Twenty First Sunday After Pentecost The Gospel Matt. 18. v. 23. Friday Meditation: A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634
Last Judgment (detail)
GOSPEL Matt. 18:23-35
At that time, Jesus spoke to his disciples this parable: "The kingdom of heaven likened to a king, who would take an account of his servants. And when he had begun to take the account, one as brought to him, that owed him ten thousand talents. And as he had not wherewith to pay it, his lord commanded that he should be sold, and his wife and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. But that servant falling down, besought him, saying: 'Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.' And the lord of that servant being moved with pity, let him go and forgave him the debt. "But when that servant was gone out, he found one of his fellow-servants that owed him an hundred pence: and laying hold of him, he throttled him, saying: 'Pay what thou owest.' And his fellow-servant falling down, besought him, saying: 'Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.' And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he paid the debt. "Now his fellow servants seeing what was done, were very much grieved, and they came, and told their lord all that was done. Then his lord called him: and said to him: 'Thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all the debt, because thou besoughtest me: Shouldst not thou then have had compassion also on thy fellow servant, even as I had compassion on thee?' And his lord being angry, delivered him to the torturers until he paid all the debt. So also shall my heavenly Father do to you, if you forgive not every one his brother from your hearts."
Having spoken in the former Meditation of the benignity and liberality of this King, in forgiving his servant so great a debt more then he demanded, and in the person of this king understanding almighty God, how he our good Master forgiveth us his bad & unprofitable servants, the huge debt of mortal sin, when we humbly acknowledge it, & prostrate ourselves before his divine Majesty in the Sacrament of Penance, in deed, or desire when we cannot have it in deed; here it is necessary we should retell an objection, wherein God may seem to be touched with cruelty and falsifying his word.
The objection is this: That since the Scripture sayth, God doth not punish one thing twice,that is to say, after it is once forgiven, how doth that stand with this, that after this bad servants debt was all pardoned, (for so the text sayth it was) the debt was exacted again, and he and his wife, and children and all he had sold for it?
The answer is, that his Master did not punish him directly for what he pardoned, but for that he being pardoned himself so great a sum only because he asked it, neither did he ask to have it forgiven but forborne till he could pay it; he went forth,and presently, which aggravated his offense more then if it had been done some reasonable time after, fell upon his fellow-servant, which aggravated it more then if he had not been so, and would not hear him, though he fell down at his feet, and besought him, not to pardon his debt, but to bear with him a little for it,& he would pay him all, which aggravated it more, it having been his own case and petition with his Master; he laid violent hands upon him, and cast him into prison, and that for a small matter, almost nothing in comparison of his debt to his Master, which was worst of all.
These circumstances, and the ungratefulness of this servant to his Master, whose fellow-servant he also was, and should have spared him the more for his Master sake, did so aggravate the offense, that it made equivalent,or far greater then his debt often thousand Talents; for this then was his servant so severely punished, and not for his debt pardoned before.
And if it be said (let him be sold, and his wife, and children,and all the debt to be paid) that was but because he had incurred as much debt for his cruelty to his fellow-servant, as his other debt amounted unto. This is that which God is here described in the person of this King, to do unto his servants in the like case, neither is this contrary to his word, that he doth not punish one thing twice.
Wherefore ungrateful servants to God, & cruel to our fellow-servants & neighbors, as not to forgive them their small trespasses against us, as we desire of almighty God, daily to forgive us our great ones towards him, namely to forgive us our ten thousand Talents, as we forgive them a hundred pence.
Another answer is this: According