Some critics have accused Ellen White of engaging in "wholesale plagiarism" of the contents of Sketches from the Life of Paul from the writing of Conybeare and Howson in their The Life and Epistles of St. Paul. But, did she really? Below is an analysis of one of the alleged comparisons.
One problem with those who are "victims" of parallelomania is that they confuse the mere presence of a few words in both texts as being evidence of plagiarism. They completely overlook the context and meaning of the words that are similar, an even more importantly, the far greater number of words that are dissimilar.
This analysis was formed as a response to a critic on the web and is based partly on the work done by Dr. Denis Fortin, "Ellen G. White as a Writer: Case Studies in the Issue of Literary Borrowing."
It has been noted by students of plagiarism that one can make a work look plagiarized when it is not by carefully using ellipses and discarding all the material that is different. What we want to do is determine whether the critics did a fair analysis, or whether their comparisons actually distorted reality. Accordingly, we have coded the text so that you, the reader, can easily come to your own conclusion.
Material in Ellen G. White that is an exact, word-for-word match to her alleged source.
Material in Ellen G. White that is similar to her alleged source.
Words that are either an exact, or similar, match of the source, but are also an exact, or similar, match to Biblical material.
Material that is represented by an ellipsis.
Material dropped from the beginning or end of the paragraph of the alleged source.
Material clipped from the beginning or end of a sentence, without giving the reader any indication of such. (Either a capital letter or a period appears where it should not, hiding the fact that material is missing.)
Material that was mis-capitalized or mis-abbreviated.
Typical author's caveat: all errors are, of course, mine. If you find any errors please let me know and I'll fix them.
|W. J. Conybeare and J. S. Howson,
The Life and Epistles of St. Paul. (1857)
Vol. 2 (without the footnotes)
|Ellen G. White|
Sketches from the Life of Paul. (1883)
The next period of St. Paul's life opens with a third journey through the interior of Asia Minor. In the short stay which he made at Ephesus on his return from his second journey, he had promised to come again to that city, if the providence of God should allow it. This promise he was enabled to fulfil, after a hasty visit to the metropolis of the Jewish nation, and a longer sojourn in the first metropolis of the Gentile Church.
It would lead us into long and useless discussions, if we were to speculate on the time spent at Antioch, and the details of the Apostle's occupation in the scene of his early labours. We have already stated our reasons for believing that the discussions which led to the Council at Jerusalem, took place at an earlier period, as well as the quarrel between St. Peter and St. Paul concerning the propriety of concession to the Juda-
Page 10izers. But without knowing the particular form of the controversies brought before him, or the names of those Christian teachers with whom he conferred, we have seen enough to make us aware that imminent dangers from the Judaizing party surrounded the Church, and that Antioch was a favorable place for meeting the machinations of this party, as well as a convenient starting-point for a journey undertaken to strengthen those communities that were likely to be invaded by false teachers from Judæa.
It is evident that it was not St. Paul's only object to proceed with all haste to Ephesus: nor indeed is it credible that he could pass through the regions of Cilicia and Lycaonia, Phrygia and Galatia, without remaining to confirm those Churches which had founded himself, and some of which he had visited twice. We are plainly told that his journey was occupied in this work, and the few words which refer to this subject imply a systematic visitation. He would be the more anxious to establish them in the true principles of the Gospel, in proportion as he was aware of the widely spreading influence of the Judaizers. Another specific object, not unconnected with the healing of divisions, was before him during the whole of this missionary journey,--a collection for the relief of the poor Christians in Judæa. It had been agreed at the meeting of the Apostolic Council (Gal. ii. 9,10) that while some should go to the Heathen, and others to the Circumcision, the former should carefully "remember the poor;" and this we see St. Paul, on the present journey among the Gentile Christians, "forward to do." We even know the "order which he gave to the Churches of Galatia" (1 Cor. xvi. 1, 2). He directed that each person should lay by in store, on the first day of the week, according as God had prospered him, that the collection should be deliberately made, and prepared for an opportunity of being taken to Jerusalem.
We are not able to state either the exact route which St. Paul followed, or the names of the companions by whom he was attended. As regards the latter subject, however, two points may be taken for granted, that Silas ceased to be, and that Timotheus continued to be, an associate of the Apostle. It is most probable that Silas remained behind in Jerusalem, whence he had first accompanied Barnabas with the Apostolic letter, and where, on the first mention of his name, he is said to have held a
Page 11leading position in the Church. He is not again mentioned in connection with the Apostle of the Gentiles. The next place in Scripture where his name occurs, is in the letter of the Apostle of Circumcision (1 Pet. v. 12), which is addressed to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. There, "Silvanus" is spoken of as one not unknown to the persons addressed, but as "a faithful brother unto them;"--by him the letter was sent which "exhorted" the Christians in the north and west of Asia Minor, and "testified that that was the true grace of God wherein they stood;"--and the same disciple is seen, on the last mention of his name, as on the first, to be cooperating for the welfare of the Church, both with St. Peter and St. Paul.
It may be considered, on the other hand, probable, if not certain, that Timotheus was with the Apostle through the whole of this journey. Abundant mention of him is made, both in the Acts and the Epistles, in connection with St. Paul's stay at Ephesus, and his subsequent movements. Of the other companions who were undoubtedly with him at Ephesus, we cannot say with confidence whether they attended him from Antioch, or joined him afterwards at some other point. But Erastus (Acts xix. 22) may have remained with him since the time of his first to Corinth, and Caius and Aristarchus (Acts xix. 29) since the still earlier period of his journey through Macedonia. Perhaps we have stronger reasons for concluding that Titus, who, though not mentioned in the Acts, was certainly of great service in the second missionary journey, travelled with Paul and Timotheus through the earlier part of it. In the frequent mention which is made of him in the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, he appears as the Apostle's laborious minister, and as a source of his consolation and support, hardly less strikingly, than the disciple whom he had taken on the previous journey from Lystra and Iconium.
