Sermon 2597. A Prayer for Everybody
A SERMON DELIVERED BY
C. H. SPURGEON,
AT CHRIST CHURCH, WESTMINSTER BRIDGE ROAD, (during the renovation of the Tabernacle), ON THURSDAY EVENING, AUGUST 23, 1883.
"Then came she and worshipped Him, saying, Lord, help me!" Matthew 15:25.
OUR text tells us of a case of real distress and it shows us how a woman prayed when in agony. It is a good thing, when youngpeople begin to write, especially if they think of writing for the press, if they will, before they send away their manuscript,take their pen and strike out every superfluous word. Even as a general rule, for conversation or for correspondence, everyword that we can do without is better omitted. As it is difficult to travel if we are encumbered with a great quantity ofluggage, so is it difficult to make our meaning clear when it is crushed beneath the weight of too many words. Take your pen,then, young author. Sit down quickly and strike out all the merely ornamental words that you have written. And when you havegot rid of them, you will probably have some respectable sentences left.
This woman had no need to omit any of her words, for she was not in a state of mind to utter a sentence that could be prunedof a single word. She was in such a condition that every word that came out of her mouth was like hot shot poured out of herheart. I had almost said that every letter, as well as every syllable and every word she uttered, was coined in blood. Shespeaks, at any rate, burning language, at blood heat, and the words, as they drop into my ears, come with a kind of overpoweringforce, so great is their intensity. "Lord, help me!" There is not a syllable to spare! The words are all short, simple, living,burning-from the first one to the last.
I like this kind of pleading and I commend it to you who are accustomed to pain and sufferings, or who have to do with thisrough world, as many of you have. You find that in your time of distress, you have to throw away a great many merely ornamentalthings and you only keep what is real, solid, and substantial. Here is a woman who must deal in realities, for she has athome a real daughter, really tormented by a real devil. But she believes that before her there is a real Savior and she intendsnot to let Him slip away through any lack of intensity on her part! She follows Him with clamorous cries! If she is repulsed,she still pursues Him, and when, at last, He gives her what looks like a wry word, she will not believe it! But she adoresHim, she worships Him and she cries out of the depths of her soul, "Lord, help me!" I want to speak especially about her prayer.We have begun with it and we will end with it. But before I get to the prayer, there are two or three other things I needto hold up for your admiration.
I. First, let us ADMIRE THIS WOMAN'S IMPORTUNITY.
I do not hesitate to say, although I am speaking in a large assembly, that there is not one person here who ever did experiencesuch rebuffs or meet with such difficulties as this woman did. There may be some who would have a right to stand up, and say,"Ah, Sir, you do not know my experience-my coming to Christ was very difficult." I do not know your experience, my dear Friend,but I feel sure of this-your experience cannotbe compared with hers, for, in her coming to Christ, she had to surmount greaterdifficulties than you ever knew-and greater difficulties than any of you are realizing now, even though you should be almostdriven to despair by the obstacles in your pathway. This poor woman had three special difficulties.
The first was, that the Lord Jesus Christ did not answer her cries. ' 'He answered her not a word." He was, Himself, the Word,and yet He did not give her the word she needed! Jesus is the blessed Spokesman of the Eternal, by whom God breaks the infinitesilences and speaks to man. Yet, "He answered her not a word." He was in the habit of answering prayer, yet He gave her nota single word of response to her petition. He had never been known to turn away a sincere suppliant without a kind reply,yet He gave her not one word! But even then, though she had not a word from Christ to hang her hopes upon-not a promise, nota single word of invitation or encouragement- she still clung to Christ and would not let Him go until He blessed her.
