The life of those who dwell in the secret place of the Most High may be called a Hidden Life, because the animating principle, the vital or operative element, is not so much in itself as in another. It is a life grafted into another life. It is the life of the soul, incorporated into the life of Christ; and in such a way, that, while it has a distinct vitality, it has so very much in the sense, in which the branch of a tree may be said to have a distinct vitality from the root.

Friday, March 15, 2024

Godly Anger? — or Not.

"Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:" — Ephesians 4:26 (King James Version).

One of the characteristics of that anger, which is like God’s anger and is holy, is, that it leaves the intellectual perception unagitated and clear. Another mark is this. If our anger is like God’s anger, we shall be in that state of mind, which will enable us to bring our displeasure, and all that relates to it, to God for his direction and assistance. In other words, if we are so displeased, so angry, that we cannot calmly bring the matter before God and ask his direction and blessing in relation to it, we may be certain, that there is something wrong in it. There is nothing, as it seems to us, in joy or in sorrow, nothing in friendship or in enmity, nothing in any state of mind or in any situation of life, which authorizes the omission of prayer. And if we need it at any one time more than another, it must be in a state of mind so full of uncertainty and hazard as that which we are now considering. If, therefore, we are so displeased, so angry that we cannot pray, we may be assured that our anger is not like God’s anger, and is wrong.

Another characteristic of that state of mind, which is expressed by the Apostle, when he says, “BE YE ANGRY AND SIN NOT,” is, that it must always be attended with a loving and forgiving spirit. One of the directions, which our blessed Savior has left to us, is, that we should love one another, even as he has loved us. He loved those who were his enemies; and we should love those who are our enemies. No one ever had greater occasion to be displeased with sin, than he had. And yet when he had before him exhibitions of sin of the most atrocious kind, when he heard the reproaches and saw the spears of the murderers as he was suspended on the cross, and when as a holy being, whose very nature it is to hate wickedness, it was impossible that he should not be displeased, he still said, with the same loving and benevolent disposition he exhibited on every other occasion, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” So that if our displeasure is like that of God or like Christ’s, we shall always connect with those, who are the objects of it, the spirit of forbearance, of kindness, and of forgiveness.

Another practical mark, which is involved in what has been said and flows from it, is, that we shall make no returns to the wrong-doing of others, either by advice or reproof, either by words or by action, until the time, in which they can be received with the most benefit by the other party. To be silent, when we are angry, is almost as sure a sign that our anger is right, as it is to pray; provided that we keep silence in order to maintain a suitable control over our own feelings, or for awaiting a more favorable opportunity for the good of the adverse party. Give no harsh reply under any circumstances. “Fire,” says St. Chrysostom, “cannot be extinguished by fire.” Be patient, and God’s providence will at last discover the favorable moment, when the injurious party will be likely to receive your instructions and advice, and also your expostulations and rebukes, if it is necessary to bestow them, with submission and with profit.

The Life of Faith, Part 2, Chapter 8.

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