A most important path to the discovery of duty is also the study of the divinely-inspired Scriptures.  For, in them, are not only found the precepts of conduct but also the lives of saintly men recorded and handed down to us, [as they] lie before us like living images of God’s government for our imitation of their good works.  And so, in whatever respect each one perceives himself deficient, if he devote himself to such imitation, he will discover there, as in the shop of a public physician, the specific remedy for his infirmity.  The lover of chastity constantly peruses the story of Joseph and, from him, learns what chaste conduct it, finding Joseph not only continent as regards carnal pleasures but also habitually inclined towards virtue.  Fortitude he learns from Job who, when the conditions of his life were reversed and he became, in a moment of time, poor instead of rich and childless when he had been blessed with fair children, remained the same, and always preserved his proud spirit unhumbled – nay, even when his friends who came to comfort him trampled upon him and helped to make his sorrow more grievous, he was not provoked to wrath. – Basil (330-379) from a letter to Gregory of Nazianzus dated about 358 (translated from the Greek by Roy J. Deferrari and published in 1926 (Loeb Classical Library)


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