Sermon 715. Children'S Bread Given To Dogs
DELIVERED ON SUNDAY MORNING, OCTOBER 14, 1866, BY C. H. SPURGEON, AT THE FREE TABERNACLE, NOTTING HILL.
"And she said, Truth, Lord: yet even the little dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table."
IN this narrative we have the portrait of a soul for which a sure blessing is reserved. If the story closed without its finalverse, one might be quite sure as to what the result of the woman's pleading would be. Christ must change His Nature if aperson coming as she is said to have come, could besent away empty! I shall with a few touches sketch the woman's picture, and shall beg you to see if you are like she, forif so it will be evidence to you that the time to favor you, yes, the set time, has come.
This woman had a great and pressing need. Her daughter was vexed with a devil, and she could not endure to see the miserywhich that evil spirit caused her child. The pain and anguish, the delirium and horror into which the child was thrown weretoo much for her to bear. Her need was conscious,troublesome, burdensome. She had grown desperate under it-she must be rid of it. Is it so with you, dear Hearer? Does yoursin plague you? Does your transgression come up before you like a continual offense? Does it vex you both day and night tillit has come tothis-that you cannot live without pardon-that you must be forgiven or driven into madness?
Do you feel that things are at such a point with you that you cannot live any longer under the sentence of Divine wrath? Thisis a very blessed and hopeful sign. If there are many such here, there is music in store for angels. When her case was cometo such a point, she heard of the LordJesus-and what she heard she acted upon. They told her that He was a great healer of the sick and able to cast out devils.She was not content with that information-she set to work at once to try its value. She went to Jesus with all speed and foundthat it was aconvenient season, for He was near to her land, and she hastened to cry unto Him.
Ah, dear Hearer, you, too, have heard of Jesus! I shall not ask you whether you know the doctrine of His Godhead and of HisManhood and of His Atonement for sin-you know it well-but have you put it to the trial? You understand that He saves souls-haveyou taken your own soul toHim to be saved? You know that He can forgive sin, are you looking to Him, now, to forgive your sin? If it is so, thoughas yet you sit in the shadow of death, your hour of deliverance hastens on apace! For a soul under a sense of need that honestlyseeks the Savior's face is notfar from the kingdom of Heaven!
This woman was most desperately resolved. She had made up her mind, I believe, that she would never go back to the place fromwhere she came till she had received the blessing. She would dog the Savior's footsteps. She would waylay Him. If the disciplespushed her back she would wait anotheropportunity. If not then successful, she would try the next occasion, and if that would not suffice, she would venture yetagain. She was sorely tried by the Savior, for He sometimes tests those whom He knows to be strong enough to bear the trial.And when she obtained no answerfrom Him, but rather met with a rebuff, she was not daunted but pressed her suit, for she had drunk deep into the spiritof the hymn-
"Resolved, for that's my last defense, IfI must perish there to die."
If there is a soul here who has come to this-that he will never give up praying until he receives a comfortable answer, thathe will never cease to weep for sin until the blood has washed it out-rejoice, you heavens, and be glad, O earth, for thereare souls here who have come to thebirth, and they shall be brought forth this day! There are souls here who are now upon the edge of liberty, upon the vergeof peace-they shall even this day obtain a complete liberation from all their bondage! I said at the commencement that thiswoman was a correct portraitof the most hopeful case in the world. Can you spy your own face in her story, even as men see their countenances in a glass?Then am I happy, for your position is full of hopefulness.
I may not leave this picture, however, without observing that this woman triumphantly endured a trial very common among seekingsouls. Brethren, those evangelists who are not pastors will perhaps differ from me in what I am about to say, but if theyknew more about souls they would not. It iscustomary in the pulpit to exhort people to believe in Jesus Christ. It is not only customary but it is most proper andright, and the more of it the better! But there are some who are content with giving the exhortation generally, and do notwith affectionate discrimination dealwith the separate cases of men.
There are cases in which the bare exhortation to believe is not enough. I wonder what mere exhorters would do with certainpeculiar instances which I have now under my own hand. I have explained the Gospel to them to the best of my ability manytimes, and have prayed with them and for them. I havegiven them books which God has blessed in other cases. I have directed them to passages of Scripture which have been themeans of giving light to thousands. Yet these persons, month after month, remain in as much doubt and distress of mind asat first. No, they are even worse.
