The Little Dogs

   (No. 1309)

   A SERMON DELIVERED ON LORD'S-DAY MORNING, AUGUST 6, 1876,

   BY C. H. SPURGEON,

   AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.

   "But He answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread,
   and to cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of
   the crumbs which fall from their masters' table." Matthew 15:26,27.

   "But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is
   not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it unto the dogs.
   And she answered and said unto Him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the
   table eat of the children's crumbs." Mark 7:27,28.

   I TAKE the two records of Matthew and Mark that we may have the whole
   matter before us. May the Holy Spirit bless our meditations. The
   brightest jewels are often found in the darkest places. Christ had not
   found such faith, no, not in Israel, as he discovered in this poor
   Canaanite woman. The borders and fringes of the land were more fruitful
   than the center, where the farming had been more abundant! In the
   headlands of the field, where the farmer does not expect to grow much
   beyond weeds, the Lord Jesus found the richest ear of corn that as yet
   had filled His sheaf. Let those of us who reap after Him be encouraged
   to expect the same experience. Never let us speak of any district as
   too depraved to yield us converts, nor of any class of persons as too
   fallen to become Believers. Let us go, even, to the borders of Tyre and
   Sidon, though the land is under a curse, for even there we shall
   discover some elect one, ordained to be a jewel for the Redeemer's
   crown!

   Our heavenly Father has children everywhere! In spiritual things it is
   found that the best plants often grow in the most barren soil. Solomon
   spoke of trees and discoursed concerning the hyssop on the wall and the
   cedar in Lebanon. So is it in the natural world--the great trees are
   found on great mountains and the minor plants in places adapted for
   their tiny roots. But it is not so among the plants of the Lord's right
   hand planting, for there we have seen the cedar grow upon the
   wall--great saints in places where it has apparently impossible for
   then to exist! And we have seen hyssops growing upon Lebanon--a
   questionable, insignificant piety where there have been innumerable
   advantages! The Lord is able to make strong faith exist with little
   knowledge, little present enjoyment and little encouragement. And
   strong faith in such conditions triumphs and conquers and doubly
   glorifies the Grace of God!

   Such was this Canaanite woman, a cedar growing where soil was scant.
   She was a woman of amazing faith, though she could have heard but
   little of Him in whom she believed and, perhaps, had never seen Him at
   all until the day when she fell at His feet and said, "Lord, help me!"
   Our Lord had a very quick eye for spying faith. If the jewel was lying
   in the mire, His eyes caught its glitter. If there was a choice ear of
   wheat among the thorns, He failed not to perceive it. Faith has a
   strong attraction for the Lord Jesus! At the sight of it, "the king is
   held in the galleries," and cries, "you have ravished my heart with one
   of your eyes, with one chain of your neck." The Lord Jesus was charmed
   with the fair jewel of this woman's faith and watching it and
   delighting in it, He resolved to turn it round and set it in other
   lights, that the various facets of this priceless diamond might, each
   one, flash its brilliance and delight His soul!

   Therefore He tried her faith by His silence and by His discouraging
   replies, that He might see its strength. But He was, all the while,
   delighting in it and secretly sustaining it. And when He had
   sufficiently tried it, He brought it forth as gold, and set His own
   royal mark upon it in these memorable words, "O woman, great is your
   faith; be it unto you even as you will." I am hopeful, this morning,
   that perhaps some poor soul in this place under very discouraging
   circumstances may, nevertheless, be led to believe in the Lord Jesus
   Christ with a strong and persevering faith. And though as

   yet it enjoys no peace and has seen no gracious answer to prayer, I
   trust that its struggling faith may be strengthened, this morning, by
   the example of the Canaanite woman.

   I gather from the story of her appeal to the Lord Jesus and her
   success, four facts. The first is, faith's mouth cannot be closed. The
   second is, faith never disputes with God. Thirdly, I perceive that
   faith argues mightily and fourthly, that faith wins her suit.

   I. THE MOUTH OF FAITH CAN NEVER BE CLOSED, for if ever the faith of a
   woman was tried so as to make her cease from prayer, it was that of
   this daughter of Tyre. She had difficulty after difficulty to encounter
   and yet she could not be put off from pleading for her little daughter
   because she believed in Jesus as the great Messiah, able to heal all
   manner of diseases--and she meant to pray to Him until He yielded to
   her importunity--for she was confident that He could chase the demon
   from her child.

