9. But he speaks more openly in the rest which he subjoins, and altogether removes all causes of doubting. “If we unto you,” saith he, “have sown spiritual things, is it a great matter if we shall reap your carnal things?” What are the spiritual things which he sowed, but the word and mystery of the sacrament of the kingdom of heaven? And what the carnal things which he saith he had a right to reap, but these temporal things which are indulged to the life and indigency of the flesh? These however being due to him he declares that he had not sought nor accepted, lest he should cause any impediment to the Gospel of Christ. What work remaineth for us to understand him to have wrought, whereby he should get his living, but bodily work, with his own bodily and visible hands? For if from spiritual work he sought food and clothing, that is, to receive these of them whom he was edifying in the Gospel, he could not, as he does, go on to say, “If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless, we have not used this power, but tolerate all things that we may not cause any hindrance to the Gospel of Christ.”23 1 Cor. ix. 12 What power doth he say he had not used, but that which he had over them, received of the Lord, the power to reap their carnal things, in order to the sustenance of this life which is lived in the flesh? Of which power were others also partakers, who did not at the first announce the Gospel to them, but came thereafter to their Church preaching the self-same. Therefore, when he had said, “If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great matter if we shall reap your carnal things?” he subjoined, “If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather?” And when he had demonstrated what power they had: “Nevertheless we have not used,” saith he, “this power; but we put up with all things, lest we should cause any impediment to the Gospel of Christ.” Let therefore these persons say in what way from spiritual work the Apostle had carnal food, when himself openly says that he had not used this power. But if from spiritual work he had not carnal food, it remains that from bodily work he had it and thereof saith, “Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labor and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an example unto you to follow us.24 2 Thess. iii. 8, 9 All things,” saith he, “we suffer, lest we cause any hindrance to the Gospel of Christ.”
9. Apostolum manifeste loqui de opere manuum. Apertius autem caetera connectit, et omnino aufert omnes dubitationis ambages. Si nos vobis, inquit, spiritualia seminavimus, magnum est si vestra carnalia metamus? Quae sunt spiritualia quae seminavit, nisi verbum et mysterium sacramenti regni coelorum? Quae autem carnalia quae sibi licere metere dicit, nisi haec temporalia, quae vitae atque indigentiae carnis indulta sunt? Haec autem sibi debita se ab eis non quaesisse nec accepisse manifestat, ne quod impedimentum daret Evangelio Christi. Quid restat, ut intelligamus eum operatum esse unde victum haberet, nisi corporale opus corporalibus et visibilibus manibus suis? Nam si de spirituali opere victum et tegumentum quaereret, id est, ut ab eis haec acciperet, quos in Evangelio aedificabat, non consequenter diceret: Si alii potestatis vestrae participant, non magis nos? Sed non sumus usi hac potestate; sed omnia toleramus, ne quod impedimentum demus Evangelio Christi. Qua potestate se dicit non usum, nisi quam habebat in eos a Domino acceptam, ut eorum carnalia meteret, ad victum vitae hujus, quae in carne agitur? cujus potestatis participes erant etiam alii, qui non eis primo Evangelium annuntiaverunt, sed ad eorum Ecclesiam idipsum praedicantes postea venerunt. Ideo cum dixisset, Si nos vobis spiritualia seminavimus, magnum est si carnalia vestra metamus? subjecit, Si alii potestatis vestrae participant, non magis nos? Et cum demonstrasset quid eis potestatis esset: Sed non sumus usi, inquit, hac potestate; sed omnia toleramus, ne quod impedimentum demus Evangelio Christi. Dicant ergo isti, quomodo de opere spirituali carnalem victum habebat Apostolus, cum aperte ipse dicat non se usum esse hac potestate. At si de opere spirituali carnalem victum non habebat, restat ut de opere corporali habuerit, et inde dicat: Neque panem gratis ab aliquo manducavimus, sed in labore et fatigatione nocte et die operantes, ne quem vestrum gravaremus: non quia non habuerimus potestatem, sed ut nos formam daremus vobis, qua nos imitaremini (II Thess. III, 8 et 9). Omnia, inquit, toleramus, ne quod impedimentum demus Evangelio Christi.