The significance of the parable of the laborers hired to work in a vineyard, some of them early in the day, others later, at different hours, even so late as the eleventh, and yet all paid the same wage, has come to me with singular force. The first laborers hired agreed with the owner of the vineyard upon a price for their day's work; we have every reason to believe they were satisfied that it was a fair price, a just reward for their labor; it was agreed upon, and they knew precisely what to expect at the day's end. This thought of a fixed wage is a very comforting one to mortal mind; it gives a sense of safety that for a while obscures the fact that it is a limit to one's resources, in fact, a fetter: but to the laborer who looks no farther then the end of his day's work, when he may receive his day's wage, eat and rest, this is quite enough and he is satisfied.

The master of the vineyard went forth again and again to hire men whom he found in the market-place waiting for some one to hire them. He did not fix a price with these, as he had done with the first ones, but told them he would give them whatsoever was right; and they, trusting him, went without dispute, and labored in his vineyard. Then, when evening had come, the lord of the vineyard told his steward to call the laborers and to give them their hire, beginning from the last to the first; and when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they were paid, every man a penny.

November 10, 1906

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