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Jesus answered: "You have spoken well, O brother; so tell me, Who created man out of nothing? Surely it was God, who also gave [man] the whole world for his benefit. But man by sinning has spent it all, for because of sin the world is turned against man, and man in his misery has nothing to give to God but works corrupted by sin. For, sinning every day, he makes his own work corrupt, as Isaiah the prophet says: Our righteousnesses are as a menstruous cloth.

How, then, shall man have merit, seeing he is unable to give satisfaction? Is it, perhaps, that man does not sin? It is certain that our God says by his prophet David: Seven times a day falls the righteous. How then falls the unrighteous? And if our righteousnesses are corrupt, how abominable are our unrighteousnesses! As God lives, there is nothing that a man should shun more than this saying: 'I merit.' Brother, let a man know the works of his hands, and he will straightway see his merit. Every good thing that comes out of a man, truly, man does not do it, but God works it in him; for his being is of God who created him. That which man does is to contradict God his creator and to commit sin, [and so] he merits not reward, but torment.

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