Whatever might be the exact route which the Apostle followed from Antioch to Ephesus, he would certainly revisit those Churches, which twice before had known him as their teacher. He would pass over the Cilician plain on the warm southern shore, and the high table-land of Ly-
Page 12caonia on the other side of the Pass of Taurus. He would see once more his own early home on the banks of the Cydnus; and Timothy would be once more in the scenes of his childhood at the base of the Kara-Dagh. After leaving Tarsus, the cities of Derbe, Lystra, and Iconium, possibly also Antioch in Pisidia, would be the primary objects in the Apostle's progress. Then we come to Phrygia and Galatia, both vague and indeterminate districts, which he had visited once, and through which, as before, we cannot venture to lay down a route. Though the visitation of the Churches was systematic, we need not conclude that the same exact course was followed. Since the order in which the two districts are mentioned is different from that in the former instance, we are at liberty to suppose that he travelled first from Lycaonia through Cappadocia into Galatia, and then by Western Phrygia to the coast of Ægean. In this last part of his progress we are in still greater doubt as to the route, and one question of interest is involved in our opinion concerning it. The great road from Ephesus by Iconium to the Euphrates, passed along the valley of the Mæander, and near the cities of Laodecia, Colossæ, and Hierapolis; and we should naturally suppose that the Apostle would approach the capital of Asia along this well-travelled line. But the arguments are so strong for believing that St. Paul was never personally at Colossæ, that it is safer to imagine him following some road further to the north, such as that, for instance, which, after passing near Thyatira, entered the valley of the Hermus at Sardis.
Thus, then, we may conceive the Apostle arrived at that region, where he was formerly in hesitation concerning his future progress,--the frontier
Page 13district of Asia and Phrygia, the mountains which contain the upper waters of the Hermus and Mæander. And now our attention is suddenly called away to another preacher of the Gospel, whose name, next to that of the Apostles, is perhaps the most important in the early history of the Church. There came at this time to Ephesus, either directly from Egypt by sea, as Aquila or Priscilla from Corinth, or by some route through the intermediate countries, like that of St. Paul himself, a "disciple" named Apollos, a native of Alexandria. This visit occurred at a critical time, and led to grave consequences in reference to the establishment of Christian truth, and the growth of parties in the Church; while the religious community (if so it may be called) to which he belonged at the time of his arrival, furnishes us with one of the most interesting links between the Gospels and the Acts.
Apollos, along with twelve others who are soon afterward mentioned at Ephesus, was acquainted with Christianity only so far as it had been made known by John the Baptist. They "knew only the baptism of John." From the great part which was acted by the forerunner of Christ in the first announcement of the Gospel, and from the effect produced on the Jewish nation by his appearance, and the number of disciples who came to receive at his hands the baptism of repentance, we should expect some traces of his influence to appear in the subsequent period, during which the Gospel was spreading beyond Judæa. Many Jews from other countries received from the Baptist their knowledge of the Messiah, and carried with them this knowledge on their return from Palestine. We read of a heretical sect, at a much later period, who held John the Baptist to have been himself the Messiah. But in a position intermediate between this deluded party and those who were travelling as teachers of the full and perfect gospel there were doubtless many, among the floating Jewish population of the empire whose knowledge of Christ extended only to that which had been preached on the banks of the Jordan.
Page 14That such persons should be found at Ephesus, the natural meeting-place of all religious sects and opinions, is what we might have supposed á prioi. Their own connection with Judæa, or the connection of their teachers with Judæa, had been broken before the day of Pentecost. Thus their Christianity was at the same point as it which it had stood at the commencement of our Lord's ministry. They were ignorant of the full meaning of the death of Christ; possibly they did not even know the fact of His resurrection; and they knew that the times of the Messiah were come, and that one had appeared in whom the prophecies were fulfilled. That voice had reached them, which cried, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord" (Is. xi. 3). They felt that the axe was laid to the root of the tree, that "the kingdom of heaven was at hand," and that "the knowledge of Salvation was come to those that sit in darkness" (Luke i. 77), and that the children of Israel were everywhere called to "repent." Such as were in this religious condition were evidently prepared for the full reception of Christianity, so soon as it was presented to them; and we see that they were welcomed by St. Paul and the Christians at Ephesus as fellow disciples of the same Lord and Master.
In some respects Apollos was distinguished from the other disciples of John the Baptist, who are alluded to at the same place, and nearly at the same time. There is much significance in the first fact that is stated, that he was "born of Alexandria." Something has been said by us already concerning the Jews of Alexandria, and their theological influence in the age of the Apostles. In the establishment of a religion, which was intended to be the complete fulfillment of Judaism, and to be universally supreme in the Gentile world, we should expect Alexandria to bear her part, as well as Jerusalem. The Hellenistic learning fostered by the foundations of the Ptolemies might be made the handmaid of the truth, no less than the older learning of Judæa and the schools of the Hebrews. As regards Apollos, he was not only an Alexandrian Jew by birth, but he had a high reputation for an eloquent and forcible power of speaking, and had probably been well trained in the rhetorical schools on the banks of the Nile. But though he was endued with the eloquence of a Greek orator, the subject of his study and teaching were the Scriptures of his forefathers. The character which he bore in the synagogues was that of a man "mighty in the Scriptures." In addition to these advantages of
Page 15birth and education, he seems to have had the fullest and most systematic instruction in the Gospel, which a disciple of John could possibly receive. Whether from the Baptist himself, or from some of those who travelled into other lands with his teaching as their possession, Apollos had received full and accurate instruction in the "way of the Lord." We are further told that his character was marked by a fervent zeal for spreading the truth. Thus we may conceive of him as travelling, like a second Baptist, beyond the frontiers of Judæa,--expounding the prophecies of the Old Testament, announcing that the time of the Messiah were come, and calling the Jews to repentance in the spirit of Elias. Hence he was, like his great teacher, diligently "preparing the way of the Lord." Though ignorant of the momentous facts which had succeeded the Resurrection and Ascension, he was turning the hearts of the "disobedient to the wisdom of the just," and "making ready a people for the Lord," whom he was soon to know "more perfectly." Himself "a burning and shining light," he bore witness to "that Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world,"--as, on the other hand, he was a swift witness" against those Israelites whose lives were unholy, and came among them "to purify the sons of Levi, that they might offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness," and to proclaim that, if they were unfaithful, God was still able "to raise up children unto Abraham."
