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Remedies against Anger, by way of consideration.

1. Consider that anger is a professed enemy to counsel; it is a direct storm in which no man can be heard to speak or call from without; for if you counsel gently, you are despised; if you urge it and be vehement, you provoke it more. Be careful, therefore, to lay up beforehand a great stock of reason and prudent consideration,270270Και μανφανειν μεν, οια οραν μελλω κακα φνμος οε κρεισσων των ενων βονλενματων.—Medea, Porson. 1074. that, like a besieged town, you may be provided for, and be defensible from within, since you are not likely to be relieved from without. Anger is not to be suppressed but by something that is as inward as itself, and more habitual. To which purpose add, that, 2. Of all passions it endeavours most to make reason useless. 3. That it is a universal poison of an infinite object; for no man was ever so amorous as to love a toad, none so envious as to repine at the condition of the miserable, no man so timorous as to fear a dead bee; but anger is troubled at everything, and every man, and every accident, and, therefore, unless it be suppressed it will make a man’s condition restless. 4. If it proceeds from a great cause it turns to fury; if from a small cause it is peevishness; and so is always either terrible or ridiculous. 5. It makes a man’s body monstrous, deformed, and contemptible, the voice horrid, the eyes cruel, the face pale or fiery, the gait fierce, the speech clamorous and loud. 6. It is neither manly nor ingenuous. It proceeds from softness of spirit and pusillanimity, which makes that women are more angry than men, sick persons more than the healthful, old men more than young, unprosperous and calamitous people than the blessed and fortunate. 8. It is a passion fitter for flies and insects than for persons professing nobleness and bounty. 9. It is troublesome not only to those that suffer it, but to them that behold it; there being no greater ineivility of entertainment than for the cook’s fault,271271Dieere quid coena possis ingratius ista? or the negligence of the servants, to be cruel or outrageous, or unpleasant in the presence of the guests. 10. It makes marriage to be a necessary and unavoidable trouble; friendships and societies and familiarities to be intolerable. 11. It multiplies the evils of drunkenness, and makes the levities of wine to run into madness. 12. It makes innocent jesting to be the beginning of tragedies. 13. It turns friendship into hatred; it makes a man lose himself and his reason and his argument, in disputation. It turns the desires of knowledge into an itch of wrangling. It adds insolency to power. It turns justice into cruelty, and judgment into oppression. It changes discipline into tediousness and hatred of liberal institution. It makes a prosperous man to be envied and the unfortunate to be unpitied. It is a confluence of all the irregular passions; there is in it envy and sorrow, fear and scorn, pride and prejudice, rashness and inconsideration, rejoicing in evil and a desire to inflict it, self-love, impatience, and curiosity. And, lastly, though it be very troublesome to others, yet it is most troublesome to him that hath it.

In the use of these arguments, and the former exercises, be diligent to observe lest, in your desires to suppress anger, you be passionate and angry at yourself for being angry; like physicians272272amaram amaro bilem pharmaco qui elunt. who give a bitter potion when they intend to eject the bitterness of the choler, for this will provoke the person and increase the passion. But placidly and quietly set upon the mortification of it, and attempt it first for a day, resolving that day not at all to be angry, and to be watchful and observant, for a day is no great trouble; but, then, after one day’s watchfulness it will be as easy to watch two days as at first it was to watch one day, and so you may increase till it becomes easy and habitual.

Only observe that such an anger alone is criminal which is against charity to myself or my neighbour; but anger against sin is a holy zeal, and an effect of love to God and my brother, for whose interest I am passionate, like a concerned person; and if I take care that my anger makes no reflection of scorn or cruelty upon the offender, or of pride and violence, or transportation to myself, anger becomes charity and duty. And when one commended Charilaus, the king of Sparta, for a gentle, a good, and a meek prince, his colleague said well, “How can he be good who is not an enemy even to vicious persons?”273273Plutar. de Odie et Invidia.

3. Remedies against Covetousness, the third Enemy of Mercy.

Covetousness is also an enemy to alms, though not to all the effects of mercifulness; but this is to be cured by the proper motives to charity before mentioned, and by the proper rules of justice, which being secured, the arts of getting money are not easily made criminal. To which also we may add:

1. Covetousness makes a man miserable, because riches are not means to make a man happy;274274Quid refert igitur quantis jumenta fatiget Porticibus, quanta nemorum vectetur in umbra, Jugera quot vicina foro, quas emerit aedes? Nemo malus felix.—Juv. Sat.4. and unless felicity were to be bought with money, he is a vain person who admires heaps of gold and rich possessions. For what Hippomachus said to some persons who commended a tall man as fit to be a champion in the Olympic games, “It is true,” said he, “if the crown hang so high that the longest arm could reach it;” the same we may say concerning riches; they were excellent things, if the richest man were certainly the wisest and the best; but as they are they are nothing to be wondered at, because they contribute nothing towards felicity; which appears, because some men choose to be miserable, that they may be rich, rather than be happy with the expense of money and doing noble things.

