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The visions of ]
CHAP. X. [Cornelius and Peter. about the ninth hour of the day an again the second time, What God angel of God coming in to him, and hath cleansed, that call not thou saying unto him, Cornelius.
common. 4 And when he looked on him, he 16 This was done thrice: and the was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord ? vessel was received up again into And he said unto him, Thy prayers heaven. and thine alms are come up for a me- 17 Now while Peter doubted in himmorial before God.
self what this vision which he had seen 5 And now send men to Joppa, and should mean, behold, the men which call for one Simon, whose surname is were sent from Cornelius had made Peter:
enquiry for Simon's house, and stood 6 He lodgeth with one Simon a before the gate, tanner, whose house is by the sea 18 And called, and asked whether side: he shall tell thee what thou Simon, which was surnamed Peter, oughtest to do.
were lodged there. 7 And when the angel which spake 19 While Peter thought on the viunto Cornelius was departed, he called sion, the Spirit said unto him, Betwo of his household servants, and a hold, three men seek thee. devout soldier of them that waited on 20 Arise therefore, and get thee him continually;
down, and go with them, doubting 8 And when he had declared all nothing: for I have sent them. these things unto them, he sent them 21 Then Peter went down to the to Joppa.
men which were sent unto him from 9 On the morrow, as they went on Cornelius; and said, Behold, I am he their journey, and drew nigh unto the whom ye seek : what is the cause city, Peter went up upon the housetop wherefore ye are come? to pray about the sixth hour:..
22 And they said, Cornelius the 10 And he became very hungry, centurion, a just man, and one that and would have eaten : but while they feareth God, and of good report among made ready, he fell into a trance, all the nation of the Jews, was warned
11 And saw heaven opened, and a from God by an holy angel to send for certain vessel descending unto him, as thee into his house, and to hear words it had been a great sheet knit at the of thee. four corners, and let down to the 23 Then called he them in, and earth :
lodged them. And on the morrow 12 Wherein were all manner of Peter went away with them, and cerfourfooted beasts of the earth, and tain brethren from Joppa accompanied wild beasts, and creeping things, aud him. fowls of the air.
24 And the morrow after they en13 And there came a voice to him, tered into Cæsarea. And Cornelius Rise Peter; kill and eat.
waited for them, and had called toge14 But Peter said, Not so, Lord; ther his kinsmen and near friends. for I have never eaten any thing that
ever eaten any thing that 25 And as Peter was coming in, is common or unclean.
Cornelius met him, and fell down at 15 And the voice spake unto him his feet, and worshipped him.
NOTES. CAP. X. Ver. 4. What is it, Lord?-If this other MSS., in both the Syriac versions, &c.; and
addressed to the angel, perbaps the pronoun my is rejected by Wetstein, Griesbach, and Michaelis. mauld here be onderstood, as in Numb. xi. 28, "My Ver. 9. The sixth hour-i.e. noon. lord Moses, forbid them.”
Ver. Il. A certain vessel.- Doddr. “ Something er. 6. Simon a tanner - The Rabbies say, that descending to him like a great sheet," &c. was considered as a mean trade, and execrated Ver. 12. Four footed beasts-both clean and un
Thian say some; but Doddridge remarks than
by the Jews.
14. He shall tell thee. &c. This latter member
rerse is omitted in four ancient, and many
this case Peter might have made a selection, He thinks, therefore, that they were all unclean.
the terse is omitteret, &c.—This latter member
[to Cornelius, 26 But Peter took him up, saying, and, behold, a man stood before me in Stand up; I myself also am a man. bright clothing,
27 And as he talked with him, he 31 And said, Cornelius, thy prayer went in, and found many that were is heard, and thine alms are had in come together.
remembrance in the sight of God. 28 And he said unto them, Ye know 32 Send therefore to Joppa, and how that it is an unlawful thing for a call hither Simon, whose surname is man that is a Jew to keep company, Peter; he is lodged in the house of or come unto one of another nation; one Simon a tanner by the sea side: but God hath shewed me that I should who, when he cometh, shall speak not call any man common or unclean. unto thee.
