on Acts 10 :17
While Peter doubted - the men - stood before the gate - In all this we find an admirable display of the economy of Providence. Cornelius prays, and has a vision which prepares him to receive instruction from Peter: Peter prays, and has a vision which prepares and disposes him to give instruction to Cornelius. While he is in doubts and perplexity what the full meaning of the vision might be, the messengers, who had been despatched under the guidance of an especial Providence, came to the door; and the Holy Spirit gives him information that his doubts should be all cleared up by accompanying the men who were now inquiring for him. How exactly does every thing in the conduct of Providence occur; and how completely is every thing adapted to time, place, and occasion! All is in weight, measure, and number. Those simple occurrences which men snatch at, and press into the service of their own wishes, and call them providential openings may, indeed, be links of a providential chain, in reference to some other matter; but unless they be found to speak the same language in all their parts, occurrence corresponding with occurrence, they are not to be construed as indications of the Divine will in reference to the claimants. Many persons, through these misapprehensions, miscarrying, have been led to charge God foolishly for the unsuccessful issue of some business in which their passions, not his providence, prompted them to engage.
on Acts 10 :17
Doubted in himself - Doubted in his own mind. He was perplexed, and did not know how to understand it.
Behold, the men ... - We see here an admirable arrangement of the events of Providence to fit each other. Every part of this transaction is made to harmonize with every other part; and it was so arranged that just in the moment when the mind of Peter was filled with perplexity, the very event should occur which would relieve him of his embarrassment. Such a coincidence is not uncommon. An event of divine Providence may be as clear an expression of his will, and may as certainly serve to indicate our duty, as the most manifest revelation would do, and a state of mind may, by an arrangement of circumstances, be produced that will be extremely perplexing until some event shall occur, or some field of usefulness shall open, that will exactly correspond to it, and indicate to us the will of God. We should then carefully mark the events of God's providence. We should observe and record the train of our own thoughts, and should watch with interest any event that occurs, when we are perplexed and embarrassed, to obtain, if possible, an expression of the will of God.
Before the gate - The word here rendered "gate," πυλῶνα pulōna refers properly to the porch or principal entrance to an Eastern house. See the notes on Matthew 9:2; Matthew 26:71. It does not mean, as with us, a gate, but rather a door. See Acts 12:13.
on Acts 10 :17
10:17 While Peter doubted in himself, behold the men - Frequently the things which befall us within and from without at the same time, are a key to each other. The things which thus concur and agree together, ought to be diligently attended to.