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the faith of thy love, and the power of the eternal Spirit, we may do all such good works as thou hast appointed for us to walk in, lie down in our graves with the seal of God in our foreheads, and rise again to meet thee with joy at thy second coming, to the everlasting praise of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.


Send to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter;

who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved. Acts, xi. 13, 14.


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What those words are whereby Cornelius and his house were to be saved, and by which every man and woman to the end of the world must be saved, you will hear by and by. But I must first open the occasion of them, and give you some account of the method by which he was brought to the knowledge of Christ.

Let me say to you, my brethren, in the awakening call of our blessed Saviour, any man hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Words whereby we and our houses must be saved! Eternally saved! How important, how awful is this! How should every earthly concern shrink into nothing, how should every imagination of man's heart die away, at the thought of that eternal state of being, which every one here present must enter upon within a few years, and some perhaps in a few weeks! What care should we take to be upon a right foundation here! And how should it put all the powers of our souls, in motion to secure that grand point, an interest in the Saviour, and a well-grounded hope of being for ever happy with God! It is true, great is our blindness, great is our.

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sin, great is our unworthiness. But nevertheless the God who made us for himself has rich mercy in store for us; and nothing shall by any means hurt us, if we turn to him in repentance, embrace the knowledge he offers us, and accept his covenant of peace. He will still be our God, “to bless us in turning

away every one of us from our iniquities,” Acts, iii. 26. As upon this day he sent down the Holy Ghost, to take possession of our natures, to quicken our dead souls, to alter the vicious bent of our affections, to conquer the stubborn opposition of our wills, and to reveal the Lord Jesus Christ, with all his benefits, to the hearts of all faithful people; and as sure as he fell on Cornelius, and those with him who heard the word, so surely will he be an almighty Helper and abiding Comforter to every man, of every nation under heaven, who chooses his comforts, and puts himself into his hands for faith in Christ, newness of life, and strength to do the will of God; so surely will he open the eyes of all who desire it, “ turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God; that they may obtain remission of sins, and inheritance among them that are sanctified by faith that is in Christ Jesus.” Acts, xxvi. 18.

To give us all possible assurance of this, that God has opened the door of faith to the Gentiles, and granted them repentance unto life; to set before us the necessity of being grafted into Christ for the remission of sins, and that he may dwell in us by his Spirit, and make us living temples of the living God is the design of this instructive passage of Scripture which I am now going to open to you. The Lord

open it to your hearts this day by the working of his mighty power, and make it effectual to your calling and salvation !

Cornelius, a centurion, or captain of a band of soldiers under the Roman governor, by living amongst the Jews

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had gained such a knowledge of their religion, and entertained such a liking to it, as to live according to the rules of it. Amongst them he had learned to worship the true God, to fast and pray, and give much alms, and led a strict, devout life. But still, not being circumcised, he could not be reputed a Jew. And therefore the apostles, who as yet did not know that the Gospel was to be preached to any but Jews, could not make an offer of it to him, as he was not in all points converted to the Jewish religion; thinking it unlawful to keep company with or come unto one of another nation. But God, whose mercy is over all his works, who had determined, in his own good time, to break down the middle wall of partition betwixt Jew and Gentile, and make of both one body under one Head, Jesus Christ, thus makes way for his own purpose. In one vision he directs Cornelius to send for

. Peter, to tell him what he should do in order to his salvation. In another, to Peter, in which he “ saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending to him as it had been a great sheet, knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth : wherein were all manner of four-footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air : And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter, kill, and eat;" i. e. of all or any of the creatures which he saw, without distinction of clean or unclean - God showed him that he “ should not call any man common or unclean," or refuse to converse with him under that notion. And lest he should mistake God's meaning and design in the vision, while he was musing upon it, the Spirit said to him expressly, “ Behold, three men seek thee; arise, therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them.” When


read that Cornelius was the first man from among the Gentiles who was brought to the faith of Christ, let it not pass without some reflection; let me

instruct you a little what observations to make upon it. What God had so long foretold, and so often promised, that the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs with his people, children of the covenant, and partakers of the heavenly calling, was now, in this instance, solemnly and remarkably fulfilled. This was the very time and place of God's signing and sealing to all his promises in behalf of the Gentiles. Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father,

, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, was now proclaimed to all, and Christ herein fully explained his commission to the apostles, to “ go into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature.” Before this, mankind sat in darkness and the shadow of death, were outcasts from mercy, without hope and without God in the world; i. e. as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, but lived in ignorance and forgetfulness of him, without regard to his will, or seeking to him for a blessing upon their souls. But now the gates of Paradise were again set wide open, and abundant entrance was ministered to us into the love and favour of God, and a way made for the fulfilling of that saying, “ Many shall come from the east and from the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven." So that this is a leading case, and Cornelius is, in a sense, the father of us all. Christ purchased eternal redemption for us, and our eyes and hearts must be to him, aş. the blessed Author of it; but we hold of Cornelius, as it were, for its conveyance to us, and settlement upon us. In him the door of faith was opened to the Gentiles; in and through him the ever-blessed Spirit returned to take his abode with them, and, by God's calling and acceptance of him, we are infallibly assured that he now reputes no man, of any nation, common or unclean; i, e. so as to be incapable of his favour, and unfit for redeeming mercy, if he does not make himself so, by choosing the pollu

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tions of his own heart and nature, and refusing to come to the fountain opened for sin and uncleanness. God be thanked for Cornelius, and for this declaration and great example of his free general mercy to all mankind in him! God be thanked for sending Peter to every one of us, when he sent him to Cornelius, with an offer of grace and salvation! Blessed be God for this solemn opening of his covenant of peace to us, for sending down the Holy Ghost upon the Gentiles, and for recording this in sacred Scripture for our comfort and assurance !

But let us attend to another very important particular in this remarkable story of Cornelius. We are told, Acts, x. 2, 22. that he “ was a just, devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.” Now here you will be ready to ask, what could this man want more for his salvation ? If a course of justice, alms-giving, and strict devotion, if a proper regard to all the duties we owe to God and man, will not entitle us to heaven, what will ? Alas! you may say (and I wish you were so far awakened as to say it with true concern for yourselves), this is a great deal more than we do, or think necessary; and if much less will not prevail for our acceptance, how shall we stand before God, and where almost is the man or woman amongst us who can have so much as a faint hope of being saved? We do not watch unto prayer, so as to be hard at work with God in it day by day for spiritual blessings. We do not devote a reasonable part of our substance to God in works of charity, as knowing that we receive it from him in trust, and are only stewards of what he gives for such uses as he appoints. We are not generally strict moral men in our dealings, but lay fatal snares for the life of our souls, and fall in too much with the way of the world, in frauds, and tricks, and lying for gain.. Alas! we do not serve Almighty God in and

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