From Swedenborg's Works


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

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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 #380

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

I was once in a state of amazement at the great number of people who attribute creation to nature, attributing to it therefore all things under the sun and all things above the sun. Whenever they see anything, they say with an acknowledgment of the heart, "Is this not a product of nature?" When they are asked then why they attribute these things to nature, and not to God, even though they sometimes say with everyone else that God created nature, and so could just as well attribute the things they see to God as to nature, they reply in a muffled, almost inaudible tone, "What is God but nature?"

As a result of their persuasion regarding the creation of the universe from nature, and that insanity masquerading as a product of wisdom, they all give the impression of being vainglorious, so vainglorious as to scorn all who acknowledge the creation of the universe as being from God, regarding them as ants crawling on the ground and treading the beaten path, and some as butterflies flitting about in the air. They call their dogmas dreams, because they see what they themselves do not see, and they say, "Who has seen God? And who has not seen nature?"

[2] As I was in a state of amazement at the multitude of such people, an angel stood beside me and said to me, "What are you meditating on?"

So I replied, "On the multitude of those who believe that nature created the universe."

Then the angel said to me, "The whole of hell consists of people like that, and they are called there satanic spirits and devils - satanic spirits, those who have convinced themselves on the side of nature and for that reason have denied God; devils, those who have lived wickedly and so have rejected from their hearts any acknowledgment of God. But I will take you down to forums located in the southwestern zone, where such people gather who are not yet in hell."

The angel then took me by the hand and led me down. And I saw cottages in which the forums were housed, and in the middle of them one that seemed to be the headquarters of the rest. It was built of pitchstones, which were overlaid with thin glass-like sheets of gold and silver, seemingly glittering, like those which are called isinglass 1 ; and interspersed here and there were oyster-shells, similarly glistening.

[3] We went over to it and knocked; and presently someone opened the door and said, "Welcome." Then he ran to a table and brought back four books, saying, "These books are the wisdom which a number of countries are applauding today. This book or wisdom here is applauded by many in France; this one by many in Germany; this one by some in Holland; and this one by some in Britain."

He then went on to say, "If you care to see it, I will cause these four books to shine before your eyes." Whereupon he poured out and projected around them the glory of his reputation, and soon the books shone as though with light. But the light immediately vanished from before our eyes.

At that point we asked, "What are you presently writing?" And he replied that he was presently extracting and elucidating from his stores of knowledge points which were matters of the most interior wisdom, being in summary the following: 1. Whether nature is a product of life, or life a product of nature. 2. Whether a center is the product of an expanse, or an expanse the product of a center. 3. How this applies to the center and expanse of nature and life.

[4] Having said this, he sat down again at the table, while we walked around in his forum, which was quite large. He had a candle on the table, because there was no daylight from the sun in the room, but a nocturnal, lunar light. And what surprised me, the candle seemed to move all about there and so cast its light - although, because the wick was not trimmed, it provided little illumination. Moreover, as he wrote, we saw images in various forms flying from the table on to the walls, which in that nocturnal lunar light looked like beautiful birds of India. But when we opened the door and let in daylight from the sun, behold, in that light they looked like birds of the evening, having net-like wings. For what he was writing were semblances of truth, which by his confirmations became fallacies, which he had ingeniously woven together into logical series.

[5] After witnessing this, we went over to the table and asked him what he was writing now.

"I am dealing," he said, "with the first point, as to whether nature is a product of life, or life a product of nature." And he remarked in regard to it that he could confirm either one and make it to be true; but that because he harbored something in him that made him afraid, he dared to confirm only that nature is a product of life, meaning that it is derived from life, and not that life is a product of nature, or derived from nature.

We asked amiably what it was that he harbored within to make him afraid.

He replied that it was the possibility of his being labeled by the clergy an adherent of naturalism and thus an atheist, and by the laity a man of unsound reason, since both clergy and laity consist of people who either believe in accordance with a blind faith or see in accordance with the sight of those who defend it.

[6] However, being moved then by a certain indignation out of zeal for the truth, we addressed him, saying, "Friend, you are greatly deceived. Your wisdom, which lies in the ingeniousness of your writing, has led you astray, and the glory of your reputation has induced you to confirm what you do not believe. Do you not know that the human mind is capable of being elevated above sensual appearances, which are appearances in the thoughts from the bodily senses, and that when it is elevated, it sees such things as have to do with life above, and such things as have to do with nature below? What is life but love and wisdom? And what is nature but a vessel of these by which they work their effects or ends? Can these two be one other than as a principal and instrumental cause? Can light be one with the eye? Or sound with the ear? Where do the powers of these senses come from except from life, and their forms except from nature?

"What is the human body but an organ of life? Are not each and all elements in it organically formed to produce the effects that love wills and the understanding thinks? Are not the organs of the body from nature, and the love and thought from life? Are these not entirely distinct from each other?

"Raise the sight of your genius yet a little higher, and you will see that to be affected and think are properties of life; and that the capacity to be affected derives from love, and to think, from wisdom, and both of these from life - for, as we said, love and wisdom are life.

"If you raise the faculty of your understanding a little higher still, you will see that no love or wisdom is possible unless somewhere it has an origin, and that its origin is love itself and wisdom itself, thus life itself; and these are God, from whom comes nature."

[7] Afterwards we spoke with him about his second point, as to whether a center is the product of an expanse, or an expanse the product of a center. And we asked why he was discussing this.

