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Bible Commentaries

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible
Acts 10

 

 

Other Authors
Introduction

CHAP. X.

Cornelius, a devout man, being commanded by an angel, sendeth for Peter: who, by a vision, is taught not to despise the Gentiles. As he preacheth Christ to Cornelius and his company, the Holy Ghost falleth on them, and they are baptized.

Anno Domini 41.


Verse 1

Acts 10:1. Cornelius, a centurion, &c.— A Roman cohort or band was a company of soldiers commanded by a tribune, consisting generally of about a thousand. It is probable that this was called the Italian cohort, because most of the soldiers belonging to it were Italians. It might perhaps be the life-guard of the Roman governor, who generally resided in this most splendid and celebrated city of Caesarea. Cornelius was a centurion, or captain of one hundred soldiers in this cohort. See John 18:3.


Verse 2

Acts 10:2. A devout man, &c.— Cornelius had distinguished himself by his great virtue, piety, and charity, and was well prepared for the reception of the gospel, as the proselytes of the gate were in general above all sorts of people. The ceremonial law most grievously entangled the minds of the Jews; and, by means of their strong prejudices, their attachment to it degenerated into the greatest superstition. The idolatrous Gentiles, by their ignorance and wickedness, which were exceedingly supported by their idolatry, were with much difficulty brought to embrace Christianity; whereas the devout Gentiles had cast off idolatry, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, had not submitted to the ceremonial part of the Jewish law. Thus were they prepared in general; but the uncommon virtues and great piety of Cornelius rendered him a proper person to begin with, among that well-disposed set of people. He excelled in piety towards God, and benevolence towards mankind, even to men of different sects, without confining his charity to persons of his own sentiment and party; for he is said to have given much alms to the people, especially, no doubt, to the Jews, to whom he was in some measure attached; as well as to have prayed to God alway, and especially at those hours of the day at which the Jews used to offer up their prayers. The great God, the wise and benevolent governor of the world, in pitching upon a person who was through grace so pious in himself, and so charitable to the Jews, made the gradationas gentle as possible; and began with one of the fittest persons in the world, when he was about to unite Jew and Gentile into one church and body, through Jesus Christ, the prince of peace: it was indeed with great difficulty that the Jewish converts were brought to bear with the admission of one uncircumcised Gentile; but if they could bear with any, they must own, that one of Cornelius's virtue and charity was the most proper person among all the Gentiles: and when they came to reflect upon it, surely they could not help admiring the divine condescension, in stooping to their prejudices, and so graciously bearing with their infirmities.


Verse 3

Acts 10:3. About the ninth hour of the day That is, about three o'clock in the afternoon, at the time of theevening sacrifice. See Daniel 9:21; Daniel 9:27. Perhaps Cornelius might be praying for the coming of the kingdom of the Messiah, when the Gentiles were to be accepted as the people of God; for there was then a general expectation that this kingdom would appear. In Acts 10:31 his particular prayer, which he was offering up at that time, is said to have been heard.


Verse 4

Acts 10:4. What is it, Lord That is, "Protect me from all danger, and let me know the meaning of this vision." The expression thy prayers, &c. are come up for a memorial, has reference to the incense offered under the law, which ascended in fumes, when burned; and implies that the prayers and alms of Cornelius were more grateful than the stream of burnt incense, or of the most costly sacrifice which he could have offered.


Verse 9

Acts 10:9. On the morrow, &c.— As the messengers of Cornelius were upon the road, and just entering the town, St. Peter went up to the top of the house, to spend some time in retirement and devotion; for the Jews had stated hours of prayer in the day, namely, the times of the morning and evening sacrifices. See on Ch. Acts 3:1. The more devout among them added a third, which was about noon, and which they called "the time of the great meat-offering." See Psalms 55:17. Daniel 6:10. Whether St. Peter was induced by this or by some other reason to retire for prayer at this time, it seems at least to have been customary, in the first ages of the Christian church, to offer up their daily prayers at the third, the sixth, and the ninth hours. We have before observed, that in the Eastern countries, the roofs of the houses were commonly flat; and the flat roofs, or some of the upper parts of the houses, were the usual places for devout retirement, where the Jews were accustomed to pray with their faces towards the temple of Jerusalem. See 1 Kings 8:29-30; 1 Kings 8:66. Psalms 138:2. Jonah 2:4 and the note on Mark 2:4.


Verse 10

Acts 10:10. Would have eaten "Would have taken a little refreshment" seems the proper import of the word γευσασθαι . The word γευσασθαι, rendered trance, properly signifies such a rapture of mind, as gives the person who falls into it a look of astonishment, and renders him insensible to external objects; while, in the mean time, his whole soul is agitated in an extraordinary manner, with some striking scenes which pass before it and take up all the attention.


Verse 11

Acts 10:11. And a certain vessel, &c.— And something descending in the form of a great sheet. As we do not in English call sheets vessels, the general word here used, more properly answers to the word Σκευος, concerning which, see on chap. Acts 9:15. We have no word in our language exactly answering to it. The other word οθονη signifies any large piece of linen, in which things are wrapped; and seems to have been used as an emblem of the gospel, which extends to all nations of m


Verse 13

Acts 10:13. Rise, Peter; kill, and eat This appears a general intimation that the Jewish Christians were by the gospel absolved from the ceremonial law, in which the distinction between clean and unclean meats made so considerable a part. L'Enfant, and some other critics, have observed, that the Jews looked on unclean animals as images of the Gentiles; which, if it were the case, renders this emblematical interpretation peculiarly suitable. See particularly the note on Leviticus 11:2.


Verse 15

Acts 10:15. What God hath cleansed, &c.— The single proposition is, "That which God hath cleansed, is notcommon or impure." But no one who reads this history, can doubt of its having this double sense; first, that the distinction between clean and unclean meats was to be abolished: secondly, that the Gentiles were to be called into the church of Christ. Here then the true sense of this passage is not one, but two; and yet the intention or meaning is not on this account the least obscured, or lost, or rendered unintelligible.


