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Because this answer of Cornelius containeth only the bare repetition of the history, I shall not need to stand long about that. The sum is, that he called Peter at the commandment of God.
30. I was fasting. Many Greek books 687687 “Codices,” manuscripts. have ημην, I sat. The old interpreter omitteth the word fasting, which I think was done through error or negligence, because it is expressed in all the Greek books. 688688 “Codicibus,” manuscripts. Furthermore, he maketh express mention of fasting, partly that we may know that he prayed not coldly, or overfields 689689 “Defunctorie,” perfunctorily. at that time; secondly, that the vision may be the less suspected. For doubtless the brain of a man that is fasting (where there is moderate sobriety) doth not easily admit any strong imaginations, wherein appear images and strange forms, whereby men are deceived. 690690 “Hallucinationes in spectris,” spectral delusions. Therefore Cornelius’ meaning is, that he was earnestly bent to pray, at such time as the angel appeared to him, and that his mind was free from all such lets which use to make men subject to fantasies and imaginations. 691691 “Phantasmatibus ac spectris,” phantasms and specters. And to the same end tendeth the circumstance of time, that this was done when it was now fair daylight, three hours before the going down of the sun.
A man stood in shining garment. He calleth him a man, whom he knew was an angel of God; but it is a common thing for the name of the visible form wherein God or his angels appear to be translated unto him or them; so Moses doth sometimes call them angels, and sometimes men, which appeared to Abraham in shape of men. The shining garment was a token of heavenly glory, and, as it were a sign of the divine Majesty which appeared 692692 “Quae fulgere... debuit,” which must have been refulgent. in the angel. The evangelists declare, that there was such brightness in Christ’s garment when he showed his glory to the three disciples in the mount. The same thing do they witness of the angels which were sent to testify Christ’s resurrection. For, as the Lord beareth with our infirmity thus far that he commandeth his angels to descend under form of our flesh, so he casteth out upon them certain beams of his glory, that the commandments which he hath committed to them may be the more reverenced and believed. Here ariseth a question, whether that were a true and natural body, and whether that were a garment in deed, or Cornelius did only see such a shape and show; and though this be not so necessary to be known, and we can scarce affirm any thing for a truth, 693693 “Pro certo,” for certain. yet it seemeth to me more probable as touching conjecture, that God to whom it belongeth to create all things gave to the angel a true body, and did clothe the same with a most gorgeous garment; but so soon as the angel had ended his embassage, I think he was restored to his own nature, the body and garment being brought to nought, and that he suffered no human thing 694694 “Neque tamen humani quidquam passum,” and that he had no human property. so long as he was in the shape of man.