There is not one of you, dear Friends, who can say that our Lord Jesus Christ has not spoken to you, for here is a Book fullof His words-a Book, mark you, not a line of which this poor woman had ever seen! She lived in a region where the Old Testamentwas altogether unknown and the New Testament was not then written. But you have the Words of Christ in your homes! They lieupon the pew-ledge in front of you. You can carry them in your pockets where yet you go. A two-penny Testament can be hadby everybody, so it cannot be said that Jesus Christ has not given you a Word. Then how often have you had good Words fromChrist through the preacher of the Gospel! How often has He let fall handfuls on purpose for you, poor troubled Soul! Youhave had sweet Words, gracious Words-
"Wonderful Words of Life"-
and plenty of them, too. Therefore I say that there is one point in which this woman's difficulties far exceeded yours! Andas she pressed on until she gained the desire of her heart, will not you do likewise? Do you not remember how the men of Ninevehhung on to nothing but this-"Who can tell?" It was a very poor little nail that they clung to-"Who can tell?" Yet they didcling to it and they found mercy!
There have been some who have found comfort in what God has notsaid-"I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek you Me in vain."So will you not find comfort in what He has said? Especially may you be cheered and blessed by such words as these-"Come now,and let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they arered like crimson, they shall be as wool." "I will pardon them whom I reserve." "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of allacceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." Now, between "not a Word," and all these Words, whata difference there is, and so, what a difference there is between you and this poor woman! How much you have to help you!Come, then, to Jesus, come even now, pleading the promise, and you shall not go away without the blessing!
Next, this woman had another great difficulty, and that was that all the disciples were against her. They said to Jesus, "Sendher away, for she cries after us. She disturbs us; we cannot hear Your exposition. We cannot be heard, ourselves, which isalso very important. 'Send her away, send her away.' She has such a harsh voice. She does not speak our language. She talksin the tongue of Tyre or Sidon, and we do not like it. She is so troublesome! She is first bawling out after John and nextshe is calling after Peter-there is no keeping her quiet! 'Send her away, send her away.'" Now, although this must have beena very secondary thing compared with Christ's silence, yet it may have bred in her heart great discouragement and she mayhave felt in her spirit that she could not long hold out. Yet she did hold out until the blessing came!
Now, I venture to say that there is no one here who is seeking the Savior who has had Christ's disciples against Him.
dear Heart, there are many in this house tonight who are not against you! They would do anything they could for you, to cheeryou and bring you to the Savior! I know some who, when this service is over, will very likely waylay you in the aisles! Theyare always looking out to find persons who may be under concern of soul, to see whether they can utter a word of encouragementto them. They will not say, "Send her away!" They will want you to stay a little while and will talk to you very earnestlyabout your soul-and try to point out to you the way into life and peace. I am sure that you have not the difficulty that thispoor woman had. If you had, I would still exhort you to imitate her importunity, but, as you have not, let her importunityshame you if you are in the least degree backward! And come you at once boldly to the Savior and say, "I must now find themercy that I need! I cannot go away until I find it." God grant that many of you may make that good resolution!
There was, however, a third discouragement which must have been greater than the other two, and that was that when the Saviordid speak, He said, "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel"I t was as much as saying, "I am not sentto this woman of Tyre and Sidon. I can do nothing for her within the bounds of My commission." And yet, when the woman heardthat sentence, instead of being daunted by it, she came to Christ and worshipped Him, and said, "Lord, help me!" I may beaddressing someone who has been thinking over the Doctrine of Election-a doctrine which ought not to give trouble to anybody,but it often does. It may be that you have said in your heart, "What if
1 should not be elect? What if the blessed things of the Covenant of Grace should not be for me?" I beseech you, do not bepersuaded by Satan to stop there, but go to Jesus just as this woman did! She seemed to say to herself, "Whether this Christof God is sent to a Tyre and Sidon woman or not, I shall go and worship Him, and cry, 'Lord, help me!'" She heard that Christwas not sent to that country, but she seemed to say, "If You are not sent, Lord, yet I am still here. If You are not sentto me, perhaps I am sent to You. She felt that there must be some way of getting over the difficulty. She believed that, bysome kind of ingenuity, even if she could not tell how, the difficulty could be removed! This glorious, loving Savior, intowhose radiant face she looked, could not repulse her-she felt that He could not!
