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We have already said that we ought to transfer our judgment to action, and not to suffer our words to remain bare and naked words, but to reduce them to deeds; and that this is the chiefest sign of a proficient. Now another manifest indication is a desire of those things we commend, and a readiness to perform those things which we admire, but whatsoever we discommend, neither to will or endure it. It is probable that all the Athenians highly extolled [p. 471] the courage and valor of Miltiades. But Themistocles (who professed that the trophies of Miltiades broke his sleep, and often forced him out of his bed) did not only praise and admire what he had done, but was manifestly struck with a zeal and emulation of his performances. Therefore we may be assured that we have profited little, while we think it a vanity to admire those that have done well, and cannot possibly be raised to an imitation of them.

To love the person of any man is not sufficient, except it have a mixture of emulation; no more is that love of virtue ardent and exciting, which does not put us forward, and create in our breasts (instead of envy to them) a zealous affection for all good men, and a desire of equal perfection with them. For it is not enough (as Alcibiades was wont to say) that the heart should be turned upside down by hearing the discourses of a philosopher, and that the tears should gush from the eyes; but he that is a proficient indeed, comparing himself with the designs and actions of a good perfect man, is pricked at the same with the consciousness of his own weakness, and transported with hope and desire, and big with irresistible assurance; and indeed such a one is (as Simonides says) like a little sucking foal running by the mother's side, and desires to be incorporated into the very same nature with a good man. For this is an especial sign of true proficiency, to love and affect their way of life whose actions we emulate, and, upon account of an honorable opinion we always entertain for them, to do as they do. But whosoever he is that entertains a contentious or malicious design against his betters, let him be assured that he is possessed with a greedy desire of honor or greatness, but has neither a true respect nor admiration for virtue.

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