by Charles H. Spurgeon

Stephen and Saul
Charles H. Spurgeon

And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul (Acts 7:58).

The Holy Spirit does not tell us much about the deaths of saints at any time, and He says very little about the deaths of the martyrs. He gives us much more about Stephen-the first of them-than about any other. A few words aremade to suffice for the death of James, the brother of John. As to the deaths of Peter and Paul, they are incidentally mentioned as yet to be, but we have no account of them whatever. I suppose there was no need, and the Holy Spirit never gives us superfluous information. There were hundreds of years to come in which martyrologies might be written. The Lord has taken care that there should be eyewitnesses with ready pens to record the deaths of martyrs. Hence we have many volumes, and especially in our own country, the renowned Acts and Monuments of John Foxe, that record how through seas of blood the martyrs swam to their crowns. The noble army of martyrs has never been without a chronicler. There was no need that the Holy Spirit should give us the details of the deaths of the witnesses for Christ because we should have plenty in another form.

And it is noteworthy that in this one, which is the fullest we have, there is nothing said about the sufferings of Stephen. Have you not had your feelings harrowed by descriptions of the burnings in the reign of Queen Mary-how the torches were slowly lighted; how, sometimes, the martyrs actually cried out, "For pity's sake, give us more fire"; how they writhed in agony and yet cried out, "None but Jesus"? Such details may be very proper, but I think that they minister to our sentiment rather than to our edification. The Holy Spirit takes a different line and tells of the triumph of the martyr, of the light that shone upon his face, of the vision that he beheld that cheered his spirit, and of the blessed calm that ca ...

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