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by William Baxter Godbey
This was the old capital of Phrygia, one of the oldest cities in the world, long debauched in ignorance, superstition, and idolatry. The Church at this place had been established by the labors of others, Paul, in person, never having preached there. In the compilement, this epistle should have preceded Philippians, as it was written previously, during the occupancy of the hired house in Rome, before Paul was taken to the barracks. The writing is evidently contemporary with that of Ephesians, which it strikingly resembles. Along with the latter and Philemon, it was carried to its destination by Tychicus and Onesimus. Paul fired no blank cartridges. I am like the colored man in a Southern camp, where the greatest preachers in the world had an opportunity alternately to proclaim the living Word. While a number of persons were expressing their partialities, he interjected, “I like best the one I hear last.” When I read a Pauline letter, the Spirit shining down into the deep substrata, and hauling up grand bonanzas which I never saw before, like the colored man, I think certainly this is the best epistle he ever wrote. So, look out for wonders as you read Colossians. I do not know that any other book in the New Testament has suffered so much in the transcriptions. There is a great diversity in the Greek of the New Testament; some of it infinitely easier to translate than others. Portions of this letter are so difficult to translate, that it has suffered much, not only in the hands of King James’s translators, but their predecessors. So, look out for surprises, as I have before me only the critical original by Tischendorf, which God, in his mercy, preserved in the convent of St. Catherine, on Mount Sinai fifteen hundred years, revealing it in 1859, just in time to boom the present holiness movement, the glorious millennial dawn; thus bridging the long, dark chasm of intervening ages, while the devil’s millennium veiled the world in darkness, and deluged it in blood a thousand years; meanwhile everything possible was done to exterminate the Bible, other good books, and blot every vestige of light, culture, and civilization from the globe.
The Blessed Holy Spirit, who gave to Paul this wonderful epistle, has illuminated the foregoing expositions. Doubtless the reader has run on many surprises perusing these pages, arising from the fact that portions of this letter are very difficult to translate, and doubtless during the intervening ages suffered much in the hands of transcribers. Again, this letter is eminently prophetical. Looking down into the coming centuries, the inspired eye of Paul saw the awful apostasy, with concomitant abuses and perversions, and sounded the alarm which has been ringing down the revolving ages.
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29