Matthew 15


The Pharisees accuse the disciples of eating with unwashed

hands, 1, 2.

Our Lord answers, and convicts them of gross hypocrisy, 3-9.

Teaches the people and the disciples what it is that renders

men unclean, 10-20.

Heals the daughter of a Canaanitish woman, 21-28.

Heals many diseased people on a mountain of Galilee, 29-31.

With seven loaves, and a few little fishes, he feeds 4,000 men,

besides women and children, 32-38.

Having dismissed the multitudes, he comes to the coast of

Magdala, 39


Verse 1. The scribes and Pharisees-of Jerusalem] Our Lord was

now in Galilee, Mt 14:34.

Verse 2. Elders] Rulers and magistrates among the Jews.

For they wash not their hands] What frivolous nonsense! These

Pharisees had nothing which their malice could fasten on in the

conduct or doctrine of our blessed Lord and his disciples, and

therefore they must dispute about washing of hands! All sorts of

Pharisees are troublesome people in religious society; and the

reason is, they take more pleasure in blaming others than in

amending themselves.

The tradition of the elders] The word παραδοσις, tradition,

has occupied a most distinguished place, both in the Jewish and

Christian Church. Man is ever fond of mending the work of his

Maker; and hence he has been led to put his finishing hand even to

Divine revelation! This supplementary matter has been called

παραδοσις, from παραδιδομαι, to deliver from hand to hand-to

transmit; and hence the Latin term, tradition, from trado, to

deliver, especially from one to another;-to hand down. Among the

Jews TRADITION signifies what is also called the oral law, which

they distinguish from the written law: this last contains the

Mosaic precepts, as found in the Pentateuch: the former, the

traditions of the elders, i.e. traditions, or doctrines, that had

been successively handed down from Moses through every generation,

but not committed to writing. The Jews feign that, when GOD gave

Moses the written law, he gave him also the oral law, which is the

interpretation of the former. This law, Moses at first delivered

to Aaron then to his sons Eleazar and Ithamar; and, after these to

the seventy-two elders, who were six of the most eminent men

chosen out of each of the twelve tribes. These seventy-two, with

Moses and Aaron, delivered it again to all the heads of the

people, and afterwards to the congregation at large. They say

also that, before Moses died, he delivered this oral law, or

system of traditions, to JOSHUA, and Joshua to the ELDERS which

succeeded him-THEY to the Prophets, and the PROPHETS to each

other, till it came to JEREMIAH, who delivered it to BARUCH his

scribe, who repeated it to EZRA, who delivered it to the men of

the great synagogue, the last of whom was SIMON the Just. By

Simon the Just it was delivered to ANTIGONUS of Socho; by him

to JOSE the son of Jochanan; by him to JOSE, the son of Joezer; by

him to NATHAN the Arbelite, and Joshua the son of Perachiah; and

by them to JUDAH the son of Tabbai, and Simeon, the son of Shatah;

and by them to SHEMAIAH and ABTALION; and by them to HILLEL; and

by Hillel to SIMEON his son, the same who took Christ in his arms

when brought to the temple to be presented to the Lord: by SIMEON

it was delivered to GAMALIEL his son, the preceptor of St. Paul,

who delivered it to SIMEON his son, and he to Rab. JUDAH HAKKODESH

his son, who compiled and digested it into the book which is

called the MISHNA; to explain which the two Talmuds, called the

Jerusalem and Babylyonish Talmuds, were compiled, which are also

called the Gemera or complement, because by these the oral law or

Mishnah is fully explained. The Jerusalem Talmud was completed

about A. D. 300; and the Babylonish Talmud about the beginning of

the sixth century. This Talmud was printed at Amsterdam in 12

vols. folio. These contain the whole of the traditions of the

elders, and have so explained, or rather frittered away, the words

of God, that our Lord might well say, Ye have made the word of God

of no effect by your traditions. In what estimation these are

held by the Jews, the following examples will prove: "The words of

the scribes are lovely beyond the words of the law: for the words

of the law are weighty and light, but the words of the scribes are

all weighty." Hierus. Berac. fol. 3.

