Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Acts 10 - Vision of St Peter on the conversion of the gentiles

File:'Vision of the Centurion Cornelius' by Zanobi Rosi.jpg
Vision of the Centurion Cornelius by Zanobi Rosi,
1 There was, at Caesarea, a centurion named Cornelius, belonging to what is called the Italian cohort, 2 a pious man who worshipped the true God, like all his household, gave alms freely to the people, and prayed to God continually.
Vir autem quidam erat in Cæsarea, nomine Cornelius, centurio cohortis quæ dicitur Italica, 2 religiosus, ac timens Deum cum omni domo sua, faciens eleemosynas multas plebi, et deprecans Deum semper. 
 Chrysostom (Homily 22):  This man is not a Jew, nor of those under the Law, but he had already forestalled our manner of life. Observe, thus far, two persons, both of high rank, receiving the faith, the eunuch at Gaza and this man; and the pains taken on behalf of these men. But do not imagine that this was because of their high rank: God forbid! It was because of their piety. For that the Scripture mentions their dignified stations, is to show the greatness of their piety; since it is more wonderful when a person being in a position of wealth and power is such as these were. What makes the praise of the former is, his undertaking so long a journey, and this when there was no (festival) season to require it, and his reading on his road, and while riding in his chariot, and his beseeching Philip, and numberless other points: and the great praise of the latter is, that he makes alms and prayers, and is a just man, holding such a command.
3 He, about the ninth hour of the day, had a vision, in which he clearly saw an angel of God come in and address him by his name. 4 What is it, Lord? he asked, gazing at him in terror. And he answered, Thy prayers and alms-deeds are recorded on high in God’s sight.
 Is vidit in visu manifeste, quasi hora diei nona, angelum Dei introëuntem ad se, et dicentem sibi: Corneli. 4 At ille intuens eum, timore correptus, dixit: Quid est, domine? Dixit autem illi: Orationes tuæ et eleemosynæ tuæ ascenderunt in memoriam in conspectu Dei. 
Chrysostom (Homily 23): ... At the ninth hour, when he was released from his cares and was at quiet, when he was engaged in prayers and compunction...Observe how what the angel speaks he does not speak immediately, but first rouses and elevates his mind. At the sight, there was fear, but a fear in moderation, just so far as served to fix his attention. Then also the words relieved him of his fear. The fear roused him: the praise mitigated what was unpleasant in the fear.
 5 And now he would have thee send men to Joppa, to bring here one Simon, who is surnamed Peter; 6 he lodges with a tanner, called Simon, whose house is close to the sea; thou wilt learn from him what thou hast to do. 7 So the angel visitor left him, and thereupon he summoned two of his servants, and one of the soldiers who were in attendance on him, a man of piety; 8 he told them all that had passed, and sent them on their way to Joppa.
 5 Et nunc mitte viros in Joppen, et accersi Simonem quemdam, qui cognominatur Petrus: 6 hic hospitatur apud Simonem quemdam coriarium, cujus est domus juxta mare: hic dicet tibi quid te oporteat facere. 7 Et cum discessisset angelus qui loquebatur illi, vocavit duos domesticos suos, et militem metuentem Dominum ex his qui illi parebant. 8 Quibus cum narrasset omnia, misit illos in Joppen.
Chrysostom: Do you mark how the Apostles, for love of solitude and quiet, affected the retired quarters of the cities?...
9 Next day, while these were on their journey and were drawing near the city, Peter went up to the house-top about noon, to pray there. 10 He was hungry, and waiting for a meal; and while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opening, and a bundle, like a great sheet, let down by its four corners on to the earth; 12 in it were all kinds of four-footed beasts, and things that creep on the earth, and all the birds of heaven. 13 And a voice came to him, Rise up, Peter, lay about thee and eat. 14 It cannot be, Lord, answered Peter; never in my life have I eaten anything profane, anything unclean. 15 Then the voice came to him a second time, It is not for thee to call anything profane, which God has made clean. 16 Three times this happened, and then the bundle was drawn up again into heaven.
 9 Postera autem die, iter illis facientibus, et appropinquantibus civitati, ascendit Petrus in superiora ut oraret circa horam sextam. 10 Et cum esuriret, voluit gustare. Parantibus autem illis, cecidit super eum mentis excessus: 11 et vidit cælum apertum, et descendens vas quoddam, velut linteum magnum, quatuor initiis submitti de cælo in terram, 12 in quo erant omnia quadrupedia, et serpentia terræ, et volatilia cæli. 13 Et facta est vox ad eum: Surge, Petre: occide, et manduca. 14 Ait autem Petrus: Absit Domine, quia numquam manducavi omne commune et immundum. 15 Et vox iterum secundo ad eum: Quod Deus purificavit, tu commune ne dixeris. 16 Hoc autem factum est per ter: et statim receptum est vas in cælum.
