Be you angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down on your wrath:
I. ANGER KEPT WITHIN ITS DUE BOUNDS. I shall consider this as in holy anger. And there is in it —
1. A commotion of the spirit, which ariseth from the apprehension of a real injury; for if it be only imaginary it is sinful. This is necessary to stir up a man's desire to see the wrong rectified.
2. There is hatred in it, not at the persons but at their sins, whether they be our own sins or others. In this respect it is called "indignation" (2 Corinthians 7:11). This is most desirable, when it is kept purely on this object. That is not the part where we are in hazard of excess, seeing we are commanded to abhor that which is evil.
3. There is grief in it (Mark 3:5). This naturally follows on hatred of the thing, which likewise ariseth from a just apprehension of the evil of it in a gracious soul. And from both ariseth —
4. A desire of the vindication of the right and honour of the party injured.
II. SINFUL ANGER CONDEMNED. We are to consider it in its rise, and the passion transgressing due bounds, which makes it sinful, however short, while it lasts. Now, for clearing of what this sinful anger is, we must consider the due boundary of holy and just anger, and what is beyond these is sinful.
1. The grounds of holy anger are just and weighty, such as God's dishonour by our own sins, and the sins of others (2 Corinthians 7:11; Exodus 22:9). It must, then, be sinful anger, when it is without a just ground.
2. The degree of holy anger is proportioned to the fault. When the anger, then, in respect of degrees, exceeds the measure of the offence, and men are carried so far beside themselves, as to turn about the cart wheel on the cummin that might be beat out with the rod, then it is sinful anger.
3. The end of holy anger which it is directed, is the glory of God and the good of our neighbour (Proverbs 13:24; John 2:16, 17). Sinful, then, it must be, when it is a fire lighting on others, to make them sacrifices to cursed self, to satisfy the desires of a proud heart (Proverbs 27:25), which will never think it gets enough from others.
4. The effects of holy anger, directly and indirectly, are just and good, for the man has rule over his own spirit, and no holy affection is inconsistent with another. It fits him for his duty to God and men, as may be seen in the case of Moses praying for the people (Exodus
3. The anger, then, must be sinful when its effects are hellish, as when it breaks out in clamour and evil speaking (Ephesians 4:31).
III. THE REASON WHY THE SINFUL PASSION IS CONDEMNED. "Neither give place to the devil." That is, and give not place to the devil. It refers —
1. To the rise of sinful anger. To give place to it is to admit the devil.
2. It refers to the progress and continuance of it. The more it is harboured, the devil is the farther admitted. He loves to fish in muddy water. When he has got the fire kindled, he employs his bellows to blow it up, and always to make the flame greater and greater, to the destruction of ourselves and others.Doctrine
I. Men not only may, but ought to be angry where there is just ground for it. We know no just ground for anger but the things which are sinful. Reasons.
1. Because in that case, the love and respect which we owe to God, who is dishonoured, require it.
2. The love which we owe to ourselves or others who are injured, requires it.Doctrine
II. Men should beware that the fire of sinful auger kindle not in their breasts. Reasons.
1. Because it is evil in itself, and dishonourable to God; being the vomit of a proud heart and an unmeekened spirit.
2. Because it is not only evil, but a mother of evil; and is not only an inlet to many mischiefs to ourselves and others, put drives men to them to act with vigour. An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression.Doctrine
III. If sinful anger do enter our breasts, we must endeavour to extinguish it quickly, and beware of nourishing it.Doctrine
IV. That the admitting and lodging of sinful anger in our hearts is a giving place to the devil. For remedies —
1. Let us consider our own vileness and unworthiness, and how often we are provoking the Lord, and so turn our anger against ourselves.
2. Let us consider these things with which we are so ready to be hurried away, are the trials of our patience, and we are on our trial for heaven.
3. Let us propose to ourselves the example of the meek and lowly Jesus. "He suffered, leaving us an example that we should follow His steps." Lastly — Out of a sense of our utter inability to resist the least temptation, look to Jesus for strength, and by faith draw strength from Him.
(T. Boston, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: