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Conjugial Love #385

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There are evidences which show that conjugial love and a love of little children - which is called storge 1 - are conjoined; and there are evidences as well which may induce a belief that they are not conjoined. For a love of little children is found in married partners who love each other from the heart, and it is found in partners who are discordant in heart; and also in partners who have separated, and sometimes tenderer and stronger in them than in others. But it can be seen from the origin from which it flows that a love of little children is still forever conjoined with conjugial love. Even though the origin varies in its recipients, still these loves remain undivided, just as any first end in the last end, which is the effect. The first end of conjugial love is the procreation of offspring, and the last end, which is the effect, is the offspring produced. The first end enters into the effect and exists in it as it was in its inception, and does not depart from it, as can be seen from a rational consideration of the progression of ends and causes in their series to effects.

But because the reasonings of many people commence only from effects, and proceed from these to certain consequences, and do not commence from causes and proceed analytically from these to effects, and so on, therefore rational matters of light cannot help but become with them the dark shadows of a cloud, resulting in divergences from truths, arising from appearances and misconceptions.

To show, however, that conjugial love and a love of little children are inwardly conjoined, even if outwardly separated, we will demonstrate it according to the following outline:

1. Two universal atmospheres emanate from the Lord to preserve the universe in its created state, one of which is an atmosphere of procreating, and the other an atmosphere of protecting what has been procreated.

2. These two universal atmospheres ally themselves with an atmosphere of conjugial love and with an atmosphere of love for little children.

3. These two atmospheres flow universally and particularly into all things of heaven and into all things of the world, from the firsts to the lasts of them.

4. The atmosphere of a love for little children is an atmosphere of protecting and maintaining those who cannot protect and maintain themselves.

5. This atmosphere affects both evil people and good, and disposes everyone to love, protect and maintain his progeny in accordance with his particular love.

6. This atmosphere affects the feminine sex primarily, thus mothers, and the masculine sex or fathers from them.

7. This atmosphere is also an atmosphere of innocence and peace from the Lord.

8. An atmosphere of innocence flows into little children, and through them into the parents so as to affect them.

9. It also flows into the souls of the parents, and joins itself with the same atmosphere in the little children; being insinuated principally through the instrumentality of touch.

10. In the measure that innocence in little children recedes, affection and conjunction are also lessened, and this progressively to the point of separation.

11. The rational ground of innocence and peace in parents with respect to their little children is that the little children know nothing and can do nothing of themselves, but are dependent on others, especially on their father and mother; and this state also gradually recedes as the children gain knowledge and are able to act on their own independently of their parents.

12. This atmosphere proceeds sequentially from its end through causes into effects, and produces cycles, by which creation is preserved in its foreseen and provided state.

13. A love of little children descends, and does not ascend.

14. The state of love that wives have before conception is of one character, and of another character after conception to the time of birth.

15. Conjugial love is conjoined with a love of little children in parents by spiritual motivations and consequent natural ones.

16. A love of little children and offspring is of one character in spiritual partners, and of another character in natural ones.

17. In spiritual partners, this love comes from within or from a prior cause, while in natural partners it comes from without or from the subsequent effect.

18. So it is that this love is found in partners who love each other, and also in partners who have absolutely no love for each other.

19. A love of little children remains after death, especially in women.

20. Little children are reared by them under the Lord's guidance, and they grow in stature and intelligence as in the world.

21. The Lord provides there that the innocence of early childhood in them become an innocence of wisdom, and that the little children thus become angels.

Explanation of these statements now follows.


1. From the Greek storg, pronounced stor'gee (like psyche), in use in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries to mean natural or instinctive affection, usually that of parents for their offspring, but no longer current.


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Interaction of the Soul and Body 2

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Lesson and activities looking at how the love of children relates to marriage.
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Thanks to the General Church of the New Jerusalem for the permission to use this translation. The full title of this translation is "DELIGHTS OF WISDOM RELATING TO CONJUGIAL LOVE".

From Swedenborg's Works


Interaction of the Soul and Body #2

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2. Since Spiritual Influx, as we have said, originates in order and its laws, it has been acknowledged and received by the wise in the learned world in preference to the other two opinions. Everything which originates in order is truth, and truth, in virtue of its own inherent light, manifests itself even in the shade of the reasoning faculty in which hypotheses reside. As, however, there are three things which involve this hypothesis in shade: ignorance as to what the soul is, ignorance as to what is spiritual, and ignorance respecting the nature of influx. These three things must first be explained before the rational faculty can see the truth itself. For hypothetical truth is not truth itself, but a conjecture of the truth. It is like a picture on a wall seen at night by the light of the stars, to which the mind assigns a form varying according to its fancy; but which appears different after daybreak, when the light of the sun shines upon it, and not only reveals and presents to view its general features, but also each of its parts. So, from the shade of truth in which this hypothesis resides, is produced the open truth, when it is known what and of what nature is that which is spiritual respectively to that which is natural; as also what and of what nature is the human soul, and what the nature of the influx into it, and through it into the perceptive and thinking mind, and from this into the body.

