Twenty First Sunday After Pentecost The Gospel Matt. 18. v. 23. Sunday Meditation: A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634
Deposition from the Cross (Pala di Santa Trinità)
SUNDAY MEDITATIONGOSPEL Matt. 18:23-35At 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."
This man being a King, or King being a man (for it may be both) that called his servants to accompt was he whom St.John the Evangelist saw in a vision amongst other admirable things to have writ in his garment, and upon his thigh, instead of a sword, these words, (the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords) to wit, the man Christ Jesus, who was constituted and ordained of God, as St.Peter sayth, Judge of the living & dead.
The servants of this King that are that are to give up their accompt, are mortal men, who are his servants by a threefold Title, to wit, of their Creation, Redemption, and Vocation.
The day of accompt is not here the general Judgement, nor that particular of which St. Paul speaketh, when he sayth, It is ordained that all men shall die, and by & by after death judgement, because the servant did ask his Master to have patient with him, and he would pay him all,and the Master forgave him: but after death there is no asking,nor paying,nor pardoning, but a kind of judgement or accompt, that is in this life between God and one that is in mortal sin, the sinners Conscience conventing him before the Tribunal of God, prostrating himself in the presence of God, accusing himself, and craving space and grace to do penance for the same: unto which accompt is called sometimes by good motions and inspirations of the holy Ghost, sometimes by hearing Sermons and reading spiritual books, sometimes by harking to good Counsel, sometimes by sickness, adversities, & afflictions, sometimes but very seldom, by prosperity, reflecting his thoughts upon the great benefits of God,and his own unworthiness, and ingratitude for the same: some times by his defamation in the world, as this man was who was brought to his master by others as a notorious debtor, by means whereof he was brought to an accompt, confessed his debt & obtained pardon thereof: & although out our corrupt nature, having once lost our same, we sin more freely, and are more unruly, like a horse without a bridle, yet that is but a trickle of desperation which the Devil would put upon us; it should be an occasion to bring us rather to an accompt here with Almighty God, that we may receive favor before it be to late,as thus servant did, though he was so unhappy as to loose it again.
Though this accompt here meant, I say, be not the general, nor particular judgement after death, which is most dreadful, yet is fearful enough, if we consider it well, we being certain that by a mortal sin we have incurred damnation, but uncertain of grace to arise again, and if we seem to arise again by the Sacrament of penance, we are uncertain, whether we came worthily enough unto it, to raise us up indeed; how apt are we to fall again, and how uncertain whether the number and measure of our sins be fulfilled, after which ensueth everlasting punishment for the same. For as the Scripture sayeth, God hath made all things in measure, weight,and number, after which fulfilled there is no expectation but of a fearful accopmt, according to that of the Prophet Jeremy; O yee Pastors (of souls he meanth) howl and cry out, yee great ones of the flock sprinkle yourselves with ashes, because your days are accomplished,and fulfilled that you may be slain.