Philemon 1:1
Fellow-laborer ... fellow-soldier. These are terms expressive of the spirit of St. Paul. He was not only an ecclesiastic, speaking ex-cathedra, so as to have dominion over men's faith. He was a brother amongst brethren; he ruled by force of character and by depth of love; he addresses them in words which had not then degenerated into a formula: "Dearly beloved."

I. COMMON WORK. "Fellow-laborer." For Paul believed in work - in hard work. He had "journeys oft;" he returned to confirm the faith of the disciples. He worked in sorrow of brain and sweat of heart, and sometimes in sweat of brow.

II. COMMON CONFLICT. "Fellow-soldier." For all through the ages the Christian has a battle to fight - within himself, and with the world and the flesh and the devil. Men are sustained by the sight of men nobler than themselves risking life and health. In the Crimean War, when a young officer headed his troops, running by their side in the heat of the conflict, a private remarked, "There runs ten thousand a year!" Paul did not direct a campaign from afar; he did not do the dainty work, and leave others to hard fare and dungeons. He "fought a good fight," and in that fight he fell, to be crowned with honor hereafter. How inspiring, therefore, would such a man be to other apostles - "a fellow-soldier!" - W.M.S.







Shall I not in that day... even destroy the wise men out of Edom.
But we are warned by these words that if we excel in understanding we are not to abuse this singular gift of God, as we see the case to be with the ungodly, who turn to cunning whatever wisdom the Lord has bestowed on them. There is hardly one in a hundred to be found who does not seek to be crafty and deceitful if he excels in understanding. This is a very wretched thing. What a great treasure is wisdom! Yet we see that the world perverts this excellent gift of God; the more reason there is for us to labour, that our wisdom should be found in true simplicity. This is one thing. Then we must also beware of trusting in our own understanding, and of despising our enemies, and of thinking that we can ward off any evil that may impend over us; but let us ever seek from the Lord, that we may be favoured at all times with the spirit of wisdom, that it may guide us to the end of life: for He can at any moment take from us whatever He has given us, and thus expose us to shame and reproach.

( John Calvin.)

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