« AnteriorContinua »
and Meribah, of the waters of strife? As the church said concerning God, Jer. i. 6. Will he reserve his anger for ever? fo may I say of luch, Will they reserve their anger for ever? Surely this anger is fioful in respect of time.
4 It is such an anger as miffes in respect of measure; holy anger keeps within compass, but fo doth not this, por do I wonder, for amongst all the affections or passions of the mind, there is none more like to abound in measure than the passion of anger, it is a fiery paffion, and fire we know is apt to exceed: How great a fire will onę spark kindle!
4. It is such an anger as misses in respect of the end; þoly anger hath right aims and ends, as the glory of God, and good of souls: But what is the end of this anger
? What! is it a passionate man aims at? If I may answer for him, either be aims at this, that he may fatisfy a pee. vish spirit, or he aims at this, that he may bring others under him, or he ains at this, that he may be elteemed of others as somebody in the world, or he aims at this, that he may have his will another time. These are the chief ends of a passionate spirit. But oh it is otherwise with a gracious spirit! such an one may be angry fometimes, but it is not to satisfy himself, but to bring things into order, it is not to subject others under him, but to bring all under God; it is not to appear. Somebody in the world, but that the glory of God may more appear; it is pot to have his will more at another time, but that God's will may be done on earth as it is in heaven; it is not that he may avenge himself, but that he may do good to others, never more aiming at the party's good that he is angry withal, than at that very time when he is most angry. Now you may see what anger I inveigh against, and what anger it is which gives place to the devil.
SECT. XIV. of our Wrefling with Satan to overcome this Sin. N refifting Satan and this fin, do you wrestle thus,
1. Be you humbled for what hath beep been past; Were you but humbled for fin in general, it would much meoken your spirits; but were you humbled for this par. ticular fin, in that you have been formerly lo peevish and
pettish, Oh the good that you might get by this humiliation! Is got this the way to mortify sio at the root ? As when weeds are moistned at the root, then it is the time to get them up, and not when all is dry. So when the heart is humbled for this fin at the root, when the heart is bedewed with tears of repentance, and becomes soft and fleshy, which before was stony and hard, then will this fio up or be mortified with far more ease. I lay this humi. liation as the foundation of all other helps, many being convinced that such or such a thiog ought not to be done, they refolve presently they will do so no more, but they bottom not their relolution upon humiliation, and so all comes to nothing, but as the morning dew it quickly vapisheth. O begin here, repent of fins paft, of former pettilkness and peevishness of spirit, and upon this foundation we may comfortably hope the buildiog may ftand, nota withstanding the rain, and floods, and winds that may beat
2. Resolve and renew your resolutions and covenants
with God from day to day; it may be you find that natu. - rally you are overcome with passion, and therefore each
morning think but thus with yourself, I may meet with occasion this day to disquiet my heart, I have had experience, that tho' the day hath been fair in the morniog, yet it hath been foul before night; I fee I am weak, I have sometimes promised and covenanted with God against this lin
, but I have been overcome again and again, I will now therefore in the strength of Christ resolve that this day, whatsoever falls out, I will bear it quietly, and if I be wronged I will implead it the next day, or the next opportunity, only this day I will retain my quiet of spirit. Why thus would you resolve, and renew your refolution from day to day, who knows but it might gain upon your hearts to overcome paffion? And if a little were but done for the present, yet would it not be fo hard as now it is to overcome it afterwards.
3, Set a high price upon the quietness of your fpirit, Better is a dry morsel and quietness therewith, than an bousefull of sacrifices with Prife, Prov. xvii. 1. There is as much difference betwixt quietness and strife, as betwixt
a formy, a stormy, dark, tempestuous night, and a calm, sweets sva shine summer's day. When the apostle speaks of the ornament of a ineek and quiet fpirit, he adds, that in the fight of God it is of great price, 1 Pet. iii. 4. Other graces are precious with God, but a meek and quiet spirit is ia the fight of God of great price, it is worth a great deal, it is a jewel of great worth; kings, and princes, and nobles wear jewels sometimes worth thousands of pounds, but every meek man and woman that goes up and down, tho' never so
poor, yet they wear a pearl worth a world; thus God efteems it, and so should we also. Tell me you that bear crosses with a quiet and meek fpirit, do you not find a great deal of comfort in this quiet and meek frame? Why then say, It shall cost me dear but I will keep this frame: If a man should throw dirt at you, and you had a golden ball in your hand, would you throw that away. because he throws dirt at you? What if others cast upon you reproaches, and froward words? They have no other weapons for themselves, they scarce ever knew in all their lives what the sweetness of a quiet spirit meant: Oh but you that fear God, and whom God hath adorned with the graces of his own Spirit, do you prize a quiet spirit at an high rate, do you suffer for it, for there is much good in it.