[2] But these subjects can be explained by no one, unless it has been granted him by the Lord to be consociated with angels in the spiritual world and at the same time with men in the natural world; and because this has been granted to me, I have been enabled to describe what and of what nature they both are. This has been done in the work on Conjugial Love: concerning what is spiritual, in the memorable relation, 326-329; concerning the human soul, 315; and concerning influx, 380, and still more fully at 415-422. 1 Who does not know, or may not know, that the good of love and the truth of faith flow in from God into man, and that they flow into his soul, and are felt in his mind; and that they flow forth from his thought into his speech, and from his will into his actions?

(References: Conjugial Love 326-399)

[3] That Spiritual Influx is thence, and also its origin and derivation, shall be shown in the following order:

I. There are two worlds: the spiritual world, inhabited by spirits and angels, and the natural world, inhabited by men.

II. The spiritual world first existed and continually subsists from its own sun; and the natural world from its own sun.

III. The sun of the spiritual world is pure love from Jehovah God, who is in the midst of it.

IV. From that sun proceed heat and light; the heat proceeding from it is in its essence love, and the light from it is in its essence wisdom.

V. Both that heat and that light flow into man: the heat into his will, where it produces the good of love; and the light into his understanding, where it produces the truth of wisdom.

VI. Those two, heat and light, or love and wisdom, flow conjointly from God into the soul of man; and through this into his mind, its affections and thoughts; and from these into the senses, speech, and actions of the body.

VII. The sun of the natural world is pure fire; and the world of nature first existed and continually subsists by means of this sun.

VIII. Therefore everything which proceeds from this sun, regarded in itself, is dead.

IX. That which is spiritual clothes itself with that which is natural, as a man clothes himself with a garment.

X. Spiritual things thus clothed in a man enable him to live as a rational and moral man, thus as a spiritually natural man.

XI. The reception of that influx is according to the state of love and wisdom with man.

XII. The understanding in man can be raised into the light, that is, into the wisdom, in which are the angels of heaven, according to the cultivation of his reason; and his will can be raised, in like manner, into heat, that is, into love, according to the deeds of his life; but the love of the will is not raised, except so far as the man wills and does those things which the wisdom of the understanding teaches.

XIII. It is altogether otherwise with beasts.

XIV. There are three degrees in the spiritual world, and three degrees in the natural world, according to which all influx takes place.

XV. Ends are in the first degree, causes in the second, and effects in the third.

XVI. Hence is evident the nature of spiritual influx from its origin to its effects. Each of these propositions shall now be briefly illustrated.


1. The same articles may be found in The True Christian Religion 280, 697, 35, 77, 12.


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

From Swedenborg's Works


Conjugial Love #315

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315. To this I will append two narrative accounts. Here is the first:

I once saw, not far from me, an atmospheric wonder. I saw a cloud break up into smaller clouds, some of them light blue, and some dark; and as I watched they seemed to be colliding into each other. Rays of light began to flash in streaks between them, appearing now as sharp as rapiers, now blunted like swords broken. One moment these streaks would race out to strike, the next moment retreat back, altogether like boxers. These different colored little clouds thus looked as though they were fighting with each other, but in sport.

Now because this phenomenon appeared not far from me, I raised my eyes and looked more intently; and I saw boys, young men and older men going into a house, which was built out of marble with a foundation of porphyry. It was over this house that that phenomenon was occurring.

I then spoke to one of the people going in and asked what was happening there.

To that he replied, "It is a school where young men are introduced into various matters having to do with wisdom."

[2] Hearing this, and being in the spirit, that is, in a state like that of people in the spiritual world, who are called spirits and angels, I went in with them. And behold, in that school I saw up front a ceremonial chair; in the central part a number of benches; around the sides some more seats; and over the entrance a balcony. The ceremonial chair was for the young men when it became their turn to respond to the question that would then be put to them. The benches were for those who were there to listen. The seats along the sides were for those who had already answered wisely on previous occasions. And the balcony was for the older men who would be the referees and judges. In the middle of the balcony stood a dais, where a wise man sat whom they called Headmaster; it was he who posed the questions for the young men to respond to from the ceremonial chair.

So then, after all were assembled, the man rose from his dais and said, "Please give your reply now to the following question and explain it if you can: What is the soul, and what is the nature of it?"

