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www.BibleMeanings.info  ·  New Truth  ·  Conjugial Love  ·  Sections 295 ff previous  ·  next


CL 295. In this chapter, betrothals and weddings and the solemn ceremonies connected therewith are treated of chiefly from reason which pertains to the understanding; for what is written in this book has for its end that the reader may see truths from his rational understanding and so may give them his assent. In this way his spirit is convinced, and that of which the spirit is convinced is allotted a higher place in the mind than that which enters from authority and the faith thereof, without any consultation of the reason. What enters from authority alone, enters the head no farther than the memory, and there, is commingled with fallacies and falsities. Thus it has its place below things rational which pertain to the understanding. Any man can talk from the things of his memory as though rationally, but in inverted order; for he then thinks as a crab walks, the sight following the tail. Not so if he thinks from his understanding. When he does this, his rational sight makes suitable selections from the memory, and by these he confirms a truth which is seen in itself.

[2] It is for this reason that in the present chapter many things are adduced which are accepted customs; as, for instance, that choice belongs to the man; that parents are to be consulted; that pledges are to be given; that a conjugial covenant is to be entered into before the wedding; that this covenant is to be consecrated by a priest; also that the wedding should be celebrated (with festivity); and many other things. These are adduced to the end that, from his rational understanding, man may see that they are inscribed on conjugial love as the requisites thereof, promoting and completing it.

[3] The articles into which this lucubration is divided are, in their order, the following:

1. That choice belongs to the man and not to the woman.

2. That it behoves the man to court the woman and ask her respecting marriage with him, and not the reverse.

3. That before she consents, it behoves the woman to consult her parents or those in the place of parents, and then to deliberate with herself.

4. That after the declaration of consent, pledges are to be given.

5. That consent is to be strengthened and confirmed by a solemn betrothal.

6. That by betrothal each is prepared for conjugial love.

7. That by betrothal the mind of the one is conjoined to the mind of the other in order that a marriage of the spirit may take place before that of the body.

8. That this is the case with those who think of marriages chastely; not so with those who think of them unchastely.

9. That during the time of betrothal it is not lawful to be conjoined corporeally.

10. That when the time of betrothal is completed, the wedding ought to take place.

11. That before the celebration of the wedding, a conjugial covenant is to be entered into in the presence of witnesses.

12. That the marriage is to be consecrated by a priest.

13. That the wedding is to be celebrated with festivity.

14. That after the wedding, the marriage of the spirit becomes also a marriage of the body and thus complete.

15. That such is the order of conjugial love, with its modes, from its first heat to its first torch.

16. That conjugial love, precipitated without order and its modes, burns out the marrows and is consumed.

17. That the states of the mind of each, proceeding in successive order, inflow into the state of marriage, yet in one way with the spiritual and in another with the natural.

18. Because there is successive order and simultaneous order, and the latter is from the former and according to it.

Now follows the explanation of the above.

CL 296. I. That choice belongs to the man and not to the woman. This is because

1. Man is born to be understanding and woman to be love.

2. With men is love of the sex in general but with women love of one of the sex.

3. With men it is not unbecoming to speak of love and to speak of it openly, while with women it is unbecoming.

Still, women have the right to choose one among their suitors.

As regards the first reason, that choice belongs to men because they are born for understanding, this is because the understanding can see compatibilities and incompatibilities, and can discriminate between them and from judgment can choose the suitable. This is not the case with women. Being born for love, they do not have the clear-sightedness of that light and hence would have no determination towards marriage save from the inclinations of their love. If they have the knowledge of how to distinguish between men, their love is still carried along according to appearances.

[2] As to the second reason why choice lies with men and not with women, that with men is love of the sex in general and with women love of one of the sex, this is because those who have love of the sex have freedom to look around and also to decide. Not so with women, for in them is implanted love of one of the sex. If you wish to confirm this, take any man whom you may meet and ask him about monogamous and polygamous marriage; rarely will you find one who will not answer in favour of polygamous marriage--and this also is love of the sex. But ask women about these marriages, and nearly all except prostitutes will reject polygamous marriages. From this it is clear that with women is the love of one of the sex, thus conjugial love.

