C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the Worlds Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917. H. R. Keller. The Readers Digest of Books.
Onesimus: Memoirs of a Disciple of St. Paul
Edwin Abbott Abbott (18381926)
Onesimus: Memoirs of a Disciple of St. Paul, by the author of Philochristus: Memoirs of a Disciple of the Lord, appeared in America in 1882. The story is told in the language used in the English version of the Acts of the Apostles, and is placed in the first century of the Christian era.
Onesimus, who himself tells the story in the first person, is one of the twin sons of a noble Greek. Stolen from his parents in childhood, he is sold as a slave, and becomes one of the household of Philemon, who is represented as a wealthy citizen of Colossa. Falsely accused of theft, Onesimus runs away. It is then that he meets Paulus (the Apostle St. Paul), and becoming a convert to the Christian faith, is sent back to Philemon, his master, with the letter which figures in the New Testament as the Epistle to Philemon. Onesimus becomes a minister, at length, and suffers martyrdom for his faith.
A prominent character in the narrative is St. Paul, into some passages of whose life the author enters with picturesque minuteness, dwelling upon his final ministry and martyrdom at Rome. Thus is attempted a faithful and realistic view of the early Christian faith and apostolic times, introducing Nero and several other historical characters. The entire narrative is founded upon statements of the Scripture records, but some liberties are taken as to both characters and scenes. However, the author has gathered much of his material from such sources as are generally recognized as authentic, even embodying the substance of passages from these authorities in the descriptions and conversations. The whole difficult subject is handled in a striking manner; the tone is reverent; and the treatment is eminently artistic, and quite winning in its simple, dignified beauty.