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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol IX:
Origen's Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew.: Chapter XXIV

Early Church Fathers  Index     

24.  The Offending Hand, or Foot, or Eye.

And it is well, then, if the eye and the hand are deserving of praise, that the eye cannot with reason say to the hand, “I have no need of thee.” 5970   But if any one in the whole body of the congregations of the church, who because of his practical gifts has the name of hand, should change and become a hand causing to stumble, let the eye say to such a hand, “I have no need of thee,” and, saying it, let him cut it off and cast it from him. 5971   And so it is well, if any head be blessed, and the feet worthy of the blessed head, so that the head observing the things which are becoming to itself, may not be able to say to the feet, “I have no need of you.”  If, however, any foot be found to become a stumbling-block to the whole body, let the head say to such a foot, “I have no need of thee,” and having cast it off, let him cast it from himself; for even it is much better that the rest of the body should enter into life, wanting the foot or the hand which caused the stumbling-block, rather than, when the stumbling-block has spread over the whole body, it should be cast into the hell of fire with the two feet or the two hands.  And so it is well, that he who can become the eye of the whole body should be worthy of Christ and of the whole body; but if such an eye should ever change, and become a stumbling-block to the whole body, it is well to take it out and cast it outside the whole body, and that the rest of the body without that eye should be saved, rather than that along with it, when the whole body has been corrupted, the whole body should be cast into the hell of fire. 5972   For the practical faculty of the soul, if prone to sin, and the walking faculty of the soul, so to speak, if prone to sin, and the faculty of clear vision, if prone to sin, may be the hand that causes to stumble, and the foot that causes to stumble, and the eye that causes to stumble, which things it is better to cast away, and having put them aside to enter into life without them, like as one halt, or maimed, or one-eyed, rather than along with them to lose the whole soul.  And likewise in the case of the soul it is a good and blessed thing to use its power for the noblest ends; but if we are going to lose one for any cause, it is better to lose the use of it, that along with the other powers we may be saved.



1 Cor. xii. 21.


Matt. xviii. 8.


Cf. Matt. xviii. 9.

Next: Chapter XXV

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