 Chrysostom: ...The earth then, this is what the linen sheet denotes, and the wild beasts in it, are they of the Gentiles, and the command, Kill and eat, denotes that he must go to them also; and that this thing is thrice done, denotes baptism. What God has cleansed, says it, call not thou common...
17 Peter was still puzzling in his mind over the meaning of his vision, when Cornelius’ messengers, who had now found their way to Simon’s house, were seen standing at the gate; 18 where they called out and asked if Simon, who was also called Peter, lodged there. 19 To Peter, as he was turning over the vision in his mind, the Spirit said, Here are three men asking for thee; 20 rise and go down, and accompany them without misgiving; it is I who have sent them. 21 So Peter went down to the men; Here I am, he said, the man you are looking for; what is your errand?22 The centurion Cornelius, they said, a man who worships the true God and keeps his law, as all the Jewish people will testify, has received a revelation from one of the holy angels; he was to have thee brought to his house, and listen to what thou wouldst say. 23 Thereupon Peter bade them come in, and made them welcome; and next day he set out with them, accompanied by some of the brethren from Joppa.
Et dum intra se hæsitaret Petrus quidnam esset visio quam vidisset, ecce viri qui missi erant a Cornelio, inquirentes domum Simonis astiterunt ad januam. 18 Et cum vocassent, interrogabant, si Simon qui cognominatur Petrus illic haberet hospitium. 19 Petro autem cogitante de visione, dixit Spiritus ei: Ecce viri tres quærunt te. 20 Surge itaque, descende, et vade cum eis nihil dubitans: quia ego misi illos. 21 Descendens autem Petrus ad viros, dixit: Ecce ego sum, quem quæritis: quæ causa est, propter quam venistis? 22 Qui dixerunt: Cornelius centurio, vir justus et timens Deum, et testimonium habens ab universa gente Judæorum, responsum accepit ab angelo sancto accersire te in domum suam, et audire verba abs te. 23 Introducens ergo eos, recepit hospitio. Sequenti autem die, surgens profectus est cum illis, et quidam ex fratribus ab Joppe comitati sunt eum.
 Chrysostom: Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made enquiry for Simon's house, and stood before the gate...And this again is a plea for Peter in answer to the disciples, that he did doubt, and was instructed to doubt nothing.
24 The day after that, they reached Caesarea, where Cornelius was awaiting them; he had gathered his kinsmen and his closest friends about him. 25 And as soon as Peter had entered, he was met by Cornelius, who fell at his feet and did reverence to him; 26 but Peter raised him; Stand up, he said, I am a man like thyself. 27 So he went in, still conversing with him, and found a great company assembled. 28 You know well enough, he told them, that a Jew is contaminated if he consorts with one of another race, or visits him; but God has been shewing me that we ought not to speak of any man as profane or unclean; 29 and so, when I was sent for, I came without demur. Tell me then, why you have sent for me. 30 And Cornelius said, Three days ago, at this very time, I was making my afternoon prayer in my house, when suddenly I saw a man standing before me, in white clothes, 31 who said to me, Cornelius, thy prayer has been heard, thy almsdeeds have won remembrance in God’s sight. 32 Thou art to send to Joppa, and summon thence that Simon who is also called Peter; he is lodging with a tanner called Simon, close to the sea. 33 I lost no time, therefore, in sending for thee, and thou hast done me a favour in coming. Now thou seest us assembled in thy presence, ready to listen to whatever charge the Lord has given thee.
24 Altera autem die introivit Cæsaream. Cornelius vero exspectabat illos, convocatis cognatis suis et necessariis amicis. 25 Et factum est cum introisset Petrus, obvius venit ei Cornelius, et procidens ad pedes ejus adoravit. 26 Petrus vero elevavit eum, dicens: Surge: et ego ipse homo sum. 27 Et loquens cum illo intravit, et invenit multos qui convenerant: 28 dixitque ad illos: Vos scitis quomodo abominatum sit viro Judæo conjungi aut accedere ad alienigenam: sed mihi ostendit Deus neminem communem aut immundum dicere hominem. 29 Propter quod sine dubitatione veni accersitus. Interrogo ergo, quam ob causam accersistis me? 30 Et Cornelius ait: A nudiusquarta die usque ad hanc horam, orans eram hora nona in domo mea, et ecce vir stetit ante me in veste candida, et ait: 31 Corneli, exaudita est oratio tua, et eleemosynæ tuæ commemoratæ sunt in conspectu Dei. 32 Mitte ergo in Joppen, et accersi Simonem qui cognominatur Petrus: hic hospitatur in domo Simonis coriarii juxta mare. 33 Confestim ergo misi ad te: et tu benefecisti veniendo. Nunc ergo omnes nos in conspectu tuo adsumus audire omnia quæcumque tibi præcepta sunt a Domino.
