107. The holy man did not consider that his merits were being increased, but that his vices were being cut away by this so great severity of the scourge. And since he knew that there were no vices within him, he believed that he was unjustly smitten; and, to murmur at the blow, is altogether to reprove the Smiter. But the Lord, considering that what he brought forward, he had gathered, not from the swelling of pride, but from the character of his life, gently reproves him, saying, Doth he that contendeth with God, so easily remain quiet? He that reproveth God, ought certainly also to answer Him. As if He were plainly saying; Why hast thou, who hast said so much of thy own conduct, remained silent on hearing of the life of the Saints? For to doubt of My smiting, whether it was just or not, was to reprove Me. And thou hast stated thy own good qualities truly, but thou hast not known the tendency of these scourges. For though thou hast no longer any thing to correct, yet thou hast still something in which to increase. But, behold, thou hast learned from My narrative, to what a height of virtue I exalt very many. Thou wast considering thine own loftiness, but wast ignorant of that of others. Having heard then the virtues of others, answer Me, if thou canst, concerning thine own. But we know that he, who, when he acts rightly, omits looking at the merits of his betters, extinguishes the eye of his heart, by the darkness of pride. But, on the other hand, he who carefully weighs the good qualities of others, enlightens his own deeds, by a powerful ray of humility; because when he sees the things he has done himself, done by others also without, he keeps down that swelling of pride, which strives to break forth within from singularity. Hence is it that it is said by the voice of God to Elias, when thinking that he was solitary, I have left Me seven thousand men, who have not bent their knees before Baal; [1 Kings 19, 18] in order that by learning that he remained not solitary, he might avoid the boasting of pride, which might arise in him, from his singularity. Blessed Job therefore is not blamed for having done any thing perversely, but he is informed of the good deeds of others besides, in order that while he considers that he has others also equal to him, he may humbly submit himself to Him, Who is specially the Highest.