Arrogance on the part of the meritorious is even more offensive to us than the arrogance of those without merit: for merit itself is offensive. — Nietzsche

Story of the Bible Told for Young and Old - Jesse Hurlbut

What Peter Saw by the Sea

As the church was now planted in many cities throughout the land of the Jews, Peter, who was a leader among the apostles, went from place to place visiting the believers in Christ and preaching the gospel. At one time Peter went down to the plain beside the Great Sea, and came to a city called Lydda. There Peter found a man named Aeneas, who had the palsy, and culd not walk, and had been lying on his bed eight years. Peter said to him, "Aeneas, Jesus Christ makes you well; rise up and roll up your bed."

Then at once Aeneas arose, and was well; and he took up the roll of matting on which he had been lying so long, and laid it away. All the people in Lydda and in Sharon heard of this great work, and many turned to the Lord.

There had been living at Joppa, not far from Lydda, a very good woman, whom everybody loved. She was called "The Gazelle," which is the name of a beautiful animal, like a deer. For her name in Hebrew was Tabitha, and in Greek was Dorcas, words which mean "Gazelle". Tabitha, or Dorcas, was a believer in Christ, and like her Lord, she loved the poor and helped them. By her work and by her gifts.

Dorcas helping the poor

While Peter was at Lydda, Dorcas was taken ill and died. They laid her body in an upper room, and then they went two men to Lydda for Peter, begging him to come without delay. Peter went to Joppa at once; and when he came to the house where the body of Dorcas was lying he found the room filled with widows and poor women, who were weeping, and showing the garments which Dorcas had made for them. But Peter sent them all out of the room; and when he was alone with the body of Dorcas, he knelt down and prayed. Then he turned to the body and said. "Tabitha, arise!"

Lydda as seen to-day

And She opened her eyes; and when she saw Peter she sat up. Peter took her by the hand, and raised her up; then he called into the room the widows and the believers in Christ, and showed Dorcas to them, alive and well. The news of this wonderful work, of life given to the dead, amazed all the city of Joppa, and led many to believe in Christ. Peter stayed many days in Joppa, at the house of a man named Simon, who was a tanner, and lived near the sea.

The house of Simon the tanner in Joppa as it now i

At that time an officer of the Roman army was at Caesarea, about thirty miles north of Joppa, beside the Great Sea. His name was Cornelius; and he was the commander of a company of a hundred soldiers. We would call such an officer "a captain" but in the Roman army he was called "a centurion". The centurion Cornelius was not a Jew, but a Gentile, which was the name that the Jews gave to all people except themselves. Yet Cornelius did not worship idols, as did most of the Gentiles. He prayed always to the God of Israel, and feared God, and gave to the poor; and he taught his family to worship the Lord.

One day, in the afternoon, Cornelius was praying in his house, when an angel came to him and called him by name, "Cornelius!" Cornelius looked at this strange and shining being, and he was filled with fear, but he said, "What is it, Lord?"

And the angel said to him, "Cornelius, the Lord has seen your gifts to the people and has heard all your prayers. Now send men to Joppa, and let them bring to you a man named Simon Peter. He is staying in the house of Simon the tanner, who lives by the sea."

Then the angel passed out of sight, and Cornelius called two servants and a soldier who worshipped the Lord. He told them what the angel had said, and sent them to Joppa for Peter. These men traveled all night, following the road southward by the Great Sea, and about noon of the next day they drew near to Joppa.

On that day, just before these men came to Joppa at noon, Peter went up to the roof of the house to pray. He became very hungry, and wished for food; but while they were making ready the dinner he fell into a strange sleep, and a vision came to him. In his vision he saw what seemed to be a great sheet let down by its four corners from above. In it he saw all kinds of beasts, and birds, and creeping things. Some of these were animals and birds that the Jews were allowed to eat; but many others were of kinds that the old law forbade the Jews to eat; and such as were forbidden, the Jews called "common" and "Unclean". Peter saw in this great sheet many beasts, and birds, and creeping things that in his sight were common and unclean. As he looked, he heard a voice saying to him, "Rise, Peter; kill and eat."

Peter had always been very strict in keeping the Jewish rules about food, and he answered, "Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten anything common or unclean."

Then he hear the voice saying to him, "What God has made clean, do not thou make common or unclean."

Three times Peter heard these words spoken, and then the great sheet with all the living creatures in it was lifted up to heaven and passed out of his sight. Peter knew at once that the vision and the words which he had heard must have a great meaning; but as he thought upon it he could not see what the moaning was. While he was thinking of the vision and wondering at it, the Spirit of the Lord spoke to him, saying, "Peter, three men are looking for you. Go down to the door and meet them; and go with them, without doubting, for I have sent them."