This was my own case for years as a child. The Gospel was taught me by my parents but I was in such darkness and despondencyof spirit that I could not do what I was bid to do, and felt as if when bid to look to Christ I had no eyes to look with.Even the Gospel did not then appear to suit my case.It was my sinful blindness and guilty folly which made me think so, but alas, how many are there equally blinded who needto have their cases handled gently and wisely! Albeit that we say to them, "Believe," they are far from being comforted bythe advice. There is needed somefurther explanation, some simpler opening up of the saving Truth of God, and perhaps a laborious answering of their difficultiesbefore they can find peace.
Genuine seekers who as yet have not obtained the blessing, may take comfort from the story before us. The Savior did not atonce give the blessing, even though this woman had faith. Be not startled! It is the truth. She had real and genuine faithin Christ when she came to Jesus, else she wouldnever have put up with the rebuffs of the disciples. Yet, Believer as she was, she did not, at first, obtain the blessingwhich she sought! The Savior always intended to give it, but He waited awhile. "He answered her not a word." Were not herprayers good? Never better in theworld! Was not her case needy? Sorrowfully needy! Did she not feel her need sufficiently? She did feel it overwhelmingly!Was she not earnest enough? She was as earnest as ever woman could be! Had she no faith? She had such a high degree of itthat even Jesus wondered, and said, "Owoman, great is your faith." Yet for awhile she could not obtain an answer to her prayers.
See then, dear Friends, although it is true that faith brings peace, yet it does not always bring it instantaneously. Theremay be certain reasons calling for the trial of faith, rather than the reward of faith. Genuine faith may be in the soul likea hidden seed, but as yet it may not have buddedand blossomed into joy and peace. Comfort is the child of Faith, but it is not always as old as its mother. I say this tocheer some of you. Do not, I beseech you, give up seeking! Do not give up trusting my Master because you have not yet obtainedthe conscious joy which you longfor!
I doubt not but that you certainly will be saved, even though as yet no kindly promise has gladdened your heart. "Slow breaksthe light" on many a heart, but surely will it break before long! A painful silence from the Savior is the grievous trialof many a seeking soul, but heavier, still, is theaffliction of a harsh cutting reply such as this, "It is not good to take the children's bread and cast it to the littledogs." Many, in waiting upon the Lord, find immediate delight, but this is not the case with all. Some, like the jailer, arein a moment turned from darkness tolight, but others are plants of slower growth.
A deeper sense of sin may be given to you instead of a sense of pardon, and in such a case you will have need of patienceto bear the heavy blow. Ah, poor Heart, though Christ beat and bruise you or even slay you, trust Him! Though He should giveyou an angry word, believe in the love of His heart!And even if for the next few months you should not be able to say, "I know comfortably that He is mine," yet cast yourselfon Him and perseveringly depend even where you can not rejoicingly hope!
We come to the text itself. The woman's case is an instance of prevailing faith. And if we would conquer, we must imitateher tactics. If I were called to be a commander in an army I should observe how other commanders who have been successfulhave managed the matter. Here is a woman who conqueredChrist! Let us go by her rule, and we will conquer Christ, too, by His own Divine Grace.
I. In the first place, observe that SHE ADMITS THE ACCUSATION BROUGHT AGAINST HER. Jesus called her a dog, and she meeklysaid, "Truth, Lord." Here is no controversy with Christ-no setting up of oppositions, palliations, excuses, and mitigations.She is frank, prompt, humble, and open."Truth, Lord"-that is her only answer to Him. When a man wrestles, much depends upon his foothold. If he does not standfirmly he cannot win the day, and if we would wrestle with the Angel of Mercy, we must find a foothold where this woman did-ina deep sense ofunworthiness.
She knew herself to be an outcast from Israel, and at once confessed it. The most of men, if they had been called dogs, wouldeither have turned on their heel and gone away in sullen despair, or else would have blazed into a bad temper and repliedto the Master, "I am no more dog than You, and if Icome to ask a charity, can You not at least give me a civil refusal?" The natural heart rebels against what the Scripturessays about it. Until a man is truly humbled he scorns to admit the depravity of his nature.