Chrysostom (Homily 23):  ..But observe again, how humbly he speaks. For he says, From the fourth day 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, and said, Cornelius, your prayer is heard, and your alms have come up for a memorial before God. And at the ninth hour, he says, I was praying. (v. 30, 31.) It seems to me, that this man had also fixed for himself set times of a life under stricter rule, and on certain days. For this is why he he says, From the fourth day. See how great a thing prayer is! When he advanced in piety, then the Angel appears to him. From the fourth day: i.e. of the week; not four days ago. For, on the morrow Peter went away with them, and on the morrow after they entered into Cæsarea: this is one day: and the day on which the persons sent came (to Joppa) one day: and on the third (the Angel) appeared: so that there are two days after that on which (Cornelius) had been praying.
34 Thereupon Peter began speaking; I see clearly enough, he said, that God makes no distinction between man and man; 35 he welcomes anybody, whatever his race, who fears him and does what piety demands. 36 God has sent his word to the sons of Israel, giving them news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37 You have heard the story, a story which ran through the whole of Judaea, though it began in Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed; 38 about Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power, so that he went about doing good, and curing all those who were under the devil’s tyranny, with God at his side. 39 We are witnesses of all he did in the country of the Jews, and in Jerusalem. And they killed him, hanging him on a gibbet; 40 but on the third day God raised him up again, and granted the clear sight of him, 41 not to the people at large, but to us, the witnesses whom God had appointed beforehand; we ate and drank in his company after his rising from the dead. 42 And he gave us a commission to preach to the people, and to bear witness that he, and none other, has been chosen by God to judge the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets bear him this testimony, that everyone who has faith in him is to find remission of sins through his name.44 Before Peter had finished speaking to them thus, the Holy Spirit fell on all those who were listening to his message. 45 The faithful who had come over with Peter, holding to the tradition of circumcision as they did, were astonished to find that the free gift of the Holy Spirit could be lavished upon the Gentiles, 46 whom they heard speaking with tongues, and proclaiming the greatness of God. 47 Then Peter said openly, Who will grudge us the water for baptizing these men, that have received the Holy Spirit just as we did? 48 And he gave orders that they should be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. And after this, they asked him to stay on some days with them.
34 Aperiens autem Petrus os suum, dixit: In veritate comperi quia non est personarum acceptor Deus; 35 sed in omni gente qui timet eum, et operatur justitiam, acceptus est illi. 36 Verbum misit Deus filiis Israël, annuntians pacem per Jesum Christum (hic est omnium Dominus). 37 Vos scitis quod factum est verbum per universam Judæam: incipiens enim a Galilæa post baptismum quod prædicavit Joannes, 38 Jesum a Nazareth: quomodo unxit eum Deus Spiritu Sancto, et virtute, qui pertransiit benefaciendo, et sanando omnes oppressos a diabolo, quoniam Deus erat cum illo. 39 Et nos testes sumus omnium quæ fecit in regione Judæorum, et Jerusalem, quem occiderunt suspendentes in ligno. 40 Hunc Deus suscitavit tertia die, et dedit eum manifestum fieri, 41 non omni populo, sed testibus præordinatis a Deo: nobis, qui manducavimus et bibimus cum illo postquam resurrexit a mortuis. 42 Et præcepit nobis prædicare populo, et testificari, quia ipse est qui constitutus est a Deo judex vivorum et mortuorum. 43 Huic omnes prophetæ testimonium perhibent remissionem peccatorum accipere per nomen ejus omnes qui credunt in eum.44 Adhuc loquente Petro verba hæc, cecidit Spiritus Sanctus super omnes qui audiebant verbum. 45 Et obstupuerunt ex circumcisione fideles qui venerant cum Petro, quia et in nationes gratia Spiritus Sancti effusa est. 46 Audiebant enim illos loquentes linguis, et magnificantes Deum. 47 Tunc respondit Petrus: Numquid aquam quis prohibere potest ut non baptizentur hi qui Spiritum Sanctum acceperunt sicut et nos? 48 Et jussit eos baptizari in nomine Domini Jesu Christi. Tunc rogaverunt eum ut maneret apud eos aliquot diebus.
 Chrysostom (Homily 24):  Observe God's providential management. He does not suffer the speech to be finished, nor the baptism to take place upon a command of Peter, but, when He has made it evident how admirable their state of mind is, and a beginning is made of the work of teaching, and they have believed that assuredly baptism is the remission of sins, then immediately comes the Spirit upon them. Now this is done by God's so disposing it as to provide for Peter a mighty ground of justification...Mark the issue to which he brings it; how he has been travailing to bring this forth. So (entirely) was he of this mind!

Can any one, he asks, forbid water? It is the language, we may almost say, of one triumphantly pressing his advantage (ἐ πεμβαίνοντος) against such as would forbid, such as should say that this ought not to be. The whole thing, he says, is complete, the most essential part of the business, the baptism with which we were baptized. And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. After he has cleared himself, then, and not before, he commands them to be baptized: teaching them by the facts themselves. Such was the dislike the Jews had to it! Therefore it is that he first clears himself, although the very facts cry aloud, and then gives the command. Then prayed they him— well might they do so— to tarry certain days: and with a good courage thenceforth he does tarry.

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