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Letters from an Ancient Mind

My dear young friend,

My humble apologies; I grievously erred upon your difficulty. The matter is not with your wife; it is with you. You are caught in the sin of wrath, and miserable your life will be until you free yourself.

Only seven sins are said to be mortal; this is one. Consider your own example. You howl in rage at your beloved wife; afterwards you are the most miserable of men. By your own words you know that her provocation was small and your wrath far too great. So then, who is at fault in this matter? Is it not you?

Wrath carries with it a salty tang. Indeed, do you not rehearse your wrath in the middle watches of the night, thinking anew of what you will say upon the next occasion? The mere thought of an argument delights your mind – and this is sure sign that matters are very grave.

It would be pleasant to tell you that I read your mind in this by weight of careful thought and observation. There is a simpler method; I have been a man of wrath myself. When younger, with me it was a word and a blow. But by God’s grace my father was man enough to remonstrate with me. I did not enjoy the experience. Never before had I heard him admit to any lack of control over his passions, yet I found he had been a young fool such as myself. He begged me leave off my anger – he whose presence spoke of self command.

Indeed, it was that which convinced me. If the man I feared most could speak of it thusly, then important it must be. Many years of effort and much penitence were required, but eventually I mastered my wrath. By God’s grace I did so before it killed me.

What a blessing that became! My wife no longer cowered before me in fright; rather, she admired me as one might admire a conquering hero. The golden chains of love replaced the black whip of wrath.

I have seen wrath; I have seen control of self. The former brings disgrace; the latter, blessing. Be wise, my young friend. Seek the counsel of those older, those who have triumphed in the struggle over themselves. Put forth your strength in this struggle, triumph over your own wrath. If the lady is the beauty you paint her to be, should she not have a prince for a husband?

Alive, despite my mistakes,

Isaac, the Alchemist

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