And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold…
It was —
I. EARNEST, which is obvious from —
1. The religious character that was given to it. It was composed of Cornelius and his family. The centurion's religion (ver. 2) was —
(1) Domestic, "all his house."
(2) Generous, "he gave alms to the people."
(3) Habitual, "he prayed to God alway." There were no frivolous spirits among Peter's listeners.
2. The invitation they gave the preacher, "Immediately therefore I sent to thee."
II. SOLEMN, "Before God." The expression implies belief in —
1. The existence of God — they were neither atheists, pantheists, nor polytheists.
2. The presence of God, not merely His influence.
3. The claim of God. He is our Maker, Proprietor, Judge, demanding the homage of our souls.
4. This belief was grounded in such a consciousness that would sweep from their minds all that was secular, sceptical and frivolous, and fill them with a profound solemnity.
III. INQUIRING. "To hear all things," etc. They were assembled not as a matter of custom, not to sit passive and be acted upon by the preacher, not for a mere performance, but to inquire. In this inquiry they were —
1. Profoundly religious. They were in quest of the Divine, "Commanded thee of God." They were not seekers after Peter's private speculations, but after the Divine Will.
2. Thoroughly free, "To hear all things." Their minds were untrammelled by prejudices, unbiassed by dogmas. They wanted to know the whole counsel of God. May not such a congregation be regarded as a model? Such a congregation would not have tolerated the pulpit crudities and priestly assumptions of modern times.
(D. Thomas, D. D.)
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,