"He that shall say, There are no phylacteries, though he thus

transgress the words of the law, he is not guilty; but he that

shall say, There are five Totaphot, thus adding to the words of

the scribes, he is guilty."

"A prophet and an elder, to what are they likened! To a

king sending two of his servants into a province; of one he writes

thus: Unless he show you my seal, believe him not; for thus it is

written of the prophet: He shall show thee a sign; but of the

elders thus: According to the law which they shall teach thee, for

I will confirm their words."-See Prideaux. Con. vol. ii. p. 465,

and Lightfoot's Hor. Talmud.

They wash not their hands] On washing of hands, before and

after meat, the Jews laid great stress: they considered eating

with unwashed hands to be no ordinary crime; and therefore, to

induce men to do it, they feigned that an evil spirit, called

Shibta , who sits on the hands by night, has a right to sit

on the food of him who eats without washing his hands, and make it

hurtful to him! They consider the person who undervalues this

rite to be no better than a heathen, and consequently

excommunicate him. See many examples of this doctrine in

Schoettgen and Lightfoot.

Verse 3. Why do ye-transgress the commandment] Ye accuse my

disciples of transgressing the traditions of the elders-I accuse

you of transgressing the commands of God, and that too in favour

of your own tradition; thus preferring the inventions of men to

the positive precepts of God. Pretenders to zeal often prefer

superstitious usages to the Divine law, and human inventions to

the positive duties of Christianity.

Verse 4. Honour thy father and mother] This word was taken in

great latitude of meaning among the Jews: it not only meant

respect and submission, but also to take care of a person, to

nourish and support him, to enrich. See Nu 22:17; Jud 13:17;

1Ti 5:17. And that this was the sense of the law, as it

respected parents, see De 27:16, and See Clarke on Ex 20:12.

Verse 5. It is a gift] korban, Mr 7:11,

an offering of approach; something consecrated to the service of

God in the temple, by which a man had the privilege of approaching

his Maker. This conduct was similar to the custom of certain

persons who bequeath the inheritance of their children to Churches

or religious uses; either through terror of conscience, thus

striving to purchase the kingdom of glory; or through the

persuasion of interested hireling priests. It was in this way

that, in the days of popish influence, the principal lands in the

nation had fallen into the hands of the Church. In those

charters, multitudes of which have passed through my hands, a

common form was, pro salute meae, et pro salute antecessorum

meorum, et pro salute successorum meorum, et pro solute uxoris

meae, &c., &c., do, et concedo Deo et Ecclesiae, &c. "For my

salvation, and for the salvation of my predecessors, and for the

salvation of my successors, and for the salvation of my wife, &c.,

&c., I give and bequeath to God and his Church, &c."

Though a world of literature was destroyed, and fine buildings

ruined, by the suppression of the monasteries in England, yet this

step, with the Stat. 23 Hen. VIII. c. 10, together with the Stat.

9 Geo. II. c. 36, ware the means of checking an evil that had

arrived at a pitch of unparalleled magnitude; an evil that was

supplanting the atonement made by the blood of the covenant, and

putting death-bed grants of land, &c., in the place of Jesus

Christ, and throwing the whole secular power of the kingdom into

the hands of the pope and the priests. No wonder then that they

cried out, when the monasteries were suppressed! It is sacrilege

to dedicate that to God which is taken away from the necessities

of our parents and children; and the good that this pretends to

will doubtless be found in the catalogue of that unnatural man's

crimes, in the judgment of the great day, who has thus deprived

his own family of its due. To assist our poor relatives, is our

first duty; and this is a work infinitely preferable to all pious

legacies and endowments.