And, dear Friends, I can no more believe that Christ will repulse a sinner than I can look up to the sun and believe thatit will ever freeze me! It cannot be-it is too bright, too full of warmth to turn me into ice-and I cannot look into the Savior'sface and believe that He will ever cast away a poor soul that comes to Him! So, somehow or other, this poor woman seemed tofeel, "I cannot get over the difficulty, but I will go round it." That is always a wise method. For my own part, I have oftenlearned what a joy it is to cast anchor under the lee of a great impassable thing that I cannot understand. I like, if I amtraveling, to see the river open up and to find my boat gliding gently along between the surrounding hills. But if, all ofa sudden, I find that the channel is entirely blocked up, I am just as comfortable if the sailor lets down the anchor andwe spend the night under the lee of some big, towering rock! Why not? It is very well to understand things, but I do not knowthat we are much the better for understanding anything! Understanding sometimes puffs us up, but we are always benefited bybelieving. So, my Friend, when you come hard and fast against something which you cannot get over, do not try to get overit, but just pull up, right there, and say, "If it is so, let it be so, but, anyway, God is gracious, Christ is merciful andI am going to cast myself at the crucified Savior's feet and trust in Him."
Now this woman, notwithstanding this terrible discouragement, after actually hearing the Savior say, "I am not sent to you,"yet nevertheless persevered with her appeal. None of you have ever heard Him say that you are not among the elect. Why shouldyou not be elect as well as anybody else? None of you have ever climbed to Heaven and found that your names were not writtenin the roll of God's chosen-and you never will climb there to read it at all! All such things are hidden from your sight.Your business is to cling to Christ's dear feet and never let Him go until He grants you the desire of your heart. That ismy first remark-admire this woman's importunity.
II. Now for a few minutes I invite you, dear Friends, to ADMIRE HER RESORT TO THE LORD HIMSELF. "Then came she and worshippedHim, saying, Lord, help me!"
She is to be admired, first, because she turned away from the disciples. I could not help smiling as I read, just now, whatthe disciples said, "Send her away, for she cries after us." Poor soul, she never cried after them-she knew better than todo that! It was their own self-importance that made them think so. If she had begun to cry after them, their black looks wouldsoon have stopped her from doing so. But she did not make such a mistake as that. "Oh, no," she seemed to say, "it is notafter you that I am crying. Neither Peter, nor James, nor John can give me the help I need." So is it with us-we are not cryingafter the saints, as some poor souls are doing, hoping that saints, long since dead and buried, who have done with this mortallife, may make intercession for them before the Throne of God! No, we are not crying after them. If any of you are, I prayyou cease that folly and cry to the Master! And let this be your cry, "Lord, help me!" Not, "Peter, help me," nor, "Mary,help me," but, "Jesus, help me!" "Lord, help me!" He can do it, but the saints cannot. They were poor sinners who had to besaved by Grace like the rest of us-and they are now singing to the praise of the God of Grace, but they have no Grace to giveto us! Mind, dear Friends, that you never think of going to them, but go straight to the Master, as this poor woman did! "Thencame she and worshipped Him, saying, Lord, help me!"
She went away, also, from all prescribed paths. The Savior seemed to say to her that there was no way for her to come. Hedid but seem to tell her that the road at present was intended especially for the house of Israel and He had come to blessthem beyond all others. But the woman seems to say, "If there is not a road open, I must make one. I will go over hedge andditch, but I must find my Savior." Her heart was so strongly resolved upon coming to Christ that whether she came in the orthodoxway or not, she must come! Oh, how I wish that some poor sinner here might be so stirred up with the same desire that he wouldsay, "I must somehow find the Lord Jesus. If I have heard one minister and God has not blessed him to me, I will hear another.And if hearing the Gospel is not blessed to me, I will sit up at night and read the Scriptures. And if the Bible is not blessedto me, I will go on my knees and cry to God for mercy and I will never cease crying to Him till the mercy comes. For, somehowor somewhere, I must get it! I must find God in Christ Jesus, that I may obtain the salvation of my soul."