Just at that moment, the three men from Caesarea Knocked at the door, and asked for Simon Peter. Peter met them, and said to them, "I am here, the man whom you are looking for. For what reason have you come to me?"

And they said, "Cornelius, a centurion at Caesarea, a good man, one that fears God, and is well spoken of by all the Jews, was yesterday commanded by a holy angel to send for you, and to listen to words from you.

Them Peter called the men into the house and heard all their story, and kept them there that night. On the next morning he went with them, and some of the believers from the church of Joppa went with the party. On the next day they came to Caesarea, and entered into the house of Cornelius. There they found Cornelius waiting for them, and with him a number of his family and his friends. As Peter came into the room, Cornelius fell down at his feet, and was about to worship him; but Peter raised him up, saying, "Stand up; I myself, also, am a man, and not God."

And as Peter looked around he saw many people that had net together; and they were all Gentiles, men who were not Jews. And Peter said, "You know that it is against the law of the Jews for a man that is a Jew to come into the house with one of another nation, or to meet with him. But God has showed me that I should not call any man common or unclean. For this reason I came at once when I was sent for. Now I ask for what purpose you have sent for me."

Then Cornelius said, "Four days ago I was praying, at three o'clock in the afternoon, when a man stood by me, clad in shining garments, and he said to me, 'Cornelius, your prayer is heard, and your good deeds are known to God. Send now to Joppa, and send for Simon who is called Peter.' I sent at once for you, and you have done well to come so soon. Now we are all here before God, to hear whatever God has given to you to speak to us."

Then Peter opened his mouth, and began to speak; for he saw now what the vision meant which he had seen on the housetop. He said, "I see now that God cares for all men alike, not for the people of one nation only; but that in every nation those that fear God and do right are pleasing to him." Then Peter began to tell the story of Jesus; how he lived, how he did good works, how he died, how he rose again, and how in Jesus Christ every one who believes may have his sins forgiven.

While Peter was speaking the Holy Spirit fell on all who were in the room. And the Jews who were with Peter were amazed as they saw the Spirit of God given to Gentiles, men who were not Jews. Then Peter said, "Can any man forbid that these should be baptized with water, upon whom the Spirit has come, and as he came upon us?"

Then by Peter's command these Gentile believers with Cornelius were baptized as members of Christ's Church. And Peter stayed with them a few days, living with Cornelius, and eating at his table, though he was a Gentile, something which Peter would never before have thought it right for him to do. Soon the news went through all the churches in Judea that Gentiles had heard the word and had been baptized. At first the Jewish believers could not believe that this should be allowed; but when Peter had told them all the story of Cornelius and the angel, of his own vision of the great sheet full of animals, and of the Spirit coming upon the Gentiles, then they all praised God, and said, "So to the Gentiles, as well as to the Jews, God has given to turn from their sins, and to be saved in Jesus Christ, and to have everlasting life."


