Deus judex solus
God the only judge
4:1 Sic nos existimet homo ut ministros Christi, et dispensatores mysteriorum Dei. [n. 185]
4:1 Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ and the dispensers of the mysteries of God. [n. 185]
4:2 Hic jam quaeritur inter dispensatores ut fidelis quis inveniatur. [n. 189]
4:2 Here now it is required among the dispensers that a man be found faithful. [n. 189]
4:3 Mihi autem pro minimo est ut a vobis judicer, aut ab humano die: [n. 190] sed neque meipsum judico. [n. 192]
4:3 But to me it is a very small thing to be judged by you or by man’s day. [n. 190] But neither do I judge my own self. [n. 192]
4:4 Nihil enim mihi conscius sum, sed non in hoc justificatus sum: qui autem judicat me, Dominus est. [n. 190]
4:4 For I am not conscious to myself of anything. Yet I am not hereby justified: but he who judges me is the Lord. [n. 190]
4:5 Itaque nolite ante tempus judicare, quoadusque veniat Dominus: qui et illuminabit abscondita tenebrarum, et manifestabit consilia cordium: et tunc laus erit unicuique a Deo. [n. 194]
4:5 Therefore, judge not before the time: until the Lord comes, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts. And then shall every man have praise from God. [n. 194]
185. Superius redarguit Apostolus Corinthios de hoc, quod de quibusdam ministris gloriabantur, hic autem arguit eos quod alios ministros contemnebant.
185. Having rebuked the Corinthians for glorying in certain ministers, the Apostle now attacks them for looking down on other ministers.
Et circa hoc duo facit.
In regard to this he does two things.
Primo arguit eorum culpam;
First, he censures their guilt;
secundo instat ad eorum correctionem, ibi non ut confundam vos.
second, he concentrates on correcting them, at I do not write these things (1 Cor 4:14).
Circa primum duo facit.
In regard to the first he does two things.
Primo arguit eorum temeritatem, qua male de ministris iudicabant;
First, he censures their rashness in judging ill of ministers;
secundo arguit eorum elationem, qua Christi ministros contemnebant, ibi hoc autem, fratres.
second, their arrogance in looking down on ministers of Christ, at but these things, brethren (1 Cor 4:6).
Circa primum duo facit.
In regard to the first he does two things.
Primo ostendit, quid sit de ministris Christi firmiter sentiendum;
First, he shows what should be assuredly felt about Christ’s ministers;
secundo quod non sit de eis temere iudicandum, ibi hic iam quaeritur inter dispensatores.
second, that they should not be judged rashly, at here now it is required.
186. Dicit ergo primo: dixi quod nullus vestrum debet gloriari de hominibus, tamen quilibet vestrum debet cognoscere auctoritatem officii nostri, ad quod pertinet quod sumus mediatores inter Christum cui servimus, ad quos pertinet quod dicit sic nos existimet homo ut ministros Christi, Is. LXI, v. 6: sacerdotes Dei vocabimini ministri Dei nostri, dicetur vobis, et inter membra eius, quae sunt fideles Ecclesiae, quibus dona Christi dispensant, ad quos pertinet quod subditur et dispensatores mysteriorum Dei, id est, secretorum eius, quae quidem sunt spiritualia eius documenta, secundum illud infra XIV, 2: Spiritus est, qui loquitur mysteria; vel etiam ecclesiastica sacramenta, in quibus divina virtus secretius operatur salutem. Unde et in forma consecrationis Eucharistiae dicitur: mysterium fidei.
186. First, therefore, he says: I have said that none of you should glory in men; nevertheless, each of you should recognize the authority of our office, which is that we are mediators between Christ whom we serve—he refers to this when he says, let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ; men shall speak of you as the ministers of our God (Isa 61:6)—and his members who are the faithful of the Church, to whom we dispense Christ’s gifts. He refers to this when he says, and the dispensers of the mysteries of God, i.e., of his secrets. These are his spiritual teachings: by the Spirit he speaks mysteries (1 Cor 14:2) or the sacraments of the Church, in which divine power secretly works salvation; hence in the formula for consecrating the Eucharist it is said: the mystery of faith.
187. Pertinet ergo ad officium praelatorum Ecclesiae, quod in gubernatione subditorum soli Christo servire desiderent, cuius amore oves eius pascunt, secundum illud Io. ult.: si diligis me, pasce oves meas. Pertinet etiam ad eos, ut divina populo dispensent, secundum illud infra IX, 17: dispensatio mihi credita est, et secundum hoc sunt mediatores inter Christum et populum, secundum illud Deut. V, 5: ego sequester fui, et medius illo tempore inter Deum et vos.
187. Therefore, in governing their subjects the prelates of the Church should seek to serve Christ alone, for love of whom they feed his sheep: if you love me, feed my sheep (John 21:17). Furthermore, they should dispense the things of God to the people: a dispensation is committed to me (1 Cor 9:17). It is in this way that they are mediators between Christ and the people: I stood between the Lord and you at that time (Deut 5:5).