Yet once more, dear Friends, I admire this woman, and I hold her up as a model for your imitation, because she resorted toChrist. Away from the disciples and from all prescribed paths, she went to HIM. Yes, that is the beauty of it! "Then cameshe and worshipped HIM." She fell at His feet and her prayer was, "Lord, help me!" She did not prescribe how she should behelped, for she believed in His wisdom. She did not dictate to Him what He should do, for she believed in His judgment andprudence. All she said was, "Lord, help me!" She did not think that her case was beyond His power, for she believed in Hisalmightiness, so she prayed, "Lord, help me!" She did not think her case could be beyond His pity, so she pleaded, "Lord,help me. True, I am only a Gentile dog but, Lord, help me. I am a Syrophenician woman but, Lord, help me. I have a poor daughterpossessed of a devil but, Lord, help me." She pleads thus with Christ and it is amazing what such pleading can accomplish!Do not come here and merely repeat certain prayers! Do not go home to your closet simply to say prayers as if to nobody orto everybody, but get absolutely at the feet of Jesus and plead with Him, saying, "Lord, I will not let You go until You blessme," for that is the kind of prayer that opens the gates of Heaven, the prayer to which nothing can be denied!
III. Before I come to the closing portion of my discourse, I ask you to ADMIRE THIS WOMAN'S APPROPRIATION OF HER DAUGHTER'SCASE TO HERSELF.
I urge you who seek the conversion of others to follow her example. Notice, she did not pray, "Lord, help my daughter," but,"Lord, help me!" At first, she pleaded for her daughter and mentioned the circumstances of her case, but as she grew moreintense and fervent in her supplication, there seemed to be no division between the mother and the daughter! The mother hadabsorbed the daughter-the great heart of the pleading one seemed to contain the one pleaded for with all her agony-"Lord,help me!" Do you catch the idea? When you are pleading with God for your Sunday school class, it is not simply, Mary, andJane, and Sarah that you pray for, but you have incorporated all those girls into yourselfand, therefore, you plead, "Lord,help me!" And you, my Brother, need to get to this point if you are really to prevail for your scholars, that you will notbe asking for John, and Thomas, and William, alone, but you have so identified yourself with them, that if they are lost,it almost seems as if you are lost! And if they are saved, it will be another Heaven to you for each one of them to be inHeaven!
You know that when Elisha restored the Shunammite's dead son, "he went up, and lay upon the child, and put his mouth uponhis mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands: and he stretched himself upon the child." Then, as itwere, they became one, and then it was that the new life came through the Prophet into the dead child. And this is the wayto pray for our scholars and our hearers. I am sure that if a minister wants conversions, he must identify himself with hispeople! There are people, nowadays, who make a difficulty about Moses praying for Israel, "If You will forgive their sin-andif not, blot me, I pray You, out of Your book which You have written." And they raise questions about Paul being willing tobe separated from Christ for his brethren, his kinsmen according to the flesh. Oh, but there is no difficulty in the matterif you once get to feel such an intense love for the souls of men that you would, as it were, pawn your own salvation andcount it little if you might but bring the people to the Savior's feet!
A man who has never felt that willingness does not yet know the true throb of a pastor's heart-he has not been ordained tobe a shepherd if he would not lay down his life for the flock, if it were necessary. When you get to that point, then theblessing will come. "Lord, help me-me,for, in my own proper self, I am one with these people for whom my prayer is put up."
IV. Now, lastly-yet it is the chief part of the subject-I want YOU TO ADMIRE THIS WOMAN'S PRAYER, ITSELF.
I began my discourse by pointing out to you its sententiousness, its freedom from superfluities. Now, again I bid you admireit for the same reason. Notice that it asks everything in one little phrase-"Lord, help me!" It seems to me to be a very comprehensiveprayer, for although it uses but one very small verb, that verb means a great deal more than, at first sight, it appears tomean. When the woman said, "Lord, help me," she did not mean what we generally mean by help. That is, "Lord, do somethingfor me and I will do the rest." She could not do anythingtowards the casting out of the devil from her child so, by that word,"help," she meant, "Lord, do it all," for that is the kind of help Christ gives! Have you ever heard of the poor half-wittedbeing who, nevertheless, had sense enough to understand the Gospel? Someone said to him, "Well, Johnny, how were you saved?""Oh," he answered, "Jesus Christ did His part, and I did all the rest." "And pray tell, Johnny, what did you do?" "Well,"he said, "Jesus Christ saved me and I did all I could to prevent it."
