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Matthew 18:21

Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
What then does “seventy times seven” mean? Listen, my friends, to this great mystery, this wonderful gift. When the Lord was baptized, Luke the holy Evangelist there noted down his ancestry, in what order, series and stems that generation had been reached in which Christ was born. Matthew began from Abraham and came as far as Joseph in descending generations. But Luke began to count by going back up in ascending order. Why does the one reckon in a descending and the other in an ascending order? Because Matthew set forth the generations of Christ by which he came down to us, and so he began to reckon when Christ was born from a descending order. Luke begins to reckon in reverse from when Christ was baptized. In this is the beginning of an ascension, for he begins to reckon in an ascending order. Note that in his account he enumerates seventyseven generations! With whom did he begin his reckoning? Note carefully! He began to reckon from Christ up to Adam himself, who was the first sinner...

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
St. Peter knew the Jews to be much given to revenge; he therefore thought it a great proof of superior virtue to be able to forgive seven times. It was for this reason he proposed this question to our Lord; who, to show how much he esteemed charity, immediately answered, not only seven times, but seventy times seven times. He does not mean to say that this number must be the bounds of our forgiving; we must forgive to the end, and never take revenge, however often our brother offend against us. There must be no end of forgiving poor culprits that sincerely repent, either in the sacrament of penance, or one man another his offences. (Bristow) To recommend this great virtue more forcibly, he subjoins the parable of the king taking his accounts: and, from the great severity there exercised, he intimates how rigid will his heavenly Father be to those who forgive not their enemies. (Denis the Carthusian) ...

Hilary of Poitiers

AD 368
When Peter asked him whether he should forgive his brother sinning against him up to seven times, the Lord replied, “Not up to seven times but up to seventy times seven times.” In every way he teaches us to be like him in humility and goodness. In weakening and breaking the impulses of our rampant passions he strengthens us by the example of his leniency, by granting us in faith pardon of all our sins. For the vices of our nature did not merit pardon. Therefore all pardon comes from him. In fact, he pardons even those sins that remain in one after confession. The penalty to be paid through Cain was established at sevenfold, but that sin was against a man, against his brother Abel, to the point of murder. But in Lamech the penalty was established at seventy times seven times, and, as we believe, the penalty was established on those responsible for the Lord’s Passion. But the Lord through the confession of believers grants pardon for this crime. By the gift of baptism he grants the grace...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
Peter supposed he was saying something great, wherefore also as aiming at greatness he added, Until seven times? For this thing, says he, which You have commanded to do, how often shall I do? For if he forever sins, but forever when reproved repents, how often do you command us to bear with this man? For with regard to that other who repents not, neither acknowledges his own faults, You have set a limit, by saying, Let him be to you as the heathen and the publican; but to this no longer so, but You have commanded to accept him. How often then ought I to bear with him, being told his faults, and repenting? Is it enough for seven times? ...

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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