Though he may be quite willing to use the common terms of humility, he does not mean them, for if they were applied to himin another shape he would grow very angry. Like the monk who said he had broken all the Commandments and was as bad as JudasIscariot. But when a bystander remarked, "I alwaysthought so," the monk grew dreadfully angry, and vowed vengeance on the man who so insulted him! Call me a horse if youwill, but it is quite another thing to put a saddle on my back.
I have heard of a woman who told her minister who visited her that she was a shocking sinner. "Well," said the minister, "Ihave no doubt you are. Let us go over your sins." So beginning with the First Commandment, she declared that she had neverbroken that-she had never worshipped any othergod but God. As to the Second Commandment, she had never set up any graven images, she was sure. Nor had she broken theSabbath. She had honored her father and mother, never coveted, never borne false witness, never killed anybody. In fact shepleaded that she had not broken one ofthe Ten Commandments, notwithstanding she had confessed herself so sad a sinner!
We plead guilty to stealing a forest, but deny that we ever thieved so much as a couple of sticks. The woman before us believedin her heart in the degradation of her state, so that when the Savior addressed her in apparently the coarsest manner as adog, she was so thoroughly conversant with herown fallen condition that it did not startle her to be called what she knew herself to be! She had heard sin bark withinher so often, and so loudly that when the Savior called her a dog she only felt that He was calling things by their rightnames.
If I were to go over the whole statement of the Fall, and the mischief of sin, everybody in this place would say, "That istrue." But oh, how few there are who really feel it to be true, and are deeply grieved over it! We are all sinners, so wesay-but we all have our excellencies-so wefeel. The Word of God does not give us a very complimentary picture of humanity. It informs us that our first father sinned,and that through him, as he stood for all of us, we all fell and lost the favor of God. The Herald's College of Scripturedraws up for us a miserablepedigree. Those aristocrats who are so proud of their Norman ancestors would do well to trace the family tree to a stillearlier date, and they will find the one of blue blood ending in the gardener who stole his Master's fruit, and was sent adriftwithout a rag to cover hisnakedness!
A beggarly pedigree this, you nobles of the earth! This is a sinister mark on your coat of arms which nothing can wipe out.The Inspired Word goes on to tell us that, in consequence of this, we are all born in sin and shaped in iniquity, and thatin sin our mothers conceive us. It testifies that weare not only sinners with the hand, but with the heart-that sin is not merely a scab upon the skin, but a leprosy in thesoul-that "the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint." It tells us that the heart, itself, is "deceitful above allthings, and desperatelywicked."
No, it goes further and certifies that we are not simply sick and depraved, but utterly perverted-that through our sin ourwills have become perverse so that we will not come to Christ that we might have life, habitually putting the bitter for sweetand sweet for bitter-choosing theevil and eschewing the good. It tells us that this inability of ours to goodness is so great as to be tantamount to spiritualdeath. It describes us as being by nature "dead in trespasses and sins." In such a state that we can no more restore ourselvesto salvation than the dead intheir graves can raise themselves of their own power and put themselves into a state of life and health. The Book of Godsays all against man that can be said, and more than man is willing to confess except when the Spirit of God comes, and thenour heart answers, "Truth, Lord."
Moreover, God's Word goes on to say that our sin is so great that it must be always hateful to God. That it deserves thatwe, who have committed it, should be banished from His Presence into unutterable woe. But human nature kicks at this, andsays, "No, sin is a weakness, a foible, a mistake, andnothing more." But when the Holy Spirit enters the heart we cry, "Truth, Lord. It is a black thing, a devilish thing, aninfernal thing. And if You cast us into Hell You only do with sin what ought to be done with it!" Beloved Friends, wheneveryou meet with a sinner bowed down withthe burden of sin, never try to make his sin appear to be lighter! On the contrary, say to the soul that is most despairing,"You feel that you are a great sinner, but you are a much greater sinner than you feel yourself to be."
When the soul cries, "My sin is very heavy," do not attempt to comfort it by making excuses for it. On the contrary, say,"Heavy as you think your sin to be, it is much heavier than you know." Never play into the devil's hands by excusing sinnersin their sins. If you give comfort to your friend bysaying to him, "Well, you have not been such a sinner as you think you are," you are giving him ruinous comfort. You arepresenting to him a poisonous drug which may lull him to sleep, and which will therefore lull him to destruction! Tell himthat sin is in itself so horrible thatif a man could see a naked sin it would drive him mad! Tell him that the very least offense against God is so intolerable,that if Hell fire were put out, one sin could kindle it again.
