Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 1886

Previous Number Next Number Next Translation See Latin 

1886. In this chapter Hagar and Ishmael are the subject, but what Hagar and Ishmael represent and mean in the internal sense nobody has known up to the present time. Nor could it have been known because until today the world, even the learned world, has imagined that the historical narratives of the Word are no more than history including within themselves nothing deeper. And although people have said that every jot is divinely inspired they have not meant by that anything more than this, that those narratives serve to disclose certain historical facts from which some specific point may be deduced that can be included in the doctrine of faith - of use to those who instruct and to those who learn - and that because they are divinely inspired they have a Divine impact on human minds and do more good than any other kind of historical narration But regarded in themselves historical narrations can do little to lead to a person's change for the better and nothing whatever to bring him to eternal life; for in the next life the things that belong to history cease to be remembered. For what benefit would it be to those in that life if they knew about Hagar the servant-girl being given by Sarai to Abram? Or if they knew about Ishmael, or for that matter about Abram? To enter heaven and experience its joy, that is, eternal life, souls have no need of anything except that which is the Lord's and which derives from Him. It is for the sake of these things that the Word exists, and these are the things which it contains interiorly.

This page is part of the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg

© 2000-2001 The Academy of the New Church