faith a channel of com- power over the angel and prevailed."-(Hos. munication between it and Christ. With one xii. 3, 4.) The two histories, indeed, only
stand out in their full resemblance, when we “Well; but remember that it is, perhaps, by being keep in mind that the angel there, the Angel
The Anmol | the clerk at the desk first, that you may become a
| merchant in earnest at last." of the covenant, was no other than that Word, “Ah yes! but my uncle would never let me out of who, now incarnate, “ blest” this woman at leading-strings if I waited his time. It is astonish
ing how miserly he gets. The more he has, the more last, as he had blest at length Jacob at Peniel
he seems to want. Now I am determined upon this, -in each case rewarding thus a faith which that as soon as I have realized a moderate compe had said, “I will not let thee go, except thou ! tence, I will retire from business, and leave my place
in the mercantile world to be filled by some deserr. bless me.”
ing young fellow who wishes to do the same. I will Yet, when we thus speak of man overcoming not continue to slave like my e until I can God, we must never, of course, for an instant neither see nor hear, nor enjoy any thing but the
chink of gold; blocking up the way from young and' lose sight of this, that the power whereby ne enterprising men, who only want a fair opportunity overcomes the resistance of God, is itself a to do well in the world." power supplied by God. All that is man's is
“I like your notion,” said I, “but take care, when
it comes to the point, that your generous theory is the faith or the emptiness of self, which en not forgotten. You know it is said that 'Enough ables him to appropriate and make so largely | is a little more than one has,' which seems to be your his own the fulness and power of God: so that uncle's opinion.”
“Oh, never fear! I shall be tempted no further here also that word comes true, " Blessed are than independence; that attained, I shall be satis the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of fied. But now, what are you going to do ? " heaven.” Thus when St Paul (Col. i. 29),
“I am off to India;" said I, “and if I return to
England, I shall look after you, some years hence, speaks of himself under an image, which rested among the country gentlemen, and not among the originally on Jacob's struggle, if there was not | busy bees of this great hive." a direct allusion to it in the apostle's mind, as
He smiled assent, and with mutual good wishes
we parted. “He will certainly get on," thought I, striving for the Colossians, striving, that is, “and I hope success will not spoil him." with God in prayer (see iv. 12), he immedi- . He was a fine, high-spirited young man, combin.
Jing with attractions and qualities which made him ately adds, “according to his working which
a general favourite, the solid advantages of perseverworketh in me mightily."
ance and industry. Had I then known any thing of the We may observe, in conclusion, that we have wisdom that." cometh from above;". I should ha
warned him, in the midst of all his fair prospects and three ascending degrees of faith, as it manifests
generous resolves, to “seek first the kingdom of God itself in the breaking through of hindrances and his righteousness," and first to secure an inherit; which would keep from Christ, in the paralytic
ance in a better world, before his temporary career
in this; but I was as heedless as himself, and as': (Mark ii. 4); the blind man at Jericho (Mark
anxious to seize any opportunity of what we called x. 48); and this woman of Canaan. The para- | " getting on;" the end of our exertions, and the lytic broke through the outward hindrances,
height of our wishes, being self-indulgence at last.
Many years passed away, and on visiting England the obstacles of things merely external; blind
on leave of absence, I did not forget my friend. We Bartimæus through the hindrances opposed by had not maintained much correspondence, and I his fellow-men; but this woman, more heroic
knew not where he might now be found; but my!
search was not long or difficult. He was well known ally than all, through apparent hindrances even as a merchant, and in the heart of the city I found from Christ himself. These, in their seeming him at his desk in a small inner office, while several weakness, were the three mighty ones, not of
| clerks were busily engaged in the outer one. But
my friend was too busy to welcome me. A cold saluDavid, but of David's Son, that broke through tation and a hasty invitation to meet him at home opposing hosts, until they could draw living | in the evening, when he might have a few minutes, water from wells of salvation.—(2 Sam. xxiii.
leisure for company, was a sufficient hint that I was
an intruder there; and, hurt and disappointed, I 16.)
withdrew. Resolved, however, that this unexpected
chill should not extinguish early friendship, I kept THE MERCHANT'S FORTUNE.
my evening appointment, and in a suit of rooms high
above the offices, I visited the home and family of " CONGRATULATE me, George,” exclaimed a friend, the merchant, and had now opportunity to observe as we met near the great Exchange of the greatest the change which years had wrought. He had city in the world; “I am just informed of a legacy reached middle age, and his hair was plentifully: that will set me going in business, and now I will sprinkled with grey; his form was shrunk, and his make a fortune for myself."
eye was still clear, but not with the sunny bright“But," said I, “what will your uncle say to it?". ness of former days; it was with a sharp, keen,
"I do not intend to ask him. He has kept me at searching light, as if ever on the watch to secure his desk at a paltry salary, without a prospect of do advantage, or detect a cheat. His step was quiet, ing any thing better, until my patience is exhausted, and his voice had acquired a tone of mingled servility and though he must be as rich as Crosus, he will not and self-sufficiency, which was in strong, unpleasant spare a farthing to help me on. But this unexpected contrast with the musical remembrances of youthful legacy is my starting-point; I will be a merchant in days. “Well," thought I," he may have got on, earnest now, and no longer a clerk at a merchant's but it has been at the expense of much that was desk.”
lovely and loveable in himself."
