Colossians 4

CHAPTER IV.

The duty of masters to their servants, 1.

Continuance in prayer recommended, to which watchfulness and

thanksgiving should be joined, 2.

And to pray particularly for the success of the Gospel, 3, 4.

Directions concerning walking wisely, redeeming of time, and

godly conversation, 5, 6.

He refers them to Tychius and Onesimus, whom he sends to them

for particulars relative to his present circumstances, 7-9.

Mentions the salutations of several then at Rome, of whom he

gives some interesting particulars, 10-14.

Sends his own salutations to the brethren in Laodicea, and to

Nymphas and the Church at his house, 15.

Directs this epistle to be read in the Church of the Laodiceans,

and that to them to be read at Colosse, 16.

Directions to Archippus relative to his ministry, 17.

Concludes with salutations to the people at Colosse, to whom he

sends his apostolical benediction, 18.

NOTES ON CHAP. IV.

Verse 1. Masters, give unto your servants] This verse should

have been added to the preceding, to which it properly belongs;

and this chapter should have begun with Col 4:2.

That which is just and equal] As they are bondmen or slaves of

whom the apostle speaks, we may at once see with what propriety

this exhortation is given. The condition of slaves among the

Greeks and Romans was wretched in the extreme; they could appeal

to no law; and they could neither expect justice nor equity. The

apostle, therefore, informs the proprietors of these slaves that

they should act towards them both according to justice and equity;

for God, their Master, required this of them, and would at last

call them to account for their conduct in this respect. Justice

and equity required that they should have proper food, proper

raiment, due rest, and no more than moderate work. This is a

lesson that all masters throughout the universe should carefully

learn. Do not treat your servants as if God had made them of an

inferior blood to yours.

Verse 2. Continue in prayer] This was the apostle's general

advice to all; without this, neither wives, husbands, children,

parents, servants, nor masters, could fulfil the duties which God,

in their respective stations, required of them.

All might, power, and life come from God; his creatures are

continually dependent upon him for all these: to earnest,

persevering prayer, he has promised every supply; but he who prays

not has no promise. How few wives feel it their duty to pray to

God to give them grace to behave as wives! How few husbands pray

for the grace suited to their situation, that they may be able to

fulfill its duties! The like may be said of children, parents,

servants, and masters. As every situation in life has its

peculiar duties, trials, &c.; so to every situation there is

peculiar grace appointed. No man can fulfil the duties of any

station without the grace suited to that station. The grace

suited to him, as a member of society in general, will not be

sufficient for him as a husband, father, or master. Many proper

marriages become unhappy in the end, because the parties have not

earnestly besought God for the grace necessary for them as

husbands and wives. This is the origin of family broils in

general; and a proper attention to the apostle's advice would

prevent them all.

Watch in the same] Be always on your guard; and when you have

got the requisite grace by praying, take care of it, and bring it

into its proper action by watchfulness; by which you will know

when, and where, and how to apply it.

With thanksgiving] Being always grateful to God, who has called

you into such a state of salvation, and affords you such abundant

means and opportunities to glorify him.

Verse 3. Praying also for us] Let the success and spread of

the Gospel be ever dear to you; and neglect not to pray fervently

to God that it may have free course, run, and be glorified.

A door of utterance] θυραντουλογου. The word θυρα, which

commonly signifies a door, or such like entrance into a house or

passage through a wall, is often used metaphorically for an

entrance to any business, occasion or opportunity to commence or

perform any particular work. So in Ac 14:27:

The DOOR of faith is opened to the Gentiles; i.e. there is now an

opportunity of preaching the Gospel to the nations of the earth.

1Co 16:9:

A great and effectual DOOR is opened unto me; i.e. I have now a

glorious opportunity of preaching the truth to the people of

Ephesus. 2Co 2:12:

When I came to Troas-a DOOR was opened unto me; I had a fine

opportunity of preaching Christ crucified at that place. So,

here, the θυρατουλογου, which we translate door of utterance,

signifies an occasion, opportunity, or entrance, for the doctrine

of the Gospel. The same metaphor is used by the best Latin

writers. Cicero, xiii. Ep. 10: Amiciliae fores aperiuntur; the

DOORS of friendship are opened-there is now an opportunity of

reconciliation. And Ovid, Amor. Iib. iii., Eleg. xii. ver. 12:-

JANUA per nostras est adaperta manus.