   Observe that the mouth of faith cannot be closed even on account of the
   closed ear and the closed mouth of Christ. He answered her never a
   word. She spoke very piteously--she came and threw herself at His
   feet--her child's case was very urgent. Her motherly heart was very
   tender and her cries were very piercing. And yet He answered her not a
   word! As if He were deaf and dumb, He passed her by. Yet she was not
   staggered. She believed in Him and even He, Himself, could not make her
   doubt Him, let Him try silence even if He would. It is hard to believe
   when prayer seems to be a failure. I would to God that some poor seeker
   here might believe that Jesus Christ is able and willing to save and so
   fully believe it that his unanswered prayers shall not be able to make
   him doubt!

   Even if you should pray in vain by the month together, do not allow a
   doubt about the Lord Jesus and His power to save to cross your mind.
   What if you cannot, yet, grasp the peace which faith must ultimately
   bring you? What if you have no certainty of forgiveness of your sin?
   What if no gleams ofjoy should visit your spirit? Still believe Him who
   cannot lie! "Though He slay me," said Job, "yet will I trust in Him."
   That was splendid faith! It would be a great deal for some if they
   could say, "Though He smite me, yet will I trust Him," but Job said,
   "Though He slay me." If Jesus puts on the garb of an executioner and
   comes out against me as though He would destroy me, yet will I believe
   Him to be full of love! He is still good and gracious. I cannot doubt
   it and, therefore, at His feet I will lie down and look up, expecting
   Grace at His hands! Oh for such faith as this! O Soul, if you have it,
   you are a saved man, as sure as you are alive! If even the Lord's
   apparent refusal to bless you cannot close your mouth, your faith is of
   a noble sort and salvation is yours!

   In the next place, her faith could not be silenced by the conduct of
   the disciples. They did not treat her well, but yet, perhaps, not
   altogether badly. They were not like their Master--they frequently
   repulsed those who would come to Him. Her noise annoyed them. She kept
   to them with boundless perseverance and, therefore, they said, "Send
   her away, for she cries after us." Poor soul, she never cried after
   them, it was after their Master! Sometimes disciples become very
   important in their own eyes and think that the pushing and crowding to
   hear the Gospel is caused by the people's eagerness to hear them,
   whereas nobody would care for their poor talk if it were not for the
   Gospel message which they are charged to deliver! Give us any other
   theme and the multitude would soon melt away!

   Though weary of the woman's importunate cries, they acted somewhat
   kindly towards her, for they were evidently desirous that she should
   obtain the gift she sought, or else our Lord's reply would not have
   been appropriate, "I am not sent, save to the lost sheep of the house
   of Israel." It was not her daughter's healing that they cared for, but
   they consulted their own comfort, for they were anxious to be rid of
   her. "Send her away," they said, "for she cries after us." Still,
   though they did not treat her as men should treat a woman, as disciples
   should treat a seeker, as Christians should treat everybody, yet for
   all that, her mouth was not stopped!

   Peter, I have no doubt, looked in a very scowling manner and, perhaps,
   even John became a little impatient, for he had a quick temper by
   nature. Andrew and Philip and the rest of them considered her very
   impertinent and presumptuous, but she thought of her little daughter at
   home and of the horrible miseries to which the demon subjected her, and
   so she pressed up to the Savior's feet and said, "Lord, help me." Cold,
   hard words and unkind, unsympathetic behavior could not prevent her
   pleading with Him in whom she believed. Ah, poor Sinner, perhaps you
   are saying, "I am longing to be saved, but such-and-such a good
   Christian man has dealt very bitterly with me. He has doubted my
   sincerity, questioned the reality of my repentance and caused me the
   deepest sorrow. It seems as if he did not wish me to be saved." Ah,
   dear Friend, this is very trying, but if you have true faith in the
   Master you will not mind us disciples--neither the gen-

   tlest of us, nor the most rough of us--just urge on your suit with your
   Lord till He deigns to give you an answer of peace.

