Page:A Compendium of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.djvu/251

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AND SUBJECTS IN THE WORD.

Every genuine rational consists of good and truth, that is of what is celestial and spiritual. Good or the celestial is its very soul or life; truth or the spiritual is what thence receives its life. The rational without life from celestial good is as is here described; it fights against all, and all fight against it. Rational good never fights, howsoever assaulted, because it is meek and gentle, patient and pliable; for its attributes are those of love and mercy. And although it does not fight yet it conquers all, nor ever thinks of combat, or boasts of victory; and this because it is Divine and is protected by the Divine itself. For no evil can attack good, nor even stay in the sphere where good is; when it only approaches, the evil withdraws of itself and retreats; for evil is infernal, and good is heavenly. It is nearly the same with the celestial-spiritual, that is with truth from a celestial origin, or with truth which is from good; for this truth is truth formed by good, so that it may be called the form of good. But truth separate from good, which is here represented by Ishmael and is described in this verse, is entirely different; for indeed it is like a wild ass, and fights against all, and all against it. Nay, it thinks and breathes scarcely anything but combats; its common delight or governing affection is to conquer, and when it conquers it boasts of victory. For this reason it is described by the wild ass, or the mule of the wilderness or ass of the forest, which cannot abide with others. Such a life is the life of truth without good, yea the life of faith without charity.

In the other life such truth is representatively manifested in various ways, and is always exhibited as strong, powerful, and hard, so that it cannot possibly be resisted. When spirits only think of such truth there arises something of terror; because its nature is such that it never yields, and therefore never withdraws; from all which it may appear what is also meant by his dwelling over against the face of all his brethren. Every one must see that some mystery lies hidden in this description; but what it is has hitherto been unknown. (A. C. n. 1949-1951.)

 

Laughter.

"And Abraham fell upon his face and laughed." To fall upon the face signifies to adore, "and laughed" signifies an affection of truth. This may be seen from the origin and essence of laughter. It has no other origin than an affection of truth or an affection of falsity. Hence comes the joy and the hilarity that expresses itself in the face by laughter. It is plain then that the essence of laughter is no other [than this affection]. Laughter indeed is something external which is of the body, for it appears