And that is about all "the rest" that any of us ever do! We do not really help in the matter of our salvation, for we can-not-itis Christ's work from first to last-and Divine Grace must have all the praise for it. Blessed be that Sovereign Grace of God!
But that word, "help," meant just this-"Lord, will You do all that is needed? I am in a dreadful fix. I cannot cure my poorchild and I cannot pray aright about her. You have almost shut my mouth by that last word, 'I am not sent,' yet, 'Lord, helpme!' Teach me what to ask for! Teach me how to ask for it! Teach me what to think of next! Teach me what to do next. Neverwas a poor creature in such a plight as I am, Lord. Get me out of it! Save my poor daughter." It was asking everything ina phrase which did not, at first sight, seem to mean much-"Lord, help me!"
And, if you notice, the prayer was one which brought Christ and the poor woman together-"Lord" and "me." And here is the link-"Lord,help me!" Some of you poor creatures want to get to Christ by doing something for Him! You have undertaken a very heavy task-youwill never get to Him that way. The only way is for Him to stoop down and do something for you-then you shall go into partnershipand have fellowship with one another. And if you agree to this arrangement, He will find everything that is needed and youshall have it all given to you, gratis! Those must be the terms-that He, from first to last, must do all, and be all, andhave all the glory! If you will agree to that condition, the company may be started at once-and what a blessed company itshall be! The Lord and yourself linked together by that little word, "help"-"Lord, help me!" If you are to succeed as thiswoman did, you must imitate her perseverance even in spite of Christ's apparent refusal to help her.
This is a lesson which is taught us in many other parts of the Word of God. She that wins her suit with the unjust judge isthe importunate widow who will not be refused. He that gets the loaves at midnight is the man who continues knocking tillhis friend awakens himselfand gives him all he asks. O Beloved, plead thus with God! Plead earnestly, plead for your salvationas you would for your life! Lift up the cry-
"Gracious Lord, incline Your ear, My requests vouchsafe to hear! Hear my never-ceasing cry, Give me Christ, or else I die!Wealth and honor I disdain, Earthly comforts all are vain. These can never satisfy, Give me Christ, or else I die!" And youshall surely have Christ, for He never finally refuses to listen to such pleading as that.
Lastly, dear Friends, I commend this prayer to you because it such a handy prayer. You can use it when you are in a hurry,you can use it when you are frightened, you can use it when you have not time to bow your knees. You can use it in the pulpitif you are going to preach, you can use it when you are opening your shop, you can use it when you are rising in the morning.It is such a handy prayer that I hardly know any position in which you could not pray it-"Lord, help me!" Often, when youare brought to some great emergency, you may use it and feel as if it were the best prayer that was ever composed. Do yousuffer much? Do you sometimes fall back upon the pillows feeling that you cannot bear any more? Does it not seem natural,then, for you to pray, "Lord, help me"? Do you often lie awake at night? Have you counted the clock round in your seasonsof suffering? Oh, then, I know that you will feel that this is a good prayer to offer in the middle of the night-"Lord, helpme!" Do you wake up in the morning just as weary as when you went to bed? Are you gradually losing strength? Are you slowlywasting away? Do they tell you that you will soon be gone? Oh, then, as the clock ticks, I think it may remind you of thisprayer, "Lord, help me! Lord, help me! Lord, help me!" It is a sick woman's prayer-a sick child's prayer-a sick man's prayer.It will suit any of you at such times.
