5. The Limit of Forgiveness.
"Then came Peter and said unto Him, Lord, how often shall my brother
sin against me and I forgive him? "35 The conception that these things
were said in a simple sense by Peter, as if he were inquiring whether he
was to forgive his brother when he sinned against him seven times, but
no longer if he sinned an eighth time, and by the Saviour, as if He thought
that one should sit still and reckon up the sins of his neighbours against
him in order that he might forgive seventy times and seven, but that from
the seventy-eighth he should not forgive the man who wronged him, seems
to me altogether silly and unworthy alike of the progress which Peter had
made in the company of Jesus and of the divine magnanimity of Jesus. Perhaps,
then, these things also border on an obscurity akin to the words, "Hear
My voice, ye wives of Lamech,"36 etc. If any one has already become a friend
of Jesus so as to be taught by His spirit which illumines the reason of
him who has advanced so far according to his desert, he might know the
true meaning, therefore, in regard to these things, and such as Jesus Himself
would have clearly expounded it; but we who fall short of the greatness
of the friendship of Jesus must be content if we can babble a little about
the passage. The number six, then, appears to be working and toilsome,
but the number seven to contain the idea of repose. And consider if you
can say that he, who loves the world and works the things of the world,
and does those things which are material, sins six times, and that the
number seven is the end of sin in his case, so that Peter with some such
thought in his mind wished to pardon seven sins of those which his brother
had committed against him. But since as units the tens and the hundreds
have a certain common measure of proportion to the number which is in units,
and Jesus knew that the number might be exceeded, on this account, I think,
that He added to the number seven also the seventy,37 and said that there
ought to be forgiveness to brethren here, and to them who have sinned in
respect to things here. But if any one going beyond the things about the
world and this age were to commit sin, even if it were trifling, he could
not longer reasonably have forgiveness of sins; for forgiveness extends
to the things here, and in relation to the sins committed here, whether
the forgiveness comes late or soon; but there is no forgiveness, not even
to a brother, who has sinned beyond the seven and seventy times. But you
might say that he who has sinned in such wise, whether as against Peter
his brother, or as against Peter, against whom the gates of Hades do not
prevail, is by sins of this kind in the smaller number of the sin, but
according to sins still worse is in the number which has no forgiveness
6. Concerning the King Who Made a Reckoning with His Own Servants,
to Whom Was Brought a Man Who Owed Ten Thousand Talents.
"Therefore I say unto you the kingdom of heaven is likened unto a certain
king, who wished to make a reckoning with his own servants."38 The general
conception of the parable is to teach us that we should be inclined to
forgive the sins committed against us by those who have wronged us, and
especially if after the wrongdoing he who has done it supplicates him who
has been wronged, asking forgiveness for the sins which he has committed
against him. And this the parable wishes to teach us by representing that
even when forgiveness has been granted by God to us of the sins in respect
of which we have received remission, exaction will be demanded even after
the remission, unless we forgive the sins of those who have wronged us,
so that there is no longer left in us the least remembrance of the wrong
that was done. but the whole heart, assisted by the spirit of forgetfulness
of wrongs, which is no common virtue, forgives him who has wronged us those
things which have been wickedly done against any of us by him, even treacherously.But
next to the general conception of the parable, it is right to examine the
whole of it more simply according to the letter, so that he who advances
with care to the right investigation of each detail of the things previously
written may derive profit from the examination of what is said. Now there
is, as is probable, an interpretation, transcendental and hard to trace,
as it is somewhat mystical, according to which, after the analogy of the
parables which are interpreted by the Evangelists, one would investigate
each of the details in this; as, for example, who the king was, and who
the servants were, and what was the beginning of his making a reckoning,
and who was the one debtor who owed many talents, and who was his wife
and who his children, and what were the "all things" spoken of besides
those which the king ordered to be sold in order that the debt might be
paid out of his belongings, and what was meant by the going out of the
man who had been forgiven the many talents, and who was the one of the
servants who was found and was a debtor not to the householder, but to
the man who had been forgiven, and what is meant by the number of the hundred
pence, and what by the word, "He took him by the throat saying, Pay what
thou owest," and what is the prison into which he who had been forgiven
all the talents went out and cast his fellow-servant, and who were the
fellow-servants who were grieved and told the lord all that had been done,
and who were the tormentors to whom he who had cast his fellow-servant
into prison was delivered, and how he who was delivered to the tormentors
paid all that was due, so that he no longer owed anything.39 But it is
probable also that some other things could be added to the number by a
more competent investigator, the exposition and interpretation of which
I think to be beyond the power of man, and requiring the Spirit of Christ
who spoke them in order that Christ may be understood as He spoke; for
as "no one among men knows the things of the man, save the spirit which
