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16If I proclaim the gospel, this gives me no ground for boasting, for an obligation is laid on me, and woe to me if I do not proclaim the gospel!

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16. For if I preach the gospel. To show how very important it was not to deprive himself of that ground of glorying, he intimates what would have happened, if he had simply discharged his ministry — that he would in this way have done nothing else than what the Lord had enjoined upon him by a strict necessity By doing that, he says, he would have had no occasion for glorying, as it was not in his power to avoid doing it. 493493     “Veu qu’il y estoit contraint, et ne pouuoit euiter telle necessite;” — “Inasmuch as he was constrained to it, and could not avoid such a necessity.” It is asked, however, what glorying he here refers to, for he glories elsewhere in his exercising himself in the office of teaching with a pure conscience (2 Timothy 1:3.) I answer, that he speaks of a glorying that he could bring forward in opposition to the false apostles, when they endeavored to find a pretext for reviling, as will appear more fully from what follows.

This is a remarkable statement, from which we learn, in the first place, what, as to ministers, is the nature, and what the closeness of the tie that is involved in their calling, and farther, what the pastoral office imports and includes. Let not the man, then, who has been once called to it, imagine that he is any longer at liberty to withdraw when he chooses, if, perhaps, he is harassed with vexatious occurrences, or weighed down with misfortunes, for he is devoted to the Lord and to the Church, and bound by a sacred tie, which it were criminal to break asunder. As to the second point, 494494     That is, the duty which the pastoral office involves. — Ed. he says that a curse was ready to fall upon him, if he did not preach the gospel Why? Because he has been called to it, and therefore is constrained by necessity How, therefore, will any one who succeeds to his office avoid this necessity? What sort of successors, then, have the Apostles in the Pope and the other mitred bishops, who think that there is nothing that is more unbecoming their station, than the duty of teaching!




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