Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 1949

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1949. That 'he will be a wild-ass man' means rational truth, which is described, is clear from the meaning of 'a wild ass' as rational truth. In the Word, horses, horsemen, mules, and asses are mentioned many times, but nobody up to now has known that they mean intellectual concepts, rational concepts, and factual knowledge. That these are meant will be abundantly confirmed, in the Lord's Divine mercy, in their separate places. Belonging to the same group is the wild-ass, for such is a mule living in the wilderness or an ass in the wild and means man's rational - not the rational in its entirety, but only rational truth. The rational is composed of good and of truth, that is, of things belonging to charity and of those belonging to faith. It is rational truth that is meant by a wild ass. This then is what Ishmael represents and is described in the present verse.

[2] How can anyone believe that rational truth separated from rational good is of such a nature? I myself would not have known if I had not been taught from actual experience. Whether you refer to it as rational truth or as the person whose rational is of that nature, it amounts to the same thing. The person whose rational is such as consists in truth alone, even though this is the truth of faith, and does not at the same time consist in the goad of charity, is altogether such. He is quick to find fault, makes no allowances, is against all, regards everyone as being in error, is instantly prepared to rebuke, to chasten, and to punish, shows no pity, does not apply himself and makes no effort to redirect people's thinking; for he views everything from the standpoint of truth, and nothing from the standpoint of good. In short, he is a hard man. The one thing to soften his hardness is the good of charity, for good is the soul of truth, and when good draws near and implants itself in truth the latter becomes so different that it can hardly be recognized. 'Isaac' represents the Lord's Rational Man which sprang from good, not from truth separated from good. So it was that Ishmael was cast out and after that dwelt in the desert, and that his mother took a wife for him from the land of Egypt, Gen 21:9-21, all of which events are representative of a person who is endowed with a rational such as that.

[3] Mention is made of wild asses in the prophetical parts of the Word, as in Isaiah,

The palace will be deserted, the multitude of the city forsaken; the hill and the watchtower will become dens, even for ever the joy of wild asses, a pasture of flocks. Isa 32:14.

This refers to the devastation of intellectual concepts - which when devastated of truths are called 'the joy of wild asses' and when devastated of goods 'a pasture of flocks' - so that the rational does not exist. In Jeremiah,

The wild asses stood on the hills, they panted for air like sea-monsters; their eyes failed because there was no herbage. Jer 14:6.

This refers to a drought, or absence of good and truth. Reference is made to the wild asses 'panting for air' when people lay hold of inane ideas instead of realities which are truths. 'Their eyes failed' stands for failing to grasp what truth is.

[4] In Hosea,

For they have gone up to Assyria, a wild ass alone by himself; Ephraim has sought loversa with a prostitute's hire. Hosea 8:9.

This refers to Israel or the spiritual Church. 'Ephraim' stands for the understanding part of it. 'Going up to Assyria' stands for reasoning about whether the truth is indeed the truth. 'A wild ass alone' stands for the rational thus destitute of truths. In the same prophet,

For he will be among his brothers like a wild ass, Jehovah's east wind will come rising up from the desert, and his spring will become dry, and his fountain dried up. It will strip his treasury of all precious vessels. Hosea 13:15.

This refers to 'Ephraim' by whom the understanding part of the spiritual Church is meant, and to the dissolution of the rational which is like 'a wild ass'. In David,

Jehovah God will send forth springs into the rivers; they will go among the mountains. They give drink to every wild beast of the fields; the wild asses quench their thirst. Ps 104:10, 11.

'Springs' stands for cognitions, 'wild beasts of the fields' for goods, 'the wild asses' for the truths of reason.


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