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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".

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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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From Swedenborg's Works


True Christian Religion #280

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280. The fourth experience.

I once saw a long way off some walks between avenues of trees, and young men gathered together there in large groups; each of these was a meeting where people were discussing matters relating to wisdom. This took place in the spiritual world. I approached, and on coming near saw one whom the others reverenced as their leader, because he surpassed the rest in wisdom.

On seeing me he said: 'I was surprised when I watched you on your way here and saw you at one time becoming visible to me, at another dropping out of sight; now I saw you, now you vanished. You must surely not be in the same state of life as the people in our country.'

I replied to this with a smile: 'I am no actor, or Vertumnus 1 , but I am by turns sometimes in light and sometimes in shade to your eyes. So here I am both a stranger and native.'

At this the wise man gazed at me and said: 'What you say is unusual and strange. Tell me who you are.'

'I am,' I said, 'in the world where you once were and which you have now left, what is called the natural world. I am also in the world where you now are, what is called the spiritual world. Consequently I am in the natural state and at the same time in the spiritual state, the natural state when with people on earth, the spiritual state when with you. When I am in the natural state, I am invisible to you; when in the spiritual state, I am visible. I have been granted by the Lord the ability to be like this. You as an enlightened man are well aware that a person who belongs to the natural world cannot see one who belongs to the spiritual world, and vice versa. Therefore when I plunge my spirit into the body, you do not see me, but when I release it from the body, you do. This is the result of the distinction between the spiritual and the natural.'

[2] When he heard me mention the distinction between the spiritual and the natural, he said: 'What distinction is that? Is it not like that between what is purer and less pure? So what is the spiritual but a purer kind of the natural?'

'It is not that sort of distinction,' I replied, 'The natural can never become refined enough to approach the spiritual, so that it becomes spiritual. It is the sort of distinction there is between prior and posterior, which have no finite relationship. For the prior is in the posterior, as the cause is in its effect; and the posterior derives from the prior, as the effect derives from its cause. That is why one is not visible to the Other.'

To this the wise man said: 'I have pondered this distinction, but up to now in vain. I only wish I could grasp it.' 'You will,' I said, 'not only grasp the distinction between the spiritual and the natural, you will actually see it.' Then I went on: 'You are in the spiritual state among your people here, but in the natural state with me. For you talk with your people in the spiritual language, which is shared by every spirit and angel, but you talk with me in my native language. Every spirit or angel who talks with a man speaks his own language, French with a Frenchman, Greek with a Greek, Arabic with an Arab, and so on.

[3] 'So in order to be aware of the distinction between the spiritual and the natural as they appear linguistically, do this: go inside to your people, say something there, and memorise the words; then come back keeping them in mind, and pronounce them in my presence.'

He did so and came back to me with those words on his tongue, and uttered them; they were words completely strange and foreign, not to be found in any language of the natural world. Repeating the experiment several times showed clearly that all in the spiritual world have a spiritual language, which has nothing in common with any natural language. Everyone comes of his own accord into possession of that language after his death. I once also discovered by experience that the actual sound of the spiritual language is so different from that of a natural language, that even a loud spiritual sound is inaudible to a natural person, and so is a natural sound to a spiritual person.

[4] Later I asked him and the by-standers to go inside to their own people, and write a sentence on a piece of paper, and then to bring the paper out and read it to me. They did so, and came back with the paper in their hands, but when they went to read it, they could not, since the script was merely composed of some letters of the alphabet with curly lines over them, each one of which conveyed as its meaning a particular matter. Since each letter of the alphabet there conveys a meaning, it is obvious why the Lord is called 'alpha and omega'. When they again and again went in, wrote and came back, they learned that the script entailed and comprehended countless things which no natural script can ever express. They were told that this is because the thoughts of the spiritual man are incomprehensible and inexpressible to the natural man, and they cannot be transferred to another script and another language.

[5] Then, since the by-standers were unwilling to grasp that spiritual thought is so far beyond natural thought, that it is relatively inexpressible, I said to them: 'Carry out an experiment. Go inside to your spiritual community, think of an idea, keep it in mind, and come back and expound it in my presence.'

