4. First then we ought to demonstrate that the blessed Apostle Paul willed the servants of God to work corporal works which should have as their end a great spiritual reward, for this purpose that they should need food and clothing of no man, but with their own hands should procure these for themselves: then, to show that those evangelical precepts from which some cherish not only their sloth but even arrogance, are not contrary to the Apostolical precept and example. Let us see then whence the Apostle came to this, that he should say, “If any will not work, neither let him eat,” and what he thereupon joineth on, that from the very context6 “Circumstantia.” of this lesson may appear his declared sentence. “We command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh unquietly, and not according to the tradition which they have received7 “Acceperunt.” of us. For yourselves know how ye ought to imitate us; for we were not unquiet among you, neither ate we bread of any man for nought, but in labor and travail night and day working that we might not burden any of you: not for that we have not power, but that we might give ourselves as a pattern to you in which ye should imitate us. For also when we were with you, we gave you this charge, that if any will not work, let him not eat. For we have heard that certain among you walk unquietly, working not at all, but being busy-bodies. Now them that are such we charge and beseech in our Lord Jesus Christ, that with silence they work, and eat their own bread.”8 2 Thess. iii. 6–12 What can be said to these things, since, that none might thereafter have license to interpret this according to his wish, not according to charity, he by his own example hath taught what by precept he hath enjoined? To him, namely, as to an Apostle, a preacher of the Gospel, a soldier of Christ, a planter of the vineyard, a shepherd of the flock had the Lord appointed that he should live by the Gospel; and yet himself exacted not the pay which was his due, that he might make himself a pattern to them which desired what was not their due; as he saith to the Corinthians, “Who goeth a warfare at any time at his own charges? Who planteth a vineyard, and of its fruit eateth not? Who feedeth a flock, and of the milk of the flock partaketh not?”9 1 Cor. ix. 1–7 Therefore, what was due to him, he would not receive, that by his example they might be checked, who, although not so ordained in the Church, did deem the like to be due to themselves. For what is it that he saith, “Neither ate we bread of any man for naught, but in labor and travail night and day working that we might not burden any of you; not for that we have not power, but that we might give ourselves as a pattern to you wherein ye should follow us?” Let them, therefore, hear to whom he hath given this precept, that is, they which have not this power which he had, to wit, that while only spiritually working they should eat bread by corporal labor not earned:10 Gratuitum and as he says, “We charge and beseech in Christ that with silence they work and eat their own bread,” let them not dispute against the most manifest words of the Apostle, because this also pertaineth to that “silence” with which they ought to work and eat their own bread.
4. Pauli praeceptum de corporali opere esse probatur ex circumstantia lectionis. Exemplo suo Paulus docuit quid praeceperit. Prius ergo demonstrare debemus beatum apostolum Paulum opera corporalia servos Dei operari voluisse, quae finem haberent magnam spiritualem mercedem, ad hoc ut ipso victu et tegumento a nullo indigerent, sed manibus suis haec sibi procurarent: deinde ostendere evangelica illa praecepta, de quibus nonnulli non solum pigritiam, sed etiam arrogantiam suam fovent, apostolico praecepto et exemplo non esse contraria. Videamus itaque unde ad hoc venerit Apostolus, ut diceret, Si quis non vult operari, non manducet; et quid deinde contexat, ut ex ipsa circumstantia lectionis appareat declarata sententia. Denuntiamus, inquit, vobis, fratres, in nomine Domini nostri Jesu Christi, ut subtrahatis vos ab omni fratre inquiete ambulante, et non secundum traditionem quam acceperunt a nobis. Ipsi enim scitis quomodo oporteat imitari nos; quia non fuimus inquieti inter vos, neque panem ab aliquo gratis manducavimus, sed in labore et fatigatione die ac nocte operantes, ne quem vestrum gravaremus: non quia non habuerimus potestatem, sed ut nosmetipsos formam daremus vobis, qua nos imitaremini. Nam et cum apud vos essemus, hoc vobis praecepiebamus, quoniam si quis non vult operari, non manducet. Audivimus enim quosdam inter vos ambulare inquiete, nihil operantes, sed curiose agentes. His autem qui ejusmodi sunt, praecipimus et obsecramus in Domino Jesu Christo, ut cum silentio operantes panem suum manducent (II Thess. III, 6-12). Quid ad haec dici potest, quandoquidem ne cuiquam postea liceret hoc pro voluntate, non pro charitate interpretari, exemplo suo docuit quid praeceperit? Illi enim tanquam Apostolo praedicatori Evangelii, militi Christi, plantatori vineae, pastori gregis constituerat Dominus ut de Evangelio viveret; et tamen ipse stipendium sibi debitum non exegit, ut se formam daret eis qui exigere indebita cupiebant: sicut ad Corinthios dicit, Quis militat suis stipendiis unquam? Quis plantat vineam, et de fructu ejus non edit? Quis pascit gregem, et de lacte gregis non percipit? Ergo quod sibi debebatur, noluit accipere, ut exemplo ejus coercerentur, qui sibi non ita ordinatis in Ecclesia talia deberi arbitrabantur. Quid est enim quod ait: Neque panem gratis ab aliquo manducavimus, sed in labore et fatigatione die ac nocte operantes, ne quem vestrum gravaremus: non quia non habuerimus potestatem, sed ut nos formam daremus vobis, qua nos imitaremini? Audiant ergo quibus hoc praecepit, id est, qui non habent hanc potestatem quam ille habebat, ut tantummodo spiritualiter operantes manducent panem a corporali labore gratuitum: et quemadmodum dicit, Praecipimus et obsecramus in Christo, ut cum silentio operantes panem suum manducent, non disputent contra manifestissima verba Apostoli; quia et hoc pertinet ad silentium, cum quo debent operantes 0552 manducare panem suum.