is in him," and "no one knows the things of God, save the Spirit of God,"40
so no one knows after God the things spoken by Christ in proverbs and parables
save the Spirit of Christ, in which he who participates in Christ not only
so far as He is Spirit, but in Christ as He is Wisdom, as He is Word, would
behold the things which were revealed to him in this passage. But with
regard to the interpretation of the loftiest type, we make no profession;
nor on the other hand with the assistance of Christ who is the Wisdom of
God do we despair of apprehending the things signified in the parable;
but whether it shall be the case that such things shall be dictated to
us in connection with this Scripture or not, may God in Christ suggest
the doing of that which is pleasing to Him, if only there be granted to
us also concerning these things, the word of wisdom which is given from
God through the Spirit, and the word of knowledge which is supplied according
to the Spirit.41
7. Exposition Continued: the King and the Servants.
"The kingdom of heaven, " He says, "is likened, "42 etc. But if it be
likened to such a king, and one who has done such things, who must we say
that it is but the Son of God? For He is the King of the heavens, and as
He is absolute Wisdom and absolute Righteousness and absolute Truth, is
He not so also absolute Kingdom? But it is not a kingdom of any of those
below, nor of a part of those above, but of all the things above, which
were called heavens. But if you enquire into the meaning of the words,
"Theirs is the kingdom of heaven,"43 you may say that Christ is theirs
in so far as He is absolute Kingdom, reigning in every thought of the man
who is no longer under the reign of sin which reigns in the mortal body
of those who have subjected themselves to it.44 And if I say, reigning
in every thought, I mean something like this, reigning as Righteousness
and Wisdom and Truth and the rest of the virtues in him who has become
a heaven, because of bearing the image of the heavenly, and in every power,
whether angelic, or the rest that are named saints, not only in this age,
but also in that which is to come, and who are worthy of a kingdom of such
a kind. Accordingly this kingdom of heaven (when it was made "in the likeness
of sinful flesh,"45 that for sin it might condemn sin, when God made "Him
who knew no sin to be sin on behalf of us,"46 who bear the body of our
sin), is likened to a certain king who is understood in relation to Jesus
being united to Him, if we may dare so to speak, having more capacity towards
being united and becoming entirely one with the "First-born of all creation,"47
than he, who, being joined to the Lord, becomes one spirit with Him.48
Now of this kingdom of the heavens which is likened unto a certain king,
according to the conception of Jesus, and is united to Him, it is said
by anticipation that he wished to make a reckoning with his servants. But
he is about to make a reckoning with them in order that it may be manifested
how each has employed the tried money of the householder and his rational
coins. And the image in the parables was indeed taken from masters who
made a reckoning with their own servants; but we shall understand more
accurately what is signified by this part of the parable, if we fix our
thought on the things done by the slaves who had administered their master's
goods, and who were asked to give a reckoning concerning them. For each
of them, receiving in different measure from his master's goods, has used
them either for that which was right so as to increase the goods of his
master. or consumed it riotously on things which he ought not, and spent
profusely without judgment and without discretion that which had been put
into his hands. But there are those who have wisely administered these
goods and goods so great, but have lost others, and whenever they give
the reckoning when the master makes a reckoning with them, there is gathered
together how much loss each has incurred, and there is reckoned up how
much gain each has brought, and according to the worthiness of the way
in which he has administered it, he is either honoured or punished, or
in some cases the debt is forgiven, but in others the talents are taken
away. Well, then, from what has been said, let us first look at the rational
coins and the tried money of the householder, of which one receives more
and another less, for according to the ability of each, to one are given
five talents as he has the ability to administer so many, but to another
two as not being able to receive the amount of the man before him, and
to another one as being also inferior to the second.49 Are these, then,
the only differences, or are we to recognize these differences in the case
of certain persons of whom the Gospel goes on to speak while there are
also others besides these: In other parables also are found certain persons,
as the two debtors, the one who owed five hundred pence, and the other
fifty;50 but whether these had been entrusted with them and had administered
them badly as being inferior in ability to him who had been entrusted with
a talent, or had received them, we have not learned; but that they owed
so much, we seem to be taught from the parable. And there are found other
ten servants who were each entrusted with a pound separately.51 And if
any one understood the varied character of the human soul and the wide
differences from each other in respect of natural aptitude, or want of
aptitude for more or fewer of the virtues, and for these virtues or for
those, perhaps he would comprehend how each soul has come with certain
coins of the householder which come to light with the full attainment of
reason, and with the attention which follows the full attainment of reason,
and with exercise in things that are right, or with diligence and exercise
in other things, whether they be useful as pursuits, or in part useful
and in part not useful, such as the opinions which are not wholly true
nor wholly false.
