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by Joseph Sutcliffe
ST. PAUL’S EPISTLE TO THE COLOSSIANS.
COLOSSE, according to Pliny, was a city of Phrygia, a great and ancient province of Asia minor, or proconsular Asia. It had Bithynia on the south; Galatia, Pisidia, Caria, and Lydia, on the east; Mysia, and Little Phrygia on the west; the Euxine or Black sea, so called from the frequent wrecks of ships, on the north.
The city of Colosse stood on the river Lycus, near its confluence with the Meander, and equally distant from Laodicea and Hierapolis. These three cities were destroyed by an earthquake in the tenth year of Nero, as is stated by Berosus, and by Eusebius. Colosse, on being rebuilt, was called Chonay, as is noted by Theophylact. But Laodicea, it would seem from its immense wealth, had suffered the least. Revelation 3:17.
The church of Colosse had been converted under the ministry of Epaphras, as is generally allowed, “a faithful minister of Jesus Christ,” whom Paul had sent. Whether Paul himself was ever there is nowhere mentioned, but we know that he twice passed through this province, Acts 18:23; Acts 19:1; and it is no way probable that he should not visit these principal cities.
Paul and Epaphras being now both prisoners in Rome, and having learned that certain seducers had been among the faithful at Colosse, associating Judaism and the Platonic philosophy with the truths of the gospel, Paul wrote to them by Tychicus, in this evangelical epistle. He here sets forth the Saviour as the very image of the Father, the reconciler of mankind to God, the head of the church, who had shed down the Holy Spirit on its members. Christ being now exalted, as the only mediator of the new covenant, he speaks pointedly against the observance of Hebrew rituals, and days; and against the worship of angels, as titular deities. He then sets before them a beautiful view of the christian life, and of relative duties, closing with the salutations of the saints.
ST. PAUL’S EPISTLE TO THE LAODICEANS.
1. PAUL an apostle, not of men, nor by men, but by Jesus Christ, to the brethren which are of 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 you persevere and remain steadfast in all good works, awaiting the promise (of his coming) in the day of judgment.
4. Let no man disturb your expectation with vain words, the semblance of truth, to draw you away from the truth of the gospel, which is preached by me.
5. And God grant that all who adhere to my example may persevere in the truth, and in all works of benignity, meet for salvation and eternal life.
6. And seeing now that my bonds, which I suffer for Christ, are become conspicuous, I glory the more and rejoice, which to me is a pledge of eternal salvation, through your prayers and the ministration of the Holy Spirit.
7. For with me to live is Christ, to die is joy.
8. And may he confer on you the same mercy, and grant you the same love, and that you may have unanimity among yourselves.
9. Therefore, beloved brethren, as you have heard and learned of the Lord, so retain, and do all things with reverence in his sight; for it is God who worketh in you to do those things, and to do them without offence.
10. And above all, dearly beloved, rejoice in the Lord Jesus Christ, and beware of all defilement from filthy lucre.
11. Let your requests be openly addressed to God. Be firm in your adherence to Christ; and whatsoever things are upright, and modest, and just, and amiable, these do; and whatever you have heard and received, retain, and they shall promote your peace.
12. I greet all the saints. Salute all the brethren with a holy kiss. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
13. Cause this to be read to the Colossians, and that at Colosse to be read to you.
the Fifth Week after Epiphany