For, though I were righteous, yet could I not answer, but I would make supplication to my judge.
Read Chapter 9
Gregory The Dialogist
28. For, as we have often said, all human righteousness is proved unrighteousness, if it be judged by strict rules. And so there is need of prayer following after righteousness, that this, which if sifted to the bottom might be brought down, may be firmly established in the mere pitifulness of the Judge. And when this is possessed fully by the more perfect sort, it is said that they possess a something of it. In that the human mind both with difficulty puts in practice the truths apprehended by it, and the things which it apprehends are the merest outskirts. Therefore let him say, Who, though I possessed any thing righteous, yet would I not answer, but I would make supplication to my Judge. As if he owned in plainer words; ‘And if I should grow to the practising of virtue, I am made vigorous to life, not by merit, but of pardoning grace.’ Therefore we must be strenuous in prayer, when we do right, so that all the righteous ways we live in we may season by humility; but very often it happens that our very supplication is tost to and fro by such a multitude of temptations, that it seems almost cast off from the presence of the Judge. And often our pitiful Creator receives it, but because it cannot put forth itself undefiled, as it is minded, it dreads the sentence of condemnation upon its head.