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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. III:
Moral Treatises of St. Augustin: Section 9

Early Church Fathers  Index     

9. But he speaks more openly in the rest which he subjoins, and altogether removes all causes of doubting. “If we unto you,” saith he, “have sown spiritual things, is it a great matter if we shall reap your carnal things?” What are the spiritual things which he sowed, but the word and mystery of the sacrament of the kingdom of heaven? And what the carnal things which he saith he had a right to reap, but these temporal things which are indulged to the life and indigency of the flesh? These however being due to him he declares that he had not sought nor accepted, lest he should cause any impediment to the Gospel of Christ. What work remaineth for us to understand him to have wrought, whereby he should get his living, but bodily work, with his own bodily and visible hands? For if from spiritual work he sought food and clothing, that is, to receive these of them whom he was edifying in the Gospel, he could not, as he does, go on to say, “If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless, p. 508 we have not used this power, but tolerate all things that we may not cause any hindrance to the Gospel of Christ.” 2498 What power doth he say he had not used, but that which he had over them, received of the Lord, the power to reap their carnal things, in order to the sustenance of this life which is lived in the flesh? Of which power were others also partakers, who did not at the first announce the Gospel to them, but came thereafter to their Church preaching the self-same. Therefore, when he had said, “If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great matter if we shall reap your carnal things?” he subjoined, “If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather?” And when he had demonstrated what power they had: “Nevertheless we have not used,” saith he, “this power; but we put up with all things, lest we should cause any impediment to the Gospel of Christ.” Let therefore these persons say in what way from spiritual work the Apostle had carnal food, when himself openly says that he had not used this power. But if from spiritual work he had not carnal food, it remains that from bodily work he had it and thereof saith, “Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labor and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an example unto you to follow us. 2499 All things,” saith he, “we suffer, lest we cause any hindrance to the Gospel of Christ.”



1 Cor. 9.121 Cor. ix. 12


2 Thess. 3:8, 92 Thess. 3:8, 9

Next: Section 10

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