29 Therefore came I unto you with 33 Immediately therefore I sent to out gainsaying, as soon as I was sent thee; and thou hast well done that for : I ask therefore for what intent ye thou art come. Now therefore are we have sent for me?
all here present before God, to hear 30 And Cornelius said, Four days all things that are commanded thee of ago I was fasting until this hour; and God. (U) at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, 34 À Then Peter opened his mouth,
Let us now attend to the two visions be(U) Ver. 1-33. The visions of Cornelius fore us, and first to that of Cornelius, He, and of Peter.-" Hitherto (says Mr. Scott) as we have seen, was a Gentile proselyte, none had been adoitted into the Christian who “ feared God and wrought righteousChurch, but Jews, Samaritans, and prose- ness," notwithstanding he belonged to the lytes," who had been circumcised, and military profession, whose works are too bound themselves to keep the whole Jewish often of a very opposite description. This law; but it is the opinion of Dean Prideaux, man was a Centurion, that is, he comLord Barrington, and many other learned manded an hundred men of the baud called men, that beside those who were called Italian, probably from its consisting chiefly Proselytes of Justice (or Righteousness), of Italians. The military profession is not there were others called Proselytes of the only very ineligible for Christians, as it Gate, and understood in the fourth com- presents many temptations to licentious. mandınent under the denomination of ness; but that of a Roman soldier was par“strangers within their gates," meaning ticularly obnoxious, as he was trained up devout but uncircumcised Gentiles, who to violence and plunder-to oppress the renounced idolatry, and observed the moral weak, and to enslave the world. Engaged law and the seven precepts of Noah, but in the profession, however, previous to paid no regard to the Mosaic ritual, and their conversion, it could be po easy mattherefore they were admitted into the tem. ter, especially for the common soldiers, to ple, no farther than the court of the Gen disentangle themselves from it; and, intiles. This opinion of two kinds of prose deed, the attempt cost many of them their lytes, Mr. Prebend. Townsend has lately lives. The only case in which we cau code defeuded at great length, and with cousi template the soldiers' character with pieaderable ability. The principal argument sure is, when we see them enrolled for the which weighs with us is, that Peter ob- protection of our liberties and our lives, jected to go to preach to Cornelius, as un- in opposition to a foreign despot, or an unclean, till he received a special command constitutional Pretender. to that purpose, which could not have been C ornelius was, however, under these the case had be been an observer of the most unfavourable circumstances, still a Jewish laws, like the proselytes of right- man of piety and benevolence; insomuch eousness.
that an angel was sent to announce to him
NOTES-Chap. X. Con. Ver. 26. Stand up.-Did Jesus say so? or what “ l'hose strangers who come to us on any other ac. are we to infer upon the doctrine of the simple count but that of religion, Moses permitted not to be humanity of Jesus? Was he less pious, or less mixed with us in any fauniharities.” Cont. Apion, humble than St. Peter?
ii. 28. Ver. 28. An unlawful thing.-So Josephus :
[in his house. and said, Of a truth I perceive that pressed of the devil; for God was with God is no respecter of persons :
him. 35 But in every nation he that 39 And we are witnesses of all feareth him, and worketh righteous- things which he did, both in the land ness, is accepted with him.
of the Jews, and in Jerusalem : whom 36 The word which God sent they slew and hanged on a tree: unto the children of Israel, preaching 40 Him God raised up the third peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all) day, and shewed him openly;
37 That word, I say, ye know, 41 Not to all the people, but unto which was published throughout all witnesses chosen before of God, even Judea, and began from Galilee, after to us, who did eat and drink with him the baptism which John preached; after he rose from the dead.
38 How God anointed Jesus of 42 And he commanded us to preach Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and unto the people, and to testify that it with power: who went about doing is he which was ordained of God to be good, and healing all that were op- the Judge of quick and dead.
EXPOSITION. the acceptance of his prayers and alms accepted by him," previous to his knowdeeds; and, at the same time, to direct ledge of Jesus Christ, some have hastily him to send for an apostle, who should inferred, that an explicit knowledge of direct him to the true way of salvation and Christ is by no means necessary to salvation. eternal life. But why could not the angel When we speak of things necessary to salhimself do this? For this plain reason, vation, we must be careful, in the first pone are so well qualified to recommend a place, not to attempt to “ limit the Holy remedy, as those who have felt its efficacy. One of Israel," or tie up the Author of our An angel might say, “He shall save bis Being, even to methods of his own prepeople from their sins ;" but Peter could scribing to bis creatures. The laws of say, “ He hath saved me, a sinner, though God in no case restrain his own mercy. I forsook him and denied him."