   Her mouth, again, was not closed by exclusive doctrine which appeared
   to confine the blessing to a favored few! The Lord Jesus Christ said,
   "I am not sent save to the lost sheep of the house of Israel," and
   though properly understood there is nothing very severe in it, yet the
   sentence must have fallen on the woman's heart like a talent of lead.
   "Alas," she might have thought, "then He is not sent to me! Vainly do I
   seek for that which He reserves for the Jews." Now, the Doctrine of
   Election, which is assuredly taught in Scripture, ought not to hinder
   any soul from coming to Christ, for, if properly understood, it would
   rather encourage than discourage! And yet, often, to the uninstructed
   ear the Doctrine of the Divine Choice of a people from before the
   foundation of world acts with very depressing effect.

   We have known poor seekers mournfully say, "Perhaps there is no mercy
   for me. I may be among those for whom no purpose of mercy has been
   formed." They have been tempted to cease from prayer for fear they
   should not have been predestinated unto eternal life! Ah, dear Soul, if
   you have the faith of God's elect in you, you will not be kept back by
   any self-condemning inferences drawn from the secret things of God! You
   will believe in that which has been clearly revealed, and you will be
   assured that this cannot contradict the secret decrees of Heaven. What?
   Though our Lord was only sent to the house of Israel, yet there is a
   house of Israel not after the flesh but after the spirit and,
   therefore, the Syrophenician woman was included even where she thought
   she was shut out--and you may, also, be comprehended within those lines
   of gracious destiny which now distress you. At any rate, say to
   yourself, "In the election of Grace others are included who were as
   sinful as I have been, why should not I? Others have been included who
   were as full of distress as I have been on account of sin and why
   should not I be, also?" Reasoning thus, you will press forward, in hope
   believing against hope, suffering no plausible deduction from the
   doctrine of Scripture to prevent your believing in the appointed
   Redeemer.

   The mouth of faith, in this case, was not even closed by a sense of
   admitted unworthiness. Christ spoke of dogs--He meant that the Gentiles
   were to Israel as the dogs--she did not at all dispute it but yielded
   the point by saying, "Truth, Lord." She felt she was only worthy to be
   compared to a dog! I have no doubt her sense of unworthiness was very
   deep. She did not expect to win the blessing she sought on account of
   any merit of her own--she depended upon the goodness of Christ's heart,
   not on the goodness of her cause--and upon the excellence of His power
   rather than upon the prevalence of her plea. Yet, conscious as she was
   that she was only a poor Gentile dog, her prayers were not hindered!
   She cried, notwithstanding all, "Lord, help me."

   O Sinner, if you feel yourself to be the worst sinner out of Hell,
   still pray, believingly pray for mercy! If your sense of unworthiness
   is enough to drive you to self-destruction, yet I beseech you, out of
   the depths, out of the dungeon of self-loathing, still cry unto God,
   for your salvation rests in no measure or degree upon yourself or upon
   anything that you are or have been or can be! You need to be saved from
   yourself, not by yourself! It is yours to be empty, that Jesus may fill
   you! It is yours to confess your filthiness, that He may wash you! It
   is yours to be less than nothing, that Jesus may be everything to you!
   Suffer not the number, blackness, frequency, or heinousness of your
   transgressions to silence your prayers, and though you are a dog--yes,
   not worthy to be set with the dogs of the Lord's flock--yet open your
   mouth in believing prayer!

   There was, besides this, a general tone and spirit in what the Lord
   Jesus said which tended to depress the woman's hope and restrain her
   prayer, yet she was not kept back by the darkest and most depressing
   influences. "It is not meet," said the Lord Jesus, "it is not becoming,
   it is not proper, it is hardly lawful to take children's bread and
   throw it to dogs." Perhaps she did not quite see all that He might have
   meant, but what she did see was enough to pour cold water upon the
   flames of her hope, yet her faith was not quenched! It was a faith of
   that immortal kind which nothing can kill, for her mind was made up
   that whatever Jesus meant, or did not mean, she would not cease to
   trust Him! She would continue to urge her suit with Him.

