1 Timothy 5:17-21
17. Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they. who labor in the word and doctrine.
17. Presbyteri, qui bene praesunt, duplici honore digni habeantur; maxime qui laborant in verbo et doctrina.
18. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The laborer is worthy of his reward.
19. Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.
19. Adversus presbyterum accusationem ne admittas, nisi sub duobus aut tribus testibus.
20. Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.
20. Peccantes coram omnibus argue, ut et caeteri timorem habeant.
21. I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things, without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.
21. Contestor coram Deo, et Domino Iesu Christo, et electis angelis, ut haec custodias absque praecipitatione judicii, nihil faciens, alteram in partem declinando.
But in order to shew that he does not recommend masks, he adds,
Yet he prefers
We may learn from this, that there were at that time two kinds of elders; for all were not ordained to teach. The words plainly mean, that there were some who "ruled well" and honorably, but who did not hold the office of teachers. And, indeed, there were chosen from among the people men of worth and of good character, who, united with the pastors in a common council and authority administered the discipline of the Church, and were a kind of censors for the correction of morals. Ambrose complains that this custom had gone into disuse, through the carelessness, or rather through the pride, of the doctors, who wish to possess undivided power.
To return to Paul, he enjoins that support shall be provided chiefly for pastors, who are employed in teaching Such is the ingratitude of the world, that very little care is taken about supporting the ministers of the word; and Satan, by this trick, endeavors to deprive the Church of instruction, by terrifying many, through the dread of poverty and hunger, from bearing that burden. 3
I reply, this is a necessary remedy against the malice of men; for none are more liable to slanders and calumnies than godly teachers. 6 Not only does it arise from the difficulty of their office, that sometimes they either sink under it, or stagger, or halt, or blunder, in consequence of which wicked men seize many occasions for finding fault with them; but there is this additional vexation, that, although they perform their duty correctly, so as not to commit any error whatever, they never escape a thousand censures. And this is the craftiness of Satan, to draw away the hearts of men from ministers, that instruction may gradually fall into contempt. Thus not only is wrong. done to innocent persons, in having their reputation unjustly wounded, (which is exceedingly base in regard to those who hold so honorable a rank,) but the authority of the sacred doctrine of God is diminished.
And this is what Satan, as I have said, chiefly labors to accomplish; for not only is the saying of Plato true in this instance, that "the multitude are malicious, and envy those who are above them," but the more earnestly any pastor strives to advance the kingdom of Christ, so much the more is he loaded with envy, and so much the fiercer are the assaults made on him. Not only so, but as soon as any charge against the ministers of the word has gone abroad, it is believed as fully as if they were already convicted. This is not merely owing to the higher degree of moral excellence which is demanded from them, but because almost all are tempted by Satan to excessive credulity, so that, without making any inquiry, they eagerly condemn their pastors, whose good name they ought rather to have defended.
On good grounds, therefore, Paul opposes so heinous iniquity, and forbids that elders shall be subjected to the slanders of wicked men till they have been convicted by sufficient proof. We need not wonder, therefore, if they whose duty it is to reprove the faults of all, to oppose the wicked desires of all, and to restrain by their severity every person whom they see going astray, have many enemies. What, then, will be the consequence; if we shall listen indiscriminately to all the slanders that are spread abroad concerning them?
It is therefore proper carefully to observe this moderation, that insolent tongues shall be restrained from defaming elders by false accusations, and yet that every one of them who conducts himself badly shall be severely corrected; for I understand this injunction to relate to elders, that they who live a dissolute life shall be openly reproved.
Let us remember that, in the person of Timothy, all pastors are admonished, and that Timothy is armed, as with a shield, against wicked desires, which not infrequently occasion much trouble even to some excellent persons. He therefore places God before the eyes of Timothy, that he may know that he ought to execute his office not less conscientiously than if he were in the presence of God and of his angels.
To the same purpose is that which immediately follows, that there must be no
1 "Les prestres ou anciens." "presbyters or elders."
2 "He shews that we might do many other things, and might allege that we had no leisure; but yet we must consider chiefly what it is to which God calls us. They who would wish to be reckoned pastors ought to devote themselves especially to that word. And how? In order to study it secretly in their closet? Not at all; but for the general instruction of the Church. That is the reason why Paul chose to add the term doctrine. It was quite enough to have said, word; but he shews that we must not privately speculate what we shall think fit, but that, when we have studied, it is that others may profit along with us, and that the instruction may be common to the whole Church. -- This is the true mark for distinguishing properly between the pastors whom God approves and wishes to be supported in his Church, and those who claim that title and honor, and yet are excluded and rejected by him and by the Holy Spirit." -- Fr. Ser.
3 "In this passage Paul did not look to himself, but spoke by time authority of God, in order that the Church might not be destitute of persons who should teach faithfully. For the devil, from the beginning, had the trick of attempting to hunger good pastors, that they might cease to labor, and that there might be very few who were employed in preaching the word of God. Let us not view the recommendation here contained as coming from a mortal man, but let us hear God speaking, and let us know that there is no accepting of persons, but that, knowing what was profitable to the whole Church, and perceiving that many were cold and indifferent on this subject, he has laid down a rule, that they whose duty it is to preach the gospel shall be supported; as we see that Paul speaks of it in other passages, and. treats of it very fully in the First Epistle to the Corinthians, though he likewise mentions it in the Epistle to the Galatians." -- Fr. Ser.
4 "Equite et humanite."
6 "Que les docteurs ou pasteurs fideles." "Than faithful teachers or pastors."
7 "Repren publiquement." "Rebuke publicly."
8 "Combien que la vie de leurs moines et prestres soit la plus meschante et desbordee qu'on scauroit dire." -- "Although the life of their monks and priests be the most wicked and dissolute that can be described."
9 "Gratian, a Benedictine of the 12th century, was a native of Chiusi, and was the author of a famous work, entitled "Decretal," or "Concordantia Discordantium Canonum," in which he endeavored to reconcile those canons that seem to contradict each other. He was, however, guilty of some errors, which Anthony Augustine endeavored to correct in his work entitled "De emendatione Gratiani." Gratian's "Decretal "forms one of the principal parts of the canon law." -- Gorton's Biog. Dict.
10 "Et qu'on regarde seulement le faict." "And when we look at nothing but the fact."
11 "Let us remark that he wishes to distinguish them from those who rebelled. For the devils were not created wicked and malicious as they now are, enemies of all that is good, and false and cursed in their nature. They were angels of God, but they were not elected to persevere, and so they fell. Thus God reserved what he chose among the angels. And so we have already a mirror of God's election of us to heaven, by free grace before we came into the world. Now, if we see the grace of God displayed even to angels, what shall become of us? For all mankind were lost and ruined in Adam, and we are an accursed, and, as the Scripture tells us, are born "children of wrath." (Ephesians 2:3.) What must we become if God do not choose us by pure goodness, since from our mother's womb (Psalm 51:6) we are corrupted, and are alienated from him? This gracious election must prevail, m order to separate us from the reprobate, who remain in their perdition. We ought, therefore, carefully to remark this passage, that Paul, when speaking of the angels, shews that their high rank proceeds from their having been chosen and elected by God. And so, by a still stronger reason, we are separated from all other visible creatures, only because: God separates us by his mercy." -- Fr. Ser.
12 "Sans jugement precupite, ou, sans preferer l'un a l'autre., "Without hasty judgment, or, without preferring one before another.
13 "Une trop soudaine hastivete." "A too sudden haste."