There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,…
I. THE WORKINGS OF REDEMPTIVE PROVIDENCE ARE MANIFOLD AND COMPLEX. Paul is converted, and is being trained for his future work. Peter receives a vision intended to break down exclusiveness. Cornelius receives Divine instructions to send for the apostle. Each is done separately and miles apart. Yet Divine power and wisdom unite them, and bring out of them the subjection of the Roman empire to Christ and the creation of modern Europe. How much depended on these three men, strangers to each other!
II. DIVINE GRACE OPERATES BEYOND THE PALE OF THE VISIBLE CHURCH. Cornelius a good man according to his light. Reverent and charitable, two indubitable marks of religion. Not a proselyte, but not counted common or unclean. Entered the kingdom of Christ without passing through the Jewish gate. Many like Cornelius at Rome and in Greece, and now in India, China, etc.
III. THE LIMITS AND INSUFFICIENCY OF NATURAL RELIGION. The prayer and alms of Cornelius went up as a memorial to God; but these were not enough, or he would not have been bidden to send for Peter. But faithfulness to the light of nature led up to the Christian revelation.
1. A caution against latitudinarian indifference. There is no foundation for a belief in the sufficiency of natural light.
2. The breaking down of natural impediments to the progress of the gospel. "In every nation."
3. Here is the ground of hope for humanity.
4. Here is the essential character of the provisions of the gospel. "There is none other name," etc.
Parallel VersesKJV: There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,