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stances of Neglect or Unfriendliness ; imagine their Displeasure, whencesoever it arises, a Juftification for stirring up all the World against the Object of it; and look upon themselves as ill used, if every one else will not be as unreasonable, as they are.

But I go on the next Branch of the Rule, which is,

IV. That we be angry only at fuch Times, as we ought.

And therefore it immediately occurs, never till we are sure, that the Thing, which offends us, is really done, and really a Matter to take Offence at. Blame not, before thou hast examined the Truth: understand first, and then rebuke * Some are eternally suspecting, and finding Fault at all Adventures : as if they felt a Delight in the Imagination of Things being amiss. These, even when there happens to be Foundation for their Censures, are in the wrong notwithstanding; for it is more than they knew beforehand : but, when it proves, as it often will, that all their ill Humour was groundless , this is very shameful to themselves, and very injurious to others ; hardens them,

hardens them, instead of having any good Effect upon them ; and brings

a Ecclus. xii
. 7.


E 4

them at last to think it the better Way, since they must be blamed, to be blamed for something. But fuppose there be an Appearance of Reason to chide: yet Appearances are deceitful; and Paffion spreads a Mift before our Understandings, which keeps us from seeing any thing exactly, and makes everything look bigger than it is. No one therefore should express, or even inwardly indulge, the least Warmth, till he hath first considered the Cafe, as calmly as he can; and then, if there be Room for it, hath given the Parties, whom he suspects, Liberty and Time to make their Defence; attending to it with a sincere Desire of finding them innocent; making no Determination, till he hath searched the Matter fully ; and being, in Obedience to St. James's Direction, swift to kear, how to speak, flow to Wrath b. The pasfionate Person is just the Reverse of this : impatient of all Attempts to set him right; refolute to have that true, which he hath once imagined ; eager to pass and execute immediate Judgement. It


therefore be of the utmost Consequence to get, though it were only a little Space, for cool Reflection. There is very {mall Danger, but that even after it we shall be James į. 19.


be angry,

angry enough, if we have Cause: and there is great Danger, that without it we

may though we have no Cause ; or at least much more angry, than we have any Shadow of Cause.

But admitting it to be feasonable for us to conceive the Indignation, that we do ; yet feveral Things 'may render the present Time improper to vent it. We may be likely just then to exceed due Bounds : at least it may

discom. pofe us too much ;, and perhaps unfit us for Duties or Employments, to which we are immediately called; it may give Uneasiness, or thew Disrespect, to the Company we are in, whom we thould never unnecessarily trouble with our Vexations : or it may have a wrong Effect on the Object of our Displeafure, If he be under the more than ordinary Influence of some vehement Paffion, or his Reason be any other Way disturbed or clouded ; if some prejudice, which cannot be removed instantly, makes him deaf in the mean while to all, that we can say; if his Temper be not now serious enough to mind Reproof, or the Circumstances of Time or Place or Company be such, that he will resent it as an Indignity: the Discretion of

a Man

ever it

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a Man Mould defer bis Anger, how eager so


be to burst forth. But we are still more firmly bound to restrain ourselves, when the faulty have suffered by their Faults, and want Consolation instead of Rebuke. Resentment was planted in us to discourage or withstand the injurious, not to insult the miserable: to give People a lively Sense of their Misbehaa. viour ; not to triumph over them, when they have that Sense already ; perhaps more of it, than they can well bear. Or, though they feel their Folly but imperfectly, yet if the Consequences of it be heavy upon them ; either casting them off, or severely reproaching them, at such Times, is very ungenerous : and kind Forbearance, one would imagine, cannot fail to make the good Impressions on them, that we wish. If indeed they still remain void of Reflection on their Conduct, and it be our Province to awaken them, we must attempt it: but as gently, as the Case will permits and perhaps, not till having done whatever we properly can towards relieving their Distresses, we thus acquire an indisputable Right of laying before them, with some Warmth

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of Expoftulation, their past Errors, in order to prevent the future.

The concluding Part of the Rule under Consideration is,

y. That we be angry only so long as we ought.

It is possible indeed, though very uncommon, that Men may lay aside their Displeasure, at least the Appearance of it, too soon ; before it hath produced its intended Effect: and, giving more Credit, than they have Cause, to a few fair Promises, take little Notice, how they are performed. Thus every one around them finds out the Way of dealing with them : and perceiving, on how easy Terms all may be made up, transgresses without Fear. Sometimes the very fame Person is in the first Moments much too violent, and afterwards, poflibly from a Consciousness of that, as much too remifs : and so is blameable and despised on both Accounts. But the opposite Extreme is the ordinary one: and generally the worst Sin, that accompanies this Passion. Some Excess of sudden Anger is to many a Frailty scarce avoid able. For it is exceedingly difficult to escape being carried a little too far by an Emotion of Mind, which seems to be only Zeal for what

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