8. The Principle of the Reckoning.
But you will here inquire whether all men can be called servants of
the king, or some are servants whom he foreknew and fore-ordained, while
there are others who transact business with the servants, and are called
bankers.52 And in like manner you will inquire if there are those outside
the number of the slaves from whom the householder declares that he will
exact his own with usury, not only men alien from piety, but also some
of the believers. Now the servants alone are the stewards of the Word,
but the king, making a reckoning with the servants, demands from those
who have borrowed from the servants, whether a hundred measures of wheat
or a hundred measures of oil,53 or whatever in point of fact those who
are outside of the household of the king have received; for he who owed
the hundred measures of wheat or the hundred measures of oil is not found
to be, according to the parable, a fellow-servant of the unjust steward,
as is evident from the question-how much owest thou to my lord?54 But mark
with me that each deed which is good or seemly is like a gain and an increment,
but a wicked deed is like a loss; and as there is a certain gain when the
money is greater and another when it is less, and as there are differences
of more or less, so according to the good deeds, there is as it were a
valuing of gains more or less. To reckon what work is a great gain, and
what a less gain, and what a least, is the prerogative of him who alone
knows to investigate such things, looking at them in the light of the disposition,
and the word, and the deed, and from consideration of the things which
are not in our power cooperating with those that are; and so also in the
case of things opposite, it is his to say what sin, when a reckoning is
made with the servants, is found to be a great loss, and what is less,
and what, if we may so call it, is the loss of the very last mite,55 or
the last farthing.56 The account, therefore, of the entire and whole life
is exacted by that which is called the kingdom of heaven which is likened
to a king, when "we must all stand before the judgment-sent of Christ that
each one may receive the things done in the body according to what he hath
done, whether good or bad; "57 and then when the reckoning is being made,
shall there be brought into the reckoning that is made also every idle
word that men shall speak,58 and Guy cup of cold water only which one has
given to drink in the name of a disciple.59
9. The Time Occupied by the Reckoning.
And these things will take place whenever that happens which is written
in Daniel, "The books were opened and the judgment was set; "60 for a record,
as it were, is made of all things that have been spoken and done and thought,
and by divine power every hidden thing of ours shall be manifested, and
everything that is covered shall be revealed,61 in order that when any
one is found who has not "given diligence to be freed from the adversary,"
he may go in succession through the hands of the magistrate, and the judge,
and the attendant into the prison, until he pays the very last mite;62
but when one has given diligence to be freed from him and owes nothing
to any one, and already has made the pound ten pounds or five pounds, or
doubled the five talents, or made the two four, he may obtain the due recompense,
entering into the joy of his Lord, either being set over all His possessions,63
or hearing the word, "Have thou authority over ten cities,"64 or "Have
thou authority over five cities."65 But we think that these things are
spoken of as if they required a long period of time, in order that an account
may be made by us of the whole times of the earthly life, so that we might
suppose that when the king makes a reckoning with each one of his many
servants the matter would require so vast a period of time, until these
things come to an end which have existed from the beginning of the world
down to the consummation of the age, not of one age, but of many ages.