The woman in this case, if it had been a sound way of getting comfort, would have argued, "No, Lord, I am not a dog. I maynot be all I ought to be, but I am not a dog at any rate. I am a human being. You speak too sharply. Good Master, do not beunjust." Instead of that she admits the whole. Thisshowed that she was in a right state of mind, since she admitted in its blackest, heaviest meaning whatever the Savior mightchoose to say against her. By night the glowworm is bright like a star, and rotten touch wood glistens like molten gold. Bythe light of day the glowworm is amiserable insect, and the rotten wood is decay, and nothing more.
So with us. Until the light comes into us we count ourselves good. But when Heaven's light shines, our heart is discoveredto be rottenness, corruption, and decay. Do not whisper in the mourner's ear that it is not so, and do not delude yourselfinto the belief that it is not so. You are a lostsinner. You deserve damnation! You deserve it, especially, even if no one else deserves it! You have sinned against lightand against knowledge! You are ruined, and ruined utterly. Bad as you think yourself to be, your case is infinitely worsethan you conceive it to be, and I amnot here to give you any comfort by saying peace, peace, where there is no peace.
Your state, O Sinner, is horribly bad, and will soon be worse, hopelessly worse! And before God may you be made to feel this,and to say, "Truth, Lord."
II. But notice, in the second place, SHE ADHERES TO CHRIST NOTWITHSTANDING. Did you notice the force of what she said? "Truth,Lord; yet the little dogs eat the crumbs that fall from"-where? "From their master's table." Dogs in the East very seldomhave a master. There are big dogs aboutevery Eastern city that live on the garbage thrown from the houses, and these big dogs are such a nuisance that I am notaware that there is one word in the whole of Scripture in favor of them.
The dog, as we know him, is a most affectionate, faithful servant of man, and deserves great honor. But the dog, as he isin the East, deserves nothing but contempt. He is simply a big howling brute who will bark at or bite anybody who is passing.In the Savior's days the Easterners had learnedRoman manners and had introduced little household dogs. It is remarkable that our Lord did not call this woman one of thebig dogs without a master, but one of the little lap dogs. It was a name of contempt, certainly, but still not the severestform of it. "It is not meet to givethe children's bread to these little dogs."
There is a word here which I want you to notice. The woman does not say, "the little dogs eat the crumbs that fall from thetable," but, "from their master's table." Notice her adherence to Jesus. She says in effect to Him, "You are my Master." Sheseems to say, "Lord, I am asking for a greatblessing, and say what You will to me, I mean to have it. But if I cannot obtain the blessing, at any rate, I will alwaysfollow You-You shall be my Master. If You shall never say, 'go in peace, your faith has given you the blessing,' yet I takeYou to be my Master." As astray dog picks up with a stranger and follows him home, and seems to say, "you may kick me or shut the door, but I havetaken you to be my master. If you shut me out of one door I will go in at the other. If you shut me out at both doors I willbe on the doormat. And if you kick meinto the street, I will stand there until you come out, and then I will follow you-I have taken you to be my master, andmy master you shall be."
Now, poor Soul, is this your case? If not, I urge you to take that stand. You have admitted that all which Jesus has saidis true, but you say, "For all that, whether I am a dog or a devil, I will never leave off coming to Christ as my Savior.If I am a dog I will follow at the heels ofMercy-morning, noon, and night I will crouch at my Master's feet-and I will never give up trusting in Jesus, even if I haveno comfort from Him. I have argued out the case with may own heart, and I have concluded that if God becomes a Savior, therecan be no case beyondHis infinite power. If the Son of God dies and sheds His blood there can be no scarlet sin which His blood cannot wash out.And if He rose again and is gone up on high, then He is able to save unto the uttermost them that come unto God by Him. Iam resolved, therefore, to wait andwrestle until He deigns to give me an answer."