"The gate is opened by our hands."

Of this use of the word among the Greek writers Schleusner

gives several examples. See also Re 3:8, where the word is used

in the same sense. To multiply examples would be needless; the

apostle excites them to pray, not that a door of utterance, i.e.

a readiness and fluency of speech, may be given to him and his

fellow labourers, but that they may have an opportunity of

preaching the doctrine of Christ; and so the term λογος is to be

understood here, as well as in many other places of the New

Testament, in most of which we have either lost or obscured its

meaning by translating it word instead of doctrine.

The mystery of Christ] The Gospel, which had been hidden from

all former times, and which revealed that purpose long hidden in

the Divine councils, that the Gentiles should be called to enjoy

the same privileges with the Jews.

For which I am also in bonds] He was suffering under Jewish

malice, and for preaching this very mystery; for they could not

bear to hear announced, as from heaven, that the Gentiles, whom

they considered eternally shut out from any participation of the

Divine favour, should be made fellow heirs with them of the grace

of life; much less could they bear to hear that they were about to

be reprobated, and the Gentiles elected in their place. It was

for asserting these things that they persecuted Paul at Jerusalem,

so that to save his life he was obliged to appeal to Caesar; and

being taken to Rome, he was detained a prisoner till his case was

fully heard; and he was a prisoner at Rome on this very account

when he wrote this Epistle to the Colossians.

See Clarke on Col 1:24.

Verse 4. That I may make it manifest] It was a mystery, and he

wished to make it manifest-to lay it open, and make all men see

it.

Verse 5. Walk in wisdom] Act wisely and prudently in reference

to them who are without-who yet continue unbelieving Gentiles or

persecuting Jews.

The Church of Christ was considered an enclosure; a field, or

vineyard, well hedged or walled. Those who were not members of

it, were considered without; i.e. not under that especial

protection and defence which the true followers of Christ had.

This has been since called "The pale of the Church," from palus, a

stake; or, as Dr. Johnson defines it, "A narrow piece of wood,

joined above and below to a rail, to enclose grounds." As to be a

Christian was essential to the salvation of the soul, so to be in

the Church of Christ was essential to the being a Christian;

therefore it was concluded that "there was no salvation out of the

pale of the Church." Now this is true in all places where the

doctrines of Christianity are preached; but when one description

of people professing Christianity, with their own peculiar mode of

worship and creed, arrogate to themselves, exclusive of all

others, the title of THE Church; and then, on the ground of a

maxim which is true in itself, but falsely understood and applied

by them, assert that, as they are THE Church, and there is no

Church besides, then you must be one of them, believe as they

believe, and worship as they worship, or you will be infallibly

damned; I say, when this is asserted, every man who feels he has

an immortal spirit is called on to examine the pretensions of such

spiritual monopolists. Now, as the Church of Christ is formed on

the foundation of the prophets and apostles, Jesus Christ being

the chief corner stone, the doctrines of this Christian Church

must be sought for in the sacred Scriptures. As to fathers,

councils, and human authorities of all kinds, they are, in this

question, lighter than vanity; the book of God alone must decide.

The Church, which has been so hasty to condemn all others, and, by

its own soi disant or self-constituted authority, to make itself

the determiner of the fates of men, dealing out the mansions of

glory to its partisans, and the abodes of endless misery to all

those who are out of its antichristian and inhuman pale; this

Church, I say, has been brought to this standard, and proved by

the Scriptures to be fallen from the faith of God's elect, and to

be most awfully and dangerously corrupt; and to be within its

pale, of all others professing Christianity, would be the most

likely means of endangering the final salvation of the soul. Yet

even in it many sincere and upright persons may be found, who, in

spirit and practice, belong to the true Church of Christ. Such

persons are to be found of all religious persuasions, and in all

sorts of Christian societies.

Redeeming the time.] See Clarke on Eph 5:16.

