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and confutes in his Epistle to the Romans : Is he the God of the Jews only ? is he not also of the 'GentilesF yes, of the Gentiles a] o. The Disciples of our Lord, and especially St. Peter, were as deep in this Opinion as others ;, and, during our Saviour's Abode on Earth, they were confirmed in it by what they observed in him : He declared, he was
to preach he exprefly charged them not to go into the Way of the Gentiles, nor to enter into any City of' the Samaritan: ; hut to go rather to the lost Sheep ty" the House ofI/'mel : And after his Resurrection, when he enlarged their Commiffion, and bade them Go, teach all Notions; they understood him not, but were inquisitive about his rcssoring the Kingdom to ssrael. After the Ascenfion the Apostles continued'at Jewish/ent preaching to their ownNation, till, upon the Persecution of St. Stephen, many fied into other Parts, and, though they went as far as Pheniee, Cyprm, and yAntiooh, yet they preached the H/ord to none hut jews only, Acts an. 19. And when St. Peter, admonished byzan heavenly Vifion, had admitted some Gentiles into the Churchof Christ through Baptism, hewas called to an account for it by the-Apostles "and
Peter, when he says that in every Nation he that feareth God-is accepted with him, and the Apostles and Brethren, when they say that God hath granted to the Gentiles Repentance unto Life, mean one and the same Thing; And therefore, in the Text, to he accepted with God means no. more than to have from God the Offer of Repentance unto Life; and both certainly mean our having Admiffion into the Covenant with God ' through Christ esus. So that the whole of what St. Peter says in the Text amounts to this: " I now at length perceive that God " .has not confined his Mercies to a particular " Nation only ; but that all are capable of " inheriting the Promises in Christ Jesus, " who are duly prepared by Righteousness, " and the Fear of God."
This will farther appear to be the true Interpretation, if we examine the Case of Cornelius, and what the Acceptance was that he sound. Cornelius was a Gentile, and one of the best os them 3, a devout Man, and one who feared God with all his HousE, which gave much Alms to the People, and prayed to God alway : And, yet his Goodness did not make it unnecessary for him to. become a Christian. The heavenly Vision was not sent to satisfy - him that his Righteousness was sufficient, and that
that he had no need to look out for farther Affistance or Direction : On the contrary, it was sent to inform him where he might seek and find a proper Instructor. St. Peter had also a Vifion to prepare him to do the Duty of an Apostle to the Gentile Centurion: and, when this devout Man came to him, in obedience to the heavenly Warning, ' he instructs him in the Faith of Christ Jesus and baptizes him with Water: Upon which St. Peter says, he finds that Men of all Nations, who do righteoufly, are accepted with God. He could not poffibly mean, iThatthose who did their best upon the Light of Nature, had no need of any other Teacher: That Reflection could never rise from the Ca-se before' him 3 For why did he then instruct Cornelius in the Knowledge of Christ, and baptize him in his Name? St. Peter therefore certainly meant, That all Gentiles duly prepared were capable of the Bleffings .v of the Gospel through the Mercy of God; in opþosition to his former Error, that none but 'je-ws had such a Privilege. And the Apostle undoubtedly understood that the best of; thei Gen'tilctes- had need of the Gospel ; . or else his 'Commendatitm of the Goodness 0£God amounts to this only, That he perceivedsithat God would give to the honestminded