They went inside, thought and, keeping the thought in mind, came out; and when they went to expound what they had thought, they were unable to do so. For they could not find any idea of natural thought capable of matching an idea of purely spiritual thought, so they could not find any words to express it, for the ideas of thought become words in speech. Thereupon they went back inside, came back, and convinced themselves that spiritual ideas were far above natural ones, inexpressible, unutterable and incomprehensible to the natural man. Because the spiritual ideas excelled the natural ones so much, they said that spiritual ideas or thoughts, compared to natural ones, were ideas of ideas, and thoughts of thoughts, and could therefore express qualities of qualities and affections of affections. It followed that spiritual thoughts were the beginnings and origins of natural thoughts. This also showed that spiritual wisdom is the wisdom of wisdom, and so incapable of expression by anyone, however wise, in the natural world.

[6] Then they were told from the higher heaven that there is a still more inward or higher wisdom, called celestial, which stands in the same relationship to spiritual wisdom as this does to natural wisdom. These forms of wisdom flow in regularly, depending upon which heaven is concerned, from the Lord's Divine wisdom, which is infinite.

At this point the man conversing with me said: 'I see this, because I have perceived that a single natural idea is a container for many spiritual ideas; and also that a single spiritual idea is a container for many celestial ideas. This leads too to this conclusion, that what is divided becomes not more and more simple, but more and more complex, because it approaches closer and closer to the infinite, in which everything is at infinity.'

[7] At the conclusion of this conversation I said to the by-standers: 'You see from these three experimental proofs the nature of the distinction between the spiritual and the natural. Likewise, why the natural man is invisible to the spiritual, and the spiritual man to the natural, although either of them has a complete human form. Because of this form it seems to each as if one could see the other. But it is the interiors, which are mental, which constitute that form, and the mind of spirits and angels is composed of spiritual elements, whereas the mind of men, so long as they live in the world, is composed of natural elements.'

After this a voice was heard from the higher heaven saying to one of the by-standers, 'Come up here.' He went up, and on his return he said that the angels had not previously known the differences between the spiritual and the natural, because they had never before been given the opportunity of making the comparison with a person who was simultaneously in both worlds; and these differences can only become known by making a comparison and examining the relationship.

[8] Before we parted we had another conversation on this subject, and I said that these distinctions arise solely, 'because you in the spiritual world are substantial, not material, and substantial things are the starting points of material things. What is matter but a gathering together of substances? So you are at the level of beginnings and therefore singulars, we, however, are at the level of derivatives and compounds. You are at the level of particulars, we, however, at that of general ideas. Just as general ideas cannot enter into particulars, so natural things, which are material, cannot enter into spiritual things, which are substantial. It is just as a ship's rope cannot enter or be pulled though the eye of a sewing needle, or just as a nerve cannot be introduced into one of the fibres which compose it. This then is the reason why the natural man cannot think the thoughts of the spiritual man, and therefore neither can he express them. So Paul calls what he heard from the third heaven "beyond description."

[9] 'A further point is that thinking spiritually means thinking without using time and space; thinking naturally involves time and space. For every idea of natural thought, but not of spiritual thought, has something of time and space clinging to it. This is because the spiritual world is not in space and time, as is the natural world, though it has the appearance of both of them. Thoughts and perceptions also differ in this respect. For this reason you can think of God's essence and omnipresence from eternity, that is, of God before the creation of the world, because you think about God's essence with no idea of time, and about His omnipresence with no idea of space. Thus you grasp ideas which are far beyond the natural ideas of men.'

[10] I went on to relate how I had once thought about God's essence and omnipresence from eternity, that is, about God before the creation of the world, and because I could not yet banish space and time from the ideas I thought about, I became worried, since the idea of nature entered my mind in place of God. But I was told: 'Banish the ideas of space and time and you will see.' Then I was granted the power to banish them, and I did see. From that time on I have been able to think about God from eternity, without thinking of nature from eternity, because God is non-temporally in all time and non-spatially in all space, but nature is temporally in all time and spatially in all space. Nature with its time and space must inevitably have a beginning, but not so God, who is not in time and space. Therefore nature is from God, not from eternity, but exists in time together with its properties of time and space.


1. A Roman god believed constantly to change shape.


(References: 2 Corinthians 12:2-4)

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