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But desires Philemon to receive him as a brother.

SECT. temper and character.


receive him as myself.

18 If he hath wrong

mine account;

19 I Paul have writ

If therefore thou 17 If thou count d esteemest me as a friend and a companion in me therefore a partner, Phil. 17. Christ, I beseech thee to receive him, even as thou wouldst receive myself, if I could have the satisfaction of making thee a visit in person. 18 If he have injured thee in any pecuniary matter, or is indebted [to thee], in consequence of any ed thee, or oweth thee former extravagancies and follies (of which di- ought, put that on vine grace hath now, I hope, made him truly sensible), so far as it has been the case, charge 19 it to my account. I Paul have written [it] with my own hand, and do hereby, as it were, give ten it with mine own hand, I will repay it: thee legal security for it; I will pay it again up- albeit 1 do not say to on demand, as far as my little substance will go. thee how thou owest Not to say to thee, that as I was the happy instrument of thy conversion to Christ, thou owest even thine own self unto me, We will put that quite out of the question, and if thou pleasest to require it, I will really charge myself as thy debtor, and take the first opportunity of making 20 thee a remittance. Yes, [my] dear brother,



me even thine own self besides.

20 Yea, brother, let

bowels in the Lord.

let me prevail upon thee in this request, let me me have joy of thee in
have joy of thee in the Lord; and while thou the Lord: refresh my
art so ready to do good to others, and to com-
municate for their comfort, out of those stores
which Providence has so graciously given thee,
let me beseech thee to refresh my bowels in the
Lord; for the Christian consolation, which it
will afford me, to see thee and Onesimus happy
in each other, will be better, and more delight-
ful, than food to the hungry.

But I will not urge the matter farther; I have
written to thee, in full confidence of thy ready
obedience and deference to my request, and in
deed, as knowing that thou wilt do even more
than I say; thou wilt not think of insisting up-
on the exact balance of former accounts, but
wilt readily embrace this thy returning servant

d Esteemest me a companion.] L'Enfant translates it, "I conjure thee therefore, by all that is common between us, receive him as myself," in imitation of Theodoret, who was no doubt an excellent commentator.

But the main thought which prevailed in the apostle's mind seems to have been the participation they both had in the blessings of the gospel, which was the dearest bond of their friendship.

e Refresh my bowels.] The word avanavon is wonderfully emphatical. It literally signifies to appease, or quiet; which strongly


21 Having confi. dence in thy obedience, I wrote unto

thee, knowing that thou wilt also do more than I say.

intimates the commotion he felt, through the ardour of his concern for Onesimus: and seems to represent the eagerness of his desire for his re-establishment in Phile mon's family, by the appetite of hunger. Incapable, as in many other places, of expressing this in the version, I have attempted it, though by no means with equal spirit, in the paraphrase. Compare ver. 7, where the same word is used, and seems to be referred to here with peculiar beauty and propriety.

f Prepare

Reflections on Paul's tenderness for Onesimus.

for I trust that through

23 There salute thee Epaphras, my fellowprisoner in Christ Je



At the same



22 But withal pre- in the arms of paternal love. pare me also a lodging: time I must also desire thee to prepare a lodgyour prayers I shall be ing for me, for, though I am as yet a prisoner, Phil. 22. given unto you. I hope that I shall, ere long, through your pray ers, be granted to you; and, if Providence set me at liberty again, I intend to visit your parts, and shall, if it be convenient, cast myself on the known hospitality of your family. In the 23 mean while, accept the greeting of our Christian brethren here at Rome, and let me particularly tell thee that Epaphras, my fellow cap24 Marcus, Aris- tive in Christ Jesus, salutes thee; As [also] 24 tarchus, Demas, Lucas, Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow-labourers, who are cordially engaged with me in the service of the gospel, and take a peculiar pleasure in lending that assistance to the churches in Rome which my confinement will 25 The grace of our not conveniently admit me to impart. I con- 25 Lord Jesus Christ be clude with the best wish which the most enwith your spirit. dearing Christian friendship can form: May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ ever [be] with your spirit, and shed abroad on thee, and all thy companions in him, that peace and happiness which nothing but the communications of his favour can give. Amen.

my fellow-labourers.



How amiable is the condescension of the holy apostle! how charming and delicate his address in this whole section! which makes the immediate occasion of this letter, minute as it may seem, Ver. matter of congratulation to the Christian world. St. Paul lays 8, 9 aside the authority, which his office, his age, his sufferings, gave him, to address Philemon, as on a foot of equal friendship, choosing rather, by love to entreat. Let the example be imitated by those in superior stations and relations of life; and let them learn likewise, from the tenderness which such a man expresses about this poor slave, in whom he traced the appearance of a truly Christian temper, to interest themselves in the happiness of those whose rank is far beneath their own; and learn to make the situation of their servants easy, by a kind and friendly treatment. Well may such 16 a care be expected, especially when we can look on such as brethren, beloved in the Lord, and partakers with us in the same Saviour and hope.


f Prepare a lodging for me.] Theodoret quickly, would naturally add greater weight justly observes, that Paul's mentioning his to his interposition in favour of Onesimus. urpose of coming to lodge with Philemon




Reflections on Paul's tenderness for Onesimus.

Let those, to whom God hath blessed the labours of his faith. ful ministers, as the means of their conversion, remember it with Ver. pleasure, and ascribe it to the riches of Divine grace, to which all is originally to be traced; remembering also, that there is a sense in which they owe even themselves to those who have been honour19 ed as the instruments of bringing them to Christ, without an acquaintance with whom they had lost themselves, and been ruined for ever. Let the kindness which Paul expresses for Onesimus, in 18 being willing that his debt to Philemon should be charged to his 18, 19 account, lead us to reflect on our infinite obligations to a gracious

Redeemer. He has suffered our ten thousand talents to be imputed to him, that his righteousness might be so imputed to us, that, for the sake of it, we should finally be re-admitted to the family of God. With an ingratitude not to be paralleled, by any thing which can pass between mortal men, we had perfidiously deserted 15 it; but the Divine goodness leaves us room humbly to hope, we may have departed from it for a while,to be received into it for ever. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with our spirit, to produce those strong impressions of wonder, thankfulness, and love, 25 which ought to fill it, in every remembrance of such overflowing and triumphant mercy! Amen.













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