Of this Weakness of His, He Saith in Another Place...
13. Of this weakness of his, he saith in another place, "We made ourselves small among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children." [2510] For in that passage the context indicates this: "For neither at any time," saith he, "used we flattering words, as ye know, nor an occasion of covetousness; God is witness: nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others when we might have been burdensome to you as the Apostles of Christ: but we made ourselves small among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children." What therefore he saith to the Corinthians, that he had power of his apostleship, as also the other Apostles, which power he testifieth that he had not used; this also he saith in that place to the Thessalonians, "When we might have been burdensome to you as Christ's Apostles:" according to that the Lord saith, "The workman is worthy of his hire." For that of this he speaks, is indicated by that which he above set down, "Neither for occasion of coveteousness, God is witness." By reason, namely, of this which by right of the Lord's appointment was due to good evangelists, who not for its sake do evangelize but seek the kingdom of God, so that all these things should be added unto them, others were taking advantage thereof, of whom he also saith, "For they that are such serve not God, but their own belly." [2511] From whom the Apostle wished so to cut off this occasion, that even what was justly due to him, he would forego. For this himself doth openly show in the second to the Corinthians, speaking of other Churches supplying his necessities. For he had come, as it appears, to so great indigence, that from distant Churches were sent supplies for his necessities, while yet from them among whom he was, he accepted nothing of that kind. "Have I committed a sin, "saith he, "in humbling myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the Gospel of God freely? Other Churches I despoiled, taking wages of them to minister unto you: and when I was present with you and wanted, to no man was I burdensome. For that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied, and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome to you, and will keep myself. It is the truth of Christ in me, that this glory shall not be infringed in me in the regions of Achaia. Wherefore? because I love you not? God knoweth. But what I do, I also mean to do, that I may cut off occasion from them which seek occasion, that wherein they glory they may be found as also we." [2512] Of this occasion, therefore, which he here saith that he cuts off, he would have that understood which he saith in the former place, "Neither for occasion of covetousness, God is witness." And what he here saith, "In humbling myself that ye might be exalted:" this in the first to the same Corinthians, "I became to the weak as weak;" this to the Thessalonians, "I became small among you, as a nurse cherisheth her children." [2513] Now then observe what follows: "So," saith he, "being affectionately desirous of you, we are minded to impart unto you not alone the Gospel of God, but our own souls also; because ye are become most dear to us. For ye remember, brethren, our labor and toil, night and day working, that we might not burden any of you." For this he said above, "When we might be burdensome to you, as Christ's Apostles." Because, then, the weak were in peril, lest, agitated by false suspicions, they should hate an, as it were, venal Gospel, for this cause, trembling for them as with a father's and a mother's bowels of compassion, did he this thing. So too in the Acts of the Apostles he speaks the same thing, when, sending from Miletus to Ephesus, he had called thence the presbyters of the Church, to whom, among much else, "Silver," saith he, "and gold, or apparel of no man have I coveted; yourselves know, that to my necessities and theirs who were with me these hands have ministered. In all things have I shown you that so laboring it behoveth to help the weak, mindful also of the words of the Lord Jesus, for that He said, More blessed is it rather to give than to receive." [2514]


[2510] "Parvuli." 1 Thess. ii.5-7. [See R.V.] [2511] Rom. xvi.18

[2512] 2 Cor. xi.7-12. [See R.V.]

[2513] 1 Thess. ii.7-9

[2514] Acts xx.33-35

section 12 but now that
Top of Page
Top of Page