Matthew 15* Jesus discourses about human traditions. (1-9) He warnsagainst things which really defile. (10-20) He heals thedaughter of a Syrophenician woman. (21-28) Jesus heals the sick,and miraculously feeds four thousand. (29-39)1-9 Additions to God's laws reflect upon his wisdom, as if hehad left out something which was needed, and which man couldsupply; in one way or other they always lead men to disobey God.How thankful ought we to be for the written word of God! Neverlet us think that the religion of the Bible can be improved byany human addition, either in doctrine or practice. Our blessedLord spoke of their traditions as inventions of their own, andpointed out one instance in which this was very clear, that oftheir transgressing the fifth commandment. When a parent's wantscalled for assistance, they pleaded, that they had devoted tothe temple all they could spare, even though they did not partwith it, and therefore their parents must expect nothing fromthem. This was making the command of God of no effect. The doomof hypocrites is put in a little compass; "In vain do theyworship me." It will neither please God, nor profit themselves;they trust in vanity, and vanity will be their recompence. 10-20 Christ shows that the defilement they ought to fear, wasnot from what entered their mouths as food, but from what cameout of their mouths, which showed the wickedness of theirhearts. Nothing will last in the soul but the regeneratinggraces of the Holy Spirit; and nothing should be admitted intothe church but what is from above; therefore, whoever isoffended by a plain, seasonable declaration of the truth, weshould not be troubled at it. The disciples ask to be bettertaught as to this matter. Where a weak head doubts concerningany word of Christ, an upright heart and a willing mind seek forinstruction. It is the heart that is desperately wicked, #Jer17:9|, for there is no sin in word or deed, which was not firstin the heart. They all come out of the man, and are fruits ofthat wickedness which is in the heart, and is wrought there.When Christ teaches, he will show men the deceitfulness andwickedness of their own hearts; he will teach them to humblethemselves, and to seek to be cleansed in the Fountain openedfor sin and uncleanness. 21-28 The dark corners of the country, the most remote, shallshare Christ's influences; afterwards the ends of the earthshall see his salvation. The distress and trouble of her familybrought a woman to Christ; and though it is need that drives usto Christ, yet we shall not therefore be driven from him. Shedid not limit Christ to any particular instance of mercy, butmercy, mercy, is what she begged for: she pleads not merit, butdepends upon mercy. It is the duty of parents to pray for theirchildren, and to be earnest in prayer for them, especially fortheir souls. Have you a son, a daughter, grievously vexed with aproud devil, an unclean devil, a malicious devil, led captive byhim at his will? this is a case more deplorable than that ofbodily possession, and you must bring them by faith and prayerto Christ, who alone is able to heal them. Many methods ofChrist's providence, especially of his grace, in dealing withhis people, which are dark and perplexing, may be explained bythis story, which teaches that there may be love in Christ'sheart while there are frowns in his face; and it encourages us,though he seems ready to slay us, yet to trust in him. Thosewhom Christ intends most to honour, he humbles to feel their ownunworthiness. A proud, unhumbled heart would not have bornethis; but she turned it into an argument to support her request.The state of this woman is an emblem of the state of a sinner,deeply conscious of the misery of his soul. The least of Christis precious to a believer, even the very crumbs of the Bread oflife. Of all graces, faith honours Christ most; therefore of allgraces Christ honours faith most. He cured her daughter. Hespake, and it was done. From hence let such as seek help fromthe Lord, and receive no gracious answer, learn to turn eventheir unworthiness and discouragements into pleas for mercy. 29-39 Whatever our case is, the only way to find ease andrelief, is to lay it at Christ's feet, to submit it to him, andrefer it to his disposal. Those who would have spiritual healingfrom Christ, must be ruled as he pleases. See what work sin hasmade; what various diseases human bodies are subject to. Herewere such diseases as fancy could neither guess the cause northe cure of, yet these were subject to the command of Christ.The spiritual cures that Christ works are wonderful. When blindsouls are made to see by faith, the dumb to speak in prayer, themaimed and the lame to walk in holy obedience, it is to bewondered at. His power was also shown to the multitude, in theplentiful provision he made for them: the manner is much thesame as before. All did eat, and were filled. Those whom Christfeeds, he fills. With Christ there is bread enough, and tospare; supplies of grace for more than seek it, and for thosethat seek for more. Christ sent away the people. Though he hadfed them twice, they must not look for miracles to find theirdaily bread. Let them go home to their callings and their owntables. Lord, increase our faith, and pardon our unbelief,teaching us to live upon thy fulness and bounty, for all thingspertaining to this life, and that which is to come.
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