Verse 16

Acts 10:16. This was done thrice In order to confirm the matter: see Genesis 41:32.—Before we proceed in the history, it may not be amiss to reflect upon the propriety and decorum with which things were managed in erecting Christ's spiritual kingdom. The Lord Jesus Christ himself appeared to Saul, and granted the knowledge of the gospel to him by immediate revelation, because he was to be an apostle; but Cornelius was admonished by an angel to send for St. Peter, and hear him preach the Christian doctrine, because he was to open the door of faith to the Gentiles; and Cornelius was not designed for so high an office in the Christian church as Saul. Again, the angel who appeared to Cornelius, was not sent to preach the gospel to him, but only to order him to send for an apostle, who was one of the witnesses chosen of God to attest the truth of Christ's life, death, resurrection, and miracles, and upon those facts to found the Christian doctrine. And farther, St. Peter did not go of himself, and attempt the conversion of the uncircumcised Gentiles, even though the body of the Jews in Palestine who would embrace the gospel, were in general gathered in. If he had done so, he would have met with a more severe rebuke from the zealous Jewish Christians at Jerusalem, and could not have offered half so much for his own vindication: but as he did not go till he was sent for, and that in so extraordinary a manner, he maintained the apostolic dignity, and could allege the determination of heaven in his favour. And, finally, we may observe, that an angel was sent to Cornelius; but the Spirit of God himself spoke to St. Peter; not only as he bore a higher character in the church than Cornelius was to bear, but as he was to execute, a new and most extraordinary commission; for such that of beginning to call in the uncircumcised Gentiles certainly was.


Verse 20

Acts 10:20. Doubting nothing "Without any hesitation or scruple on account of the messengers being Gentiles, and coming from one of the same denomination; for I have shewn you, that the great ceremonial distinction between Jew and Gentile, clean and unclean, is now to be abolished." See Matthew 21:21. Mark 11:23. Romans 4:20. James 1:6.


Verse 22

Acts 10:22. To hear words of thee To hear thee discourse. Heylin. "To receive orders and instructions from thee." Benson.


Verse 23

Acts 10:23. And lodged them Or hospitably entertained them that night, εξενισε . The next day St. Peter went along with them, and six Jewish Christians from Joppa accompanied him. It is probable that the apostle himself desired them to go along with him, that they might be witnesses of what happened, as this was an affair in which some difficulties might arise, and some censure be incurred from the Jewish converts, and such as were not apprised of his divine direction. How pleasing a mixture of prudence and humility!—sufficient to teach us, on all proper occasions, to express at once a becoming deference to our brethren, and a prudent caution in our own best intended actions; that even our good may not be evil spoken of, when it lies in our power to prevent it. See Romans 14:16.


Verses 24-26

Acts 10:24-26. And the morrow after When St. Peter came nigh Caesarea, one of the servants ran before, and signified to Cornelius that he was approaching. (See the reading in the Cambridge manuscript, Greek and Latin.) Cornelius was almost impatient for his coming, andbig with expectation of some signal event: and, therefore, he had called together his relations and intimate friends, who were devout Gentiles as well as himself. As soon as he heard that the apostle was just at hand, he went out of his house to meet him; and approaching him with profound reverence, he fell down at his feet to worship him; for he had a most exalted idea of the apostle, looking upon him as the ambassador of the Most High God; or, as if he had been something more than a man. The apostle himself, who knew that his message was divine, and that he was only the medium of conveyance, with great humility raised him up, saying, "Do not prostrate yourself to me; I am only a mere man, as you are, and deserve no such homage." In the Eastern world their salutations differ considerably, according to the different rank of the persons they salute. The common salutation, as Sandys informs us, consists in laying the right hand on the bosom, and declining the body a little: but when they salute a person of great rank, they bow almost to the ground, and kiss the hem of his garment. Dr. Shaw's account of the common Arab compliment, "Peace be unto you," agrees with the above; but he further tells us,that inferiors out of deference kiss the feet, the knees, or the garments of their superiors. He might have added, or their hands: for D'Arvieux assures us, that though the Arab Emir whom he visited, withdrew his hand when he offered to kiss it, yet he frequently offered it to the people to kiss, when he had a mind to require that homage. Dr. Shaw further observes, that in these respects the Arabs were just the same 2 or 3000 years ago as they are now; and ceremonies of the like kind, we may presume, were anciently used among the neighbouring people too, as they are at this time. There is something very graceful in the forms of Eastern salutation: some ofthem, however, are too low and mean, and expressive of too much disproportion; on which accountthe natives of the West, even when they have been in those Eastern countries, have not been ready to adopt these profound expressions of respect: nay, many of them have justly thought these obediences too great for mortals. Curtius tells us, (lib. 6: 100. 6.) that Alexander thought the habits and manners of the Macedonian kings unequal to his greatness after the conquest of Asia, and was for being treated according to the modes of Persia; where kings were reverenced after the manner of the immortal Gods. This infatuated monarch, therefore, suffered the people, in token of their respect, to lie upon the ground before him, &c. Well then might St. Peter say to Cornelius, a Roman, who received him with a reverence, esteemed the lowest and most submissive even in the ceremoniousEast, and which the Romans were wont to speak of as too solemn to be paid to mere men,—Stand up; I myself also am a man: though Cornelius intended nothing idolatrous, nor did St. Peter suppose it to be his intention. In truth, there was something extraordinary in this prostration of Cornelius, but without any thing of idolatry. He was a person of rank: St. Peter made no figure in civil life; and yet Cornelius received him not only with respect, as his superior; but with the greatest degree of reverence, according to the usages of his own nation: nay, not only so, but with an expression of veneration, which, though common in the countrywhere Cornelius then resided, his countrymen were ready to say ought to be appropriated only to those who were more than men. But it seems he felt the greatest degree of reverence andawe at the sight of the apostle; and those emotions threw him into the attitude that he had frequently seen the inhabitants of Syria put themselves in, when they would express the greatest respect and deference.


Verse 29

Acts 10:29. I ask therefore, &c.— St. Peter knew this by revelation, and by the messengers who were sent from Cornelius; but he puts him on giving the account, that the company might be more fully informed, and Cornelius himself awakened and impressed by the narration; the repetition of which, even as we here read it, gives great dignity and spirit to St. Peter's succeeding discourse.