No man clings more closely to Christ than he who is most sensible of his lost estate. Who holds the plank the tightest? Whythe man who is the most afraid of being drowned! Fear frequently intensifies faith. The more afraid I am of my sins the morefirmly do I grasp my Savior. Fear is sometimes themother of faith. One who was walking in the fields was surprised to find a trembling lark fly into his bosom. A strangething for a timid bird to do, was it not? But there was a hawk after it, and therefore fear of the hawk made the bird boldenough to fly to man for shelter! Andoh, when the fierce vultures of sin and Hell are pursuing a poor sinner, he is driven by the courage of despair to fly intothe heart of the blessed Jesus!
John Bunyan has said, somewhere, words to this effect, "I was brought into such a dread and horror under the wrath of Godthat I could not help trusting in Christ! I felt that if He stood there with a drawn sword in His hand I must even run rightupon its point sooner than endure my sins." I hopeand pray that the Lord may drive you to Jesus in such a way as this if you will not be drawn by gentler means. Brethren,a soul set upon Jesus, and clinging to Him with a death grip can by no means perish! The thing is utterly impossible! I havesometimes tried to picture a soul inHell that has sought Jesus and resolved to die at the foot of His Cross. Such a thing cannot be. But suppose it for a moment,and the supposition will destroy itself.
"Alas," says that lost soul, "Jesus, I did hang alone upon You, but I am undone. I was worthless. I deserved nothing of Yourfavor. But I did trust in You as the Savior of the vile. I did depend upon Your power to deliver me, and here I am in thepit." Can you fancy such a sound as that amid thewailings of Hell? How the devils would laugh! "Ha, ha! Where are the promises? Where is the great heart of Christ to leta sinner perish who twined his arms about Him? Was it because He could not?" Then Satan cries, "Ha, ha! He was not able tosave to the uttermost them that came toGod by Him. Though He claimed to be a Physician He could not heal. "Or else," says the arch-fiend, "He could not save thosewho longed and panted to be saved."
You shudder to think what fearful blasphemy all this would be, and how it would tarnish the honor of the glorious Redeemer!It shall not be, Sinner, it shall not be! If you are the filthiest offender that ever lived, cast yourself at the feet ofJesus, resolved never to leave until He give youpardon! He cannot refuse you! We must not limit God and say what He can or cannot do. But we do read that He cannot lie,and certainly if Jesus were to cast out a soul that came to Him, He would lie. Therefore be of good cheer. Only stand to itthat you will never leave theSavior-that you will die at the foot of the Cross-and all shall be well with you.
III. Furthermore, the woman's great master weapon, the needle gun which she used in her battle, was this, SHE HAD LEARNEDTHE ART OF GETTING COMFORT OUT OF HER MISERIES. Jesus called her a dog. "Yes," said she, "but then little dogs get the crumbs."She could see a silver lining to the black cloud.Christ threw a bone at her. She took it up and cracked it, and got marrow out of it. It looked to be a very hard stone,but it had a lump of gold inside, and she knocked away the quartz and found the clear bright bullion and was enriched. "Callme a dog," she says, "very well, Iwill be a dog, and I shall get the crumbs."
She draws water of comfort from the deep well of her miseries. Now, poor Soul, in the same state, try, by the Holy Spirit'said, to do the same thing. Satan has been saying to you, "You have broken God's Law. You have offended Him. You have beena sinner." Soul, if you have any wit left, cut thedevil's head off with his own sword! Say to him, "I am a sinner, but it is written, 'It is a faithful saying and worthyof all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.' What do you say to that, Satan? If I am a sinnerHe came into the world to save sinners.If I had not been a sinner Jesus would not have come to save me, for it is nowhere written that He came to save those whoare not sinners."
The more clearly I prove that I am a sinner, the more clearly I prove that I am an object for the Savior's mercy. PerhapsConscience whispers, "You are not a sinner of an ordinary kind. You have gone to the greatest lengths until you have madeyour heart hard-you are a lostsinner." "Ah!" youcan say, "I will catch at that then, for the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. He did not cometo seek those who did not need seeking. He did not come as the Great Shepherd to find the sheep that were in the fold, butthose which had gone astray. And I,being a lost one, when I see the Shepherd going over the mountains after the lost ones, I will bleat like a lost sheep,for perhaps He has come to look after me." But Conscience says to you, again, "You are such an undeserving one. You are notonly a lost sinner, but you are utterlyunworthy." Sinner, catch at that and say, "God is a God of Mercy. If I deserved anything there would be the less room formercy-for something would be due to me as a matter of justice. But as I am a sheer mass of undeservingness, there is roomfor the Lord to reveal theabounding of His Grace."