   There are a great many things in and around the Gospel which men see as
   in a haze and, being misunderstood, they rather repel than attract
   seeking souls. But be they what they may, we must resolve to come to
   Jesus at all risks. "If I perish, I perish." Beside the great stumbling
   stone of election, there are Truths of God and facts which seekers
   magnify and misconstrue till they see a thousand difficulties. They are
   troubled about Christian experience, about being born again, about
   inbred sin and all sorts of things. In fact, a thousand lions are in
   the way when the soul attempts to come to Jesus! But he who gives
   Christ the faith which He deserves, says, "I fear none of these things.
   Lord, help me, and I will still con-

   fide in You. I will approach You. I will press through obstacles to You
   and throw myself at Your dear feet, knowing that him that comes to You,
   You will in no wise cast out."

   II. FAITH NEVER DISPUTES WITH THE LORD. Faith worships. You notice how
   Matthew says, "Then came she and worshipped Him." Faith also begs and
   prays. You observe how Mark says, "She besought Him." She cried, "Lord,
   help me," after having said, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, You Son of
   David." Faith pleads, but never disputes, not even against the hardest
   thing that Jesus says. If faith disputed--I am uttering a mistake--she
   would not be faith, for that which disputes is unbelief! Faith in God
   implies agreement with what God says and, consequently, it excludes the
   idea of doubt. Genuine faith believes anything and everything the Lord
   says whether discouraging or encouraging. She never has a, "but," or
   an, "if." Or even a, "yet," to put in, but she stands to it, "You have
   said it, Lord and, therefore, it is true! You have ordained it, Lord
   and, therefore, it is right." She never goes beyond that.

   Observe in our text that faith assents to all the Lord says. She said,
   "Truth, Lord." What had He said? "You are comparable to a dog!" "Truth,
   Lord. Truth, Lord, so I am." "It would not be meet that the children
   should be robbed of bread in order to feed dogs." "Truth Lord, it would
   not be fitting, and I would not have one of Your children deprived of
   Grace for me." "It is not your time yet," said Jesus, "the children
   must first be fed, children at the meal times and dogs after dinner.
   This is Israel's time and the Gentiles may follow after. But not yet."

   She virtually replies, "I know it, Lord, and agree." She does not raise
   a question or dispute the justice of the Lord's dispensing His own
   Grace according to His sovereign good pleasure. She fails not, as some
   do who quibble at Divine Sovereignty. It would have proven that she had
   little or no faith if she had done that. She disputes not as to the
   Lord's set time and order. Jesus said, "Let the children first be
   filled," and she does not dispute the time, as many do, who will not
   have it that now is the accepted tine, but are as much for postponing
   as this woman was for antedating the day of Grace!

   She entered into no argument against its being improper to take the
   Covenant bread from the children and give it to the uncircumcised
   heathen. She never wished Israel to be robbed for her. Dog as she was,
   she would not have any purpose of God nor any propriety of the Divine
   household shifted and changed for her. She assented to all the Lord's
   appointments. That is the faith which saves the soul, which agrees with
   the mind of God even if it seem adverse to herself--which believes the
   revealed declarations of God whether they appear to be pleasant or
   terrible--and assents to God's Word whether it is like a balm to its
   wound or like a sword to cut and slay. If the Word of God is true, O
   man, do not fight against it, but bow before it! It is not the way to a
   living faith in Jesus Christ, nor to obtain peace with God, to take up
   arms against anything which God declares. In yielding lies safety. Say,
   "Truth, Lord," and you shall find salvation!

   Note that she not only assented to all that the Lord said, but she
   worshipped Him in it. "Truth," she said, "but yet You are my Lord. You
   call me, 'dog,' but You are my Lord for all that. You account me
   unworthy to receive Your bounties, but You are my Lord, and I still
   acknowledge You as such." She is of the mind of Job--"Shall we receive
   good at the hand of the Lord, and shall we not receive evil?" She is
   willing to take the evil and say, "Whether the Lord gives, or whether
   He refuses, blessed be His name! He is still my Lord." Oh, this is
   grand faith, which has thrown aside the argumentative spirit and not
   only assents to the Lord's will, but worships Him in it!

