Pauls Footsteps #408

On his arrival in Rome, he had been placed in charge of the captain of the imperial guards, a man of justice and integrity, by whose kindness he was left comparatively free to pursue the work of the gospel. But before the close of the two years’ imprisonment, this man was replaced by an official less compassionate. The Jews were now more active than ever in their efforts against Paul, and they found an able helper in the decadent woman whom Nero had made his second wife, and who, being a Jewish proselyte, lent all her influence to aid their murderous designs against the champion of Christianity. 

Paul could hope for little justice from the Caesar to whom he had appealed. Nero was more debased in morals, more frivolous in character, and at the same time capable of more atrocious cruelty, than any ruler who had preceded him. The worst of rulers, in his first year of reign, had poisoned his stepbrother – the true heir of the emperor Claudius. His mother had previously poisoned Claudius (her second husband).  Nero had descended in vice and depravity until he had murdered his own mother, and then his wife. There was no atrocity which he would not perpetrate, no vile act to which he would not stoop. In every noble mind, he inspired only abhorrence and contempt. But he was acknowledged as the absolute ruler of the whole civilised world and was made the recipient of divine honours. 


Paul’s condemnation before such a judge was certain. Paul committed his case to the one who had constantly in the past been his protector and provider.  At Paul’s examination the charges against him were not sustained, and, contrary to his character, Nero declared the prisoner guiltless. Paul’s bonds were removed; he was again a free man. Had his trial been longer deferred, or had he from any cause been detained in Rome until the following year, he most likely would have perished in the persecution which followed the fire that destroyed half of Rome. Nero was rumoured to have caused the crime and he, therefore, in an attempt to absolve himself, turned the accusation upon the Christians. Thousands of the followers of Christ—men, women, and children—were cruelly put to death. 

From this terrible persecution Paul was spared, for soon after his release, he had left Rome. During this last interval of freedom, he diligently laboured among the churches to fortify the minds of the believers against the false doctrines that were creeping in to corrupt the faith. 

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