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THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS - Chapter 9 - Verse 14

Verse 14. Even so. In the same manner, and for the same reasons.

Hath the Lord ordained. Hath the Lord appointed, commanded, arranged that it should be so, (dietaxe.) The word here means, that he has made this a law, or has required it; The word "Lord" here doubtless refers to the Lord Jesus, who has sent forth his ministers to labour in the great harvest of the world.

That they which preach the gospel. They who are sent forth by him; who devote their lives to this work; who are called and employed by him in this service. This refers, therefore, not only to the apostles, but to all who are duly called to this work, and who are his ambassadors.

Should live of the gospel. Should be supported and. maintained in this work. Paul here probably refers to the appointment of the Lord Jesus, when he sent forth his disciples to preach, Mt 10:10; Lu 10:8. Compare Ga 6:6. The man may be said to "live in the gospel" who is supported while he preaches it, or who derives his maintenance in that work. Here we may observe,

(1.) that the command is, that they shall live (zhn) of the gospel. It is not that they should grow rich, or lay up treasures, or speculate in it, or become merchants, farmers, teachers, or book-makers for a living; but it is, that they should have such a maintenance as to constitute a livelihood. They should be made comfortable, not rich. They should receive so much as to keep their minds from being harassed with cares, and their families from want; not so much as to lead them to forget their dependence on God, or on the people. Probably the true rule is, that they should be able to live as the mass of the people among whom they labour live; that they should be able to receive and entertain the poor, and be willing to do it; and so that the rich also may not despise them, or turn away from their dwelling.

(2.) This is a command of the Lord Jesus; and if it is a command, it should be obeyed as much as any other law of the Redeemer. And if this is a command, then the minister is entitled to a support; and then also a people are not at liberty to withhold it. Further, there are as strong reasons why they should support him, as there are why they should pay a schoolmaster, a lawyer, a physician, or a day-labourer. The minister usually toils as hard as others; expends as much in preparing for his work; and does as much good. And there is even a higher claim in this case. God has given an express command in this case; he has not in the others.

(3.) The salary of a minister should not be regarded as a gift merely, any more than the pay of a congress-man, a physician, or a lawyer. He has a claim to it; and God has commanded that it should be paid. It is, moreover, a matter of stipulation and of compact, by which a people agree to compensate him for his services. And yet, is there anything in the shape of debt where there is so much looseness as an regard to this subject? Are men usually as conscientious in this as they are in paying a physician or a merchant? Are not ministers often in distress for that which has been promised them, and which they have a right to expect? And is not their usefulness, and the happiness of the people, and the honour of religion, intimately connected with obeying the rule of the Lord Jesus in this respect?

{c} "Lord ordained" Lu 10:7 {+} "ordained" "appointed" {d} "that they" Gal 6:6

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