   "Let it be what it may, O Lord, even if Your Truth condemns me, yet You
   are still Lord, and I confess Your Deity, confess Your excellence,
   acknowledge Your crown rights and submit myself to You. Do with me what
   You will." And, you observe, when she said, "Truth, Lord," she did not
   go on to suggest that any alteration should be made for her. "Lord,"
   she said, "You have classed me among the dogs." She does not say, "Put
   me among the children," but she only asks to be treated as a dog is!
   "The dogs eat the crumbs," she says. She does not want a purpose
   altered nor an ordinance changed, nor a decree removed--"Let it be as
   it is. If it is Your will, Lord, it is my will"-- she spies a gleam of
   hope, where, if she had not possessed faith, she would have seen only
   the blackness of despair! May we have such a faith as hers and never
   enter into controversy with God.

   III. Now I come to an interesting part of our subject, namely, that
   FAITH ARGUES, though it does not dispute. "Truth, Lord," she said, "yet
   the dogs eat the crumbs." This woman's argument was correct and
   strictly logical throughout. It was an argument based upon the Lord's
   own premises and, you know, if you are reasoning with a man, you cannot
   do better than take his own statements and argue upon them. She does
   not proceed to lay down new premises, or dispute the old ones by
   saying, "I am no dog." But she says, "Yes, I am a dog." She accepts
   that statement of the Lord,

   and uses it as a blessed argumentum ad hominem, such as was never
   excelled in this world! She took the words out of His own mouth and
   vanquished Him with them, even as Jacob overcame the Angel!

   There is so much force in the women's argument that I quite despair,
   this morning, of being able to set it all forth to you. I would,
   however, remark that the translators have greatly injured the text by
   putting in the word, "yet," for there is no, "yet," in the Greek! It is
   quite another word. Jesus said, "It is not meet to take the children's
   bread and cast it to the dogs. "No," she said, "it would not be meet to
   do this, because the dogs are provided for, for the dogs eat the crumbs
   that fall from their master's table." "It would be very improper to
   give them the children's bread, because they have bread of their own."
   "Truth, Lord, I admit it would be improper to give the dogs the
   children's bread, because they have already their share when they eat
   the crumbs which fall from the children's table. That is all they need,
   and all I desire. I do not ask You to give me the children's bread, I
   only ask for the dog's crumbs."

   Let us see the force of her reasoning, which will appear in many ways.
   The first is this. She argued with Christ from her hopeful position. "I
   am a dog," she said, "but, Lord, You have come all the way to Sidon.
   Here You are close on the borders of my country and, therefore, I am
   not like a dog out in the street--I am a dog under the table." Mark
   tells us that she said, "The dogs under the table eat of the children's
   crumbs." She as good as says, "Lord, You see my position--I was a dog
   in the street, afar off from You--but now You have come and preached on
   our borders and I have been privileged to listen to You. Others have
   been healed and You are in this very house doing deeds of Grace while I
   look on and, therefore, though I am a dog, I am a dog under the table.
   Therefore, Lord, let me have the crumbs."

   Do you see, dear Hearer? You admit that you are a sinner and a great
   sinner, but you say, "Lord, I am a sinner that is permitted to hear the
   Gospel, therefore bless it to me! I am a dog, but I am under the table,
   deal with me as such! When there is a sermon preached for the comfort
   of Your people, I am there to hear it. Whenever the saints gather
   together and the precious promises are discussed, and they rejoice
   therein, I am there, looking up and wishing that I was among them. But
   Lord, since You have had the Grace to let me be a hearer of the Gospel,
   will You reject me, now that I desire to be a receiver of it? To what
   end and purpose have You brought me so near, or rather come so near to
   me, if, after all, You will reject me? Dog I am, but still, I am a dog
   under the table. It is a favor to be privileged to be among the
   children, even if I may only lie at their feet. I pray You, good Lord,
   since now I am permitted to look up to You and ask this blessing, do
   not reject me."

   To me it seems that this was a strong point with the woman and that she
   used it well. Her next plea was her encouraging relationship. "Truth,
   Lord," she says, "I am a dog, but the dogs eat the crumbs which fall
   from their master's table." See the stress laid there by Matthew--"From
   their master's table"? I cannot say that you are my father. I cannot
   look up and claim the privilege of a child, but you are my Master, and
   masters feed their dogs. They give at least the crumbs to those dogs
   which acknowledge them as their lord." The plea is very much like that
   suggested to the mind of the poor returning prodigal. He thought to say
   to his father, "Make me as one of your hired servants," only his faith
   was far less than hers.