Haec autem aestimatio de praelatis Ecclesiae necessaria est ad salutem fidelium; nisi enim eos recognoscerent ministros Christi, non eis obedirent, tamquam Christo, secundum illud Gal. IV, 14: sicut angelum Dei excepistis me, sicut Iesum Christum. Rursum, si eos non cognoscerent dispensatores, recusarent ab eis dona recipere, contra illud quod idem Apostolus dicit II Cor. II, 10: quod donavi, si quid donavi, propter vos in persona Christi donavi.
This view of the Church’s prelates is necessary for the salvation of the faithful, for unless they recognize them as Christ’s ministers, they will not obey them as Christ: you received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus (Gal 4:14). Again, if they do not regard them as stewards, they would refuse to receive gifts from them, contrary to what the Apostle says: what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ (2 Cor 2:10).
188. Deinde cum dicit hic iam quaeritur inter dispensatores, ostendit circa ministros Christi, temere iudicari non debere.
188. Then when he says, here now it is required, he shows that they should not judge rashly in matters concerning Christ’s ministers.
Et circa hoc tria facit.
In regard to this he does three things.
Primo, ponit quoddam per quod iudicare satagunt de fidelitate ministrorum;
First, he mentions the standard by which to judge the faithfulness of ministers;
secundo, ostendit de hoc iudicio se non curare, sed Deo reservare, ibi mihi autem pro minimo est;
second, he shows that he is not concerned about this judgment but leaves it to God, at but to me it is a very small thing;
tertio, concludit prohibitionem temerarii iudicii, ibi itaque nolite.
third he concludes his prohibition against rash judgment, at therefore, judge not.
189. Circa primum considerandum est, quod ministrorum et dispensatorum Christi, quidam sunt fideles, quidam infideles. Infideles dispensatores sunt, qui in dispensandis divinis ministeriis non intendunt utilitatem populi, et honorem Christi, et utilitatem membrorum eius, secundum illud Lc. XVI, v. 11: in iniquo mammona fideles non fuistis. Fideles autem, qui in omnibus intendunt honorem Dei, et utilitatem membrorum eius, secundum illud Lc. XII, 42: quis, putas, est fidelis servus et prudens, quem constituit Dominus super familiam suam? Qui autem sunt fideles divino iudicio manifestabuntur in futuro.
189. In regard to the first it should be noted that some are faithful ministers and dispensers of Christ, and some unfaithful. The unfaithful ministers do not seek the people’s welfare and Christ’s honor, when they dispense the divine mysteries: you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon (Luke 16:11). But the faithful ones seek the honor of God and the welfare of his members in all things: who then is the faithful and wise steward, whom his master will set over his household? (Luke 12:42). Who the faithful ministers are will be disclosed in the divine judgment to come.
Sed Corinthii temere volebant discutere, qui dispensatores essent fideles vel infideles. Et hoc est quod dicit hic, hoc est, inter vos, iam, id est, praesenti tempore, quaeritur, id est, discutitur, ut quis, id est aliquis, inter dispensatores fidelis inveniatur. Iudicabant enim plures esse infideles, vix aliquem virum putantes esse fidelem, secundum illud Prov. XX, 6: multi viri misericordes vocantur, virum autem fidelem quis inveniet?
But the Corinthians rashly desired to discuss which dispensers were faithful and which unfaithful. And this is what he says: here now, i.e., in the present time, it is required, i.e., it is being discussed, among the dispensers that a man be found faithful. For they judged that many were unfaithful, supposing that scarcely anyone was faithful: many a man proclaims his own loyalty, but a faithful man who can find? (Prov 20:6).
190. Deinde cum dicit mihi autem pro minimo est, ostendit se hoc iudicium reputare nihil, et circa hoc tria facit.
190. Then when he says, but to me it is a very small thing, he shows that he has no regard for this judgment.
Primo ponit, quod non curat circa hoc ab aliis iudicari, dicens mihi autem, qui sum minimus inter dispensatores, pro minimo est, id est, minima bona reputo, ut a vobis iudicer, scilicet esse fidelis, vel infidelis.
First, he asserts that he is not concerned about the judgment of others on this point, saying, but to me, who am the least of the dispensers, it is a very small thing, i.e., I regard it a trivial good, to be judged by you as faithful or unfaithful.
Et ne putarent ab apostolo haec dici in eorum contemptum, ac si eorum iudicium despiceret, quasi vilium personarum, subiungit aut ab humano intellectu, qui est dies hominis, secundum illud Io. XI, 9: qui ambulat in die, non offendit, quia lucem huius mundi videt. Vel ad litteram aut ab humano die, id est, ab intellectu in hoc tempore iudicantibus, quasi dicat: vestrum, vel quorumcumque hominum iudicium parum curo. Ier. XVII, 16: diem hominis non desideravi, tu scis.
