One day, Jesus being in Solomon's porch, a scribe, one of them that made discourse to the people, drew near to him and said to him: "O master, I have many times made discourse to this people; in my mind there is a passage of scripture which I am not. able to understand." Jesus answered: "And what is it?" The scribe said: "That which God said to Abraham your father, I will be your great reward. Now how could man merit [such reward]?"
Then Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said: "Assuredly you are not far from the kingdom of God! Listen to me, for I will tell you the meaning of such teaching. God being infinite, and man finite, man cannot merit God and is this [the reason for] your doubt, brother?" The scribe answered, weeping: "Lord, you know my heart. Speak, therefore, for my soul desires to hear your voice." Then Jesus said: "As God lives, man cannot merit [even] a little breath which he receives every moment."
The scribe was beside himself, hearing this, and the disciples marvelled as well, because they remembered that which Jesus said, that whatever they gave for love of God, they should receive a hundredfold [in return]. Then he said: "If someone should lend you a hundred pieces of gold, and you should spend those pieces, could you say to that man: 'I give you a decayed vine-leaf; therefore give me your house, for I merit it'?" The scribe answered: "No, Lord, for he should first pay that which he owed, and then, if he wished for anything, he should give him good things, but what good is a corrupted leaf ?"