The Last Farthing

—Verily I say unto thee, thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou have paid the last farthing.

— St. Matthew 5:26

I read in this parable that a man had better make up his mind to be righteous, to be fair, to do what he can to pay what he owes, in any and all the relations of life. Arrange your matters with those who have anything against you; you will have to do it, and that under less easy circumstances than now. Putting it off is of no use. The thing has to be done, and there are means of compelling you.

Consider a dispute wherein a man considers himself in the right. He wants nothing but his rights! I respond to him, it is a very small matter to you whether or not the man gives you your rights; it is life or death to you whether or not you give him his. Whether he pay you what you count his debt or no, you will be compelled to pay him all you owe him. If you owe him a dollar and he owes you a million, you must pay him whether he pays you the million or not. If, owing you love, he gives you hate, you, owing him love, have still to pay it. Love unpaid, a justice not done, a praise withheld, a false judgment passed: these uttermost farthings you must pay him, whether he pays you or not. The same holds with every demand of God: by refusing to pay, the man makes an adversary who will compel him—and that for the man’s own sake. There is a prison, and its doors do not open until entire satisfaction is rendered, the last farthing paid.