Verse 31

Acts 10:31. Thy prayer is heard, &c.— The case of Cornelius before St. Peter was sent to him, was, I have no doubt, the case of many, who were far from being in any degree Jewish proselytes, and had never heard of the Jews and their religion; as it was most certainly the case of many before the peculiarities of Judaism existed, and even before the institution of the Abrahamic covenant; though Cornelius was one of the most eminent for piety of these persons. This history evidently proves, that God would sooner send an angel to direct pious and upright persons to the knowledge of the gospel, than suffer them to perish by ignorance of it. But I refer my readers to my annotations on the epistle to the Romans for the fullexplanation of my sentiments, on the salvation of the pious heathen by the righteousness which is of God by faith. God forbid, however, that I should intimate, that any persons like Cornelius, may be found among those whoreject Christianity, when offered to them in its full evidence. But see the next note.


Verse 34-35

Acts 10:34-35. Of a truth I perceive, &c.— See on Deuteronomy 10:17. The phrase no respecter of persons, has principally, if not always, a judicial meaning. It is used in this sense, Leviticus 19:15. Deuteronomy 1:17 and, in the 16th verse of that chapter, this is expressly said to be a charge given to the judges of the land. In Deuteronomy 16:19. Respect of persons, (still confined to a judicial sense,) stands to denote corruption and taking of bribes, which, as it is there said with great eloquence, blind the eyes of the wise, &c. and this likewise is the constant notion, when it is applied to God; that there is no iniquity with the Lord, &c. See 2 Chronicles 19:7. The meaning of St. Peter's words is, "Of a truth I perceive that God accepts no man merely because he is of such a nation, or descended from such ancestors; but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is acceptable to him." As respect of persons in matters judicial, is shewed, when men judge others, not according to the equity of the cause, but according to outward respects which relate nothing to it, as the greatness, riches, meanness, or poverty of the person, relation, friendship, or affection; so in spirituals, to respect or accept persons is to respect them and their services, not on the account of any thing which makes them better, or more fit to be regarded than others, but on the account of the nation to which they belong, or the ancestors from which they were descended. Thus, because God had chosen the Jews to be his people, by reason of the piety of their forefathers, and to perform his promise made to them, the Jews imagined that God would accept them and their services on that account, because they were of the Jewish nation, and of the seed of Abraham according to the flesh; and that he would not accept the persons, or regard the services of the Gentiles, for want of these things: but these false conceptions St. Paul in his epistle to the Romans, and St. Peter here, refute; shewing, that men not only of the Jewish, but of any other nation, may be acceptable to God, there being one God who is rich, in goodness, to all that call upon him, whether Jew or Gentile, Romans 10:12 he being the God, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles, and so as ready to justify them through faith, as to justify the Jews through faith, Rom.iii. 29, 30. But I again refer my readers to my annotations on the epistle to the Roman


Verse 36-37

Acts 10:36-37. The word which God sent, &c.— The critics have exceedingly puzzled themselves about this passage, the simple meaning of which, according to my apprehension, is as follows: "Even that gospel, which God has sent by the ministrations of his servants, in the first place, and hitherto only, to the Jews, preaching the glad tidings of the noblest peace, inclusive of reconciliation with himself, and of all spiritual harmony and happiness, through the merit and mediation of the anointed Saviour. (He, as a divine person, is the author, proprietor, and governor of the whole creation, all things being made by him and for him, Colossians 1:16 and he, as vested with office-authority in human nature, has power over all flesh; and, being exalted far above all principality and power, is head over all things to the church, Ephesians 1:22-23 has all persons and things on earth, and all the devils in hell, under his command and controul: is Lord of Jews and Gentiles; and will be universal Judge at the lastday.) Ye who live in Palestine, which has been for years the grand stage of action relating to the Messiah; must needs know something of this word of peace, which was spread abroad, and early talked of, in all the cities, towns, and villages of Judea, pursuant to its having been first published in Galilee: and this was soon after John the Baptist had prepared the way for it, by his baptizing with water, and preaching the doctrine of repentance and remission of sins, through the approaching Messiah, Mark 1:4 whom he at length openly shewed, and recommended once and again to the people, that they might believe in him. John 1:29-36." It is not to be wondered that St. Peter should say to Cornelius and his kinsmen, who were already proselytes of the gate, and lived at Caesarea, the seat of the governor of Judea, where the Jews dwelt, whither they continually resorted from other parts, and where Philip had already preached the gospel, Acts 8:40 ye know this word; he meaning, not that they were persuaded of the truth of it, but only that they had heard the same, and were acquainted with the report of it.


Verse 38

Acts 10:38. How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth It was a proverb among the Jews, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? John 1:46. And yet the apostles very frequently call our Lord by the name of Jesus of Nazareth. They seemed to have mentioned this as one circumstance of his humiliation; and yet they shewed that this very Jesus of Nazareth, of whom the Jews had so contemptible an opinion, and whom theyhad treated so cruelly and ignominiously, was nevertheless the Son of God, and attested to be such in a most remarkable manner; that to him angels bow, and all nature is in subjection: and indeed if we set the predictions of the prophets, the great expectations which were raised of him before his coming, the miracles which he wrought, his wondrous exaltation after leaving our world, and the supernatural gifts and powers which he conferred on his apostles and the primitive Christians;—if we set all these against his poverty, contempt, and sufferings, the offence of the cross will cease, and the ignominy of his low estate of humiliation will vanish away.


