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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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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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From Swedenborg's Works


True Christian Religion #35

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35. I shall here add the following account of an experience. 1

Once I was amazed at the huge number of people who regard nature as the source of creation, and therefore of everything beneath or above the sun. When they see anything they say, and they give it heartfelt acknowledgment, 'Surely this is due to nature'; and when they are asked why, they say that this is due to nature rather than to God, when they still sometimes follow the usual view that God created nature, so that they could just as well say that what they see is due to God rather than to nature, they reply muttering almost inaudibly to themselves, 'What is God but nature?' This false belief that nature created the universe, a piece of madness they take for wisdom, makes them so puffed up that they look on all who acknowledge that God created the universe as ants, creeping along the ground, treading a worn path; and some as butterflies flying around in the air. They call their dogmas dreams, because they see things the others cannot, and they say: 'Who has ever seen God? We can all see nature.'

[2] While I was wondering at the immense number of such people, an angel came and stood beside me, saying 'What are you thinking about?'

I replied, 'How many people there are who believe that nature produces itself and is therefore the creator of the universe.'

'The whole of hell,' the angel told me, 'is composed of such people; there they are called satans and devils. Those who have formed a firm belief in nature and consequently denied the existence of God are satans; those who have spent their lives in crimes and thus banished from their hearts any acknowledgment of God are devils. But I will take you to the schools in the south-western quarter where such people who are not yet in hell live.'

So he took me by the hand and guided me. I saw some cottages containing schools and one building in their midst which seemed to be their headquarters. It was built of pitch-black stones coated with glassy plates giving the appearance of glittering gold and silver, rather like the stones called selenites or mica. Here and there were interspersed shining shells.

[3] We went up to this building and knocked. Someone quickly opened the door and made us welcome. He hurried to a table and brought us four books, saying: 'These books contain the wisdom which the majority of kingdoms approve to-day. This book contains the wisdom favoured by many in France, this by many in Germany, this by some in Holland, and this by some in Britain.' He went on: 'If you like to watch, I will make these four books shine before your eyes.' Then he poured forth and enveloped the books in the glory of his own reputation, so that at once the books shone as it were with light. But this light immediately vanished from our sight.

We asked him then what he was now writing. He replied that at present he was bringing out of his stores and displaying the very kernel of wisdom. This could by summarised as: (1) Whether nature is due to life, or life to nature; (2) whether a centre is due to an expanse, or an expanse to a centre; (3) about the centre and expanse of nature and life.

[4] So saying he sat down again at the table, while we strolled around his spacious school. He had a candle on the table, because there was no sunlight there, but only moonlight. What surprised me was that the candle seemed to roam about and cast its light; but because the wick was not trimmed it gave little light. While he was writing, we saw images of different shapes flying up from the table on to the walls. In that night-time moonlight they looked like beautiful birds from India. But as soon as we opened the door, in the sunlight of daytime they looked like nocturnal birds with net-like wings. They were apparent truths turned into fallacies by adducing proofs which he had ingeniously linked into coherent series.

[5] After seeing this we approached the table and asked him what he was now writing.

'My first proposition:' he said, 'whether nature is due to life or life to nature.' He remarked that on this point he could prove either proposition and make it appear true. But because of some lurking fear which was not explicit, he dare only prove that nature is due to life, that is to say, comes from life, and not the reverse, that life is due to, that is, comes from nature.

We asked politely what was the lurking fear he could not make explicit.

He replied that it was the fear of being called by the clergy a nature-worshipper and so an atheist, and by the laity a person of unsound mind, because both parties are either believers from blind faith or people who see that it is so by studying supporting arguments.

[6] Then our zealous indignation for the truth got the better of us and we addressed him thus: 'My friend, you are quite wrong. Your wisdom, which is no more than an ingenuity of style, has led you astray, and your desire for reputation has induced you to prove what you do not believe. Do you not know that the human mind is capable of being raised above the objects of the senses, that is to say, the thoughts engendered by the bodily senses; and when it is so raised it can see the products of life at a higher level and the products of nature below? What is life but love and wisdom? And what is nature but a receiver of love and wisdom, a means to bring about their effects or purposes? Can these be one, except as principal and instrumental? Light surely cannot be one with the eye, nor sound with the ear. What is the cause of these senses if not life, and what is the cause of their shapes if not nature? What is the human body but an organ for receiving life? Are not all its parts organically constructed to produce what love wills and the understanding thinks? Surely the body's organs spring from nature, but love and thought spring from life. Are these not quite distinct from each other? Raise the view of your mind a little higher, and you will see that emotion and thought are due to life; that emotion is due to love and thought to wisdom, and both of them are due to life, for, as has been said before, love and wisdom constitute life. If you raise your intellectual faculty a little higher still, you will see that love and wisdom could not exist unless somewhere they had a source, and that this source is Love Itself and Wisdom Itself, therefore Life Itself. These are God, who is the source of nature.'

[7] Afterwards we talked with him about his second proposition, whether the centre is due to the expanse, or the expanse to the centre. We asked his reasons for discussing this subject. He replied that it was in order to enable him to reach a conclusion about the centre and expanse of nature and life, which one was the source of the other. When we asked his opinion, he made the same reply as before, that he could prove either proposition, but for fear of losing his reputation he proved that the expanse was due to, that is to say, was the source of the centre. 'All the same,' he said, 'I know that something existed before there was a sun, and this was distributed throughout the expanse, and this of itself reduced itself to order, so creating a centre.'