4. Remove the occasions of anger. "As Cotys king of Thrace, when one brought him curious vessels, but brittle, I fuppose of glafs, or the like, he commended their rare workmanship, yet presently brake them, left (being of an hafty nature) when his fervants by any accident had broken them, he should have been exceslively angry. When Saul caft a javelin at Jonathan to imite him, then Jonathan arose from the table, and would eat no meat in Saul's presence. It is onr wisdom to get out of the com: pany of such as have offended us, as Jonathan did, rather than finful anger thould break out. Or,
“5. If the occasion cannot well be removed, then give reason leave to interpose and divert. It was good counsel which Athenodorus gave to Augustus, that when the object and occasions of choler were in his eye, he should not be moved before he had pronounced over the letters of the
alphabet : When the mind is diverted, there may be fome room to deliberate, and therefore in this case, divert to fome other business, company, pleasant employment, thoughts of content: These are noble coolers, and very codynient to Nack this passionate fire. As physicians ob. serve in bleeding, when a man or woman bleeds very vio. Itatly at the nose, the way to stench the blood is to let them blood in another vein: So those that are passionate, they should labour to turn the channel of their affections another way. For justance, What! do I feel my anger Itır? let me stir up fears; oh let me have the fear of the great God before miae eyes; or doth my anger fir? let me stir up forrow; oh let me grieve for their fin, whereby they have provoked God more than me: Or doth my an
ger slir? let me ftir up love, I am called on to love mine iedemies, and will not the heat of love take out the heat of
anger? the shining of the fun upon a fire deadens the fire, 1 and surely the beams of love in my heart towards God, and towards his faints, and towards my enemies, should deaden or weaken this fire of paffion that is fo Nrong in me. Thus by a wile, as it were, mayst thou subdue thy anger, if thou canst but tạrn thy affection another way.
6. If diversions will not do it, then stand at the staves end, and refill this fin at its first breaking out. A little thing will quench a great fire, when the fire is new kindled, but if you stay a while, then buckets of water will not do it: The beginning of Arife is as when one letteth out water, (I may fay, as when one letteth out fire) therefore leave off contention before it be meddled withal, Prov. xvii. 14. You are to take as great care of the beginning of apger, as you would be careful to quench a little spark of fire that is in the midnt of many barrels of gun pouder; and great reason, for the fire of contention which begins at a little (if not prevented) riseth to a great deal. Camerarius tells us a story of two brothers, who walking out in the evening, and seeing the element full of bright spangling stars, one of them being a grafier wished that he had as many oxen as there were stars in the firmament; then said the other brother, and if I had a pasture as big as the world,
where catch poor
where would thou keep thy oxen ? he answered, in your pasture: What, said the other, whether I would or not? Yes, said his brother : The matter was very light, but it fell out very heavy, for they presently fell to words, drew one upon another, and killed one another. Do we got see many neighbours fall out about very fmalt maters? and if fome wife men in the beginning did but'mediate between them, how casily might they be reconciled ? otherwise the fire kindles to such a fame, that few or pone know how to extinguish it, or to make them friends.
7. Be convinc'd it is much better to bear wrong, than to be sinfully angry for wrong. In bearing wrong there is no danger of Satan's hurt; but for the devil to come and tempt thee by this or that wrong, to be in a pet or angry fit, there lies the danger. It is Austin's expression, when the fowler hath fet a pet to catch fowls, then he comes and throws stones in the hedges to frighe the birds out: So when the devil hath fet his nets and temptations to.
souls in, then he sets others on to do them wrong,
that fo he may take them in his net: Oh take heed now of anger ! take heed of the net that the devil hath 00 the other side of the hedge; it is better to suffer wrong from another, than to suffer fin in thy own soul. -Bus how must I do if I be injured ? I answer, 1. Look on God, and consider all thy wrongs and unworthy usages, are oidered by God, for thy everlasting good; this very one thought, that God is the principal agent, kept fresh and on foot in thy mind, will be of sovereiga power to cool and beat back any intemperate anger, yea, and make thee fay to God with David, I was dumb, and opened not my mouth, because thou didł it, Pfal. xxxix. 9. Thus Joseph looked beyond his brethren's barbarous dealing with him, and said, The Lord sent me before you. Thus Job looked beyond the Chaldeans lawless outrages, and said, The Lord hath taken away. Thus David looked beyond shimei's dogged rancor, and said, The Lord hath bidden him to curfe. Thus Jesus Christ himself, blessed for ever, looked beyond the Pharisees, priests, Jews, Judas and the foldiers, to his Father's cup; This cup which my Father hath given me to drink, fball I not drink it? In case of