Verse 41

Acts 10:41. Not to all the people, &c.— It has frequently been asked, Why Christ did not shew himself to all the people, but to his disciples only? Now it may be sufficient to reply, that where there are witnesses enough, no judge or jury complains for want of more; and therefore, if the witnesses that we have for the resurrection are sufficient, it is no objection that we have not others, or more. If three credible men attest a will, which are asmany as the law requires, would any body ask why all the town were not called to sign their names to it? But it may be objected, why were these witnesses called and chosen out? Why, for this reason, that they might be good ones. Does not every wise man choose proper witnesses to his deed? And does not a good choice of witnesses give strength to every deed? How comes it to pass then, that the very thing which shuts out all suspicion in other cases, should in this be of all others the most suspicious thing itself? What reason there is for the Jews to make any complaints, may be judged from the evidence already offered concerning the resurrection: Christ suffered openly in their sight, and they were so well apprized of his prediction, that they set a guard on his sepulchre; every soldier was to them a witness of his resurrection, of their own choosing. After this, they had not one apostle only, but all the apostles, and many other witnesses with them: the apostles testified the resurrection not only to the people, but to the elders assembled in senate: to support their evidence, they worked miracles openly in the name of Christ: these people therefore have the least reason to complain, and have had of all others the fullest evidence, and in some respects such as none but themselves could have; for they only were the keepers of the sepulchre. But the argument goes further. It is said, that Jesus was sent with a special commission to the Jews, that he was their Messias: and as his resurrection was his main credential, he ought to have appeared publicly to the rulers of the Jews after his resurrection; that in doing otherwise, he acted like an ambassador pretending authority from his prince, but refusing to shew his letters of credence. In reply to this objection, it should be observed, that, by the accounts we have of the Lord Jesus, it appears he had two distinct offices respecting the present point; one, as the Messias particularly promised to the Jews; another, as he was to be the great high priest of the world. With respect to the first office, the apostle speaks, Hebrews 3:1 and he speaks of himself, Matthew 15:24. I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Christ continued in the discharge of this office during the time of his natural human life, till he was finally rejected by the Jews: and it is observable, that the last time he spoke to the Jews, according to St. Matthew's account, he solemnly took leave of them, and closed his commission in respect to his presence with them in the flesh. He had been long among them publishing glad things; but when all his preaching, all his miracles, had proved in vain, the last thing he did was to denounce the woes which they had brought upon themselves. Matthew 23 recites these woes, and at the end of them Christ takes this passionate leave of Jerusalem, "Ye shall not see me from henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord." It is remarkable, thatthis passage, which is recorded by Matthew and Luke twice over, is determined by the circumstances to refer to the near approach of his own death, and the extreme hatred of the Jews to him; and therefore those words, Ye shall not see me henceforth, are to be dated from the time of his death, and manifestly point out the end of his mission to them. From making this declaration, as it stands in St. Matthew, his discourses are to his disciples, as they chiefly relate to the miserable condition of the Jews, which was now decreed, and soon to be accomplished. Let us now ask, whether in this state of things any farther credentials of Christ's commission to the Jews, could be demanded or expected? He was rejected, his commission was determined, and with it the fate of the nation was determined also; what use then of more credentials? As to appearing to them after his resurrection, he could not do it consistently with his own prediction, Ye shall see me no more, &c. The Jews, as a nation, were not in the disposition to receive him after the resurrection, nor are they in it yet. The resurrection was the foundation of Christ's new commission, as it respected the gospel, which extended to all the world. This prerogative the Jews had under this commission, that the gospel was every where first offered to them. Since then, this commission, of which the resurrection was the foundation, extended to all the world alike. What ground then is there to demand special and particular evidence to the Jews? The emperor and senate of Rome were a much more considerable part of the world than the chief priests and the synagogue; why is it not then objected, that Christ did not shew himself to Tiberius and his senate? And since all men have an equal right in this case, why may not the same demand be made for every country? nay, for every age? and then we may bring the question nearer home, and ask why Christ did not appear in king George's reign? The observation already made upon the resurrection, naturally leads to another, which will help to account for the nature of the evidence that we have on this great point. As the resurrection was the opening of a new commission, in which all the world had an interest; so the grand concern was to have a proper evidence to establish this truth, and which should be of equal weight to all. This did not depend upon the satisfaction given to private persons, whether they were magistrates or not magistrates, but upon the conviction of those whose office it was to bear testimony to this truth. In this sense, the apostles were chosen to be witnesses of the resurrection, because they were chosen to bear testimony to it in the world, and not only because they were admitted to see Christ after his resurrection; for the fact is otherwise. The gospel, indeed, concerned to shew the evidence on which the faith of the world was to rest, is very particular in setting forth the ocular demonstration which the apostles had of the resurrection, and mentions others who saw Christ after his resurrection only in course, and as the thread of the history led to it: but yet it is certain, that there were many others who had this satisfaction as well as the apostles; so that it is a mistake to infer from the passage before us, that a few only were chosen to see Christ after he came from the grave. The truth of the case is this, that out of those who saw him, some were chosen to bear testimony to the world, and for that reason had the fullest demonstration of the truth, that they might be the better able to give satisfaction to others: and what was there in this conduct to complain of? What to raise any jealousy or suspicion? To allege the meanness of the witnesses as an objection, is very weak; for men may be good witnesses without having great estates, and be able to report what they see with their eyes without being philosophers. As far then as the truth of the resurrection depended on the evidence of sense, the apostles were duly qualified. Did their meanness stand in the way of evidence, which arose from the great powers with which they were endued from above? Consider their natural and supernatural qualifications, they were in everyrespect proper witnesses: take these qualifications together, and they were witnesses without exception. It is indeed said, that they were interested in the affair. Would we then have evidence from unbelievers? A witness, who does not believe the truth of what he affirms, is a cheat. Nobody therefore could be an evidence of the resurrection but a believer, and such a one is said to be interested. But this is an absurd objection, because it is an objection to every honest witness that ever lived; for every honest witness believes the truth of what he says. If the objection is intended to charge the apostles with views or hopes of temporal advantage, it is built upon an utter ignorance of the history of the church. It may be demonstrated, that if Jesus had shewed himself to his enemies, and to all the people, these appearances, instead of putting his resurrection beyond doubt, would rather have weakened the evidence of it in after ages, and so would have been of infinite detriment to mankind: for upon the supposition that our Lord had shewed himself openly, either his enemies, yielding to the evidences of their senses, would have believed his resurrection, or, resisting that evidence, they would have rejected it altogether. To begin with the latter supposition: such of our Lord's enemies as then resisted the evidence of their senses, must have justified their unbeliefby affirming, that the man who appeared to them was not Jesus, but an impostor who personated him. The evidence of the fact would therefore have gained nothing by such public appearance, because the generality of the Jews were not capable of passing a judgment upon the falsehood which Christ's enemies must have made use of to support the denial of his resurrection. Being unacquainted with Jesus, they could not certainly tell whether he was really the person whom the Romans had crucified. His apostles, who knew his stature, shape, air, voice, and manner, were the only proper persons by whose determination the point in dispute could be decided. Wherefore, notwithstanding our Lord had appeared to all the people, the whole stress of the evidence, in case of any doubt or objection, must have relied on the testimony of the very persons who bear witness to it now, and on whose testimony the world has believed it. So that instead of gaining any additional evidence by Jesus's shewing himself publicly to all the people, we should have had nothing to trust to but the testimony of his disciples, and that clogged with this incumbrance, that his resurrection was denied by many to whom he appeared. But, in the second place, it may be fancied, that, on supposition that our Lord rose from the dead, the whole people of the Jews must have believed, if he had shewed himself publicly. To this supposition it may be replied, that the greatest part of our Lord's enemies cannot be supposed to have been so well acquainted with his person, as to have beenable to know him again with certainty; for which reason, though he had shewed himself to them, even their belief of his resurrection must have depended on the testimony of his disciples and friends. If so, it is not very probable that his appearing publicly would have had any great influence on the Jews. But supposing the Jewish nation in general should have been converted by his appearance, and have become his disciples, what advantage would the cause of Christianity have reaped from this effect? Would the evidence of theresurrectionhavebecometherebyunquestionable?Orwouldmoderninfidelshave been better disposed to believe it? By no means. The truth is, the objections against his resurrection would have been tenfold more numerous and forcible than they are at present: for would not the whole have been called a state trick, a Jewish fable, a mere political contrivance, to patch up their broken credit after so much talk of a Messiah who was to come at that time? Besides, should we not have been told, that the government being engaged in a plot, a fraud of this kind might easily have been carried on, because it suited with the prejudices of the people; and because the few, who had the sagacity to detect the fraud, had no opportunity to examine into it? Or if they did examine and detect the fraud, they durst not make a discovery? And to conclude, would not the very proofs which now are sufficient to attest this fact, have been buried in oblivion, and been entirely lost, for want of that opposition which the Jews themselves made to it, and which was the occasion of their being recorded in the Scripture?


