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such cases we are commonly so far from being ashamed of our anger, as of something mean, that we are proud of it, and confess it openly, as what we count laudable and meritorious.
The truth is, there seems to be something manly, and we are bold to say, something virtuous, in a juft and wellconducted resentment. In the mean time, let us not be sufpected of endeavouring to vindicate rage, and peevishness, and implacable resentment. No; such is their deformity, so horrid and so manifest are the evils they produce, that they do not admit of any defence or justification. We condemn, we detest them, as unatural, brutish, unmanly and monstrous. All we contend for, is, that it is better to be moderate in our refentment, than to suppress it altogether, Let us therefore keep it under a strict discipline, and care, fully restrain it within the bounds which reafon prescribes, with regard to the occasion, degree and continuance of it. But let us not presume to extirpate any of those affections, which the wisdom of God has implanted in us, which are so nicely balanced, and so well adjusted to each other, that by destroying one of them, we may perhaps disorder and blemish the whole frame of our nature.
TO these arguments, those who adopt theopi, nion that anger should beentirely suppressed, reply:
You tell us, anger is natural to man ; but nothing is more natural to man, than reason, mildness and benevolence. Now with what propriety can we call that natural to any creature, which impairs and opposes the most effential and diftinguishing parts of its conftitution ? Sometimes indeed we may call that natural to species, which being found in most of them, is not produced by art or custom. That anger
is in this fenfe natural, we readily grant ; 'but deny that we therefore cannot, or may not lawfully extinguish it. Nature has committed to our management the faculties of the mind, as well as the members of the body: and, as when any
of the latter become pernicious to the whole, we cut them off and caft them away ; in like manner, when any of our af
fections are become hurtful and useless in our frame, by cute I ting them off, we do not in the least counteraet the intention of nature, Now such is
to a wise man. To fools and .cowards it is a necessary evil; but to a person of moderate sense and virtue, it is an evil, which has no advantage attending it. The harm it must do him is very apparent. It must ruffle his temper, make him less agreeable to his friends, dif. turb his reason, and unfit him for discharging the duties of life in a becoming manner. By only diminishing his passion, he may leffen, but cannot remove the evil ; for the only way to get clear of the one, is by entirely dismissing the other.
How then will anger be so useful to him, as to make it worth his while to retain it in any degree? He may defend his own rights ; affift an injured friend ; prosecute and punish a villain ; I say his prudence and friendship, his public fpirit and calm resolution will enable him to do all this, and to do it in a much more safe, proper, and effectual manner, without the assistance of anger, than with it. He will be despised and neglected, you say, if he appears to have no resentment. You should rather say, ifhe appears to have no sedate wisdom and courage ; for these qualities will be sufficient of themselves to secure him from contempt, and maintain him in the poffeffion of his just authority. Nor does any thing commonly leffen us more in the eyes of others, than our own passion. It often exposeth us to the contempt and derision of those, who are not in our power ; and if it makes
us feared, it also makes us proportionably hated, by our inferiors and dependants. Let the influence it gives us be ever so great, that man must pay very dear for his power, who procures it at the expence of his own tranquillity and peace.
Besides, the imitation of anger, which is easily formed will produce the same effect upon others, as if the passion was real. If therefore to quicken the flow, to rouse the inattentive, and restrain the fierce, it is sometimes expedient that they believe you are moved, you may put on the outward appearance of resentment. Thus you may obtain the end of anger, without the danger and vexation that attends it; and may preserve your authority, without forfeiting the peace of your mind.
However manly and vigorous anger may be thought, it is in fact but a weak principle, compared with the fedate resolution of a wise and virtuous man. The one is uniform and permanent like the strength of a person in perfect health ; the other, like a force which proceedeth from a fe. ver, is violent for a time, but it soon leaves the mind more feeble than before. To him therefore who is armed with a proper firmness of soul, no degree of passion can be useful in any respect. And to say it can ever be laudable and virtuous is indeed a sufficiently bold assertion. For the most part we blame it in others, and though we are apt to be indulgent enough to our own faults, we are often ashamed of it in ourfelves. Hence it is common to hear men excusing themfelves, and seriously declaring, they were not angry, when they have given unequestionable proofs to the contrary. But do we not commend him, who resents the injuries done to a friend or innocent person ? Yes, we commend him ; yet not for his paflion, but for that generosity and friendship
of which it is the evidence. For let any one impartially confider, which of these characters he esteems the better ; his, who interests himself in the injuries of his friend, and zealously defends him with perfect calmness and serenity of temper; or his, who pursues the same conduct under the influence of resentment.
If anger then is neither useful nor commendable, it is certainly the part of wisdom to suppress it entirely. We should rather confine it, you tell us, within certain bounds, But how shall we ascertain the limits, to which beyond which it ought not to pass ? When we receive a manifest injury, it seems we may resent it, provided we do it with moderation. When we suffer a worse abuse, our anger I suppose, may raise somewhat higher. Now as the degrees of injustice are infinite, if our anger must always be proportioned to the occasion, it may possibly proceed to the utmost extravagance.
Shall we set bounds to our resentment while we are yet calm ? how can we be assured, that being once let loose, it will not carry us beyond them ? or shall we give passion the reins, imagining we can resume them at pleasure, or trusting it will tire or stop itself, as soon as it has run to its proper length ? As well might we think of giving laws to a tempest; as well might we endeavour to run mad by rule and method.
In reality, it is much easier to keep ourselves void of rea sentment, than to restrain it from cxcess, when it has gained admission ; for if reason, while her strength is yet entire, is not able to preserve her dominion, what can fhe do when her enemy has in part prevailed and weakened her force ? To use the illustration of an excellent author, we can prevent the beginnings of some things, whose progress afterwards we cannot hinder. We can forbear to cast ourselves down from
a precipice, but if once we have taken the fatal leap, we must descend, whether we will or no. Thus the mind, if duly cautious, may stand firm upon the rock of tranquillity ; but if The rafhly forsakes the summit, she can scarce recover herfelf, but is hurried away downwards by her own paflion, with increasing violence.
Do not say that we exhort you to attempt that which is impoffible. Nature has put it in our power to refift the motions of anger. We only plead inability, when we want an excuse for our own negligence. Was a passionate man to forfeit a hundred pounds, as often as he was angry, or was he sure he muft die the next moment after the-firft fally of his paffion, we should find, he had a great command of his temper whenever he could prevail upon himself to exercise a proper attention about it. And shall we not esteem it wor. thy of equal attention, worthy of our utmoft care and pains to obtain that immoveable tranquillity of mind, without which we cannot relish either life itself, or any of its enjoyments Upon the whole then, we both may and ought, not merely to restrain, but extirpate anger. It is impatient of rule ; in proportion as it prevails, it will disquiet our minds; it has nothing commendable in itself, nor will it answer any valuable purpose in life.
CH A P. II. VIRTUE OUR HIGHEST INTEREST. I
FIND myself existing upon a little spot, surrounded
every way by an immenfe unknown expansion.Where am I? What sort of place do I inhabit ? Is it exactly accommodated, in every inftance, to my convenience ? Is