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THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES - Chapter 10 - Verse 2

Verse 2. A devout man. Pious; or one who maintained the worship of God. See Barnes "Lu 2:25".

Comp. Ac 2:5; 8:2.

And one that feared God. This is often a designation of piety. See Barnes "Ac 9:31".

It has been supposed by many that the expressions here used denote that Cornelius was Jew, or was instructed in the Jewish religion, and was a proselyte. But this by no means follows. It is probable that there might have been among the Gentiles a few at least who were fearers of God, and who maintained his worship according to the light which they had. So there may be now persons found in pagan lands, who, in some unknown way, have been taught the evils of idolatry; the necessity of a purer religion; and who may be prepared to receive the gospel. The Sandwich Islands were very much in this state when the American missionaries first visited them. They had thrown away their idols, and seemed to be waiting for the message of mercy and the word of eternal life, as Cornelius was. A few other instances have been found by missionaries in heathen lands, who have thus been prepared by a train of providential events, or by the teaching of the Spirit, for the gospel of Christ.

With all his house. With all his family. It is evident here that Cornelius instructed his family, and exerted his influence to train them in the fear of God. True piety will always lead a man to seek the salvation of his family.

Much alms. Large and liberal charity. This is always an effect of piety. See Jas 1:27; Ps 41:1.

Prayed to God alway. Constantly; meaning that he was in the regular habit of praying to God. Comp. Ro 12:12; Lu 18:1; Ps 119:2; Pr 2:2-5.

As no particular kind of prayer is mentioned except secret prayer, we are not authorized to affirm that he offered prayer in any other manner. It may be observed, however, that he who prays in secret will usually pray in his family; and as the family of Cornelius is mentioned as being also under the influence of religion, it is perhaps not a forced inference that he observed family worship.

{+} "devout" "pious" {f} "man" Ac 8:2; 22:12 {g} "feared" Ec 7:18

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