But the truth is not so; for when God wished all at once to rekindle in
the memories of all everything that had been done by each one throughout
the whole time, in order that each might become conscious of his own doings
whether good or bad, He would do it by His ineffable power. For it is not
with God as with us; for if we wish to call some things to remembrance,
we require sufficient time for the detailed account of what has been said
by us, and to bring to our remembrance the things which we wish to remember;
but if He wished to call to our memory the things which have been done
in this life, in order that becoming conscious of what we have done we
may apprehend for what we are punished or honoured, He could do so. But
if any one disbelieves the swiftness of the power of God in regard to these
matters, he has not yet had a true conception of the God who made the universe,
who did not require times to make the vast creation of heaven and earth
and the things in them; for, though He may seem to have made these things
in six days, there is need of understanding to comprehend in what sense
the words "in six days" are said, on account of this, "This is the book
of the generation of heaven and earth,"66 etc. Therefore it may be boldly
affirmed that the season of the expected judgment does not require times,
but as the resurrection is said to take place "in a moment, in the twinkling
of an eye,"67 so I think will the judgment also be.
10. The Man Who Owed Many Talents.
Next we must speak in regard to this, "And when he had begun to reckon,
there was brought unto him one which owed many talents. "68 The sense of
this appears to me to be as follows: The season of beginning the judgment
is with the house of God, who says, as also it is written in Ezekiel, to
those who are appointed to attend to punishments, "Begin ye with My saints;
"69 and it is like "the twinkling of an eye; "but, the time of making a
reckoning includes the same "twinkling," ideally apprehended, for we are
not forgetful of what has been previously said of those who owe more. Wherefore
it is not written, when he was making reckoning, but it is said, "When
he began to reckon," there was brought, at the beginning of his making
a reckoning, one who owed many talents; he had lost tens of thousands of
talents, having been entrusted with great things, and having had many things
committed to his care, but he had brought no gain to his master, but had
lost tens of thousands so that he owed many talents; and, perhaps on this
account, he owed many talents, seeing that he followed often the woman,
who wassitting upon the talent of lead, whose name is wickedness.70 But
observe here that every great sin is a loss of the talents of the master
of the house, and such sins are committed by fornicators, adulterers, abusers
of themselves with men, effeminate, idolaters, murderers. Perhaps then
the one who is brought to the king owing many talents has committed no
small sin but all that are great and heinous; and if you were to seek for
him among men, perhaps you would find him to be "the man of sin, the son
of perdition, he that opposeth and exalteth himself against every God or
object of worship; "71 but if yon seek him outside the number of men, who
can this be but the devil who has ruined so many who received him, who
wrought sin in them. For "man is a great thing, and a pitiful man is precious,"72
precious so as to be worthy of a talent, whether of gold like as the lamp
which was equal to a talent of gold,73 or of silver or of any kind of material
whatsoever understood intellectually, the symbols of which are recorded
in the Words of the Days,74 when David became enriched with many talents
of which the number is mentioned, so many talents of gold, and so many
of silver, and of the rest of the material there named, from which the
temple of God was built.
