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Peter restores Dorcas to life :
in consequence of which, many believe.
A. D. cir. 37. Ad. Olymp. cir. CCIV. 1.
. When he was come, they brought || 41 And he gave her his hand, and A.M.cir. 1041. Au. Olymp. him into the upper chamber : and all lifted her up, and when he had cir. civ. 1. the widows stood by him weeping, called the saints and widows, he preand shewing the coats and garments which sented her alive. Dorcas made, while she was with them.
42 And it was known throughout all Joppa ; 40 But Peter · put them all forth, and kneeled and many believed in the Lord. down, and prayed ; and turning him to the body 43 And it came to pass, that he tarried many said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her days in Joppa, with one · Simon a tanner. eyes ; and when she saw Peter, she sat up.
* Matt. 9. 25.-_ch. 7. 60.-
, Mark 5. 41, 42. John 11. 43.
John 11. 45. & 12. 11. ch. 10. 6.
iuatix, the outer and inner garments. These, it appears, she Christianity ; but also of bringing many sincere converts to had made for the poor, and more particularly for poor the Lord, so that the church was thereby both builded up widows, in whose behalf she had incessantiy laboured. and multiplied.
Verse 40. Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and Verse 43. He tarried many days in Joppa] Taking adprayed] It was not even known to Peter that God wouldvantage of the good impression made on the people's minds work this miracle : therefore he put all the people out, that by the miracle, he preached to them the great truths of he might seek the will of God by fervent prayer, and dur- | Christianity; and thus established them in the faith. ing his supplications, be liable neither to distraction nor in Simon a tanner.] Whether the original word Bupreus sigterruption, which he must have experienced, had he per- nifies a tanner or a currier, is of little consequence. The mitted this company of weeping widows to remain in the person who dealt in the hides, whether of clean or unclean chamber.
animals, could not be in high repute among the Jews. Even And turning--to the body] Ewua; the lifeless body, for the in Joppa, the trade appears to have been reputed ur.clean; spirit had already departed.
and therefore this Simon had his house by the sea-side. See Said, Tabitha, arise] During his wrestling with God, chap. x. 6. Of the trade itself, the Talmudists speak with he had, andoubtedly, received confidence that she would be great contempt; they reckon it among blemishes. See proofs raised at his word.
in Schoettgen. And when she saw Peter, she sat up.] As Dorcas was a woman so eminently holy, her happy soul had doubtless gone 1. Thus terminates what has not been improperly called to the paradise of God. Must she not therefore be filled the first period of the Christian church, which began at the with regret to find herself thus called back to earth again ? || day of pentecost, chap. ii. and continued to the resurrection And must not the remembrance of the glories she had now of Dorcas ; a period of about eight years. During the whole lost, fill her with dislike to all the goods of earth? No: 1 of this time, the gospel was preached to the Jews only, no for, 1. as a saint of God, her Maker's will must be her's ; | Gentile being called, before Cornelius; the account of whose because she knew that this will must be ever best. 2. It is conversion, and the divine vision that led to it, are detailed very likely that in the case of the revivescence of saint or in the following chapter. Salvation was of the Jews : theirs sinner, God mercifully draws a vcil over all they have seen were the fathers, the covenants, and the promises ; and from or known, so that they have no recollection of what they them came Christ Jesus ; and it was right that they should have either seen or heard. Even St. Paul found it impossible have the first offer of a salvation, which, while it was a light to tell what he had heard in the third heaven, though he was to lighten the Gentiles, was to be the glory of the Israelitish probably not in the state of the dead. Of the economy || people. When they utterly rejected it, then the apostles of the invisible world, God will reveal nothing. We walk || turned unto the Gentiles. Among them the Christian church here by faith, and not by sight.
was founded; and thus the reprobates became the elect ; and Verse 41. Saints and widows] In primitive times, the the clect became reprobates. Reader! behold the goodness widows formed a distinct part of the Christian church. and severity of God! towards them that fell, severity ; but
Verse 42. Many believed in the Lord.] That is, in Christ towards thee goodness, if thou continue in his goodness; Jesus, in whose name and through whose power they under- | otherwise thou also shalt be cut of, Rom. xi. 22. Thou canst stood this miracle to be wrought. This miracle, as well as only stand by faith ; and be not high-minded, but fear. No. that at Lydda, was not only the mean of strengthening the thing less than Christ dwelling in thy heart by faith, can faith of the disciples, and gaining credit to the cause of save thy soul unto eternal life.
Observations on the
conversion of St. Paul.
