Eusebius Pamphilus

[Editor's note: Eusebius was an early church historian.]

Festus was sent by Nero to be Felix's successor. Under him Paul, having made his defense, was sent bound to Rome. Aristarchus was with him, whom he also somewhere in his epistles quite naturally calls his fellow-prisoner. And Luke, who wrote the Acts of the Apostles, brought his history to a close at this point, after stating that Paul spent two whole years at Rome as a prisoner at large, and preached the word of God without restraint.

Thus, after he had made his defense, it is said that the apostle was sent again upon the ministry of preaching, and that upon coming to the same city a second time he suffered martyrdom. In this imprisonment he wrote his second epistle to Timothy, in which he mentions his first defense and his impending death.

But hear his testimony on these matters: "At my first answer," he says, "no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion."

He plainly indicates in these words that on the former occasion, in order that the preaching might be fulfilled by him, he was rescued from the mouth of the lion, referring, in this expression, to Nero, as is probable on account of the latter's cruelty. He did not, therefore, afterward add the similar statement, "He will rescue me from the mouth of the lion"; for he saw in the spirit that his end would not be long delayed.

Then he adds to the words, "And he delivered me from the mouth of the lion," this sentence: "The Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom," indicating his speedy martyrdom; which he also foretells still more clearly in the same epistle, when he writes, "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand."

In his second epistle to Timothy, moreover, he indicates that Luke was with him when he wrote, but at this first defense not even he. Whence it is probable that Luke wrote the Acts of the Apostles at that time, continuing his history down to the period when he was with Paul.

Taken from Book 2, Chapter 22, of Ecclesiastical History.