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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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


True Christian Religion #12

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This truth can be supported by countless things in the visible world; for the universe is like a theatre, upon the stage of which demonstrations of the existence of God and His oneness are continually being presented. To illustrate this I shall relate this account from my experiences in the spiritual world.

Once when I was talking with angels, some newcomers from the natural world arrived. On seeing them I made them welcome, and told them many facts they did not know about the spiritual world. After this conversation I asked them what learning about God and nature they brought with them from the world.

'We have been taught,' they said, 'that nature performs all the operations which take place in the whole of creation. After the act of creation God assigned to nature and stamped upon her this ability and power; God only supports and preserves everything from being destroyed. Consequently everything on earth which comes into existence, is born or re-born, is to-day put down to nature.'

I replied that nature of herself performs no operation; but it is God who does this by means of nature. Since they demanded a proof, I said: 1 'Those who believe in the working of God in the details of Nature can find many sights in the world in favour of their belief in God, many more than in favour of nature.

[2] Those who favour the working of God in the details of nature pay attention to the amazing sights to be seen in the reproduction of both plants and animals. In the case of plants, a tiny seed cast into the ground produces a root, by means of the root a stem, and so in order branches, twigs, leaves, flowers and fruit, until the result is fresh seeds, just as if the seed knew the pattern of successive stages or processes which lead to its renewal. Can any rational person think that the sun, which is nothing but fire, has this knowledge, or that it can instruct its heat and light to produce such effects, and that it can act purposefully? A person whose reasoning faculty is uplifted, on seeing and duly considering these facts, is inevitably led to think that they come from Him who possesses infinite wisdom, that is, from God. Those who acknowledge the working of God in the details of nature are further confirmed in their view on seeing these things; those on the other hand who do not make this acknowledgment see them not with the eyes of reason set in the face, but with eyes in the back of the head; these are the people who get all the ideas in their heads from the bodily senses and support their fallacious beliefs by saying 'Surely you see it is the sun which produces all these results by its heat and light. Something you cannot see cannot be anything.'

[3] 'Those seeking support for a Divine origin pay attention to the amazing sights to be seen in animal reproduction. First of all I may mention eggs, which contain the chick hidden in its seed together with everything needed for its development, and its whole future growth after hatching until it becomes a bird resembling its mother. Further if we consider flying creatures in general, the mind which thinks profoundly boggles at the astonishing facts about them; that the smallest as well as the largest, the invisible as well as the visible, that is, tiny insects as well as birds and large animals, possess sensory organs of sight, smell, taste and touch; also motor organs or muscles which allow them to fly and walk; also viscera attached to a heart and lungs, all controlled by brains. Those who attribute everything to nature admittedly see these things, but they think of them merely as facts and call them the products of nature. They say this because they have turned their minds away from thinking about the Divine. This turning away from the Divine prevents them from thinking rationally, much less spiritually, about the amazing sights they see in nature. Their thoughts are limited to the senses and matter, so that they think in nature from nature, rather than above her. Their only difference from animals is that they enjoy the faculty of rationality, that is, they can understand if they wish.

[4] 'Those who have turned away from thoughts of the Divine, which makes them dependent upon the bodily senses, do not realise that the sight of the eye is so coarse and gross that it sees a group of tiny insects as a dark mass. Yet every one of these is endowed with the powers of sensation and movement, that is to say, it is provided with fibres and vessels, a tiny heart, breathing pores, viscera and brain. These are constructed of the simplest natural substances, and their systems answer to the vital principle in its lowest degree, for even the tiniest organs are individually activated by it. Since the sight of the eye is so gross that a number of creatures, each with its countless parts, look like a small dark mass, and yet those who rely on their senses found their thought and judgment on those visual powers, it is obvious how blunted their minds are and thus how blind they are on spiritual matters.

[5] 'Anyone can, if he wishes, find support for the Divine idea in the sights of nature, and also further if he thinks about God and His omnipotence in the creation of the universe and His omnipresence in preserving it. As when he considers the birds of the air, each species of which knows its proper food and where to find it; it recognises its kind by sight and sound; it knows which birds are its friends and which its enemies; they know how to nestle under their plumage, they form pairs, cleverly construct nests, lay eggs in them and sit on them; they know how long to sit, and in due season hatch their chicks, whom they love dearly, protecting them under their wings, providing food and nourishing them, and continuing until they can look after themselves and perform the same service. Anyone who is willing to think how the Divine influences the natural world by means of the spiritual can see this in these facts. He can even, if he wishes, say in his heart, 'Such knowledge cannot be acquired from the sun's heat and light, for the sun which is the origin and essence of nature is nothing but fire. Consequently the radiation of its heat and light is totally devoid of life.' This may lead them to deduce that such things are the effect of Divine influence working on the lowest forms of nature by means of the spiritual world.

