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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. III:
Moral Treatises of St. Augustin: Section 10

Early Church Fathers  Index     

10. And he comes back again, and in all ways, over and over again, enforceth what he hath the right to do, yet doeth not. “Do ye not know,” saith he, “that they which work in the temple, eat of the things which are in the temple? they which serve the altar, have their share with the altar? So hath the Lord ordained for them which preach the Gospel, to live of the Gospel. But I have used none of these things.” 2500 What more open than this? what more clear? I fear lest haply, while I discourse wishing to expound this, that become obscure which in itself is bright and clear. For they who understand not these words, or feign not to understand, do much less understand mine, or profess to understand: unless perchance they do therefore quickly understand ours, because it is allowed them to deride them being understood; but concerning the Apostle’s words this same is not allowed. For this reason, where they cannot interpret them otherwise according to their own sentence, be it ever so clear and manifest, they answer that it is obscure and uncertain because wrong and perverse they dare not call it. Cries the man of God, “The Lord hath ordained for them which preach the Gospel, of this Gospel to live; but I have used none of these things;” and flesh and blood essayeth to make crooked what is straight; what open, to shut; what serene, to cloud over. “It was,” saith it, “spiritual work that he was doing, and thereof did he live.” If it be so, of the Gospel did he live: why then doth he say, “The Lord hath ordained for them which preach the Gospel, of the Gospel to live; but I have used none of these things?” Or if this very word, “to live” which is here used, they will needs also interpret in respect of spiritual life, then had the Apostle no hope towards God, in that he did not live by the Gospel, because he hath said, “I have used none of these things.” Wherefore, that he should have certain hope of life eternal the Apostle did of the Gospel in any wise spiritually live. What therefore he saith, “But I have used none of these things,” doth without doubt make to be understood of this life which is in the flesh, that which he hath said of the Lord’s ordaining to them which preach the Gospel, that of the Gospel they should live; that is, this life which hath need of food and clothing, they by the Gospel shall sustain; as above he said of his fellow-apostles; of whom the Lord Himself saith, “The workman is worthy of his meat;” and, “The workman is worthy of his hire.” This meat, then, and this hire of the sustenance of this life, due to evangelists, this of them to whom he evangelized the Apostle accepted not, saying a true thing, “I have used none of these things.”



1 Cor. 9.13-151 Cor. ix. 13-15

Next: Section 11

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