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7.  Exposition Continued:  the King and the Servants.

The kingdom of heaven,” He says, “is likened,” 6078 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,” 6079 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. 6080   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,” 6081 that for sin it might condemn sin, when God made “Him who knew no sin to be sin on behalf of us,” 6082 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,” 6083 than he, who, being joined to the Lord, becomes one spirit with Him. 6084   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 p. 499 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. 6085   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; 6086 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. 6087   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.



Matt. xviii. 23.


Matt. v. 3.


Rom. vi. 12.


Rom. viii. 3.


2 Cor. v. 21.


Col. i. 15.


1 Cor. vi. 17.


Matt. xxv. 15.


Luke vii. 41.


Luke xix. 13.

Next: Chapter VIII