Verse 7. Hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy of you] In every

place where the proper names of the Old Testament occur, in the

New, the same mode of orthography should be followed: I therefore

write Isaiah with the Hebrew, not Esaias, with the Greek. This

prophecy is found Isa 29:13. Our blessed Lord unmasks these

hypocrites; and we may observe that, when a hypocrite is found

out, he should be exposed to all; this may lead to his salvation:

if he be permitted to retain his falsely acquired character, how

can he escape perdition!

Verse 8. Their heart is far from me.] The true worship of God

consists in the union of the heart to him-where this exists not, a

particle of the spirit of devotion cannot be found.

This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth] This clause,

which is taken from Isa 29:13, is omitted by several excellent

MSS., and by several versions and fathers. Erasmus, Mill,

Drusius, and Bengel, approve of the omission, and Griesbach has

left it out of the text; but as I find it in the prophet, the

place from which it is quoted, I dare not omit it, howsoever

respectable the above authorities may appear.

Verse 9. In vain they do worship me, &c.] By the traditions of

the elders, not only the word of God was perverted, but his

worship also was greatly corrupted. But the Jews were not the

only people who have acted thus: whole Christian Churches, as well

as sects and parties, have acted in the same way. Men must not

mould the worship of God according to their fancy-it is not what

they think will do-is proper, innocent, &c., but what God himself

has prescribed, that he will acknowledge as his worship. However

sincere a man may be in a worship of his own invention, or of

man's commandment, yet it profits him nothing. Christ himself

says it is in vain. To condemn such, may appear to some

illiberal; but whatever may be said in behalf of sincere heathens,

and others who have not had the advantages of Divine Revelation,

there is no excuse for the man who has the BIBLE before him.

Verse 10. Hear and understand] A most important command.

Hear-make it a point of conscience to attend to the ministry of

the word. Understand-be not satisfied with attending places of

public worship merely; see that the teaching be of God, and that

you lay it to heart.

Verse 11. Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth] This

is an answer to the carping question of the Pharisees, mentioned

Mt 15:2,

Why do thy disciples eat with unwashed hands? To which our Lord

here replies, That what goes into the mouth defiles not the man;

i.e. that if, in eating with unwashed hands, any particles of

dust, &c., cleaving to the hands, might happen to be taken into

the mouth with the food, this did not defile, did not constitute a

man a sinner; for it is on this alone the question hinges: thy

disciples eat with unwashed hands; therefore they are sinners; for

they transgress the tradition of the elders, i.e. the oral law,

which they considered equal in authority to the written law; and,

indeed, often preferred the former to the latter, so as to make it

of none effect, totally to destroy its nature and design, as we

have often seen in the preceding notes.

That which cometh out of the mouth] That is, what springs from

a corrupt unregenerate heart-a perverse will and impure passions-

these defile, i.e. make him a sinner.

Verse 12. The Pharisees were offended] None so liable to take

offence as formalists and hypocrites, when you attempt to take

away the false props from the one, and question the sincerity of

the other. Besides, a Pharisee must never be suspected of

ignorance, for they are the men, and wisdom must die with them!

Verse 13. Every plant] Every plantation. So I render φυτεια,

and so it is translated in the Itala version which accompanies the

Greek text in the Codex Bezae, omnis plantatio, and so the word is

rendered by Suidas. This gives a different turn to the text. The

Pharisees, as a religious body, were now a plantation of trees,

which God did not plant, water, nor own: therefore, they should be

rooted up, not left to wither and die, but the fellers, and those

who root up, (the Roman armies,) should come against and destroy

them, and the Christian Church was to be planted in their place.

Since the general dispersion of the Jews, this sect, I believe,

has ceased to exist as a separate body, among the descendants of

Jacob. The first of the apostolical constitutions begins thus:

θεουφυτειαηκαθολικηεκκλησιακαιαμπελωναυτουεκλεκτος. The

Catholic Church is the plantation of God, and his chosen vineyard.

