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The pow'rs of man: we feel within ourselves
He meant, he made us to behold and love
Whom nature's works can charm, with God himself
PANACEA; OR, THE GRAND RESTORATIVE.
WELCOME to Baia's streams, ye sons of spleen, Who rove from spa to spa-to shift the scene. While round the streaming fount you idly throng, Come, learn a wholesome secret from my song. Ye fair, whose roses feel th' approaching frost, And drops supply the place of spirits lost: Ye squires, who rack'd with gouts, at heav'n repine, Condemn'd to water for excess in wine:
Ye portly cits, so corpulent and full,
Who eat and drink till appetite grows dall:
Fast and take rest, ye candidates for sleep,
Question. WHETHER Anger ought to be suppressed entirely, or only to be confined within the bounds of moderation ?
Those who maintain that resentment is blamable only in the excess, support their opinion with such arguments as these:
Since Anger is natural and useful to man, entirely to banish it from our breast, would be an equally foolish and vain attempt: for as it is difficult, and next to impossible, to oppose nature with success; so it were imprudent, if we had it in our power, to cast away the weapons with which she has furnished us for our defence. The best armour against injustice is a proper degree of spirit, to repel the wrongs that are done, or designed against us: but if we divest ourselves of all resentment, we shall perhaps prove too irresolute and languid, both in resisting the attacks of injustice, and inflicting punishment upon those who have committed it. We shall therefore sink into contempt, and by the tameness of our spirit, shall invite the malicious to abuse and affront us. Nor will others fail to deny us the regard which is due from them, if once they think us incapable of resentment. To remain unmoved at gross ta
juries, has the appearance of stupidity, and will make us despicable and mean, in the eyes of many who are not to be influenced by any thing but their fears.
And as a moderate share of resentment is useful in its effects, so it is innocent in itself, nay often commendable. The virtue of mildness is no less remote from insensibility, on the one hand, than from fury on the other. It implies, that we are angry only upon proper occasions, and in a due degree; that we are never transported beyond the bounds of decency, or indulge a deep and lasting resentment; that we do not follow, but lead our passion, governing it as our servant, not submitting ourselves to it as our: master. Under these regulations it is certainly excusable, when moved only by private wrongs: and being excited by the injuries which others suffer, it bespeaks a generous mind, and deserves commendation. Shall a good man feel no indignation against injustice and barbarily? not even when he is witness to shocking instances of them? when he sees a friend basely and cruelly treated? when he observes The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely, The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th' unworthy takes;
shall he still enjoy himself in perfect tranquillity? Will it be a crime, if he conceives the least resentment? Will it not be rather somewhat criminal, if he be destitute of it? In such cases we are commonly so far from being ashamed of our anger, as of something mean, that we are proud of it, and confess it openly, as what we count laudable and meritorious.
The truth is, there seems to be something manly, and we are bold to say, something virtuous, in a just and wellconducted resentment. In the mean time, let us not be suspected of endeavouring to vindicate rage, and peevishness, and implacable resentment. No; such is their deformity, so horrid and so manifest are the evils they produce, that they do not admit of any defence or justification. We condenin, we detest them, as unnatural, brutish, unmanly, and monstrous. All we contend for, is, that it is better to be moderate in our resentment, than to suppress it altogether. Let us therefore keep it under a strict discipline, and carefully restrain it within the bounds which
reason prescribes, with regard to the occasion, degree, and continuance of it. But let us not presume to extirpate any of those affections which the wisdom of God has implanted in us, which are so nicely balanced, and so well adjusted to each other, that by destroying one of them, we may perhaps disorder and blemish the whole frame of our nature.
To these arguments, those who adopt the opinion that anger should be entirely suppressed, cply:
You tell us, anger is natural to man; but nothing is more natural to man, than reason, mildness, and benevolence. Now with what propriety can we call that natural to any creature, which impairs and opposes the most essential and distinguishing parts of its constitution? Sometimes indeed we may call that natural to a species, which being found in most of them, is not produced by art or custom. That anger is in this sense natural, we readily grant; but deny that we therefore cannot, or may not, lawfully extinguish it. Nature has committed to our management the faculties of the mind, as well as the members of the body and, as when any of the latter become pernicious to the whole, we cut then off and cast them away; in like manner, when any of our affections are become hurtful and useless in our frame, by cutting them off, we do not in the least counteract the intention of nature. Now such is anger to a wise men. To fools and cowards it is a necessary evil; but to a person of moderate sense and virtue, it is an evil, which has no advantage attending it. The harm it must do him is very apparent. It must ruffle his temper, make him less agreeable to his friends, disturb his reason, and unfit him for discharging the duties of life in a becoming manner. By only diminishing his passion, he may lessen, but cannot remove the evil; for the only way to get clear of the one, is by entirely dismissing the other.
How then will anger be so useful to him, as to make it worth his while to retain it in any degree? He may defend his own rights; assist an injured friend; prosecute and punish a villain; I say, his prudence and friendship, his public spirit and calm resolution, will enable him to do alt