2. The conversion of Saul of Tarsus is one of the most | It exposed the absurdity and folly of Grecian and Roman remarkable facts, recorded in the history of the Christian | superstition and idolatry ; and asserted itself to be the church. When we consider the man; the manner in which completion, end, and perfection of the whole Mosaic æco. he was brought to the knowledge of the truth; the impression nomy. It was therefore hated by all those nations; and its made on his own mind and heart by the vision he had on his followers despised, detested, and persecuted. From the way to Damascus, and the effect produced in all his subse- || profession of such a religion so circumstanced, could any quent life, we have a series of the most convincing evidences | man, who possessed even the most moderate share of comof the truth of the Christian religion. In this light he ever mon sense, expect secular emolument or advantage ? No ! viewed the subject himself; the manner of his conversion hellad not this apostle of the Gentiles the fullest convictiou ever appealed to, as the most proper apology for his conduct; l of the truth of Christianity, the fullest proof of its heavenly and on several most important occasions, he not only refers influence on his own soul, the brightest prospect of the reto it, but enters into a detail of its circumstances, that his | ality and blessedness of the spiritual world, he could not hearers might see that the excellency of the power was of have taken one step in the path which the doctrine of Christ God and not of man.
pointed out. Add to this, that he lived long after his conSaul of Tarsus was not a man of a light, firkle, and un- || version, saw Christianity and its influence in every point of cultivated mind. His natural porcers were vast, his character || view; and tried it in all circumstances. What was the rethe most decided, and his education, as we learn from his sult? the deepest conviction of its truth; so that he counted historian, and from his writings, was at once both liberal all things dross and dung in comparison of the excellency of and profound. He was born and brought up in a city which its knowledge. Had he continued a Jew, he would have inenjoyed every privilege of which Rome itself could boast ; || fallibly risen to the first dignities and honours of his nation ; and was a successful rival both of Rome and Athens in arts || but he willingly forfeited all his secular privileges, and welland science. Though a Jew, it is evident that his education | grounded expectations of secular bonour and emolument, was not confined to matters that concerned his own people and espoused a cause, from which he could not only have no exand country alone. He had read the best Greek writers, as pectation of worldly advantage, but which, most evidently and his style, allusions, and quotations sufficiently prove; and necessarily, exposed him to all sorts of privations, sufferings, , in matters which concern his own religion, he was instructed hardships, dangers, and death itself! These were not only by Gamaliel, one of the most celebrated doctors the syna- | the unavoidable consequences of the cause he espoused; but gogue had ever produced. He was evidently master of the he had them fully in his apprehension, and constantly in his three great languages which were spoken among the only eye. He predicted them, and knew that every step he took people who deserved the name of nations : the Hebrew, and was a progressive advance in additional sufferings, and tho its prevailing dialect, the Chaldaio-Syriac; the Greek, and issue of his journey must be a violent death! the Latin ; languages, which, notwithstanding all the cultiva The whole history of St. Paul proves him to be one of the tion through which the earth has passed, maintain their rank, I greatest of men ; and his conduct after he became a Chris, which is a most decisive superiority over all the languages of|tian, had it not sprung from a divine motive, of the truth of the universe. Was it likely that such a man, possessing such which he had the fullest conviction, would have shewn him a mind, cultivated to such an extent, could have been imposed to be one of the weakest of men. The conclusion therefore on or deceived? The circumstances of his conversion forbid is self-evident, that in St. Paul's call there could be no imthe supposition: they do more ; they render it impossible. || posture ; that in his own mind there could be no deception, One consideration on this subject will prove, that imposture that his conversion was from heaven; and the religion he in this case was impossible : He had no communication with || professed and taught, the infallible and eternal truth of Je. Christians; the men that accompanied him to Damascus were hovah. In this full conviction, he counted not his life dear of his own mind; virulent, determined enemies to the very unto him, but finished his rugged race with joy, cheerfully name of Christ : and his conversion took place in the open || giving up his life for the testimony of Jesus; and thus bis day, on the open road, in company only with such men as luminous sun set in blood, to rise again in glory. the persecuting high-priest and sanhedrin thought proper to | version of St. Paul is the triumph of Christianity; his writbe employed in the extermination of Christianity. In such | ings, the fullest exhibition and defence of its doctrines; and circumstances, and in such company, no cheat could be prac- || his life and death, a glorious illustration of its principles. tised. But was not he the deceiver ? The supposition is || Armed with the history of Paul's conversion and life, the absurd and monstrous, for this simple reason, that there was feeblest believer needs not fear the most powerful infidel. no motive that could prompt him to feign what he was not ; | The ninth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles will ever reand no end that could be answered by assuming the profession main an inexpugnable fortress to defend Christianity, and of Christianity. Christianity had in it such principles as defeat its enemies. Reader, hath not God so done his marvel. inust expose it to the batred of Greece, Rome, and Judea.lous works that they may be had in everlasting remembrance?
