Ellen White writing


The Ellen White Research Project: Exposing the Subtle Attack on the Bible's Authority
Home | Life Sketch | Beliefs | Insights | Predictions | Criticisms | Visions | Books

Sketches From The Life of Paul

by Ellen G. White

Chapter 29: The Final Arrest.

< Prev  Contents  ...  22  23  24  25  26  27  28  29  30  31  32  Next >

Part:  A  B

To visit Paul now was not, as during his first imprisonment, to visit a man against whom no charge had been sustained, and who had won favorable opinions from princes and rulers. It was to visit one who was the object of universal hatred, who was accused of instigating the basest and most terrible crime against the city and the nation. Whoever ventured to show him [p. 308] the slightest attention, thereby made himself the object of suspicion, and endangered his own life. Rome was now filled with spies, who stood ready to bring an accusation against any one on the slightest occasion. None but a Christian would visit a Christian; for no other would incur the odium of a faith which even intelligent men regarded as not merely contemptible, but treasonable.

One by one, Paul saw his friends leaving him. The first to depart were Phygellus and Hermogenes. Then Demas, dismayed at the thickening clouds of difficulty and danger, forsook the persecuted apostle to seek for ease and security in a worldly life. Crescens was sent on a mission to the churches of Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia, Tychicus to Ephesus. Luke, the beloved physician and faithful friend, was still with him. This was a great comfort to Paul, who had never needed the companionship and ministration of his brethren more than now, enfeebled as he was by age, toil, and infirmities, and confined in the damp, dark vaults of a Roman prison. And, as he was dependent upon the aid of an amanuensis, the services of Luke were of great value, enabling him still to communicate with his brethren and the world without.

An unexpected encouragement was granted the apostle at this time, by the visit of Onesiphorus, an Ephesian Christian who came to Rome not long after Paul's arrival. He knew that Paul was somewhere in that city as a prisoner, and he determined to find him. This was no easy matter in a city crowded with prisoners, where suspicion was everywhere, and had only to fasten upon an unfortunate victim to consign [p. 309] him to prison and perhaps to death. But notwithstanding the difficulties, Onesiphorus searched for Paul until he found him. Not satisfied with one visit, he went again and again to his dungeon, and did all in his power to lighten the burden of his imprisonment. The fear of scorn, reproach, or persecution, was powerless to terrify this true-hearted Ephesian, when he knew that his beloved teacher was in bonds for the truth's sake, while he himself, in every respect far less worthy, walked free.

The visit of Onesiphorus, testifying to his loving fidelity at a time of loneliness and desertion, was a bright spot in Paul's prison experience. In the last letter ever written by him, he thus speaks of this faithful disciple: "The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain. But when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me. The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day."

The desire for love and sympathy was implanted in the heart by God himself. Christ in his hour of agony in Gethsemane, while bearing the guilt of sinful men, longed for the sympathy of his disciples. And Paul, though almost indifferent to hardship and suffering, yearned for sympathy and companionship. God would have his people cherish love and sympathy for one another. Humanity, elevated, ennobled, and rendered Godlike, is worthy of respect and esteem. The sons and daughters of God will be tender-hearted, pitiful, courteous, to all men, "especially unto them who are of the household of faith." But Paul was bound to his fellow-disciples by a [p. 310] stronger tie than even that of Christian brotherhood. The Lord had revealed himself to Paul in a special manner, and had made him instrumental in the salvation of many souls. Many churches might in truth regard him as their father in the gospel. Such a man, who had sacrificed every earthly consideration in the service of God, had a special claim upon the love and sympathy of his converts and fellow-laborers.

Part:  A  B

< Prev  Contents  ...  22  23  24  25  26  27  28  29  30  31  32  Next >

Home | Life Sketch | Beliefs | Insights | Predictions | Criticisms | Visions | Books

Send in comments and questions to:

© 2005