MULE >> Affection of Rational Truth
Another kind of understanding intermediate between these two is the understanding of natural truth in the light of spiritual intelligence. The animal which represents this understanding is the mule, the offspring of the ass and the mare.
Mr. Wood remarks:
It is a very strange circumstance that the offspring of these two animals should be, for some purposes, far superior to either of the parents, a well-bred mule having the lightness, sure-footedness, and hardy endurance of the ass, together with the increased size and muscular development of the horse. Thus it is peculiarly adapted either for the saddle or for the conveyance of burdens over a rough or desert country
The mules that are most generally serviceable are bred from the male ass and the mare, those which have the horse as the father and the ass as the mother being small and comparatively valueless. The reason of this seems to be that this smaller mule has the spirit and desires of the horse with only the faculties of the ass, and must correspond to a mental state in which spiritual intelligence can exercise itself only through a knowledge of natural truth—seeing this, however, I should suppose, more intelligently, and using it more generously in the service of the spiritual man. The larger mule would have the more moderate ambition of the ass with the larger abilities of the horse, and would correspond to natural truth as considered by the faculties of spiritual intelligence, and thus to a rational and more comprehensive understanding of natural things in their relation to one another and to spiritual things. It was on account of this somewhat nobler understanding of natural things which the mule represented that kings formerly rode upon mules, as judges upon asses; and that Solomon was mounted upon David’s mule was equivalent to placing him upon the judgment seat of the kingdom.
The mule is, however, in moral quality still an ass. Mr. Wood continues his description thus:
That the mule was as obstinate and contentious an animal in Palestine as it is in Europe, is evident from the fact that the Eastern mules of the present day are quite as troublesome as their European brethren. They are very apt to shy at anything or nothing at all; they bite fiercely, and every now and then they indulge in a violent kicking fit, flinging up their heels with wonderful force and rapidity, and turning round on their forefeet so quickly that it is hardly possible to approach them. There is scarcely a traveler in the Holy Land who has not some story to tell about the mule and its perverse disposition.
Probably everyone feels in his own mind the difference as to gentleness and charity between a rational understanding of natural things, though it be with a view to their spiritual relations, and an intelligent delight in spiritual truth for the sake of the life of Heaven. There is the same difference between the temper of both ass and mule and that of a good horse.
Author: JOHN WORCESTER 1875