[3] As regards the third reason, that with men it is not unbecoming to speak of love and to speak of it openly, and that with women it is unbecoming, this is self-evident. It further follows that to man belongs also the declaration, and if the declaration, also the choice. That women have the right of choice from among their suitors is known, but this kind of choice is restricted and limited, while that of men is extended and unlimited.

CL 297. II. That it behoves the man to court the woman and ask her respecting marriage with him, and not the reverse. This is a consequence following choice. For men, the courting of women and the asking them in marriage is in itself honourable and decorous, but not for women. If women were to ask men, they would not only be censured, but after the asking they would be counted cheap or, after the marriage, as wantons with whom there is no fellowship except what is cold and disdainful. Marriages would thus be turned into tragic scenes. Wives, moreover, account it to their praise that they yielded themselves to the earnest entreaty of the men, as though conquered. Who does not foresee that if women were to court men they would rarely be accepted? rather would they be indignantly spurned or enticed to wantonness; they would also prostitute their modesty. Moreover, as shown above (n. 161:2), with men there is no innate love of the sex, and without that love there is no interior pleasantness of life. Therefore, if they are to exalt their life by that love, it is incumbent on men to be pleasant with women, soliciting and entreating them for this sweet addition to their life with courtesy, deference, and humility. Moreover, the beauty of that sex above the male in face, body, and manners, adds itself as a claim on their devotion.

CL 298. III. That before she consents, it behoves the woman to consult her parents or those in the place of parents, and then to deliberate with herself. That the parents should be consulted is because they deliberate and counsel from judgment, knowledge, and love. From judgment, because they are more advanced in age, and age improves the judgment and gives clear sight in regard to suitableness and incompatibility. From knowledge both of the suitor and of their daughter. Knowledge concerning the suitor they gather, and knowledge concerning their daughter they already have. It is therefore with a joint sight that they form their conclusion as to each of them. From love, because to consult the welfare of their daughter and to provide a home for her is also to consult their own welfare and to provide for themselves.

CL 299. It would be wholly different if the daughter were to give consent to her suitor independently without consultation with her parents or those in the place of parents; for she cannot weigh this matter, which concerns her future welfare, from judgment, knowledge, and love. Not from judgment because her judgment is as yet in ignorance in respect to conjugial life and is not in a state to compare reasons or, from the lives of men, to discern their morals. Not from knowledge or cognition, because she knows little beyond the domestic concerns of her parents and of some companions, and is unfitted to search into things private and personal to her wooer. Not from love, because with daughters in this first marriageable age, and also in the next, love follows the longings arising from the senses, and not as yet the desires arising from a cultivated mind.

[2] The reason why it yet behoves a daughter to deliberate on the matter with herself before consenting is lest she be carried unwillingly into a tie with a man unloved, for then, on her part, consent is lacking; yet it is this which makes marriage and initiates her spirit into that love. Unwilling or extorted consent does not initiate the spirit, though it may the body; thus it converts chastity which resides in the spirit into lust, whereby conjugial love is corrupted in its first heat.

CL 300. IV. That after the declaration of consent, pledges are to be given. By pledges are meant gifts. After the consent, these are confirmations, testifications, first favours, and gratifications. That the gifts are confirmations is because they are the tokens of mutual consent. Therefore, when two persons consent to anything, it is said, "Give me a token," and of two who are solemnly betrothed and have confirmed their betrothal by gifts, it is said that they are pledged and so confirmed.

[2] That they are testifications is because these pledges are like continual eye-witnesses of their mutual love and hence are also memorials thereof, especially if they are rings, scent-bottles and pendants which are suspended in sight, there being in these an image representative of the minds of the bridegroom and bride. That these pledges are first favours is because conjugial love promises itself everlasting favour, and of this, these gifts are the first fruits. That they are the gratifications of love is known, for the mind is exhilarated at the sight of them; and because love is in them, these favours are dearer and more precious than all other gifts.

[3] It is as though their hearts were in them. Moreover, because these pledges are stabilizers of conjugial love, the giving of gifts after consent was an established custom among the ancients, and after acceptance of them, the two were declared to be bride-groom and bride. But it should be known that the giving of gifts, whether before the act of betrothal or after, is a matter of choice. They are confirmations and testifications of consent to the betrothal if given before it, and to the nuptials if given after it.