There is nothing, however, in the case of But Peter needed as much preparation as Cornelius, tu show that the knowledge of Cornelius. What! Peter, the apostle of Christ is not, in the ordinary course of the Jews, associate himself with a sinner things, necessary as the foundation of our of the Gentiles ? -a son of Abraham visit faith and practice; for though Christ had and converse with a soldier of that power Dot before been preached to him, yet as he which had enslaved his country! Far be was a pious man, and so friendly to the this from Peter. But behold a large sheet Jews, there can be no doubt but that he let down from heaven, and filled with was acquainted with the Old Testament beasts and creeping things, unclean as Scriptures in the Greek language, and had well as clean, intended to represent the been in the practice of reading them ; he Geutile world, who were regarded by the had also (ver. 37) some knowledge of the Jeus as no better than dogs. In their preaching and baptism of John, and of Jeview, as Peter says, it was unlawful for sus himself, who went about doing good : a Jew to keep company with one of ano his preconceptions, therefore, were inuch ther pation; but now God shewed the in favour of the gospel revelation. Where apostle that he ought not to call any God prepares the heart to receive Christ, man common or unclean, whom he had we have every reasou to expect Christ will cleansed.
be revealed to it—though perhaps this may From the fact here stated, that “ be that never be known to us. fears God and works righteousness may be
Ver. 35. Is accepted with him.-Dr. Watts says
Though I suppose no man shall be saved but by Virtue of the mediation and death of Christ .... yet Diere is good reason to believe there have been many anders actually saved, who never heard of the name
Christ," --Strength, &c. of Human Reason, 8vo. D. 106,
Ver. 41,-Not to all the people. This has been made an objection by many infidel writers; to which we can only reply, that God is not bound to satisfy those who are unwilling to be convinced. See our Exposition of John xx. 19-31; and, for fuller satisfaction, Ditton on the Resurrection, part iii, 260-70.
The baptism of the] THE ACTS. [first Gentile converts.
43 To him give all the prophets wit. baptized in the name of the Lord. ness, that through his name whosoever Then prayed they him to tarry certain believeth in him shall receive remission days. (X) of sins, 44 While Peter yet spake these
CHAP. XI. words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them AND the apostles and brethren that which heard the word.
were in Judea heard that the 45 And they of the circumcision Gentiles had also received the word which believed were astonished, as of God. many as came with Peter; because 2 And when Peter was come up to that on the Gentiles also was poured Jerusalem, they that were of the cir. out the gift of the Holy Ghost. cumcision contended with him,
46 For they heard them speak with 3 Saying, Thou wentest into men tongues, and magnify God. Then uncircumcised, and didst eat with answered Peter,
them. 47 Can any man forbid water, that 4 But Peter rehearsed the matter these should not be baptized, which from the beginning, and expounded it have received the Holy Ghost as well by order unto them, saying, as we?
5 I was in the city of Joppa pray48 And he commanded them to be ing: and in a trance I saw a vision,
EXPOSITION-Chap. X. Continued. (X) Ver. 34–48. Peter's Sermon before preme diguity-He was “ Lord of all"Cornelius and his friends, with the gift of Lord of prophets and apostles, yea, of men the Holy Ghost, and the baptism of the first and angels. “And we are witnesses," adds Gentiles.-Cornelius having sent for Peter St. Peter, “ of all things which he did to preach to him the glad tidings of salva- both in Judea, and especially at Jerusalem. tion, rightly judged it would be wrong to Moreover, when the Jews slew him and confine them to himself and fainily, and bung him on a tree, we are witnesses that therefore did well to invite his friends and God raised him up on the third day, and neighbours to unite with him : accord- shewed him openly"-not to all the peoingly, when Peter came (verse 27)," he ple" but uoto witnesses chosen of God, found many that were come together," even to us, who did eat and drink with and, what is especially worthy of the re- him after he rose from the dead. And he mark of Christian congregations, they did commanded us to preach unto the people, not come dropping in (as we often see) that it is he which is ordained of God to be during the whole time of service, but, says the Judge of quick and dead. To him Cornelius, “ We are all here present before (also) give all the prophets witness, that God, to hear all those things that are com. through his name, whosoever believeth manded thee of God."
