And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold…
A man comes to New York on an errand of fraud. He is seeking to take an estate away from the rightful heirs, because he has some little legal advantage. He has resisted his conscience, and suppressed all his reluctances, and his purpose is fixed. On arriving here he goes to the theatre — that school of morals! — and witnesses a play, the point of which turns on the defrauding of heirs by an old rich uncle — just the same thing as he is attempting. The various parts are gone through with, and everybody cries, and he cries, and he goes away feeling, "How mean it is for a man to supplant poor orphans in that way!" He cries over and denounces the very act which he is himself performing. You know that such things take place. There are hundreds of men that love to hear about temperance, and go and get drunk. There are many men that love to hear about truth, and lie like witches afterwards. There is nothing more common than instances which go to show that we like as a sentiment things that we do not like as an ethical rule. Oftentimes, when a thing comes to us as a rule of conduct, and lays its law on us, and demands our obedience, we resist it; but when, instead of that, it comes to us as on emotion, we like to lie upon its bosom, as a duck lies on a swell of water. Wicked men like to undulate on these moral elements. They like to go to sea on the gospel. They swing to and fro upon it with infinite pleasure.
(H. W. Beecher.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing,