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on the merit of his ritual service,) was conscientiously attentive to the weightier matters of the law, became in another sense the child of God, as personally the object of his favour; and the Gentile who, shutting his eyes against the light of nature, gave himself up to work iniquity with greediness, became in another sense a dog, as personally the object of God's aversion; and it is ever to be remembered, that in this worst sense the greater part of the Gentile world were dogs, and lived in enmity with God: But still no Jew was individually a child, nor any Gentile individually a dog, as a Jew or a Gentile, but as a good or a bad man, or as certain qualities morally good or evil were included in the notion of a Jew or a Gentile..
But how great was that faith, which, when the great mystery was not yet disclosed when God's secret purpose of a general redemption had not yet been opened, was not startled at the sound of this dreadful distinction, the Israelites, children; the. Gentiles, dogs! How great was the faith which was displayed in the humility and in
the firmness of the woman's reply! She said Truth, Lord; yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master's table."
First, observe her humility her submission to the arrangements of unerring wisdom and justice. She admits the distinction, so unfavourable as it might seem to her own expectations, so mortifying as it unquestionably was to her pride: She Truth, Lord I must confess the reality of the distinction which thou allegest: Thy nation are the children; we are dogs!" She admits not only the reality but the propriety of the distinction; she presumes not to question the equity and justice of it; she says not" Since God hath made of one blood all nations of men, why should a single family be his favourites, and the whole world beside outcasts?" She reposes in a general persuasion of God's wisdom and goodness; she takes it for granted that a distinction which proceeded from him must be founded in wisdom, justice, and benevolence, that however concealed the end of it might be, it must be in some way
conducive to the universal good that it ought therefore to be submitted to with cheerfulness, even by those on whose side the disadvantage for the present lay. Would God, that men would imitate the humility of this pious Canaanite; that they would consider the scanty measure of the human intellect; rest satisfied in the general belief of the Divine goodness and wisdom; and wait for the event of things, to clear up the things "hard to be understood" in the present constitution of the moral world as well as in the Bible!
We have seen the humility of the Syrophoenician suppliant; let us next consider her firmness. Hitherto she had prayed; her prayers meet with no encouragement: She ventures now to argue. The principles and frame of her argument are very extraordinary; she argues, from God's general care of the world, against the inference of neglect in particular instances; - such was the confidence of her faith in God's goodness, that she argues from that general principle of her belief against the show of severity in her own case: She seems to say
Though thou slay me, yet will I trust in thee; I will rely on thy general attribute of mercy, against what, to one less persuaded of thy goodness, might seem the tenor of thine own words and the sense of thy present conduct." Nor were the grounds of her argument less extraordinary than the drift of it: She avails herself of the distinction which our Lord had himself alleged, as it should seem, in bar of her petition, to establish a claim upon his mercy. This expostulation of the Syrophoenician woman with our Lord hath no parallel in the whole compass of the sacred history, except it be in Abraham's pleadings with the Almighty upon the case of righteous men involved in national calamities. "It is true," she said, "O Lord! I am not thy child, -- I am a dog; but that's the worst of my condition, I still am thine,-I am appointed to a certain use, I bear a certain relation, though no high one, in the family of the universal Lord. The dogs, though not children, have however their proper share in the care and kindness of the goodman of the house: They are not regaled with the first and choicest of the food pro
vided for the children's nourishment; but they are never suffered to be famished with hunger, they are often fed by the master's hand with the fragments of his own table. Am I a dog? It is well: I murmur not at the preference justly shown to the dearer and the worthier children: Give me but my portion of the scraps and offal."
O rare example, in a heathen, of resig nation to the will of God-of complacency and satisfaction in the general arrangements of his providence, which he is the best Christian who best imitates! The faithful Canaanite thankfully accepts what God is pleased to give, because he gives it: She is contented to fill the place which he assigns to her, because he assigns it; and repines not that another fills a higher station: She is contented to be what God ordains to receive what he bestows, in the pious persuasion that every one is "fed with the food that is convenient for him,"
that every being endued with sense and reason is placed in the condition suited to his natural endowments, and furnished with