Philemon : Douay-Rheims Bible
EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL, THE APOSTLE,
Philemon was a rich man, of high birth. He had been converted by Saint Paul, when he was preaching at Ephesus, or by his disciple Epaphras. His house was become not unlike a church. Onesimus, his slave, far from profiting by the excellent example set before him, became more wicked; he plundered his master, and flew to Rome, where St. Paul was detained in prison for the first time. He received the poor fugitive charitably, and wrote to his master in his behalf.
— The letter seems to have been written in the year A.D. 61, during St. Paul's first imprisonment at Rome. It contains, as St. Chrysostom observes, divers profitable instructions, and marks of St. Paul's charity towards a poor fugitive servant. Erasmus says Cicero never wrote with greater eloquence. Witham.