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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
A Treatise on the Predestination of the...: Chapter 9

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 9 [V.]—The Purpose of the Apostle in These Words.

The notion, however, which they entertain, “that these words, ‘What hast thou that thou hast not received?’ cannot be said of this faith, because it has remained in the same nature, although corrupted, which at first was endowed with health and perfection,” 3449 is perceived to have no force for the purpose that they desire if it be considered why the apostle said these words. For he was concerned that no one should glory in man, because dissensions had sprung up among the Corinthian Christians, so that every one was saying, “I, indeed, am of Paul, and another, I am of Apollos, and another, I am of Cephas;” 3450 and thence he went on to say: “God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the strong things; and God hath chosen the ignoble things of the world, and contemptible things, and those things which are not, to make of no account things which are; that no flesh should glory before God.” 3451 Here the intention of the apostle is of a certainty sufficiently plain against the pride of man, that no one should glory in man; and thus, no one should glory in himself. Finally, when he had said “that no flesh should glory before God,” in order to show in what man ought to glory, he immediately added, “But it is of Him that ye are in Christ Jesus, who is made unto us wisdom from God, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” 3452 Thence that intention of his progressed, till afterwards rebuking them he says, “For ye are yet carnal; for whereas there are among you envying and contention, are ye not carnal, and walk according to man? For while one saith I am of Paul, and another, I am of Apollos, are ye not men? What, then, is Apollos, and what Paul? Ministers by whom you believed; and to every one as the Lord has given. I have planted, and Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. Therefore, neither is he that planteth anything, nor he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase.” 3453 Do you not see that the sole purpose of the apostle is that man may be humbled, and God alone exalted? Since in all those things, indeed, which are planted and watered, he says that not even are the planter and the waterer anything, but God who giveth the increase: and the very fact, also, that one plants and another waters he attributes not to themselves, but to God, when he says, “To every one as the Lord hath given; I have planted, Apollos watered.” Hence, therefore, persisting in the same intention he comes to the point of saying, “Therefore let no man glory in man,” 3454 for he had already said, “He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” After these and some other matters which are associated p. 503 therewith, that same intention of his is carried on in the words: “And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes, that ye might learn in us that no one of you should be puffed up for one against another above that which is written. For who maketh thee to differ? And what hast thou which thou hast not received? Now, if thou hast received it, why dost thou glory as if thou receivedst it not?” 3455



See Epistle of Hilary (Augustin’s Epistles, 226).


1 Cor. i. 12.


1 Cor. i. 27.


1 Cor. i. 30.


1 Cor. iii. 3 ff.


1 Cor. iii. 21.


1 Cor. iv. 6.

Next: Chapter 10