11. The Servant Who Owed a Hundred Pence.
Only, though he cannot pay the talents, for he has lost them, he has
a wife and children and other things, of which it is written, "All that
he has."75 And it was possible that when he had been sold along with his
own, he would have prospered if some one had bought him, and, by his worth
and the things that were his, have paid the whole debt in full; and it
was possible that he might no longer be the servant of the king, but become
that of his purchaser. And he makes a request that he be not sold along
with his own, but may continue to abide in the house of the king; wherefore
he fell down and worshipped him, knowing that the king was God, and said,
"Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all; "76 for he was, as is
probable, an active man, who knew that he could by a second course of action
fill up the whole deficiency of the former loss of many talents. And this
truly good king was moved with compassion for the man who owed him many
talents and then released him, having bestowed upon him a favour greater
than the request which had been made; for the debtor promised to the long-suffering
master to pay all his debts, but the Lord moved with compassion for him
did not merely forgive him with the idea of receiving his own back as a
result of his patience, but even entirely released him and forgave him
the whole debt. But this wicked servant, who had besought his master to
have patience for his many talents, acted without mercy, for, having found
one of his fellow-servants which owed him a hundred pence, he laid hold
on him and took him by the throat, saying, "Pay if thou owest."77 And did
he not exhibit the very excess of wickedness who laid hold of his fellow-servant
for a hundred pence, and took him by the throat and deprived him of freedom
to breathe, when he himself, for the many talents, had neither been laid
hold of, nor seized by the throat, but at first was ordered to be sold
along with his wife and children and all that was his own; but afterwards,
when he had worshipped him, the master was moved with compassion for him,
and he was released and forgiven in regard to the whole of the debt. But
it were indeed a hard task to tell according to the conception of Jesus
who is the one fellow-servant who was found to be owing a hundred pence,
not to his own lord, but to him who owed many talents, and who are the
fellow-servants who saw the one taking by the throat, and the other taken,
and were exceedingly sorry, and represented clearly unto their own lord
all that had been done. But what the truth in these matters is, I declare
that no one can interpret unless Jesus, who explained all things to His
own disciples privately, takes up His abode in his reason, and opens up
all the treasures in the parable which are dark, hidden, unseen, and confirms
by clear demonstrations the man whom He desires to illumine with the light
of the knowledge of the things that are in this parable, that he may at
once represent who is brought to the king as the debtor of many talents,
and who is the other one who owes to him a hundred pence, etc.; whether
he can be the man of sin previously mentioned,78 or the devil, or neither
of these, but some other, whether a man, or some one of these under the
sway of the devil; for it is a work of the wisdom of God to exhibit the
things have have been prophesied concerning those who are in themselves
of a certain nature, or have been made according to such and such qualities,
whether among visible powers or also among some men, in whatever way they
may have been written by the Holy Spirit. But as we have not yet received
the competent mind which is able to be blended with the mind of Christ,
and which is capable of attaining to things so great, and which is able
with the Spirit to "search all things, even the deep things of God,"79
we, forming an impression still indefinitely with regard to the matters
in this passage, are of opinion that the wicked servant indicated by the
parable who is here represented in regard to the debt of many talents,
refers to some definite one.
12. The Time of the Reckoning.
But it is fitting to examine at what time the man-the king-in the parable
wished to make a reckoning with his own servants, and to what period we
ought to refer the things that are said. For if it be after the consummation,
or at it at the time of the expected judgment, how are we to maintain the
things about him who owed a hundred pence, and was taken by the throat
by the man who had been forgiven the many talents? But if, before the judgment,
how can we explain the reckoning that was made before this by the king,
with his own servants? But we ought to think in a general way about every
parable, the interpretation of which has not been recorded by the evangelists,
even though Jesus explained all things to His own disciples privately;80
and for this reason the writers of the Gospels have concealed the clear
exposition of the parables, because the things signified by them were beyond
the power of the nature of words to express, and every solution and exposition
of such parables was of such a kind that not even the whole world itself
could contain the books that should be written81 in relation to such parables.
But it may happen that a fitting heart be found, and, because of its purity,
able to receive the letters of the exposition of the parable, so that they
could be written in it by the Spirit of the living God. But some one will
say that, perhaps, we act with impiety, who, because of the secret and
mystical import of some of the Scriptures which are of heavenly origin,
wish them to be symbolic, and endeavour to expound them, even though it
might seem ex hypothesi that we had an accurate knowledge of their meaning.
But to this we must say that, if there be those who have obtained the gift
of accurate apprehension of these things, they know what they ought to
do; but as for us, who acknowledge that we fall short of the ability to
see into the depth of the things here signified, even though we obtain
a somewhat crass perception of the things in the passage, we will say,
that some of the things which we seem to find after much examination and
inquiry, whether by the grace of God, or by the power of our own mind,
we do not venture to commit to writing; but some things, for the sake of
our own intellectual discipline, and that of those who may chance to read
them, we will to some extent set forth. But let these things, then, be
said by way of apology, because of the depth of the parable; but, with
regard to the question at what time the man-the king-in the parable wished
to make a reckoning with his own servants, we will say that it seems that
this takes place about the time of the judgment which had been proclaimed.
