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Matthew 5:26

Verily I say unto you, you shall by no means come out of there, till you have paid the last penny.
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
I do not see again how it can be understood of man. For how can man be said to deliver us to the Judge, when we know only Christ as the Judge, before whose tribunal all must be sisted . How then can he deliver to the Judge, who has himself to appear before Him? Moreover if any has sinned against any by killing him, he has no opportunity of agreeing with him in the way, that is in this life; and yet that hinders not but that he may be rescued from judgment by repentance. Much less do I see how we can be bid be agreeing with the flesh; for they are sinners rather who agree with it; but they who bring it into subjection, do not agree with it, but compel it to agree with them. Perhaps then it is God with whom we are here enjoined to agree. He may be said to be our adversary, because we have departed from Him by sin, and “Heresisteth the proud.” Whosoever then shall not have been reconciled in this life with God through the death of His Son, shall be by Him delivered to the Judge, that is, ...

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
But now, with respect to paying the uttermost farthing, it may be understood without absurdity either as standing for this, that nothing is left unpunished; just as in common speech we also say to the very dregs, when we wish to express that something is so drained out that nothing is left: or by the expression the uttermost farthing earthly sins may be meant. For as a fourth part of the separate component parts of this world, and in fact as the last, the earth is found; so that you begin with the heavens, you reckon the air the second, water the third, the earth the fourth. It may therefore seem to be suitably said, till you have paid the last fourth, in the sense of till you have expiated your earthly sins: for this the sinner also heard, Earth you are, and unto earth shall you return. Then, as to the expression till you have paid, I wonder if it does not mean that punishment which is called eternal. For whence is that debt paid where there is now no opportunity given of repenting an...

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
But, with regard to paying the last farthing, the expression can be quite reasonably understood as the equivalent of saying that nothing is left unpunished—just as in ordinary parlance we use the expression “to the very dregs” when we wish to declare that something is so completely consumed that nothing is left. Or it can be understood in the sense that earthly sins could be designated by the last fourth or the earth is found to be the fourth and the last part of the distinct elements of this world. This assumes that you begin from the heavens, count the air second, the water third and the earth fourth. For this reason the expression “until you have paid the last penny” can be rightly understood as meaning until you have expiated earthly sins. For the sinner has also heard the expression “Earth you are, and to the earth you shall return.” . ...

Hilary of Poitiers

AD 368
The Lord suffers us at no time to be wanting in peaceableness of temper, and therefore bids us be reconciled to our adversary quickly, while on the road to life, lest we be cast into the season of death before peace by joined between us. Or, the adversary delivers you to the Judge, when the abiding of your wrath towards him convicts you. For because “charity covereth a multitude of sins,” we shall therefore pay the last farthing of punishment, unless by the expense of charity we redeem the fault of our sin. ...

Jerome

AD 420
The word here in our Latin books is ‘consentiens,’ in Greek, ευνοων, which means, ‘kind,’ ‘benevolent.’. Some, from that verse of Peter, “Your adversary the Devil” will have the Saviour’s command to be, that we should be merciful to the Devil, not causing him to endure punishment for our sakes. For as he puts in our way the incentives to vice, if we yield to his suggestions, he will be tormented for our sakes. Some follow a more forced interpretation, that in baptism we have each of us made a compact with the Devil by renouncing him. If we observe this compact, then we are agreeing with our adversary, and shall not be cast into prison. And how can the body be cast into prison if it agree not with the spirit, seeing soul and body must go together, and that the flesh can do nothing but what the soul shall command?. But from the context the sense is manifest; the Lord is exhorting us to peace and concord with our neighbour; as it was said above, Go, be reconc...

Jerome

AD 420
But the Lord says that if we have transgressed any of the things we pledged to the devil, we shall be handed over to the judge and the guard. We shall be put in prison and not be released until we have paid back the last farthing. A farthing is a type of coin consisting of two mites. On this point, the poor widow in one Gospel is said to have put a farthing into the treasury; in another Gospel, two mites. There is no discrepancy here, for one farthing contains two mites. So this is what he says: You will not come out of prison until you have paid for the least of your sins. . ...

Jerome

AD 420
From what precedes and follows, we are given to understand that our Lord and Savior exhorts us to peace and harmony while we are pilgrims in this world. As the apostle says, “Strive for peace with all persons.” For in the previous section Jesus said, “If you are offering your gift and there remember that your brother has something against you,” he immediately goes on to say “make friends” or come to terms with “your opponent,” and so forth. Then he orders, “Love your enemies and bless those who hate you and pray for those who persecute you.” This is clear from the explanation that follows. Many people, however, have a confused idea of the flesh and the soul or the soul and the spirit. They wonder: How is the flesh to be sent to prison if the soul is at odds with it, for the soul and the flesh must be united and the flesh can do nothing unless the mind gives the order? And how can the Holy Spirit dwelling in us turn over to a judge the opposing flesh or soul when he himself is the judge...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
The Lord is urgent with us to hasten to make friends with our enemies while weare yet in this life, knowing how dangerous for us that one of our enemies should die before peace is made with us. For if death bring us while yet at enmity to the Judge, he will deliver us to Christ, proving us guilty by hisjudgment. Our adversary also delivers us to the Judge, when he is the first to seek reconciliation; for he who first submits to his enemy, brings him in guilty before God. “The officer,” that is, the ministering Angel of punishment, and he shall cast you into the prison of hell. Or, If you will make your peace yet in this world, you may receive pardon of even the heaviest offences; but if once damned and cast into the prison of hell, punishment will be exacted of you not for grievous sins only, but for each idle word, which may be denoted by “the very last farthing.”. Or, the prison is worldly misfortune which God often sends upon sinners. Or, He here speaks of the judges of this world, ...

Theophylact of Ochrid

AD 1107
. Some believe the "adversary" to mean the devil, and "the way" to mean our life. The Lord is thus exhorting us: while you are still in this life, give back to the devil what belongs to him and be done with him, so that later he will not be able to accuse you of some sin, as if you had something that belonged to him. For then you will be handed over for punishment so that you make an accounting for even the smallest transgressions. For a farthing equals two mites (Lk. 12:6, 21:2). You, O reader, understand that this passage also refers to human adversaries and that the Lord is exhorting us not to become entangled in lawsuits, lest we be distracted from doing the works of God. Even if you have been wronged, He says, do not enter the court but settle the dispute while still on the way, lest you suffer something worse on account of your adversary’s power. ...

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

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