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tain of our heavenly inheritance. "Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.' 1 John iii. 1.
We are ready to hear all, says Cornelius, which God hath commanded thee. In the Holy Scriptures we have all which Cornelius desired to hear from the Apostle; for God has richly disclosed to us, in them, his hidden wisdom.
It is a characteristic of the word of God, to shine as a light, and illuminate the whole world, that every man may be blessed. By it are we reconciled to God our heavenly Father, and joined together as His children in one holy fellowship. This is the object of the announcement of the Gospel, the ordinance of God himself, and belongs to its very nature, as its name implies. When we assemble in the house of God, we are visibly reminded that we have one Father, from whom all things are, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ through whom are all things, and we through him; at the same time we acknowledge ourselves to be children of one Father, members of one body, of which Christ is the head, and fellow citizens of the heavenly kingdom.
We have much greater cause than David, who saw the future salvation only from afar, to love the service of God, and say, 'A day in thy courts is better than a thousand ! Come ye,'-to use the words of Isaiah, that Evangelist among the prophets, “Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths, as true worshipers, such as the Father wishes us to be.
The assembly in the house of Cornelius sets before our eyes a beautiful picture of such unions as were soon to be common among the Gentiles. They were penetrated with a fervent desire for the light which comes from above, with a lowly feeling of nothingness before God, with a pious veneration for the word of eternal life, and the messengers of God who announced it, and with child-like simplicity they hung upon the lips of the Apostle. They now received with singleness of heart the words of truth from his mouth, and there grew up in them a living faith, while peace and joy filled their souls.
In this we behold the fulfilment of the words of our Lord, “Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man which built his house upon a rock; and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house and it fell not, for it was founded upon a rock.' O beautiful sight! this first house founded on a rock, which the Lord built for himself in the midst of heathenism, formed of living stones, of hearts seeking for peace and truth! “Blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.'
For I will give you a mouth and wisdom,' Luke xxi. 15.-This is the promise which our Lord made his disciples, and he has faithfully and abundantly fulfilled it. How could the timid ignorant Galileans, and the persecuting Paul, have proclaimed the goodness of God in our redemption to the whole world, if the Lord had not given them a mouth and wisdom ? In them, and in all those whom, in latter times, the Lord chose to be the heralds of his grace and truth, the words were fulfilled which Paul says of himself, “When I am weak, then am I strong–I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
In humility, there is true courage, and in simplicity, real power and wisdom. The Lord filleth the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away! Thus sung Mary, the mother of Jesus. And Paul writes, “We have this treasure in earthen vesels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.' 2 Cor. iv. 7. Man can only become the receptacle of Divine power and wisdom, when self-wisdom and self-righteousness are taken away. Peter the Apostle required to be purified from the first, before he was called to announce the Gospel to the Gentiles and Cornelius to be freed from the second, before he could lift up his voice in the praise and glory of God.
We can only experience the truth and power of the Gospel, when we cast away our own wisdom and righteousness, and in all humility seek the righteousness which cometh from God. Then will the Lord give us a mouth and wisdom, enable us to know more and more his grace and truth, to proclaim his goodness, and to glorify and praise him. He satisfieth our mouths with good things; so that our youth is renewed like the eagle's.
• Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I per
ceive that God is no respecter of persons; but in every nation, he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.'-Acts x. 34, 35.
· Peter opened his mouth and said.”—This expression is applied to our Lord, when on the mountain, surrounded by his disciples and a multitude of people, he began to teach them; also to Philip, when he explained the Scriptures to the treasurer from Ethiopia, and preached to him the Gospel of Jesus. The Holy Scriptures frequently make use of this simple mode of speech, sometimes to point out more vividly the person speaking, , and the importance of what he says, and sometimes to mark the beginning of some great work. In like manner, our Lord Jesus, when he wishes to arouse the different classes of people to whom he is speaking, frequently says, 'Who hath ears to hear, let him hear ! As the ear is the door which conducts into the inner life of our souls, so the mouth is the key which unlocks it.
Our Apostle had already spoken to the Centurion
he told him he had willingly come to Cæsarea, because God had shown him there was no man common or unclean; he then asked why Cornelius had summoned him. When he heard the humble reply of Cornelius, and saw before him the assemblage of Gentiles, all desirous of salvation, his heart became full, and he hastened to speak. We have here the introduction of the Apostle's sermon, and seem to be present at the joyful opening of his mouth.
Of a truth I perceive,'—he now exclaims, with rejoicing admiration and astonishment.
We can only comprehend and sympathize with those feelings, if we transport ourselves to the time of the old covenant, and place ourselves in the situation of the prejudiced Israel. ites. From the time of Abraham, Israel had been the only people which the all-wise God had chosen. He had separated them from other nations, brought them up in a peculiar manner, and disclosed to them his righteous decree, that from them should proceed the Savior of men. To them was entrusted the oracles of God, and to them was promised a king, and kingdom of grace and truth. The law was to proceed from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. Is it to be wondered at that the Israelites should believe themselves to be, as indeed they were, the nobility of the human race; and that they never could divest themselves of the idea, that the future heavenly kingdom was to be Jewish, and that the Gentiles were only to be happy servants, and not children of that kingdom? Hence it was very difficult for the Apostle of the Lord to raise himself above the common prejudice of his peo