And this is confirmed by two parables, one at the close of the Gospel before
us,82 and one from the Gospel according to Luke.83 And not to prolong the
discussion by quoting the very letter, as any one who wishes can take it
from the Scripture himself, we will say that the parable according to Matthew
declares, "For it is as when a man going into another country called his
own servants, and delivered unto them his own goods, and to one he gave
five talents, and to another two, and to another one talent; "84 then they
took action with regard to that which had been entrusted to them, and,
after a long time, the lord of those servants cometh, and it is written
in the very words, that he also makes a reckoning with them.85 And compare
the words, "And when he began to make a reckoning,"86 and consider that
he called the going of the householder into another country the time at
which "we are at home in the body but absent from the Lord; "87 but his
advent, when, "after a long time the lord of those servants cometh,"88
the time at the consummation in the judgment; for after a long time the
lord of those servants cometh and makes a reckoning with them, and those
things which follow take place. But the parable in Luke represents with
more clearness, that "a certain nobleman went into a far country to receive
for himself a kingdom, and to return," and when going, "he called ten servants,
and gave to them ten pounds, and said unto them, Trade ye till I come."89
But the nobleman, being hated by his own citizens, who sent an ambassage
after him, as they did not wish him to reign over them, came back again,
having received the kingdom, and told the servants to whom he had given
the money to be called to himself that he might know what they had gained
by trading. And, seeing what they had done, to him who had made the one
pound ten pounds, rendering praise in the words, "Well done, thou good
servant, because thou wast found faithful in a very little,"90 he gives
to him authority over ten cities, to-wit, those which were under his kingdom.
And to another, who had multiplied the pound fivefold, he did not render
the praise which he assigned to the first, nor did he specify the word
"authority," as in the case of the first, but said to him, "Be thou also
over five cities."91 But to him who had tied up the pound in a napkin,
he said, "Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant;
"92 and he said to them that stood by. Take from him the pound, and give
it unto him that hath the ten pounds93 Who, then, in regard to this parable,
will not say that the nobleman, who goes into a far country to receive
for himself a kingdom and to return, is Christ, going, as it were, into
another country to receive the kingdoms of this world, and the things in
it? And those who have received the ten talents are those who have been
entrusted with the dispensation of the Word which has been committed unto
them. And His citizens who did not wish Him to reign over them when He
was a citizen in the world in respect of His incarnation,94 are perhaps
Israel who disbelieved Him, and perhaps also the Gentiles who disbelieved
13. No Forgiveness to the Unforgiving.
Only, I have said these things with the view of referring his return
when he comes with his kingdom to the consummation, when he commanded the
servants to whom he had given the money to be called to him that he might
know what they had gained by trading, and from a desire to demonstrate
from this, and from the parable of the Talents, that the passage "he who
wished to make a reckoning with his own servants"95 is to be referred to
the consummation when now he is king, receiving the kingdom, on account
of which, according to another parable,96 he went into a far country, to
receive for himself a kingdom and to return. Therefore, when he returned
after receiving the kingdom, he wished to make a reckoning with his own
servants. And "when he had begun to reckon, there was brought unto him
one who owed many talents,"97 and he was brought as to a king by those
who had been appointed his ministers-I think, the angels, And perhaps he
was one of those under the kingdom who had been entrusted with a great
administration and had not dispensed it well, but had wasted what had been
entrusted to him, so that he came to owe the many talents which he had
lost. This very man, perhaps not having the means to pay, is ordered by
the king to be sold along with his wife, by intercourse with whom he became
the father of certain children. But it is no easy task to see what is intellectually
meant by father and mother and children. What this means in point of truth
God may know, and whether He Himself has given insight to us or not, he
who can may judge. Only this is our conception of the passage; that, as
"the Jerusalem which is above" is "the mother"98 of Paul and of those like
unto him, so there may be a mother of others after the analogy of Jerusalem,
the mother, for example, of Syene in Egypt, or Sidon, or as many cities
as are named in the Scriptures. Then, as Jerusalem is "a bride adorned
for her husband,"99 Christ, so there may be those mothers of certain powers
who have been allotted to them as wives or brides. And as there are certain
children of Jerusalem, as mother, and of Christ, as father, so there would
be certain children of Syene, or Memphis, or Tyre, or Sidon, and the rulers
set over them. Perhaps then, too, this one, the debtor of many talents
who was brought to the king, has, as we have said, a wife and children,
whom at first the king ordered to be sold, and also all that he had to
be sold; but afterwards, being moved with compassion, he released him and
forgave him all the debt; not, as if he were ignorant of the future, but,
in order that we might understand what happened, it was written that he
did so. Each one then of those who have, as we have said, a wife and children
