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apostle has here set us an example of benevolence, condescension, and Christian charity, which it well becomes us to follow. He bestowed his attention to the welfare and conversion of a slave; and, in a most affectionate and earnest manner, interceded with his master for his pardon. (5.) We should not despair of those who are wicked, but should use our best endeavours to reclaim them. Though Onesimys had robbed his master, and run away from him, the apostle attempted his conversion, among others, and succeeded therein. (6.) Restitution is due, where an injury has been done ; unless the injured party freely forgive. Accordingly, the apostle Paul gives a promise under his hand, for Oneşimus's making restitution as a matter of justice, if Philemon insisted upon it. (7.) We should be grateful to our benefactor. This St. Paul touches upon very gently, (ver. 19,) where he intimates to Philemon that he owed unto him himself also ; and, therefore, in point of gratitude, he was obliged to grant his request. (8.) We should forgive the penitent, and be truly reconciled to them. (9.) The apostle's example teaches us to do all we can to settle quarrels and differences, and reconcile those who are at variance. (10.) A wise man chooses, sometimes, to address in a soft and obliging manner, even in cases where there is authority to command. (11.) All teachers of religion have here the most glorious example set before them, to induce them to have a most tender regard to the souls of men of all ranks and conditions ; and to endeavour to convert the slaye, as well as the rich, and great, and honourable of the earth. He who disdained not to teach a slave, a fugitive, and a thief, but preached the doctrine of salvation to him, and used exertions with him, till he had restored him to his master an honest worthy man, how disinterested must be have been ! to whom would he not condescend ? or whose salvation and happiness would he not endeavour to promote ? It would be well if there was the same spirit, in all the teachers of Christianity, at all times, and in all places! (12.) Here is a most glorious proof of the good effects of Christianity, where it is rightly understood, and sincerely embraced. It transforms a worthless dishonest slave into a pious, virtuous, amiable, and useful man; makes him not only happier and better in himself, but a better servant, and better in all relations and circumstances whatever. Thus we see how
many useful and excel lent instructions are contained in a short familiar letter of St. Paul's : it exhibits also some of the finest strokes of true rhetoric; it must be allowed to be a masterpiece of its kind, and demonstrates the superiority of character, and talent, possessed by this eminent apostle. Philemon had a Church in his house ; his domestics, as well
count what effect this epistle had upon Philemon ; but the letter being preserved by the primitive Christians, and other circumstances, may induce us to conclude that Philemon granted the apostle's request, and received Onesimus into his house and favour again.
The general opinion seems to be that this epistle was written near the conclusion of St. Paul's first confinement at Rome, about the year of Christ 62 or 63.
4 He rejoiceth to hear of the faith and love of Philemon, 9 whom he
desireth to forgive his servant Onesimus, and lovingly to receive him again.
A. D. 64. PAUL, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellowlabourer,
2 And to our beloved " Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy house :
3 'Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
4 I 6 thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers,
5 Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints ;2
6 That the communication of thy faith3 may
most dear sister. Wi. our beloved sister. Wh. ?Hearing of the faith which thou hast towards the Lord Jesus, and of thy love to all the saints. Dod. our common faith. Co.
• Ver. 9. See on Acts, ix. 16. Phi. ii. 25: Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier.
· Col. iv. 17: Say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry.
a Phi. ii. 25: The words under ver. 1.
Eph. i. 2: Grace be to you, and peace, from God our
8 See on Rom. i. 8.
Rom. xii. 13: Distributing to the necessity of saints. 2 Cor. ix. 13: They glorify God for your professed subjec
becoine keffectual 'by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you 5 in Christ Jesus.
7 For we have a great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels? of the saints are r refreshed by thee, brother.
8 Wherefore, though I might be omuch bold in Christ to enjoin thee that which is convenient,8
9 Yet for love's sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a P prisoner of Jesus Christ.
10 I beseech thee for my son 9 Onesimus, whom I have "begotten in my
bonds : 11 Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me:
* ju the knowledge of, or to make known. Br. • among you. Ham. 6 10 wards Christ Jesus. Ham. hearts. Ma. Cr. Gen. 8 becometh thee. Co. Ma, was thy duty to do. Cr. tion unto the Gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them. Phi. iv. 15: No church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. Heb. xiii. 16 : To do good and to communicate forget not.
K James, ii. 14, 17: What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works ? can faith save him? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
See on Phi. i. 9, 11.
m 2 Cor. vii. 4, 13: I am filled with comfort, I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation. We were comforted in your comfort : yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all.
- Ver. 20. 1 Cor. xvi. 18: They have refreshed my spirit and your's. 2 Tim. i. 16: He [Onesiphorus] oft refreshed me.
• 1 Thes. ii. 6: When we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ.
p Ver. 1. See on Acts, ix. 16.
•1 Pet. ii. 10: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
12 Whom I have sent again : thou therefore * receive him, that is, mine own bowels :
13 Whom I would have retained with me, " that in thy stead he might have ministered unto me in the bonds of the Gospel :
14 But without 'thy mind' would I do nothing; that thy benefit 10 should not be as it were of necessity, but willingly.
15 w For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him for ever;
16 Not now as a servant, but above 11 a servant, *a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the “flesh and in the Lord ?
17 If thou count me therefore " à partner, 12 receive him as myself.
9 counsel. Wi. Rh. opinion. Pu. 10 thy good deed. Ham. 11 for. Wi. Rh. 12 hold me for thy companion. Co. esteem me a companion. Dod.
LUKE, xv. 20: When he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck and kissed him.
u See on 1 Cor. xvi, 17.
v2 Cor. ix. 7: Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity : for God loveth a cheerful giver.
w Gen. xlv. 5, 8: Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither : for God did send me before you to preserve life. So now it was not
that sent me hither, but God : and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.
* Mat. xxiii. 8: But be not ye called Rabbi : for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. í fim. vi. 2 : And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren ; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort.
y Col, iii. 22 : Servants, obey in all things your masters: according to the flesh.
2 2 Cor. viii. 23 : Whether any do enquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellowhelper.
18 If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account ;
19 I Paul have written it with mine own hand, I will repay it : albeit I do not say to thee how thou owest unto me even thine own self besides.
20 Yea, 13 brother, let me have joy of thee in the Lord : * refresh 14 my bowels 15 in the Lord. 16
21 Having confidence in thy obedience I wrote unto thee, knowing that thou wilt also do more than I say.
22 But withal prepare me also a lodging : for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you.
23 There salute thee e Epaphras, my fellowprisoner in Christ Jesus ;
24 Marcus, & Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellowlabourers.
25 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with
your spirit. Amen.
14 coinfort. Ma. Cr. Bi. Gen.
13 Even so. Co. Ma. I pray. Han. 15 heart. Co. 16 in Christ. Wi. We.
a Ver. 7.
See on Phi. ii. 24.
i 2 Tim. iv. 11: Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee : for he is profitable to me for the ministry.
* See on Roń. xv, 30,