1944. Behold, thou art with child. That this signifies the life of the rational man, is evident from what is said above concerning the conception of this and from what follows concerning Ishmael, namely, that by him is signified the first rational in the Lord. It is to be known concerning the rational man in general that it is said to receive life, to be in the womb, and to be born, when the man begins to think that the evil and falsity in himself is that which contradicts and is opposed to truth and good, and still more is this the case when he wills to remove and subjugate this evil and falsity. Unless he can perceive and become sensible of this, he has no rational, however much he may imagine that he has. For the rational is the medium that unites the internal man with the external, and thereby perceives from the Lord what is going on in the external man, and reduces the external man to obedience, nay, elevates it from the corporeal and earthly things in which it immerses itself, and causes the man to be man, and to look to heaven to which he belongs by birth; and not, as do brute animals, solely to the earth in which he is merely a sojourner, still less to hell. These are the offices of the rational, and therefore a man cannot be said to have any rational unless he is such that he can think in this manner; and whether the rational is coming into existence is known from his life in his use or function.
 To reason against good and truth, while they are denied at heart, and only known by hearing about them, is not to have a rational, for many can do this who openly rush without any restraint into all wickedness. The only difference is that those who suppose that they have a rational and have it not, maintain a certain decorum in their discourse and act from a pretended honorableness, in which they are held by external bonds, such as fear of the law, of the loss of property, of honor, of reputation, and of life. If these bonds, which are external, were to be taken away, some of these men would rave more insanely than those who rush into wickedness without restraint, so that no one can be said to have a rational merely because he can reason. The fact is that those who have no rational usually discourse from the things of sense and of memory-knowledge much more skillfully than those who have it.
 This is very clearly evident from evil spirits in the other life, who although accounted as being preeminently rational while they have lived in the body, yet when the external bonds which caused their decorum of discourse and their pretended honorableness of life are taken away, as is usual with all in the other life, they are more insane than those who in this world are openly so, for they rush into all wickedness without horror, fear, or shame. Not so those who while they lived in this world had been rational, for when the external bonds are taken away from them, they are still more sane, because they have had internal bonds-bonds of conscience-by which the Lord kept their thoughts bound to the laws of truth and good, which were their rational principles.