will render an account whenever the king comes to make a reckoning, having
received the kingdom and having returned; and each of them as a ruler of
any Syene or Memphis, or Tyre or Sidon, or any like unto them, has also
debtors. This one, then, having been released, and having been forgiven
all the debt, "went out from the king and found one of his fellow-servants,"100
etc.; and, on this account, I suppose that he took him by the throat, when
he had gone out from the king, for unless he had gone out he would not
have taken his own fellow-servant by the throat. Then observe the accuracy
of the Scripture, how that the one fell down and "worshipped," but the
other fell down and did not worship but "besought; "101 and the king being
moved with compassion released him and forgave him all the debt, but the
servant did not wish even to pity his own fellow-servant; and the king
before his release ordered him to be sold and what was his, while he who
had been forgiven cast him into prison. And observe that his fellow-servants
did not bring any accusation or "said," but "told,"102 and that he did
not use the epithet "wicked" at the beginning in regard to the money lost,
but reserved it afterwards for his action towards the fellow-servant. But
mark also the moderation of the king; he does not say, You worshipped me,
but You besought me; and no longer did he order him and his to be sold,
but, what was worse, he delivered him to the tormentors, because of his
wickedness.103 But who may these be but those who have been appointed in
the matter of punishments? But at the same time observe, because of the
use made of this parable by adherents of heresies, that if they accuse
the Creator104 of being passionate, because of words that declare the wrath
of God, they ought also to accuse this king, because that "being wroth,"
he delivered the debtor to the tormentors. But it must further be said
to those whose view it is that no one is delivered by Jesus to the tormentors,-pray,
explain to us, good sirs, who is the king who delivered the wicked servant
to the tormentors? And let them also attend to this, "So therefore also
shall My heavenly Father do unto you; "105 and to the same persons also
might rather be said the things in the parable of the Ten Pounds that the
Son of the good God said, "Howbeit these mine enemies which would not that
I should reign over them,"106 etc. The conclusion of the parable, however,
is adapted also to the simpler; for all of us who have obtained the forgiveness
of our own sins, and have not forgiven our brethren, are taught at once
that we shall suffer the lot of him who was forgiven but did not forgive
14. How Jesus Finished His Words.
"And it came to pass when Jesus had finished these words. "107 He who
gives a detailed and complete account of each of the questions before him
so that nothing is left out, finishes his own words. But he will give a
declaration on this point with more confidence who devotes himself with
great diligence to the entire reading of the Old and New Testament; for
if the expression, "he finished these words," may be applied to no other,
neither to Moses, nor to any of the prophets, but only to Jesus, then one
would date to say that Jesus alone finished His words, He who came to put
an end to things, and to fulfil what was defective in the law, by saying,
"It was said to them of old time,"108 etc., and, again, "That the things
spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled."109 But if it is written
somewhere also in them, then you may compare and contrast the discourses
finished by them with those finished by the Saviour, that you may find
the difference between them. And yet at this point, also, investigation
might be made whether in the case of the things spoken by way of oracle
the expression, "he finished," is applied either to the things spoken by
Moses, or any of the prophets, or of both together; for careful observation
would suggest very weighty thoughts to those who know how "to compare spiritual
things with spiritual," and on this account "speak not in words which man's
wisdom teacheth, but which the Spirit teacheth."110 But perhaps some other
one, attending with over-curious spirit to the word "finished," which is
assigned to things of a more mystical order, just as we say that some one
delivered to those who were under his control mysteries and rites of "perfecting"111
not in a praiseworthy fashion, and another delivered the mysteries of God
to those who are worthy, and rites of "perfecting" proportionate to such
mysteries, might say that having initiated them, he made a rite of "perfecting,"
by which "perfecting" the words were shown to be powerful, so that the
gospel of Jesus was preached in the whole world, and by virtue of the divine
"perfecting" gained the mastery of every soul which the Father draws to
the Son, according to what is said by the Saviour, "No one comes to Me
except the Father which has sent Me draw him."112 Wherefore also "the word"
of those who by the grace of God are ambassadors of the gospel, "and their
preaching, is not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of
the spirit of power,"113 to those for whom the words of the doctrine of
Jesus were finished. You will therefore observe how often it is said, "He
finished." and of what things it is said, and you will take as an illustration
that which is said in regard to the beatitudes, and the whole of the discourse
to which is subjoined, "And it came to pass when Jesus had finished these
words, all the multitudes were astonished at His teaching."114 But now
the saying, "Jesus finished these words," is referred also immediately
to the very mystical parable according to which the kingdom of heaven is
likened unto a king, but also beyond this parable to the sections which
were written before it.
