The Puritan Edward Reynolds (1599-1676) was the Bishop of Norwich in the Church of England. Among his writings, his Treatise of the Passions and Faculties of the Soul of Man is a very insightful exploration of man. Among other things, he explores the different passions or affections of men, including anger. Many of these discussions are valuable for anyone who desires further understand humanity from a Christian perspective.
Of anger, he says,
“There is not any passion which standeth more in need of moderation than this doth, both because it is one of the frequentest which we are troubled with, and the most unruly, as that which can overbear the rest, and, of all other, hath the least recourse to reason, being hasty, impetuous, full of desires, grief, self-love, impatience, which spareth no persons, friends or foe, no things, animate or inanimate, when they fit not our fancy” (240).
At the end of his treatment, he has nine requirements for managing “this passion” so “as to be angry, but not sin.” These suggestions are not long, but worth putting forth for our consideration. Over the next few days, I intend to do just that. The first requirement for properly managing anger is,
1. To let it have an eye upward; as Moses did, who never expressed any other anger that we read of, but zealous, and religious, when the injury directly aimed at God and his honour. It is very improbable, that any thing will move too fast upward (241).