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10. Peter's Vision

1Now there was a certain man in Caesarea, Cornelius by name, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, 2a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, who gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always. 3He saw in a vision openly, as it were about the ninth hour of the day, an angel of God coming in unto him, and saying to him, Cornelius. 4And he, fastening his eyes upon him, and being affrighted, said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are gone up for a memorial before God. 5And now send men to Joppa, and fetch one Simon, who is surnamed Peter: 6he lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side. 7And when the angel that spake unto him was departed, he called two of his household-servants, and a devout soldier of them that waited on him continually; 8and having rehearsed all things unto them, he sent them to Joppa. 9Now on the morrow, as they were on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour: 10and he became hungry, and desired to eat: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance; 11and he beholdeth the heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending, as it were a great sheet, let down by four corners upon the earth: 12wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts and creeping things of the earth and birds of the heaven. 13And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill and eat. 14But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common and unclean. 15And a voice came unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, make not thou common. 16And this was done thrice: and straightway the vessel was received up into heaven. 17Now while Peter was much perplexed in himself what the vision which he had seen might mean, behold, the men that were sent by Cornelius, having made inquiry for Simon's house, stood before the gate, 18and called and asked whether Simon, who was surnamed Peter, were lodging there. 19And while Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee. 20But arise, and get thee down, and go with them, nothing doubting: for I have sent them. 21And Peter went down to the men, and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what is the cause wherefore ye are come? 22And they said, Cornelius a centurion, a righteous man and one that feareth God, and well reported of by all the nation of the Jews, was warned of God by a holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words from thee. 23So he called them in and lodged them. And on the morrow he arose and went forth with them, and certain of the brethren from Joppa accompanied him. 24And on the morrow they entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius was waiting for them, having called together his kinsmen and his near friends. 25And when it came to pass that Peter entered, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. 26But Peter raised him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man. 27And as he talked with him, he went in, and findeth many come together: 28and he said unto them, Ye yourselves know how it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to join himself or come unto one of another nation; and yet unto me hath God showed that I should not call any man common or unclean: 29wherefore also I came without gainsaying, when I was sent for. I ask therefore with what intent ye sent for me. 30And Cornelius said, Four days ago, until this hour, I was keeping the ninth hour of prayer in my house; and behold, a man stood before me in bright apparel, 31and saith, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God. 32Send therefore to Joppa, and call unto thee Simon, who is surnamed Peter; he lodgeth in the house of Simon a tanner, by the sea side. 33Forthwith therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore we are all here present in the sight of God, to hear all things that have been commanded thee of the Lord. 34And Peter opened his mouth and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is acceptable to him. 36The word which he sent unto the children of Israel, preaching good tidings of peace by Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all.) -- 37that saying ye yourselves know, which was published throughout all Judaea, beginning from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; 38even Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. 39And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the country of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom also they slew, hanging him on a tree. 40Him God raised up the third day, and gave him to be made manifest, 41not to all the people, but unto witnesses that were chosen before of God, even to us, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42And he charged us to preach unto the people, and to testify that this is he who is ordained of God to be the Judge of the living and the dead. 43To him bear all the prophets witness, that through his name every one that believeth on him shall receive remission of sins. 44While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all them that heard the word. 45And they of the circumcision that believed were amazed, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit. 46For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, 47Can any man forbid the water, that these should not be baptized, who have received the Holy Spirit as well as we? 48And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

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37. Ye know how the word. This sermon of Peter consisteth upon [of] two members principally; for in the former he reciteth an history; secondly, he descendeth unto the fruit of the history). For seeing that the coming of Christ into the world, his death and resurrection, are the matter of our salvation, Christ cannot otherwise be set before us to salvation, than if we first know that he hath put on our flesh; that he was in such sort conversant amongst men; that he proved himself, by certain testimonies, to be the Son of God; that he was at length nailed upon the cross, and raised up from the dead by the power of God. Again, lest the knowledge of the history be unprofitable and cold, we must also show the end why he came down from his heavenly glory into the world, why he suffered such a death so reproachful amongst men, and accursed by the mouth of God. The cause of his resurrection must be showed, whence the effect and fruit of all these things is gathered; to wit, that Christ was humbled, that he might restore us unto perfect blessedness who were quite lost; and also that he put on brotherly love together with our flesh; that by taking upon him our infirmities, he unburdened us thereof; that he made satisfaction for our sins, by the sacrifice of his death, that he might purchase the Father’s favor for us; that when as he had gotten the victory of death, he purchased for us eternal life; that he set heaven open for us by his entrance into the same; that all the power of the Spirit was poured out upon him, that he might enrich us with his abundance, (Isaiah 61:1.)

This order of teaching doth Peter observe when he beginneth with the history of the gospel; and afterward showeth what we have by Christ’s descending into the earth, by his death and resurrection. First, he saith, that Jesus of Nazareth came abroad after John’s baptism. For because John was appointed to this end, by the counsel of God, that he might lift up the minds of the people to wait for Christ, it was not meet that this point should be omitted. He was counted an excellent prophet of God; therefore his authority was of great importance to make Christ to be believed, especially amongst the ignorant and those which were but novices. We must note the phrase, that John preached baptism. For Luke comprehendeth, indeed, under the word baptism, all the whole ministry of John; nevertheless he showeth that it was no dumb sign, and void of doctrine. And assuredly this is the chiefest thing in all sacraments, that the Word of God may appear engraven there, and that the clear voice may sound. For which cause, that wicked profanation which is seen in Papistry is so much the more to be detested, because, burying preaching, they do only charm the sacraments with magical enchantment,




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