Thus, burning with zeal, and confident of the truth of what he had learnt, he spoke boldly in the synagogue. An intense interest must have been excited about this time concerning the Messiah in the synagogue at Ephesus. Paul had recently been there, and departed with the promise of return. Aquila and Priscilla, though taking no forward part as public teachers, would diligently keep the subject of the Apostle's teaching before the minds of the Israelites. And now an Alexandrian Jew presented himself among them, bearing testimony to the same Messiah with singular eloquence, and with great power in the interpretation of Scripture. Thus an unconscious preparation was made for the arrival of the Apostle, who was even now travelling towards Ephesus through the uplands of Asia Minor.
The teaching of Apollos, though eloquent, learned, and zealous, was
Page 16seriously defective. But God had provided among his listeners those who should instruct him more perfectly. Aquila and Priscilla felt that he was proclaiming the same truth in which they had been instructed at Corinth. They could inform him that they had met with one who had taught with authority far more concerning Christ than had been known even to John the Baptist; and they could recount to him the miraculous gifts, which attested the outpouring of the Holy Ghost. Thus they attached themselves closely to Apollos, and gave him complete instruction in that "way of the Lord," which he had already taught accurately, though imperfectly; and the learned Alexandrian obtained from the tent-makers a knowledge of that "mystery" which the ancient Scriptures had only partially revealed.
This providently meeting with Aquila and Priscilla in Asia became the means of promoting the spread of the Gospel in Achaia. Now that Apollos was made fully acquainted with the Christian doctrine, his zeal urged him to go where it had been firmly established by an Apostle. It is possible, too, that some news, received from Corinth might lead him to suppose that he could be of active service there in the cause of truth. The Christians of Ephesus encouraged him in this intention, and gave him "letters of commendation" to their brethren across the Ægean. On his arrival at Corinth, he threw himself at once among those Jews who had rejected St. Paul, and argued with them publicly and zealously on the ground of their Scriptures, and thus became " a valuable support to those who had already believed through the grace of God;" for he proved with power that that Jesus who had been crucified at Jerusalem, and whom Paul was proclaiming throughout the world, was indeed the Christ. Thus he watered where Paul had planted, and God gave an abundant increase. (1 Cor. iii. 6.) And yet evil grew up side by side with the good. For while he was a valuable aid to the Christians, and a formidable antagonist to the Jews, and while he was honestly co-operating in Paul's great work of evangelizing the world, he became the occasion of fostering party-spirit
Page 17among the Corinthians, and was unwillingly held up as a rival of the Apostle himself. In this city of rhetoricians and sophists, the erudition and eloquent speaking of Apollos was contrasted with the unlearned simplicity with which St. Paul had studiously presented the Gospel to his Corinthian hearers. Thus many attached themselves to the new teacher, and called themselves by the name of Apollos, while others ranged themselves as the party of Paul (1 Cor. 1. 12),--forgetting that Christ could not be "divided," and that Paul and Apollos were merely "ministers by whom they had believed." (1 Cor. iii.5.) We have no reason to imagine that Apollos himself encouraged or tolerated such unchristian divisions. A proof of his strong feeling to the contrary, and of his close attachment to St. Paul, is furnished by that letter to the Corinthians, which will soon be brought under our notice, when, after vehement rebukes of the schismatic spirit prevailing among the Corinthians, it is said, "touching our brother Apollos," that he was unwilling to return to them at that particular time, though St. Paul himself had "greatly desired it."
But now the Apostle himself is about to arrive in Ephesus. His residence in this place, like his residence in Antioch and Corinth, is a subject to which our attention is particularly called. Therefore, all the features of the city--its appearance, its history, the character of its population, its political and mercantile relations--possess the utmost interest for us. We shall defer such description to a future chapter, and limit ourselves here to what may set before the reader the geographical position of Ephesus, as the point in which St. Paul's journey from Antioch terminated for the present.
We imagined him about the frontier of Asia and Phrygia, on his approach from the interior of the sea. From this region of volcanic mountains, a tract of country extends to the Ægean, which is watered by two of the long western rivers, the Hermus and Mæander, and which is celebrated through and extended period of classical history, and is sacred
Page 18to us as the scene of the Churches of the Apocalypse. Near the mouth of one of these rivers is Smyrna; near that of the other is Miletus. The islands of Samos and Chios are respectively opposite the projecting portion of the coast, where the rivers flow by these cities to the sea. Between the Hermus and the Mæander is a smaller river, named the Cayster, separated from the latter by the ridge of Messogis, and from the former by Mount Tmolus. Here, in the level valley of the Cayster, is the early cradle of the Asiatic name,--the district of primeval "Asia,"--not as understood in its political or ecclesiastical sense, but the Asia of old poetic legend. And here, in a situation preeminent among the excellent positions which the Ionians chose for their cities, Ephesus was built, on some hills near the sea. For some time after its foundation by Androclus the Athenian, it was inferior to Miletus; but with the decay of the latter city, in the Macedonian and Roman periods, it rose to greater eminence, and in the time of St. Paul it was the greatest city of Asia Minor, as well as the Metropolis of the province of Asia. Though Greek in its origin, it was half-oriental in the prevalent worship, and in the character of its inhabitants; and being constantly visited by ships from all parts of the Mediterranean, and united by great roads with the markets of the interior, it was the common meeting-place of various characters and classes of men.