Account of Cornelius,
a Roman centu rion.
CHAPTER X. An angel appears to Cornelius, a centurion, and directs him to send to Joppa, for Peter to instruct him in the
way of salvation, 1-6. He sends accordingly, 7, 8. While the messengers are on their way to Joppa, Peter has a remarkable vision, by which he is taught how he should treat the Gentiles, 9–16. The messengers arrive at the house of Simon the tanner, and deliver their message, 17—22. They lodge there that night, and on the morrow Peter accompanies them to Cæsarea, where they find Cornelius and his friends assembled, waiting the coming of Peter, 23, 24. Peter makes an apology for his coming, and enquires for what purpose Cornelius had sent for him, 25—29. Cornelius answers, 30–33. And Peter preaches unto him Jesus as the Saviour of the world, and the Judge of quick and dead, 34–43. While he speaks, the Holy Ghost descends on Cornelius and his company; and they spake with new tongues, and magnify God, 44–46. Peter commands them to be baptised in the name of the Lord, 47, 48.
THERE was a certain man in 2 . A devout man, and one that A.M.cir.4045. An. Olymp. Cæsarea called Cornelius, a feared God with all his house, which
An. Oiymp. cir. CCV. 1. centurion of the band, called the gave much alms to the people, and cir. CCV. 1. Italian band,
prayed to God alway.
A. D. cir. 41.
NOTES ON CHAP. X.
valry ; but the cohors prima, or first cohort, consisted of I have already observed (see the conclusion of the preced- || 1105 infantry and 132 cavalry, in the time of Vegetius. But ing chapter) that hitherto the apostles confined their labours the cavalry are not to be considered as part of the cohort, among the Jews and circumcised proselytes; not making any but rather a company joined to it. A Roman legion conoffer of salvation to the Gentiles : for they had fully imbibed sisted of ten cohorts; the first of which surpassed all the the opinion, that none could enter into the kingdom of God, others, both in numbers and in dignity. When in former and be finally saved, unless they were circumcised, and be times the Roman legion contained 6000, each cohort concame obedient to the law of Moses. This prejudice would sisted of 600, and was divided into three manipuli; but both have operated so, as finally to prevent them from preaching the legions and cohorts were afterwards various in the numbers the gospel to the Gentiles, had not God, by a particular they contained. As there were doubtless many Syrian auriinterposition of his mercy and goodness, convinced Peter, | liaries, the regiment in question was distinguished from them and through him all the other apostles, that he had accepted as consisting of Italian, i. e. Roman soldiers. · The Italian the Gentiles as well as the Jews; and would put no difference
cohort is not unknown among the Roman writers : Gruter between the one and the other, purifying their hearts by gives an inscription, which was found in the Forum Semfaith, and giving the Gentiles the Holy Ghost, as he had be- || pronii, on a fine table of marble, nine feet long, four feet fore given it to the Jews. The means which he used to pro broad, and four inches thick ; on which are the following duce this conviction in the minds of the apostles, are detailed
words : at length in the following chapter.
L. MAESIO. L. F. POL
TRIB. MIL. LEG.' x. been already noted; and the residence of the Roman pro
CÓH. MIL. ITALIC. VOLUNT A centurion] ExatovapXns, the chief or captain of 100
QVAE. E$T. IN. SYRIA. PRAEF men, as both the Greek and Latin words imply. How the
FABRVM.' BIS. Roman armies were formed, divided, and marshalled, see in See Gruter's Inscriptions, p. ccccxxxii-iv. the notes on Matt. xx. A centurion among the Romans was This was probably the same cohort as that mentioned here about the same rank as a captain among us.
by St. Luke; for the tenth legion mentioned in the above inThe band, called the Italian band] The word o telpa, || scription was certainly in Judea, A. D. 69. Tacitus also which we translate band, signifies the same as cohort or regi- || mentions the Italica legio, the Italic legion, lib. i. c. 59. ment, which sometimes consisted of 555 infantry and 66 ca which Junius Blosus had under his command in the province
RVFO. PROC. AVG.
An angel of God
appears to him.