Verse 42

Acts 10:42. It is he which was ordained of God Pointed out, and determined: — ωρισμενος . This was declaring, in the strongest terms, how entirely their happiness depended on a timely and humble subjection to him who was to be their final judge.


Verse 43

Acts 10:43. To him give all the prophets witness, It is observable, that in this discourse to an audience of Gentiles, the apostle first mentions Christ's person, miracles, and resurrection, and then contents himself with telling them in the general, that there were many prophets in former ages who bore witness to him, without entering into a particular enumeration of their predictions. Further, we do not read of St. Peter's working any miracle on this great occasion. The preceding testimony of the angel, and the descent of the Holy Spirit in his miraculous gifts, while he was speaking to them, were sufficient proofs, both of the gospel, and of St. Peter's being an authorized interpreter of it. See the note on Luke 24:27.


Verse 44

Acts 10:44. The Holy Ghost fell on all them, &c.— Probably this effusion of the Holy Spirit was attended with a glory, as when it fell upon the apostles and their company on the famous day of Pentecost: and it is most likely, that a glory always attended the immediate effusion of the Spirit, from the day of Pentecost to the calling of the idolatrous Gentiles. Thus wasthe Spirit poured down upon Cornelius and his friends, as upon the apostles, and the hundred and twenty; and was not communicated by the laying on of the hands of the apostles, as it had been to the Jewish and Samaritan converts: and the reason why God communicated the Holy Spirit in this most honourable manner to the first fruits of the devout Gentiles, was to remove the prejudices of the Jewish Christians, and to make way for their cheerfully receiving the devout Gentiles into the Christian church, and to all its privileges. Dr. Lightfoot observes, that one important effect of this descent of the Holy Spirit upon them, was, that hereby they were enabled to understand the Hebrew language; and so had an opportunity of acquainting themselves with the prophesies of the Old Testament. See Acts 10:46.


Verse 45-46

Acts 10:45-46. They of the circumcision—were astonished, &c.— The Jews had a proverb among them, that the Holy Spirit would not dwell upon any heathen, nor even upon any Jew in a prophetic or miraculous manner in a heathen country. The Jewish Christians, therefore, who camewith St. Peter from Joppa, to be eye-witnesses of this great event, were quite surprised to see that the divine gift of the Holy Spirit was poured down upon the Gentiles; for they presently found that this effusion produced like effects upon them, as it had done upon the Jewish converts; Cornelius and his companyimmediately exercising the gift of tongues, most probably in repeating and explaining some part of the Old Testament in the original language, and magnifying God, by singing psalms or hymns and spiritual songs, by immediate inspiratio


Verse 47

Acts 10:47. Can any man forbid water, &c.— That is, according to Whitby and Doddridge, "Who can forbid that water should be brought?" In which view of the clause one would obviously conclude, that they were baptized by pouring water upon them, rather than byplunging them in it. "Can any man, how strongly soever he might formerly be prejudiced against such a thing, any longer hesitate, or offer one just reason, why these uncircumcised Gentiles should not be baptized with water, seeing theyhave received the baptism of the HolySpirit, in the same honourable manner that we, Christ's apostles and first converts, have received it: Καθως και ημεις, even as we?" It deserves to be remarked,that of all the institutions of our holy religion, that of water baptism was least proper to be called in question; being most invincibly established by the practice both of St. Peter and St. Paul. The former finding that the houshold of Cornelius had received the Holy Ghost, regards it as a certain direction for him to admit them into the church of Christ; which he does by the initiatory rite of water baptism. St. Paul, in his travels through the Lesser Asia, finding some of the Jewish converts who had never heard of the Holy Ghost, and on inquiry understanding thatthey had only been baptized by water unto John's baptism, thought fit to baptize them with water in the name of the Lord Jesus; that is to say, to admit them into the church: and then laying hands on them, the Holy Ghost came upon them, &c. See ch. Acts 19:4-6. Yet notwithstanding these two memorable transactions, there is a people who reject water baptism, pretending that water baptism is John's baptism, and only a type of baptism by the Holy Ghost, or by fire: so that when this last came in use, the former ceased, and was abolished. In the two histories, given above, however, these fancies are fully reproved, and in such a manner, as if the histories had been recorded for no other purpose; for in the adventure of St. Paul, the water baptism of Jesus is expressly distinguished from the water baptism of John; and in that of St. Peter it appears, that water baptism was used for an admittance into the church of Christ, even after the administration of baptism by fire, or the communicated power of the Holy Ghost. St. Peter does not say, "They have the baptism of the Spirit, therefore they do not need baptism with water;" but just the contrary, "They have received the Spirit, therefore baptize them with water." Indeed this question were easily decided, if we would take the plain word of God for our rule. Either men have received the Holy Ghost or not; if they have not, Repent, saith God, and be baptised, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost: if they are already baptized with the Holy Ghost, then, Who can forbid water? We may just observe further, that these two heads of the missions to the two great divisions of mankind, the Jews and Gentiles, here acted in each other's provinces—Peter, the apostle of the Jews, administering baptism to the Gentile household of Cornelius; and Paul, the apostle of the Gentiles, administering the same rite to the Jewish converts: and why was this crossing of hands, but to obviate that simple evasion, that water baptism was only partial and temporary.


