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ways of godliness to be spoken ill of. The mists of passion envelope religion with a dense medium, through which its lustre is but dimly seen. A passionate Christian is an object of sport to the profane, a butt of ridicule to fools, whose scorn is reflected from him upon piety itself.

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But, perhaps, it will be said, "Tell us how we may cure the disposition; its existence we admit, and its evil we know by experience, and deplore." I say, ́then,

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Look at the disposition as it really is, attentively consider its evil nature, and trace its mischievous consequences. Anger sets the house on fire, and all the spirits are busy upon trouble, and intend pro+ pulsion and defence, displeasure and revenge; it is a short madness, and an eternal enemy to discourse, and sober counsels, and fair conversation; it is a fever in the heart, and a calenture in the head, and a fire in the face, and a sword in the hand, and a fury all over. It hath in it the trouble of sorrow, and the heats of lust, and the disease of revenge, and the bodings of a fever, and the rashness of precipitancy, and the disturbance of persecution. If it proceed from a great cause, it turns to fury; if from a small cause, it is peevishness: and so it is always terrible or ridiculous. It makes a man's body deformed and contemptible, the voice horrid, the eyes cruel, the face pale or fiery, the gait fierce. It is neither manly nor ingenuous, and is a passion fitter for flies and wasps than for persons professing nobleness and bounty. It is a confluence of all the irregular passions. There is in it envy and scorn, fear and sorrow, pride and prejudice,

rashness and inconsideration, rejoicing in evil, and a desire to inflict it."*

Such is the portraiture of this disposition, drawn by the hand of no mean artist. Let the passionate man look at the picture, and learn to hate it; for, like an infuriated serpent, it need only be seen to be abhorred.

Let us reject all excuses for the indulgence of it; for so long as we palliate it, we shall not attempt to mortify it. It cannot be defended, either on the ground of constitutional tendency, or the greatness of the provocation, or the suddenness of the offence, or the transient duration of the fit, or that there is less evil in gusts of anger than in seasons of sullenness: no-nothing can justify it; and if we are sincere in our desires to control it, we shall admit that it is indefensible and criminal, and condemn it without hesitation or extenuation.

We must be persuaded that it is possible to control it; for if we despair of victory, we shall not engage in the conflict. Hope of success is essential to success itself.

It is certain that by using right means a hasty temper may be subdued, for it has been conquered in very many instances. It is said of SOCRATES, the wisest and most virtuous of the heathen sages, that in the midst of domestic vexations and public disorders, he maintained such an undisturbed serenity, that he was never seen to leave his own house or return to it with a ruffled countenance. If on any occasion he felt a propensity to anger, he checked

Bishop Jeremy Taylor.

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the rising storm by lowering the tone of his voice, and resolutely assuming a more than usual gentleness of aspect and manner. He not only refrained from acts of revenge, but triumphed over his adversaries, by disregarding the insults and injuries they offered him. This was more remarkable, as in acquiring this dominion over his passions, he had to struggle against natural propensities which ran in an opposite direction. ZOPHYRUS, an eminent physiognomist, declared that he discovered in the features of the philosopher evident traces of many vicious inclinations: the friends of SOCRATES, who were present, ridiculed the ignorance of this pretender to extraordinary sagacity; but the Sage ingenuously acknowledged the penetration of ZOPHYRUS, and confessed that he was naturally prone to vice, but that he had subdued his inclinations by the power of reason and philosophy. Let professing Christians learn, from this distinguished heathen, that it is possible to subdue natural temper, however bad and however violent it may be.

Make its cure a matter of desire. What we ardently long for, we shall vigorously pursue. Confess your sin frankly say, “I am indeed too irritable, too passionate, too revengeful. I see the sinfulness of indulging such a temper; I am disturbed and disgraced by it; and by God's help I will subdue it. I will spare no pains, shrink from no sacrifice, be discouraged by no defeat, till I gain the victory over myself.”

Meditate upon the patience of God, who bears with your innumerable offences against Him, and forgives them all. Consider the example of Jesus

Christ, who meekly "endured the contradiction of sinners against himself; and amidst ingratitude, insults, and provocations of the basest kind, was mild as the morning sun in autumn.”

Seek to acquire a habit of self-control-a power over your feelings, which shall enable you to be ever on your guard, and to repress the first emotions of passion. If possible, seal your lips in silence when the storm is rising: shut up your anger in your own bosom, and, like fire that wants air and vent, it will soon expire. Angry words often prove a fan to the spark: many persons, who in the beginning are but slightly displeased, talk themselves at length into a violent passion. Never speak till you are cool; the man who can command his tongue, will find no difficulty in governing his spirit. And when you do speak, let it be in meekness: " а soft answer turneth away wrath.” When you see others angry, let it be an admonition to you to be cool; thus you will receive the furious indiscretions of others, like a stone into a bed of moss, where it will lie quietly without rebounding.

Stop your anger in the beginning. It is easier to put out a spark than a conflagration. It would be well always to terminate the conversation, and quit the company of an individual, when anger is creeping in. "Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge."

Avoid disputations, which often engender strifes; and especially avoid them in reference to persons of known irritability. Who would contend with a snake or a hornet ?


Brood not over injuries; "Else," says Mr. Baxter, you will be devils to yourselves, tempt yourselves when have no others to tempt you, and make your solitude as dangerously provoking as company." *


Beware of tale-bearers, and do not suffer their reports to rouse your resentments.

"Be not inquisitive into the affairs of other men, nor the faults of thy servants, nor the mistakes of thy friends; lest thou go out to gather sticks to kindle a fire, which shall burn thine own house." Look at others who are addicted to passion, and see how unlovely they appear.


Commission some faithful and affectionate friend to watch over and admonish you.

But especially mortify pride and cultivate HUMILITY, 166 Only by pride cometh contention." "He that is of a proud heart, stirreth up strife." Passion is the daughter of pride, meekness the offspring of humility. Humility is the best cure for anger, sullenness, and revenge. He that thinks much of himself, will think much of every little offence committed against him; while he that thinks ittle of his own importance, will think lightly of what is done to offend him. Every irritable, passionate, or revengeful person, is certainly a proud one, and should begin the cure of his passion by the removal of his pride.

But we need go no further than the chapter before us, for an antidote to anger. Love is sufficient of

Baxter's Catholic Directions; from which vast fund of practical theology, many of the particulars of this chapter are derived.

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