De Verbo (The Word) #8

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8. VIII. The Lord's marriage with the church, which is the marriage of good and truth in the Word.

It is well known that in the Word the Lord is called bridegroom and husband, and the church bride and wife. The reason these terms are applied to the Lord or the church is because of the linking of good and truth in every individual in heaven and in the church, who has the church within him. For the Lord exerts His influence on an angel or a member of the church from the good of love and charity. The angel or member of the church who is governed by the good of love and charity receives the Lord in the truths of teaching and faith he possesses from the Word. Thus a linking takes place, which is called the heavenly marriage. This marriage is present in the details of the Word, and since it has this in its details the Word may be called the heavenly marriage.

The existence of such a marriage in the details of the Word was demonstrated at length in my Arcana Caelestia and also in the Teaching of the New Jerusalem, 1 where the Word is discussed. The existence of such a marriage can only be seen by 2 those who are concerned for its inner or spiritual sense. For there are everywhere, and quite obviously in the prophetic books, two expressions for one thing, one of which refers to good, and so to the Lord, the other to truth and so to the church. Anyone who knows the correspondences can see this clearly; for there are expressions and words which correspond to good, and there are others 3 which correspond to truths. This then is how the Lord is linked with heaven and with the church by means of the Word.

[2] Since there is a marriage in the Word, it contains a spiritual and a celestial sense. The spiritual sense is for those in the Lord's spiritual kingdom, who make up all the lower heavens; the celestial sense is for those in the Lord's celestial kingdom, who make up all the higher heavens. The angels of the spiritual kingdom possess the truths of the Word, but those of the celestial kingdom its good. When therefore a person reads the Word piously, the spiritual angels perceive by correspondences the truths in it, the celestial angels the kinds of good in it. But, what is a secret, the celestial angels do not perceive the good in it directly from the person, but indirectly through the spiritual angels. The reason is that hardly anyone in the Christian world today possesses the good of celestial love, but some possess only truths. The good of love cannot therefore pass directly from a person to the celestial angels who compose the third heaven, but it passes indirectly through the spiritual angels who compose the second heaven.

Thus the Lord's marriage with the church is also realised in the heavens by means of the Word. For the Word in its spiritual sense deals with the church, but in its celestial sense with the Lord. So the spiritual angels relate everything to the church, but the celestial angels to the Lord. That is why the Lord likens heaven to a marriage and so calls it; and it is the Word which brings about this marriage. But this is a secret which can only dimly be perceived by a person on earth, but it is clearly perceived by an angel in heaven.

[3] The reason why celestial angels can relate to the Lord everything which the spiritual angels relate to the church is that the Lord is everything to the church.


1. i.e. The New Jerusalem and Heaven's Teaching for it. -Translator

2. The manuscript has from'. -Translator

3. The manuscript has correspondences'. B. Rogers proposes the same emendation -Translator

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Thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.