35 Matt. xviii. 21.
36 Gen. iv. 23.
37 Matt. xviii. 22.
38 Matt. xviii. 23.
39 Matt. xviii. 23, 34.
40 1 Cor. ii. 11.
41 i Cor. xii. 8.
42 Matt. xviii. 23.
43 Matt. v. 3.
44 Rom. vi. 12.
45 Rom viii. 3.
46 2 Cor. v. 21.
47 Col. i. 15.
48 1 Cor. vi. 17.
49 1 Cor. vi. 17.
50 Luke vii. 41.
51 Luke xix. 13.
52 Matt. xxv. 27.
53 Luke xvi. 6, 7
54 Luke xvi. 5.
55 Luke xii. 59.
56 Matt. v. 26.
57 2 Cor. v. 10.
58 Matt. xii. 36
59 Matt. x. 42.
60 Dan. vii. 10.
61 Matt. x. 26 ; Luke xii. 2.
62 Luke xii. 58, 59.
63 Matt. xxiv. 47.
64 Luke xix. 17.
65 Luke xix. 19. In chap. 12 Origen reads: Be thou also
over five cities -as W. & H., and comments on the difference of the
reward. The MSS. are therefore in error here.
66 Gal. ii. 4.
67 1 Cor. xv. 52.
68 Matt. xviii. 24.
69 Ezek. ix. 6.
70 Zech. v. 7,8.
71 2 Thess. ii. 3,4.
72 Prov. xx. 6
73 Exod. xxv. 39.
74 1 Chron. xxii. 14.
75 Matt. xviii. 25.
76 Matt. xviii. 26.
77 Matt. xviii. 28.
78 2 Thess. ii. 3.
79 1 Cor. ii. 10.
80 Mark iv. 34.
81 John xxi. 25.
82 Matt. xxv. 14-30.
83 Luke xix. 12-27.
84 Matt. xxv. 14, 15.
85 Matt. xxv. 19.
86 Matt. xviii. 24.
87 2 Cor. v. 6.
88 Matt. xxv. 19.
89 Luke xix. 12, 13.
90 Luke xix. 17.
91 Luke xix. 19.
92 Luke xix. 22.
93 Luke xix. 24.
94 Luke xix. 14.
95 Matt. xviii. 23.
96 Luke xix. 12.
97 Matt. xviii. 24.
98 Gal. iv. 26.
99 Rev. xxi. 2.
100 Matt. xviii. 28.
101 Matt. xvii. 26, 29.
102 Matt. xviii. 31.
103 Matt. xviii. 34.
104 That is, the God of the Old Testament-according to
105 Matt. xviii. 35.
106 Luke xix. 27.
107 Matt. xix. 1.
108 Matt. v. 33.
109 Mark xiv. 49; Matt. xxvi. 56.
110 1 Cor. ii. 13.
111 teletaj. Origen's play on the words etelesen and
teleth cannot be fully reproduced in English. The word teleth, in reference
to the mysteries, meant the rite, or participation in the rite, by which
one became perfect; and in later Christian usage it was applied to the
Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper. See Suicer.
112 John vi. 44.
113 1 Cor. ii. 4. Pneumatoj dunamewj. The omission of
the ?? is strange; for in the Contra Celsum (i. 2) Origen characterises
the argument from prophecy as "the demonstration of the Spirit" and the
argument from miracles as "the demonstration of power."
114 Matt. vii. 28.