And shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards;
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Cornelius a Lapide
And shall begin to smite his fellow-servants, &c. To smite, i.e, unjustly. For, as saith Auctor Imperf, "He who smites for just cause, even if he smite, does not seem to smite. For as righteous anger is not anger, but diligence; so just smiting is not smiting, but correction. Thus a father and a master smite their sons and pupils for the sake of correcting them."
Christ here intimates that there are two capital vices of Prelates, from which all their other faults take their rise. They are imperious and tyrannical audacity, and a seeking after pleasures, gluttony, and luxury. This is why S. Peter admonishes Pastors and Bishops ( 1 Peter 5:2) thus, "Feed the flock of God, which is among you, providing for them not by constraint, but spontaneously, according to God; neither for filthy lucre"s sake, but voluntarily; neither as lording it over the clergy, but as affording examples of their actions to the flock from the heart. And when the Prince of the Shepherds shall appear, ye shall receive the unwithering crown of glory."
The Lord . . . shall come . . . when he looketh not; Vulg. non sperat, hopeth not, expecteth not. Thus Virgil, in the First neid, "Hope," that Isaiah , fear, "that the gods take note of right and wrong."
And shall cut him asunder; Gr. Î´Î¹Ï‡Î¿Ï„Î¿Î¼Î®ÏƒÎµÎ¹, cut in twain, i.e, soul and body in death, and after death, by sending the soul to hell and the demons, and the body to the tomb and the worms, "He shall divide," says S. Jerome, "not by cutting him in two with a sword, but by severing him from the company of the Saints." It means that not only shall Christ remove such a Bishop from his office, but shall separate him from the company of the Blessed, and deliver him to the devil to be tormented for ever.
With the hypocrites, i.e, slothful servants, who, like hypocrites, serve only the eyes of their masters. As soon as they are out of their master"s sight, they indulge in sleep and drunkenness, and so shall be sent to the prison-house of hell, which is the proper place for the slothful. Thus in Proverbs , passim, a hypocrite signifies a wicked Prayer of Manasseh , who serves God slothfully, but his own lusts fervently. There is an allusion to Job viii13 , "The hope of the hypocrite shall perish."
Christ has shown that it is the duty of every believer to watch, that by good works he may prepare himself for the certain coming of the Lord to judgment, forasmuch as the time is uncertain, lest that day should come upon him unawares. This He showed: 1st By the example of the Deluge, which drowned the world at unawares (ver37). 2d By the parable of the house-holder, who watches that he may repel the thief, who comes by night, at a time unexpected (ver43). 3By the parable of the servants, one faithful, the other unfaithful; the one of whom receives from his master an ample reward, the other severe chastisement (ver45). 4th In the following chapter (ver1), by the parable of the virgins5th By the parable of the talents, which the master distributes to his servants, and gloriously recompenses those who had traded diligently, but beats those who were idle and slothful.
1 This quotation has only a general reference to flight.—(Trans.) (Back to the place)
2 Dominans Deo is the Latin of Lapide. It might perhaps be translated "lord of God." (Back to the place)