Among those whom St. Paul met on his arrival, was the small company of Jews above alluded to, who professed the imperfect Christianity of John the Baptist. By this time Apollos had departed to Corinth. These "disciples" who were now at Ephesus were in the same religious condition in which he had been, when Aquila and Priscilla first spoke to
Page 19him, though doubtless they were inferior to him both in learning and zeal. St. Paul found, on inquiry, that they had only received John's baptism, and that they were ignorant of the great outpouring of the Holy Ghost, in which the life and energy of the Christ consisted. They were even perplexed by his question. He then pointed out, in conformity with what had been said by John the Baptist himself, that that prophet only preached repentance to prepare to prepare men's minds for Christ, who is the true object of faith. On this they received Christian baptism; and after they were baptized, the laying on of the Apostle's hands resulted, as in all other Churches, in the miraculous gifts of Tongues and of Prophecy.
After this occurrence has been mentioned as an isolated fact, our attention is called to the great teacher's labours in the synagogue. Doubtless, Aquila and Priscilla were there. Though they were not mentioned here in connection with St. Paul, we have seen them so lately (Acts xviii.) instructing Apollos, and we shall find them so soon again sending salutations to Corinth in the Apostle's letter from Ephesus (1 Cor. xvi.) that we cannot but believe he met his old associates, and again experienced the benefit of their aid. It is even probable that he again worked with them at the same trade: for in the address to the Ephesian elders at Miletus (Acts xx. 34) he stated that "his own hands had ministered to his necessities, and to those who were with him;" and in writing to the Corinthians he says (1 Cor. iv. 11, 12) that such toil had continued "even to that hour." There is no doubt that he "reasoned" in the Synagogue at Ephesus with the same zeal and energy with which his spiritual labours had been begun at Corinth. He had been anxiously expected, and at first he was heartily welcomed. A preparation for his teaching had been made by Apollos and those who instructed him. "For three months" Paul continued to speak boldly in the synagogue, "arguing and endeavouring to convince his hearers of all that related to the kingdom of God." The hearts of some were hardened,while others repented and believed; and in the end the Apostle's doctrine was publicly calumniated
Page 20by the Jews before the people. On this he openly separated himself, and withdrew the disciples from the Synagogue; and the Christian Church at Ephesus became a distinct body, separated both from the Jews and the Gentiles.
As the house of Justus at Corinth had afforded St. Paul a refuge from calumny, and an opportunity of continuing his public instruction, so here he had recourse to "the school of Tyrannus," who was probably a teacher of philosophy or rhetoric, converted by the Apostle to Christianity. His labours in spreading the Gospel were here continued for two whole years. For the incidents which occurred during this residence, for the persons with whom the Apostle became acquainted, and for the precise subjects of his teaching, we have no letters to give us information supplementary to the Acts, as in the cases of Thessalonica and Corinth: inasmuch as that which is called the "Epistle to the Ephesians," enters into no personal or incidental details. But we have, in the address to the Ephesian elders at Miletus, an affecting picture of an Apostle's labours for the salvation of those whom his Master came to redeem. From that address we learn, that his voice had not been heard within the school of Tyrannus alone, but that he had gone about among his converts, instructing them, "from house to house," and warning "each one" of them affectionately "with tears." The subject of his teaching was ever the same, both for Jews and Greeks, "repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ." Labors so incessant, so disinterested, and continued through so long a time, could not fail to produce a great result at Ephesus. A large church was formed, over which many presbyters were called to preside. Nor were the results confined to the city. Throughout the province of "Asia" the name of Christ became generally known, both to the Jews and Gentiles; and doubtless, many daughter-churches were founded, whether in the course of journeys undertaken by the Apostle himself, or by means of those with whom he became
Page 21acquainted, as for instance by Epaphras, Archippus, and Philemon, in connection with Colossæ, and its neighbour cities Hierapolis and Laodecia.
It is during this interval, that one of the two characteristics of the people of Ephesus comes prominently into view. This city was renowned throughout the world for the worship of Diana, and the practice of magic. Though it was a Greek city, like Athens or Corinth, the manners of its inhabitants were half oriental. The image of the tutelary goddess resembled an Indian idol rather than the beautiful forms which crowded the Acropolis of Athens: and the enemy which St. Paul had to oppose was not a vaunting philosophy, as at Corinth, but a dark and Asiatic superstition. The worship of Diana and the practice of magic were closely connected together. Eustathius says, that the mysterious symbols, called "Ephesian Letters," were engraved on the crown, the girdle, and the feet of the goddess. These Ephesian letters or monograms have been compared to the Runic characters of the north. When pronounced, they were regarded as a charm; and were directed to be used, especially by those who were in the power of evil spirits. When written, they were carried about as amulets. Curious stories are told of their influence. Croesus is related to have repeated the mystic syllables when on his funeral pile; and an Ephesian wrestler is said to have always struggled successfully against an antagonist from Miletus until he lost the scroll, which before had been like a talisman. The study of these symbols was an elaborate science: and books, both numerous and costly, were compiled by its professors.
Paul at Ephesus
While Apollos was preaching at Corinth, Paul fulfilled his promise to return to Ephesus. He had made a brief visit to Jerusalem, and had spent some time at Antioch, the scene of his early labours. Thence he had travelled through Asia Minor, visiting the churches which he had himself established, and strengthening the faith of the disciples.