My reception was somewhat more friendly than it a power it had never felt before; and while the unhad been in the morning, and I willingly accepted lettered heathen flung his idols to the moles and the the apology conveyed by the assurance, that he was
that he was bats,
bats, the worldly Briton, kneeling amidst the dark '' always strict during hours of business, “ for," said children of the soil, cast himself, the supreme idol of he, “if I waste time, my clerks will do the same.” the human heart, as a helpless sinner at the foot of
Í inquired for his uncle. “Oh! he died long ago, the cross of Christ. The heathen wondered to hear of loving nothing but his money, which he left to a such a God, and the professing Christian wondered spendthrift nephew, whom he adopted when I more, that after years of cold neglect he was suffered ; resolved to begin business for myself.”
to hear of him unto salvation at last. I had heard of "And prosperity has attended you I find, on which him by the hearing of the ear, but now I saw him I offer the hearty congratulations of an old friend. | by faith; wherefore I abhorred myself, and repented But I thought you intended to retire after realizing in dust and ashes. a certain portion of fortune's favours."
Twenty years passed away, and I then returned to " Why yes, I used to say so, but I was young and settle for the evening of my life in my native land, romantic then, which is, in other words, ignorant and and the richest treasure that I bore from the farfoolish. I soon realized a moderate competence, for famed east, was the knowledge of God and his priceevery thing has succeeded that I have undertaken; less blessing. I now knew the secret which distinbut I have a family to provide for now, and when I guishes between things of enduring value, and things have done that handsomely, I do intend to retire. that perish in the using; and hoping that twenty Besides, business is so completely my habit of life, | years had not left my old friend the merchant in that I could not be idle while its profits lie before ignorance of the same key to true enjoyment, I once me, as it were, ready for gatbering up."
more sought and found him. 1 “But do you not think it better for your sons to With some apprehension I entered the old office, do as you have done before them, than to leave them and there he sat at the same desk, in the same abpendent of their own exertions?”
sorbed attitude; and, after a look of surprise and “Oh, never fear! I shall teach them to work; and doubt, yielded me the same hasty salutation as on I really mean to enjoy myself by and by. A few my former visit. And there he had sat for those thousands more in the funds will do no harm; and, twenty years, until threescore had passed over him, let me tell you, it is no despicable thing to look over bleaching every dark lock, and quenching every one's accounts and see the reward of patience, and spark of light in his eyes, except the one sharp i perseverance, and industry, and know that one need twinkle about gain. Sons now sat where hired clerks not die in the workhouse."
had sat before, and fair daughters had grown to “ But," I replied, “ are you not afraid of becom womanhood in the close atmosphere of those city ing like your uncle's
chambers. ! It was a home thrust, and I was sorry to have In the evening I sat with my friend at his own
caused the vexed expression which for a moment fireside, and soon made the painful discovery, that changed the self-satisfaction of his countenance. the unchanged external occupation was a true type “Excuse me, my dear friend," I added, “but my of the unchanged heart within. The god of this mind will leap back into the period when we both world had blinded his eyes. began the world, and I cannot help remembering “I quite expected to find that you had done with your opinions and intentions."
business long ago," said I,"and that your sons, or “ Very likely; but I told you I was ignorant and some other aspirant after mercantile honours, had foolish then, and have forgotten such nonsense; but, made another fortune in your place." however, do not suppose me a miser. My family | “ You do not forget that unlucky speech of mine, have all the comforts of life, and my children are | George; but the fact is, that I am really thinking receiving an education suited to the station I intend of giving up business this year. I have many times them to fill. We are in the chrysalis state at intended it before, but such remarkable success has present; but when my ledger gives the right figure, attended my labours, that it was folly to do so. you will see us spread our wings for a flight that no However, I am looking out for a handsome residence one suspects who finds us pent up in this narrow some miles from town. I mean to keep a carriage, street."
and live henceforth to enjoy myself. I have toiled! ! Dissatisfied and disappointed with this money long enough now.” getting, thorough-going man of business, I departed, “But my dear friend,” said I,“ have you, in your pitying the pale complexions and slender forms of search after goodly pearls, like the merchantman in his delicate-looking family. I could not presume to the parable, found the one pearl of great price? find fault with his steady perseverance, his syste Have you dealt in that merchandise which is better matic industry, his desire to provide for his family. than silver, and the gain thereof than tine gold ?” What then was wrong? I did not know; but I was “I have done my duty in the station of life in | about to learn a new lesson, and in the prime of man which I was placed," he replied, “and that is, in hood to become “ as a little child" again.
my opinion, the best religion." ! My pathway in life lay once more across wide “ It is a lofty boast, indeed," I replied, “and of waters to the Indian shore, and thither, though I course you have no occasion to unite with those who then heeded it not, followed the earnest and unceas- publicly confess that they have done many things
ing prayers of a fond mother and dear sisters, no which they ought not to have done, and left undone ' longer to seem offered in vain. In a desolate district many things which they ought to have done !"
of that far off land, where no spires point towards “Come, come, you are not serious," 82 heaven, and no pleasant chimes hail the Sabbath friend; “ I do not pretend to be better than others, day, I learned to worship Him who dwelleth not in though I am not disposed to think myself worse. temples made with hands, whose throne is heaven, I have had no time to be as strict as some people in and his footstool earth, whether amidst the rich cities | going to church, and so on; but when I have retired and fair valleys of a British isle, or desert plains I shall of course attend to that." and Indian jungles. There came the voice of the “Ah, sir!" said one of the young ladies, “ papa hero missionary, and there came with it the irresis. admits that he is rich, very rich, and yet he only tible touch of Omnipotent love. The ear heard words talks of giving up business; he will not really do it." it had often heard before, but the inmost heart felt “We shall see," said her father Emiling; “but