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.
17. Elders. fa96 For preserving the good order of the Church, it is likewise highly necessary that elders should not be neglected, but that due regard should be paid to them; for what could be more unfeeling than to have no care about those who have the care of the whole Church? Here presbu>terov (elder) is not a name of age, but of office.
Accounted worthy of double honor. Chrysostom interprets “double honor” as meaning “support and reverence.” I do not oppose his opinion; let it be adopted by any one that chooses. But for my own part, I think it is more probable that a comparison is here drawn between widows and elders. Paul had formerly enjoined that honor should be paid — to widows; but elders are more worthy of being honored shall widows, and, with respect to them, ought therefore to receive double honor.
But in order to shew that he does not recommend masks, he adds, who rule well; that is, who faithfully and laboriously discharge their office. For, granting that a person should a hundred times obtain a place, and though he should boast of his title; yet, if he do not also perform his duty, he will have no right to demand that he shall be supported at the expense of the Church. In short, he means that honor is not due to the title, but to the work performed by those who are appointed to the office.
Yet he prefers those who labor in word and doctrine, that is, those who are diligent in leaching the word; for those two terms, word and doctrine, signify the same thing, namely, the preaching of the word. But lest any one should suppose him to mean by the word an indolent, and, as it is called, a speculative study of it, he adds doctrine.fa97
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. fa98
18. Thou shalt not muzzle the ox. This is a political precept which recommends to us equity and humanity fa99 in general; as we have said in expounding the First Epistle to the Corinthians; fa100 for, if he forbids us to be unkind to brute animals, how much greater humanity does he demand towards men! The meaning of this statement, therefore, is the same as if it had been said in general terns, that they must not make a wrong use of the labor of others. At the present day, the custom of treading out the corn is unknown in many parts of France, where they thresh the corn with flails. None but the inhabitants of Provence know what is meant by “treading it out.” But this has nothing to do with the meaning; for the same thing may be said about ploughing.