Verse 14. Let them alone] αφετεαυτους, give them up, or

leave them. These words have been sadly misunderstood. Some

have quoted them to prove that blind and deceitful teachers should

not be pointed out to the people, nor the people warned against

them; and that men should abide in the communion of a corrupt

Church, because that Church had once been the Church of God, and

in it they had been brought up; and to prove this they bring

Scripture, for, in our present translation, the words are

rendered, let them alone: but the whole connection of the place

evidently proves that our blessed Lord meant, give them up, have

no kind of religious connection with them, and the strong reason

for which he immediately adds, because they are blind leaders.

This passage does not at all mean that blind leaders should not be

pointed out to the people, that they may avoid being deceived by

them; for this our Lord does frequently, and warns his disciples,

and the people in general, against all such false teachers as the

scribes and Pharisees were; and though he bids men do that they

heard those say, while they sat in the chair of Moses, yet he

certainly meant no more than that they should be observant of the

moral law when read to them out of the sacred book: yet neither

does he tell them to do all these false teachers said; for he

testifies in Mt 15:6, that they had put such false glosses on the

law, that, if followed, would endanger the salvation of their

souls. The Codex Bezae, for αφετεαυτους, has αφετετουςτυφλους,

give up these blind men. Amen! A literal attention to these

words of our Lord produced the Reformation.

Probably the words may be understood as a sort of proverbial

expression for-Don't mind them: pay no regard to them.-"They are

altogether unworthy of notice."

And if the blind lead the blind] This was so self-evident a

case that an apter parallel could nut be found-if the blind lead

the blind, both must fall into the ditch. Alas, for the blind

teachers, who not only destroy their own souls, but those also of

their flocks! Like priest, like people. If the minister be

ignorant, he cannot teach what he does not know; and the people

cannot become wise unto salvation under such a ministry-he is

ignorant and wicked, and they are profligate. They who even wish

such God speed; are partakers of their evil deeds. But shall not

the poor deceived people escape? No: both shall fall into the pit

of perdition together; for they should have searched the

Scriptures, and not trusted to the ignorant sayings of corrupt

men, no matter of what sect or party. He who has the Bible in his

hand, or within his reach, and can read it, has no excuse.

Verse 15. Declare unto us this parable.] Is it not strange to

hear the disciples asking for the explanation of such a parable as

this! The true knowledge of the spirit of the Gospel is a thing

more uncommon than we imagine, among the generality of Christians,

and even of the learned.

Verse 16. Are ye also yet without understanding?] The word

ακμη, which we translate yet, should be here rendered still: Are

ye still void of understanding? and the word is used in this sense

by several Greek writers. The authorities which have induced me

to prefer this translation may be seen in Kypke.

Verse 17. Cast out into the draught] ειςαφεδωνα,

[Anglo-Saxon]. And beeth into the forthgoing a sent-what is not

fit for nourishment is evacuated; is thrown into the sink. This I

believe to be the meaning of this difficult and variously

translated word, αφεδρων. Diodati translates it properly, nella

latrina, into the privy. And the Persian translator has given a

good paraphrase, and appears to have collected the general meaning

[Persian] her teche der dehen ander ayeed, az nusheeb beeroon

rood, we ber zemeen aftad: "Whatsoever enters into the mouth goes

downward, and falls upon the ground." Michaelis, and his

annotator, Dr. Marsh, have been much perplexed with this

perplexing passage. See Michaelis's Introduction, vol. i. note

35. p. 458.

Verse 19. Out of the heart] In the heart of an unregenerate

man, the principles and seeds of all sin are found. And iniquity

is always conceived in the heart before it be spoken or acted. Is

there any hope that a man can abstain from outward sin till his

heart, that abominable fountain of corruption, be thoroughly

cleansed? I trow not.

Evil thoughts] διαλογισμοιπονηροι, wicked dialogues-for in all

evil surmisings the heart holds a conversation, or dialogue, with

itself. For φονοι, murders, two MSS. have φθονοι, envyings,

and three others have both. Envy and murder are nearly allied:

the former has often led to the latter.

