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were edified; and walking in the fear of the 38 And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, Joppa, and the disciples had heard that were multiplied.
Peter was there, they sent unto him two 32 | And it came to pass, as Peter passed men, desiring him that he would not 'delay throughout all quarters, he came down also to come to them. to the saints which dwelt at Lydda.
39 Then Peter arose and went with them. 33 And there he found a certain man When he was come, they brought him into named Æneas, which had kept his bed eight the upper chamber: and all the widows years, and was sick of the palsy.
stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats 34 And Peter said unto him, Æneas, and garments which Dorcas made, while she Jesus Christ maketh thee whole : arise, and was with them. make thy bed. And he arose immediately. 40 But Peter put them all forth, and
35 And all that dwelt in Lydda and Sa- kneeled down, and prayed; and turning ron saw him, and turned to the Lord. him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And
36 | Now there was at Joppa a certain she opened her eyes : and when she saw Pedisciple named Tabitha, which by interpre- ter, she sat up. tation is called Dorcas : this woman was full 41 And he gave her his hand, and lifted of good works and almsdeeds which she her up, and when he had called the saints did.
and widows, he presented her alive. 37 And it came to pass in those days, 42 And it was known throughout all that she was sick, and died: whom when Joppa; and many believed in the Lord. they had washed, they laid her in an upper 43 And it came to pass, that he tarried chamber.
many days in Joppa with one Simon a tanner.
? Or, be grieved. Verse 3. “He came near Dumascus."— The Christians of Damascus have not been less diligent than those of Jeruk salem, in identifying the site of every transaction, which Scripture records to have occurred in that city or its neighbourhood. Among these, is the presumed spot where St. Paul was stricken to the ground. It occurs about half a mile from the eastern gate of the town. It is thus described by Dr. Hogg, who passed it ou leaving the city :-“We turned into a wide, open road, and passing through a large unenclosed Christian cemetery, soon reached the place, still highly venerated, of the apostle's miraculous conversion. The present track deviates from the straight line, leaving, a few yards to the right, the precise spot believed to be that where he fell to the earth. This is evidently a portion of an ancient road, consisting entirely of firmly embedded pebbles, which, having never been broken up, stands alone like the fragment of an elevated causeway. The sides have been gradually lowered by numerous pilgrims, who, in all ages, have sought the pebbles to preserve as relics. A wide, arch-like excavation, through the centre of the causeway, produced by the same superstitious industry, has given it the semblance of a dismantled bridge. Through this aperture it is considered an act of devotion to pass ; and one of our attendants performed this ceremony with all due solemnity
, rubbing his shoulders against the pebbly sides, while he repeated his prayers with exemplary earnestness.” (Visit to Alexandria, Damascus, and Jerusalem, 1835.)
10. " Ananius.”—The supposed abode of this disciple, of whom nothing is known beyond what is here recorded, is still devoutly pointed out at Damascus. It is described by Dr. Richardson, as “a small grotto, situated among para houses, near the Catholic convent, and seems to be held in equal veneration by Turks and Christians, and is equally a place of
prayer for both. The Mussulmans frequent it every day, and the Christians say mass in it at stated times. This community of temples appears odd, but I have stated what I was told.” It is equally odd that grottoes are so cosstantly pointed out as the places in which the eminent persons mentioned in Scripture abode, as if they had never
lined in houses, or there were no houses to live in. But the reason is clear: a grotto is chosen, because the identity of a house, after the lapse of so many ages, even the strongest credulity might question; whereas no one will gainsay that any present yrollo may have existed at the time to which the record refers.
11. “The street which is called Straight.”—The local traditions also point out this street, and even the house of Judas. We may here quote Maundrell: “This morning we went to see the street called Straight. It is about half a mile in length, running from east to west through the city. It being narrow, and the houses jutting out in several places oa both sides, you cannot have a clear prospect of its length and straightness. In this street is shown the house
Judas with whom Paul lodged ; and in the same house is an old tomb, said to be Ananias's: but how he should come to be buried here, they could not tell us, nor could we guess, his own house being shown us in another place. However, the Turks have a reverence for this tomb, and maintain a lamp always burning over it.” (“Journey,' p. 133.)
