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Sketches From The Life of Paul

by Ellen G. White

Chapter 18: Paul's Last Journey to Jerusalem.

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Part:  A  B  C  D

The Holy Spirit revealed to the apostle the dangers which would assail the church at Ephesus: "I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them." Paul trembled for the church as he looked forward to the attacks which they must suffer from external and internal foes. It is while the husbandman sleeps that tares are sown; while the shepherds are neglecting their duty, the wolf finds entrance to the fold. With solemn earnestness he bids his brethren guard vigilantly their sacred trust. He points them for an example to his own unwearied labors: "Therefore watch, and remember that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day and with tears."

"And now, brethren," he continued, "I [p. 202] commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel." Some of the Ephesian brethren were wealthy; but Paul had never sought to receive personal benefit from them. It was no part of his message to call attention to his own wants. He declares, "These hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me." Amid his arduous labors and extensive journeys for the cause of Christ, he was able, not only to supply his own wants, but to spare something for the support of his fellow-laborers and the relief of the worthy poor. This was accomplished only by unremitting diligence and the closest economy. Well might he point to his own example, as he said, "I have showed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive."

"And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all. And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him, sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more." By his fidelity to the truth, Paul inspired intense hatred; but he also inspired the deepest and warmest affection. Sadly the disciples followed him to the ship, their hearts filled with anxiety, both for his future and for their own. The apostle's tears flowed freely as he parted from these brethren, and after he had embarked there came to him from the shore the sound of weeping. With heavy hearts the elders turned homeward, [p. 203] knowing that they could expect no further help from him who had felt so deep an interest and labored with so great zeal for them and for the church under their care.

From Miletus the travelers had a prosperous voyage to Patara, on the southwest shore of Asia Minor, where they left their ship, and took passage on another vessel bound for the coast of Phenicia. Again they enjoyed favoring winds, and, fully two weeks before the Pentecost, they landed at Tyre, where the ship was to unload its cargo.

The apostle's anxiety about reaching Jerusalem was now at an end. There were a few disciples at Tyre, and having succeeded in searching them out, he spent the next week with them. The Holy Spirit had revealed to these brethren something of the dangers which awaited Paul at Jerusalem, and they endeavored to dissuade him from his purpose. But the same Spirit which had warned him of afflictions, bonds, and imprisonment, still urged him forward, a willing captive. When the week was over, Paul left them. So strong a hold upon their affections had he gained in this brief period, that all the brethren, with their wives and children, started with him to conduct him on his way; and before he stepped on board the ship, they knelt side by side upon the shore and prayed, he for them, and they for him.

Pursuing their journey southward, the travelers arrived at Caesarea, and "entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven, and abode with him." Here Paul tarried until the very eve of the feast. These few peaceful, happy days were the last days of perfect [p. 204] freedom which he was for a long time to enjoy. Before he should enter upon the stormy scenes that awaited him at Jerusalem, the Lord graciously refreshed his spirit with this season of rest and happy communion.

Philip the evangelist was bound to Paul by ties of the deepest sympathy. A man of clear discernment and sterling integrity, Philip had been the first to break away from the bondage of Jewish prejudice, and thus had helped prepare the way for the apostle's work. It was Philip who preached the gospel to the Samaritans; it was Philip who had the courage to baptize the Ethiopian eunuch. For a time the history of these two workers had been closely intertwined. It was the violent persecution of Saul the Pharisee that had scattered the church at Jerusalem, and destroyed the effectiveness of the organization of the seven deacons. The flight from Jerusalem had led Philip to change his manner of labor, and resulted in his pursuing the same calling to which Paul gave his life. Precious hours were these that Paul and Philip spent in each other's society; thrilling were the memories that they recalled of the days when the light which had shone upon the face of Stephen upturned to Heaven as he suffered martyrdom, flashed in its glory upon Saul the persecutor, bringing him, a helpless suppliant, to the feet of Jesus.

Part:  A  B  C  D

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