Verse 6. Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with

salt] Let it be such as has a tendency to oppose and preserve

from the corruption of sin. The rabbins say: "He who, in prayer,

omits any word, should begin again at the beginning; for he who

does not is like boiled pottage, in which there is no salt."

Berachoth, fol. 34, 1. Let all your conversation be such as may

tend to exemplify and recommend Christianity; let it not only be

holy, but wise, gracious, and intelligent. A harsh method of

proposing or defending the doctrines of Christianity only serves

to repel men from those doctrines, and from the way of salvation.

Salt, from its use in preserving food from corruption, and

rendering it both savoury and wholesome, has always been made the

emblem of wisdom. The word has been also used to express in

composition or conversation what is terse, comprehensive, useful,

elegant, and impressive. The term Attic salt has been used to

express some of the principal beauties of the Greek tongue; of

such beauties the Gospel of Christ has an endless store.

See Clarke on Mt 5:13, and "Mr 9:50".

How ye ought to answer every man.] That your discourse may be

so judiciously managed, that ye may discern how to treat the

prejudices and meet the objections both of Jews and Gentiles.

Verse 7. All my state shall Tychicus] See the note on

Eph 6:21. Tychicus well knew the apostle's zeal and perseverance

in preaching the Gospel, his sufferings on that account, his

success in converting both Jews and Gentiles, and the converts

which were made in Caesar's household; he could give these to the

Colossians in ample detail, and some of them it would not have

been prudent to commit to writing.

Verse 8. That he might know your estate] Instead of ιναγνωτα

περιυμων, that HE may know YOUR affairs, ABD*FG, many

others, with the AEthiopic, Itala, Theodoret, and Damascenus, read

ιναγνωτεταπεριημων, that YE may know OUR affairs; which is

probably the true reading. Tychicus was sent to them, not to know

their affairs, but with Onesimus, to carry this epistle and make

the apostle's state known to them, and comfort their hearts by the

good news which he brought. The next verse confirms this meaning.

Verse 9. With Onesimus-who is one of you.] Onesimus was a

native of some part of Phrygia, if not of Colosse itself; and

being lately converted to the Christian faith by the

instrumentality of the apostle, he would be able, on this account,

to give them satisfactory information concerning the apostle's

state, which would be doubly acceptable to them as he was their

countryman. See the Epistle to Philemon.

All things which are done here.] FG, the Vulgate, Itala,

Jerome, and Bede, add here πραττομενα, what is done, which we

have supplied in Italics in our translation. These brethren could

give an account of the transactions at Rome, relative to the

apostle and Christianity, which it might not be prudent for him to

commit to writing. See Clarke on Col 4:7. The reign of Nero was not

only cruel, but suspicious, jealous, and dangerous.

Verse 10. Aristarchus my fellow prisoner] Concerning

Aristarchus, see Ac 19:29; 20:4; 27:2; and see the note on this

latter place. Aristarchus and Epaphras are mentioned as saluters

in this epistle, and in that to Philemon written at the same time;

but here he is said to be a prisoner, and Epaphras not. In that

to Philemon, Epaphras is called a prisoner, and Aristarchus not.

One of them is wrong, though it is uncertain which; unless both

were prisoners. See Wall's Crit. Notes. As Aristarchus had been

a zealous and affectionate adherent to St. Paul, and followed him

in all his journeys, ministering to him in prison, and assisting

him in preaching the Gospel in Rome, he might have been imprisoned

on this account. We need not suppose that both he and Epaphras

were imprisoned at the same time; about the same time they might

be imprisoned, but it might be so ordered by the providence of God

that when Aristarchus was imprisoned Epaphras was at liberty, and

while Epaphras was in prison Aristarchus was at liberty. This is

a very possible and easily to be conceived case.

Marcus] See the account of this person, Ac 15:39. Though

there had been some difference between the apostle and this Mark,

yet from this, and 2Ti 4:11, we find that they were fully

reconciled, and that Mark was very useful to St. Paul in the work

of the ministry.

Touching whom ye received commandments] What these were we

cannot tell; it was some private communication which had been

previously sent to the Colossian Church.