25. “ Let him down by the wall in a basket.”—A considerable number of Jews must have been engaged against Paul, if they watched all the gates of Damascus, which had many. The method of drawing up or letting down persons in bashets, is still very much resorted to in the East, when danger is apprehended from the ordinary mode of ingress of egress. The Christians of Damascus fail not to point out the precise part of the wall where the apostle was let down. It occurs at an old gate in the wall, which has long been walled up, on account of its being rendered of little use by the vicinity of the present eastern gate. 32. “ Lydda.”—This place was about eight miles to the east of Joppa. In the Old Testament (Ezra ii. 33 ;
Neh. vii. 37), and in the Rabbinical writers, it occurs under the name of Lud, and in times posterior to the present, it went by the name of Diospolis. It is a place of some fame among the old Jewish writers, as having been the birth-place or residence of some of their famous Rabbins. Josephus describes it as being about this time a town scarcely interior to a city in its extent ("Antiq. xx. 6, 2.) Its subsequent history is obscure ; and, being somewhat out of the beaten track, its site has been rarely visited by travellers. We know, however, that it became a noted seat of Jewish learning posta
terior to the destruction of Jerusalem, being the place of one of the academies which the Jews then set up in different parts of Palestine. “In the time of the Christians,” says Sandys, “it was the seat of a suffragan; pow hardly a vilsage.” There was however still standing a Christian church, which was said to have been built, during the crusades, by a king of England, in honour of St. George of Cappadocia, who was supposed to have been martyred and buried at Lydda (now Loudd). This fine church is now in ruins : and Pococke, deeming its original architecture to be of higher antiquity than the Crusades, concludes that it is the church which Justinian built, and dedicated to St. Peter, when he erected Lydda into a bishopric; and that it was repaired by Richard Cæur de Lion, and by him dedicated to St. George. This seems the more probable as the town itself was, by the Crusaders, called the City of St. George. Volney says, “ A place lately ravaged by fire and sword would have precisely the appearance of this village. From the huts of the inhabitants of the village to the serai of the agha, is one vast heap of rubbish and ruins. A weekly market, however, is held at Loudd, to which the peasants of the environs bring their spun cotton for sale. The poor Christians who dwell here show, with great veneration, the ruins of the church of St. Peter, and make strangers sit down on a column, which, as they say, the saint once rested on. They point out the place where he preached, where he prayed, &c. The whole country is full of such traditions. It is impossible to stir a step without being shown the traces of some apostle, some martyr, or some virgin.”
a great sheet knit at the four corners, and i Cornelius, a devout man, 5 being commanded by let down to the earth: an angel, sendeth for Peter : 11 who by a vision
12 Wherein were all manner of four15, 20 is taught not to despise the Gentiles. 34 | footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, As he preacheth Christ to Cornelius and his com
and creeping things, and fowls of the air. pany, 44 the Holy Ghost falleth on them, 48 and
13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, they are baptized.
Peter; kill, and eat. There was a certain man in Cæsarea called 14 But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the have never eaten any thing that is common Italian band,
or unclean. 2 A devout man, and one that feared 15 And the voice spake unto him again God with all his house, which gave much the second time, What God hath cleansed, alms to the people, and prayed to God al- that call not thou common. way.
16 This was done thrice: and the vessel 3 He saw in a vision evidently about the was received up again into heaven. ninth hour of the day an angel of God 17 Now while Peter doubted in himself coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cor- what this vision which he had seen should nelius.
mean, behold, the men which were sent from 4 And when he looked on him, he was Cornelius had made enquiry for Simon's afraid, and said, What is it, Lord ? And house, and stood before the gate, he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine 18 And called, and asked whether Simon, alms are come up for a memorial before which was surnamed Peter, were lodged God.
there. 5 And now send men to Joppa, and call 19 ( While Peter thought on the vision, for one Simon, whose surname is Peter: the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men 6 He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, seek thee.
. whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell 20 Arise therefore, and get thee down, thee what thou oughtest to do.
and go with them, doubting nothing: for I 7 And when the angel which spake unto have sent them. Cornelius was departed, he called two of his 21 Then Peter went down to the men houshold servants, and a devout soldier of which were sent unto him from Cornelius; them that waited on him continually ; and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek :
8 And when he had declared all these what is the cause wherefore ye are come? things unto them, he sent them to Joppa. 22 And they said, Cornelius the centu
9 T On the morrow, as they went on their rion, a just man, and one that feareth God, journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter and of good report among all the nation of went up upon the housetop to pray about the the Jews, was warned from God by an holy sixth hour :
angel to send for thee into his house, and to 10 And he became very hungry, and hear words of thee. would have eaten: but while they made 23 Then called he them in, and lodged ready, he fell into a trance,
them. And on the morrow Peter went away 11 And saw heaven opened, and a certain with them, and certain brethren from Joppa vessel descending unto him, as it had been accompanied him.
24 And the morrow after they entered children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus into Cæsarea. And Cornelius waited for Christ: (he is Lord of all :) them, and had called together his kinsmen 37 That word, I say, ye know, which was and near friends.
published throughout all Judæa, and began 25 And as Peter was coming in, Corne- from Galilee, after the baptism which John lius met him, and fell down at his feet, and preached; worshipped him.
38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth 26 But Peter took him up, saying, Stand with the Holy Ghost and with power: who up; I myself also am a man.
went about doing good, and healing all that 27 And as he talked with him, he went were oppressed of the devil; for God was in, and found many that were come to. | with him. gether.
39 And we are witnesses of all things 28 And he said unto them, Ye know how which he did both in the land of the Jews, that it is an unlawful thing for a man that and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one hanged on a tree: of another nation; but God hath shewed 40 Him God raised up the third day, and me that I should not call any man common shewed him openly; or unclean.
41 Not to all the people, but unto wit29 Therefore came I unto you without nesses chosen before of God, even to us, who gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for: I ask did eat and drink with him after he rose therefore for what intent ye have sent for from the dead. me ?
42 And he commanded us to preach unto 30 And Cornelius said, Four days ago I the people, and to testify that it is he which was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth was ordained of God to be the Judge of hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a quick and dead. man stood before me in bright clothing, 43 "To him give all the prophets wit
31 And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is ness, that through his name whosoever beheard, and thine alms are had in remem- lieveth in him shall receive remission of brance in the sight of God.
sins. 32 Send therefore to Joppa, and call hi- 44 [ While Peter yet spake these words, ther Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner the word. by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall 45 And they of the circumcision which speak unto thee.
believed were astonished, as many as came 33 Immediately therefore I sent to thee; with Peter, because that on the Gentiles and thou hast well done that thou art come. also was poured out the gift of the Holy Now therefore are we all here present before Ghost. God, to hear all things that are commanded 46 For they heard them speak with thee of God.
tongues, and magnify God. Then answered 34 | Then Peter opened his mouth, and Peter, said, 'Of a truth I perceive that God is no 47 Can any man forbid water, that these respecter of persons :
should not be baptized, which have received 35 But in every nation he that feareth the Holy Ghost as well as we? him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted 48 And he commanded them to be bapwith him.
tized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed 36 The word which God sent unto the they him to tarry certain days.
1 Deut. 10. 17. Rom. 2. Jl. 1 Pet. 1. 17. Verse 1. “ The Italian band.”—It was was so called, probably, as being chiefly composed of natives of Italy, and was hence honourably distinguished from the bulk of the troops serving in Judea, which appear to have been mostly formed of provincial subjects. Being stationed at Cæsarea, which was the usual residence of the Roman governor, it is probable that they acted as his body-guard.