in him shall receive remission of sins." «« Then Peter opened his mouth”-that T hus boldly and clearly did Peter disis, he spoke with freedom and boldness. play this gospel of the grace of God, to "'s perceive (said he) that God is no re- Gentiles as well as Jews, and his word was specter of persons; but in every nation, he confirmed by the miraculous effusion of that feareth God and workeih righteous. the Holy Ghost, not only in its ordinary, ness (as did Cornelius) is accepted with but in its extraordinary gifts on Gentiles him." But still it was well that he had as well as Jews-he therefore commanded sent for Peter, for he had still more good them to be baptized; and thus was the news to tell them : as that he was not only Christian Church opened to all nations, a prophet sent of God; but also Jesus and the party wall hetween Jews and GenChrist, the Messiah, the anointed Saviour: tiles broken down for ever. nor was this all; he was a peron of su
NOTES-Chap. X. Con. Ver. 43. All the prophets, &c. Most of them in the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy." a very express manner, and others indirectly; for Rev, xix. 10,
[his own conduct. A certain vessel descend, as it had be baptized with the Holy Ghost. been a great sheet, let down from 17 Forasmuch then as God gave heaven by four corners; and it came them the like gift as he did unto us, even to me:
who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; 6 Upon the which when I had fas- what was I, that I could withstand tened mine eyes, I considered, and God? saw fourfooted beasts of the earth, and 18 When they heard these things, wild beasts, and creeping things, and they held their peace, and glorified fowls of the air.
God, saying, Then hath God also to 7 And I heard a voice saying unto the Gentiles granted repentance unto me, Arise, Peter; slay and eat. life.
8 But I said, Not so, Lord: for no- 19 Now they which were scattered thing common or unclean hath at any abroad upon the persecution that arose time entered into my mouth.
about Stephen travelled as far as Phe9 But the voice answered me again nice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preachfrom heaven, What God hath cleansed, ing the word to none but unto the Jews that call not thou common.
only. 10 And this was done three times: 20 And some of them were men of and all were drawn up again iuto Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they heaven.
were come to Antioch, spake unto 11 And, behold, immediately there the Grecians, preaching the Lord were three men already come unto the Jesus. house where I was, sent from Cesarea 21 And the hand of the Lord was unto me.
with them : and a great number be12 And the spirit bade me go with lieved, and turned unto the Lord. them, nothing doubting. Moreover 22 Then tidings of these things these six brethren accompanied me, came unto the ears of the church which and we entered into the man's house: was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth
13 And he shewed us how he had Barnabas, that he should go as far as seen an angel in his house, which Antioch. stood and said unto him, Send men to 23 Who, when he came, and had Joppa, and call for Simon, whose sur- seen the grace of God, was glad, and name is Peter ;
exhorted them all, that with purpose 14 Who shall tell thee words, where- of heart they would cleave unto the by thou and all thy house shall be Lord. saved.
24 For he was a good man, and 15 And as I began to speak, the full of the Holy Ghost and of faith : Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at and much pevple was added unto the the beginning.
Lord. 16 Then remembered I the word of 25 Then departed Barnabas to Tarthe Lord, how that he said, John in- sus, for to seek Saul: deed baptized with water; but ye shall 26 And when he had found him,
NOTES. CHAP. XI. Ver. 17. What was I, that I could Jews who used the Greek language. See Note on willstand God?_“ O that the sin of withstanding chap. vi. l. But the Alexandrian MS. which is 1aGod by laying down rules of Christian communion, voured by the Syriac and other ancient versions, which exclude any whom He bas admitted ] and some Christian Fathers, reads, “ the Greeks;" may not be laid to the charge of those who [act] plainly meaning Gentile Greeks, which Doddridge, with a good intention, but in an over fondness for Lardner, and Griesbach decidedly prefer; Camptheir own forms."-Wesley.
bell, Scott, and Boothroyd, however, defend the Ver. 18. Beld their peace.- Doddr. "acquiesced.” common version.
Ver. 19. Antioch. This was the capital of Syria, Ver. 26. With the church.-Marg. * In the and the third city in the Roman Empire ; Rome and church." So Hammond, Doddridge, &c. ; meanAlexandria only ranking before it. -Doddr.
ing, perhaps, the house in which they used to asVer. 20. To the Grecians--or Hellepists; that is, semble; but Mr. Townsend objects to this on the