Acts 10* Cornelius directed to send for Peter. (1-8) Peter's vision.(9-18) He goes to Cornelius. (19-33) His discourse to Cornelius.(34-43) The gifts of the Holy Spirit poured out. (44-48)1-8 Hitherto none had been baptized into the Christian churchbut Jews, Samaritans, and those converts who had beencircumcised and observed the ceremonial law; but now theGentiles were to be called to partake all the privileges ofGod's people, without first becoming Jews. Pure and undefiledreligion is sometimes found where we least expect it. Whereverthe fear of God rules in the heart, it will appear both in worksof charity and of piety, neither will excuse from the other.Doubtless Cornelius had true faith in God's word, as far as heunderstood it, though not as yet clear faith in Christ. This wasthe work of the Spirit of God, through the mediation of Jesus,even before Cornelius knew him, as is the case with us all whenwe, who before were dead in sin, are made alive. Through Christalso his prayers and alms were accepted, which otherwise wouldhave been rejected. Without dispute or delay Cornelius wasobedient to the heavenly vision. In the affairs of our souls,let us not lose time. 9-18 The prejudices of Peter against the Gentiles, would haveprevented his going to Cornelius, unless the Lord had preparedhim for this service. To tell a Jew that God had directed thoseanimals to be reckoned clean which were hitherto deemed unclean,was in effect saying, that the law of Moses was done away. Peterwas soon made to know the meaning of it. God knows what servicesare before us, and how to prepare us; and we know the meaning ofwhat he has taught us, when we find what occasion we have tomake use of it. 19-33 When we see our call clear to any service, we should notbe perplexed with doubts and scruples arising from prejudices orformer ideas. Cornelius had called together his friends, topartake with him of the heavenly wisdom he expected from Peter.We should not covet to eat our spiritual morsels alone. It oughtto be both given and taken as kindness and respect to ourkindred and friends, to invite them to join us in religiousexercises. Cornelius declared the direction God gave him to sendfor Peter. We are right in our aims in attending a gospelministry, when we do it with regard to the Divine appointmentrequiring us to make use of that ordinance. How seldom ministersare called to speak to such companies, however small, in whichit may be said that they are all present in the sight of God, tohear all things that are commanded of God! But these were readyto hear what Peter was commanded of God to say. 34-43 Acceptance cannot be obtained on any other ground thanthat of the covenant of mercy, through the atonement of Christ;but wherever true religion is found, God will accept it withoutregarding names or sects. The fear of God and works ofrighteousness are the substance of true religion, the effects ofspecial grace. Though these are not the cause of a man'sacceptance, yet they show it; and whatever may be wanting inknowledge or faith, will in due time be given by Him who hasbegun it. They knew in general the word, that is, the gospel,which God sent to the children of Israel. The purport of thisword was, that God by it published the good tidings of peace byJesus Christ. They knew the several matters of fact relating tothe gospel. They knew the baptism of repentance which Johnpreached. Let them know that this Jesus Christ, by whom peace ismade between God and man, is Lord of all; not only as over all,God blessed for evermore, but as Mediator. All power, both inheaven and in earth, is put into his hand, and all judgmentcommitted to him. God will go with those whom he anoints; hewill be with those to whom he has given his Spirit. Peter thendeclares Christ's resurrection from the dead, and the proofs ofit. Faith has reference to a testimony, and the Christian faithis built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, onthe testimony given by them. See what must be believedconcerning him. That we are all accountable to Christ as ourJudge; so every one must seek his favour, and to have him as ourFriend. And if we believe in him, we shall all be justified byhim as our Righteousness. The remission of sins lays afoundation for all other favours and blessings, by taking thatout of the way which hinders the bestowing of them. If sin bepardoned, all is well, and shall end well for ever. 44-48 The Holy Ghost fell upon others after they were baptized,to confirm them in the faith; but upon these Gentiles beforethey were baptized, to show that God does not confine himself tooutward signs. The Holy Ghost fell upon those who were neithercircumcised nor baptized; it is the Spirit that quickeneth, theflesh profiteth nothing. They magnified God, and spake of Christand the benefits of redemption. Whatever gift we are enduedwith, we ought to honour God with it. The believing Jews whowere present, were astonished that the gift of the Holy Ghostwas poured out upon the Gentiles also. By mistaken notions ofthings, we make difficult for ourselves as to the methods ofDivine providence and grace. As they were undeniably baptizedwith the Holy Ghost, Peter concluded they were not to be refusedthe baptism of water, and the ordinance was administered. Theargument is conclusive; can we deny the sign to those who havereceived the things signified? Those who have some acquaintancewith Christ, cannot but desire more. Even those who havereceived the Holy Ghost, must see their need of daily learningmore of the truth.
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