   For hers pleaded, "Lord, if I do not stand in relation to you as a
   child, yet I am Your creature. You have made me and I look up to You
   and beseech You not to let me perish. If I have no other hold upon You,
   I have at least this, that I ought to have served You and, therefore, I
   am Your servant though I am a runaway. I do belong to You--at least
   under the Covenant of Works if I do not under the Covenant of Grace,
   and oh, since I am Your servant, do not utterly reject me! You have
   some property in me by creation, at any rate. Oh, look upon me, and
   bless me. The dogs eat what falls from their master's table--let me do
   the same." She spies out a dog's relation to its master and makes the
   most of it with blessed ingenuity, which we shall do well to imitate.

   Notice next, she pleads her association with the children. Here I must
   tell you that it is a pity that it was not, I suppose, possible for our
   translators to bring clearly out what is, after all, the heart of the
   passage. She was pleading for her little daughter and our Lord said to
   her, "It is not meet to take the children's bread and cast it to the
   little dogs." The word is a diminutive and the woman focused upon it.
   The word, "dogs," could not have served her turn one half as well as
   that of, "little dogs." But she said, "Truth, Lord, yet the little dogs
   eat of the crumbs." In the East, as a rule, a dog is not allowed
   indoors. In fact, dogs are looked upon there as foul creatures and roam
   about uncared for and half wild.

   Christianity has raised the dog and made him man's companion, as it
   will raise all the brute creation, till the outrages of vivisection and
   the cruelties of the vulgar will be things unheard of except as horrors
   of a past barbarous age. In

   the East a dog is far down in the scale of life--a street wanderer,
   prowling for scanty food--and in temper little better than a reformed
   wolf. So the adult Easterns do not associate with dogs, having a
   prejudice against them. But children are not so foolish and,
   consequently, the Eastern children associate with the little dogs. The
   father will not have the dog near him, but his child knows no such
   folly and seeks out a little dog to join him in his sports. Thus the
   little dog comes to be under the table, tolerated in the house for the
   child's sake.

   The woman appears, to me, to argue thus--"You have called me and my
   daughter whelps, little dogs. But then the little dogs are under the
   children's table. They associate with the children, even as I have been
   with Your disciples today. If I am not one of them, I have been
   associating with them, and would be glad to be among them." How
   heartily do I wish that some poor soul would catch at this and say,
   "Lord, I cannot claim to be one of Your children, but I love to sit
   among them, for I am never happier than when I am with them. Sometimes
   they trouble and distress me, as little children pinch and hurt their
   little dogs, but oftentimes they caress me and speak kindly and
   comfortably to me. And they pray for me, and desire my salvation. So,
   Lord, if I am not a child, yet You call me a little dog and so I am. So
   give me a little dog's treatment--give me the crumbs of mercy which I
   seek."

   Her argument goes further, for the little dog eats the crumbs of the
   children's bread with the child's full consent. When a child has its
   little dog to play with while he is eating, what does the child do?
   Why, of course, it gives a little bit to the dog every now and again
   and the doggie, himself, takes great liberties and helps himself as
   much as he dares. When a little dog is with the children at meal time
   it is sure to get a crumb from one or other of its playmates--and none
   will object to its eating what it can get.

   So the woman seems to say, "Lord, there are the children, Your
   disciples. They do not treat me very well. Little children do not treat
   little dogs always so kindly as they might, but still, Lord, they are
   quite willing that I should have the blessing I am seeking. They have a
   full portion in You. They have Your Presence. They have Your Word. They
   sit at Your feet. They have obtained all sorts of spiritual blessings.
   I am sure they cannot grudge me so much less a blessing-- they are
   willing that I should have the devil cast out of my daughter, for that
   blessing, compared with what they have, is but a crumb--and they are
   content that I should have it. So Lord, I answer Your argument. You say
   it is not meet until the children are filled to give bread to dogs,
   but, Lord, the children are filled and are quite willing to let me have
   my portion. They consent to allow me the crumbs! Will You not give them
   to me?"

