The Review and Herald

1690/1902

April 6, 1911

Cornelius, a Seeker for Truth

EGW

In pursuance of his work, Peter visited the believers at Lydda. Here he healed Eneas, who for eight years had been confined to his bed with the palsy. RH April 6, 1911, Art. A, par. 1

“Eneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole,” the apostle said; “arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately. And all that dwelt at Lydda and Saron saw him, and turned to the Lord.” RH April 6, 1911, Art. A, par. 2

At Joppa, which was near Lydda, there lived a woman named Dorcas, whose good deeds had made her greatly beloved. A worthy disciple of Jesus, her life was filled with acts of kindness. Her skilful fingers were more active than her tongue. She knew who needed comfortable clothing and who needed sympathy, and she freely ministered to the poor and the sorrowful. RH April 6, 1911, Art. A, par. 3

“And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died.” The church in Joppa realized their loss. And in view of the life of service that Dorcas had lived, it is little wonder that they mourned, or that warm tear-drops fell upon the inanimate clay. RH April 6, 1911, Art. A, par. 4

Hearing that Peter was at Lydda, the believers in Joppa sent messengers to him, “desiring him that he would not delay to come to them.” RH April 6, 1911, Art. A, par. 5

“Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber, and all the widows stood by him weeping, and showing the coats and garments which Dorcas made while she was with them.” RH April 6, 1911, Art. A, par. 6

Peter directed that the weeping friends be sent from the room, and then kneeling down, he prayed fervently to God to restore Dorcas to life and health. Turning to the body, he said: “Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up.” Dorcas was of great service to the church, and God saw fit to bring her back from the land of the enemy, that her skill and energy might still be a blessing to others, and that by this manifestation of his power, the cause of Christ might be strengthened. RH April 6, 1911, Art. A, par. 7

It was while Peter was still in Joppa, that he was called by God to go to Caesarea to take the gospel to Cornelius. RH April 6, 1911, Art. A, par. 8

Cornelius was a man of wealth and noble birth. His position was one of trust and honor. A heathen by birth, training, and education, through contact with the Jews he had gained a knowledge of God, and he worshiped him with a true heart, showing the sincerity of his faith by compassion to the poor. He was known far and near for his beneficence, and his righteous life made him of good repute among both Jews and Gentiles. His influence was a blessing to all with whom he came in contact. The inspired record describes him as “a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.” RH April 6, 1911, Art. A, par. 9

Believing in God as the Creator of heaven and earth, Cornelius revered him, acknowledged his authority, and sought his counsel in all the affairs of life. He was faithful to Jehovah in his home life as well as in his official duties, and had erected the altar of God in his home. He dared not attempt to carry out his plans or to bear his responsibilities without the help of God, and for that help he prayed earnestly. RH April 6, 1911, Art. A, par. 10

Though Cornelius believed the prophecies and was looking for the Messiah to come, he had not a knowledge of the gospel as revealed in the life and death of Christ. He was not a member of the Jewish church, and would have been looked upon by the rabbis as a heathen and unclean. But God read the sincerity of his heart, and sent a message direct from heaven to him, and by another message directed the apostle Peter to visit him. RH April 6, 1911, Art. A, par. 11

While Cornelius was praying, there came to him a heavenly messenger, who addressed him by name. The centurion was afraid, yet he knew that the angel had been sent by God, and he said, “What is it, Lord?” “Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God,” the angel answered. “Send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter: he lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the seaside.” RH April 6, 1911, Art. A, par. 12

The explicitness of these directions, in which was named even the occupation of the man with whom Peter was staying, shows that heaven is acquainted with the history and business of men in every station in life. God is familiar with the experience and work of the humble laborer as well as with that of the king upon his throne. RH April 6, 1911, Art. A, par. 13

“Send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon.” Thus God showed his regard for the gospel ministry, and for his organized church. The angel was not commissioned to tell Cornelius the story of the cross. A man subject even as the centurion himself to human frailties and temptations was to tell him of the crucified and risen Saviour. In his wisdom the Lord brings those who are seeking for truth into touch with fellow beings who know the truth. It is the plan of heaven that those who have received light shall impart it to those in darkness. RH April 6, 1911, Art. A, par. 14