The city of Ephesus was the capital of the province of Asia, and the great commercial centre of Asia Minor. Its harbour was crowded with ship-
Page 129ping from all parts of the known world, and its streets thronged with the people of every country. It therefore presented, like Corinth, a favourable missionary field.
The Jews, now widely dispersed in all civilized lands, were generally expecting the speedy advent of the Messiah. In their visits to Jerusalem at the annual feasts, many had gone out to the banks of the Jordan to listen to the preaching of John the Baptist. From him they had heard the proclamation of Christ as the Promised One, and on their return home they had carried the tidings to all parts of the world. Thus had Providence prepared the way for the apostle's labors.
On his arrival at Ephesus, Paul found twelve brethren, who, like Apollos, had been disciples of John the Baptist, and like him had gained an imperfect knowledge of the life and mission of Christ. They had not the ability of Apollos, but with the same sincerity and faith they were seeking to spread the light which they had received.
These disciples were ignorant of the mission of the Holy Spirit, that Jesus promised to his believing people, to be the life and power of the church. When asked by Paul if they had received the Holy Ghost, they answered, "We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost." Paul inquired, "Unto what then were ye baptized?" and they said, "Unto John's baptism." The apostle then proceeded to set before them the great truths which are the foundation of the Christian's hope.
He told them of the life of Christ on earth, and of his cruel and shameful death. He told them how the Lord of life had broken the
Page 130barriers of the tomb, and risen triumphant over death. He repeated the Saviour's commission to his disciples: "All power is given unto me in Heaven and in earth. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." He told them also of Christ's promise to send the Comforter, through whose power mighty signs and wonders would be wrought, and described the glorious fulfilment of that promise on the day of Pentecost.
With deep interest, and grateful, wondering joy, the disciples listened to the words of Paul. By faith they grasped the atoning sacrifice of Christ, and acknowledged him as their Redeemer. They were then baptized "in the name of Jesus;" and as Paul laid his hands upon them, they received also the baptism of the Holy Spirit, by which they were enabled to speak the languages of other nations and to prophesy. Thus these men were qualified to act as missionaries in the important field of Ephesus and its vicinity, and also from this centre to spread the gospel of Christ in Asia Minor.
It was by cherishing a humble and teachable spirit that these brethren gained their precious experience. Their example presents a lesson of great value to Christians of every age. There are many who make but little progress in the divine life, because they are too self-sufficient to occupy the position of learners. They are content to remain in ignorance of God's word; they do not wish to change their faith or their practice, and hence make no effort to obtain greater light.
If the followers of Christ were but earnest seekers after divine wisdom, they would be led
Page 131into rich fields of truth, as yet wholly unknown to them. Whoever will give himself to God as fully as did Moses, will be guided by the divine hand as verily as was the great leader of Israel. He may be lowly and apparently ungifted; yet if with a loving, trusting heart he obeys every intimation of God's will, his powers will be purified, ennobled, energized; his capabilities increased. As he treasures the lessons of divine wisdom, a sacred commission is intrusted to him; he is enabled to make his life an honour to God and a blessing to the world. "The entrance of Thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple."
A mere intellectual knowledge of religious truth is not enough. There are today many as ignorant as those men of Ephesus of the Holy Spirit's work upon the heart. Yet no truth is more clearly taught in the word of God. Prophets and apostles have dwelt upon this theme. Christ himself calls our attention to the growth of the vegetable world to illustrate the agency of his Spirit in sustaining religious life.
The juices of the vine, ascending from the root, are diffused to the branches sustaining growth, and producing blossoms and fruit. So the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit, proceeding from Christ, and imparted to every disciple, pervades the soul, renews the motives and affections, and even the most secret thoughts, and brings forth the precious fruit of holy deeds. The life attests the union with the true and living Vine.
The Author of this spiritual life is unseen, and the precise method by which it is imparted and sustained is beyond the power of human philosophy to explain. It is the mystery of godliness.
Yet the operations of the Spirit are always in harmony with the written word. As in the natural, so in the spiritual world. Human life is preserved, moment by moment, by divine power; yet it is not sustained by a direct miracle, but through the use of blessings placed within our reach. So the life of the Christian is sustained by the use of those means which Providence has supplied. He must eat of the bread of life, and drink of the waters of salvation. He must watch, he must pray, he must work, in all things giving heed to the instructions of the word of God, if he would "grow up to the full measure of the stature of a man in Christ Jesus."
There is still another lesson for us in the experience of those Jewish converts. When they received baptism at the hand of John, they were holding serious errors. But with clearer light they gladly accepted Christ as their Redeemer; and with this advance step came a change in their obligations. As they received a purer faith, there was a corresponding change in their life and character. In token of this change, and as an acknowledgment of their faith in Christ, they were rebaptised, in the name of Jesus.
Many a sincere follower of Christ has had a similar experience. A clearer understanding of God's will, places man in a new relation to him. New duties are revealed. Much which before appeared innocent, or even praiseworthy, is now seen to be sinful. The apostle Paul states that though he had, as he supposed, rendered obedience to the law of God, yet when the commandment was urged upon his conscience by the Holy Spirit, "sin revived, and I died." He saw
Page 133himself a sinner, and conscience concurred with the sentence of the law.
There are many at the present day who have unwittingly violated one of the precepts of God's law. When the understanding is enlightened, and the claims of the fourth commandment are urged upon the conscience, they see themselves sinners in the sight of God. "Sin is the transgression of the law," and "he that shall offend in one point is guilty of all."
