Hearing of Philemons vertue, who was a Colossian, he writeth a familiar letter from Rome
(being prisoner there) about his fugitiue seruant Onesimus: not doubting but that he might
command him, yet rather requesting that he wil forgiue him, yea and receiue him as he would
Paul himself, who also hopeth to come vnto him.
1. PAVL the prisoner of Chirst Iesvs, and brother Timothee: to Philemon the beloued and our Coadiutour,
2. and to Appia our dearest sister, and to Archippus our fellow-souldiar and to the Church which is in thy house.
3. Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and our Lord Iesvs Christ.
4. I giue thankes to my God, alwaies making a memorie of thee in my praiers,
5. hearing thy ✟ Faith and charitie commended alwaies together, both necessarie to make a complete Christian man & to iustification & saluation. charitie & faith which thou hast in our Lord Iesvs, and Toward al the Saints.
Faith and beleefe in Saints.
The Apostle sticketh not to say, Charitie and faith in Christ and al his Saincts, vvhich our captious Aduersaries count in Catholike mens speaches and vvritings, very absurd, feining that in al such vve make no difference betvvixt the loue vve beare to Christ, and the loue vve owe to our neighbours: betvvixt the trust or beleefe vve haue in God, and that vvhich vve haue in his holy Saincts. Malice and contention doth so blinde al Heretikes. toward al the Saints:
6. that the communication of thy faith may be made euident in the agnition of al ✟ good worke good that is in you in Christ Iesvs.
7. For I haue had great ioy and consolation in thy charitie, because the bowels of the Saints ✟ The dueties of charitie and mercie done to Christes prisoners, are exceeding acceptable to God and al good men. haue rested by thee brother.
8. For the which thing hauing great confidence in Christ Iesvs to command thee that which pertaineth to the purpose:
9. for charitie rather I beseech, whereas thou art such an one, as Paul being old and now prisoner also of Iesvs Christ.
10. I beseech thee for my sonne whom I haue begotten in bands, * Col. 4,9. Onesimus,
11. who hath been sometime vnprofitable to thee, but now profitable both to me and thee,
12. whom I haue sent back to thee. ✟ Al Spiritual men ought to be exceeding propense & ready to procure mens pardon and reconciliation to al penitents. And doe thou receiue him as mine owne bowels.
13. Whom I would haue reteined with me, that for thee he might minister to me in the bands of the Ghospel:
14. but without thy counsel I would doe nothing: that thy good might be not as it were necessitie, but voluntarie.
15. For perharps therfore he departed for a season from thee, that thou mightest take him againe for euer.
16. Now not as a seruant, but for a seruant, a most deare brother, especially to me, but how much more to thee both in the flesh and in our Lord?
17. If therfore thou take my for thy fellow; receiue him as my self.
18. And if he hath hurt thee any thing or is in thy debt, that impute to me.
19. I Paul haue written with mine owne hand: I wil repay it: not say to thee, ✟ The great debt and duetie that we owe to such as be our spiritual parents in Christ. that thou owest me thine owne self also.
20. Yea brother. ✟ ὀναίμησ. God grant I may enioy thee in our Lord. Refresh my bowels in our Lord.
21. Trusting in thy obedience I haue written to thee, knowing that thou wilt doe aboue that also which I doe say.
22. And withal prouide me also a lodging. For I hope but your praiers that I shal be giuen to you.
23. There salute thee Epaphras my fellow-prisoner in Christ Iesvs,
24. Marke, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke my Coadiutours.
25. The grace of our Lord Iesvs Christ be with your spirit. Amen.