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Phoenician colonies; and because they bordered upon Syria, they were called by the Greeks and Romans Syro-Phoenicians. A Syrophoenician therefore is a Canaanite under another name: The woman therefore who came out to meet our Lord was not only an alien from the stock of Israel,she was a daughter of the accursed Canaan; she came of that impure and impious stock, which the Israelites, when they settled in Palestine, were commissioned and commanded to exterminate. Particular persons, it is true, at that time found means to obtain an exemption of themselves and their families from the general sentence,as Rahab the hostess, by her kind entertainment of the Jewish spies; and the whole city of the Gibeonites, by a surrender of themselves and their posterity for ever to a personal servitude. But such families, if they embraced not the Jewish religion in all its forms, at least renounced idolatry; for the Israelites were not at liberty to spare their lives, and to suffer them to remain within the limits of the Holy Land, upon any other terms. Our Lord's suppliant was not of any of these

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reformed families; for she was not only


a Syrophoenician by nation," she was besides " a Greek." She was a "Greek." This word describes not her country, but her religion: She was an idolatress, bred in the principles of that gross idolatry which consisted in the worship of the images of dead men. And because idolatry in this worst form obtained more among the Greeks than the nations of the East, such idolaters, of whatever country they might be, were by the Jews of the apostolic age called Greeks; just as, among us, any one who lives in the communion of the Roman church, though he be a Frenchman or a Spaniard, is called a Roman Catholic.

We now then understand what the woman was who sought our Lord's assistance, -by birth a Canaanite, by profession an idolatress. It appears by the sequel of the story, (for to understand the parts, we must keep the whole in view; and we must anticipate the end, to make the true use of the beginning,)—it appears, I say, from the sequel of the story, that whatever the errors

of her former life had been, when she came to implore our Lord's compassion she had overcome the prejudices of her education, and had acquired notions of the true God and his perfections which might have done honour to a Jew by profession, a native Israelite. To this happy change the calamity with which she was visited in the person of her child had no doubt conduced: And to this end it was perhaps more conducive than any thing she could have suffered in her own person; because her distress for her child was purely mental, and mental distress is a better corrective of the mind than bodily disease or infirmity, because, equally repressive of the levity of the mind and the wanderings of the imagination to pleasurable objects, it is not attended with that disturbance and distraction of the thoughts which are apt to be produced by the pain and debility of sickness. Thus we see how God remembers mercy even in his judgments; administering afflictions in the way in which they most conduce to the sufferer's benefit. Nor can it be deemed an injury to the child that it was subjected to sufferVOL. III.

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ings for another's guilt; since the innocence of its own future life might be best secured by the mother's reformation.

Conscious of the change that was already wrought in her sentiments and principles, and resolved no doubt upon a suitable reformation of her conduct, the converted idolatress of the Syrophœnician race would not be discouraged, either by the curse entailed upon her family, or by the remembrance of the guilt and error of her past life, from trying the success of a personal application to our Lord. She well understood that no individual, of any nation or family, could without personal guilt be excluded from God's love and mercy, by virtue of any curse entailed upon the race in its political or collective capacity. Reasons of government in God's moral kingdom may make it expedient and even necessary, that the progeny of any eminent delinquent should for many generations, perhaps for the whole period of their existence upon earth as a distinct family, be the worse for the crimes of their progenitor. God therefore may, and he

certainly does, visit the sins of the fathers upon the children collectively for many generations; as at this day he visits on the Jews collectively the infidelity of their forefathers in the age of our Lord and his apostles. But these visitations are in truth acts of mercy; and, rightly understood, they are signs of favour to the persons visited. They are intended not only for the general admonition of mankind, but for the particular benefit of those on whom the evil is inflicted; who are taught by it to abhor and dread the crime which hath been the source of their calamity. These curses therefore on a family hinder not but that every individual of the race holds the same place in God's favour or displeasure as had been due to his good or ill deservings had the public malediction never been incurred. It is true, the innocence of, an individual may not procure him an exemption from his share of the public evil; but this is because it is for his advantage in the end that he be not exempted. "If I am of the race of Canaan," said our Syrophoenician woman, “it is true I must take my share of certain national disad

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