Conjugial Love #230

By Emanuel Swedenborg

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230. 21. To the degree that a person's conjugial love wanes and is lost, his character approaches that of an animal. The reason is that the more a person is in a state of conjugial love, the more spiritual he is; and the more spiritual he is, the more human he is. For human beings are born for life after death, and they attain it because of their having in them a spiritual soul, to which they can be elevated through the faculty of their intellect. If, by the power likewise granted to it, a person's will is then elevated at the same time, after death the person lives the life of heaven.

The reverse is the case if one is in a state of love contrary to conjugial love. For the more a person is in a state like that, the more natural in character he is; and a person who is merely natural is like an animal in his lusts, appetites and resulting delights, the only difference being that he still has the power to elevate his intellect into the light of wisdom and also the power to elevate his will into the warmth of heavenly love. No one loses these faculties. As a consequence, even though a merely natural person is like an animal in his lusts, appetites and resulting delights, still he lives after death, though in a state corresponding to the kind of life he led before.

It can be seen from this that to the degree a person's conjugial love wanes, his character approaches that of an animal. This seems to be something that could be disputed, since it is possible for conjugial love to wane and be lost in people whose character is nevertheless still human. But we are referring to people in the grip of licentious love, who do not care about conjugial love therefore and for that reason experience its failure and loss.

  
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Many thanks to the General Church of the New Jerusalem, and to Rev. N.B. Rogers, translator, for the permission to use this translation.