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ceitful inclinations, or that we have scription that our duty in this respect no other rule to direct us with regard is to be collected, numerous and exto it, than bare considerations of fit. press are the particular lessons of reness or unfitness, reasonableness or velation as to the point in question. unreasonableness. Let us hear how The entreaty and exhortation of St. the Scriptures describe the business Paul to the Thessalonians in my text and condition of Christians. Our pro- are free from ambiguity or doubt. In fession is represented to us by them another part of the epistle he prays as a labour; but we are directed to thus on their behalf, “The Lord make have no final resting place in Christian you to increase and abound one to. acquirement in this life. It is com- wards another, and towards all men, pared to a race, but there is no goal even as we do towards you.” Herepointed out to us on this side of the in, you will observe, he points out the grave. It is proposed to us as a war- necessity of God doing this for them. fare, but we are not taught to expect | In the text he beseeches and exhorts ultimate and complete victory as long them to do it for themselves : a plain as we are subject to the assaults of evidence that both God and man have principalities and powers, and the their parts in the work of salvation. rulers of darkness in this world—as In the opening of the Apostle's second long as remaining in the flesh we are epistle to these same Thessalonians we constantly liable to be brought into find a remarkable parallel to both captivity by the law of sin warring in these passages, remarkable both as a our members against the law of the confirmation of his former teaching mind. All these similitudes strongly and as evidence that neither his adintimate to us the necessity of striving dresses to them nor his supplications to make continual advances in the to God in their behalf had been poured Christian life. The labourer is to con
forth in vain. “We are bound,” says tinue to dress the vineyard until his he, "to thank God always for your master shall assign him his hire when brethren, as it is meet, because that your the evening is come.
The candidate faith groweth exceedingly, and that the for the prize in the race must run on charity of every one of you all towards till his course shall be finished, if he each other aboundeth.” Again, he prays would obtain the crown of glory laid that the love of the Thessalonians may up for him by his judge. The soldier abound more and more, and that the must continue to fight the good fight, love of the Phillipians may abound till his Captain shall declare the war- more and more, and yet the Phillipians fare accomplished; and small, indeed, are the disciples to whom above all will be the honor or the recompense others he writes in terms of approbawhich he can hope to obtain, small tion and satisfaction. He exhorts the even his chance of security from de- Corinthians to “perfect holiness in the feat, if he be content to remain sta- fear of God.” To the same purpose tionary and win no ground from the are those charges of St. Peter to his enemy. The Christian here must al. fellow-believers, " That they should ways be directing his efforts towards grow in grace, and in the knowledge new conquests—he must be animated of their Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ;" with a spirit like that of the renowned and that, “ Giving all diligence they pagan warrior, whose maxim it was to should add to their faith virtue, and to think nothing done as long as any virtue knowledge, and to knowledge thing remained to be done.
temperance, and to temperance paBut it is not only from general de- tience, and to patience godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness, and to | incorporate a still larger portion of it brotherly kindness charity. For if with our dispositions and affections. these things be in you, says he, Have we been earnest and diligent in “and abound, they make you that ye doing the duties of our several callings shall neither be barren nor unfruitful on Christian principles ?-let our zeal in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus and industry in the discharge of them Christ.” But that memorable declara- shine with a still brighter light before tion which the Apostle of the Gentiles men, “ that they may see our good makes of his own personal feelings and works and glorify our Father who is in conduct, with relation to the subject heaven." Have we by God's blessing before us, may well stand in the place and by our own care and watchfulness of a thousand precepts and requests of brought one evil passion under conothers. “Brethren I count not myself trol ?-let us proceed without delay to to have apprehended : but this one the subjection of another and another. thing I do, forgetting those things And when can we set about these which are behind, and reaching forth things with more effect than the preunto those things which are before, I sent season, set apart, as it is, for a press towards the mark for the prize careful review of our spiritual estate ? of the high calling of God in Christ
On the internal satisfaction resulting Jesus. Let us therefore,” he imme- from such advances in the Christian diately applies his own example to his life I will not now enlarge ; a satisfacbrethren, “ let us therefore, as many tion, my brethren, far surpassing any as be perfect, be thus minded.” And mere sensual or worldly gratification. with what force is the application By those alone who have tasted it can made, what a lesson of humility and it be rightly understood or duly esat the same time what a sphere of ex- timated. Of one thing, however, by ertion is here, if he, this high and way of conclusion, I will remind you, gifted one, he who was not a whit namely, that this recompense, rich behind the very chief of the Apostles, though it be, is only the earnest of he who had laboured more abundantly something incomparably better. It is than they all, yet found further ad- certain from God's word, that there vancement continually necessary, what are different degrees of happiness remust we the best, the holiest, the most served for the faithful hereafter, accordactive amongst us think of our spi- ing to the different measures of their ritual attainments ?
