Conjugial Love #324

By Emanuel Swedenborg

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324. 7. The various and diverse natures of these marriages in respect to the love in them and its character are altogether beyond number. In all things we find an infinite variety and also an infinite diversity. By variety here we mean variations among things which are of the same kind or same type, also variations in kinds and types, whereas by diversity here were mean disparities between things which are in contrast to each other. We can illustrate our concept of the difference between variety and diversity by the following example:

The angelic heaven hangs together as a unified whole, yet it exhibits an infinite variety, in that no two people there are ever entirely alike - not in their souls and minds, nor in their affections, perceptions and consequent thoughts, nor in their inclinations and consequent intentions, nor in the sounds of their voices, facial features, physical characteristics, gestures or manner of walk. But still, even though there are millions of them, they have been organized and are continually being organized by the Lord into a single body, in which there is complete unanimity and harmony. This would not be possible except for the fact that all those various sorts of people are led, universally and individually, by the same one God. That is what we mean here by variety.

[2] By diversity, on the other hand, we mean the differences in contrast to those varieties which exist in hell. For the people there are collectively and individually diametrically opposite to those who are in heaven, and the hell formed of them is held together as a unified whole by variations among them completely contrary to the variations in heaven, thus by their perpetual disparities.

This shows what is implied by infinite variety and infinite diversity. It is the same with marriages, in that there are infinite variations among partners who are in a state of conjugial love, and infinite variations among those who are in a state of licentious love; and consequently infinite disparities between the former and the latter.

It follows as a conclusion from this that variations and disparities in marriages of whatever kind and type - whether they be marriages of an inexperienced man and a virgin, of an inexperienced man with a widow, of a widower with a virgin, or of a widower with a widow - are altogether beyond number. Who can divide infinity into finite numbers?

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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.