Ellen G. White Writings

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The Youth’s Instructor

July 10, 1902

A Faithful Witness

Part 2.

From the judgment-hall, Paul returned to his prison-house, knowing that he had gained for himself only a brief respite. He knew that his enemies would compass his death; but he was not afraid. His heart was full of courage, his eyes shone with heavenly brightness: by faith he beheld the glories of the unseen.

The apostle's speech had gained him many friends, and he was visited by persons of rank, who accounted his blessing of greater value than the favor of the emperor of the world. But there was one friend for whose sympathy and companionship he longed in those last trying days. That friend was Timothy, to whom he had committed the care of the church at Ephesus, and who had therefore been left behind when Paul made his last journey to Rome. The affection between Paul and Timothy began with Timothy's conversion; and the tie had strengthened as they had shared the hopes, the perils, and the toils of missionary life, till they seemed to be as one. The disparity in their age and the difference in their character made their love for each other more earnest. The ardent, zealous, indomitable spirit of Paul found repose and comfort in the mild, yielding, retiring disposition of Timothy. The faithful ministration and tender love of this tried companion had brightened many a dark hour in the apostle's life. All that Melancthon was to Luther, all that a son could be to a loved and honored father, the youthful Timothy was to the tried and lonely Paul.

And now, sitting alone in his gloomy cell, knowing that at a word or nod from Nero, his life may be sacrificed, Paul thinks of Timothy, and determines to send for him. Under the most favorable circumstances, several months must elapse before Timothy can reach Rome. Paul knows that his own life is uncertain, and that Timothy may arrive too late. He has important counsel for him; and while urging him to come without delay, he dictates the charge that he may not be spared to utter. His heart is filled with loving solicitude for his son in the gospel, and for the church under his care; and he seeks to impress Timothy with the importance of fidelity to his trust. “I charge thee therefore,” he says, “before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine.... Watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”

Paul has almost finished his course, and he desires Timothy to take his place, guarding the churches from the fables and heresies with which Satan and his agents would endeavor to lead them from the truth. He admonishes him to shun temporal pursuits and entanglements, which would prevent him from giving himself wholly to God's work. He is to endure with cheerfulness the opposition, reproach, and persecution to which his faithfulness would expose him. He is to make full proof of his ministry, employing every means of doing good to his fellow men.

Never had Paul been ashamed to confess Christ before men. Under all circumstances he had fearlessly placed himself on the side of right. Firmly believing the principles of truth, he never shrank from declaring them. His life was an illustration of the truths he taught; and in this lay his power. To him the voice of duty was the voice of God. His soul was filled with a deep sense of his responsibility, and he lived in close and constant communion with God. He clung to the cross of Christ as the only guaranty of success. The love of the Saviour was the power that upheld him in his conflicts with himself and with the power of Satan, in his struggles against spiritual wickedness in high places, in his life-long labors as he pressed forward against the unfriendliness of the world and the burden of his own infirmities.

What the church needs today is an army of workers who, like Paul, have a deep experience in the things of God, and who are filled with an earnest desire to do his service. Cultivated, refined, sanctified men are needed; men who will not shun trial and responsibility; men who are burden-bearers; men who are brave and true; men in whose hearts Christ is formed, and who, with lips touched with holy fire, will preach the word to those who are starving for the bread of life. For the lack of such workers, the cause of God languishes, and fatal errors, like deadly poison, taint the morals and blight the hopes of a large part of the race.

As the faithful, toil-worn standard-bearers are offering up their lives for the truth's sake, who among the youth will come forward to take their place? Will our young men accept the holy trust at the hand of their fathers? Are they now preparing to fill the vacancies made by the death of the faithful? Will they heed God's call to service?

Mrs. E. G. White

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