Epistle of Saint Nicholas of Tolentino

1 Corinthians 4:9-14

Brethren, we are made a spectacle to the world, and to Angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ: we are weak, but you are strong: you are honourable, but we without honour. Even unto this hour we both hunger and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted and have no fixed abode, and we labour, working with our hands: we are reviled, and we bless: we are persecuted, and we suffer it: we are blasphemed, and we entreat: we are made as the refuse of this world, the offscouring of all even until now. I write not these things to confound you, but I admonish you as my dearest children: in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Verse 9. Made a spectacle. It is evident from the writings of S. Paul, and from innumerable other records, that the apostles were made a spectacle to the world and to men; but how, some one may perhaps ask, were they made a spectacle to angels? S. Chrys. Theod. and many others think, that the apostle is here speaking of the good angels, who behold with pleasure the labours and afflictions of the saints, knowing that it will prove a source of glory; but Estius, Vat. and some others, are of opinion, that the wicked angels are here spoken of, who rejoice at the persecutions of God’s servants, and wish to revenge themselves for the destruction of their empire.

Verse 14-17. I write not. S. Paul here insinuates to the Corinthians, that they ought to blush with shame for neglecting the apostles, who had suffered so many hardships for them, to follow after teachers void of honour, and to glory in being called the disciples of such men. Estius. — I admonish you as my dearest children, of what is for your good, and I may take this liberty, as being your spiritual father in Christ, by whom you were first made Christians. Be ye followers of me, as I also am of Christ: follow the doctrine of Christ, which I follow, and taught you. Timothy, my beloved son in the Lord, whom I send to you, will put you in mind of what I teach, and of what I practise. Wi.

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