Thieleman J. Van Braght, Martyrs Mirror

57. Onesimus

Onesimus, A Friend Of The Apostle Paul, Brought From Rome To Ephesus, And There Stoned To Death, A.D. 111

Onesimus, a servant of Philemon, by descent a Colossian, had run away from his master, and had come to Rome, where he was recognized by the apostle Paul—who was imprisoned there—and sent back to his master, with recommendatory letters tending to reconciliation, as may be seen in the epistle of Paul to Philemon, in which Paul calls him his son, whom he had begotten in his bonds. Philemon 10.

He also carried a certain letter of Paul from the prison at Rome to the church at Colosse; for in the conclusion of the epistle to the Colossians we read: “Sent from Rome through Tychicus and Onesimus.” Col. 4 after verse 18.

It appears therefore, that he was a beloved friend and faithful servant of the apostle Paul, notwithstanding he had left his external service in the house of Philemon. He also, after he was sincerely converted, was not permitted to finish his course without persecution, sufferings, and a violent death; but had to tread after the example of his Saviour, the wine press of suffering. According to the testimony of ancient historians, he was carried away bound from Ephesus to Rome, and there stoned to death, under Trajan, and the judge Tertullus, shortly after the death of Ignatius, A. D. 111. See above, Idem. Ibidem, ex Act. Metaph. Mart., Rom., 16 Febr. Also, Ado.

Thieleman J. Van Braght (1625-1664) was an Anabaptist who is best known for writing a history of the Christian witness throughout the centuries entitled “The Bloody Theater or Martyrs Mirror of the Defenseless Christians who baptized only upon confession of faith, and who suffered and died for the testimony of Jesus, their Saviour, from the time of Christ to the year A.D. 1660” (1660).

Thieleman J. Van Braght, Martyrs Mirror