[3] On hearing this they were all stunned and began to murmur. And some in the throng on the benches cried out, "What person, from the age of Saturn to our present time, has been able, by any deliberation of reason, to see and lay hold of what the soul is, not to mention what the nature of it is. Is this not beyond the realm of anyone's understanding?"

However, to that the men in the balcony replied, "It is not beyond human understanding, but within its scope and ability to see. Just respond to the question."

So the young men chosen to ascend the chair that day and respond to the question stood up. There were five of them, whom the older men had examined and found proficient in intelligence, and who were then sitting on long, cushioned seats to the sides of the ceremonial chair. Moreover, these afterwards ascended the chair in the order in which they were seated; and as each one ascended it, he would put on a tunic of opal-colored silk, and over that a gown of soft wool inwoven with flowers, and in addition a cap whose peak bore a rosette surrounded by little sapphires.

[4] Accordingly I saw the first one thus dressed ascend the chair. And he said, "What the soul is and what the nature of it is has not been revealed to anyone from the time of creation, being a secret locked away in repositories belonging to God alone. Only this much has been disclosed, that the soul dwells in a person like a queen. But where her court is, this a number of learned seers have guessed at. Some have supposed that it is located in the little protuberance between the cerebrum and cerebellum called the pineal gland. They have imagined the seat of the soul to be there on the ground that a person is governed in his entirety by the cerebrum and cerebellum, which in turn are directed by that gland; consequently that that which directs those two parts of the brain to its bidding also directs the entire person from head to heel."

But he said, "Although this appeared as true or likely to many in the world, in a later age it was rejected as a fiction."

[5] After he had spoken, he took off the gown, tunic and cap, and the second of the young men selected put them on and placed himself in the chair. His statement concerning the soul was as follows:

"No one, in all of heaven and in all the world, knows what the soul is and what the nature of it is. We know only that it exists, and that it exists in a person; but where is a matter of conjecture. This much is certain, that it exists in the head, since that is where the intellect thinks and where the will wills, and it is there in the face in the forepart of the head that a person's five senses are located. Nothing else gives life to these but the soul which is seated somewhere inside the head. But where exactly its court is there I would not venture to say, though I have agreed at different times with those who assign it a seat in the three ventricles of the brain, with those put it in the corpora striata there, with those who put it in the medullary substance of the cerebrum and cerebellum, with those who put it in the cortical substance, and at times with those who put it in the dura mater; for arguments have not been lacking to prompt affirmative votes, so to speak, in support of each of these as the seat.

[6] "Some people have voted in favor of the three ventricles of the brain on the ground that they are receptacles of all the brain's animating essences and fluids. Some have voted in favor of the corpora striata on the ground that they form the medulla through which the nerves exit and through which the cerebrum and cerebellum are continued into the spine, from which medulla and spine issue the fibers of which the whole body is woven. Some have voted in favor of the medullary substance of the cerebrum and cerebellum on the ground that it is a conglomeration and mass of all the fibers which constitute the initial elements of the entire person. Some have voted in favor of the cortical substance on the ground that this is where the first and last terminations of a person are, from which come the beginnings of all the fibers and thus of all sensations and movements. Still others have voted in favor of the dura mater on the ground that it is the overall covering of the entire brain, and extends from there by a kind of continuation around the heart and other internal organs of the body.

"For my part, I do not think any more of one theory than another. I leave it to you to please judge for yourselves and pick which is better."

[7] So saying he descended from the chair and handed the tunic, gown and cap to the third one in line; and mounting the chair the third young man made the following response:

"What business do I have at my young age with so lofty a subject? I appeal to the learned gentlemen sitting here at the sides. I appeal to you wiser men in the balcony. Indeed, I appeal to the angels of the highest heaven. Can anyone, by any rational light of his own, gain for himself any idea of the soul?

"As for its seat in a person, however, concerning this I can, like the others, offer a speculation. And I speculate that it is in the heart and from that in the blood. I come to this speculation because the heart by its blood governs both body and head; for it sends out the great artery called the aorta to the whole of the body, and the arteries called the carotids to the whole of the head. It is universally agreed therefore that it is from the heart by means of the blood that the soul sustains, nourishes and animates the entire organic system of both body and head.

"Adding to the plausibility of this assertion is the fact that the Holy Scripture so often mentions the soul and heart - as for example that you should love God with all your soul and with all your heart, and that God creates in man a new soul and new heart (Deuteronomy 6:5, 10:12, 11:13, 26:16; Jeremiah 32:41; Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30,33; Luke 10:27; and elsewhere 1 ); and saying straight out that the blood is the soul of the flesh (Leviticus 17:11,14)."