   I think there was another point of force in her plea--the abundance of
   the provision. She had a great faith in Christ and believed big things
   of Him and, therefore, she said, "Lord, there is no great strength in
   Your argument if You do intend to prove that I ought not to have the
   bread for fear there should not be enough for the children, for You
   have so much that even while the children are being fed, the dogs may
   get the crumbs and there will still be enough for the children!" Where
   it is a poor man's table and he cannot afford to lose a crumb, dogs
   should not be allowed. But when it is a king's table where bread is of
   small account, and the children are sitting and feeding to the full,
   the little dogs may be permitted to feed under the table for the mere
   droppings--not the bread the master casts down, but the crumbs which
   fall by accident are so many that there is enough for the dogs without
   the children being deprived of a mouthful.

   "No, Lord," she said, "I would not have You take away the bread from
   Your own children! God forbid that such a deed should be done for me!
   But there is enough for Your children in Your overflowing love and
   mercy and still enough for me, for all I ask is but a crumb compared
   with what You are daily bestowing upon others." Now, here is the last
   point in which her argument had force. She looked at things from
   Christ's point of view. "If, great Lord," she said, "You look at me as
   a dog, then behold I humbly take You at Your word, and plead that if I
   am a dog to You, then the cure I ask for my daughter is but a crumb for
   Your great power and goodness to bestow on me." She used a diminutive
   word, too, and said, "A little crumb."

   The little dogs eat of the little crumbs which fall from the children's
   table. What bold faith this was! She valued the mercy she sought beyond
   all price! She thought it worth 10,000 worlds to her, but yet to the
   Son of God she knew it to be a mere crumb, so rich is He in power to
   heal and so full of goodness and blessing! If a man gives a crumb to a
   dog, he has a little the less, but if Jesus gives mercy to the greatest
   of sinners, He has none the less--He is just as rich in condescension
   and mercy and power to forgive as He was before! The woman's argument
   was most potent. She was as wise as she was earnest and, best of all,
   she believed most marvelously!

   I shall close this outline of the argument by saying that at bottom the
   woman was, in reality, arguing according to the eternal purposes of
   God, for what was the Lord's grand design in giving the bread to the
   children, or, in other words, sending a Divine Revelation to Israel?
   Why, it always was His purpose that through the children, the dogs
   should get the bread--that through Israel the Gospel should be handed
   to the Gentiles! It had always been His plan to bless His own heritage
   that His way might be known upon earth, His saving health among all
   nations! And this woman, somehow or other, by a Divine instinct, fell
   into the Divine method. Though she had not spied out the secret, or at
   least it is not told us that she did so in so many words, yet there was
   the innate force of her argument.

   In other words, it ran thus--"It is through the children that the dogs
   have to be fed. Lord, I do not ask You to cease giving the children
   their bread. Nor do I even ask You to hurry on the children's meal--let
   them be fed first--but even while they are eating, let me have the
   crumbs which drop from their well-filled hands and I will be content."
   There is a brave argument for you, poor coming Sinner. I leave it in
   your hands and pray the Spirit of God to help you to use it! And if you
   can turn it to good account, you shall prevail with the Lord this day!

   IV. Our last and closing head is this--FAITH WINS HER SUIT. This
   woman's faith first won a commendation for herself. Jesus said, "O,
   Woman, great is your faith." She had not heard of the prophecies
   concerning Jesus. She was not bred and born and educated in a way in
   which she was likely to become a Believer and yet she did become a
   Believer of the first class. It was marvelous that it should be so, but
   Grace delights in doing wonders. She had not seen the Lord, before, in
   her life. She was not like those who had associated with Him for many
   months and yet, with but one view of Him, she gained this great faith!
   It was astonishing, but the Grace of God is always astonishing!

   Perhaps she had never seen a miracle--all that her faith had to rest
   upon was that she had heard in her own country that the Messiah of the
   Jews was come--and she believed that the Man of Nazareth was He and on
   this she relied. O Brothers and Sisters, with all our advantages! With
   the opportunities that we have of knowing the whole life of Christ and
   understanding the doctrines of the Gospel as they are revealed to us in
   the New Testament--with many years of observation and experience--our
   faith ought to be much stronger than it is! Does not this poor woman
   shame us when we see her with her slender opportunities, nevertheless
   so strong in faith, so that Jesus Himself commending her says, "O
   Woman, great is your faith"?

