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The Woman of Canaan in Prayer

The Woman of Canaan in Prayer

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Published by glennpease
BY REV. ICHABOD S. SPENCER, D.D.



Jesus answered and said nnto her, woman, great Is thy faith ; be it unto
thee even as thou wilt.— MAT., zv. 28.
BY REV. ICHABOD S. SPENCER, D.D.



Jesus answered and said nnto her, woman, great Is thy faith ; be it unto
thee even as thou wilt.— MAT., zv. 28.

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Published by: glennpease on Jul 11, 2013
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THE WOMA OF CAAA I PRAYER BY REV. ICHABOD S. SPECER, D.D.Jesus answered and said nnto her, woman, great Is thy faith ; be it untothee even as thou wilt.— MAT., zv. 28.THE woman to whom Jesus Ohrist gave this answerappears to have been entirely a stranger to him. Inwhat manner she had heard of him we are not informed.But it is not improbable that she had never heard of him at all until about the period referred to in the textJesus Christ seems to have been accustomed after heentered upon the work of his ministy, wherever hewent, to carry along with him in all his habits someKgoal mark of his high character. By miraculous heal-ing of the diseased, or some other ministration of mercy,or by conversation and preaching on the great objects of his mission, a manifestation was made of the power andwisdom which attended him. His acts and his instruc-tions circulated &om lip to lip among the people ; andthrough the rumors about him, which went abroad overthe land, probably this woman had heard of him.Man was made for religion. His conscience, his mind,heart and hopes, as well as his fears, naturally prompt himtoward religious endeavors. This is an impulse of hisnature. The influence of it does not cease till he learnsthe sad fact that he is a sinner in the very bent andpreferences of hia heart ; and then, too ofl»n, by the law234 THE WOMA OF CAAA I PRAYEB.of sin which truth demands of him to mortify, he is in-duced to forego all his attempts. On this principle thatman has impulses, capacities and wants which demand
 
religion, the people in the time of Christ conversed muchabout him ; and in this mode the woman who approachedhim so earnestly may have heard much of him.We know little of her. She was not a Jewess. Sheappears to have been bom and educated in a heathencountry. She was a Oanaanite. She belonged to thatdoomed race with whom the patience of God seems tohave been exhausted on account of their wickedness.Probably she was herself like the rest of her blood — ^notdnly a sinner^ but one of aggravated guilt But she hadheard of Christ, and now when he was on the coasts of Tyre and Sidon she came out and cried unto him, say-ing. Have mercy on me. The doom which hung upon hernation, the evU character of her people, and the vilenessof her own sin, did not hinder her from applying toChrist in her time of trouble ; and he did not £Etil to dothat which assorted with his character and his commis-sion — ^the Redeemer of lost sinners. woman, great isthy faith; he it unto thee even as thou wiU. The storyshows us at once what Christ is, and what needy sinnersought to be. His grace is unlimited, inexhaustible andready; and sinners who need it ought to copy theexample of the Syro-Phoenician woman.She was in deep affliction. At the period of affliction isthe very time to apply to Christ. Her daughter was introuble, and, it would seem, a hopeless trouble, unlesssome hitherto unknown power should aid her. Thisaffliction gave point and pathos to her entreaty: HoiveTTiercy on me, Lord, thou son of David, my daughter isgrievously vexed with a devU, Affliction has a rhetoric of THE WOMA OF CAAA I PRAYEB. 285its own. It makes no pre&ces and preludes— it passesno oompliments — and seldom employs any argumentsave one. Absorbed itself in the one matter of its
 
troubles, it can not wait to arrange considerations takenfrom any other quarter; and it can not but feel that thesadness it breathes must find its way to the spot of pityin any heart that beats. . Hence the agitated womanat once, nature acting out nature both in matter andmanner, breaks over all the forms of society, and with-out introduction or hesitancy, and just with the proprietyof grie^ lays down her plea of affliction at the door of her Saviour's heart : Have mercy on me; my daughter isgrievously vexed with a devil.There is an eloquence in grief which no dramatist canimitate, and no insincerity can counterfeit, but whichevery heart can feel.This woman's parental love has here a fine and strikingmanifestation. It is the true love of a mother. oother heart would love so. She took all the tormentupon herself. She does not pray for her daughter. Thatis not the form of her speech. Have mercy on ME,Lord. This is woman ; this is mother. If any thingtouches her child, it touches Jier. The affliction becomesher own. She has adopted it ; and it would lose morethan half its anguish if she could take it all upon her-self and let her child go free. Somewhat on this groundit was^ perhaps, that this woman, so much of a strangerto Christ, would almost go counter to the very modestyof her sex, and uninvited, yea, almost repulsed, wouldbreak through the crowds which attended Christ, andamid the gaze of the multitude come up to the verypresence of her Master. She did not send. A messengerwould not do. o message could carry along a mother's236 THE WOICA OF CAKAA I PBAYBB.heart, or oflEer a moQiex^s prayer. Orief has a law of itsown; and no matter what the conventional roles of Bocietj may saj, where it acts in its own sincerity it

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