Arcana Coelestia #2078

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2078. 'O that Ishmael might live before You!' means that others who are rational from truth should not perish. This is clear from the representation and consequent meaning of 'Ishmael' as the rational, dealt with in the previous chapter, where Ishmael was the subject. Inside the Church there are two types of people, namely spiritual and celestial. The former - the spiritual - become rational from truth, but the latter - the celestial - do so from good. For what distinguishes spiritual people from celestial, see 2069 above, and in many places in Volume One. The former, namely spiritual people who become rational through truth, are here meant by 'Ishmael', for the name 'Ishmael' in its genuine sense means rational truth, as shown already in 1839, 1949 1951. When this rational truth is adopted and desired by good, as it is here by the Lord (meant by Abraham), it means that which is spiritual, and so the spiritual man. Or what amounts to the same, it means the spiritual Church, the salvation of which the Lord, out of the Divine love referred to immediately above in 2077, earnestly desired. That desire is expressed by the words, O that Ishmael might live before You!

  
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Thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.