A. D. cir. 41. An. Olymp. cir. CcV.1.
A. M. cir. 4015.
3 · He saw in a vision evidently, him, Thy prayers and thine alms are A. M.cir. 4045. A. D. cir. 41. An. Olymp. about the ninth hour of the day, an come up for a memorial before God. cir. CCV.1.
angel of God coming in to him, and 5 And now send men to Joppa, saying unto him, Cornelius.
and call for one Simon, whose surname is 4 And when he looked on him, he was afraid, Peter : and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto | 6 He lodgeth
6 He lodgeth with one "Simon a tanner,
of Lyons. We learn from the Roman historians, that the him, that the salvation of the Jews might with as little obserfifth, tenth, and fifteenth legions were stationed in Judea ; ! vation as possible be transmitted to the Gentiles. The choice and the third, fourth, sixth, and twelfth in Syria. The of such a person, through whom the door of faith was opened Italic legion was in the battle of Bedriacum, fought A. D. 69. to the heathen world, was a proof of the wisdom and goodbetween the troops of Vitellius and Otho; and performed ness of God. The man who was chosen to this honour, was essential services to the Vitellian army. See Tacitus, Hist. | not a profligate Gentile; nor yet a circumcised proselyte. lib. ii. cap. 41. The issue of this battle was the defeat of He was a Gentile, amiable and pure in his manners; and, for the Othonians, on which Otho slew himself; and the em- | his piety and charitableness, held in high estimation among pire was confirmed to Vitellius.
all the nation of the Jews. Against such a person they Wherever he sees it necessary, St. Luke carefully gives could not, with any grace, be envious, though God should dates and facts, to which any might have recourse who might || pour out upon him the gift of the Holy Spirit. be disposed to doubt his statements :, we have had several Verse 3. He saw in a vision evidently] The text is as proofs of this in his Gospel. See especially chap. i. 1, &c. and plain as it can be, that an angel of God did appear to Corüi. 1, &c. and the notes there.
nelius. This was in a vision, i. e. a supernatural representaVerse 2. A devout man] Eucerns from eu well, and os bouastion ; and it was careews manifestly, evidently made ; and I worship. A person who worships the true God, and is no at such a time too, as precluded the possibility of his being idolater.
asleep; for it was about the ninth hour of the day, answering One that feared God] $600 LLEVOS TOY Oɛov, one who was to our three o'clock in the afternoon, (see note on chap.iii. 1.) acquainted with the true God, by means of his word and the time of public prayer, according to the custom of the laws; who respected these laws, and would not dare to of- Jews; and while Peter was engaged in that sacred duty. fend his Maker and his Judge. This is necessarily implied The angelic appearance to Cornelius was something similar to in the fear of God.
that made to Daniel, chap. ix. 20—23. and that especially With all his house] He took care to instruct his family to Zachariah, the father of John Baptist, Luke i. 11, &c. in the knowledge, which he himself had received ; and to Verse 4. Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a establish the worship of God in his house.
memorial] Being all performed in simplicity and godly sinGade much alms] His love to God led him to love men; cerity, they were acceptable to the Most High. and this love proved its sincerity by acts of beneficence and Come up for a memorial : this form of speech is evidently charity.
borrowed from the sacrificial system of the Jews. Pious and Prayed to God alway.] Felt himself a dependent crea- sincere prayers are high in God's estimation; and therefore ture : knew he had no good, but what he had received; and are said to ascend to him, as the smoke and name of the considered God to be the fountain whence he was to derive | burnt-offering appeared to ascend to heaven. all his blessings. He prayed to God alway; was ever in the These prayers and alms came up for a memorial before spirit of prayer, and frequently in the act. What an excel. God : this is a manifest allusion to the meat-offering, which, in lent character is this ! and yet the man was a Gentile! He Lev. ii. 16. is said to be mp3i8 azkerah, a memorial, (speak. was what a Jezo would repute common and unclean, see ver. 28. ing after the manner of men,) to put God in remembrance He was therefore not circumcised; but, as he worshipped that such a person was his worshipper, and needed his prothe true God, without any idolatrous mixtures, and was in good tection and help. So the prayers and alms of Cornelius asreport among all the nation of the Jews, he was undoubtedly cended before God as an acceptable sacrifice, and were re. what was called a proselyte of the gate, though not a prose- corded in the kingdom of heaven, that the answers might be lyte of justice ; because he had not entered into the bond of given in their due season. the cotenant by circumcision. This was a proper person, be Verse 6. Simon a tanner] See the note on chap. ix. 43. ing so much of a Jew and so much of a Gentile, to form What thou oughtest to do.] From this it appears that the connecting link between both people ; and God chose , matters of great moment had occupied the mind of Cornelius.
