08 November, 2013
Devotional and Practical Meditations on the Book of Ecclesiastes
"Do not be quick in spirit to be angry or vexed, for anger and vexation lodge in the bosom of fools!" Ecclesiastes 7:9
Of human passions, none is so quick as anger. Hence by a hasty one — we mean an angry person: thus man instinctively writes his own character in the words he frames. Satan, indwelling in the soul, invests the passions with an amazing power — and on the stock of fallen nature is engrafted the strength, agility, and cunning of the fiend! Hence all the quickness of the passions; hence the electric speed, at which they move. Temptation lures — then lust conceives — sin is brought forth — the work of moral death all finished in a moment!
Say, who can trace the progress, from the first thought of anger to its outbreak? Oh! my soul, I gaze on you and wonder, to think of all your properties and powers. Within you dwells a world of evil. Where lurks the poison in your veins? In what secret principle is hid the element of anger, ready to show itself so quickly? To see you, in your gentler mood — who could suppose you capable of violence? No tinder less inflammable, when free from sparks — no lake more calm, when undisturbed by winds — than you, when not exposed to provocation.
What angered you, my soul? Your brother differed from you! He dared to have opinions of his own! And so you lost your temper! Or, yet, someone reproved you, slighted, or contradicted you! "Behold, how great a matter, a little fire kindles." (James 3:5.) The smallest trifle sets you in a flame!
Do your brother's failings anger you? You say, "My feelings are very sensitive; I cannot bear it." My friend, God bears with you! He sees your every sin — and yet He loves you, and bears with you! Boast not of sensitivity — it is a carnal thing. "Sensitive feeling" merits not the name, unless it is joined with meekness. All true refinement comes from God. Nowhere can it be learned, except at the cross of Christ. Restrain your feelings; smother your sensibilities. When words grow quick, be prompt to check them. Deal with your passions, as the Psalmist dealt with wicked men; be dumb with silence. (Psalm 39:1-2.)
Often have you said, "I will not speak a word." But resolution failed. You spoke — your brother answered; reply provoked retort — it was then all over with your meekness! Then learn from your experience; scan well the spot where once your feet have slipped, and, as you near it again, beware!