Chapter 17.—The Difficulty of the Distinction Made in the Choice of One and the Rejection of Another.
“But why,” it is said, “in one and the same case, not only of infants, but even of twin children, is the judgment so diverse?” Is it not a similar question, “Why in a different case is the judgment the same?” Let us recall, then, those labourers in the vineyard who worked the whole day, and those who toiled one hour. Certainly the case was different as to the labour expended, and yet there was the same judgment in paying the wages. Did the murmurers in this case hear anything from the householder except, Such is my will? Certainly such was his liberality towards some, that there could be no injustice towards others. And both these classes, indeed, are among the good. Nevertheless, so far as it concerns justice and grace, it may be truly said to the guilty who is condemned, also concerning the guilty who is delivered, “Take what thine is, and go thy way;” 3593 “I will give unto this one that which is not due;” “Is it not lawful for me to do what I will? is thine eye evil because I am good?” And how if he should say, “Why not to me also?” He will hear, and with reason, “Who art thou, O man, that repliest against God?” 3594 And although assuredly in the one case you see a most benignant benefactor, and in your own case a most righteous exactor, in neither case do you behold an unjust God. For although He would be righteous even if He were to punish both, he who is delivered has good ground for thankfulness, he who is condemned has no ground for finding fault.
Matt. xx. 14, etc.531:3594
Rom. ix. 20.