Cornelius is directed
to send for Peter.
A. D. cir. 41. An. Olymp. cir. CCV. 1.
A. M.cir. 4015. whose house is by the sea side : 9 1 On the morrow, as they went A.M.cir. 4015
* he shall tell thee what thou oughtest on their journey, and drew nigh unto An. Olymp. to do.
the city, Peter went up upon the cir. CCV. 1. 7 And when the angel which spake unto house-top to pray about the sixth hour : Cornelius was departed, he called two of his 10
10 And he became very hungry, and would · household servants, and a devout soldier of them have eaten : but while they made ready, he fell that waited on him continually ;
into a trance, 8 And when he had declared all these things 11 · And saw heaven opened, and a certain unto them, he sent them to Joppa.
vessel descending unto him, as it had been a
• Ch. 11. 14._b ch. 11. 5, &c.
• Ch.7. 56. Rev. 19. 11.
He was not satisfied with the state of his own soul, nor with making realy, Tapacxeva Ortwy dressing the victuals for the the degree he possessed of religious knowledge ; and he set family. The dinner among the ancients was a very slight apart a particular time for extraordinary fasting and prayer, meal; and they had no breakfast : their supper was their that God might farther reveal to him the knowledge of his principal meal. And in very ancient times, they ate only will. Perhaps he had heard of Jesus, and had been per once in the day. Supper was the meal at which they plexed with the different opinions that prevailed concerning saw their friends, the business of the day being then him; and now prayed to God that he might know what part finished. he should take; and the answer to this prayer is, “ Send to lle fell into a trance] ETETEGEY ET' AUTOY EX50.515, an erJoppa for Simon Peter, he shall tell thee what thou oughtest tasy fell upon him. A person may be said to be in an extasy to do.” This clause, so explanatory, is wanting in almost when transported with joy or admiration; so that he is insenevery MS. and Version of note. Griesbach and some others sible to every object, but that on which he is engaged. Pehave left it out of the text.
ter's extasy is easily accounted for : he went up to the house. Verse 7. And a devout soldier] It has already been re- top to pray : at first he felt keen hunger ; but being earnestly marked that Cornelius had taken care to instruct his family engaged with God, all natural appetites became absorbed in in divine things ; and it appears also that he had been atten- the intense application of his soul to his Maker. While tive to the spiritual interests of his regiment. We do not find every passion and appetite was under this divine influence, that it was then, even among the Romans, considered a dis- and the soul, without let or hindrance, freely conversing grace for a military officer to teach his men lessons of mora- with God, then the visionary and symbolical representation lity, and piety towards God.
mentioned here, took place. Verse 8. He sent them to Joppa.] It has been properly Verse 11. And saw heaven opened] His mind now entirely remarked, that from Joppa, Jonah was sent to preach to the spiritualized, and absorbed in heavenly contemplation, was Gentiles of Nineveh ; and from the same place Peter was capable of discoveries of the spiritual world; a world, which sent to preach the gospel to the Gentiles at Cæsarea. with its tayowua, or plenitude of inhabitants, surrounds us
Verse 9. On the morroto, as they went on their journey] at all times ; but which we are incapable of seeing, through From Joppa to Cæsarea was about twelve or fifteen leagues ; the dense medium of flesh and blood, and their necessarily the messengers could not have left the house of Cornelius concomitant earthly passions. Much, however, of such a till about two hours before sun-set ; therefore, they must world and its æconomy may be apprehended by him who is have travelled a part of the night, in order to arrive at Joppa purified from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit; and who the next day, towards noon. Calmet. Cornelius sent two of his has perfected holiness in the fear of God. But this is a subhousehold servants, by way of respect to Peter; probably ject to which the enthusiast in vain attempts to ascend. the soldier was intended for their defence, as the roads in The turbulent working of his imagination, and the gross Judea were by no means safe.
earthly crudities which he wishes to obtrude on the world Peter went up upon the house-top to pray] It has often been as revelations from God, afford a sufficient refutation of their remarked, that the houses in Judea were builded with flat own blasphemous pretensions. roofs, on which people walked, conversed, meditated, prayed, A great sheet knit at the four corners] Perhaps intended &c. The house-top was the place of retirement; and thi- || to be an emblem of the universe, and its various nations, ther Peter went for the purpose of praying to God.
to the four corners of which the gospel was to extend; and Verse 10. He became very hungry] It seems that this to offer its blessings to all the inhabitants, without distinchappened about dinner-time; for it appears that they were lition of nation, &c.