Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?
I. THE EVIL PRINCIPLES INDICATED IN THE TEXT ARE EXTENSIVELY AND DANGEROUSLY PREVALENT. To be irritated and out of temper is one of the common tendencies of our nature, manifested even in childhood. The root is wrath, anger. This pernicious root grows differently in different natures, and with more or less vigour. This vicious principle is generally regarded too complacently, as though it were a necessary part of our nature. Wrath is dangerous. Its tendency is to increase. The spark will rise into a flame. The intensity of anger depends upon external circumstances, and also upon the condition of our health. The external exciting causes are continually changing. The foolish vice of irritating the temper of others is too common. Some like to torment the susceptible. Others are perpetually fault-finding and sneering. Envy is the condition of one who looks upon the happiness of another and longs to possess it. Envy generally seeks to conceal itself, and to work in secret and in darkness. Passion would strike down its victim in the public market-place, whilst envy would carefully weigh out and mix the poison for its victim to consume unconsciously in his food. This dangerous and deadly principle has extensive existence. Envy is the development of germs which are universally diffused. Then search into the very depths of your nature after the most minute germs of this evil.
II. WHEREIN LIES OUR SAFETY AGAINST THE GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT OF THESE PRINCIPLES? There may be lurking in our nature forces which need to be held in check by a stronger power than mere intellectual culture. Our higher civilisation too often only gilds crime, and throws its mantle over it. A formal profession of religion may cover the vilest lusts of humanity. There is a higher power. Christianity offers a Divine power by which the evil nature may be purified and every evil passion brought into subjection. Our safety, our only safety, lies in the renewal and sanctification of our nature by the Holy Ghost. Separated from the conscious presence of Christ, and destitute of His renewing grace and protecting providence, who can tell into what mischief we may fall!
Parallel VersesKJV: Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?