5. "Joppa.”—This place occurs, under the name of Japho, in Josh. xix. 46 ; and which is still preserved in the prea sent name of Jaffa, or Yaffa. It is situated about forty miles west of Jerusalem, on the shore of the Mediterranean. Its fame, as a sea-port
, ascends to the remotest times in history, sacred and profane. In the former, we find it the principal port of Palestine, and the peculiar port of Jerusalem ; being, in fact, the only port in Judea. Hence we find that the materials obtained from Tyre, for the building of Solomon's Temple, were brought to this port
, to be conveyed thence by land to Jerusalem. But although Joppa was long the port of Judea—as its distance afforded an easy communication with the capital, while its geographical position opened an extensive trade to all the coasts and islands of the Mediterranean—it was never a safe or commodious harbour ; and those travellers are mistaken who attribute its pre
% Jer. 31.34. Mic. 7. 18,
sent condition to the neglect of ages. Josephus repeatedly explains its natural unfitness for a good haven, in nearly the same terms which are employed by modern travellers in describing its present condition ( Antiq.' xv. 9, 6; 'De Bello Jud.' iii. 9, 3). This similarity is noticed by Mr. Buckingham, who himself says, “ The port is formed by a ledge of rocks, running north and south before the promontory, leaving a confined and narrow space between the rocks and the town. Here the small trading-vessels of the country find shelter from the south and west winds, and land their cargoes on narrow wharfs, running along before the magazines. When the wind blows strong from the northward, they are obliged to warp out, and seek shelter in the small bay to the north-east of the town, as the sea breaks in here with great violence; and there is not more than three fathoms of water in the deepest part of the harbour: so accurately do the local features of the place correspond with those given of it by Josephus.” Clarke also describes the harbour as one of the worst in the Mediterranean ; so that ships generally anchor about a mile from the town, to avoid the rocks and shoals of the place. From this account it will appear that Joppa afforded the only port, though a bad one, for the important district behind it, inland. The bad state of the ancient roads, or rather perhaps the absence of any roads, made a near harbour, however incommodious, of more iinmediate consequence than a good one at any greater distance.
The coast of Joppa is low; but the town itself is seated on a conical promontory, jutting out into the sea, and rising to the height of about 150 feet above its level ; having a desert coast to the north and south, the Mediterranean on the west, and fertile plains and gardens behind it, on the east. The base of the hill is surrounded by a wall, which begins and ends at the sea, and is fourteen or fifteen feet high, and two or three feet thick; with towers at certain distances, alternately round and square: being of stone, it was of sufficient strength to oblige the French army, under Buonaparte, to break ground and erect batteries against it, before a breach could be made. At present it is in a bad condition, many parts having given way from the violent rains of about seven years since; so that, if Ibrahim Pasha had been obliged to besiege it, he would have found the walls ready breached to his hands.
On the land side the town is approached through extensive and richly-productive gardens, by which it is surrounded ; the light, sandy soil being very favourable to the production of various kinds of fruit. These gardens are fenced with hedges of the prickly-pear, and are abundantly stocked with orange, lemon, pomegranate, and fig-trees, and with watermelons. The oranges and lemons grow to a prodigious size; the pomegranates have also a great reputation; and the water-melons are celebrated over all the Levant for their delicious flavour. The town itself is thus noticed by Buckingham :
“ The town, seated on a promontory, and facing chiefly to the northward, looks like a heap of buildings, crowded as closely as possible into a given space; and, from the steepness of its site, these buildings appear in some places to stand one on the other. The most prominent features of the architecture from without, are the flattened domes, by which most of the buildings were crowned, and the appearance of arched vaults. There are no light and elegant edifices, no towering minarets, no imposing fortifications, but all is mean and gloomy aspect... The walls and fortifications have a weak and contemptible appearance, compared even with those of Accho (Acre); and, as at that place,
the entrance is prepossessing, but its interior disappoints the expectations raised. After passing a gate crowned with three small cupolas, there is seen, on the right, a gaudy fountain, faced with marble slabs, and decorated with painted devices, and Arabic sentences in characters of gold. Passing within, however, the town has all the appearance of a poor village, and every part of it that we saw, was of corresponding meanness.” Many of the streets are connected by fights of steps. The Mussulman part of the town is very much dilapidated, but the street by the sea wall is clean and regular.
