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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. III:
Moral Treatises of St. Augustin: Section 11

Early Church Fathers  Index     

11. And he goes on, and adjoins, lest perchance any should imagine that he only therefore received not, because they had not given: “But I have not written these things that they may be so done unto me: good is it for me rather to die than that any make void my glory.” 2501 What glory, unless that which he wished to have with God, while in Christ suffering with the weak? As he is presently about to say most openly; “For if I shall have preached the Gospel, there is not to me any glory: for necessity is laid upon me;” 2502 that is, of sustaining this life. “For woe will be to me,” he saith, “if I preach not the Gospel:” that is, to my own will shall I forbear to preach the Gospel, because I shall be tormented with hunger, and shall not have whereof to live. For he goes on, and says; “For if willingly I do this, I have a reward.” By his doing it p. 509 willingly, he means, if he do it uncompelled by any necessity of supporting this present life; and for this he hath reward, to wit, with God, of glory everlasting. “But if unwilling,” saith he, “a dispensation is entrusted unto me:” 2503 that is, if being unwilling, I am by necessity of passing through this present life, compelled to preach the Gospel, “a dispensation is entrusted unto me;” to wit, that by my dispensation as a steward, because Christ, because the truth, is that which I preach, howsoever because of occasion, howsoever seeking mine own, howsoever by necessity of earthly emolument compelled so to do, other men do profit, but I have not that glorious and everlasting reward with God. “What then,” saith he, “shall be my reward?” He saith it as asking a question: therefore the pronunciation must be suspended, until he give the answer. Which the more easily to understand, let, as it were, us put the question to him, “What, then, will be thy reward, O Apostle, when that earthly reward due to good evangelists, not for its sake evangelizing, but yet taking it as the consequence and offered to them by the Lord’s appointment, thou acceptest not? What shall be thy reward then?” See what he replies: “That, preaching the Gospel, I may make the Gospel of Christ without charge;” that is, that the Gospel may not be to believers expensive, lest they account that for this end is the Gospel to be preached to them, that its preachers should seem as it were to sell it. And yet he comes back again and again, that he may show what, by warrant of the Lord, he hath a right unto, yet doeth not: “that I abuse not,” saith he, “my power in the Gospel.” 2504



1 Cor. 9.151 Cor. ix. 15


1 Cor. 9.161 Cor. ix. 16. [See R.V.]


1 Cor. 9.171 Cor. ix. 17


1 Cor. 9.181 Cor. ix. 18

Next: Section 12