Only let your conversation be as it becomes the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent…
As there is no body or society more noble than the Church, so there is none in which union and concord are more necessary. You are begotten of the same seed, i.e., of the gospel, brought up in the same family, nourished with the same food, animated by the same spirit, destined to the same inheritance. If so many close ties cannot unite you, at any rate let this common warfare in which you are engaged, this common danger that you run, and these common enemies with whom you contend, extinguish your differences, and make you rally together for your common preservation and defence. Often among the kingdoms of the earth, the fear of an enemy without stays the misunderstandings and quarrels within. Let us imitate in this respect the prudence of the children of this world. Whatever you may have of wisdom or courage, turn it against the enemy. May he alone feel the vigour of your arm, and the point of your weapons. It is not against your brother that they should be employed. They are made, and they have been given you, to defend, and not to wound him; to preserve, and not to shed his blood. I say it with regret, it is nothing but our division, my brethren, which has prevented the defeat of the enemy, and the triumph of the Church. If we had all fought together, we should long ago have been conquerors.
Parallel VersesKJV: Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
WEB: Only let your way of life be worthy of the Good News of Christ, that, whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your state, that you stand firm in one spirit, with one soul striving for the faith of the Good News;