Observe here, 1. Another argument wherewith St. Paul doth press Philemon to receive Onesimus, and it is drawn from a partnership and communion with him in the faith; if we are partners, and have communion and friendship one with another as Christians, comply with my desires herein.
Learn hence, that there is a communion, a fellowship, a partnership. between saints, should make saints respect one another, If thou count me a partner, receive him; yea, receive him as myself; a very high expression, still discovering that affectionate tenderness which St. Paul bare to this new convert.
Observe, 2. Another objection answered; Philemon might say, how can I receive him that has wronged me, robbed me, and run away from me? Sure it is enough to pardon him; must I receive him too? Our apostle implicitly grants, that there was a debt due from Onesimus to Philemon; If he hath wronged; that is granting that he has done it.
Where note, Religion destroys no man's property, nor does communion of saints make a community of goods; otherwise from this community, Onesimus, or St. Paul for him, might have pleaded an immunity from both from restitution and punishment; St. Paul acknowledges, not denies the debt; but observe farther, he takes it upon himself, Put it on my account, I will repay it. It is not then unlawful in itself, for one person to become bound and surety for another; yea, it is a work of mercy, which not only may be done, but sometimes must be done, but always with due caution and consideration.
Observe, 3. The wonderful modesty of the apostle in mentioning his own praises and commendations, I say not that thou owest to me even thine own self; implying what great things he had done for Philemon in his conversion, so great as made Philemon a debtor, not only of his own goods, but of himself too: however, the apostle only glances at it modestly, and that upon a just and great occasion too: I do not say, (though I might have said it) that thou owest to me even thine own self besides.