[8] The zeal of our indignation made us address him again, saying: 'My friend, you are mad.' On hearing this he drew his chair back from the table and looked fearfully at us, but then listened with a smile on his face. 'What could be more crazy, 'we went on, 'than to say the centre is due to the expanse? We take your centre to mean the sun, and your expanse to be the universe; so you hold that the universe came into existence without the sun, do you? Surely the sun produces nature and all its properties, which are solely dependent upon the light and heat radiated by the sun and propagated through atmospheres? Where could these have been before there was a sun? We will explain their origin later on in the discussion. Are not the atmospheres, and everything on earth, like surfaces, the centre of which is the sun? What would become of them all without the sun? Could they last a single instant? And what of them all before there was a sun? Could they have come into existence? Is not subsistence continuous coming into existence? Since therefore the subsistence of everything in nature depends upon the sun, so must their coming into existence. Everyone can see this and acknowledge it from personal experience.

[9] Does not what is later in order subsist, just as it comes into existence, from what is earlier? If the surface were earlier and the centre later, should we not have what is earlier subsisting from what is later - something which is contrary to the laws of order? How can the later produce the earlier, or the more outward the more inward, or the grosser the purer? How then could the surfaces making up an expanse produce a centre? Anyone can see that this is contrary to the laws of nature. We have drawn these proofs from rational analysis to show that the expanse is produced by the centre, and not the reverse, although everyone who thinks correctly can see this for himself without these proofs. You said that the expanse of its own accord came together to form a centre. Did this happen by chance, that everything fell into such a wonderful and amazing order, so that one thing should be on account of the next, and every single thing on account of human beings and their everlasting life? Can nature inspired by some love and working through some wisdom have ends in view, foresee causes and so provide effects to bring such things about in due order? Can nature turn human beings into angels, build a heaven of them, and make its inhabitants live for ever? Accept these propositions and think them over; your idea of nature begetting nature will collapse.'

[10] After this we asked him what he had thought, and still did, about his third proposition, about the centre and expanse of nature and life. Did he believe that the centre and expanse of life were the same as the centre and expanse of nature?

He said that here he hesitated. He had previously believed that the inward activity of nature was life and that love and wisdom, which are the essential components of human life, come from this source. It is produced by the heat and light coming from the fire of the sun and transmitted through atmospheres. But now as the result of what he had heard about people living after death he was in doubt, a doubt which alternately lifted up and depressed his mind. When it was lifted up, he acknowledged a centre which had previously been quite unknown to him; when it was depressed he saw a centre which he thought to be the only one. Life was from the centre previously unknown to him, and nature from the centre he thought to be the only one, each centre being surrounded by an expanse.

[11] We said we approved of that, so long as he was willing to view the centre and expanse of nature from the centre and expanse of life, and not the reverse. We taught him that above the heaven of the angels there is a Sun which is pure love; it appears fiery, like the sun in the world, and the heat radiated from it is the source of will and love among angels and human beings; the light radiating from it produces their understanding and wisdom. Everything from this source is called spiritual; but the radiation from the sun of the natural world is a container or receiver of life; this is what we call natural. The expanse proper to the centre of life is called the spiritual world, and the expanse proper to the centre of nature is called the natural world, which owes its subsistence to its own sun. Now because space and time cannot be predicated of love and wisdom, but there are states instead, it follows that the expanse surrounding the sun of the heaven of angels is not a spatial extension, though it is present in the extension to which the natural sun belongs, and with the living things there, depending upon their ability to receive them, and this is determined by their forms and states.

[12] But then he asked, 'What is the origin of fire in the sun of the world, the natural sun?'

We replied that it was from the sun of the heaven of angels, which is not fire, but the Divine Love most nearly radiating from God, who is in its midst. Since he found this surprising, we gave this explanation: 'Love in its essence is spiritual fire; that is why "fire" in the spiritual sense of the Word stands for love. That is why priests in church pray that heavenly fire may fill their hearts, meaning love. The fire on the altar and the fire of the lampstand in the Tabernacle of the Israelites was nothing but a representation of Divine Love. The heat of the blood, or the vital heat of human beings, and of animals in general, comes from no other source than the love which makes up their life. That is why people become warm, grow hot and burst into flame, when their love is raised to zeal, or is aroused to anger and rage. Therefore the fact that spiritual heat, being love, produces natural heat in human beings, to such an extent as to fire and inflame their faces and bodies, can serve as a proof that the fire of the natural sun arose from no other source than the fire of the spiritual sun, which is Divine love.

[13] Now because the expanse arises from the centre, and not the reverse, as we said before, and the centre of life, which is the sun of the heaven of angels, is the Divine Love most nearly radiating from God, who is in the midst of that sun; and because this is the origin of the expanse deriving from that centre, which is called the spiritual world; and because that sun brought into being the sun of the world, and also the expanse which is called the natural world, it is plain that the universe was created by God.'

After this we went away, and he accompanied us out of the courtyard of his school, speaking with us about heaven and hell, and about Divine guidance, showing new powers of sagacity.


1. This is repeated from Conjugial Love 380.


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True Christian Religion 81

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