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Aunt. He had assembled his kinsfolk and friends, that they, with him, might hear the good things which were to be communicated. As soon as he saw Peter, he fell down at his feet, and worshipped him; but Peter took him up, saying, Stand up, I myself also am a man. And he went in with him,
Seeing the conipany that were assembled, Peter thus addiessed them: Ye know that it is unlawful for a Jew to associate with the people of any other nation; but, having been taught of God not to call any man common or unclean, I am come unto you, and desire to know for what intent ye have sent for me ? Cornelius then gave him an account of the vision which he had seen. Peter replied, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons; but in every nation, he that feareth him and worketh righteousness is accepted of him. He then preached Jesus to them, and concluded with these words: To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name, whosoever believeth in him shall have remission of sins.
While Peter thus spake, the Holy Ghost fell on all them who heard the word; and they spoke with tongues and magnified God. When Peter saw the gentiles thus baptised with the Holy Ghost, of which the baptism of water was but an emblem, he said to them that were with him, Can any man forbid water that these should not be baptised, who have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptised in the name of the Lord. Then they intreated Peter to stay with them certain days.
George. It must rejoice the rest of the apostles to hear these glad tidings!
Aunt. They were offended with Peter for preaching to the Gentiles, till he went up to Jerusalem, when he related the whole affair to them from the beginning; and concluded with saying, As God gave unto them the like gifts that he did unto us, what was I, that I could withstand God?
Maria. What did they say to this ?
Aunt. They were perfectly satisfied, and glorified God for admitting the gentiles to be sharers in the privileges of the gospel.
Aunt. SOME disciples born in Cyprus and Cyrene, who, since the death of Stephen, had preached the gospel in various parts, now arrived at Antioch, the metropolis of Syria, and preached Jesus to the inhabitants of that great city; in consequence of which, many believed and turned to the Lord. When these tidings reached Jerusalem, the church sent Barnabas, a man full of faith and the gifts of the Holy Ghost; and many more were added to the Lord.
Barnabas went to Tarsus to seek Saul, that he might have his assistance in this great undertaking, Saul readily consented to return with him to Antioch, where they continued together preaching the gospel with extraordinary success. It was in this city they first obtained the honourable name of Christians, which soon spread, and, in a short time,
prevailed all over the world. This was about ten years after our Lord's ascension.
Lucy. What was the general name by which they 'were called before this time?
Aunt. Nazarenes and Galileans by the Jews; but, among themselves, Disciples, Believers, Saints, and Brethren. in the same year, came certain persons, endowed with the gift of prophecy, from Jerusalem to Antioch; one of whom, named Agabus, foretold, by the Spirit of God, that there should be a great famine in many parts of the world.
Maria. This would give the christians an opportunity to provide against it; but how long was it before it came to pass ?
Aunt. In the following year. The christians at Antioch made a collection for their brethren in Judea, which they sent by the hands of Barnabas and Saul. Before their arrival, king Herod-Agrippa had killed James, the brother of John, with the sword; and, seeing it pleased the Jews, he apprehended Peter also, whom he committed to prison; delivering him to four quaternions of soldiers, or sixteen, to guard him, four at a time, according to the watches of the night; designing, after the feast of the passover, to bring him forth to the Jews, to have him executed.
George. Did the christians take any step to deliver him?
Aunt. They made use of means which proved effectual.
George. Did they intercede with the king ?
Aunt. No; but they prayed without ceasing to the God of heaven, who is King of kings: and he sent his angel, who came to the prison, and a light
shined therein. Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound, with a chain on each hand, to the two soldiers between whom he lay; but did not awake till the angel gently struck him on the side, and raised him up; upon which his chains fell off. He then bid him gird on his coat and follow him. Neither the light which was in the prison, nor the voice of the angel, nor the falling of the chains, disturbed the soldiers. Peter followed the angel, and haying passed the first and second guard, when they came to the iron gate that leads to the city, its strong bars and bolts gave way, and it opened of its own accord. When the angel had led Peter out of the reach of his keepers, into a part of the city which he knew, he departed.
Lucy. It must have appeared like a dream to Peter.
Aunt. He, for a time, thought it a vision; but when he became sensible of the reality of it, by find. ing himself in the city, he praised the Lord, who, had sent his angel to deliver him: and, that he might comfort the christians, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together, praying. When he had knocked at the door, a damsel came to ask who was there: hearing Peter's voice, she opened not the door for gladness, but ran, and told how Peter stood without. And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she affirmed that it was even so. All this while, Peter continued knocking: and when they had opened the door, and saw him, they were astonished. He then related to them how the Lord had delivered him, desiring them to acquaint James and the brethren: and he departed to another place.
Maria. I thought James was slain.
Aunt. You have forgot, my dear, that there were two apostles of that name. This was James the son of Alpheus, who wrote the epistle, intitled, The General Epistle of James.
George. What consternation the soldiers must be in at Peter's escape!
Aunt. The king, in a rage, commanded them to be put to death; and departed from Jerusalem to Cæsarea. He was himself soon after struck with death in a public assembly; but you shall have a more full account of that in the Jewish history. Saul and Barnabas, having disposed of their contributions to the christians in Judea, returned to Antioch, taking with them John, whose surname was Mark.
Lucy. Was that Mark the evangelist ?
Aunt. It appears not; for, by the particular direction of God, Saul and Barnabas were set apart for the purpose of preaching the gospel to the gentiles: and they went to the famous island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean sea. In Salamis, one of the chief cities of the isle, they began their ministry; and, though they were principally sent to the gentiles, yet they usually went into the synagogues, and preached Christ first to the Jews. The apostles, passing through the isle, ai rived at Paphos, a large city on the western parts, the seat of the Roman Proconsul, or governor of the isle, whose name was