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SIGNIFICATION OF VARIOUS TERMS

by Ham; in that he observed the nakedness of his father, that is his errors and perversities. They who are of such a character see nothing else in a man. But it is different with those who are in the faith of charity; they observe the good, and if they see anything evil and false they excuse it, and if they can, endeavour to amend it in him,—as it is here related of Shem and Japheth. Where there is no charity there is self-love, consequently hatred towards all who do not favour themselves. Hence it is that such men see nothing in their neighbour but his evil, and if they see what is good they regard it as nothing, or construe it into evil. . . . With such there dwells a continual contempt of others, or a continual derision of others; and as occasion offers they publish their errors. . . . With those who are in charity it is quite otherwise. Hereby are these two kinds of men distinguished, especially when they come into the other life. With those who are in no charity the spirit of hatred is then manifest in every least thing. They desire to examine every one, yea, to judge every one, and wish nothing more earnestly than to discover evil,—continually purposing in mind to condemn, punish, and torment. But those who are in charity hardly see another's evil, but observe all that is good and true in him, and what is evil and false they construe into good. Such are all the angels; and this they have from the Lord, who turns an evil into good. (A. C. n. 1079, 1080.)

 

Ishmael.

"And he shall be a wild-ass man; his hand shall be against all, and the hand of all against him; and he shall dwell over against the face of all his brethren" (Gen. xvi. 12). The rational part of man consists of good and truth, that is, of those things which are of charity and those that belong to faith. Rational truth is what is signified by the wild-ass. It is this then that is represented by Ishmael, and is described in this verse. No one can believe that rational truth separate from rational good is of such a nature; nor should I have known it to be such, but that I have been convinced by living experience. It is the same whether we speak of rational truth, or of a man whose rational mind is of the nature here described. A man whose rational is such that he is only in truth, although in the truth of faith, and not at the same time in the good of charity, is entirely of such a character. He is morose, impatient, opposed to all, viewing every one as in falsity, instantly rebuking, castigating and punishing, is without pity, and does not apply himself or endeavour to bend the minds and affections of others; for he regards everything from the truth and nothing from good.