Imágenes de páginas

thus Anger, though it defigns to give Uneafinefs, is fo very different from Hatred, as to be often the best Proof of Love. But when just Indignation cannot amend the faulty, then it comes in properly to punish them : to counterbalance that exceffive Tenderness, to which, however amiable, it would in some Cases be a fatal Weakness to yield, and support us in the painful Work of executing Wrath on him that dotb Evil d.

Thus useful and important is this Passion : by which our Saviour himfelf was occasionally moved, as when he was much displeased with his Disciples, and looked round about on the Jews with Anger, being grieved for the Hardness of their Hearts f. He hath declared indeed, that whosoever is angry with bis Brother without a Caufe, shall be in Danger of the Judgement &: but that very Limitation implies, that there are Causes, for which we


da well to be angry ". Or even were his Threatening originally unlimited, as in some Copies it is ; yet the Reason of the Cafe, his own Example, and other Texts of Scripture, oblige us to understand him only of the unjuft Kinds of

d Rom. xiii. 4. & Matth. v. 22.

Mark iii. 5o

e Mark x. 14

Jonah iv. 9.


Anger : Anger : which are so much commoner than the allowable, that they have almost appropriated the Name, and turned it to an ill Meaning. Whence perhaps it is, that the Stoic Philosophers condemn this passion in the most

general Terms , while yet they not only allow it to be useful to those, in whom Reason fingly hath not sufficient Force ", but expressly tolerate, in their ideal perfectly wise Man, such gentler Commotions of Mind, and Resemblances of Anger, as are in Reality moderate Degrees of it! And,

And, (which deserves much greater Attention), St. Paul, who within a few Verses of the Text hath commanded all Wrath and Anger to be put away from " Christians, gives, notwithstanding, the permissive Direction in-it, Be ye angry, and fin not.

The Result then must be, that this passion is indeed a lawful one;


very necessary, and very hard, to be kept within due Bounds; which Considerations recommend the following Method in discoursing upon it.

Thus Cicero, who profeffes in his Offices, 1. 1. c. 2. chiefly to follow the Stoics, blames the Peripatetics, c. 25. for praising Anger, as given us by Nature for our Good, and faith it is to be avoided in all Cases. But he is speaking only concerning Cases of Punishment. However, he forbids it also in Reproofs, c. 38.

* Utile est eum ati motu animi, qui uti ratione non poteft, Cic, Tusc. Disp. l. 4. $25. Ed. Davies.

Sentiet (sapiens) levem quendam tenuemque motum--umbras Affe&tuum. Sen. de Ira. I. 1. c. xvi. P. 13. Ed. Lipf. Vid.

et. 1. 2.

m v. 31.


1. To describe the due Bounds, with

the common Excesses, of Anger. II. To dissuade from such Excesses. III. To direct how they may be avoided. 1. To describe the due Bounds, with the common Excesses, of Anger.

Now the proper Bound for all Passion, is Reason. And we are then only moved by our Affections as we ought, when they excite us to what our Understandings on Reflection approve. But because a Rule so general is not sufficiently instructive, I shall enlarge on the several Particulars comprehended under it, which are specified by the Philosopher, in his Ethics, thus, that He, who is angry, only on such Occasions as he ought, and with such Perfons as he ought, and in such Manner, and at such Time, and for such Continuance, as he ought, deserves Praise in the Exercise of this Paffion".

1. On such Occasions as he ought. What these are, hath already in some Measure appeared. Were they, with whom we have to do, constantly virtuous and wise, there n Aristot. Eth. Nicom. 1. iv. c. 5.


would be no Occasion: But now their Transgressions against God, our Fellow-Creatures, and ourselves, furnish, alas, but too many. When our Maker, whom we ought to reverence and love with our whole Souls, is dishonoured ; when his Laws and the Sanctions of them (the Ground-work of all Security and all Comfort) are insulted ; surely it is Cause not only of Grief, but Indignation. When the helpless are oppressed, the well-meaning circumvented, Innocence aspersed or seduced, Faith broken, Kindness requited with ill Usage, or public Good sacrificed to private Views, we both may, and must (if we have any. Sympathy with our Kind) feel our Spirit rise in their Behalf. And though we can neither interpose to affist all that suffer, nor permit our Tempers to be ruffled as often as Injustice is committed upon Earth ; yet in all proper Ways we ought to shew, that we strongly dislike all such Things : and it is an ill Sign, when Persons are indifferent in the Cases of others, and will stand


for no one's Interests, but their own. Wrongs done to ourselves we are all so apt to resent, at least enough, thàt it may seem needless, and even dangerous, to say any Thing of these, as one - lawful Occasion for Anger. VOL. V. D


But the Truth must be acknowledged, that this Paffion being given us, in a great Measure, for our own Defence, we may innocently exert a competent Degree of it for that Purpose. Nor can we help, generally speaking, being a little more moved at our own Injuries and Sufferings, than those of others; because we cannot but have a livelier Sense of them ; and the Emotion of Mind, which proceeds from that Sense, must bear fome Proportion to it.

One Thing more to be observed is, that though Faults are the only just Ground of Resentment; and the greater they are, the more the Ground: yet, when they do not amount to Crimes, but are only Neglects or Transgressions of some smaller Obligation ; still, since a great deal of Inconvenience in Life arises, even from these Instances of wrong Behaviour; they warrant and require fuch lower Marks of our Displeasure, especially when the culpable are placed under our Inspection, as may be requisite for their Amendment.

And now it might well be hoped, that a fufficient Latitude was given to this necessary Evil, the Exercise of Anger. But these are


« AnteriorContinuar »