33 Looking at the Conduct of the Saints and Imitating Them
O you, who seek virtue, ask those who preceded you and imitate them as you read their biographies, learning their teachings, and watching their style in life as they struggle to achieve. Contemplate on the saints’ life as they illuminate like the stars. Watch their fervent faith and the strength of their hope, their tremendous love, their labor and their works, meditations and contemplations, their perseverance for praying, their humbleness, their indifference for the treasures of earth, and their despise for the lusts and desires of this vain world.
They were poor, “yet making many rich” (II Corinthians 6:10), for they had a glorious inheritance which never perishes or decays. They were despised by the world, “as having nothing, and yet possessing all things” (II Corinthians 6:10), and in the eyes of God they were honored, loved and dignified.
They were in need and dishonored, while their hearts were springs and sources of joy and happiness beyond understanding, which over pored on their soul’s great benefits and unutterable gladness.
How beautiful is their humbleness, and how sweet are their love, patience and obedience to the Lord. How happy is the one who follows their footsteps and imitate their conduct.
Put away from you the search for the mistakes of others. Point your thought to the perfections of the saints, and read their biographies and imitate them.
Be like a bee, which picks its honey from all the beautiful flowers.
Learn from the bee how to be patient, humble and meek.
Look at the fine examples and practice it diligently with a courageous heart and a brave spirit.
Learn faith from Abraham, obedience from Isaac, purity from Joseph, patience from Job, humbleness from David, holiness from Enoch, zealous from Elijah, meekness from Moses, and all perfection from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Be like a smart artist who prepares beautiful pictures of virtue, then make similar ones and follow in the footsteps. Don’t be like a fly that goes around the dirt and flies over filth and blemish. Follow the good and leave the evil, do not follow those who fell and slipped, but ascend above with the beauty of conduct.