Son, who said to his father (you remember), " Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy com- mandment." Even though we regard this interpreta- tion as mistaken, some of its illustrations, historical and otherwise, are interesting and instructive. We find, for instance, that very great if not always safe church fa- ther, Origen, saying, " As long as one does only what he ought, that is, those things which are prescribed, he is an useless ser- vant," and he refers to this passage ; " but," he says, " if you add something to the pre- scribed things, then you will not be an use- less servant, but it shall be said to thee, ' Well done, good and faithful servant,' " — in which Scripture, however, we note that the disciple is called a " servant," although a faithful one. Here, in Origen's v^ords, we DUTY 219 see the very beginning of the Roman doc- trine of works of supererogation, though he thought not of such a thing, and that doc- trine was not developed for many a century afterward. The heathen Seneca, too, treats the question whether a slave can confer a favor on his master, and answers, "When his conduct passes into the feeling of friendship, it ceases to be called a service ; whatever exceeds the rule of servile duty and is rendered not from command but of free will, is a favor." This suggests that slavery with its usages very likely led Ori- gen and others to their interpretation.