When they heard this, some of them lifted up their voice, saying, "Masterful! Masterful!" - they being members of the clergy.

[8] After that the fourth in line took from him the vestments and put them on, and having placed himself in the chair, said:

"I, too, suspect that no one is possessed of such fine and polished genius that he can discern what the soul is and what the nature of it is. I judge accordingly that anyone who tries to investigate it only wastes the cleverness of his intellect in vain endeavors. Nevertheless, from childhood I have maintained a belief in an opinion held by the ancients, that a person's soul dwells in his whole being and in every part of it, thus that it dwells both in the head and its individual parts and in the body and its individual parts; and that it was a conceit invented by modern thinkers to assign it a seat here or there and not everywhere. The soul is furthermore a spiritual essence, to which is ascribed neither dimension nor location but indwelling and repleteness. Who, too, does not mean life when he refers to the soul? And does life not exist in the whole and in every part?"

At these words, many in the hall expressed approval.

[9] After him the fifth speaker arose, and outfitted in the same regalia, he presented from the chair the following statement:

"I do not take the time to say where the soul is - whether it resides in any one part or everywhere in the whole; but from my fund and store of knowledge I will declare my mind on the question of what the soul is and what the nature of it is. No one thinks of the soul except as a pure entity which may be likened to ether, air or wind, in which the vital force is from the rationality which human beings have over animals. I base this opinion on the fact that when a person expires or breathes his last, he is said to give up the ghost or soul. For this reason the soul that lives after death is also believed to be such an exhalation, in which is the cognitive life which we call the soul. What else can the soul be?

"However, because I heard you men in the balcony say that the question of the soul - what it is and what the nature of it is - is not beyond human understanding but within its scope and ability to see, I ask and implore you to lay open this eternal mystery yourselves."

[10] At that the older men in the balcony looked at the headmaster who had posed the question. And understanding from the motions of their heads that they wished him to go down and explain, he immediately descended from his dais, crossed the hall and placed himself in the chair. Then stretching out his hand there he said:

"Pay attention, please. Who does not believe the soul to be the inmost and finest essence of a person? And what is an essence without a form other than a figment of the imagination? The soul therefore is a form; but what the nature of the form is remains to be told. It is a form embracing all elements of love and all elements of wisdom. We call all the elements of love affections; and we call all the elements of wisdom perceptions. These perceptions, flowing from the affections and thus together with them, constitute a single form, which contains an endless number of constituent elements in such an order, series and connection that they may be said to be one and indivisible. They may be said to be one and indivisible because nothing can be taken from the whole or added to it without changing its character. What else is the human soul but such a form? Are not all the elements of love and all the elements of wisdom in a person the essential constituents of that form, these being in the soul, and in the head and body from the soul?

[11] "You are called spirits and angels, and in the world you believed that spirits and angels were like bits of wind or ether and so were disembodied minds and hearts. But now you clearly see that you are truly, really and actually whole people - people who in the world lived and thought in a material body, and who knew then that the material body does not live and think, but the spiritual essence in that body, which you called the soul whose form you did not know. And yet now you have seen it and do see it. You are all souls, whose immortality you have heard, thought, spoken and written so much about. And it is because you are forms of love and wisdom from God that you can never hereafter die.

"So then, the soul is a human form, from which nothing can be taken away, and to which nothing can be added, and it is the inmost form in all the forms of the entire person. Moreover, because the forms which exist outwardly take both their essence and their form from the inmost one, therefore you, as you appear to yourselves and to us, are souls.

"The soul, in short, is the person himself, because it is the innermost person. Consequently its form is a fully and perfectly human form. Yet it is not life, but the most immediate recipient vessel of life from God and thus the dwelling place of God."

[12] At this many in the hall applauded; but some said, "We will have to think about it."

I then departed for home; and lo, over that school, in place of the earlier phenomenon, I saw a white cloud without the rays or streaks of light combating with each other. Then, penetrating through the roof, the cloud entered the hall and lighted up the walls; and I heard that they saw inscriptions, and included among them also this one:

Jehovah God breathed into the man's nostrils the breath of life, 2 and the man became a living soul. (Genesis 2:7)


1. E.g. Deuteronomy 30:6; Psalms 51:10; Ezekiel 11:19.

2. Literally, soul of life. Hebrew: breath, spirit.


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Inbound References:

Conjugial Love 326

Interaction of the Soul and Body 2, 18

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True Christian Religion 697

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Thanks to the General Church of the New Jerusalem for the permission to use this translation. The full title of this translation is "DELIGHTS OF WISDOM RELATING TO CONJUGIAL LOVE".