There is no room for a man to be generous among yonder splendid mansions in Belgravia! Suppose a man had thousands of poundsin his pocket and desired to give it away in charity? He would be terribly hampered by princely palaces. If he were to knockat the doors of those great houses, and say hewanted an opportunity of being charitable, powdered footmen would slam the door in his face and tell him to be gone withhis impudence. But come along with me! Let us wander down the Mews all among the dunghills, and get away into back alleyswhere crowds of ragged children areplaying amid filth and squalor-where all the people are miserably poor-and where cholera is festering.
Now Sir, down with your money bags! Here is plenty of room for your charity! Now you may put both your hands into your pockets,and not fear that anybody will refuse you. You may spend your money right and left now, with ease and satisfaction. When theGod of Mercy comes down to distribute mercy,He cannot give it to those who do not need it! But you need forgiveness, for you are full of sin, and you are just the personlikely to receive it.
"Ah!" says one, "I am so sick at heart. I cannot believe, I cannot pray." If I saw the doctor's brougham driving along ata great rate through the streets, I should be sure that he was not coming to myhouse, for I do not require him. But if I hadto guess where he was going, I should conclude thathe was hastening to some sick or dying person. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Physician of souls. The more sick you are, themore room is there for the physician's art. When a man sets up in a trade, he likes to find a locality where his articlesare needed, and there he opens hisshop.
What if I say it is my Master's trade to save sinners? What if I say it is the only business and calling that He undertook,to become a Savior of lost and ruined souls? Then He can drive a brisk trade in your heart, and I believe that He will openshop there and enrich Himself with your praise andyour love by saving you. Do try now, my Hearer, thus to find hope in the very hopelessness of your condition, in whateveraspect that hopelessness may appear to you. The Bible says that you are dead in sin-then conclude that there is space forJesus to come, since He is theResurrection and the Life. If you were alive, you would not want two lives-but as you are dead, there is room for Jesusto give you life!
The Bible tells you that you are empty-do not deny it-say, "Truth, Lord." But then there is room for Christ's fullness. Ifyou were full you could not hold two fullnesses-your own fullness would keep Christ's fullness out. But now that you are emptythere is room for Him. DearHeart, instead of trying to make your case out to be better, believe in its thorough badness, and yet be of good cheer.You can not exaggerate your sin, and even if you could it were wiser to err in that direction than the other.
A man called at my house some time ago for charity-an arrant beggar, I have no doubt. Thinking that the man's rags and povertywere real, I gave him a little money, some of my clothes, and a pair of shoes. After he had put them on and gone out, I thought,"Well, after all, I have done you abad turn very likely, for you will not get so much money now as before, because you will not look so wretched an object."Happening to go out a quarter of an hour afterwards, I saw my friend, but he was not wearing the clothes I had given him,not he! Why, I should have ruined hisbusiness if I could have compelled him to look respectable! He had been wise enough to slip down an archway, take all thegood clothes off, and put his rags on again.
Did I blame him? Yes, for being a rogue, but not for carrying on his business in a business-like manner. He only wore hisproper livery, for rags are the livery of a beggar. The more ragged he looked the more he would get. Just so is it with you.If you are to go to Christ, do not put on your gooddoings and feelings, or you will get nothing. Go in your sins, they are your livery. Your ruin is your argument for mercy!Your povertyis your plea for heavenly alms! And your need is the motive for heavenly goodness. Go as you are, and let yourmiseries plead for you.
If I were wounded on the battle-field, and the surgeon was going about to attend on the sick, he would be sure to visit thosefirst whose wounds were the worst. In the hurry of a battle they do not look after a man who has had his finger shot off whenthere are others whose arms and legs are gone!But I would take care to state my case as fully as I could- by no means speaking lightly of my hurts-in order to have mybleeding wounds bound up as soon as possible. I should not feel inclined to say, "Oh, it is nothing, I am very little injured,it is no problem." Ishould be for taking time by the forelock, and getting what help I needed as soon as possible.
