by Charles H. Spurgeon

The Story of a Runaway Slave
Charles H. Spurgeon

Perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him for ever (Philemon 15).

Nature is selfish, but grace is loving. He who boasts that he cares for nobody and nobody cares for him is the reverse of a Christian, for Jesus Christ enlarges the heart when He cleanses it. None is so tender and sympathetic as our Master, and if we be truly His disciples, the same mind will be in us that was also in Christ Jesus. The apostle Paul was eminently large hearted and sympathetic. Surely he had enough to do at Rome to bear his own troubles and to preach the Gospel. If, like the priest in the parable of the good Samaritan, he had passed by on the other side, he might have been excused, for he was on the urgent business of that Master who once said to His seventy messengers, "Salute no man by the way" (Luke 10:4). We might not have wondered if he had said, "I cannot find time to attend to the wants of a runaway slave." But Paul was not of that mind. He had been preaching, and Onesimus had been converted. Henceforth he regarded him as his own son.

I do not know why Onesimus came to Paul. Perhaps he went to him as a great many scapegraces have come to me-because their fathers knew me and so, as Onesimus' master had known Paul, the servant applied to his master's friend, perhaps to beg some little help in his extremity. Anyhow, Paul seized the opportunity and preached to him Jesus, and the runaway slave became a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul watched him, admired the character of his convert, and was glad to be served by him. When he thought it right that he should return to his master, Philemon, he took a deal of trouble to compose a letter of apology for him-a letter that shows long thinking, since every word is well selected. Albeit the Holy Spirit dictated it, inspiration does not prevent a man's exercising thought and care on what he writes. Every word is chosen for a purpose. If he had b ...

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