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24The following day they came to Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends.

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The day following he went forth. It should seem that they arrived a little before night 675675     “Sub vesperum,” towards evening. because they were not as yet entered the city at noon, and the vision which was showed thrice asked no small time. Therefore, when they had taken their rest all night, they address themselves to return. Again, there was a point of courtesy in that some of the faithful do accompany Peter, who were sent, as it is to be thought, by the whole church, to bring him even to Cesarea. These men journey with Peter for goodwill and honor’s sake; but the Lord bringeth them, that they may be witnesses of his grace. So that they are bountifully rewarded for their thankfulness, when as for confirmation of their faith they see the kingdom of Christ spread abroad even unto the Gentiles.

24. Cornelius waited for them. Luke doth not only commend the godly affection of Cornelius in this point, that he waited earnestly for Peter’s coming, but because he would have his friends and kinsfolks to be companions with him in the faith. This was a thing not without great danger, to call together a company of men, that they might embrace a new kind of religion. And there wanted not reasons, under color whereof he might have flattered [excused] himself; for he was not commanded to call others to accompany him, but rather they were passed over, and he himself was chosen to be made partaker of so great goodness; but he considered with himself how much he was indebted 676676     “Quantum... deberet,” how much he owed. both to the glory of God, and also to the salvation of his brethren. He knew that it was an unjust thing, and a point of discourtesy, to provide for himself alone, and not to regard others. He counted it a point of filthy carelessness 677677     “Foedae socordiae,” shameful sloth. to hide the treasure of the gospel under the ground. Therefore, he did that which the Lord requireth of all his by Isaiah and Micah, that every one exhort his brother (taking him as it were by the hand) unto the faith.

Therefore, Cornelius hath taught us by his example, that when God revealeth himself unto us we must not choke the light of his knowledge with sloth or fear, but we must rather endeavor that our faith may shine before others to give light, and to show the way to them; for the inheritance of the kingdom of heaven is not such, that even the least portion can be taken from us, if many be made partakers thereof; but if others be made co-heirs with us, it shall rather increase our glory, Furthermore, we must mark how far he is from vainglory; for he calleth them to be his school-fellows, being himself ready to learn. This is the true study of godliness, when as together with zeal there appeareth such plainness, 678678     “Simplicitas,” simplicity, singleness of mind. that we are not ashamed to depend upon the mouth of God. For many are pricked forward with ambition, to employ themselves in teaching the ignorant; and foolish babbling discovereth their folly, when as they huddle out words more earnestly, and they would have none heard but themselves. But this alone ought to be the drift of all men, to bring themselves and all the whole world under God, that when men are subdued unto true humility, he alone may have the preeminence. Let not him which excelleth in the faculty and grace of teaching refuse to teach his brethren, so that he be free from boasting, and proud desire to excel. Let him to whom it was not granted to be a teacher keep himself within his bounds. Let neither of them desire mastership, as James teacheth them; but let one so edify another, that neither the learned, neither the unlearned, be ashamed to be brought into order.

Notwithstanding, it is demanded, 679679     “Quaeritur tamen,” it is asked, however. what kinsfolks he could have in Judea, seeing that he was an alien, and was come thither only by reason of war, which continued but for a short time? As I affirm nothing, so I embrace this as most probable, that he had some in his garrison which were his kinsmen; for neighbors, and those which were of acquaintance were wont to serve under one captain. And we need not doubt of this, but that Cornelius’ kinsmen were desirous to be under him, forasmuch as he was a centurion. He calleth familiar friends αναγκαιους, as those are called of the Latins, Necessarii, which are nearer together. 680680     “Qui arctiore vinculo inter se conjuncti sunt,” who are bound together by a closer tie.