The honest seeker after truth will not plead ignorance of the law as an excuse for transgression. Light was within his reach. God's word is plain, and Christ has bidden him search the Scriptures. He reveres God's law as holy, just, and good, and he repents of his transgression. By faith he pleads the atoning blood of Christ, and grasps the promise of pardon. His former baptism does not satisfy him now. He has seen himself a sinner, condemned by the law of God. He has experienced anew a death to sin, and he desires again to be buried with Christ by baptism, that he may rise to walk in newness of life. Such a course is in harmony with the example of Paul in baptizing the Jewish converts. That incident was recorded by the Holy Spirit as an instructive lesson for the church.
As was his custom, Paul had begun his work at Ephesus by teaching in the synagogue of the Jews. He continued to labour there for three months, "disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God." He at first met with a favourable reception; but as in other fields of labour, he was soon violently opposed by the unbelieving Jews. As they persisted in their rejection of the gospel, the apostle ceased preaching in the synagogue.
The Spirit of God had wrought with and through Paul in his labours for his countrymen. Sufficient evidence had been presented to convince all who honestly desired to know the truth. But many permitted themselves to be controlled by prejudice and unbelief, and refused to yield to the most conclusive evidence. Fearing that the faith of the believers would be endangered by continued association with these opposers of the truth, Paul separated the disciples as a distinct body, and himself continued his public instructions in the school of one Tyrannus, a teacher of some note.
Paul saw that "a great door and effectual" was open before him, though there were "many adversaries." Ephesus was not only the most magnificent, but the most corrupt, of the cities of Asia. Superstition and sensual pleasure held sway over her teeming population. Under the shadow of her idol temples, criminals of every grade found shelter, and the most degrading vices flourished.
The city was famed for the worship of the goddess Diana and the practice of magic. Here was the great temple of Diana, which was regarded by the ancients as one of the wonders of the world. Its vast extent and surpassing magnificence made it the pride, not only of the city, but of the nation. Kings and princes had enriched it by their donations. The Ephesians vied with one another in adding to its splendour, and it was made the treasure-house for a large share of the wealth of Western Asia.
The idol enshrined in this sumptuous edifice was a rude, uncouth image, declared by tradition to have fallen from the sky. Upon it were
This statement throws some light on the peculiar character of the miracles wrought by Paul at Ephesus. We are not to suppose that the apostles were always able to work miracles at will. An influx of supernatural power was given to them at the time and according to the circumstances that required it. And the character of the miracles was not always the same. They were accommodated to the peculiar forms of sin, superstition, and ignorance they were required to oppose. Here, at Ephesus, Paul was in the face of magicians, like Moses and Aaron before Pharaoh; and it is distinctly said that his miracles were "not ordinary wonders," from which we may infer that they were different from those which he usually performed. We know, in the case of our Blessed Lord's miracles, that though the change was usually accomplished on the speaking of a word, intermediate agency was sometimes employed; as when the blind man was healed at the pool of Siloam. A miracle which has a closer reference to our present subject is that in which the hem of Christ's garment was made effectual to the healing of a poor sufferer and the conviction of the bystanders. So on this occasion garments were made the means of communicating a healing power to those who were at a distance, whether they were possessed with evil spirits or afflicted with ordinary diseases. Such effects, thus publicly manifested, must have been a signal refutation of the charms and amulets and mystic letters of Ephesus. Yet was this no encouragement to blind superstition. When the suffering woman was healed by touching the hem of the garment, the Saviour turned round and said, "Virtue is gone out of me." And here at Ephesus we are reminded that it was God who "wrought miracles by the hands of Paul" (v.11), and that "the name," not of Paul, but "of the Lord Jesus, was magnified." (v. 17.)
These miracles must have produced a great effect upon the minds of those who practised curious arts in Ephesus. Among the magicians who
Page 135inscribed mystic characters and symbols, which were believed to possess great power. When pronounced, they were said to accomplish wonders. When written, they were treasured as a potent charm to guard their possessor from robbers, from disease, and even from death. Numerous and costly books were written by the Ephesians to explain the meaning and use of these symbols.
As Paul was brought in direct contact with the idolatrous inhabitants of Ephesus, the power of God was strikingly displayed through him. The apostles were not always able to work miracles at will. The Lord granted his servants this special power as the progress of his cause or the honor of his name required. Like Moses and Aaron at the court of Pharaoh, the apostle had now to maintain the truth against the lying wonders of the magicians; hence the miracles he wrought were of a different character from those which he had heretofore performed. As the hem of Christ's garment had communicated healing power to her who sought relief by the touch of faith, so on this occasion, garments were made the means of cure to all that believed; "diseases departed from them, and evil spirits went out of them." Yet these miracles gave no encouragement to blind superstition. When Jesus felt the touch of the suffering woman, he exclaimed, "Virtue is gone out of me." So the scripture declares that the Lord wrought miracles by the hand of Paul, and that the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified, and not the name of Paul. [Acts 19:17]
The manifestations of supernatural power which accompanied the apostle's work, were cal-
Page 23were then in this city, in the course of their wanderings through the East, several Jewish exorcists. This is a circumstance which need not surprise us. The stern severity with which sorcery was forbidden in the Old Testament attests the early tendency of the Israelites to such practices: the Talmud bears witness to the continuance of these practices at a later period; and we have already had occasion, in the course of this history, to notice the spread of Jewish magicians through the various parts of the Roman Empire. It was an age of superstition and imposture--an age also in which the powers of evil manifested themselves with peculiar force. Hence we find St. Paul classing "witchcraft" among the works of the flesh (Gal. v. 20), and solemnly warning the Galatians, both in words and by his letters, that they who practice it cannot inherit the kingdom of God; and it is of such that he writes to Timothy (2 Tim. iii. 13),--that "evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived." This passage in St. Paul's latest letter had probably reference to that very city in which we see him now brought into opposition with Jewish sorcerers. These men, believing that the name of Jesus acted as a charm, and recognising the Apostle as a Jew like themselves attempted his method of casting out evil spirit. But He to whom the demons were subject, and who had given to His servant "power and authority" over them (Luke ix. 1), had shame and terror in store for those who presumed thus to take His Holy Name in vain.