Blasphemies] I have already observed, Mt 9:3, that the verb

βλασφημεω, when applied to men, signifies to speak INJURIOUSLY

of their persons, characters, &c., and, when applied to God, it

means to speak IMPIOUSLY of his nature, works, &c.

Verse 20. These-defile a man] Our Lord's argument is very

plain. What goes into the mouth descends into the stomach and

other intestines;-part is retained for the nourishment of the

body, and part is ejected, as being improper to afford

nourishment. Nothing of this kind defiles the soul, because it

does not enter into it; but the evil principles that are in it,

producing evil thoughts, murders, &c., these defile the soul,

because they have their seat and operation in it.

Verse 21. Departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.] ειςτα

μερη, towards the coasts or confines. It is not clear that our

Lord ever left the land of the Hebrews; he was, as the apostle

observes, Ro 15:8,

the minister of the circumcision according to the truth of God.

Tyre and Sidon are usually joined together, principally because

they are but a few miles distant from each other.

Verse 22. A woman of Canaan] Matthew gives her this name

because of the people from whom she sprung-the descendants of

Canaan, Jud 1:31, 32;

but Mark calls her a Syrophenician, because of the country where

she dwelt. The Canaanites and Phoenicians have been often

confounded. This is frequently the case in the Septuagint.

Compare Ge 46:10, with Ex 6:15, where the same person is called

a Phoenician in the one place, and a Canaanite in the other. See

also the same version in Ex 16:35; Jos 5:12.

The state of this woman is a proper emblem of the state of a

sinner, deeply conscious of the misery of his soul.

Have mercy an me, &c.] How proper is this prayer for a

penitent! There are many excellencies contained in it; 1. It is

short; 2. humble; 3. full of faith; 4. fervent; 5. modest; 6.

respectful; 7. rational; 8. relying only on the mercy of God; 9.

persevering. Can one who sees himself a slave of the devil, beg

with too much earnestness to be delivered from his thraldom?

Son of David] An essential character of the true Messiah.

Verse 23. He answered her not a word.] Seemed to take time to

consider her request, and to give her the opportunity of

exercising her faith, and manifesting her fervour.

Verse 24. I am not sent but unto the lost sheep] By the Divine

appointment, I am come to preach the Gospel to the Jews only.

There are certain preachers who should learn a lesson of important

instruction from this part of our Lord's conduct. As soon as they

hear of a lost sheep being found by other ministers, they give all

diligence to get that one into their fold: but display little

earnestness in seeking in the wilderness for those that are lost.

This conduct, perhaps, proceeds from a consciousness of their

inability to perform the work of an evangelist; and leads them to

sit down in the labours of others, rather than submit to the

reproach of presiding over empty chapels. Such persons should

either dig or beg immediately, as they are a reproach to the

pastoral office; for, not being sent of God, they cannot profit

the people.

The wilderness of this world is sufficiently wide and

uncultivated. Sinners abound every where; and there is ample room

for all truly religious people, who have zeal for God, and love

for their perishing follow creatures, to put forth all their

strength, employ all their time, and exercise all their talents,

in proclaiming the Gospel of God; not only to the lost sheep of

the house of Israel, but to a lost WORLD. Nor can such exertions

be unsuccessful. There the pure truth of God is preached, many

will be converted. Where that truth is preached, though with a

mixture of error, some will be converted, for God will bless his

own truth. But where nothing but false doctrine is preached, no

soul is converted: for God will never sanction error by a miracle

of his mercy.

Verse 25. Lord, help me.] Let me also share in the deliverance

afforded to Israel.

Verse 26. The children's bread] The salvation provided for the

Jews, who were termed the children of the kingdom. And cast it to

the κυναριοις, little dogs-to the curs; such the Gentiles were

reputed by the Jewish people, and our Lord uses that form of

speech which was common among his countrymen. What terrible

repulses! and yet she still perseveres!