But lest they suppose that he says these things out of contempt, as though he scorned their opinion as coming from worthless persons, he adds, or by man’s intellect, which is the day of man: if a man walks in the day he stumbles not, because he sees the light of this world (John 11:9). Or, by man’s day, i.e., by the intellect of persons judging in this time. As if to say: I am little concerned about your judgment or any man’s: I have not desired the day of man, you know (Jer 17:16).
191. Est autem sciendum, quod de iudicio hominum dupliciter debet curari. Uno modo, quantum ad alios, qui ex eorum bono, vel aedificantur, vel scandalizantur, et sic sancti non pro minimo, sed pro magno habent ab hominibus iudicari, cum Dominus dicat Matth. V, 16: videant opera vestra bona, et glorificent Patrem vestrum, qui in caelis est.
191. It should be noted, however, that one should have regard for men’s judgment in two ways: first, in regard to others who are edified or scandalized by what is heard. For this reason the saints did not regard it a small thing but very important to be judged by men, since the Lord said: that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father, who is in heaven (Matt 5:16).
Alio modo quantum ad seipsos, et sic non curant multum, quia nec gloriam humanam concupiscunt, secundum illud I Thess. II, 6: neque gloriam ab hominibus quaerentes, neque aliquid a vobis, neque ab aliis. Neque opprobrium hominis timent, secundum illud Is. LI, 7: nolite timere opprobrium hominum, et blasphemias eorum ne timeatis. Unde Apostolus signanter dicit mihi autem, etc., id est, quantum ad me pertinet, non autem id pro nullo est, sed pro minimo, quia bona temporalia, inter quae bona fama computatur, non sunt nulla bona, sed minima, ut Augustinus dicit in libro de Libero arbitrio. Unde et Sap. VII, 9: omne aurum in comparatione illius arena est exigua.
Second, in regard to themselves, and then they do not care much, because they neither desire human glory: nor sought we the glory of men, neither of you nor of others (1 Thess 2:6), nor fear men’s reproaches: Fear not the reproach of men, and be not afraid of their blasphemies (Isa 51:7). Hence the Apostle says significantly, but to me, i.e., as far as it pertains to me. Nor does he regard it as nothing, but as a very small thing, because temporal things, among which a good reputation finds a place, are not null goods but very small ones, as Augustine says in the book On Free Will. Hence it is also stated in Wisdom: all gold in comparison of her is as a little sand (Wis 7:9).
192. Secundo ostendit, quod neque seipsum iudicare praesumit, dicens sed neque meipsum iudico.
192. Second, he shows that he does not even presume to judge himself, saying, but neither do I judge my own self.
Videtur autem hoc esse contra id quod infra XI, 31 dicitur: si nosmetipsos diiudicaremus, non utique iudicaremur. Debet ergo quilibet iudicare seipsum.
But this seems to conflict with a later statement: but if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged (1 Cor 11:31). Therefore, everyone should judge himself.
Sed sciendum est, quod iudicio discussionis, de quo Apostolus hic loquitur, quilibet debet iudicare seipsum, secundum illud Ps. LXXVI, 7: exercitabar et scopebam spiritum meum, et similiter iudicio condemnationis et reprehensionis in manifestis malis, secundum illud Iob XIII, 15: arguam coram eo vias meas; sed iudicio absolutionis non debet aliquis praesumere se iudicare ut innocentem; unde dicitur Iob IX, 20: si iustificare me voluero, os meum condemnabit me; si innocentem considero, pravum me comprobabit.
However, it should be noted that everyone should judge himself with the judgment of self-examination, about which the Apostle speak here, according to a psalm: I meditate and search my spirit (Ps 77:6), as well as with the judgment of condemnation and reproach in the face of obvious evils: I will reprove my ways in his sight (Job 13:15). But with the judgment of absolution a person should not presume to judge himself innocent: though I am innocent, my own mouth would condemn me; though I am blameless, he would prove me perverse (Job 9:20).
Cuius rationem assignat, dicens nihil mihi conscius sum, id est, non habeo alicuius peccati mortalis conscientiam, secundum illud Iob XXVII, 6: neque reprehendit me cor meum in omni vita mea. Sed non in hoc iustificatus sum, id est, non sufficit ad hoc, quod me iustum pronunciem, quia possunt aliqua peccata in me latere, quae ignoro, secundum illud Ps.: delicta quis intelligit? Et Iob c. IX, 21 dicitur: et si simplex fuero, hoc ipsum ignorabit anima mea.
He assigns the reason for this when he says, I am not conscious to myself of anything, i.e., I am not aware of any mortal sin: my heart does not reproach me for any of my days (Job 27:6); yet I am not hereby justified, i.e., that does not suffice for pronouncing myself just, because certains sins can be hiding in me, which I do not know: who can discern his sins? (Ps 19:12) I am blameless; I do not regard myself (Job 9:21).