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 church

but Jews, Samaritans, and those converts who had been

circumcised and observed the ceremonial law; but now the

Gentiles were to be called to partake all the privileges of

God's people, without first becoming Jews. Pure and undefiled

religion is sometimes found where we least expect it. Wherever

the fear of God rules in the heart, it will appear both in works

of charity and of piety, neither will excuse from the other.

Doubtless Cornelius had true faith in God's word, as far as he

understood it, though not as yet clear faith in Christ. This was

the work of the Spirit of God, through the mediation of Jesus,

even before Cornelius knew him, as is the case with us all when

we, who before were dead in sin, are made alive. Through Christ

also his prayers and alms were accepted, which otherwise would

have been rejected. Without dispute or delay Cornelius was

obedient 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 have

prevented his going to Cornelius, unless the Lord had prepared

him for this service. To tell a Jew that God had directed those

animals to be reckoned clean which were hitherto deemed unclean,

was in effect saying, that the law of Moses was done away. Peter

was soon made to know the meaning of it. God knows what services

are before us, and how to prepare us; and we know the meaning of

what he has taught us, when we find what occasion we have to

make use of it.
19-33 When we see our call clear to any service, we should not

be perplexed with doubts and scruples arising from prejudices or

former ideas. Cornelius had called together his friends, to

partake with him of the heavenly wisdom he expected from Peter.

We should not covet to eat our spiritual morsels alone. It ought

to be both given and taken as kindness and respect to our

kindred and friends, to invite them to join us in religious

exercises. Cornelius declared the direction God gave him to send

for Peter. We are right in our aims in attending a gospel

ministry, when we do it with regard to the Divine appointment

requiring us to make use of that ordinance. How seldom ministers

are called to speak to such companies, however small, in which

it may be said that they are all present in the sight of God, to

hear all things that are commanded of God! But these were ready

to hear what Peter was commanded of God to say.
34-43 Acceptance cannot be obtained on any other ground than

that of the covenant of mercy, through the atonement of Christ;

but wherever true religion is found, God will accept it without

regarding names or sects. The fear of God and works of

righteousness are the substance of true religion, the effects of

special grace. Though these are not the cause of a man's

acceptance, yet they show it; and whatever may be wanting in

knowledge or faith, will in due time be given by Him who has

begun it. They knew in general the word, that is, the gospel,

which God sent to the children of Israel. The purport of this

word was, that God by it published the good tidings of peace by

Jesus Christ. They knew the several matters of fact relating to

the gospel. They knew the baptism of repentance which John

preached. Let them know that this Jesus Christ, by whom peace is

made between God and man, is Lord of all; not only as over all,

God blessed for evermore, but as Mediator. All power, both in

heaven and in earth, is put into his hand, and all judgment

committed to him. God will go with those whom he anoints; he

will be with those to whom he has given his Spirit. Peter then

declares Christ's resurrection from the dead, and the proofs of

it. Faith has reference to a testimony, and the Christian faith

is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, on

the testimony given by them. See what must be believed

concerning him. That we are all accountable to Christ as our

Judge; so every one must seek his favour, and to have him as our

Friend. And if we believe in him, we shall all be justified by

him as our Righteousness. The remission of sins lays a

foundation for all other favours and blessings, by taking that

out of the way which hinders the bestowing of them. If sin be

pardoned, 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 before

they were baptized, to show that God does not confine himself to

outward signs. The Holy Ghost fell upon those who were neither

circumcised nor baptized; it is the Spirit that quickeneth, the

flesh profiteth nothing. They magnified God, and spake of Christ

and the benefits of redemption. Whatever gift we are endued

with, we ought to honour God with it. The believing Jews who

were present, were astonished that the gift of the Holy Ghost

was poured out upon the Gentiles also. By mistaken notions of

things, we make difficult for ourselves as to the methods of

Divine providence and grace. As they were undeniably baptized

with the Holy Ghost, Peter concluded they were not to be refused

the baptism of water, and the ordinance was administered. The

argument is conclusive; can we deny the sign to those who have

received the things signified? Those who have some acquaintance

with Christ, cannot but desire more. Even those who have

received the Holy Ghost, must see their need of daily learning

more of the truth.
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