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childish, and more betray an unthinking, undiscerning spirit, than for a man to suffer his mind to be blown up into a storm at little petty accidents and disappointments, and the indiscretions, negligences, and mistakes of those that are about him; and to be all on a flame when another seems to think otherwise than he does, and be ready to fly in the face of any man that shall presume to maintain an argument contrary to his sentiments, how weak and how ridiculous is this!

There is no man, I believe, but in cool blood is ashamed of himself for his past follies of this nature, and readily condemns them; and perhaps resolves it shall be so no more; and that small matters shall not for the future spoil the tranquillity of his mind: and it would be very happy could we so far command this passion.

This would be a good beginning, but far from a cure of this great evil ; which we must never think to be effected till we can keep an evenness of temper, or at least prevent great excesses of our passion, at greater provocations : and he that is presently on fire when he has a rough answer given him, or a scornful look, or opprobrious language, &c. is still under too great a slavery to wrath.

For though these and the like are generally looked upon as unsufferable provocations, and for the most part wonderfully resented; yet, when a man takes a nearer view of them after his heat is over, he will find them too slight occasions for so great a commotion. For things of this nature do a man no real injury; his health, his reputation, his estate, and his safety, are not at all affected by such things as these, unless he makes them so himself by his

unreasonable resentment of them. And therefore, because a man is rude to one, and breaks the rules of civility and respect, talks in the language of Billinsgate, and fouls his mouth with vulgar, unseemly expressions; presently to swell upon it, and grow uneasy, and break one's own peace, and the sweet calm of one's mind, and turn all into disorder and tumult, is really no other than to revenge another's fault upon one's self, and become transported into fury and madness, because people behave themselves amiss to us, and are proud and haughty, ill-natured and ill-bred. And what can be more unaccountably foolish than this ? unless it be the hasty, rash expressing our resentments when we have conceived them.

For anger being for the time a sort of phrensy, whoever suffers himself to be immediately hurried by it into action, and lets his tongue likewise take its liberty, must needs speak and act furiously and inconsiderately, and, like a madman, stick at nothing that his passion prompts him to: and consequently, the most tragical and impious, as well as ridiculous effects, will often in such a case ensue.

What profane expressions, and horrid curses and imprecations, have some uttered in a fit of

anger occasioned by a trifle! All, even the most criminal abuses of speech are usual in such raging fits, and will turn to a dreadful account in that great day, when for our words as well as deeds we shall be judged. And how many strange and hellish extravagances have been committed in such sudden heats, even to murder itself, when the provocation perhaps was the most frivolous and inconsiderable, and such as a man would really be ashamed to own.

Now let any passionate man consider, in his cooler thoughts, the sad consequences of these things in this world, and their dreadful punishment in the next, and then reflect upon the trifling cause of all this misery; and say whether he did wisely or no, in indulging so far to such a mischievous and brutish passion.

But suppose by chance he should escape the commission of such horrid things in his fury, (and it would indeed be a chance, and a very great one if he should,) yet there are a great many other attendants of an unbridled anger, which, though of less guilt, yet will sufficiently expose the folly of him that gives it so much liberty.

As first, the great indecencies that accompany such unmanly discomposures. What ridiculous behaviour shall one then see, what distorted faces, what sudden changes of countenance and colour, what fierce looks, what stampings and starings, and sometimes rude treatment of a man's own self; what odd, extravagant, senseless talk, what silly expostulations with Heaven, what passionate wishes, and rash inconsiderate vows, impertinent complaints to those that stand by; and, in short, what signs of the pressure of an insupportable calamity, so that a stranger, that should happen to see the poor creature in this fit, would certainly conclude that miseries great and thick as those of Job were fallen upon him! when, after all, some very petty matter does appear to be the sole occasion of that great combustion.

But besides the indecency of the excesses of this passion, it very often prompts men to be abusive, and give ill language, and throw out words of scandal and defamation; and many secrets are discovered by it, to the great damage and disgrace of a man's self, as well as those he contends with; and many blows and wounds are given and received in those fits of fury, and sometimes the furious aggressor loses his own life. Now suppose a considerable fine should be laid upon a man of choler for a hasty scandal, or that he is obliged to fee physicians and surgeons for the cure of another man's hurt, and all the while in fear lest he should miscarry, and a halter become his portion; or that he himself should fare worst in the scuffle, and be hurried into the other world in so unfit a temper for that tremendous change: let any man say whether it is not a most wretched piece of folly to run the hazard of all this for a trifling injury or affront? And really the causes of such broils are generally no better; they are great only in the men's troubled fancies and imaginations : but were they as great as they are thought to be, it is still folly in the highest degree to let loose that passion, which for ought we know may hurry us on, not only to lesser mischiefs and extravagances, but to the commission of what will for ever be our ruin.

SECT. IV.

Some brief rules for the better regulation of anger. HAVING in the foregoing section seen enough of the folly and mischief of this fierce, mutinous passion, when exorbitant and without restraint, it will be worth our while to observe the following rules for the better government of it. And first, nothing will more conduce to the pre

vention of disorders in this matter than what I mentioned before, the making a candid, charitable construction of what looks amiss, till we have further examined into it. This is what every one would desire in his own case, and therefore what every one should grant to another, and is of extraordinary use. For a man gains time to cool by it; and when the first heat is over, things generally have a more pleasing aspect than at first. Insomuch that that may appear to be a real benefit and kindness to us, which before was looked upon as a great injury, or unpardonable affront; and we may see cause upon second thoughts to return our thanks and acknowledgments to those that in our fury we were resolved to be revenged of. Or however, if it be worth our notice, we shall be able to take more just and prudential measures in making known our resentments.

Secondly, we can never hope to keep this passion within due bounds, if we are not careful to avoid all quarrelsome company, excessive drinking, and over niceness and curiosity in any thing. For as for the latter, unless all that are about us are as curious and nice as ourselves, and withal very diligent, careful, and observant, which will seldom or never happen, our provocations will be infinite, and consequently our vexations too : whereas more indifferency, and an abatement of punctual exactness, rendering us more easy to be pleased, will prevent many a fit of peevishness and passion. And as for choleric persons going into quarrelsome company,

it is like throwing oil or gunpowder into the fire, and there is no possibility of remaining cool and uninflamed: and as for excessive drinking, not only

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