Verse 11. Jesus, which is called Justus] Jesus, Joshua, or

Jehoshua, was his name among his countrymen the Jews; Justus was

the name which he bore among the Greeks and Romans.

These only] That is, only Aristarchuss Marcus, and Jesus

Justus, who were formerly Jews or proselytes; for οιοντεςεκ

περιτομης, they were of the circumcision, and assisted the apostle

in preaching the Gospel. There were others who did preach

Christianity, but they did it from envy and strife, in order to

add affliction to the apostle's bonds. It is evident, therefore,

that St. Peter was not now at Rome, else he certainly would have

been mentioned in this list; for we cannot suppose that he was in

the list of those who preached Christ in an exceptionable way, and

from impure and unholy motives: indeed, there is no evidence that

St. Peter ever saw Rome. And as it cannot be proved that he ever

was bishop or pope of that city, the keystone of the triumphal

arch of the pope of Rome is pulled out; this building, therefore,

of his supremacy, cannot stand.

Verse 12. Epaphras, who is one of you] A native of some part

of Phrygia, and probably of Colosse itself.

A servant of Christ] A minister of the Gospel.

Labouring fervently for you] αγωνιζομενος. Agonizing; very

properly expressed by our translators, labouring fervently.

That ye may stand perfect and complete] ιναστητετελειοικαι

πεπληρμενοι. That ye may stand firm, perfectly instructed, and

fully persuaded of the truth of those doctrines which have been

taught you as the revealed will of God: this I believe to be the

meaning of the apostle.

Instead of πεπληρωμενοι, complete or filled up, almost all the

MSS. of the Alexandrian rescension, which are considered the most

authentic and correct, have πεπληροφορημενοι, that ye may be fully

persuaded. The word πληροφορια signifies such a complete

persuasion of the certainty of a thing, as leaves the mind which

has it neither room nor inclination to doubt; and πληροφορεω, the

verb, has the same meaning, viz., to be thus persuaded, or to

persuade thus, by demonstrative argumentation and exhibition of

unquestionable facts.

This is such a persuasion as the Spirit of God, by means of the

Gospel, gives to every sincere and faithful man; and from which

arises the solid happiness of the genuine Christian. They who

argue against it, prove, at least, that they have not got it.

Verse 13. He hath a great zeal for you] Instead of ζηλον

πολυν, much zeal, ABCD**, several others, with versions and

fathers, read πολυνπονον, much labour; they are here nearly of

the same meaning, though the latter appears to be the better and

genuine reading.

Laodicea, and-Hierapolis] These were both cities of Phrygia,

between which Colosse, or the city of Colassa, was situated. See

Col 2:1.

The latter was called Hierapolis, or the holy city, from the

multitude of its temples. Apollo, Diana, AEsculapius, and Hygeia,

were all worshipped here, as appears by the coins of this city

still extant.

Verse 14. Luke, the beloved physician] This is generally

supposed to be the same with Luke the evangelist. See the preface

to the notes on this gospel. Some, however, suppose them to be

different persons; because, where it is evident that Luke the

evangelist is meant, he never has more than his simple name Luke;

and because the apostle is supposed to intend a different person

here, he adds, οιατροςοαγαπητος, the beloved physician. The

word ιατρος signifies a healer, and must not be restricted to

physician, in the sense in which we use that word; he was surgeon,

physician, and dispenser of medicines, &c., for all these were

frequently combined in the same person.

Verse 15. Salute-Nymphas, and the Church-in his house.] This

person, and his whole family, which probably was very numerous,

appear to have received the Gospel; and it seems that, for their

benefit and that of his neighbours, he had opened his house for

the worship of God. In those primitive times there were no

consecrated places, for it was supposed that the simple setting

apart of any place for the worship of God was a sufficient

consecration. See of those domestic churches, Ro 16:5;

1Co 16:19.

Verse 16. Cause that it be read also in the Church of the

Laodiceans] That is: Let a copy be taken, and sent to them, that

it may be read there also. This appears to have been a regular

custom in the apostolic Church.

That ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea] Some suppose

that this was an epistle sent from Laodicea to the apostle, which

he now sent by Aristarchus to the Colossians, that they might

peruse it; that thereby they might see the propriety of sending a

copy of his epistle to them, to the Laodicean Church. Many

eminent critics are of this opinion, which appears to me to be

both forced and far fetched. Others think that the Epistle to the

Ephesians is the epistle in question, and that it was originally

directed to them, and not to the Ephesians.

See Clarke on Eph 1:1, &c.

But others, equally learned, think that there was

an epistle, different from that to the Ephesians, sent by St. Paul

to the Laodiceans, which is now lost. There was an epistle under

this direction in the times of Theodoret and Jerome, for both of

them mention it; but the latter mentions it as apocryphal, Legunt

quidam et ad Laodicenses Epistolam, sed ab omnibus exploditur;

"Some read an Epistle to the Laodiceans, but it is exploded by

all." The seventh OEcumenic council, held in 787, states that the

ancients allowed that there was an epistle with this direction,

but that all the orthodox rejected it as supposititious.

An epistle ad Laodicenses is still extant in the Latin language,

a very ancient copy of which is in the library Sancti Albani

Andegavensis, St. Alban's of Anjou. Hutter has translated it into

Greek, but his translation is of no authority. Calmet has

published this epistle, with various readings from the above MS.

I shall subjoin it at the end of this epistle, and give my opinion

relative to its use and authenticity. A copy of this epistle

stands in this place as a portion of Divine revelation in one of

my own MSS. of the Vulgate.

Verse 17. Say to Archippus] Who this person was we cannot

tell; there have been various conjectures concerning him; some

think he was bishop, or overseer of the Church at Colosse, in the

absence of Epaphras. Whatever he was, it has been supposed that

he had been remiss in discharging the duties of his office; and

hence this direction of the apostle, which appears here in the

light of a reprehension. But if the same person be meant as in

the Epistle to Philemon, Phm 1:2,

whom St. Paul calls his fellow labourer and fellow soldier, it

cannot be supposed that any reproof is here intended; for, as the

Epistle to the Colossians, and that to Philemon, were evidently

written about the end of the year 62, Archippus could not be a

fellow labourer and fellow soldier of the apostle at Rome, and yet

a delinquent at Colosse at the same time. It is more likely,

therefore, that the words of the apostle convey no censure, but

are rather intended to stir him up to farther diligence, and to

encourage him in the work, seeing he had so much false doctrine

and so many false teachers to contend with.

Verse 18. The salutation by the hand of me Paul.] The

preceding part of the epistle was written by a scribe, from the

mouth of the apostle: this, and what follows, was written by the

hand of St. Paul himself. A similar distinction we find,

1Co 16:21, and in 2Th 3:17; and this, it seems, was the means

by which the apostle authenticated every epistle which he sent to

the different Churches. The salutation of Paul with mine own

hand, which is the token in every epistle, so I write.

Remember my bonds] See what proof ye have of the truth of the

Gospel; I am in bonds on this account; I suffer patiently, yea,

exult in the Lord Jesus, so perfectly am I upheld by the grace of

the Gospel. Remember my bonds, and take courage. How eloquent

were these concluding words! That such a man should be in bonds

for the Gospel, was the fullest proof of the truth of the Gospel.

A cunningly devised fable could not have imposed on Saul of

Tarsus; he was fully satisfied of the truth of the doctrines of

Christianity; he proclaimed them as truths from heaven; and for

their sake cheerfully suffered the loss of all things. The bonds

of such a man are a plenary proof of the truth of the doctrines

for which he was bound.

Grace be with you.] May you still possess the favour and

blessing of our Lord Jesus Christ: the apostle ends, as he began,

this epistle. Without the grace of Christ they could not have

become a Church; without this grace they could not continue to be

one.

Amen] This is omitted by the most ancient and correct MSS.

The subscriptions, as usual, are various and uncertain:-

The common GREEK text has, To the Colossians, written from Rome

by Tychicus and Onesimus.

The Epistle to the Colossians; written at Rome, and sent by the

hand of Tychicus. SYRIAC.

