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fects, appear notwithstanding, on due Inquiry, beneficial Constituents of that Whole, which the Creator originally pronounced to be good : let us not condemn, without Reserve, this Part of our inward Frame; which he hath planted in our Breasts, otherwise it had never existed there; and which, in Condefcenfion to our Understandings, he hath ascribed to himself.
Refentment is, in its primitive Nature, a just and generous Movement of the Mind, expreffing that Displeasure againft ill Actions, which they deserve: and, in our Hearts at least, fuch Disapprobation of what is wrong seems infeparably connected with approving what is right. From this Principle, applied to ourfelves, we feel a Scorn of Baseness and Vice, that prompts us to reject it with Difdain, when we are tempted to it: or a confequent SelfDislike, if we have fallen under the Temptation, which doth not eafily allow us any Reft, till we have returned to our Duty. The fame Principle, pointed towards our Fellow-Creatures, deters them from enterprising Wickedness, and invigorates us to refift it: or, if it be already committed, ftirs us up to fet before them the Offensiveness of their Conduct in so strong a Light, as may induce them to reform it. And thus
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 punifh them to counterbalance that exceffive Tendernefs, to which, however amiable, it would in fome Cafes be a fatal Weakness to yield, and fupport us in the painful Work of executing Wrath on him that doth Evil.
Thus useful and important is this Paffion : by which our Saviour himfelf was occafionally moved, as when he was much difpleafed with his Disciples, and looked round about on the Jews with Anger, being grieved for the Hardnefs of their Hearts. He hath declared indeed, that whofoever is angry with his Brother without a Caufe, shall be in Danger of the Judgement 8: but that very Limitation implies, that there are Caufes, for which we may do well to be angry". Or even were his Threatening originally unlimited, as in fome Copies it is; yet the Reafon 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. 8 Matth. v. 22.
e Mark x. 14.
12 Jonah iv. 9.
↑ Mark iii. 5
Anger which are fo 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 Philofophers condemn this Paffion in the most general Terms, while yet they not only allow it to be useful to thofe, in whom Reason fingly hath not fufficient Force *, but exprefsly tolerate, in their ideal perfectly wife Man, such gentler Commotions of Mind, and Resemblances of Anger, as are in Reality moderate Degrees of it 1. And, (which deferves much greater Attention), St. Paul, who within a few Verses of the Text hath commanded all Wrath and Anger to be put away from Chriftians, gives, notwithstanding, the permiffive Direction in it, Be ye angry, and fin not.
The Refult then must be, that this Paffion is indeed a lawful one; but very neceffary, and very hard, to be kept within due Bounds; which
iThus Cicero, who profeffes in his Offices, 1. 1. c. 2. chiefly to follow the Stoics, blames the Peripatetics, c. 25. for praifing Anger, as given us by Nature for our Good, and faith it is to be avoided in all Cafes. But he is fpeaking only concerning Cafes of Punishment. However, he forbids it alfo in Reproofs, c. 38.
Utile eft eum uti motu animi, qui uti ratione non poteft, Cic. Tufc. Difp. 1. 4. § 25. Ed. Davies.
Sentiet [fapiens] levem quendam tenuemque motum-umbras Affectuum. Sen. de Ira. 1. 1. c. xvi. P. 13. Ed. Lipf. Vid. et. 1. 2.
Confiderations recommend the following Method in difcourfing upon it.
I. To defcribe the due Bounds, with the common Exceffes, of Anger.
II. To diffuade from fuch Exceffes.
III. To direct how they may be avoided. I. To defcribe the due Bounds, with the common Exceffes, of Anger.
Now the proper Bound for all Paffion, 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 fo general is not fufficiently inftructive, I shall enlarge on the feveral Particulars comprehended under it, which are specified by the Philofopher, in his Ethics, thus, that He, who is angry, only on fuch Occafions as he ought, and with fuch Perfons as he ought, and in fuch Manner, and at fuch Time, and for fuch Continuance, as he ought, deferves Praife in the Exercife of this Paffion".
1. On fuch Occafions as he ought. What these are, hath already in fome Measure appeared. Were they, with whom we have to do, constantly virtuous and wife, there n Ariftot. Eth. Nicom. 1. iv. c. 5.
would be no Occafion. But now their Tranfgreffions 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; furely it is Cause not only of Grief, but Indignation. When the helpless are oppreffed, the well-meaning circumvented, Innocence afperfed or feduced, Faith broken, Kindness requited with ill Ufage, or public Good facrificed to private Views, we both may, and must (if we have any Sympathy with our Kind) feel our Spirit rife in their Behalf. And though we can neither interpose to affift all that fuffer, nor permit our Tempers to be ruffled as often as Injustice is committed upon Earth; yet in all proper Ways we ought to fhew, that we ftrongly diflike all fuch Things and it is an ill Sign, when Perfons are indifferent in the Cafes of others, and will ftand up for no one's Interefts, but their own.
Wrongs done to ourselves we are all so apt to refent, at least enough, that it may seem needlefs, and even dangerous, to fay any Thing of thefe, as one lawful Occafion for Anger.