Or are some of you losing a great deal of money just now? Is business very bad? Are you out of a job? Have you walked up anddown the streets and worn your shoes out, and yet found nothing to do? I think this prayer will suit you at this moment andall day tomorrow, "Lord, help me! Lord, help me!"-for He can, you know. The keys of Providence are not taken out of His handyet. He knows how to deliver the righteous out of all their troubles. Go to Him with this prayer, "Lord, help me!"
Are any of you very much tempted from without by surroundings that are peculiarly dangerous? Are you tempted by Satan? Areany of you exposed, just now, to some very special trial? Have your feet almost gone? Have your steps well-near slipped? Nowhere is a prayer that will hold you up and keep you from falling-"Lord, help me! Lord, help me!"
"No," says someone, "you have not touched my case yet" Perhaps you are going to a new job, or you are just undertaking freshduties and you wonder how you will be able to fill the sphere which was occupied so well by the one who went before you? Well,do not enter upon that new sphere without this prayer, "Lord, help me!" If you pray that prayer from your heart, you willbe encouraged-you shall play the man and do well for God and for His Truth. Possibly you are already in a situation whereyou are under great strain. Where, perhaps, your physical strength is overtaxed and your mind is depressed by the wear andtear of a cruel servitude. Well, if you cannot get out of it, pray the Lord to help you in it, and let this be your constantcry, "Lord, help me! Lord, help me!" It is wonderful how He can aid and direct His people!
And you, young Brother against the door, you came just inside, hoping to get a message that will guide you in your presentdifficulty. Here is that message! Go home and pray about it. Cry to God about it and you shall have direction. And let thisbe your cry, "Lord, help me! Lord, help me!" And He will help you. Is there a dear little girl here who wants to find Christ?I give her this short prayer to pray tonight, "Lord, help me!" Is there a gray-headed man here, leaning upon his staff, whohas not yet found the Savior? Then, as you sit in that aisle, cry, "Son of David, Jesus Christ the Lord, do help and saveme!" And He will! This prayer will do to live with. This prayer will do to die with! It is a prayer for those who usuallyworship in this place. It is a prayer for the people in the streets all around. It is a prayer for everybody and a prayerfor every place wherever you may be-"Lord, help me!"
Blessed be His name, the Lord will answer this prayer! He has helped His people! He is still Israel's Helper! He will be theirHelper even to the end! Therefore put your trust in Him and go forward with confidence into the future. And may His graciousPresence be with you forevermore! Amen.
EXPOSITION: MATTHEW 15:10-31.
Verses 10, 11. And He called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: not that which goes into the mouth defilesa man, but that which comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man. True religion does not consist in meats and drinks, in feastingor in fasting. It is not that which goes into us, but that which comes out of us which is the main matter.
12. Then came His disciples, andsaid unto Him, Know You that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? Theythought a very great deal of the opinion of the Pharisees and they were greatly concerned because their Master had offendedthem. These Pharisees set themselves up as the judges of everything that was correct and proper in religion! Yet Christ offendedthem by His plain speaking.
13. But He answered and said, Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted, shall be rooted up. The Truth of God isoften intended to root up. I have no doubt that our Lord said many things which had no other intention than the discoveryof these deceitful men to themselves and others, that their baneful influence might be destroyed. Our Savior was a true iconoclast,a great image-smasher, and these men, who were the chief icons or images of the day, had to be broken down. He therefore putthe Truth of God in the very form that would offend them!
14. Let them alone: they are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.Our Lord did not soften or tone down His previous language, but He revealed the true character of the false guides by whomso many were deluded.
15. Then answered Peter and said unto Him, Explain unto us this parable. "We do not understand it. What is its meaning?"
16. 17. And Jesus said, Are you also yet without understanding? Do not you yet understand that whatever enters in at the mouthgoes into the belly, and is eliminated? And so there is an end of it.
