I. PAUL, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ, who are at Colosse, favour be to you and peace from God our Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ. We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ always when we pray for you; having heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, through the hope which is laid up for you in the heavens; of which ye have formerly heard in the word of the truth of the gospel, which is present among you, as also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, even as among you from the day ye heard and acknowledged the favour of God in truth. As ye also learned from Epaphras, our beloved fellow-servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ with respect to you; who likewise hath signified to us your love in spirit. For this reason we also, from the day we heard these things, do not cease praying for you, and requesting that ye may be filled with the knowledge of his will, through all wisdom and spiritual understanding; in order that ye may walk worthy of the Lord to all pleasing, bringing forth fruit by every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God. Being strengthened with all strength, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and long suffering with joy, we give thanks to the Father, who maketh us fit for a portion of the inheritance of the saints in the light; who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his beloved Son; by whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the first born of the whole creation. Because by him were created all things which are in the heavens and which are upon the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones, or lordships, or governments, or powers; all things were created through him, and for him. And he is before all things; by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, even the congregation. He is the beginning, the first born from the dead, that in all respects he might be pre-eminent. For it pleased the Father that in him all the fulness should dwell. And by him to reconcile all things to him, having made peace by the blood of his cross; I say, by him, whether they be things upon the earth, or things in the heavens. Even you, who were formerly alienated in mind, and enemies by works which are wicked, he hath now indeed reconciled, in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblamable, and unreprovable, in his sight; since ye continue in the faith founded and stable, and not removed from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, which hath been proclaimed to every creature which is under heaven, and of which I Paul am made a minister. I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and in my turn fill up the remainder of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body, which is the congregation; whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God, which was given to me on your account, fully to declare the word of God: the secret which was kept hid from the ages, and from the generations, but now is made manifest to his saints; to whom God was pleased to make known what is the riches of the glory of this secret concerning the Gentiles, which is Christ to you the hope of glory; whom we announce, admonishing every man, and teaching every man, with all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. For which I also labour, combatting vigorously, according to the effectual working of him who worketh effectually in me with power.

II. Wherefore, I wish you to know how great a combat I have for you, and for them in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; that, being compacted together in love, their hearts may be comforted, even by all the riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the secret of God, even of the Father, and of Christ; in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge laid up. Now this I affirm that no one may deceive you with plausible speech. For though in the flesh I be absent, yet in spirit I am with you, rejoicing when I see your order, and the firmness of your faith in Christ. Since, then, ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk ye in him, rooted in him, and built upon him, and established in the faith, even as ye have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Beware lest there be any one who maketh a prey of you through an empty and deceitful philosophy, which is according to the tradition of men, according to the elements of the world, and not according to Christ. Because all the fulness of the Deity resideth substantially in him.*[App. No. LXXXIV.] And ye are made complete by him, who is the head of all government and power. By whom also ye have been circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by the putting off of the body of the sins of the flesh, even by the circumcision of Christ; being buried with him by immersion, in which also ye have been raised with him, through the belief of the strong working of God, who raised him from the dead. For you, who were dead on account of trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, he hath made alive together with hm, having forgiven you all trespasses. He hath blotted out the hand-writing of ordinances concerning us, which was contrary to us, and hath taken it from among us, nailing it to the cross. Having spoiled governments and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them by it. Wherefore, let no one judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a festival, or of a new moon, or of sabbaths; which are a shadow of things to come, but the body is Christ's body. Let no one make you lose your reward, by delighting in humility, and the worship of messengers, intruding into things which he hath not seen, being without cause puffed up by his own carnal mind. And not holding firmly the head, by whom the whole body, through the joints and ligaments, being served and compacted, increaseth with the increase of God.

Farther, since ye have died with Christ from the elements of the world, why, as living in the world, do ye subject yourselves to these dogmas? 'Neither eat, nor taste, nor handle, (whatever things tend to destruction in the using,') according to institutions and doctrines merely human; which, indeed, have an appearance of wisdom, by will-worship, and humility, and a not sparing of the body, [but] not by any provision for satisfying of the flesh.

III. Since, then, ye have been raised with Christ, seek the things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God. Set your affections on things above, not on things upon the earth. For ye are dead; but your life is hid with Christ by God. When Christ shall appear, with whom our life is hid, then ye also shall appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, your members which are on the earth: fornication, impurity, unnatural lust, evil desire, and licentiousness which is idolatry; for which things the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience. In which things ye also walked formerly, when ye lived with them. But now do ye also put away all these: anger, wrath, malice, defamation, obscene discourse, from your mouth. Lie not one to another, having p0ut off the old man, with his practices; and having put on the new, who is renewed by knowledge, after the image of him who created him;--where there is neither Greek nor Jew; circumcision nor uncircumcision; barbarian, Scythian; slave, freeman; but Christ is all and in all. Put on, therefore, as elected of God, holy and beloved, bowels of compassion, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long suffering. Support one another, and forgie each other, if any one have a complaint against any one: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And over all lthese put on love, which is a bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; and with all wisdom teach and admonish each other, by psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with gratitude in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever ye do, in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God, even the Father, through him. Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not exasperate your children, lest they be discouraged. Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eye-services, as men-pleasers; but with integrity of heart, as fearing God. And whatever ye do, work it from the soul, as working to the Lord, and not to men only: knowing that from the Lord ye shall receive the recompense of the inheritance; for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he who doth unjustly, shall receive for the injustice he hath done. For there is no respect of persons. Masters, afford to your servants what is just, and what is equal, knowing that ye also have a master in the heavens.

IV. 2.--Continue in prayer, watching thereunto with thanksgiving. Pray at the same time also for us, that God would open a door of the word, to speak the secret of Christ, for which I am even in bonds. That I may make it manifest, as it becomes me to speak. Walk in wisdom toward them who are without, gaining time. Let your speech be always with gracefulness, seasoned with salt, knowing how ye ought to answer every one. All things concerning me, Tychicus, a beloved brother, and faithful minister, and fellow-servant in the Lord, will make known to you; whom I have sent to you for this very purpose, that he may know your affairs, and comfort your hearts; with Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is from you. They will make known to you all things which are done here. Aristarchus, my fellow-prisoner, saluteth you, and Mark, Barnabas's sister's son; concerning whom ye got orders; if he come to you, receive him; and Jesus, who is called Justus. They are of the circumcision. These alone are labourers with me in the kingdom of God, who have been a consolation to me. Epaphras, who came from you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you; at all times fervently striving for you by prayers, that ye may stand perfect and completed in the whole will of God. For I bear him witness, taht he hath much affection for you, and them in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis. Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, salute you. Salute the brethren in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the congregation in his house. And when this epistle hath been read to you, cause that it be read also in the congregation of the Laodiceans; and that ye also read the one from Laodicea. And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou mayest fulfil it.

The salutation of Paul, with mine own hand. Remember my bonds. Favour be with you. Amen.

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