Verse 48

Acts 10:48. Baptized in the name of the Lord. That is, the Lord Jesus. As these devout Gentiles had before believed in God the Father, and could not nowbut believe in the Holy Ghost under whose powerful influence they were at this very time, there was the less need of taking notice that they were baptized into the belief and profession of the sacred three, though doubtless the ordinance was administered in that very form which Christ himself had prescribed. St. Peter possibly might choose to make use of the ministry of his brethren in performing this rite, rather than do it with his own hands, that by this means the expression of their consent might be the more explicit. After all these things had happened, the new converts desired St. Peter to tarry with them some days longer; and, as willing further to assist, instruct, and comfort them, he readily consented; and most probably the gospel in consequence gained much ground in Caesarea. It is observable, that the gospel made its way first through the metropolitan cities: it first prevailed in Jerusalem and Caesarea; afterwards, in Philippi, Athens, Corinth, Ephesus, and Rome itself. Mr. Moyle supposes, that there were several idolatrous rites required at that time of the Roman soldiers, entirely inconsistent with the profession of Christianity; and that therefore Cornelius must have quitted the army upon his becoming a Christian. But he was no idolater when St. Peter went to preach to him; and the scripture is entirely silent about his continuing in the army, or leaving it, on his taking up the profession of Christianity.

Inferences.—We have now entered on a series of the history in which we ourselves are intimately concerned: we now are viewing the first fruits of the Gentiles gathered into the church; and let us behold the scene with gratitude and delight. Most amiable and exemplary is the character of Cornelius, who, though exposed to all the temptations of a military life, maintained not only his virtue but his piety too. He feared God, and he wrought righteousness; and daily presented before God prayers and alms, which added a beauty and acceptance to each other: and he was also an example of domestic, as well as of personal religion; as if he had been trained up under the discipline of that heroic general and prince, who so publicly and so resolutely declared before an assembled nation, even on the supposition of their general apostacy, As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15.

To him God was pleased to send the gospel; and the manner in which he sent it, is highly worthy of our remark. An angel appeared, not himself to preach it, but to introduce the apostle to whom that work was assigned.—With what holy complacency of soul did Cornelius hear, by a messenger from heaven, that his prayers and alms were come up for an acceptable memorial before God! They, whose prayers and alms are proportionably affectionate and sincere, may consider it as a testimony borne to the gracious manner in which an impartial and immutable God regards and accepts them through the infinite and alone merit of his own eternal Son.

St. Peter retires for secret prayer in the middle of the day, choosing a convenient place; and in that retirement the vision of the Lord meets him—a vision mysterious indeed in its first appearances, but gradually opened by divine Providence; the process of which renders many things plain, which at first seemed dark and unaccountable.

This vision declared to him in effect the abolition of the Mosaic ceremonial law: and we see here with pleasure, that strict as his observation of it had been from his very infancy, he was not now disobedient to the heavenly vision, but freely received the uncircumcised, and freely went to be a guest to one who was so. Thus let us always preserve an openness and impartiality of mind; and in proportion to the degree in which we are willing to know the truth, we shall find that the truth will make us free. John 8:32.

Nevertheless, as it was an affair about which some difficulties might arise, and some censures may even in the way of duty be incurred, he takes some of the brethren with him, that their concurrence in what he did, might be a farther justification of his conduct to those who were not perhaps sufficiently aware of the divine direction under which he was. How agreeable a mixture of prudence and humility! Let it teach us on all proper occasions to express at once a becoming deference to our brethren, and a prudent caution in our own best intended actions, that even our good may not be evil spoken of, when it lies in our power to prevent it. Romans 14:16.

Nor is there any room to wonder, that a man of Cornelius's benevolent character should be solicitous to bring his kindred and friends into the way of that divine instruction, which he hoped himself to receive from the revelation now opening upon him. What nobler or more rational office can friendship perform! and how deficient is every thing that would assume such a name, which does not extend itself to a care for men's highest and everlasting interests.

It must, no doubt, be some prejudice in favour of St. Peter on the minds of these strangers, to see that he declined that profound homage which good Cornelius, in a rapture of humble devotion, was perhaps something too ready to pay him. The ministers of Christ never appear more truly great, than when they arrogate least to themselves, and, without challenging undue respect, with all simplicity of soul, as fellow-creatures and as fellow-sinners, are ready to impart the gospel of Jesus, in such a manner as to shew that they honour him above all, and have learned of him to honour all men.

That humble subjection of soul to the divine authority which Cornelius, in the name of the assembly, expressed, is such as we should always bring along with us to the house of the Lord: and happy is that minister, who, when he enters the sanctuary, finds his people all present before God, to hear the things which God shall give him in charge to speak to them, and heartily disposed to acquiesce in whatever he shall say, so far as it shall be supported by those sacred oracles by which doctrines and men are to be tried.

Well might St. Peter apprehend so evident a truth as that which he here professes, that God is no respecter of persons, but every where accepteth those that fear him, and express that reverence by working righteousness: Let us rejoice in this thought; and while we take care to shew that this is our own character, let us pay an impartial regard to it wherever we see it in others, still cultivating that wisdom from above which is without partiality, as well as without hypocrisy. James 3:17.

We also know that important word which God sent to Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ, the Lord of all. May we know it to saving purposes, and believing in him receive the remission of our sins in his name! May we shew ourselves the genuine disciples of this divine Master, by learning of him, according to our ability, to go about doing good, sowing, as universally as may be, the seeds of holiness and happiness wherever we come! And then, should the treatment which we meet with be such as our Lord found, should we be despised and reproached, should we be persecuted and at length slain, he who raised up Christ from the dead, will in due time also raise up us; having suffered, we shall reign with him, (2 Timothy 2:12,) and share that triumph in which he shall appear as the appointed Judge both of the quick and dead.