improvement of faith and holiness Briefly then, my brethren, let us here. He who has gained ten talents bring home the foregoing considera- shall be made ruler over ten cities, tions to ourselves. Have we now and he who has gained five talents a lively and vigourous faith in our shall be made ruler over five cities. hearts, a faith which is the root of all While, therefore, we are going on from good works ?-let us by reading, by strength to strength with reference to imitation, by prayer, in a word, by all this our earthly state of probation, we the means which God has put in our are at the same time going on from power, labour to increase and strengthen glory to glory with reference to our this faith more and more. Have we appearance before God in the heavenly imbibed much of the spirit of the Gos- Zion: pel ?-let it be our daily endeavour to
DELIVERED BY THE REV. T. MORTIMER,
ON SUNDAY EVENING, AT ST. MARK'S CHURCH, CLERKENWELL, FEB. 27, 1831.
Matthew, xv. 21. 28.-" Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of
Tyre and Sidon. And 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 rered with a devil. But he answered her not a word, ayd his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after
But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread and cast it to the dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord; yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master's table. Then Jesus unsuered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith : be it unto thee even as thou wilt, and her daughter was made whole from that very hour.”
You have all heard these words or look at the conduct of our Saviour. most of you have heard these words And then we shall endeavour to ascerread as part of the service of the tain what the history suggests to ourchurch for the day. It is a remarkable selves. The poor Canaanitish womanfact, but I know of no exactly similar the Saviour of the world—and ouraccount of our blessed Master, I know selves ; to these three points let us atof no other instance in which he fol- tend, and may the God of heaven be lowed precisely the same course; and with us. yet he did all things well. There was Notice then, FIRST, WHO a reason, there was a moral, there was
She was not an Isa design in all this.
Be it our en
raelite. No, no. She was not one deavour to catch the design, to im- of that favoured, that peculiar, that prove the moral, and to learn by the holy people the Jews. She knew she grace of God from this history some- was not, she was aware of it. O, my thing for our own instruction, and brethren, there is not one man in fifty something for our own encouragement among us that honours the Jews as he whenever the world seems to go against ought to do. One in fifty! not one in us, whenever we seem to be bearing five thousand in this great city houp against the wind and tide, when- nours the Jews as the Jews ought ever the world seems to care nothing to be honoured. It was a great favour, for us, then let us go with all the im- a great honour, a great privilege to portunity of prayer to besiege the belong to that people. This woman throne of grace, lying prostrate at the felt that she did not possess this prifeet of Christ, and pleading our own vilege. Our Lord came into the coasts unworthiness, and turning every dis- of Tyre and Sidon, this poor woman couraging word into a reason why we had heard of it, the name by which should wait there still, till the Lord he went was the Son of David; she our God have mercy upon us.
was not interested in the promise speWe will consider the incident in cially made to Israel, but she had three different points of view. We heard of the wonderful works that he will First regard this poor woman, the did, and she applied to him. Mark applicant for mercy.
We will then who she was. She was not a Jewess,
but a Gentile, a Cyro-Phænecian | become a devil, and to delight in the woman.
