Obrazy na stronie

the beasts, above my reasonable and more noble part. Sometimes, indeed, a perfonated anger, managed with judgment, is of fingular use, especially in perfons in authority; but fuch an anger is but a painted fire, and without perturbation: but a paffionate anger upon injuries received, or upon fudden conceptions of them, is always without any end at all of good, either intended or effected: nay, it is an impediment to the attaining of any good end, because it blinds the judg ment, and transports men into inconfiderate gestures, words, and actions.

3. Confideration in respect of cthers; even of the very perfons provoking. It may be there are inftruments, permitted by God as his inftruments, either to correct or try me. Peradventure God hath bidden Shimei curfe David; be not too violent against the instrument, left, peradventure, thou oppofe therein the principal agent. Again, many men are of fuch a pitiful conftitution, that their injuries arife from very im potence of mind in them: fhall I be angry with them because they want that understanding they fhould have? And yet it is very strange to fee the weakness and folly of our nature in this paffion, that it will break into a perturbation even with children, drunken men, madmen, beafts, yea, very dumb things: witnefs our anger with cards and dice, when their chances please us not; which fhews the unreafonablenefs and frenzy of this paffion.

2. There be fome expedients against it, even when the occafion is offered.


1. Carry always a jealoufy over thy passion, and a ftrict watch upon it. Take up this peremptory refo lution and practice, I will not be angry, though an occa. fion be administered. And let the return of that refolution be the first act after the provocation given: for if a man can but bring himfelf to this país, that he take not fire upon the firft offer, the paffion will cool: a man calls then his reafon about him, and debates


with himfelf: Is there cause I should be angry? or, is there any good end attainable by it? or, if it be, what is the juft medium, or fize, or measure of anger, proportionable to that end? And these confiderations will break the first onset of paffion, and then it seldom prevails; for it is the first wave that carries on the perturbation to the end, which if it be broken at the firft, ferenity of mind is preferved with much contentation and fenfe of advantage.

2. Take up this refolution, never to give thyfelf leave to be angry, till thou feeft the just dimenfions of the provocation. Firft, learn whether there be any fuch thing done or no: for many times we fhall find that a falfe report, or a mifconception in the mind, fets up the image of an injury, and presently the pas. fion fwells upon it; when, it may be, upon a due examination, there is no fuch thing at all. Secondly, admit there be an injury, yet learn what the circumstances of it are: for till that be known, though thou haft a mind to be angry, thou knoweft not what proportion or measure of anger to allow, till thou knowest the measure of the injury done; it may be it is not fo great, or it may be it was done by miftake; it may be it was done by fome provocation given by thee, or at leaft fo understood, and then it is not fo malicious; and it may be the man is coming to make thee amends, or to afk thee pardon. This will give leifure to thy reafon, to thy grace, to come in; and will break the first shock, which the choleric blood gives to the heart, which raifeth the combuftion; and then a thousand to one it comes to nothing, and either dies prefently, or languifheth below the name of a paffion.

3. In cafe of provocation to anger by words, confider this, that there is nothing fo much gratifies an ill tongue as when it finds an angry hearer; nor nothing fo much disappoints and vexeth it as calmnefs and unperturbedness. It is the most exquifite and innocent



revenge in the world to return gentle words, or none at all, to ill language. But, on the other fide, anger and perturbation doth not only produce what thy adverfary defires, but also puts a difcompofedness and impotence upon thee, that thou becomeft unable to keep filence, or to fpeak with that reafon and advantage thou fhouldeft.







1. IT is the great folly that ordinarily poffeffeth men, efpecially in a profperous condition, that they cannot Suppole a change of their eftates: A living man can hardly think of dying; a healthy man can hardly think of fickness; a wealthy man can hardly think of poverty; a man in the applaufe and glory of the world, can hardly think of being under difgrace and reproach.

2. The reafons of this difficulty feem to be these : 1. The prefent condition is a thing that falls under our prefent fenfe, and takes up our whole confideration: things that yet are not, are made prefent only by contemplation: and that, as it doth not fo ftrongly affect the mind, fo there is a long operation that must precede before it can be brought home; a man must confider whether the ftate wherein he is be changeable, and what may change it, and whether it may change for the worfe, or unto what degree of badness, and the probabilities or poffibilities of it; and fo it requires a long process of the mind, before a man can bring himself under a fuppofition that his condition may change, and change extremely for the worse. 2. When that fuppofition is received or admitted, yet it being but notional and imaginary, hath not the like


ftrength of impreffion upon the mind, as that which is present and fenfible, and so it soon paffeth away, and hath not ftrength enough to hold out for any time upon the mind, to work a due preparation and temper in the mind for a change. 3. The prefent condition, when it is grateful to the fenfe, we are, for the moft part, willing to embrace, and make the most of it; we have not patience to give an allay or abatement to our prefent fruition, by mingling any fuch fad confiderations with it, as that it may change. When the mind begins to put itfelf upon thoughts of a change of a beloved condition, fuch replies as thefe do often meet with it: What, fhall I be dying while I live? 'be fick, when I am well? be poor, when I am rich? 'be in difgrace, when I am in glory? make myself 'miferable, while I am happy? It will be time enough < to take and bear that lot when it comes, and not to 'die, or be in ficknefs, poverty, and difgrace, by an ticipation: I will take the benefit and fweetnefs of my prefent happiness, and not four or abate it by the pre-apprehenfions of a change; if it happens, it will come before it is welcome. I will therefore, think as little of it as I may beforehand, and not make that prefent by a needlefs contemplation, which I would willingly be freed from, if it fhould at all at tack me.' Thefe and fuch like confiderations da make men rather procraftinate the evil day, than put themselves under the fuppofition of it. :


3. The inconveniencies that arife to the children of men by this averfenefs from thinking of a change of a profperous condition for a worfe, are very great: 1. A mind that oftentimes in a profperous condition cafteth itfelf in worfe by fuppofition and contemplation, doth ordinarily ufe his prefent condition warily, moderately, watchfully; but, on the other fide, this incogitancy of a change makes men prefumptuous and confident in their eftate; voluptuous, imperious, proud, immoderate, vain-glorious, for they want that correction that fhould allay and difcipline it into moderation. If

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