18. But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart and they defile the man. The main matter tobe considered is the heart, not the mouth and other parts of the body. Note how our Lord, by this great Truth, puts the axeto much that looks very fair and good, and cuts it down as worthless! If we serve God with the heart, there is the core oftrue religion! But if not, we may have as many ceremonial washings as there are hours in the day and days in the year, andwe may be careful to avoid this article of diet and to feed on that, to wear this garment and not to wear that, and to observethis day and not that-but all this outward religion will be of no use whatever-if our heartis not savingly affected by theGrace of God.
19-21. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:these are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashed hands defiles not a man. Then Jesus went from there anddeparted into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. He did not like the Pharisees well enough to stay among them. His own word concerningthem was, "Let them alone," and He did very severely let them alone-"Jesus went from there and departed into the coasts ofTyre and Sidon." He must not go into Tyre and Sidon, for His commission for the present was confined to Palestine, the chosenland. Do not regret this, dear Friends. To have extended our Savior's work over a greater area would not have been, really,to increase it. And it was very important that during the very short active lifetime of our Savior-a little more than threeyears-He should confine His operations to a comparatively small district, so as to produce a permanent result, there, whichwould afterwards radiate over the whole world. So our Savior, who knew what was best for men, confined Himself within a verynarrow sphere.
And, my Brothers and Sisters, I am not sure that we are always wise when we desire a great sphere. I have myself sometimesenvied the man with about five hundred people to watch over, who could see them all, know them all, and enter into sympathywith them all-and so could do his work well. But, with so large a number as I have under my charge, what can one man do? Andyou, my Brothers, may increase the quantity of your acreage, and yet grow no larger crops. You may think that you will succeedbetter on a wider scale, but if you do not do so well in the greater field, it might have been wiser to narrow your boundariesrather than to widen them. However, if our Lord might not go into Tyre and Sidon, He went as near to them as He could-"Jesusdeparted into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon." And if you, dear Friends, think there is a limit to your sphere of usefulness,always go as near as you can to the limit-go up to the coasts of Tyre and Sidon!
22. And, behold. For it is a great wonder that such a person should have come to Jesus. "And, behold"-
22. 23. A woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts and cried unto Him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, You Son ofDavid;my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But He answered her not a word. This was another mar-vel-a silent Savior-silentwhen it would have been so natural for Him to speak a kind and gracious word. "He answered her not a word."
23. AndHis disciples came andsought Him, saying, Sendher away, for she cries after us. "'She cries after us,' and it is veryimportant that we should not be troubled." We disciples are apt to think so, especially if we get a little lifted up, andcome to be Apostles. "Send her away, for she cries after us." She knew better than to cry after the disciples! It was theMaster whose help she needed. Some sinners are a great nuisance, they make so much noise in seeking Christ, and what a mercyit is that they do so! Oh, to have such troublesome people about us all day long and all night long, too! It would be worthwhile to be vexed in this style. But the disciples said to Jesus, "Send her away for she cries after us."
24. But He answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.' 'Therefore, I cannot attend toher."
25. 26. Then she came and worshipped Him, saying, Lord, help me! But He answered and said, It is not meet- ' 'It is not comely,it is not fit."
26. To take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs. The original means, "the little dogs that play with the children;they lie under the table, and pick up the crumbs that their masters' (the children's masters) let fall." The woman caughtat that expression at once.
27. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.' 'I may be only a dog,and these Jews round about You are Your children, but I have gotten in among them and I am looking for a crumb or two as itfalls from their table." This was grand faith on her part and it was speedily rewarded!
28-31. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is your faith: be it unto you even as you will. And her daughterwas made whole from that very hour. And Jesus departed from there and came near unto the sea of Galilee; and went up intoa mountain, and sat down there. And great multitudes came unto Him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed,and many others, and cast them down at Jesus 'feet; and He healed them: insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they sawthe dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel. TheSavior appears to have gone on this journey on purpose to bless this woman and her daughter and, having worked the miracle,He went where great multitudes came to Him, bringing their sick folk to be healed. And the result was, "They glorified theGod of Israel." There may be some poor soul here in as great distress as this woman was. If so, may that one get a blessingand then may the blessing spread through all the neighborhood till multitudes are saved!