Verse 27. Truth, Lord] ναικυριε, Yes, Lord. This appears to

be not so much an assent, as a bold reply to our Lord's reason for

apparently rejecting her suit.

The little dogs share with the children, for they eat the crumbs

which fall from their masters' table. I do not desire what is

provided for these highly favoured children, only what they leave:

a single exertion of thy almighty power, in the healing of my

afflicted daughter, is all that I wish for; and this the highly

favoured Jews can well spare, without lessening the provision made

for themselves. Is not this the sense of this noble woman's


Verse 28. O woman, great is thy faith] The hinderances thrown

in this woman's way only tended to increase her faith. Her faith

resembles a river, which becomes enlarged by the dykes opposed to

it, till at last it sweeps them entirely away with it,

Her daughter was made whole] Persevering faith and prayer are

next to omnipotent. No person can thus pray and believe, without

receiving all his soul requires. This is one of the finest

lessons in the book of God for a penitent, or for a discouraged

believer. Look to Jesus! As sure as God is in heaven, so surely

will he hear and answer thee to the eternal salvation of thy soul!

Be not discouraged at a little delay: when thou art properly

prepared to receive the blessing, then thou shalt have it. Look

up; thy salvation is at hand. Jesus admires this faith, to the

end that we may admire and imitate it, and may reap the same

fruits and advantages from it.

Verse 29. Went up into a mountain] τοορος, THE mountain.

"Meaning," says Wakefield, "some particular mountain which he was

accustomed to frequent; for, whenever it is spoken of at a time

when Jesus is in Galilee, it is always discriminated by the

article. Compare Mt 4:18, with Mt 5:1; and Mt 13:54, with

Mt 14:23; and Mt 28:16.

I suppose it was mount Tabor."

Verse 30. Those that were-maimed] κυλλους. Wetstein has fully

proved that those who had lost a hand, foot, &c., were termed

κυλλοι by the Greeks. Kypke has shown, from Hippocrates, that

the word was also used to signify those who had distorted or

dislocated legs, knees, hands, &c. Mr. Wakefield is fully of

opinion that it means here those who had lost a limb, and brings

an incontestable proof from Mt 18:8; Mr 9:43. "If thy hand

cause thee to offend, CUT IT OFF; it is better for thee to enter

into life (κυλλος) WITHOUT A LIMB, than, having thy TWO hands, to

go away into hell." What an astonishing manifestation of omnific

and creative energy must the reproduction of a hand, foot, &c., be

at the word or touch of Jesus! As this was a mere act of creative

power, like that of multiplying the bread, those who allow that

the above is the meaning of the word will hardly attempt to doubt

the proper Divinity of Christ. Creation, in any sense of the

word, i.e. causing something to exist that had no existence

before, can belong only to God, because it is an effect of an

unlimited power; to say that such power could be delegated to a

person is to say that the person to whom it is delegated becomes,

for the time being, the omnipotent God; and that God, who has thus

clothed a creature with his omnipotence, ceases to be omnipotent

himself; for there cannot be two omnipotents, nor can the Supreme

Being delegate his omnipotence to another, and have it at the same

time. I confess, then, that this is to me an unanswerable

argument for the Divinity of our blessed Lord. Others may doubt;

I can't help believing.

Verse 31. The multitude wondered] And well they might, when

they had such proofs of the miraculous power and love of God

before their eyes. Blessed be God! the same miracles are

continued in their spiritual reference. All the disorders of the

soul are still cured by the power of Jesus.

Verse 32. I have compassion, &c.] See a similar transaction

explained, Mt 14:14-22.

Verse 33. Whence should we have so much bread in the

wilderness, &c.] Human foresight, even in the followers of

Christ, is very short. In a thousand instances, if we supply not

its deficiency by faith, we shall be always embarrassed, and often

miserable. This world is a desert, where nothing can be found to

satisfy the soul of man, but the salvation which Christ has


Verse 37. They did all eat, and were filled] εχορτασθησαν-they

were satisfied. The husks of worldly pleasures may fill the man,

but cannot satisfy the soul. A man may eat, and not be satisfied:

it is the interest therefore of every follower of Christ to follow

him till he be fed, and to feed on him till he be satisfied.

