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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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Inbound References:

Interaction of the Soul and Body 2

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Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library at the New Church Vineyard website.

 Marriage and Family
Lesson and activities looking at how the love of children relates to marriage.
Religion Lesson | Ages over 15

 Parental Love or Storgé
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 Quotes: The Love of Children
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

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 #326

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

After the question concerning the soul had been discussed in the school and answered, 1 I saw the people going out in order, the headmaster in front, after him the older men, with the five young men who had responded to the question in the midst of them, and after them the rest. As they left the building, they went around to the sides, where there were walkways surrounded by bushes. And gathering there, they broke up into small groups, all of them circles of young men conversing on matters of wisdom, with one of the wiser men from the balcony in each.

Seeing them from my place of lodging, I entered a state of the spirit and in the spirit went out to them. And there I went over to the headmaster, who a little before had posed the question concerning the soul.

When he saw me he said, "Who are you? As I watched you approaching on the way here, I was astonished to see that one minute you would pop into view, the next minute drop out of sight, so that one moment I would see you and suddenly then not. Surely you are not in the same life-state as our people."

Gently laughing at this I replied, "I am not a marionette, nor a chameleon, but I am one who alternates, being sometimes in your light and sometimes not, so that I am an alien and at the same time a native."

[2] At this the headmaster looked at me and said, "These are strange and extraordinary things you are saying. Tell me who you are."

So I said, "I live in the world in which you once lived and from which you have departed, which is called the natural world; and I live as well in the world into which you have come and in which you are now living, which is called the spiritual world. I am as a result in a natural state and at the same time a spiritual one - in a natural state when I am with people on earth, and in a spiritual state when I am with you. Moreover, when I am in a natural state, I am not visible to you; but when I am in a spiritual state, I am. To be as I am is something I have been given by the Lord.

"Being an enlightened man, you know that an inhabitant of the natural world does not see an inhabitant of the spiritual world, or vice versa. Therefore when I conveyed my spirit into my body, you did not see me; but when I conveyed it out of my body, you did.

"You also taught in your school exercise that you are souls, and that souls see souls because they are human forms. But you know that you did not see yourselves or your souls within your bodies when you were in the natural world. This fact is due to the difference that exists between something spiritual and something natural."

[3] When he heard me mention a difference between something spiritual and something natural, he said, "What is the difference? It is not like the difference between something more pure and something less so? So what is something spiritual but a purer form of something natural."

But I replied, "That is not what the difference is, but it is as the difference between something prior and something subsequent, between which there is no finite relationship. For the prior is in the subsequent, as a cause in its effect, and the subsequent exists from the prior, as an effect from its cause. That is why the one is not visible to the other."

To this the headmaster said, "I have reflected and ruminated on the difference, but so far in vain. I would like to have some concept of it."

[4] So I said, "You shall not only have a concept of the difference between something spiritual and something natural, but you will even witness the difference." Whereupon I spoke to him as follows:

"You are in a spiritual state when you are with your own people, but in a natural state with me; for you speak with your associates in spiritual language, the common language of every spirit and angel, whereas with me you speak in my native tongue. Indeed, every spirit or angel in speaking with a mortal person uses the person's customary language, thus speaking French with a Frenchman, English with an Englishman, Greek with a Greek, Arabic with an Arab, and so on.

"So then, to learn the difference between something spiritual and something natural in terms of languages, do the following: Go over to your associates, say something there and remember the words. Then with these memorized, come back and repeat them to me."

So he did as I said, and returned to me with the words in his mouth, but when he uttered them he did not know what any of them meant. The words were altogether strange and unfamiliar, being words not found in any language of the natural world.

After he repeated this experiment several times, it became clearly apparent to him that people in the spiritual world all speak a spiritual language which has nothing in common with any language of the natural world, and that every person comes automatically into use of that language after death. At the same time he also then discovered that the very intonation of spiritual language is so different from the intonation of natural language that the intonation of spiritual language, even when loud, is not at all audible to a natural person, nor the intonation of natural language to a spiritual person.

[5] After that I asked the headmaster and some others standing by to go over to their associates and write down some thought on a piece of paper, and with that piece of paper come back to me and read it. They did as I said, and they returned with the piece of paper in hand; but when they went to read it, they were unable to make out what any of it meant, since the writing consisted only of some alphabetic letters with curly lines over them, each of which carried some meaning connected with the subject. (Because every letter of the alphabet carries some meaning there, it is apparent from what origin the Lord is called the Alpha and the Omega.) 2 As they again and again withdrew, wrote and returned, they discovered that their writing included and contained a countless number of elements which no natural writing could ever express. But they were told that this is because a spiritual person thinks thoughts incomprehensible and inexpressible to a natural person, and these cannot descend or be put into any other form of writing or language.

[6] Then, because the others standing by were unwilling to believe that spiritual thought so far surpasses natural thought as to be inexpressible in comparison, I said to them, "Try an experiment. Go over into your spiritual association, think on some subject, and holding the thought come back and express it to me."

So they went, thought, held the thought, and came back; but when they went to express what they had thought, they could not. For they did not find any natural mental concept equivalent to any spiritual concept. So neither did they find any word to express their thoughts, since ideas of the mind take form as words in speech. At that they then began to withdraw and return, to prove to themselves that spiritual ideas were higher than natural ones, being inexpressible, ineffable and incomprehensible to the natural man. And because spiritual ideas are so transcendent, they began to say that spiritual ideas or thoughts compared to natural ones were the essences of ideas and the essences of thoughts, and that they therefore expressed the essences of qualities and the essences of affections; consequently that spiritual thoughts were the germs and origins of natural thoughts. It also became evident from this that spiritual wisdom was the essence of wisdom, thus unintelligible to any person of wisdom in the natural world.

They were then told from the third heaven that there is a still more interior or higher wisdom, called celestial, which has a similar relationship to spiritual wisdom as spiritual wisdom does to natural wisdom; and that these levels of wisdom flow in succession in accordance with the heavens from the Lord's Divine wisdom, which is infinite.


1. This account follows on the one related in no. 315 above.

2. In Revelation 1:8,11, 21:6, 22:13. Alpha and omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, in the language in which Revelation was written.


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From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Conjugial Love 127

Interaction of the Soul and Body 2, 18

True Christian Religion 19, 607

   Parallel Passages:

True Christian Religion 280

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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".