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When therefore we once begin so to love good men, as not only (according to Plato) to esteem the wise [p. 472] man himself happy, and him who hears his discourses sharer in his felicity, but also to admire and love his habit, gait, look, and very smile, so as to wish ourselves to be that very person, then we may be assured that we have made very good proficiency.

This assurance will be advanced, if we do not only admire good men in prosperity, but like lovers, who are taken ever with the lisping and pale looks of their mistresses (as Araspes is said to have been smitten with the tears and dejected looks of a mournful and afflicted Panthea), have an affection for virtue in its most mournful dress, so as not at all to dread the banishment of Aristides, the imprisonment of Anaxagoras, the poverty of Socrates, nor the hard fate of Phocion, but to embrace and respect their virtues, even under such injustice, and upon thoughts of it, to repeat this verse of Euripides,—

How do all fortunes decently become
A generous, well-tuned soul!

This is certain, if any one addresses himself to virtue with this resolution, not to be dejected at the appearance of difficulty, but heartily admires and prosecutes its divine perfection, none of the evil we have spoken of can divert his good intentions. To what I have said I may add this, that when we go upon any business, undertake any office, or chance upon any affair whatever, we must set before our eyes some excellent person, either alive or dead; and consider with ourselves what Plato for the purpose would have done in this affair, what Epaminondas would have said, how Lycurgus or Agesilaus would have behaved themselves, that, addressing ourselves and adorning our minas at these mirrors, we may correct every disagreeing word and irregular passion. It is commonly said, that those that have got by heart the names of the Idaei Dactyli make use of them as charms to drive away fear, if they can but confidently repeat them one by one; so the con [p. 473] sideration and remembrance of good men, being present and entertained in our minds, do preserve our proficiency in all affections and doubts regular and immovable; wherefore you may judge that this is also a token of a proficient in virtue.

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