The Epistle to Philemon
The Epistle to Philemon is an epistle of Paul in the New Testament and the only one of his private letters that has been preserved. He wrote it probably during his first captivity in Rome in the first century. The exact date is uncertain. The chief purpose of the letter to Philemon, a friend and probable convert of Saint Paul who was living in Colossae, was to enlist sympathy and leniency for Onesimus, a runaway slave of Philemon's whom Saint Paul apparently had meanwhile converted, also.
The remarkable interest of the letter lies in Saint Paul's gentle and persuasive arguments, urging Onesimus' master to receive him as a brother in the Lord. But also it is noteworthy in that it shows how Christianity, though not condemning slavery as an institution, was attempting to make the treatment of slaves more humane.