Front Matter

The Story of a Beautiful Garden
The First Baby in the World and His Brother
The Great Ship That Saved Eight People
The Tower That Was Never Finished
The Story of a Long Journey
How Abram's Choice Brought Blessing
The Angel by the Well
The Rain of Fire That Fell on a City
The Boy Who Became an Archer
How an Angel's Voice Saved a Boy's Life
The Story of a Journey after a Wife
How Jacob Stole His Brother's Blessing
Jacob's Wonderful Dream
A Midnight Wrestling Match
The Rich Man's Son Who Was Sold as a Slave
From the Prison to the Palace
How Joseph's Dream Came True
A Lost Brother Found
From the Land of Famine to the Land of Plenty
The Beautiful Baby Who Was Found in a River
The Voice from the Burning Bush
The River That Ran Blood
The Night When a Nation Was Born
How the Sea Became Dry Land and the Sky Rained Bre
The Mountain That Smoked and Words That Were Spoke
How Aaron Made a Golden Calf and What Became of It
The Tent Where God Lived Among His People
How They Worshipped God in the Tabernacle
What Strong Drink Brought to Aaron's Sons
The Scapegoat in the Wilderness
The Cluster of Grapes from the Land of Canaan
How the Long Journey of the Israelites Came to an
What a Wise Man Learned from an Ass
How Moses Looked upon the Promised Land
The Story of Job
The Story of a Scarlet Cord
How the River Jordan Became Dry
The Story of a Wedge of Gold
How Joshua Conquered the Land of Canaan
The Old Man Who Fought Against the Giants
The Avenger of Blook and the Cities of Refuge
The Story of an Altar Beside the River
The Presnt That Ehud Brought to King Eglon
How a Woman Won a Great Victory
Gideon and His Brave Three Hundred
Jephthah's Rash Promise and What Came from It
The Strong Man: How He Lived and How He Died
The Idol Temple at Dan and Its Priest
How Ruth Gleaned in the Field of Boaz
The Little Boy with a Linen Coat
How the Idol Fell Down Before the Ark
The Last of the Judges
The Tall Man Who Was Chosen King
How Saul Saved the Eyes of the Men of Jabesh
The Brave Young Prince
Saul's Great Sin and His Great Loss
The Shepherd Boy of Bethlehem
The Shepherd Boy's Fight with the Giant
The Little Boy Looking for the Arrows
Where David Found the Giant's Sword
How David Spared Saul's Life
The Last Days of King Saul
The Shepherd Boy Becomes a King
The Sound in the Treetops
The Cripple at the King's Table
The Prophet's Story of the Little Lamb
David's Handsome Son and How He Stole the Kingdom
Absalom in the Wood; David on the Throne
The Angel with the Drawn Sword on Mount Moriah
Solomon on This Father's Throne
The Wise Young King
The House of God on Mount Moriah
The Last Days of Solomon's Reign
The Breaking Up of a Great Kingdom
The King Who Led Israel to Sin
The Prophet Who Raised a Boy to Life
The Prayer That Was Answered in Fire
The Voice That Spoke to Elijah in the Mount
The Wounded Prophet and His Story
What Ahab Paid for His Vineyard
The Arrow That Killed a King
Elijah's Chariot of Fire
A Spring Sweetened by Salt
The Pot of Oil and the Pot of Poison
The Little Boy at Shunem
How a Little Girl Helped to Cure a Leper
The Chariots of Fire around Elisha
What the Lepers Found in the Camp
Jehu, the Furious Driver of His Chariot
Elisha and the Bow; Jonah and Nineveh
How the Ten Tribes Were Lost
The First Four Kings of Judah
The Little Boy Who Was Crowned King
Three Kings and a Great Prophet
The Good King Hezekiah
The Lost Book Found in the Temple
The Last Four Kings of Judah and the Weeping Proph
What Ezekiel Saw in the Valley
The Jewish Captives in the Court of the King
The Golden Image and the Fiery Furnace
The Tree That Was Cut Down and Grew Again
The Writing upon the Wall
Daniel in the Den of Lions
The Story of a Joyous Journey
The New Temple on Mount Moriah
The Beautiful Queen of Persia
The Scribe Who Wrote the Old Testament
The Nobleman Who Built the Wall of Jerusalem
Ezra's Great Bible Class in Jerusalem
The Angel by the Altar
The Manger of Bethlehem
The Star and the Wise Men
The Boy in his Father's House
The Prophet in the Wilderness
Jesus in the Desert, and beside the River
The Water Jars at the Wedding Feast
The Stranger at the Well
The Story of a Boy in Capernaum and a Riot
A Net Full of Fishes
The Leper and the Man Let Down through the Roof
The Cripple at the Pool and the Withered Hand
The Twelve Disciples and the Sermon on the Mount
The Captain's Servant, the Widow's Son, and a Sinn
Some Stories Jesus Told by the Sea
"Peace, Be Still"
The Little Girl Who Was Raised to Life
A Dancing Girl and What Was Given Her
The Feast beside the Sea and What Followed It
The Answer to a Mother's Prayer
The Glory of Jesus on the Mountain
The Little Child in the Arms of Jesus
At the Feast of Tabernacles
The Man with Clay on His Face
The Good Shepherd and the Good Samaritan
Lazarus Raised to Life
Some Parables in Perea
The Poor Rich Man and the Rich Poor Man
Jesus at Jericho
Palm Sunday
The Last Vistis of Jesus to the Temple
The Parables on the Mount of Olives
The Last Supper
The Olive Orchard and the High Priests Hall
The Crown of Thorns
The Darkest Day of All the World
The Brightest Day of All the World
The Stranger on the Shore
The Church of the First Days
The Man at the Beautiful Gate
The Right Way to Give, and the Wrong Way
Stephen with the Shining Face
The Man Reading in the Chariot
The Voice That Spoke to Saul
What Peter Saw by the Sea
How the Iron Gate Was Opened
The Earliest Missionaries
The Song in the Prison
Paul's Speech on the Hill
Paul at Corinth
Paul at Ephesus
Paul's Last Journey to Jerusalem
The Speech on the Stairs
Two Years in Prison
The Story That Paul Told to the King
Paul in the Storm
How Paul Came to Rome and How He Lived There
The Throne of God
The City of God