Be ye angry, and sin not
There is anger which is not sinful; for anger is fouled in God himself, in Jesus Christ, in the holy angels, and in God's people; and a man may be said to be angry and not sin, when his anger arises from a true zeal for God and religion; when it is kindled not against persons, but sins; when a man is displeased with his own sins, and with the sins of others: with vice and immorality of every kind; with idolatry and idolatrous worship, and with all false doctrine; and also when it is carried on to answer good ends, as the good of those with whom we are angry, the glory of God, and the promoting of the interest of Christ: and there is an anger which is sinful; as when it is without a cause; when it exceeds due bounds; when it is not directed to a good end; when it is productive of bad effects, either in words or actions; and when it is soon raised, or long continues: the Jews have a like distinction of anger; they say F5,
``there is an anger and an anger; there is an anger which is blessed above and below, and it is called blessed, as it is said ( Genesis 14:19 ) and there is an anger which is cursed above and below, as it is said ( Genesis 3:14 ) ( 49:7 ) ''And these two sorts are compared to "Ebal" and "Gerizzim", from the one of which proceeded blessing, and from the other cursing: anger for the most part is not only sinful, but it tends to sin, and issues in it; hence that saying of the Jews, (yjxt alw xtrt al) , "be not angry, and thou wilt not sin" F6: the spring of it is a corrupt heart, it is stirred up by Satan, encouraged by pride, and increased by grievous words and reproachful language:
let not the sun go down upon your wrath;
there is an allusion to ( Deuteronomy 24:10 Deuteronomy 24:13-15 ) it seems to be a proverbial expression; and the design of it is to show, that anger should not be continued; that it should not last at furthest more than a day; that when the heat of the day is over, the heat of anger should be over likewise; and that we should not sleep with it, lest it should be cherished and increased upon our pillows; and besides, the time of the going down of the sun, is the time of evening prayer, which may be greatly interrupted and hindered by anger. R. Jonah F7 has an expression or two like to this;
``let not the indignation of anyone abide upon thee; and let not a night sleep with thee, and anger be against any one:''it should be considered, that as God is slow to anger, so he does not retain it for ever; and that to retain anger, is to gratify the devil; wherefore it follows,
F5 Zohar in Gen. fol. 104. 1.
F6 T. Bab. Beracot fol. 80. 3.
F7 Apud Capell. in Matt. v. 23.