   But her faith prevailed further in that it won a commendation for the
   mode of its action, for, according to Mark, Jesus said, "Go your way;
   for this saying the devil is gone out of your daughter." It was as if
   He rewarded the saying as well as the faith which suggested it! He was
   so delighted with the wise, prudent and humble, yet courageous manner
   in which she turned His words against Himself, that He said, "For this
   saying the devil is gone out of your daughter." The Lord who commends
   faith, afterwards commends the fruits and acts of faith! The Tree
   consecrates the fruit! No man's actions can be acceptable with God till
   He, Himself, is accepted. And the woman, having been accepted on her
   faith, the results of her faith were agreeable to the heart of Jesus.

   The woman also gained her desire--"The devil is gone out of your
   daughter," and he was gone at once! She had only to go home and find
   her daughter on the bed taking a quiet rest--something which she had
   not done since the demon had possessed her! Our Lord, when He gave her
   the desire of her heart, gave it in a grand manner! He gave her a sort
   of carte blanche and said, "Be it unto you even as you will." I do not
   know that any other person ever had such a word said to them as this
   woman, "Be it unto you even as you will." It was as if the Lord of
   Glory surrendered at discretion to the conquering arms of a woman's
   faith! The Lord grant to you and me, in all times of our struggling, to
   be able, thus, by faith, to conquer--and we cannot imagine how great
   will be the spoil which we shall divide when the Lord shall say, "Be it
   unto you even as you will."

   The close of all is this--this woman is a lesson to all outsiders--to
   you who think yourselves beyond the pale of hope, to you who were not
   brought up to attend the House of God, who perhaps have been negligent
   of all religion for almost all your life. This poor woman is a
   Sidonian. She comes of a race that had been condemned to die many
   centuries before--one of the accursed seed of Canaan! And yet, for all
   that, she became great in the kingdom of Heaven because she believed!
   And there is no reason why those who are reckoned to be quite outside
   the Church of God should not be in the very center of it--and be the
   most burning and shining lights of the whole! O you poor outcasts and
   far-off ones, take heart and comfort! Come to Jesus Christ and trust
   yourselves in His hands!

   This woman is, next of all, an example to those who think they have
   been repulsed in their endeavors after salvation. Have you been praying
   and have you not succeeded? Have you sought the Lord and do you seem to
   be more unhappy than ever? Have you made attempts at reformation and
   amendment and believed that you made them in the Divine strength--and
   have they failed? Yet trust in Him whose blood has not lost its
   efficacy, whose promise has not lost its truth, and whose arm has not
   lost its power to save! Cling to the Cross, Sinner! If the earth sinks
   beneath you, hang on! If storms should rage and all the floods be out,
   and even God, Himself, seems to be against you, cling to the Cross!
   There is your hope! You cannot perish there!

   This is a lesson, next, to every intercessor. This woman was not
   pleading for herself, she was asking for another. Oh, when you plead
   for a fellow sinner, do not do it in a cold-hearted manner! Plead as
   for your own soul and your own life! That man will prevail with God as
   an intercessor who solemnly bears the matter upon his own heart and
   makes it his own and with tears entreats an answer of peace! Lastly,
   remember that this mighty woman, this glorious woman, is a lesson to
   every mother, for she was pleading for her little daughter! Maternal
   instinct makes the weakest strong, and the most timid brave. Even among
   poor beasts and birds, how powerful is a mother's love!

   Why, the poor little robin which would be frightened at the approach of
   a footstep, will sit upon its nest when the intruder comes near when
   her little ones are in danger. A mother's love makes her heroic for her
   child! And so, when you are pleading with God, plead as a mother's love
   suggests to you, till the Lord shall say to you, also, "O Woman, great
   is your faith; the devil is gone out of your daughter; be it unto you
   even as you will." I leave that last thought with parents as an
   encouragement to pray. The Lord stir you up to it, for Jesus' sake.
   Amen.

   PORTION OF SCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON--Matthew 15:1-31. HYMNS FROM
   "OUR OWN HYMN BOOK"--906, 551, 540.