As his representative among men, God does not choose angels who have never fallen, but human beings, men of like passions with those they seek to save. Christ took humanity that he might reach humanity. A divine-human Saviour was needed to bring salvation to the world. And to men and women has been committed the sacred trust of making known “the unsearchable riches of Christ.” They are to be the channels of communication between God and man. RH April 6, 1911, Art. A, par. 15

Cornelius was gladly obedient to the vision. When the angel had gone, he called “two of his household servants, and a devout soldier of them that waited on him continually; and when he had declared all these things unto them, he sent them to Joppa.” RH April 6, 1911, Art. A, par. 16

The experience of Cornelius will be the experience of many who, though they have not a full knowledge of truth, are walking in all the light they have. Cornelius was living in obedience to all the truth he had received, and God so ordered events that he was given more truth. A messenger from the courts above was sent to bring this officer of Rome into touch with one who could lead him into greater light. RH April 6, 1911, Art. A, par. 17

Today God is seeking for souls among the high as well as the lowly. There are many like Cornelius, men whom he desires to connect with his work. Their sympathies are with the Lord's people, but the ties that bind them to the world hold them firmly. It requires moral courage for them to take their position for Christ. Special efforts should be made for these souls, who are in so great danger, because of their responsibilities and associations. RH April 6, 1911, Art. A, par. 18

Much is said concerning our duty to the neglected poor. Should not some attention be given to the neglected rich? Many look upon this class as hopeless, and they do little to open the eyes of those who, blinded and dazed by the glitter of earthly glory, have lost eternity out of their reckoning. Thousands of wealthy men have gone to the grave unwarned. But indifferent as they may appear, many among the rich are soul-burdened. “He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase.” He that saith to fine gold, “Thou art my confidence,” has “denied the God that is above.” “None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him; for the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth forever.” RH April 6, 1911, Art. A, par. 19

Riches and worldly honor can not satisfy the soul. Many among the rich are longing for some divine assurance, some spiritual hope. Many long for something that will bring to an end the monotony of their aimless life. Many in official life feel their need of something which they have not. Few among them go to church, for they feel that they receive little benefit. The teaching they hear does not touch the heart. Shall we make no special appeal to them? RH April 6, 1911, Art. A, par. 20

God calls for earnest, humble workers, who will carry the gospel to the higher classes. It is by no casual, accidental touch that the wealthy, world-loving souls can be drawn to Christ. Decided personal effort must be put forth by men and women imbued with the missionary spirit, those who will not fail nor be discouraged. RH April 6, 1911, Art. A, par. 21

In order to reach the higher classes, believers themselves must be living epistles, known and read of all men. We do not represent as fully as we might the elevating, ennobling character of the truth. We are in danger of becoming narrow and selfish. With fear and trembling lest we fail, we should ever remember this. Let those who work for the higher classes bear themselves with true dignity, remembering that angels are their companions. Let them keep the treasure-house of the mind and heart filled with “It is written.” Let them hang in memory's hall the precious words of Christ, which are to be valued far above gold or silver. RH April 6, 1911, Art. A, par. 22

There are miracles to be wrought in genuine conversion, miracles that are not now discerned. The greatest men of this earth are not beyond the power of a wonder-working God. If those who are workers together with him will be men of opportunity, doing their duty bravely and faithfully, God will convert men who occupy responsible positions, men of intellect and influence. Through the power of the Holy Spirit many will accept the divine principles. Converted to the truth, they will become agencies in the hand of God to communicate the light. They will have a special burden for other souls of this neglected class. They will feel that a dispensation of the gospel is committed to them for those who have made this world their all. Time and money will be consecrated to the truth, and new efficiency and power will be added to the church. RH April 6, 1911, Art. A, par. 23

There are in our world many who are nearer the kingdom of God than we suppose. In this dark world of sin the Lord has many precious jewels, to whom he will guide his messengers. Everywhere there are those who will take their stand for Christ. Many will prize the wisdom of God above any earthly advantage, and will become faithful light-bearers. Constrained by the love of Christ, they will constrain others to come to him. RH April 6, 1911, Art. A, par. 24