Now, you too, sinner, learn this art. Do not paint yourself in bright colors, but admit yourself to be lost and ruined, andthen, adhering still to Christ, make your very wants, and needs, and death, and ruin to be an argument why the Lord of Mercyshould show His mighty power in you.
IV. Let me, in the fourth place, notice the way in which the woman gained comfort: SHE THOUGHT GREAT THOUGHTS OF CHRIST. Imust have your attention in this. The Master had talked about the children's bread. "Now," she argued, "since You are theMaster of that table, I know that You are a generoushousekeeper, and there is sure to be abundance of bread on Your table. You are no stingy provider, there will be such anabundance for the children that there will be crumbs to throw on the floor for the little dogs-and the children will farenone the worse because the littledogs are fed."
She did not think the Lord Jesus to be a workhouse master who must serve out so many ounces of bread for each one! She thoughtHim to be a generous provider who kept so good a table that all that she needed would only be a crumb in comparison. Yet remember,what she wanted was to have the devilcast out of her daughter. It was a very great thing to her, but she had such a high esteem of Christ that she said, "Itis nothing to Him-it is but a crumbfor Christ to give." This is the royal road to comfort! Great thoughts of your sin, alone,will drive you todespair-but great thoughts of Christ will soon bear you upwards upon eagle's wings!
"My sins are many, but oh, it is nothing to Jesus to take them all away! He can as easily lift the mountains of my sin asI could lift a molehill on a shovel. It is true the weight of my guilt presses me down as a giant's foot would crush a worm,but it would be no more than a grain of dust to Himbecause He has already borne its curse in His own body on the Cross. It will be but a small thing for Him to give me fullremission, although it will be an infinite blessing for me to receive it." She opens her mouth to expect great things of Jesus,and He fills it with His love.
I ask you, dear Friends, to do the same. Oh may the Holy Spirit enable you! But you may say, "help me." Well, I will helpyou. You ought to think great thoughts of Jesus when you remember that He is God. What limit can you set when you have Godto deal with? He with His span measures the heavens!In the hollow of His hands He holds the seas! He takes up the isles as a very little thing. If Jesus Christ is God, howcan you think He cannot save you? O Man, when you have to deal with the Eternal and Infinite let your doubts fly to the winds!
Think again that He, being God, suffered the penalty of sin-a grief which man alone could not have endured. The weight ofHis Father's wrath fell upon Jesus at Calvary. Can you see Him with His pierced hands and feet? Can you read the lines ofagony written upon His crown of thorns and notbelieve that He is able to save? God over all, the glory of whose countenance fills Heaven with splendor, yields His faceto be covered with shameful spittle, and His brow to be bedewed with drops of bloody sweat! Is anything impossible to themerits of the agonizing God? Think ofthat, Sinner, and you will put no limit to what Jesus can do.
But Jesus rose again. See Him as He rises from the tomb, ascending to His Father's Throne amid the jubilations of ten thousandangels! See how He wears the keys of Heaven, and Death and Hell, swinging at His waist! What cannot He do? Not save you? Hewho is "exalted on high to give repentance," whois, "able to save to the uttermost," seeing that He ever lives to intercede-can you doubt His power to save? Oh, do notdishonor my Master! Trust Him now! But you are still doubting. Then I will bring you one thing more that shall, by God's sweetlove, drive your doubts awayand make you cling to the Savior.
There are some country towns in the eastern counties where there is a celebrated doctor, and I have heard of wagons startingfrom remote hamlets loaded with people to go twenty or thirty miles to consult the famous man. Whether he does them good ornot I am sure I cannot tell, but the illustrationserves my purpose. Suppose one of you were to set off to see this doctor. Feeling very sick and ill, you are afraid thathe will be of no service to you when you get there. But on the road you meet wagonloads of persons journeying cheerfully home.They ask, "Where are you going?"and you reply, "I am going off to Doctor So-and-So, for I am ill." "Oh!" they say, "you are very blest to be able to go!We have been there-we were all as bad as you and we have been cured, and are now going home."
"But," you say, "had any of you a bad leg like mine?" "Oh, yes," one replies, "I had twobad legs! My case was even worse thanyours." "Well, were you perfectly restored?" "Yes," says the man. "See how I can walk, I am fully restored."
