the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
(usually אִ Š, aph, ὀργή ), the emotion of instant displeasure, which arises from the feeling of injury done, or the discovery of injury intended, or, in many cases, from the discovery of the omission of good offices to which we supposed ourselves entitled; or, it is simply the emotion of displeasure itself, independent of its cause or its consequences. "Like most other emotions, it is accompanied by effects on the body, and in this case they are of a very marked kind. The arterial blood-vessels are highly excited; the pulse, during the paroxysm, is strong and hard, the face becomes red and swollen, the brow wrinkled, the eyes protrude, the whole body is put into commotion. The secretion of bile is excessive, and it seems to assume a morbid consistency. In cases of violent passion, and especially in nervous persons, this excitement of the organs soon passes to the other extreme of depression; generally, this does not take place till the anger has subsided, when there follows a period of general relaxation. The original tendency to anger differs much in individuals according to temperament; but frequent giving way to it begets a habit, and increases the natural tendency. From the nature of anger, it is easy to see that it must be — often at least — prejudicial to health. It frequently gives rise to bile, fever, inflammation of the liver, heart, or brain, or even to mania. These effects follow immediately a fit of the passion; other evil effects come on, after a time, as the consequence of repeated paroxysms, such as paralysis, jaundice, consumption, and nervous fever. The milk of a mother or nurse in a fit of passion will cause convulsions in the child that sucks; it has been known even to occasion instant death, like a strong poison. The controlling of anger is a part of moral discipline. In a rudimentary state of society, its active exercise would seem to be a necessity; by imposing some restraint on the selfish aggressions of one individual upon another, it renders the beginnings of social co-operation and intercourse possible. This is its use, or, as it is sometimes called, its final cause. But the more social intercourse comes to be regulated by customs and laws, the less need is there for the vindictive expression of anger. It seems an error, however, to suppose that the emotion ever will beor that it ought to be extirpated. Laws themselves lose their efficacy when they have not this feeling for a background; and it remains as a last resource for man, when society — as it does every now and then — resolves itself into its elements. Even in the most artificial and refined states of society, those minor moralities on which half the happiness of social intercourse depends, are imposed upon the selfish, in great measure, by that latent fund of anger which every man is known to carry about with him." — Chambers, Encyclopxdia, s.v.
Anger is not evil per se. The mind is formed to be angry as well as to love. Both are original susceptiIilities of our nature. If anger were in itself sinful, how could God himself be angry? How could He, who was separate from sin and sinners, have looked round upon men with anger? An essentially immoral character cannot attach to it if it be the mere emotion of displeasure on the infliction of any evil upon us. Anger may be sinful, when it arises too soon, without reflection, when the injury which awakens it is only apparent, and was designed to do good. The disposition which becomes speedily angry we call passionate. When it is disproportionate to the offense; when it is transferred from the guilty to the innocent; when it is too long protracted; it then becomes revengeful (Ephesians 4:26; Matthew 5:22; Colossians 3:8). When anger, hatred, wrath, are ascribed to God, they denote his holy and just displeasure with sin and sinners. In him they are principles arising out of his holy and just nature, and are, therefore, steady and uniform, and more terrible than if mere emotions or passions. See Paley, Mor. Fhil. ch. 7, vol. 1; Secker, Sermons, serm. 28; Fawcett, Essay on Anger; Seed, Posth. Serm. 11; Buck, Dict. s.v.
These files are public domain.
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Anger'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/​encyclopedias/​eng/​tce/​a/anger.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.