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And when they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God; saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch. Acтs xi. 18, with the latter clause of the 26th verse.

WE are now entering, my friends, on the fifth and last Lecture of the series through which we have been passing. Our situation this day reminds us of the progress of human life. What was once an object in prospect, will, if we are spared a little longer, be an object passed by. The present, and preceding Lectures, refer to the last period into which I

originally divided that portion of sacred history, contained in the first eleven chapters of the Acts; namely, the promulgation of Christianity among the Gentiles.

By confining my remarks to these eleven chapters, it is far from my intention to cast the least shadow on the remainder of the Book. There are many scenes in the succeeding chapters, as interesting as those we have considered, and some even more so. The debate which took place at Jerusalem, when all the great Apostles themselves were speakers. The miracles wrought by Paul, and Barnabas, and Silas; the noble conduct of the church at Berea; the discourse of St. Paul at Athens; his address to the elders of Ephesus at Miletus; his voyages and shipwreck; his arrival, and manner of life, at Rome; these, and others which might be mentioned, are all worthy of particular discussion; but they do not so immediately refer to the object of these Lectures, which were expressly intended to trace the progress of the first planting of Christianity.

The period which now remains to be considered, is, from the thirty-second verse of the ninth chapter, to the close of the eleventh chapter. This may be divided into three parts.

I. Miracles wrought by Peter at Lydda and Joppa.

II. The call of a Gentile family into the christian church.

III. The further spread of the gospel, with the name given to the converts at Antioch.

I. We are to consider the miracles wrought by Peter. Two of these are particularly mentioned.

1. The first was performed at Lydda, where Peter "found a certain man named Eneas, which had kept his bed eight years, and was sick of the palsy." A disease of such long standing must have required the exertion of a miraculous power, instantly to remove it. "And Peter said unto him, Eneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole; Arise, and make thy bed; and he arose immediately." Here we may again remark the modesty of Peter; as in the case of the lame man, (which we considered in our second Lecture,) he takes no merit to himself, but ascribes to his Divine Master the whole of the benevolence, and the miracle.

2. The second display of the miraculous power with which he was gifted, was at Joppa,

(a sea-port town, at no great distance from the former place.) "A certain disciple dwelt there named Tabitha, which, by interpretation, is called Dorcas; this woman was full of good works and alms-deeds; and it came to pass, in those days, that she was sick and died." The disciples, hearing that Peter was in their neighbourhood, sent a message to him, desiring that he would come to them. We can hardly suppose that they expected him to restore her to life, no instance having yet occurred of such a miraculous power being exerted by an Apostle; but they doubtless looked to him for consolation and advice. He gave them the best consolation. In imitation of his Divine Master, he dismissed the multitude; and he kneeled down, and prayed to the Lord of Life, that he would, at this time, grant him power over death. The prayer was accepted. His voice was heard in heaven, and it was listened to in the regions of the dead. The life of this excellent woman was instantly restored; and, doubtless, she returned with joy and gratitude to those charitable occupations, to which she had before devoted her time. It was natural that these repeated miracles should prove of great advantage to Peter in his ministry. We read that "the fame thereof spread throughout

all Joppa;" and, that in consequence, many believed in the Lord."

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II. We are to view the call of a Gentile family into the christian church.

This account is contained in the tenth chapter. I shall not repeat the story, but only make general remarks, arising from the consideration of the vision of Peter, and the conversion of Cornelius.

We find, in Cornelius, a man high in authority; who, though a Heathen and a soldier, had a deep sense of religion. As a centurion, he had the command of one hundred men; not content with the worshipping God in the temple, or in the closet, he regularly assembled all under his command at the family altar. Let those professing christians, who plead want of time to worship God in their families, blush when they hear, that the leader of the Italian cohort never passed a day without praying with his soldiers. We read that his charity kept pace with his piety; like Dorcas, he bestowed much of his wealth in relieving the wants of the necessitous.

To this man, to this family, was Peter to

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