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The Mystery of Godliness (11 of 18)
The Greatest Texts of the Bible
Clarence Edward Macartney
1 Timothy 3:16
And without controversy great is the mystery of
godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in
the spirit, seen of angels, preached among the
nations, believed on in the world, received up into
Sunset over the Ephesian plains. The yellow fields and
hills are turning amber. On the top of the highest
hill we can see the circular seats of the
amphitheater. On the other side of the city stand the
immense columns of the Temple of Diana, and in the
distance the westering sun turns the Aegean into a sea
of glass mingled with fire. The south wind is blowing
in softly from the sea. Walking along the famous
Corso, the marble avenue lined with the busts of the
emperors and the images of the gods, and crowded with
throngs of people, some of them going to the Temple of
Diana, but most of them to the bloody shows of the
amphitheater, we make our way into a humbler part of
the city, where there is another temple, a temple
which cannot vie in splendor with the great Temple of
Diana, but the worship of which and the faith of which
will before long empty the Temple of Diana and all the
temples of pagan worship.
Passing through this humble part of the city, we pause
before an open door as we catch the sound of singing.
Listen to that song! The voices of old men and women,
matron and maid, young man and little children, are
lifting that song. Listen! This is what we hear: "God
was manifest in the flesh, justified in the spirit,
seen of angels, preached among the nations, believed
on in the world, received up into glory" (1 Tim.
In a memorable letter Pliny the Younger, governor of
Bithynia, a province on the Black Sea, wrote to the
Emperor Trajan asking how he should proceed against
the Christians, whose worship was already outlawed,
and whose beliefs he stigmatized a ...
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