1886. CHAPTER 16
This chapter treats of Hagar and Ishmael. But what is represented and signified in the internal sense by Hagar and Ishmael has not hitherto been known to anyone, nor could be, because the world, even the learned world, has hitherto supposed the histories of the Word to be nothing but histories, and to involve nothing deeper. And although they have said that every iota is Divinely inspired, they have meant nothing further than that the historical facts have been disclosed, and that something of a doctrinal nature that could be applied to the doctrine of faith may be deduced from them and be of use to both teachers and learners; and that because these have been Divinely inspired they have Divine power in the mind, and work for good above all other history. Regarded in themselves, however, historical matters effect but little toward man's amendment, and nothing at all for his eternal life, since in the other life they are forgotten. For what would it amount to there to know respecting the maid Hagar that she was given by Sarai to Abram? Or to know about Ishmael, or even about Abram? Nothing but what belongs to the Lord and is from the Lord is necessary to souls in order that they may enter into heaven and enjoy its happiness, that is, eternal life. It is for the sake of these things that the Word exists, and these are the things that are contained in its interiors.