Besides the citadel on the top of the hill, there is a small fort, near the sea, on the west, another on the north, and a third near the eastern gate of entrance ; mounting, in all, from fifty to sixty pieces of cannon. The religious structures are, three mosques, and the Latin, Greek, and Armenian convents. The population may be from 4000 to 5000 mostly Turks and Arabs ; the Christians not being estimated at more than 600. Joppa still enjoys a traffic, which, considering the state of the country, may be called considerable, with the neighbouring coasts. In the way of manufacture it is chiefly noted for its soap, which is an article of export to Damascus and Cairo, and is used in all the baths of the principal cities. The delicious fruits of the vicinity are also largely exported, particularly the melons. There are no antiquities at Joppa, nor can any be expected in a town which has been so often sacked and destroyed-fire times by the Assyrians and Egyptians, in their wars with the Jews; three times by the Romans ; and twice by the Saracens, in the wars of the Crusades. (Volney's · Travels,' i. 136, &c.; Chateaubriand, : Itinéraire,' ii. 103, &e., edit. Bruxelles, 18:26 ; Clarke, iv. 438, &c. 8vo.; Buckingham, i. 227, &c. 8vo. ; Skinner's • Adventures,' i. 175-18+.)
6. “A tanner.”—This was regarded by the ancients as a very mean occupation; and was, by the Jews in particular, held in a degree of contempt which it is difficult to understand.
By the sea side.”—This probably distinguishes that Simon's house was in the suburbs. The situation, by the seaside, seems to have been held a convenience in the business of a tanner; and, for the rest, it is certain that this trade was not allowed to be exercised within a town, nor within less than fifty cubits from its walls. This was on account of the disagreeable odour from the skins, and the manuer of dressing them, and still more from that of the dead carcases, which the tanners often flayed.
28. “ It is an unlawful thing,” &c.--As the Jews were at this time subject to the heathen, and had, necessarily, much commercial intercourse with Gentiles, it may be desirable to distinguish by what line their intercourse was limited. They might not intermarry with the heathen ; but, although such intermarriages were clearly forbidden in the Law, they sometimes took place among those Jews who lived in foreign countries. They might not eat with the Genties, nor enter their houses, nor walk with them in the streets: in short, although they might talk and traffic with them, after the manner of those who have no personal acquaintance, they might do nothing which tended to or indicated a closer and more endearing intimacy. Hence the Jews became obnoxious to the heathen for their unsocial character ; their practice, however, in this matter, if not their principle, was, as St. Peter intimates, well known to the heathen among whom they lived in foreign lands, as well as to those who were their masters in their own country.
7 And I heard a voice saying unto me,
Arise, Peter; slay and eat. 1 Peter, being accused for going in to the Gentiles,
8 But I said, Not so, Lord : for nothing 5 maketh his defence, 18 which is accepted. 19 The Gospel being spread into Phenice, and Cy
common or unclean hath at any time entered prus, and Antioch, Barnabas is sent to confirm into my mouth. them. 26 The disciples there are first called 9 But the voice answered me again from Christians. 27 They send relief to the brethren heaven, What God hath cleansed, that call in Judæa in time of famine.
not thou common. And the apostles and brethren that were in 10 And this was done three times : and Judæa heard that the Gentiles had also re-all were drawn up again into heaven. ceived the word of God.
11 And, behold, immediately there were 2 And when Peter was come up to Jeru- three men already come unto the house salem, they that were of the circumcision where I was, sent from Cæsarea unto me. contended with him.
12 And the spirit bade me go with them, 3 Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncir- nothing doubting. Moreover these six brecumcised, and didst eat with them.
thren accompanied me, and we entered into 4 But Peter rehearsed the matter from the man's house: the beginning, and expounded it by order 13 And he shewed us how he had seen unto them, saying,
an angel in his house, which stood and said 5 I was in the city of Joppa praying: unto him, Send men to Joppa, and call for and in a trance I saw a vision, A certain Simon, whose surname is Peter; vessel descend, as it had been a great sheet, 14 Who shall tell thee words, whereby let down from heaven by four corners; and thou and all thy house shall be saved. it came even to me:
15 And as I began to speak, the Holy 6 Upon the which when I had fastened Ghost fell on them, 'as on us at the beginmine eyes, I considered, and saw fourfooted ning. beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and 16 Then remembered I the word of the creeping things, and fowls of the air. Lord, how that he said, 'John indeed bap
1 Chap. 2. 4.
9 John 1. 26.