torture and misery of a child ! Mark another thing, the cause of Mark this poor Canaanitish woman her trouble. It was not her own sick-mark her prayer. The Evangelist ness, it was the sickness of her daugh- tells us, “That she fell down and worter. Let children know it, they twine shipped him, saying, O Lord, thou about the hearts of their parents. The Son of David, have mercy upon me, sorrows of the child almost broke the for my daughter is grievously vexed heart of the mother. Her daughter with a devil.” Here was a very little was grievously vexed with a devil. prayer, very short; but it told a great The Bible says it, and upon that tes- deal, it said that she wanted much. timony I believe it. Away with that The trouble of her daughter was hers. false system which would explain Satan had been allowed to afflict her away every statement of the Bible, poor little daughter. She did not know and attribute every thing mentioned where to go, where to look for help in Scripture to natural causes-away she was a poor Gentile woman, and with such damnable heresy from the had no right to any of the promises earth. The church of God in these made to the Israelites; yet she had days eannot watch too narrowly, too heard of the mercy of the Son of David, closely, against all such attempts to and to the Son of David she came. explain away the plain and simple There was more faith in this applicameaning of God's word. At the time tion to Christ, than probably any of our Lord made his appearance it you ever showed in your lives-a pleased God to permit Satan to have greater degree of faith than perhaps a very singular power over the body. (except in the instance of the CentuIt was all wisely ordered on purpose, rion) was ever known in this lower that a stronger than the strong man world. This was the principle on might bind the strong man, and take which she acted; you will see what a from him the armour wherein he mighty principle it is as we go on with trusted, in order that the power and the history. Well has it been said by grace of Christ might be magnified. one of our British poets What a picture—I stop not to dwell
Faith, mighty faith, the promise sees, upon it, I merely throw out the thought
And looks to that alone, and leave it with you—what a picture
Smiles on impossibilities, and cries of the mind of the Devil have we here,
It shall be done." that he could take delight in tormenting a little child. And is this Lucifer, Mark now, there was no promise to son of the morning? Is this he who the poor woman—depend upon it, there once soared high in glory and wor- was no promise made to the poor outshipped before the throne of God, and cast Gentile. No; and therefore it led the choirs of angels, and to whom argued an immense measure of faith subordinate angels looked up with that she should thus go and apply to wonder and amazement at his vast the Son of David. powers, and the strength of his devo- Mark her first application-how is tion? O, what an accursed thing is it met? No notice is taken of it. sin! What can sin do ? Nay, I
“ He answered her not a word.” This should rather ask, what can it not do? was not his usual manner. How dreadful, how painful, how dis- rally showed his love, his tenderness, tressing it is to think that sin could his pity ; but he here appears to have make a pure and a benevolent mind to a very hard heart. A subsequent part
of the history will tell you it was only to thy disciples, I thought they would apparently so.
have cared for me, but it is far other
wise, they wish me to be sent away, I “ Behind the cloud he hides a smile."
appeal unto thee, “ Lord, help me." I dwell not on his conduct further. Here is no fine prayer, no long train After such a rebuff, what does she do? of reasoning; but here is a broken She seems, then, to have applied to the heart—here is a contrite spirit-here disciples, to use their efforts with their is a soul that feels its wants-here is a Master. How did they receive her ap- soul that feels that none but Christ plication? They entreated our Lord can help—here is a soul that goes to to send her away. I never see the Christ for help—and now mark, my disciples and their Master put toge- beloved brethren, if that soul goes to ther, but what I see in the end how Christ for help in vain. I wonder at poor and little the disciples look, and the woman-1 stand astounded at her how great the Master appears. Send faith-I never met with any instance her away! he did not intend to send that can be compared with it. We her
away till he had granted her re- talk of our faith ; why, my brethren, quest. My brethren, your ministers compared with this we have scarce a do not feel what they seem to feel for grain of faith. A poor woman,
brokenyou in your troubles and in your sor- hearted, who has no promise to go rows; but your great Master always upon, ventures still by faith to apply feels for you. Learn the great supe-| to the Redeemer. He meets her by riority of the Master over all ḥis dis- silence" he answered not a word.” ciples. “ Send her away! she crieth She afterwards goes to the disciples, after us." What could the poor tells them her tale, and probably, enbroken-hearted woman do—and yet treating them to intercede with their are these the disciples ? O, my bre- Master, but they evidently show that thren, learn that there may be grace they care little concerning her. The and real
very reply that the Redeemer makes to to do even yet, in order to bring the her only serves to add to her sorrows; mind into a right state. It would not he says, “He is not sent but to the appear that these disciples, excellent lost sheep of the House of Israel. men as they were, had not, as they There is still something far more ought to have had, a heart to pity for discouraging. She goes and cries for this poor suffering woman.
help. • Lord, help me”—and what But this only makes way for another is the strange and singular answer, rebuff. What does our Lord say to “ It is not meet to take the children's the request of his disciples ? He bread, and cast it to the dogs. answered and said, I am not sent but are the Jews again—they are the chilunto the lost sheep of the House of dren, and the Gentiles are the dogs. I Israel.” He was now like Joseph, he have often wondered at our Lord using was concealing his real feelings. He such an expression, and if I had nct was speaking in order to probe and found in the Bible that he did use it, try the faith, and at length to remove I never would have believed that he the fear of the party. But how does did. But I find it here; and I know she meet this second rebuff? She says that he doth all things well; and I know very little one of the shortest prayers that he hath a perfect right to do and in the Bible-three little monosylla- to say what he pleaseth. It seems bles. “ She came and worshipped one of the most cruel and cutting him, and said, Lord help me.” As things that was ever said to a human much as if she had said, I have gone being in this world; and yet it was