Verse 48. "To be baptized in the name of the Lord." - That is, in the name of Jesus Christ; which implied their taking upon them the public profession of Christianity, and believing on Christ Jesus as their saviour and Sovereign; for, as they were baptized in his name, they professed thereby to be his disciples and followers.
"Then prayed they him to tarry certain days." - They felt the necessity of farther instruction, and prayed him to continue his ministry a little longer among them; and to this he no doubt consented. This was properly speaking, the commencement of the Christian Church, as composed of Jews and Gentiles, partaking of the same baptism, united under the same Head, made partakers of the same Spirit, and associated in the same aggregate body. Now was the middle wall of partition broken down, and the Gentiles admitted to the same privileges with the Jews.
1. GOD is wonderful in all his works, whether they be works of creation, providence, or grace. Every thing proclaims his power, his wisdom, and his goodness. Every where we learn this truth, which is indispensably necessary for all to know who desire to acknowledge God in all their ways that "there is nothing which concerns their present or eternal welfare in which God does not interest himself." We often, to our great spiritual detriment, lose sight of this truth, because we think that the MAJESTY of God is too great to be occupied with those common occurrences by which we are often much affected, in things which relate, not only to our present, but also to our eternal interests. This is impossible; for God is our father, and, being every where present, he sees our state, and his eye affects his heart.
2. Let the reader examine the chain of Providence (composed indeed of very minute links) brought to light in the conversion of Cornelius, the instruction of Peter, and opening the door of faith to the Gentiles, and he will be convinced that "God has way every where, and that all things serve the purposes of his will." We have already seen how particularly, both by gracious and providential workings, God prepared the mind of Cornelius to receive instruction, and the mind of Peter to give it; so that the receiver and giver were equally ready to be workers together with God. This is a general economy. He who feels his want may rest assured that, even then, God has made the necessary provisions for his supply; and that the very sense of the want is a proof that the provision is already made. Why then should we lose time in deploring wretchedness, for the removal of which God has made the necessary preparations? Mourning over our miseries will never supply the lack of faith in Christ, and very seldom tends even to humble the heart.
3. As the eye of God is ever upon us, he knows our trials as well as our wants; and here, also, he makes the necessary provision for our support.
We may be called to suffer, but his grace will be sufficient for us; and, as our troubles increase, so shall the means of our support. And even these trials and temptations will be pressed into our service, for all things work together for good to them that love God, Rom. viii. 28.
4. We must beware neither to despise outward rites in religion, nor to rest in them. Most people do either the one or the other. God gives us outward helps, because he knows we need them. But do we not sometimes imagine ourselves to be above that which, because of our scantiness of grace, is really above us? We certainly may over-rate ourselves, and under-rate God's bounties. He who is taught by the Spirit of God will be saved from both.