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spake unto him again the second time, saying, “ What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.” This was done three times, and the vessel was received up again into heaven.
Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen could mean, behold, the men who were sent by Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon's house, and stood before the gate. They told him that an angel had directed Cornelius to send and fetch him: and accordingly, on the day following, they all set out together to go to Cæsarea. And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and did him obeisance. But Peter took him up, saying, “Stand up; I myself also am a man.” And as he talked with him he went in, and found many who were come together. And he said unto them, “Ye know that it is considered as unlawful for a man that is a Jew to keep company with, or even to come unto, one of another nation; but God has shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean. Therefore came I unto you, without hesitation, as soon as I was sent for; I ask, therefore, for what intent ye have sent for me?" Then Cornelius related to Peter how he had been directed by an angel to send for him, and entreated him to declare those things which were commanded him by God.
the Jews considered as unclean, because they were forbidden in their law to eat them. See Leviticus xi., xx.; Deut. xiv.
Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons, but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted by him. The word which God sent unto the children of Israel preaching peace by Jesus Christ, (he is Lord of all,) that word ye know. Ye know what was done throughout all Judæa, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; how God
anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; who went about doing good, and curing all that were oppressed by the devil; for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem ; whom they slew, having hanged him on a tree. Him God raised up on the third day, and shewed him openly, not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before by God-even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify, that it is he who was ordained by God to be the judge of quick and dead. To him give all the prophets witness, that, through his name, whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.”
While Peter was yet speaking these words, the holy spirit fell on all those who heard the word. And the believing Jews, who came with Peter, were as
tonished, because that on the Gentiles also the gift of the holy spirit was poured out; for they heard them speak in foreign languages, and magnify God. Then said Peter, “Can any man forbid water, that these may be baptized, who have received the holy spirit as well as we?" And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they entreated him to remain with them some days.
The Jews thought that they enjoyed more of the favour of God than other nations did, because he had placed them in the land of Judæa, and to them only had he given the Law, and sent his holy prophets. They looked upon Cornelius as having less of the divine favour than themselves, although he believed in the true God. But this vision was intended to shew Peter, that every one who fears God, and works righteousness, will be accepted by him, whether he be Jew or whether he be Gentile. Jesus Christ came to bring salvation to all nations ; and they who believe in him, and do the will of his heavenly Father, will be accepted by Him at the last day. Let us, then, earnestly strive to be just and holy ourselves, and let us love and honour all those who are just and holy, whether they be of our own nation or of another.
THE PERSECUTION BY HEROD.
(Acts xii. 1-19.) Now about that time, Herod the king stretched forth his hand to harass certain of the church; and he killed James, the brother of John, with the sword. And when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also. And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to sixteen soldiers, that they might guard him, intending after the passover to