this description are done by men. Nay rather, the person whose heart is illumined with divine light, and who knows his own inner state correctly, and understands to how great an extent sin has ruined man's heart and disposition, will himself confess that man can never by himself do any such work as will be wholly good and acceptable to the Most Holy One. He can do so only when God helps him and perfects his work. But in this case the man will not ascribe the good work to himself, nor will he deem it a means of gaining merit. Besides this, even if we suppose that a man can perform good works by his own power, yet, since it is his bounden duty to do them to the utmost of his ability, if he does so he does no more than his duty. Hence in God's sight he gains no merit. That is to say, since man is not independent and completely his own master and at his own disposal, but is a creature belonging to his Creator and at His service, and since everything he has was bestowed upon him by God, therefore he is bound to love God with a pure and sincere heart and to devote himself, body, soul and spirit, to His service all his life. And, if a man have performed God's service fully and completely, even then he will not have done more than his strict duty. Therefore he will not have acquired for himself any merit, in return for which God will accept him and bestow on him eternal happiness and glory. And, if a man has not performed the duties which are incumbent upon


him, or has committed a single sin, then no power or time remains to him to make amends for his past fault or to expiate his sin; for it is incumbent upon him during all the rest of his life to be fully engaged in God's service, every moment, and always with all his might and power, and with every faculty of body, soul and spirit, as we have already said. Hence, unless some one else offers such an expiation for this man's sins as to satisfy the demands of God's justice, and thus obtains pardon for the sinner, then assuredly he will still remain involved in the net of sin.

From this it appears clear that, although a man have performed good works as he ought, yet he can claim no merit thereby, and such works cannot possibly become the means of his salvation. And, even if we suppose that in some way or other a man gains some merit in God's sight, yet it cannot be known for certain that, in the presence of the just and holy God, that merit will be accounted of such value and importance as to be an expiation for his sins. Hence it is evident that in feeble and sinful man no such power is to be found, as will enable him to deliver himself from sin and to attain salvation.

Although human reason can find or suggest no other remedy for sin besides those which have been mentioned, yet people are found, especially but not exclusively among heathens, who fancy, in accordance with their traditions and their own