Would you not go on with confidence? You were half afraid before, but you say, "Now I shall proceed joyfully, for these curesare so many proofs of the physician's power." There are hundreds this morning, even in this free Tabernacle, who can say,"Yes! Jesus is able to save," and they can give thevery best proof of it, too, by adding, "He saved me!"
Dear Hearers, I know that Christ can save sinners, for I have seen His salvation in thousands of cases! But the best proofI ever had was when He saved me! When I looked to Him and was lightened, and my face was not ashamed, then I knew, I neededno further arguments. O Sinner, He has saveddrunkards, swearers, harlots, whoremongers, adulterers. Paul says that He saved those that defiled themselves with namelesssins, for he says, "Such were some of you. But you are washed." Even the murderer can have deeds of blood washed out by theblood of Jesus. "All manner of sinand blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men," for "the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses from all sin."
He is a great Savior! He is the greatest Savior! He is a Savior greater than the greatest! And as for yoursins, they shallsink beneath the sea of His atoning blood and shall be found against you no more forever! The woman thought great thoughtsof Christ, and that brought her comfort.
V. And so you see, in the last place, SHE WON THE VICTORY. She confessed what Christ laid at her door. She laid fast holdupon Him and drew arguments even out of His hard words. She believed great things of Him, and she thus overcame Him. Now letme say that the reason why she overcame Christ wasreally here, that she had first of all overcome herself. She had conquered, in another fight before she wrestled with theSavior, her own soul.
I think I see her before she started away from home. She was sitting down one day when a talkative neighbor came in and said,"Have you heard about the new Prophet?" "No, I have not. What about him?" "Oh! He is a great healer of diseases." "Tell meall about it," said the woman, for that subjectinterested her. She heard the story. She knew that her friend talked a great deal more than she needed, and she did notquite believe it. The next day she called at the house, and said, "Are you certain that what you told me was quite true?""Well," she said, "I heard it fromSo-and-So, whose daughter was healed."
The woman then determined to hunt the matter out, and at last found an eyewitness whose word could be taken. "Yes," said thefriend, "it is the Messiah, the Son of God, who has come down to earth, and I am sure He is able to cure, for I have seensome wonderful miracles worked by Him. There can beno doubt about His power." At first the woman was puzzled. She had been brought up as a heathen. She had tried her heathengods, and they had failed her. She had tried her priests, and they had only deluded her and she thought that this, perhaps,was a delusion, too. But she thoughtit over.
There were fifty objections, but then she said, "I have heard that there will be such-and-such marks attending the comingof the Messiah and this Man is just what they said the Messiah would be. I believe He is the Messiah, and if He is God's Son,He must be able to heal my daughter." Then hosts ofdifficulties came up. "You are a Canaanite." "Yes, but it was said of the Messiah, 'A bruised reed He shall not break, andthe smoking flax He shall not quench.' Therefore, I will go and try Him. And again it is written, 'In Him shall the Gentilestrust.' I am a Gentile, and I willtrust in Him."
I can suppose that she debated all this over in her mind, and having first conquered herself she easily overcame the willingSavior. Possibly some of you may suppose that there is a degree of difficulty in bringing the Lord Jesus to save a sinner.There is none whatever! The difficulty is inbringing the sinner to trust Jesus! This is the work, this is the labor. In this woman's case the conflict with Jesus wasonly external but not real. He was already on her side. The true conflict was with her own unbelief, and when her faith hadproved itself victorious within, itbecame victorious with Christ.
Sinner, there is nothing between you and salvation but yourself. Do I speak boldly? Christ has leveled every mountain thatstands in your way! He has filled up every valley, and He has made a high road from you to the very Throne of God! The difficultyis with you, not with God. How, then, is itwith you? Can you trust Christ, dear Hearer? Can you throw yourself wholly upon Jesus crucified?
If so, your sins are forgiven you! Go your way and rejoice. But if you cannot, here is your difficulty. Oh, may God help youto contend with it! It is a sinto doubt Christ! It is a cruelty! It is an unkind cut to suspect that He is unwilling to forgive.Cast away, I pray you, your wicked unbelief!May God the Holy Spirit help you to do so! Come just as you are, and rest in Jesus, and you shall find eternal life.