Let us not esteem it any objection against his divine mission, that he did not humour the wantonness of men so far, as to appear in person to all the people after his resurrection; it is abundantly enough that he appeared to such a number of chosen witnesses, who were thus enabled to evidence the truth of their testimony by the demonstration of the Spirit and power. 1 Corinthians 2:4. Of this what passed with regard to these converts, when the Holy Spirit fell upon them and they spake with tongues, is an instance worthy of being had in everlasting remembrance: Let us rejoice in this anointing of the first fruits of the Gentiles, by which their adoption into the Christian family of God was so illustriously declared; and let us be ready, after the example of St. Peter, whatever preconceived prejudices it may oppose, to receive all whom the Lord hath received, from whatever state his grace has called them, and cordially to own them as brethren whom our heavenly Father himself does not disdain to number among his children.

REFLECTIONS.—1st, The gospel had for about seven years been preached to Jews only, and the apostles as yet seem not to be fully apprized of the extent of their commission. But now a door of faith is opened to the Gentiles, and St. Peter is first sent expressly to preach the gospel to them. We have an account,

1. Of Cornelius, the first-fruits of the Gentiles to the gospel of Christ. He was a centurion, captain over a hundred soldiers, belonging to the regiment, or band called the Italian, in garrison at Caesarea; and though arms were his profession, he was singularly devout, having abandoned the idolatry in which he was bred, and become a proselyte of righteousness, worshipping and fearing God with all his house, who were influenced by his pious example; a man of distinguished liberality, who gave much alms to the people, Jews or Gentiles, that appeared truly necessitous; and prayed to God alway, and particularly observing the Jewish stated hours of prayer, and much engaged in private with his Maker. Note; (1.) It is no disparagement to a soldier to be found upon his knees: the soldier who truly fears God, will be most ready to fight and die for his country. (2.) Where the master of a family fears God, we may be assured his house will be a house of prayer. (3.) Charity is the inseparable attendant on a gracious character; whilst a niggard's hand and heart prove the total absence of vital godliness.

2. An angel appears to Cornelius as he is at prayer. Affrighted with this celestial visitant, the centurion with deepest reverence desires to know the purport of his coming, fearing lest he brought some message of evil. But the angel soon quieted his fears, and said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God; are graciously accepted as the genuine fruits of thy faith and love, according to the measure of light which thou hast received. And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter; he lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea-side; he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do. Cornelius seems already to have been a proselyte, and to have been living in the faith of the promised Messiah according to the prophesies, but as yet he had not heard him preached as actually become incarnate. However, to put an honour on the gospel ministry, the angel gives him no farther information, but refers him to the divinely-appointed ministers of the word.

3. No sooner was the angel departed, than immediately Cornelius called two of his household servants, and a devout soldier of them that waited on him continually, who being truly religious, like his master, was always kept near his person. To these he related his extraordinary vision, and ordered them to proceed early in the morning to Joppa, and, telling Peter the occasion, to desire he would return with them to Caesarea. Note; They who are truly godly themselves, delight to have those near them as servants, who are par-takers of the same grace.

2nd, The servants of Cornelius departing early in quest of St. Peter, the Lord prepares him to give them a welcome reception. He, like his countrymen, was still prejudiced against the Gentiles, and thought that all familiar communication with them was unlawful: the Lord therefore is pleased, in a marvellous way, to overrule these prepossessions.

1. A vision appeared to him when he went up to the top of the house to pray, where he might be most retired, just before the servants of Cornelius arrived. It was noon, and while he was thus devoutly engaged, he became very hungry, and would have eaten; but while they made ready some refreshment for him, he fell into a trance; a supernatural extacy came upon him; and, to shew him the mystery of the calling of the Gentiles into the Christian church, a people whom he had been used to regard as unclean, he saw heaven opened, in token of some farther revelation of God's will now about to be made to him; and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth, wherein, suitably to his present hungry situation, there were all manner of four-footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air; and there came a voice to him, saying, Rise, Peter; kill and eat, without distinction of clean or unclean. Peter, though hungry, objected to the proposal, Not so, Lord: he could not think of transgressing the ceremonial law; for, says he, I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. The voice a second time addressed him, saying, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. He who first commanded a distinction of meats, had a right to abrogate it again if he pleased; and as he had taken the Jews for his peculiar people, he might also bring the Gentiles to share the blessings of the same gracious covenant: and as this was now his purpose, Peter might safely eat whatever was set before him, and go and converse with, and preach to the Gentiles without fear of pollution. This was done thrice, to shew the certainty of the vision, and engage his attention to it; and the vessel was received up again into heaven.

2. The vision soon receives an explication. St. Peter was now seriously considering, but at a loss to know what this vision meant; and just then the men whom Cornelius had sent, were at the door inquiring for him. The Spirit therefore gives him an intimation what messengers waited for him below; and, though they were Gentiles, bid him go with them, doubting nothing of the unlawfulness of being in their company, for they were divinely sent by his orders. Note; While we are in simplicity desiring in our difficulties to know God's will, he will by some gracious intimations direct us aright.

3rdly, St. Peter, having received full satisfaction, went down without delay to the messengers.

1. Having told them that he was the person whom they sought, he desired to be informed of the cause of their coming: and they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, eminent for his probity and integrity among men, and one that feareth God, though a Gentile, a worshipper of the God of Israel, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, who respect his amiable and exemplary character, was warned from God by an holy angel, to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee concerning the things that make for his everlasting peace.

2. St. Peter hereupon courteously received and lodged the messengers that night, and on the morrow went away with them for Caesarea, accompanied by certain brethren from Joppa, who might desire to be present at this interview, or more probably went at Peter's request, that they might be witnesses for him, if at any time he should be blamed by his Jewish brethren for visiting a Gentile family. Note; (1.) It becomes ministers and all Christians to be hospitable. (2.) When there is danger that our conduct may be censured, or our conversation misrepresented, it is prudent to have witnesses for what passes, to whom we can appeal.

3. The second day, in the afternoon, St. Peter and the messengers entered Cesarea, where Cornelius with eager expectation waited his arrival, having called his kinsmen and near friends to share with him the blessing of Peter's discourse. Note; The greatest kindness we can shew our friends, is to invite them to partake with us of our spiritual mercies, and to join in our religious exercises.

