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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