One specific instance is recorded,which produced disastrous consequences to those who made the attempt, and led to wide results among the general population. In the number of those who attempted to cast out evil spirits by the "name of Jesus," were seven brothers, sons of Sceva, who is called a high-priest, either because he had really held this office at Jerusalem, or because he was chief of one of the twenty-four courses of
Page 136culated to make a deep impression upon a people given to sorcery, and priding themselves upon their intercourse with invisible beings. The miracles of Paul were far more potent than had ever before been witnessed in Ephesus, and were of such a character that they could not be imitated by the skill of the juggler or the enchantments of the sorcerer. Thus the Lord exalted his servant, even in the estimation of the idolaters themselves, immeasurably above the most favored and powerful of the magicians.
But He to whom all the spirits of evil were subject, and who had given his servants authority over them, was about to bring still greater shame and defeat upon those who despised and profaned his holy name. Sorcery had been prohibited in the Mosaic law, on pain of death, yet from time to time it had been secretly practiced by apostate Jews. At the time of Paul's visit to Ephesus there were in the city certain Jewish exorcists, who, seeing the wonders wrought by him, claimed to possess equal power. Believing that the name of Jesus acted as a charm, they determined to cast out evil spirit is by the same means which the apostle had employed.
An attempt was made by seven brothers, the sons of one Sceva, a Jewish priest. Finding a man possessed with a demon, they addressed him, "We adjure thee by Jesus, whom Paul preacheth." But the evil spirit answered with scorn, "Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?" and the one possessed sprang on them with frantic violence, and beat and bruised them, so that they fled out of the house, naked and wounded.
The discomfiture and humiliation of those who
Page 24priests, But the Demons, who were subject to Jesus, and by His will subject to those who preached His Gospel, treated with scorn those who used His Name without being converted to His truth. "Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?" was the answer of the evil spirit. And straightway the man who was possessed sprang upon them, with frantic violence, so that they were utterly discomfited, and "fled out of that house naked and wounded."
This fearful result of the profane use of that Holy Name which was proclaimed by the Apostles for the salvation of all men, soon became notorious, both among the Greeks and the Jews. Consternation and alarm took possession of the minds of many; and in proportion to this alarm the name of the Lord Jesus began to be reverenced and honoured. Even among those who had given their faith to St. Paul's preaching, some appear to have retained their attachment to the practice of magical arts. Their conscience was moved by what had recently occurred, and they came and made a full confession to the Apostle, and publicly acknowledged and forsook their deeds of darkness.
The fear and conviction seems to have extended beyond those who made a profession of Christianity. A large number of sorcerers themselves openly renounced the practice which had been so signally condemned by a higher power; and they brought together the books that contained the mystic formularies, and burnt them before all the people. When the volumes were consumed, they proceeded to reckon up the price at which these manuals of enchantment would be valued. Such books, from their very nature, would be costly; and all books in that age bore a value, which is far above any standard with which we are familiar. Hence we must not be surprised that the whole cost thus sacrificed and surrendered amounted to as much as two thousand pounds of English money. This scene must have been long remembered at Ephesus. It was a strong proof of honest conviction on the part of the sorcerers, and a striking attestation of the triumph of Jesus Christ over the powers of dark-
Page 137had profaned the name of Jesus, soon became known throughout Ephesus, by Jews and Gentiles. Unmistakable proof had been given of the sacredness of that name, and the peril which they incurred who should invoke it while they had no faith in Christ's divine mission. Terror seized the minds of many, and the work of the gospel was regarded by all with awe and reverence.
Facts which had previously been concealed were now brought to light. In accepting Christianity, some of the brethren had not fully renounced their heathen superstitions. The practice of magic was still to some extent continued among them. Convinced of their error by the events which had recently occurred, they came and made a full confession to Paul, and publicly acknowledged their secret arts to be deceptive and Satanic. Many sorcerers also abjured the practice of magic, and received Christ as their Saviour. They brought together the costly books containing the mysterious "Ephesian letters," and the secrets of their art, and burned them in the presence of all the people. When the books had been consumed, they proceeded to reckon up the value of the sacrifice. It was estimated at fifty thousand pieces of silver, equal to about ten thousand dollars.
The influence of these events was more widespread than even Paul had realized. The manifestation of the power of Christ was a grand victory for Christianity in the very stronghold of superstition. From Ephesus the news was widely circulated and a strong impetus was given to the cause of Christ. These scenes in the ministry of Paul lived in the memory of men, and were the
Page 25ness. The workers of evil were put to scorn, like the priests of Baal by Elijah on Mount Carmel; and the teaching of Christ "increased mightily and grew strong."
With this narrative of the burning of the books, we have nearly reached the term of St. Paul's three years' residence at Ephesus. Before his departure, however, two important subjects demand our attention, each of which may be treated in a separate chapter:--the First Epistle to the Corinthians, with the circumstances in Achaia which led to the writing of it,--and the uproar in the Ephesian Theatre, which will be considered in connection with a description of the city, and some notice of the worship of Diana.
Page 138means of converting many to the gospel, long after the apostle himself had finished his course.
When the Ephesian converts burned their books on magic, they showed that the things in which they had once most delighted were now the most abhorred. It was by and through magic that they had especially offended God and imperiled their souls, and it was against magic that they showed such indignation. Here was given the best evidence of true conversion.
