Ellen G. White Writings

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SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6 (EGW), Page 1057

and success in exposing the deceptions and defeating the plots of Simon Magus the sorcerer, who had followed him to Rome to oppose and hinder the work of the gospel. Nero was a believer in magic, and had patronized Simon. He was therefore greatly incensed against the apostle, and was thus prompted to order his arrest (Sketches from the Life of Paul, 328).

27. An Example of Obedience—When God pointed out to Philip his work, the disciple did not say, “The Lord does not mean that.” No; “he arose and went.” He had learned the lesson of conformity to God's will. He realized that every soul is precious in the sight of God, and that angels are sent to bring those who are seeking for light into touch with those who can help them.

Today as then angels are waiting to lead men to their fellow men.... In the experience of Philip and the Ethiopian is presented the work to which the Lord calls His people (The Review and Herald, March 2, 1911).

Chapter 9

1, 2. The New Faith Flourished in Damascus—In Damascus the new faith seemed to have acquired fresh life and energy. The work of suppression must be begun there, and Saul was selected for this work (The Youth's Instructor, November 15, 1900).

(Chs. 22:4; 26:11.) Saul Deluded and Deceived—Saul had an abundance of energy and zeal to work out an erroneous faith in persecuting the saints of God, confining them in prisons and putting them to death. Although his hand did not do the work of murder, yet he had a voice in the decisions and zealously sustained them. He prepared the way, and gave up the believers of the gospel into hands that took their lives. In reference to his zeal Paul himself says, I was “exceedingly mad against them.” “I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women.”

“Yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord,” Saul went, not to the lower, ignorant class, but to the highest religionists in the world, the men who acted a part in putting Christ to death, the men who possessed the spirit and sentiment of Caiaphas and his confederacy. These great men, thought Saul, if they had religious, determined helpers, could certainly put down this little handful of fanatical men. So to the high priest Saul went, “and desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.” Christ permitted this, and many, very many lost their lives for their belief in Him.

Paul honestly thought that he was persecuting a weak, ignorant, fanatical sect. He did not realize that he himself was the one deluded and deceived, and following ignorantly under the banner of the prince of darkness (Manuscript 142, 1897).

1-4 (ch. 26:9; 1 Corinthians 15:9). Saul's Unbelief Honest, but Not Excusable—The mind that resists the truth will see everything in a perverted light. It will be fastened in the sure toils of the enemy, and view things in the light of the enemy.

Saul of Tarsus was an example of this. He had no moral right to be an unbeliever. But he had chosen to accept the opinions of men rather than the counsel of God. He had the prophecies pointing to the Messiah, but the sayings of the rabbis, the words of men, were preferred. In his own wisdom, Saul knew not God nor Jesus Christ, whom He had sent. Afterward in repeating his experience, he declared that he thought he ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Saul was honest in his unbelief. His was no pretension, and Jesus arrested him in his career and showed him on whose side he was working. The persecutor accepted the words of Christ, and was converted from infidelity to faith in Christ.

Saul did not treat with indifference the unbelief which had led him to follow in Satan's track, and cause the suffering and death of the most precious of earth—those of whom the world was not worthy. He did not plead that his error of judgment was excusable. Long after his conversion he spoke of himself as the chief of sinners. “For I am the least of the apostles,” he said, “that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” He did not make one excuse for his cruel course in following faithfully the

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