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Anger is like Ruin, which breaks itself upon that it falls.2 The Scripture exhorteth us To pollefs our Souls in Patience; 3 whosoever is out of Patience is out of Possession of his Soul. Men must not turn Bees;
Animasque in vulnere ponunt.* Anger is certainly a kind of Baseness; as it appears well in the Weakness of those Subjects in whom it reigns : Children, Women, Old Folks, Sick Folks. Only Men must beware that they carry their Anger rather with Scorn than with Fear; so that they may seem rather to be above the Injury than below it: which is a Thing easily done, if a Man will give Law to himself in it.
For the second Point; the Causes and Motives of Anger are chiefly three. First, to be too Senfible of Hurt; for no Man is angry that feels not himself hurt: and therefore tender and delicate Persons must needs be oft angry; they have so many Things to trouble them, which more robust Natures have little Sense of. The next is the Apprehension and Construction of the Injury offered, to be in the Circumstances thereof full of Contempt; for Contempt is that which putteth an edge upon Anger, as much, or more than the Hurt itself: and therefore, when Men are ingenious in picking out Circumstances of Contempt, they do kindle their Anger much. Lastly, Opinion of the Touch of a Man's Reputation doth multiply and sharpen Anger: wherein the Remedy is that a Man should have as Consalvo was wont to say, Telam Honoris craffiorem. But in all refrainings of Anger, it is the best Remedy to win Time; and to make a Man's self believe that the Opportunity of his Revenge is not yet come : but that he foresees a Time for it; and so to still himself in the meantime, and reserve it.
2 Senec. De Ira. i. 1.
3 Luke xxi. 19: * Virg. Georg. iv, 238.
To contain Anger from Mischief, though it take hold of a Man, there be two Things whereof you must have special Caution: The one, of extreme Bitterness of Words ; especially if they be aculeate and proper; for communia Maledi&ta are nothing so much: and again, that in Anger, a Man reveal no Secrets: for that makes him not fit for Society. The other, that you do not peremptorily break off in any Business in a Fit of Anger : but howsoever you fhew Bitterness, do not act anything that is not revocable.
For raising and appealing Anger in another; it is done chiefly by choosing of Times, when Men are frowardest and worst disposed, to incense them. Again, by gathering (as was touched before) all that you can find out to aggravate the Contempt : and the two Remedies are by the Contraries. The Former, to take good Times, when first to relate to a Man an angry Business ; for the first Impression is much : and the other is to sever, as much as may be, the Construction of the Injury from the Point of Contempt: imputing it to Milunderstanding, Fear, Passion, or what you will.
5 See Adv. of L. II, XX, 12.
LVIII. Of Vicissitudes of
Thing upon the Earth.' So that as
Knowledge was but Remembrance ;? so Solomon giveth his Sentence that all Novelty is but Oblivion ; whereby you may see that the River of Lethe runneth as well above Ground, as below. There is an abstruse Astrologer that saith ; If it were not for two things that are constant (the one is, that the Fixed Stars ever stand at like distance, one from another, and never come nearer together nor go further afunder; the other, that the Diurnal Motion perpetually keepeth Time), no Individual would last one Moment. Certain it is, that the Matter is in a perpetual Flux,; and never at a Stay. The great Winding-sheets that bury all Things in Oblivion are two; Deluges, and Earthquakes. As for Conflagrations and great Droughts, they do not merely dispeople, and destroy. Phæton's Car went but a day; and the Three Years' Drought in the time of Elias* was but particular and left People alive. As for the great Burnings by Lightnings, which are often in the West Indies, they are but narrow; but in the other two Destructions, by Deluge and Earthquake, it is further to be noted, that the Remnant of People which hap to be reserved are commonly ignorant and mountainous People, that can give no Account of the Time past: so that the Oblivion is all one as if none had been left. If you consider well of the People of the West Indies, it is very probable that they are a newer or a younger People than the People of the Old World; and it is much more likely, that the Destruction that hath heretofore been there was not by Earthquakes (as the Egyptian Priest told Solon concerning the Island of Atlantis, 5 That it was swallowed by an Earthquake,) but rather, that it was desolated by a particular Deluge: for Earthquakes are seldom in those Parts. But, on the other side, they have such pouring Rivers, as the Rivers of Asia and Africa and Europe are but brooks to them. Their Andes likewise, or Mountains, are far higher than those with us; whereby it seems, that the Remnants of Generations of Men were in such a particular Deluge saved. As for the Observation that Machiavel hath, that the fealousy of Sects doth much extinguish the Memory of Things ; 6 traducing Gregory the Great, that he did what in him lay to extinguish all Heathen Antiquities; I do not find, that those Zeals do any great Effects, nor last long; as it appeared in the Succeffion of Sabinian, who did revive the former Antiquities. The Vicissitude, or Mutations, in the Superior Globe, are no fit Matter, for this present Argument. It may be Plato's great rear,7 if the World should last so long, would have some Effect; not in renewing the State of like Individuals (for that is the Fume of those that conceive the Celestial Bodies have more accurate Influences upon these Things below than indeed they have), but in gross. Comets, out of question, have likewise Power and Effect over the Gross and Mass of Things : but they are rather gazed upon, and waited upon in their Journey than wisely observed in their Effects; specially in their respective Effects; that is, what Kind of Comet for Magnitude, Colour, Version of the Beams, placing in the Region of Heaven, or Lasting, produceth what kind of Effects.
1 Eccl. i. 9.
? See Dedication to Adv. of L, and Plato's Phædo. 3 Adv. of L. II. v. 3. * See i Kings xvii, 1 ; xviii. i.
There is a Toy which I have heard, and I would not have it given over, but waited upon a little. They say, it is observed in the Low Countries (I know not in what Part) that every Five and Thirty Years the same kind and suit of Years and Weathers comes about again : as great Frosts, great Wet, great Droughts, warm Winters, Summers with little Heat, and the like : and they call it the Prime. It is a Thing, I do the rather mention, because computing backwards, I have found some Concurrence.
But to leave these Points of Nature, and to come to Men. The greatest Viciffitude of Things amongst Men is the Vicisitude of Sects and Religions; for those Orbs rule in Men's Minds most. The true Religion is built upon the Rock; the Rest
? Plat. Tim. iii. 28. sq. Cic. De Nat. Deor. iv. 20.