Verse 38. Four thousand] Let the poor learn from these

miracles to trust in God for support. Whatever his ordinary

providence denies, his miraculous power will supply.

Verse 39. He sent away the multitude] But not before he had

instructed their souls, and fed and healed their bodies.

The coasts of Magdala.] In the parallel place, Mr 8:10, this

place is called Dalmanutha. Either Magdala was formed by a

transposition of letters from Dalman, to which the Syriac

termination atha had been added, or the one of these names refers

to the country, and the other to a town in that neighbourhood.

Jesus went into the country, and proceeded till he came to the

chief town or village in that district. Whitby says, "Magdala was

a city and territory beyond Jordan, on the banks of Gadara. It

readied to the bridge above Jordan, which joined it to the other

side of Galilee, and contained within its precincts Dalmanutha."

The MSS. and VV. read the name variously-Magada, Madega, Magdala;

and the Syriac has Magdu. In Mark, Dalmanutha is read by many

MSS. Melagada, Madegada, Magada, Magidan, and Magedam. Magdala,

variously pronounced, seems to have been the place or country;

Dalmanutha, the chief town or capital.

In this chapter a number of interesting and instructive

particulars are contained.

1. We see the extreme superstition, envy, and incurable ill

nature of the Jews. While totally lost to a proper sense of the

spirituality of God's law, they are ceremonious in the extreme.

They will not eat without washing their hands, because this would

be a transgression of one of the traditions of their elders; but

they can harbour the worst temper and passions, and thus break the

law of God! The word of man weighs more with them than the

testimony of Jehovah; and yet they pretend the highest respect for

their God and sacred things, and will let their parents perish for

lack of the necessaries of life, that they may have goods to vow

to the service of the sanctuary! Pride and envy blind the hearts

of men, and cause them often to act not only the most wicked, but

the most ridiculous, parts. He who takes the book of God for the

rule of his faith and practice can never go astray: but to the

mazes and perplexities produced by the traditions of elders, human

creeds, and confessions of faith, there is no end. These evils

existed in the Christian as well as in the Jewish Church; but the

Reformation, thank God! has liberated us from this endless system

of uncertainty and absurdity, and the Sun of righteousness shines

now unclouded! The plantation, which God did not plant, in the

course of his judgments, he has now swept nearly away from the

face of the earth! Babylon is fallen!

2. We wonder at the dulness of the disciples, when we find that

they did not fully understand our Lord's meaning, in the very

obvious parable about the blind leading the blind. But should we

not be equally struck with their prying, inquisitive temper? They

did not understand, but they could not rest till they did. They

knew that their Lord could say nothing that had not the most

important meaning in it: this meaning, in the preceding parable,

they had not apprehended, and therefore they wished to have it

farther explained by himself. Do we imitate their docility and

eagerness to comprehend the truth of God? Christ presses every

occurrence into a means of instruction. The dulness of the

disciples in the present case, has been the means of affording us

the fullest instruction on a point of the utmost importance-the

state of a sinful heart, and how the thoughts and passions

conceived in it defile and pollute it; and how necessary it is to

have the fountain purified, that it may cease to send forth those

streams of death.

3. The case of the Canaanitish woman is, in itself, a thousand

sermons. Her faith-her prayers-her perseverance-her success-the

honour she received from her Lord, &c., &c. How instructively-how

powerfully do these speak and plead! What a profusion of light

does this single case throw upon the manner in which Christ

sometimes exercises the faith and patience of his followers! They

that seek shall find, is the great lesson inculcated in this short

history: God is ever the same. Reader, follow on after God-cry,

pray, plead-all in Him is for thee!-Thou canst not perish, if thou

continuest to believe and pray. The Lord will help THEE.

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