Conjugial Love # 137

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137. The second account:

While I was once thinking about conjugial love, I suddenly caught sight of two naked little children in the distance, with baskets in their hands and turtledoves flying around them. Then, as they came closer, they looked like naked little children modestly decked out in garlands of flowers. Their heads were decorated with little chaplets of flowers, and their breasts were adorned with sash-like wreathes of blue-colored lilies and roses that hung diagonally from their shoulders to their hips. And round about the two of them appeared what looked like a shared chain of little leaves woven together and interspersed with olives.

When they drew nearer still, however, they did not appear as little children or naked, but as two adults in the bloom of their early youth, dressed in robes and tunics of shining silk, with beautiful-looking flowers woven into them. Moreover, when they stood next to me, a springlike warmth wafted down from heaven through them with a sweet-scented fragrance, like the fragrance of first growth in gardens and fields.

The two were a married couple from heaven, and they then spoke to me. And because I was still thinking about the things I had just seen, they asked, "What did you see?"

[2] So I told them how they had first appeared to me as naked little children, then as little children decked out in garlands, and finally as people more grown up, dressed in garments decorated with flowers. I also told them how an atmosphere of spring had then instantly wafted over me with its delights.

They laughed pleasantly at this and said that on the way they had not appeared to themselves as little children or naked or wearing garlands, but the whole time had looked the same as they did now. Their appearing as they had at a distance, they said, represented their conjugial love, its state of innocence being represented by their appearing as naked little children, its delights by the garlands, and these same delights now by the flowers woven into their robes and tunics.

"And," they continued, "because you said that as we approached, a springlike warmth wafted over you with its pleasant aromas, like those from a garden, we will tell you why this was.

[3] "We have been married for centuries now," they said, "and we have remained continually in this bloom of youth in which you see us.

"At first our state was similar to the initial state of a maiden and youth when they first come together in marriage. Moreover, we believed at the time that that state was the most blissful state we could experience in life. But we were told by others in our heaven, and we afterwards perceived for ourselves, that it was a state of heat not yet tempered with light. We found that it is gradually tempered as the husband is perfected in wisdom and as the wife grows to love that wisdom in her husband, which is achieved through and according to the useful services which each of them performs in society with the other's help. We also found that new delights then follow as heat and light or wisdom and its accompanying love are tempered each with the other.

[4] "A seemingly springlike warmth wafted over you when we approached because in our heaven conjugial love and that warmth go hand in hand. For with us, warmth is love, and light with warmth joined to it is wisdom, and useful service is like an atmosphere which holds both in its embrace. What are heat and light without their containing medium? So likewise, what are love and wisdom without their expression in useful service? Without expression in useful service, there is no bond of marriage between the two, because the objective reality in which they exist is lacking.

"In heaven, one finds truly conjugial love wherever there is a springlike warmth. One finds truly conjugial love there because a springlike climate occurs only where warmth is joined to light in an even balance, or where there is as much warmth as there is light and vice versa. And we like to think that as warmth works its pleasure when accompanied by light and conversely light when accompanied by warmth, so love works its pleasure when accompanied by wisdom and conversely wisdom when accompanied by love."

[5] With us in heaven, the man said further, the light is constant, and we never experience the dusk of evening, still less darkness, because our sun does not rise and set like your sun but stands continually midway between a point overhead and the horizon, or as you would say, at an elevation of 45 degrees.

"That is why," he said, "the heat and light emanating from our sun result in perpetual spring, and this inspires a perpetual springlike state in those in whom love is united in even measure with wisdom.

"Through the eternal union of heat and light, moreover, our Lord inspires nothing that is not productive and useful. That, too, is why the sproutings of plants on your earth and the matings of your birds and animals take place in springtime. For the warmth of spring opens up their inner capabilities even to the inmost forces which are called their souls, stirring them, and imparting to them its own inclination to unite, and causing their reproductive instinct to come into its delight from a continual effort to produce fruits of use, which is the propagation of their kind.

[6] "In the case of human beings, however, there is a never-ending influx of springlike warmth from the Lord. Consequently they can experience the delights of marriage in any season, even in the middle of winter. For men were created to be receivers of light from the Lord, meaning the light of wisdom, and women were created to be receivers of warmth from the Lord, meaning the warmth of love for the wisdom in a man.

"That now is why as we approached a springlike warmth wafted over you with a sweet-scented fragrance, like the fragrance of first growth in gardens and fields."

[7] Having said this, the man gave me his right hand and took me to houses where married couples lived in the same flower of youth in which they were. And he told me that the wives, who now looked like young girls, had once been wrinkled old ladies in the world, and that the husbands, who now looked like adolescent youths, had once been decrepit old men there. They have all been returned by the Lord to the bloom of this youthful age, he said, because they loved each other and out of religion abstained from adulterous affairs as enormous sins.

He added as well that only those people know the blissful delights of conjugial love who reject the horrible delights of adultery. And no one can reject these except one who is wise from the Lord, and no one is wise from the Lord unless he performs useful services from a love of doing them.

I also caught sight then of the implements in their houses. These were all in heavenly forms, and they shone of gold that was practically ablaze with intermingled rubies.

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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".