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vantages which God hath been pleased to lay upon our race as lasting monuments of his abhorrence of the crime of our ancestors: But this is no reason that I trust not to his mercy for deliverance from my own particular afflictions. Nor will I be deterred by the crimes and follies of my past life. My Maker knows that the understanding which he gave me is liable to error, that he hath formed me with passions apt to be seduced: He hath administered a correction, by which I am brought to a sense of my error; and I am, I trust, in some degree recovered from seduction: I am no longer therefore the object of his displeasure, but of his mercy; of which my providential recovery from sin and ignorance, though effected by a bitter discipline, is itself a proof. He hath already shown me his mercy in the very affliction which hath wrought my reformation. I should fail therefore in gratitude to my benefactor were I to indulge a timidity of imploring his assist
Such were the sentiments of the reformed
idolatress, when she had the courage to become a suppliant to our Lord in her own person; and such should be the sentiments of every sinner, in his first efforts to turn from the power of darkness to serve the living God. He should harbour no apprehension that his past sins will exclude him from the Divine mercy, if he can but persevere in his resolution of amendment. Nor is the perseverance doubtful, if the resolution be sincere: From the moment that the understanding is awakened to a sense of the danger and of the loathsomeness of sinto a reverent sense of God's perfections- to a fear of his anger, as the greatest evil to a desire of his favour, as the highest good, from the moment that this change takes place in the sinner's heart and understanding, whatever may have been the malignity, the number, and the frequency of his past crimes, such is the efficacy of the great sacrifice, he is reconciled to God, he obtains not only forgiveness, but assistance; and the measuré of the assistance, I will be bold to say, is always in proportion to the strength of evil habit which the penitent hath to over
come. He is not therefore to be discou raged from addressing himself to God in prayer, by a sense of unworthiness arising from his past sins. Upon the ground of merit, no man is worthy to claim an audience of his Maker; but to a privilege to which innocence might scarce aspire, by the mercy of the gospel covenant repentance is admitted. Reformation indeed is innocence in the merciful construction of the Christian dispensation: The Redeemer stands at God's right hand, pleading in the behalf of the penitent the merit of his own humiliation; and the effect is, that no remembrance is had in heaven of forsaken sin. The courage of our converted idolatress is an edifying example to all repenting sinners; and the blessing with which it was in the end rewarded justified the principles upon which she acted.
Before we proceed to the more interesting subject of meditation our Saviour's conduct upon this occasion, we must consider another circumstance on the woman's part the manner in which her supplication was addressed. She came from her
home to meet him on the road; and she cried out" Have mercy upon me, O Lord, thou son of David!" Jesus, retiring from the malice of his enemies or the imprudence of his friends to the Sidonian territory, is saluted by an idolatress of the Canaanites by his proper titles,—“ the Lord," "the Son of David." It is indeed little to be wondered, that idolaters living on the confines of the Jewish territory, and conversing much with the Israelites, should be well acquainted with the hope which they entertained of a national deliverer to arise in David's family, at a time when the expectation of his advent was raised to the height, by the evident com✩ pletion of the prophecies which marked the time of his appearance; and when the numberless miracles wrought by our Lord, in the course of three successive summers, in every part of Galilee, had made both the expectation of the Messiah and the claim of Jesus to be the person the talk of the whole country to a considerable distance. It is the less to be wondered, because we find something of an expectation of the Messiah of the Jews in all
parts of the world at that season. remarkable circumstance is this, this Syrophoenician idolatress must have looked for no partial deliverer of the Jewish nation, but for a general benefactor of all mankind, in the person of the Jewish Messiah; for had he been to come for the particular benefit of the Jews only, this daughter of Canaan could have had no part or interest in the Son of David.
Having examined into the character of our Lord's suppliant, and remarked the terms in which she addressed him, we will In another discourse consider the remarkable manner in which on our Lord's part her petition was received.