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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


True Christian Religion #77

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77. The second experience.

One morning on waking from sleep, I was meditating in the light of a fine dawn before being fully awake, when I saw through the window what looked like a flash of lightning, and soon afterwards heard what sounded like a peal of thunder. I wondered where it had come from, but I was told from heaven that there were some people near me who were engaged in a furious dispute about God and nature, and the flash of light like lightning and the roaring in the air like thunder were correspondences, which presented the appearance of a battle and clash of arguments, with one side speaking in favour of God, the other of nature.

This spiritual battle had started like this. There were some satans in hell who said to one another: 'If only we were allowed to talk to the angels in heaven, we should prove to them fully and completely that what they call God, the source of everything, is nature, and God is no more than an expression, unless by it we mean nature.' Since those satans deeply and whole-heartedly believed that, and were so keen to talk with the angels in heaven, they were permitted to climb out of the mud and darkness of hell, and talk with two angels who came down from heaven. They met in the world of spirits, which lies midway between heaven and hell.

[2] The satans on seeing the angels rushed up to them and shouted in a furious tone: 'Are you the angels from heaven with whom we can meet to debate God and nature? You call yourselves wise because you acknowledge God, but oh how simple you are! Who has ever seen God? Who understands what God is? Who can comprehend the idea that God rules, and can control the universe and all its parts? Does anyone but the common people and the crowd acknowledge what they cannot see and understand? What is more obvious than that nature is all in all? What else can the eye see but nature? What has the ear ever heard but nature? What else has the nose smelt? What else has the tongue tasted? What else has anyone felt by the touch of his hand or body? Are not the bodily senses our factual witnesses? On their evidence anyone can swear that a thing is so. Is not breathing, which keeps our bodies alive, evidence? What do we breathe but nature? Are not our heads, and yours, in nature? and from where do our thoughts come into our heads but from nature? Take away nature and you cannot think at all.' Much more was said of the same sort.

[3] On hearing this the angels replied: 'You talk like that because you are wholly under the influence of the senses. All in hell have their mental ideas so sunk in the bodily senses that they cannot lift their minds above that level. So we forgive you. A life of evil leading to a belief in falsity has so shut off the interiors of your minds that it is impossible for them to be lifted above the sensual level, except in a state where you are distant from the evils of your lives and your false beliefs. For a Satan can understand truth just as well as an angel when he hears it, but he does not retain it, because evil obliterates truth and substitutes falsity. But we observe that you are now in that distanced state, so that you can understand the truth we are telling you. So pay attention to what we are about to say.

'You lived,' they said, 'in the natural world and there you died, and you are now in the spiritual world. Did you know anything before about life after death? Surely you denied its existence and put yourselves on a level with animals. Did you know anything before about heaven and hell, or about light and heat in this world? Or the fact that you are no longer within nature, but above it? For this world and everything in it is spiritual, and the spiritual is so far above the natural that nature, in which you lived, cannot exert the slightest influence on this world. But you, because you believed that nature was a god or goddess, still believe that the light and heat of this world are identical with the light and heat of the natural world; they are not in the slightest, for natural light is here darkness, and natural heat here is cold. Did you know anything about the sun of this world, the source of our light and heat? Did you know that this sun is pure love, and the sun of the natural world is pure fire? That the sun of the world, which is pure fire, is the source from which nature came into and continues in being? And that the sun of heaven, which is pure love, is the source from which life itself, which is love together with wisdom, comes into and continues in being? So nature, which you make into a god or a goddess, is completely lifeless?

[4] 'You can, if given protection, come up with us to heaven; and we can, if given protection, go down with you into hell. In heaven you will see magnificent and splendid sights, in hell foul and filthy ones. The reason for the difference is that in heaven all worship God, in hell all worship nature. Those magnificent and splendid sights in the heavens are the correspondences of the affections of the love of good and truth; but the foul and filthy sights in hell are correspondences of the affections of the love of evil and falsity. From both these facts you can form a conclusion whether God or nature is all in all.'

To this the satans replied: 'In our present state we can draw the conclusion from what we have heard that there is a God. But when the delight of evil takes hold of our minds, then we can see nothing but nature.'

[5] The two angels and the satans were standing not far from me, so that I saw and heard them. Around them suddenly I saw a large number of people who had been distinguished by their learning in the natural world. I was surprised to see these learned men standing at one moment next to the angels, at another next to the satans, and applauding the party they stood next to. I was told that their changes of position were changes in their mental states, as they favoured one side or the other; for in their belief they were as inconstant as weathercocks 1 . 'And we will tell you a secret,' they went on. 'We looked down to earth to see those distinguished for their learning and we found six hundred out of a thousand on the side of nature, and the rest on the side of God. And those who were on God's side, because they spoke not from the understanding but only repeating what they had been told, kept saying that nature came from God. Keeping on saying a thing from memory or recall, while not at the same time prompted by thought and intelligence, produces the outward look of faith.'

[6] After this the satans were given protection and went up with the two angels into heaven, and saw magnificent and splendid sights. Then being enlightened by the light of heaven they there acknowledged that there is a God, and that nature was created to minister to life, which comes from God; that nature is in itself lifeless and so does nothing of itself, but is acted upon by life. When they had seen these sights and experienced these perceptions, they went down; and as they came down, their love of evil returned and shut off their understanding above, and opened it underneath. Then there appeared above it what looked like a small cloud flashing with hellish fire. The moment their feet touched the earth, the ground yawned open beneath them, and they fell back down to their own kind.


1. Latin vertumnus, the name of a god of change, but here apparently used for figures which are constantly changing.


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