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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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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 #415

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415. To this I will append the following narrative account:

One morning as I awoke from sleep, while meditating in the serene morning light before being fully awake, I saw through the window what seemed to be flashes of lightning, and presently heard what seemed to be the rumbling of thunder. Then, as I wondered what the cause was, I heard from heaven the following:

"There are people not far from you who are arguing bitterly about God and nature. The flashing of light like lightning and the rumbling of the air like thunder are correspondences and thus manifestations of the conflict and clash of their arguments, one side on the side of God, and the other on the side of nature."

The reason for the spiritual conflict was this. There were satanic spirits in hell who said to each other, "If we could only speak with angels from heaven! We would absolutely and thoroughly show that what they call God, from whom all things flow, is nature, and thus that God is only a term unless by it they mean nature." And because those satanic spirits believed this with all their heart and all their soul, and longed as well to speak with angels from heaven, it was granted them to ascend from the muck and gloom of hell and to speak then with two angels descending from heaven. They were in the world of spirits, which is midway between heaven and hell.

[2] Seeing the angels there, the satanic spirits rushed up to them and in a furious voice cried out, "You must be the angels from heaven that we are allowed to meet with to argue about God and nature. People call you wise because you acknowledge God, but oh, how simple you are! Does anyone see God? Does anyone understand what God is? Does anyone comprehend how God rules and can rule the universe and each and all things of it? Who but the lower-class and common person acknowledges what he does not see and understand? What is more obvious than that nature is the all in all things? Who has seen anything with his eye but nature? Who has heard anything with his ear but nature? Who has smelled anything with his nose but nature? Who has tasted anything with his tongue but nature? Who has felt anything with the touch of his hand and body but nature? Are not the senses of our body the only attesters of truth? Who cannot swear on the basis of them that a thing is so? Do your heads not exist in nature? The thoughts in your heads - from what origin does anything flow into them but from nature? Take nature away. Are you capable of any thought?"

And they added many other things of a similar nature.

[3] After listening to this, the angels replied, "You speak as you do because you are merely sense-oriented. All spirits in hell keep the ideas of their thoughts immersed in the senses of their body, nor can they elevate their minds above them. We pardon you therefore. A life of evil and a consequent faith in falsity has closed up the inner faculties of your mind, so that to rise above things of the senses is in your case impossible - unless, that is, you are in a state removed from the evils of your life and the falsities of your faith. For a satanic spirit can understand truth when he hears it just as well as an angel, only he does not retain it, because evil wipes out the truth and introduces falsity. However, we perceive that you are now in such a removed state, and so can understand the truth in what we say. Pay attention, therefore, what we are about to tell you."

Then the angels said, "You were in the natural world, and died there, and now you are in the spiritual world. Did you know anything before this about the life after death? Did you not previously deny it, and regard yourselves on a par with animals? Did you know anything beforehand about heaven and hell, or about the light and warmth of this world? Or the fact that you are no longer in the confines of nature but above it? For this world and all things in it are spiritual, and spiritual things are above natural ones, so much so that not the least thing of nature can enter into this world. But because you believed nature to be a kind of god or goddess, you also now believe that the light and warmth of this world are the same as the light and warmth of the natural world, even though they are not in the least the same. For natural light here is darkness, and natural warmth here is cold.

"Did you know anything about the sun of this world, from which comes our light and our warmth? Did you know that this sun is pure love, and the sun of the natural world nothing but fire? That the sun of the world, which is nothing but fire, is the origin from which nature came into existence and continues in existence? That the sun of heaven, which is pure love, is the origin from which life itself, which is love combined with wisdom, came into existence and continues in existence? And thus that nature, which you regard as a god or goddess, is wholly without life?

[4] "If given protection, you could ascend with us into heaven, and if given protection, we could descend with you into hell; and in heaven you would see magnificent and splendid sights, whereas in hell we would see squalid and filthy ones. These differences exist, because all in heaven worship God, and all in hell worship nature. Thus the magnificent and splendid sights in heaven are correspondences of affections for good and truth, while the squalid and filthy sights in hell are correspondences of lusts for evil and falsity.

"Draw your own conclusion, now, from the one and the other, as to whether God or nature is the all in all things."

To this the satanic spirits replied, "In the state in which we are now, we can conclude from what you have said that it is God; but when the delight of evil seizes our minds, we see nothing but nature."

[5] The two angels and two satanic spirits were standing not far from me on the right, so that I saw them and heard them. Moreover, I suddenly saw around them a multitude of spirits who in the natural world had been renowned for their learning; and I wondered at the fact that these learned people would stand, sometimes with the angels, sometimes with the satanic spirits, and that they would side with those with whom they were standing. But I was told that their changes in position reflected changes in their state of mind as they favored now the one side, now the other.

"For they are chameleons," I was told. "Moreover, we will tell you a mystery. We looked down upon the earth at people renowned for their learning, who consulted their own judgment in what they thought concerning God and nature; and we found six hundred out of a thousand on the side of nature, and the rest on the side of God. However, we found the latter on the side of God because they frequently said that nature is from God - not owing to any understanding, but only in consequence of what they had been told; and frequently saying a thing from memory and recollection, and not at the same time as a result of thought and intelligence, induces a kind of faith."

[6] After that the satanic spirits were given protection, and they ascended with the two angels into heaven, where they saw magnificent and splendid sights. Moreover, being then in a state of enlightenment from the light of heaven there, they acknowledged that there is a God, and that nature was created to serve the life which is in God and from God; also that nature in itself is lifeless, and thus does nothing of itself, but is actuated by life.

Having seen and perceived these things, they descended, and as they descended, their love of evil returned, which closed up their intellect above and opened it below; and then above it a kind of veil appeared, flashing with a hellish fire. Moreover, the moment their feet touched the ground, the earth opened under them and they sank back to their companions.

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Interaction of the Soul and Body 2, 18

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True Christian Religion 77

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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".