Conjugial Love #395

By Emanuel Swedenborg

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395. 8. An atmosphere of innocence flows into little children, and through them into the parents so as to affect them. People know that little children are embodiments of innocence, but they do not know that their innocence flows in from the Lord. It flows in from the Lord because He is the essence of innocence, as said just above, and nothing can flow in - because it cannot exist - except from its first origin, which is the very essence of it.

However, we will say briefly what the nature of the innocence of early childhood is which affects parents. It radiates from the little children's faces, from some of the movements they make, and from their first speech, and so affects them.

Little children have this innocence, because they do not think from anything interior; for they do not yet know what is good and evil, and true and false, so as to think in accordance with them. Therefore they do not have any prudence of their own, nor any design from a deliberate motive, thus are without any purpose for evil. They do not have a character acquired from love of self and the world. They do not credit anything to themselves. All that they receive they attribute to their parents. They are content with the little things they are given as gifts. They do not worry about their food and clothing, and are not anxious about the future. They do not pay regard to the world and covet many things on account of it. They love their parents, their nursemaids, and their little companions, and play with them in a state of innocence. They allow themselves to be guided; they listen and obey.

Such is the innocence of early childhood, which occasions the love called storge.

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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.