[6] 'Anyone can find support for the Divine idea from the sights of nature, when he looks at grubs. The pleasure of a certain love makes them seek and aspire to change their earthly condition into one analogous to the heavenly condition. Therefore they creep into suitable places, surround themselves with a cocoon and so put themselves into a womb that they may be born again. There they become chrysallises, pupae, nymphs, and finally butterflies. And when they have undergone their metamorphosis and have put on the lovely wings typical of their species, they fly up into the air as into their private heaven, play happily together, mate, lay eggs and see to the continuation of their race. Then they feed on lovely, sweet food provided by flowers. Can anyone, who finds support for the Divine idea in the sights of nature, fail to see a picture of man's earthly state in their life as grubs and his heavenly state when they become butterflies? But those who support the idea of nature admittedly see these facts, but because they have mentally rejected the idea of man's heavenly state, they call these nothing but the workings of nature.

[7] 'Anyone can find support for the Divine idea from the sights of nature when he pays attention to the facts known about bees. They know how to collect wax and suck up honey from roses and other flowers, how to construct cells as their tiny homes and arrange them so as to resemble a city with streets by which to come in and go out. They smell out from a distance the flowers and plants from which they collect wax for building and honey to eat. When they are loaded with these they know their bearings to fly home to their hive, and thus provide themselves with food for the coming winter, as if they could foresee it. They set a mistress or queen over them; she is the mother of their offspring. They build a sort of court above their own quarters for the queen surrounded by her courtiers. When the time comes for her to give birth, she goes around accompanied by her courtiers, called drones, from one cell to the next and lays her eggs which the attendant crowd seal in to protect them from the air. These produce their new stock. Later on when this grows up sufficiently to behave in the same way, it is expelled from the hive; the swarm first of all gathers into a cloud to keep together in formation, and then flies off to find themselves a home. Towards autumn the drones, because they have brought home no wax or honey, are taken out and stripped of their wings, so that they cannot come back and consume the food to which they have done nothing to contribute; and much more might be said. From all this it can be clearly seen that for the sake of the service they perform to human beings the Divine influence coming through the spiritual world has given them an organisation similar to that of men on earth, or indeed of angels in the heavens.

[8] 'Is there anyone of unimpaired reason who does not see that such effects are not produced in them by the natural world? What has the sun, the origin of nature, in common with an organisation which rivals and mirrors the organisation of the heavens? These and similar facts concerning the lower animals confirm in his belief the man who makes a profession of and worships nature. But the man who professes belief in and worships God uses the same facts to reinforce his belief in God; for the spiritual man sees in them spiritual facts, while the natural man sees natural ones, in other words, each sees what he is. For my part, such facts have been evidence to me of the influence of the spiritual world coming from God on the natural. Consider too whether you could think analytically about any type of organisation, or any civil law, or any moral virtue, or any spiritual truth, if the Divine influence did not make itself felt as a result of its wisdom by means of the spiritual world. I for my part have never been able to do so, nor can I now. I have consciously perceived that influence and felt it through the senses continuously for the last twenty-six years. So I make this statement as a witness.

[9] 'Can nature have as its aim the fulfilment of a purpose, and arrange these purposes into organised structures? Only a wise being can do this; and no one could so order and structure the universe except God, whose wisdom is infinite. Who else can foresee and provide what men need to eat and clothe themselves: the crops of the field, the fruits of the earth and animals for food, and clothing from the same sources? One of the astonishing things in this is that those insignificant insects called silk-worms dress both women and men in silk and adorn them magnificently, from queens and kings down to maids and servants; and that those insignificant insects called bees supply wax to illuminate splendidly churches and halls. These and many more are the outstanding proofs that God of Himself performs all the workings of nature by means of the spiritual world.

[10] 'To this I must add that I have seen in the spiritual world those who found confirmation of their naturalistic view in the sights of the world, to such an extent that they became atheists. Seen in spiritual light, their understandings seemed to be open underneath, but closed on top, because their thoughts had been turned downwards to earth, and not up to heaven. Above their sensual area, which is the lowest level of the understanding, there appeared a sort of covering flashing with hellish fire, in some cases black as soot, in others livid like a corpse. Therefore let everyone take care not to confirm his belief in nature, but seek rather proofs of God; there is no lack of material.'


1. The following passage is adapted from Angelic Wisdom concerning Divine Love and Wisdom 351-357, Conjugial Love 416-421.


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Inbound References:

True Christian Religion 335

   Parallel Passages:

Conjugial Love 416, 417, 418, 419, 420, 421

Divine Love and Wisdom 351, 352, 353, 354, 355, 356, 357

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