He replied that he was doing it in order to draw a conclusion concerning the center and expanse of nature and life, thus concerning the origin of the one and the other. When we asked then what his thinking was, he answered in regard to this in the same way as before, that he could confirm either one, but that for fear of losing his reputation he was confirming that an expanse is the product of a center, or in other words, derived from the center - "even though I know," he said, "that there was something prior to the sun, and this everywhere in the universe, and that these things flowed of themselves into an order, thus into centers."

[8] But then again out of an indignant zeal we spoke to him and said, "Friend, you are insane."

And when he heard it, he pushed his chair back from the table and regarded us timidly; after which he turned to us his ear, but laughing as he did so.

Nevertheless we continued, saying, "What is more insane than to say that the center comes from the expanse. We interpret your center to mean the sun, and your expanse to mean the universe, thus that the universe came into being without a sun. Does the sun not produce nature and all its properties, which are dependent solely on the heat and light emanating from the sun and conveyed through the atmospheres? Where were these before? But we will tell you where they originated later on.

"The atmospheres, and all things on the earth - are they not like surfaces, and the sun their center? What would all these things be without the sun? Could they for one instant endure? So, then, what would all these things have been before the sun? Could they have endured? Is not continued existence a continual coming into existence? Consequently, since the continued existence of all things of nature depends on the sun, it follows that their coming into existence does, too. Everyone sees this and acknowledges it from his own observation.

[9] "Does not something subsequent as it comes into existence also continue in existence from something prior? If the surface were prior, and the center subsequent, would not the prior then subsist from the subsequent - which is, however, contrary to laws of order?

"How can subsequent things produce prior ones? Or outer ones inner ones? Or grosser ones finer ones? How then can surfaces which form an expanse possibly produce centers? Who does not see that this is contrary to laws of nature?

"We have advanced these arguments from an analysis of reason, to confirm that an expanse arises from a center, and not the reverse, even though everyone who thinks rightly sees this without these arguments.

"You said that the expanse flowed together into a center of itself. Was it by chance, then, that it flowed into such a marvelous and astounding order that one thing exists for the sake of another, and each and all things for the sake of man and his eternal life? Is nature able to act from some love by means of some wisdom to produce such effects? Is nature also able to form men into angels and angels into a heaven? Contemplate this and think about it, and your idea of nature's arising from nature will fall to the ground."

[10] After that we asked him what he had thought and what he thought now in respect to the third point, regarding the center and expanse of nature and life. Did he think the center and expanse of life to be the same as the center and expanse of nature?

He said that he hesitated. He had previously thought that the inner activity of nature was life; that from it originated the love and wisdom which essentially form a person's life; and that it was the fire of the sun, acting through its heat and light by means of the atmospheres, which produced these. But now, he said, from what he was hearing about people's eternal life, he was in a state of vacillation, and this vacillation carried his mind sometimes upward, sometimes down. When it was carried upward, he acknowledged a center of which he had previously known nothing; and when down, he saw the center which he had believed to be the only one; thus thinking that life is from the center of which he had previously known nothing, and that nature is from the center which he had before believed to be the only one, each center having its own expanse surrounding it.

[11] To this we said, well and good, provided he was willing also to regard the center and expanse of nature as being from the center and expanse of life, and not the other way around.

We then told him that above the angelic heaven there is a sun which is pure love, fiery in appearance like the sun of the world; and that it is owing to the warmth emanating from that sun that angels and men have will and love, and owing to the light from it that they have understanding and wisdom. We said, too, that such things as are matters of life are called spiritual, and that such things as emanate from the sun of the world are vessels of life and are called natural. Furthermore, that the expanse of the center of life is called the spiritual world, which subsists from its sun, and that the expanse of nature is called the natural world, which subsists from its sun.

Now, because love and wisdom cannot have spaces and times ascribed to them, we said, but instead of these states, the expanse surrounding the sun of the angelic heaven is not dimensional, but yet is present in the dimensional expanse of the natural sun, and in living objects there according to their reception of it, and this in accordance with their forms.

[12] However, at that point he asked what produced the fire of the sun of the world or of nature.

We replied that it originated from the sun of the angelic heaven, which is not a ball of fire, but the Divine love most immediately emanating from God, who is love itself. Then because he wondered at this, we demonstrated it as follows:

"In its essence, love is spiritual fire. So it is, that fire in the Word, in its spiritual sense, symbolizes love. That is why priests in temples pray that heavenly fire may fill people's hearts, by which they mean love. In the Tabernacle among the Israelites, the fire of the altar and the fire of the lampstand represented nothing else but Divine love. The warmth of the blood, or the vital heat in people and in animals generally, is from no other origin than the love which forms their life. It is in consequence of this that a person is set on fire, grows hot, and bursts into flames whenever his love is roused up into zeal, anger and rage. Since it is spiritual heat, or love, which produces the natural heat in people, even so as to ignite and inflame their faces and limbs, it can accordingly be seen from this that the fire of the natural sun arose from no other origin than the fire of the spiritual sun, which is Divine love.

[13] "Now because an expanse arises from its center, and not the reverse, as we said earlier, and the center of life, which is the sun of the angelic heaven, is the Divine love most immediately emanating from God, who is in the midst of that sun; and because from it arose the expanse of that center, which is called the spiritual world; and because from that sun arose the sun of the world, and from this its expanse, which is called the natural world, it is apparent that the universe was created by God alone."

After that we departed, with him accompanying us outside the grounds of his forum. And he spoke with us about heaven and hell, and about the Divine superintendence, with a new sagacity of acumen.


1. I.e., laminae of mica.


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Interaction of the Soul and Body 2, 18

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True Christian Religion 35

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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".