1843. Thy seed shall be a stranger. That this signifies that charity and faith shall be rare, is evident from the signification of "a stranger," and of "seed." A "stranger" or "sojourner" signifies one that is not born in the land, so that he is not acknowledged as a native, and thus is looked upon as an alien. But "seed" signifies charity and its faith (as before shown, n. 255, 1025; and just above at verse 3). Because that is called "strange" which is looked upon as alien, and alien is that which is not in the land or of the land, it follows that it is that which is rare; and consequently it here means that charity and the faith of charity, which are the "seed," will be rare. It is the time before the consummation that is here treated of, when there shall be "great darkness," that is, falsities; the seed shall then be a stranger, that is, charity and faith will then be rare.
 That faith would be rare in the last times was foretold by the Lord when He spoke of the consummation of the age (Matt. 24:4-51; Mark 13:3-37; Luke 21:7-38), where everything that is said implies that charity and faith will be rare at those times, and that at last there will be none. The like is said by John in Revelation, and also in many passages of the Prophets, besides what is said in the historical parts of the Word.
 But by the faith that will perish in the last times there is meant nothing but charity, for there cannot possibly be any faith but the faith of charity. He who has not charity cannot have any faith at all, for charity is the very soil in which faith is implanted; it is its heart, from which it exists and lives. The ancients therefore compared love and charity to the heart, and faith to the lungs, both of which are in the breast. This comparison involves a real likeness, seeing that if a man should pretend to a life of faith without charity, it would be like having life from the lungs alone without the heart, which is manifestly impossible; and therefore the ancients called all things that pertain to charity things of the heart, and all things that pertain to faith without charity they said were of the mouth only, or of the lungs by the influx of the breathing into the speech. Thence came the ancient forms of speech concerning good and truth; that they must go forth from the heart.