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"What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common."
ACTS x, 15.

HE book of Acts is a history of the fortunes of the Christian faith as it went out into the world. It tells of the broadening of mind and deepening of thought that came to those into whose hands it was committed. It would hardly be expected that men, brought up in the lower walks of life, with the absence of intellectual knowledge, and the lack of spiritual perceptions, which characterized the disciples of Jesus, should penetrate easily to the heart of his doctrine, or know the scope and range of it.

The disciples had no conception of Jesus' ministry, and thought that the new religion was only a phase of Jewish faith. It was protected by the Jewish state; it came under the shelter of the Jewish religion. They went to the temple as of old they had done; still they shared their old-time prejudices, national and social. At that time it was not right to eat with one outside of their household of faith. Their food and their customs had been erected into a religion. No more than half a mile might be traveled on the Sabbath day; no leavened bread might be eaten; no food cooked; and no service might be done on that day. Their ordinary ceremony was to them religion largely. They had become prejudiced toward outside people as the Greeks

were toward all that did not share in their culture. Those were barbarians in relation to the Greeks. All others were Gentiles in their relation to the Jews. These national and social prejudices were taught and fostered by long years of proud brooding over their past and in proud hope of their future. To them every one who came in contact with the new thought at all must come as a Jew, or as a proselyte; must take upon himself the forms and ceremonies of that religion. All were common and unclean who lay outside of their region of thought and faith.

Therefore it came as a revelation to this man, brooding and dreaming in vision upon the house-top, when out of heaven came down the great sheet, knitted at its four corners, in which were all manner of living things. He heard the voice say, "Rise, Peter, kill and eat.” "Not so," he says; "I have never at any time eaten anything common or unclean." Then came the answer: "What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common." What does this mean? Knocking at the gate are three men who bring a message from a man who is common and unclean-a Gentile, not a Jew-a man who still worships, or at least keeps in his house, the old household idols, but who is now groping along the path of right and truth, trying to find out what God will have him do. He asks for help; for direction. And now this apostle is to have it revealed to him that this gospel which he has supposed was for himself and his people, is for all the world. He is bidden to go down and follow the messengers and do whatsoever shall be revealed to him to do.

In obedience to this direction, he goes to this Roman, unclean because of his position in the Roman army, unclean because of his relation to the Roman world. He is taught there that God is no respecter of persons;

has no partiality; shows no favors. What he hath cleansed, no man may henceforth call common or unclean.

Nothing is obscure or common, when the thought of God is incarnated in it and the love of God rests upon it. The hope of God beautifies it. From this thought I take my subject: "Things That Are Common."

There are many phases of our Christian thought and hope; and the glance that is kindliest, perhaps, is that which it casts upon common things. It looks upon them in the light which is reflected from the face of Christ and that comes from the knowledge of the true God. It has a kindly sympathetic interest in everything that God has made; in the flowers, in the trees, in the birds, and, best, in man. God has somehow made his dwelling place in those forms; fashioned them after his own thought of beauty and use; cleansed them from impurities and set them to their use.

Jesus Christ had a kindly, sympathetic interest in everything. Nothing was too small for his notice; nothing too common for his remark; nothing too broken for his pity; nothing too deeply sunk for his search; and nothing too distant for his love and longing. Who but he could pass by the splendor of the court. and the majesty of a throne and show us that our ideas of God were best found in the circle of the commonest home there was in Judea, or the simplest home there is in Indianapolis? Who before him had told the world that you can get the best idea of God from simple home life? Who but he ever thought of setting before us a little child and saying, "Learn of him to be meek and simple of heart or you can not enter into the kingdom of heaven?" Who but he ever thought it of sufficient importance to note the birds that fly, and the flowers that bloom; to say, "here you shall find your lesson of trust in God-of confidence in his providing love and

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