The treatises on divination contained rules and forms of communication with evil spirits.They were the regulations of the worship of Satan,--directions for soliciting his help and obtaining information from him. By retaining these books, the disciples would have exposed themselves to temptation; by selling them they would have placed temptation in the way of others. They had renounced the kingdom of darkness, and they did not hesitate at any sacrifice to destroy its power. Thus the truth triumphed over men's prejudices, their favorite pursuits, and their love of money.
It is fondly supposed that heathen superstitions have disappeared before the civilization of the nineteenth century. By the word of God and the stern testimony of facts declare that sorcery is practiced in this Christian age and Christian nation as verily as by the old-time magicians. The ancient system of magic is, in reality, the same as that which is now known as modern Spiritualism. Satan is finding access to thousands of minds by presenting himself under the guise of departed friends. The Scriptures of truth declare that "the dead know not anything." Their thoughts, their love, their hatred,
Page 139have perished. The dead do not hold communion with the living. But true to his early cunning, when in the form of a serpent he deceived the mother of our race, Satan employs this device to gain control of the minds of men.
The heathen oracles have their counterpart in the spiritualistic mediums, the clairvoyants, and fortune-tellers of to-day. The mystic voices that spoke at Endor and Ephesus, are still by their lying words misleading the children of men. The mysteries of heathen worship are replaced by the secret associations and seances, the obscurities and wonders, of the sorcerers of our time. Their disclosures are eagerly received by thousands who refuse to accept light from God's word or from his Spirit. While they speak with scorn of the magicians of old, the great deceiver laughs in triumph as they yield to his arts in a different form.
His agents still claim to cure disease. They profess to employ electricity, magnetism, or the so-called "sympathetic remedies;" but in truth the magnetic power of which they boast is directly attributable to the sorcery of Satan. By this means he casts his spell over the bodies and souls of men.
The sick, the bereaved, the curious, are communicating with evil spirits. All who venture here are on dangerous ground. The word of truth declares how God regards them. In ancient times he pronounced judgments upon one who sent for counsel to a heathen oracle: "Is it not because there is not a God in Israel that ye go to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron? therefore thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die."
The visible and the invisible world are in close contact. Could the veil be lifted, we would see evil angels employing all their arts to deceive and destroy. Wherever an influence is exerted to cause men to forget God, there Satan is exercising his bewitching power. All who venture into scenes of dissipation or irreligious pleasure, or seek the society of the sensualist, the skeptic, of the blasphemer, by personal intercourse or through the medium of the press, are tampering with sorcery. Ere they are aware, the mind is bewildered and the soul polluted. The apostle's admonition to the Ephesian church should be heeded by the people of God to-day: "have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them."
the scene of his early labours., page 128
Churches which had founded himself,* page 128
of the province of Asia, page 128
the banks of the Jordan, page 129
on their return, page 129
within the school of Tyrannus,* page 134
The city was famed, page 134
the worship of, page 134
and the practice of magic., page 134
When pronounced, they were, page 135
When written, they were, page 135
Numerous and costly, page 135
The apostles were not always able to work miracles at will.,* page 135
Like Moses and Aaron, page 135
from those which he, page 135
the hem of Christ's garment, page 135
so on this occasion garments were made the means of,* page 135
no encouragement to blind superstition. When, page 135
the suffering woman, page 135
But He to whom,
the spirits of evil were subject, and who had given, page 136
his holy name, page 136
Believing that the name of Jesus acted as a charm,, page 136
cast out evil spirit, page 136
possessed sprang on them with frantic violence,, page 136
so that they, page 136
the minds of many, page 137
had recently occurred,, page 137
they came and made a full confession to Paul, and publicly acknowledged, page 137
They brought together the books,* page 137
and burned them, page 137
all the people. When the, page 137
consumed, they proceeded to reckon up the, page 137
Of the 3,302 words in this chapter 175 words are found in the above phrases. This amounts to 5.2998% of the whole.
1) As Dr. Fortin noted in his above mentioned study:
"The similarities in thought and wording are obvious between these two books. Sometimes Ellen White used or borrowed similar thoughts by using key words and expressions from Conybeare and Howson's book and then paraphrased their thoughts; other times she borrowed directly from them changing only a few words in some sentences. The literary borrowing was almost entirely limited to historical information and backgrounds, and was often rearranged by White to fit her thought and chapter outline. Whereas Conybeare and Howson give very little spiritual application of and commentary on the events Paul encountered, White attends to the spiritual lessons to be gained from these events and borrows little from Conybeare and Howson when it comes to the spiritual applications of the stories and events from the life of Paul."
2) Dr.Fortin concludes:
"In this parallel study of Ellen White's Sketches from the Life of Paul and Conybeare and Howson's Life and Epistles of St. Paul we find evidences that Ellen White did get some materials from these two authors. However, we must recognize that her borrowing was not done in a mindless manner. She borrowed geographical, archaeological and historical information to supplement her thoughts and descriptions of the events she was describing. Sometimes she loosely paraphrased what she borrowed, other times the paraphrases are more substantial, still sometimes the passages borrowed are almost word for word, or following the same line of thought. Yet, it also seems evident that she borrowed what she needed and left out what did not fit her thought. One draw back of this comparative study is the fact that long sections of Ellen White's chapters are not mentioned because there is no parallel with Conybeare and Howson. Furthermore, one should note that Ellen White often rearranged Conybeare and Howson's outline and thoughts, she took materials from different pages or chapters and lined them up in her own way. Most students doing research today do not take the time to rework someone's thoughts and outline to that extent. This study shows that Ellen White knew what she was borrowing and did not borrow material mindlessly, simply to fill a page. She interacted with the material which to me indicates she was not plagiarizing."