2. Riches are useless and unprofitable; for beyond our needs and conveniences nature knows no use of riches: and they say the princes of Italy, when they sup alone eat out of a single dish, and drink in a plain glass, and the wife eats without purple; for nothing is more frugal than the back and belly, if they be used as they should; but when they would entertain the eyes of strangers, when they are vain, and would make a noise, then riches come forth to set forth the spectacle, and furnish out the comedy of wealth, of vanity. No man can with all the wealth in the world, buy so much skill as to be a good lutenist; he must go the same way that poor people do, he must learn and take pains; much less can he buy constancy or chastity or courage; nay, not so much as the contempt of riches: and by possessing more than we need, we cannot obtain so much power over our souls as not to require more. And certainly riches must deliver me from no evil, if the possession of them cannot take away the longing for them. If any man be thirsty, drink cools him; if he be hungry, eating meat satisfies him; and when a man is cold, and calls for a warm cloak, he is pleased if you give it him; but you trouble him if you load him with six or eight cloaks. Nature rests and sits still when she hath her portion; but that which exceeds it is a trouble and a burden; and, therefore, in true philosophy, no man is rich but he that is poor according to the common account; for when God hath satisfied those needs which he made, that is, all that is natural, whatsoever is beyond it is thirst and a disease; and, unless it be sent back again in charity or religion, can serve no end but vice or vanity: it can increase the appetite to represent the man poorer, and full of a new and artificial, unnatural need; but it never satisfies the need it makes, or makes the man richer. No wealth can satisfy the covetous desire of wealth.

3. Riches are troublesome; but the satisfaction of those appetites which God and nature hath made are cheap and easy; for who ever paid use-money for bread and onions and water to keep him alive?275275Ergo solicitae tu causa, pecunia, vitae es: Per te immaturum mortis adimus iter.—Propert. but when we covet after houses of the frame and design of Italy, or long for jewels, or for our next neighbour’s field, or horses from Barbary, or the richest perfumes of Ababia, or Galatian mules, or fat eunuchs for our slaves from Tunis, or rich coaches from Naples, then we can never be satisfied till we have the best things that are fancied, and all that can be had, and all that can be desired, and that we can lust no more; but before we come to the one-half of our first wild desires, we are the bondmen of usurers, and of our worse-tyrant appetites, and the tortures of envy and impatience. But I consider that those who drink on still when their thirst is quenched, or eat not only their superfluity, but even that which at first was necessary: so those that covet more than they can temperately use, are oftentimes forced to part even with that patrimony which would have supported their persons in freedom and honour, and have satisfied all their reasonable desires.

4. Contentedness is therefore health, because covetousness is a direct sickness: and it was well said of Aristippus, (as Plutarch reports him,) if any man, after much eating and drinking, be still unsatisfied, he hath no need of more meat or more drink, but of a physician; he more needs to be purged than to be filled: and therefore, since covetousness cannot be satisfied, it must be cured by emptiness and evacuation. The man is without remedy, unless he be reduced to the scantling of nature, and the measures of his personal necessity. Give to a poor man a house, and a few cows, pay his little debt, and set him on work, and he is provided for, and quiet; but when a man enlarges beyond a fair possession, and desires another lordship, you spite him if you let him have it; for by that he is one degree the further off from the rest in his desires and satisfaction; and now he sees himself in a bigger capacity to a larger fortune; and he shall never find his period, till you begin to take away something of what he hath; for then he will begin to be glad to keep that which is left; but reduce him to nature’s measures, and there he shall be sure to find rest; for there is no man can desire beyond his bellyful; and, when he wants that, any one friend or charitable man can cure his poverty, but all the world cannot satisfy his covetousness.