To the Colossians. AETHIOPIC.

In the Vulgate there is no subscription.

The end of the epistle; and it was written from Rome, and sent

by the hand of Tychicus and Onesimus. Praise be to God for ever

and ever; and may his mercy be upon us. Amen. ARABIC.

Written from Athens by Tychicus, and Onesimus, and Mark, his

disciples. COPTIC.

The MSS. are not less various than the versions:

To the Colossians.-That to the Colossians is completed; that to

the Philippians begins.-That to the Colossians is finished; the

First Epistle to the Thessalonians begins.-To the Colossians, from

Rome.-Written to the Colossians from Rome.-Written from Rome by

Tychicus, and Timotheus, and Onesimus.-Written by Paul and

Timothy, and sent by Tychicus, and Onesimus.

That the epistle was written from Rome there is little cause to

doubt: that Timothy might be the scribe is very probable, because

it appears he was at Rome with the apostle in the same year in

which this epistle was written. See Php 2:19. And that it was

sent by Tychicus and Onesimus, seems evident from the 8th and 9th

verses of this chapter. Col 4:8,9

The common subscription has the consent of the greater number of

the most recent and comparatively recent MSS., but this is not, in

general, a proof of authenticity.

-----------------

In the note on "Col 4:16", I promised to subjoin what is called

the Epistle to the Laodiceans: I give it here from the best

copies, and add a literal translation, that the curious, whether

learned or unlearned, may have what some have believed to be

authentic, and what has doubtless existed, in one form or other,

from a very remote antiquity.

EPISTOLA PAULI APOSTOLI AD LAODICENSES,

1. Paulus, Apostolus, non ab hominibus, neque per hominem, sed

per Jesum Christum. Fratribus qui estis (sunt) Laodiceae.

2. Gratia vobis et pax a Deo Patre nostro, et Domino Jesu

Christo.

3. Gratias ago Christo per omnem orationem meam, quod permanentes

estis, et perseverantes in operibus bonis, promissionem

expectantes in die judicii.

4. Neque disturbent (deficiunt) vos quorumdam vaniloquia

insimulantium veritatem (insanientium) ut vos avertant a veritate

evangelii, quod a me praedicatur.

5. Et nunc faciet Deus, ut qui sunt ex me ad perfectionem

veritatis evangelii sint deservientes, et benignitatem operum

facientes quae sunt salutis vitae aeternae.

6. Et nunc palam sunt vincula mea, quae patior in Christo; in

quibus laetor et gaudeo.

7. Et hoc mihi est ad salutem perpetuam, quod (ipsum) factum est

in orationibus vestris, et administrante Spiritu Sancto, sive per

vitam, sive per mortem.

8. Est enim mihi vivere vita in Christo, et mori gaudium (et

lucrum.)

9. Et ipse Dominus noster in vobis faciet misericordiam suam, ut

eandem dilectionem habeatis; et sitis unanimes.

10. Ergo, dilectissimi, ut audistis praesentiam Domini, ita

sentite (retinete) et facite in timore; (Domini;) et erit vobis

vita in aeternum:

11. Est enim Dominus qui operatur in vobis:

12. Et facite sine peccato quaecunque faeitis, (sine reatu,) et

quod est optimum.

13. Dilectissimi, gaudete in Domino Jesu Christo, et cavete omnes

sordes (sordidos) in omni lucro.

14. Omnes petitiones vestrae sint palam apud Deum.

15. Estote firmi in sensu Christi et quae integra, et vera, et

pudica, et casta, et justa, et amabilia sunt, facite.

l6. Et quae audistis, et accepistis, in corde retinete; et erit

vobis pax.

17. Salutant vos omnes sancti.

18. Salutate omnes fratres in osculo sancto.

l9. Gratia Domini nostri Jesu Christi cum spiritu vestro. Amen.

20. Et hanc facite legi Colossensibus; et eam quae est

Colossensium vobis.

Ad Laodisenses scripta fuit e Roma, per Tychieum et Onesimum.

THE EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE LAODICEANS.