4. Cornelius received the apostle with deepest reverence and respect, and paid him excessive honour; he fell at his feet, as he entered the house, and worshipped him, prostrate before him, as if he had been the mightiest potentate. But the apostle, too humble and modest to accept such profound admiration, took him up, would not suffer him to stay in that posture, saying, Stand up, I myself also am a man, a poor mortal, of like passions with thyself, though honoured with this office of apostleship. And thereupon familiarly conversing with him, he entered into the house, where a number of persons were assembled, desirous to hear Peter's words, and affording him a larger field of usefulness than he might have expected. Note; It is a great encouragement to speak, where we meet a large and attentive audience.

5. St. Peter inquires the cause wherefore Cornelius sent for him, saying to him and the company, Ye know that it is unlawful, and looked upon as an abominable thing, for one that is a Jew, as I am, to keep company with, or come unto one of another nation in any way of familiar intercourse. But, though I long thought so, God hath of late shewed me, that I should not call any man common or unclean, on account of his being of a different nation. Obedient therefore to the admonition of God, came I unto you without gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for; perfectly persuaded of his will in this matter. I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me? that I may be able suitably to improve the present opportunity, to God's glory, and for your good.

6. Cornelius relates the late occurrences, which occasioned the present meeting. Four days ago I was fasting until this hour, and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, when the evening sacrifice was offering, one of the usual hours of prayer: and behold, in answer to my requests for divine direction and guidance, a man stood before me in bright clothing, an angel in a human form; and, addressing me, said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God: send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner, by the sea-side, who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee, and give thee the direction which thou art seeking. Immediately therefore, without delay, I sent to thee; and thou hast well done, that thou art come; we regard it as a singular kindness done to us, and doubt not but it will be highly pleasing to God. Now therefore are we all here present before God; met in his fear, hoping for his mercy, and expecting his special presence and blessing, seriously disposed to hear, and desirous to embrace and obey all things that are commanded thee of God, whom we with all reverence receive as a messenger expressly sent from him to lead us in the way of salvation. Note; (1.) The gospel then comes with effect, when those who sit under it shew solemn attention and seriousness, receiving it not as the word of man, but as the word of God. (2.) They who are sincere with God, desire to hear and know all his will; not merely what he promises, but what he commands, however displeasing it may be to flesh and blood.

4thly, St. Peter, on comparing his own vision with that which Cornelius related, was now fully persuaded of God's gracious designs toward the Gentiles; and therefore with great warmth of affection, delight, and earnestness, addressed this attentive auditory.

1. He expresses his full persuasion, notwithstanding all his former prejudices, that the Lord had now abolished all national distinctions, and designed that his gospel should indiscriminately be preached to Jews and Gentiles. Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons, on account of any external circumstances of birth, rank, or country; but in every nation, he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.—Not that we are to conceive that these are the foundation of acceptance before God: no: they are only the fruits of that faith which embraces the righteousness which is of God, (see my Annotations on this chapter, and on the Epistle to the Romans). The meaning of the apostle seems to be, That Gentiles, as well as Jews, though uncircumcised, were capable of partaking of God's favour, and their works were accepted through faith. Of this number Cornelius was one: and God in mercy therefore was now leading him into fuller discoveries of the truth as it is in Jesus.

2. He refers them to the reports which had been every where spread of the life, miracles, doctrines, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ, the glad tidings of reconciliation with an offended God through him, (He is Lord of all, the self-existent Deity, God over all, and as Mediator incarnate invested with all power in heaven and earth)—that word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judea, after the baptism which John preached, by Jesus himself and his disciples, the fame of which could not but have reached them; How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power, authorizing and enabling him to perform the most astonishing miracles in proof of his divine mission; who went about doing good to the bodies and souls of men, by his heavenly doctrine instructing them, and by his miracles of grace healing all that were oppressed of the devil, under whatever disease or torment, or corporal possession, they laboured: for God was with him, mightily supporting him, and testifying his high approbation of him. And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, having been his constant followers and disciples; whom they slew and hanged on a tree, a death the most painful and ignominious, in hatred of his pretensions as the promised Messiah, because he corresponded not with their carnal notions of his character and office: him God raised up the third day, to their confusion, and in testimony of his perfect satisfaction in this divine Redeemer's undertaking; and shewed him openly, after his resurrection; not to all the people, who had so obstinately rejected the clearest evidence of truth; but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead, and, from the fullest conviction of our senses, were assured of his resurrection, and were appointed by him to bear our testimony thereto. And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead, before whom all must appear, and give an account of the things done in the body. To him give all the prophets witness, from the beginning speaking of him as the great subject of their discourses, and pointing to him under various types and figures, that through his name, through his sacrifice and obedience unto death, whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins, justified freely and fully from all his transgressions, whether he be Jew or Gentile. Note; (1.) The remission of sins is the first great gospel promise, and the door of admission to all the rest. (2.) If we believe that Jesus shall indeed shortly be our Judge, we cannot but be anxiously solicitous to secure an interest in his favour.

5thly, While these words were yet dropping from the apostle's lips, God himself appears, bearing witness to the gospel which Peter preached.

1. The Holy Ghost, in his miraculous gifts as well as gracious influences, fell on all them which heard the word, as on the disciples at the day of Pentecost; and they of the circumcision, which believed, were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost, though they were neither circumcised nor baptized; for they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God; like the other ministers of the gospel, they were equally qualified for that service, in which, probably, the Lord designed to employ the first-fruits of the Gentiles; and in the various languages which they spoke, adored God for the blessings of that redemption in Christ Jesus, of which they now were made partakers. Note; They who have received the Holy Ghost, cannot but desire to magnify God, seeking the divine glory in the exercise both of his gifts and graces.

2. St. Peter, no longer dubious, hesitates not to admit them into the church by the instituted rite of baptism. It would be highly absurd, for the most rigid Jewish Christian to object against admitting those to the sign and seal of the covenant, who had received the gifts and graces of the covenant. Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? The point was too clear to admit of a scruple; and therefore he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Hence it appears evidently, that water-baptism is an ordinance to be used by those who are most clearly baptized with the Holy Ghost.

3. They entreated St. Peter to tarry certain days with them, that they might enjoy the edification and comfort of his farther ministrations. Note; (1.) They who have received a blessing under the discourse of a gospel minister, covet to hear more. (2.) The most advanced in gifts and graces are never to think themselves above attendance on the ministry of the word.

 


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Bibliography Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Acts 10:4". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/acts-10.html. 1801-1803.

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