Religious Liberty Studies
Stephen - First Christian Martyr
7:54 - 8:2)
As he described the glorious scene upon which his eyes were gazing, it was more than his persecutors could endure. Stopping their ears, that they might not hear his words, and uttering loud cries, they ran furiously upon him with one accord "and cast him out of the city." "And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep."
No legal sentence had been passed upon Stephen, but the Roman authorities were bribed by large sums of money to make no investigation into the case.
The martyrdom of Stephen made a deep impression upon all who witnessed it. The memory of the signet of God upon his face; his words, which touched the very souls of those who heard them, remained in the minds of the beholders, and testified to the truth of that which he had proclaimed. His death was a sore trial to the church, but it resulted in the conviction of Saul, who could not efface from his memory the faith and constancy of the martyr, and the glory that had rested on his countenance.
Acts Of The Apostles, page 101
Lessons Of Bible Examples & Martyrs In The Last Days
Those who closely connect with God may not be prosperous in the things of this life; they may often be sorely tried and afflicted. Joseph was maligned and persecuted because he preserved his virtue and integrity. David, that chosen messenger of God, was hunted like a beast of prey by his wicked enemies. Daniel was cast into a den of lions because he was true and unyielding in his allegiance to God. Job was deprived of his worldly possessions and so afflicted in body that he was abhorred by his relatives and friends, yet he preserved his integrity and faithfulness to God. Jeremiah would speak the words which God had put into his mouth, and his plain testimony so enraged the king and princes that he was cast into a loathsome pit. Stephen was stoned because he would preach Christ and Him crucified. Paul was imprisoned, beaten with rods, stoned, and finally put to death because he was a faithful messenger to carry the gospel to the Gentiles. The beloved John was banished to the Isle of Patmos "for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ."
These examples of human steadfastness, in the might of divine power, are a witness to the world of the faithfulness of God's promises--of His abiding presence and sustaining grace. As the world looks upon these humble men, it cannot discern their moral value with God. It is a work of faith to calmly repose in God in the darkest hour-- however severely tried and tempest-tossed, to feel that our Father is at the helm.
Testimonies To The Church, Volume 4, page 525
Martyrdoom - God's means of bringing many in the truth
Now some of us may be brought to just a svere a test - will we obey the commandments of men or will; we obey the commandments of God ? This is the question that will be asked of many. The best thing for us is to come into close connection with God, and, if He would have us be martyrs for the truth's sake, it may be the means of bringing many more into the truth.
Manuscript 83, 1886
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