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Introduction to The Epistle of Saint Paul to Philemon
Philemon, a noble citizen of Colossa, had a servant named Onesimus, who robbed him and fled to Rome, where he met St. Paul, who was then a prisoner there the first time. The apostle took compassion on him and received him with tenderness and converted him to the faith; for he was a Gentile before. St. Paul sends him back to his master with this Epistle in his favour: and though he beseeches Philemon to pardon him, yet the Apostle writes with becoming dignity and authority. It contains divers profitable instructions and points out the charity and humanity that masters should have for their servants.