18Thou shalt not muzzle the ox This is a political precept which recommends to us equity and humanity (101) in general; as we have said in expounding the First Epistle to the Corinthians; (102) 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 “ it out.” But this has nothing to do with the meaning; for the same thing may be said about ploughing.
The laborer is worthy of his hire He does not quote this as a passage of Scripture, but as a proverbial saying, which common sense teaches to all. In like manner, when Christ said the same thing to the Apostles, (Mat_10:10,) he brought forward nothing else than a statement approved by universal consent. It follows that they are cruel, and have forgotten the claims of equity, who permit cattle to suffer hunger; and incomparably worse are they that act the same part towards men, whose sweat they suck out for their own accommodation. And how intolerable is the ingratitude of those who refuse support to their pastors, to whom they cannot pay an adequate salary!
(101) “Equite et humanite.”
(102) See Commentary on the Corinthians, vol. 1, p. 294.