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time. He is great whether preaching the gospel, scourged as a felon, stoned by a mob, or refusing worship as a god. He is great whether standing in the midst of Mars Hill proclaiming the unity of the human race, or in Corinth glorying in the Cross of Christ, whether in the hovels of the lowly he addresses the poor or in a kingly palace Felix trembles when he reasons of temperance, righteousness, and judgment

Great whether fighting wild beasts at Ephesus, defending himself before a Jewish council or a Roman court. He is great whether in perils on land or tempest-tossed on sea. He was great and mighty in labor, but greater still when we hear him for the last time in Rome making his final defense before Nero. At his first answer no man stood with him, but all forsook him, yet the Lord delivered him out of the mouth of the lion, and he prayed for his cowardly friends. His last words have come ringing down the ages, and will go on and on until they die away on the shores of eternity: “I have fought a good fight, I have kept the faith, henceforth there is laid up

for me a crown.' Rest, Paul, in peace in the stormless beyond-in the land of the fadeless and deathlessthe wisest, greatest, and best of the race—the apostle, prophet, and martyr of God.

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CHAPTER XVIII

CALL OF THE GENTILES

The First Case of Gentile Pardon. Cornelius and His Household.

The Appearance of the Angel to Cornelius and the Vision of Peter. Peter's Sermon to the Gentiles.

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AFTER Saul was pardoned he preached Christ at Damascus, but when the Jews took counsel "to kill him” he escaped from Damascus and went to Jerusalem, where he attempted “to join himself to the disciples, but they were all afraid of him and believed not that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles,” a relating the circumstance of his conversion, “and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.” Here again“ he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus and disputed against the Grecians, but they went about to slay him, which, when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Cæsarea and sent him forth to Tarsus. Then had the churches rest throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit were multiplied.”

Here for a time Saul disappears from view and Peter comes to the front. We are informed that when Peter had “passed throughout all quarters, he came

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a Acts ix. 26, 27.

b Acts ix. 29–31.

down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda." Here he healed a man named Æneas who had been afflicted with the palsy eight years. “Peter said unto him, Æneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole, arise and make thy bed. And he arose immediately. And all that dwelt at Lydda and Saron saw him, and turned to the Lord.” We need not here remark on what is meant by turning to the Lord, but will only observe that it was to receive Him, believe in and obey His requirements. "If ye love me ye will keep my commandments." While Peter was at Lydda there was a woman named Tabitha, a disciple, of Joppa, who being sick died, “whom when they had washed they laid in an upper chamber, and the disciples sent for Peter, who when he had come entered the upper chamber where the body was: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and showing the coats and garments which Dorcas made while she was with them. But Peter put them all forth and kneeled down and prayed; and turning to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up and he gave her his hand and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows presented her alive, and it was known throughout Joppa and many believed in the Lord.”a In both these cases a

. miracle seems to be the occasion of the people “believing or turning to the Lord.” But the miracles were not wrought upon the person converted, but upon others, and thus produced the faith or caused the turning It is worthy of notice that only one

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person was restored to life by Peter, and one by Paul, so far as the inspired record shows, after the death of Christ.

While Peter tarried at Joppa he was called in a miraculous manner to open the door of the gospel of grace to the Gentiles. The gospel had now been preached, according to the command of Christ, “In Jerusalem, in all Judea, in Samaria,” and now began, for the first, its proclamation to the people embraced in the expression, "unto the uttermost parts of the earth.”

This brings us to the consideration of the gospel as preached to and received by Cornelius and those assembled with him. Peter, on the day of Pentecost, opened the kingdom to the Jews, and notwithstanding the commission given by Christ “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature," and His final directions just before He ascended, yet a series of miracles seem still to be required to convince Peter that the Gentiles were not common or unclean," but convinced, he, having the keys, opened the door of the kingdom to the Gentiles. It will be borne in mind that this was eight years after the gospel had been preached to the Jews, in Jerusalem, and it had spread throughout all Judea, and in Samaria, but was yet understood to be confined to the Jews, for when the apostles and brethren that were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God they "contended with him (Peter) saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them.” And Peter had to rehearse the whole

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matter, and “when they heard these things they held their

peace and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance.”a

The first great epoch of the gospel was its presentation to, and reception by, the Jews. The second was its proclamation to the Gentiles. The first case in the second epoch is one in which the Gentile world has been, and always will be, deeply interested. It is important and demands our most careful consideration. It is worthy of note that this case of Cornelius, like that of Saul, is first recorded by the historian and repeated twice thereafter by Peter. b So that these two important cases, both connected with the Gentiles, one giving an account of the calling of their apostle, and the other their first reception of the gospel, are each recorded three times. In contrast with this it may

be stated that there is no other case of pardon given in the New Testament the circumstances of which are repeated. These examples showed to the Jews that the Gentiles were to be received into "the fulness of the blessing of the Gospel of Christ.” And they furnish examples for all time showing how the first persons connected with the preaching of salvation to the Gentiles were pardoned. In regard to this last case, as already intimated, the record is not only interesting, but full. We will therefore quote freely: “There was a certain man in Cæsarea called Cornelius, a centurion, of the band called the Italian band, a devout man and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people and a Acts xi. 18.

b Acts x., xi., xv.

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