WRITTEN FROM ROME, A. D. 62.
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.