1. Paul, an apostle, not from men, nor by man, but by Jesus

Christ, to the brethren which are in Laodicea.

2. Grace be to you, and peace from God our Father, and from the

Lord Jesus Christ.

3. I give thanks to Christ in all my prayers, that ye continue

and persevere in good works; waiting for the promise in the day of

judgment.

4. Be not troubled with the vain speeches of certain who pretend

to the truth, that they may draw away your hearts from the truth

of the Gospel which was preached by me.

5. And may God grant that those who are of me, may be led forward

to the perfection of the truth of the Gospel, and perform the

benignity of works which become the salvation of eternal life.

6. And now my bonds are manifest, which I suffer in Christ, and

in them I rejoice and am glad.

7. And this shall turn to my perpetual salvation, by means of

your prayers and the assistance of the Holy Spirit, whether they

be for life or for death.

8. For my life is to live in Christ; and to die will be joyous.

9. And may our Lord himself grant you his mercy, that ye may have

the same love, and be of one mind.

10. Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have heard of the coming of the

Lord, so think and act in the fear of the Lord, and it shall be to

you eternal life.

11. For it is the Lord that worketh in you.

12. Whatsoever you do, do it without sin, and do what is best.

13. Beloved, rejoice in the Lord Jesus Christ, and beware of

filthy lucre.

14. Let all your prayers be manifest before God.

15. And be firm in the sentiments you have of Christ. And

whatsoever is perfect, and true, and modest, and chaste, and just,

and amiable, that do.

16. And whatsoever ye have heard and received retain in your

hearts, and it shall tend to your peace.

17. All the saints salute you.

18. Salute all the brethren with a holy kiss.

19. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

20. And cause this epistle to be read to the Colossians; and that

to the Colossians to be read to you.

To the Laodiceans, written from Rome, by Tychicus and Onesimus.

Such is the composition which pretends to be the Epistle of

Paul the Apostle to the Laodiceans, and of which I have

endeavoured to give a literal version; though even with the

assistance of the various readings of the Anjou MS., which I have

included in brackets, I found this difficult, so as to preserve

any sense. Elias Hutter has published it after the Epistle to the

Colossians, as if it were the genuine production of the apostle to

whom it was attributed; and has taken the pains to exhibit it in

twelve languages, viz.: Syriac, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, German,

Bohemian, Italian, Spanish, French, English, Danish, and Polish.

All, the Latin excepted, appear to be of his own composing. To

criticise them would be lost labour; the Greek is too bald to be

the production of any remote age, and as to the English, no

Englishman can understand it. The editor deserves the strongest

reprehension, because he has associated it with the genuine

epistles of St. Paul, without a single note of its spuriousness.

As to its being a work of St. Paul, little or nothing need be

said; its barrenness of meaning, poverty of style, incoherency of

manner, and total want of design and object, are a sufficient

refutation of its pretensions. It is said to be the work of some

heretics of ancient times: this is very unlikely, as there is no

heresy, ever broached in the Christian Church, that could derive

any support from any thing found in this epistle. It is a

congeries of scraps, very injudiciously culled, here and there,

from St. Paul's epistles; without arrangement, without connection,

and, as they stand here, almost without sense. It is a poor,

wretched tale, in no danger of ever being denominated even a

cunningly devised fable. It should keep no company but that of

the pretended Epistles of Paul to Seneca, to which I have in other

cases referred, and of which I have given my opinion.

Should it be asked: "Why I have introduced it here?" I answer:

To satisfy the curious reader, and to show how little ground there

is for the opinion of some, that this epistle is of any

importance; and to prove how miserably forgery itself succeeds

when it endeavours to add to or corrupt the word of God. The

sacred writings are of such a peculiar character that it is

utterly impossible to imitate them with any kind of success. They

bear, deeply impressed, the seal of infinite wisdom-a seal which

no human art can counterfeit. This is the criterion by which the

spurious gospels and apocryphal writings in general have been

judged and detected; and this heavenly stamp, under the care of

Divine Providence, will continue to be their chief preservative,

as long as the sun and moon shall endure.

Finished correcting for a new edition, Dec. 16th, 1831. -A. C.

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