5. Covetousness is the most fantastical and contradictory disease in the whole world: it must, therefore, be incurable; because it strives against its own cure. No man, therefore, abstains from meat, because he is hungry; nor from wine, because he loves it and needs it; but the covetous man does so, for he desires it passionately, because he says he needs it, and when he hath it, he will need it still, because he dares not use it. He gets clothes, because he cannot be without them; but when he hath them, then he can; as if he needed corn for his granary, and clothes for his wardrobes, more than for his back and belly. For covetousness pretends to heap much together for fear of want; and yet, after all his pains and purchase, he suffers that really, which, at first, he feared vainly; and by not using what he gets, he makes that suffering to be actual, present, and necessary, which, in his lowest condition, was but future, contingent, and possible. It stirs up the desire, and takes away the pleasure of being satisfied. It increases the appetite, and will not content it: it swells the principal to no purpose, and lessens the use to all purposes; disturbing the order of nature, and the designs of God; making money not to be the instrument of exchange or charity, nor corn to feed himself or the poor, nor wool to clothe himself or his brother, nor wine to refresh the sadness of the afflicted, nor his oil to make his own countenance cheerful; but all these to look upon, and to tell over, and to take accounts by, and make himself considerable, and wondered at by fools; that while he lives he may be called rich, and when he dies may be accounted miserable; and, like the dish-makers of China, may leave a greater heap of dirt for his nephews, while he himself hath a new lot fallen to him in the portion of Dives. But thus the ass carried wood and sweet herbs to the baths, but was never washed or perfumed himself: he heaped up sweets for others, while himself was filthy with smoke and ashes. And yet it is considerable; if the man can be content to feed hardly, and labour extremely, and watch carefully, and suffer affronts and disgrace, that he may get money more than he uses in his temperate and just needs, with how much ease might this man be happy? and with how great uneasiness and trouble does he make himself miserable? For he takes pains to get content, and when he might have it he lets it go. He might better be content with a virtuous and quiet poverty, than with an artificial, troublesome, and vicious. The same diet and a less labour would, at first, make him happy, and for ever after rewardable.

6. The sum of all is that which the apostle says, “Covetousness is idolatry;” that is, it is an admiring money for itself, not for its use; it relies upon money, and loves it more than it loves God and religion: and it is ‘the root of all evil;’ it teaches men to be cruel and crafty, industrious in evil, full of care and malice; it devours young heirs, and grinds the face of the poor, and undoes those who specially belong to God’s protection, helpless, craftless, and innocent people; it inquires into our parent’s age, and longs for the death of our friends; it makes friendship an art of rapine, and changes a partner into a vulture, and a companion into a thief; and, after all this, it is for no good to itself; for it dares not spend those heaps of treasure which it snatched: and men hate serpents and basilisks worse than lions and bears; for these kill because they need the prey, but they sting to death and eat not. And if they pretend all this care and heap for their heirs, (like the mice of Africa, hiding the golden ore in their bowels, and refusing to give back the indigested gold, till their guts be out,) they may remember, that what was unnecessary for themselves in unnecessary for their sons; and why cannot they be without it, as well as their fathers, who did not use it? And it often happens that to the sons it becomes an instrument to serve some lust or other; that, as the gold was useless to their fathers, so may the sons be to the public, fools or prodigals, loads to their country, and the curse and punishment of their father’s avarice: and yet all that wealth is short of one blessing; but it is a load, coming with a curse, and descending from the family of a long-derived sin. However, the father transmits it to the son, and it may be the son to one more; till a tyrant, or an oppressor, or a war, or change of government, or the usurer, or folly, or an expensive vice, makes holes in the bottom of the bag, and the wealth runs out like water, and flies away like a bird from the hand of a child.

7. Add to these the consideration of the advantages of poverty;276276Provocet ut segnes animos, rerumque remotas Ingeniosa vias paulatim exploret egestas.—Claudian. that it is a state freer from temptation, secure in dangers, but of one trouble, safe under the Divine Providence, cared for in heaven by a daily ministration, and for whose support God makes every day a new decree; a state, of which Christ was pleased to make open profession, and many wise men daily make vows; that a rich man is but like a pool, to whom the poor run, and first trouble it, and then draw it dry: that he enjoys no more of it than according to the few and limited needs of a man; he cannot eat like a wolf or an elephant; that variety of dainty fare ministers but to sin and sicknesses; that the poor man, feasts oftener than the rich,277277Prodigio par est in nobilitate senectus. Hortulus hic, puteusque brevis, nec rest movendus, In tenues plantas facili diffunditur haustu. Vive bidentis amans, et culti villicus hortl: Unde epululum possis centum dare Pythagoreis. Est aliquid, quocunque loco, quocunque recessu, Unius dominum sese fecisse lacertae.—Juven. Sat. iii. because every little enlargement is a feast to the poor, but he that feasts every day feasts no day, there being nothing left to which he may, beyond his ordinary, extend his appetite; that the rich man sleeps not so soundly as the poor labourer; that his fears are more, and his needs are greater, (for who is poorer, he that needs 5/. or he that needs 5000/.?) the poor man hath enough to fill his belly, and the rich hath not enough to fill his eye; that the poor man’s wants are easy to be relieved by a common charity, but the needs of rich men cannot be supplied but by princes; and they are left to the temptation of great vices to make reparation of their needs; and the ambitious labours of men to get great estates are but like the selling of a fountain to buy a fever, a parting with content to buy necessity, a purchase of an unhandsome condition at the price of infelicity; that princes, and they that enjoy most of the world, have most of it but in title, and supreme rights, and reserved privileges, peppercorns, homages, trifling services, and acknowledgments, the real use descending to others, to more substantial purposes. These considerations may be useful to the curing of covetousness; that, the grace of mercifulness enlarging the heart of a man, his hand may not be contracted, but reached out to the poor in alms.


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