CL 301. V. That consent is to be strengthened and confirmed by a solemn betrothal. The reasons for betrothals are as follows:

1. That after them the two souls may mutually incline to each other.

2. That the universal love to the sex may be determined in each to one of the sex.

3. That the interior affections may be mutually known, and by applications may be conjoined in the inward cheerfulness of love.

4. That the spirits of the two may enter into marriage and be more and more consociated.

5. That conjugial love may thus rightly progress from its first heat to its nuptial flame.

6. Consequently, that conjugial love may proceed from its spiritual origin in just order and may take increase.

The state of betrothal may be likened to the state of spring before summer, and the internal amenities of that state to the blossoming of trees before fructification. Since the initiations and progressions of conjugial love proceed in order, to the end that they may flow into the effective love which commences from the wedding, therefore in the heavens also there are betrothals.

CL 302. VI. That by betrothal each is prepared for conjugial love. That by betrothal, the mind or spirit of the one is prepared for union with the mind or spirit of the other, or, what is the same thing, the love of the one with the love of the other, is evident from the arguments presented in the preceding article. It should be mentioned in addition, that on conjugial love is inscribed the following order: It ascends and descends. From its first heat it ascends progressively upwards towards their souls with an effort to conjunction there, and this by continually more interior openings of their minds--and there is no love which labours for these openings more intensely, or which opens the interiors of their minds more powerfully and easily, than conjugial love, inasmuch as the soul of each intends it; but by the same movements that this love ascends towards the soul, it also descends towards the body and thereby clothes itself.

[2] It should be known, however, that conjugial love is of the same nature in its descent as it is in the height to which it has ascended; if it is in its height, it descends chaste, and if not in its height it descends unchaste. The reason is because the lower parts of the mind are unchaste, but its higher parts chaste; for the lower parts of the mind cleave to the body, while its higher parts separate themselves from the lower. But on this subject more may be seen below (n. 305). From these few considerations, it can be seen that by betrothal the minds of the two are prepared for conjugial love, though in different ways according to their affections.

CL 303. VII. That by betrothal the mind of the one is conjoined to the mind of the other in order that a marriage of the spirit may take place before that of the body. Since this is a conclusion from what has been said above (n. 301, 302), it is passed by without adducing further confirmations from reason.

CL 304. VIII. That this is the case with those who think of marriages chastely; not so with those who think of them unchastely. With the chaste, being those who think about marriages from religion, the marriage of the spirit precedes, and that of the body follows. These are the ones spoken of above (n. 302), with whom the love ascends towards the soul and then descends from its height. Their souls separate themselves from the unlimited love of the sex and, attaching themselves to one, look to an everlasting and eternal union with that one, and to the increasing blessings thereof as nourishers of the hope which continually recreates their minds.

[2] Wholly different is it with the unchaste, being those who do not think of marriages and the holiness thereof from religion. With them, there is a marriage of the body and none of the spirit. If anything of a marriage of the spirit appears during the state of betrothal, yet, if this ascends by an elevation of the thoughts respecting it, it nevertheless falls back to the concupiscences which are in the will from the flesh; and so, by reason of the unchaste things there, casts itself headlong into the body and pollutes the ultimates of its love with alluring ardour. The result is, that as in the beginning it burned, so, suddenly it burns out and passes off into the cold of winter whereby its disappearance is accelerated. With such men, the state of betrothal does hardly aught else than help to fill their concupiscences with things lascivious, and from these to contaminate the conjugial of love.

CL 305. IX. That during the time of betrothal it is not lawful to be conjoined corporeally, for thus the order which is inscribed on conjugial love perishes. In human minds there are three regions, the highest of which is called celestial, the middle spiritual, and the lowest natural. It is into this lowest region that man is born. He ascends into his higher region, which is called spiritual, by a life according to the truths of religion; and into the highest, by the marriage of love and wisdom. In the lowest region, which is called natural, reside all the concupiscences of evil and lasciviousness, but in the higher region which is called spiritual, are no concupiscences of evil and lasciviousness, for man is led into this region by the Lord when he is born again; and in the highest region called celestial, is conjugial chastity residing in its own love. Man is elevated into this region by the love of uses, and since the most excellent uses are from marriages, by love truly conjugial.

[2] From this it can be seen in brief, that from the first periods of its heat, conjugial love, if it is to become chaste, must be elevated from the lowest region into the highest, that from what is chaste it may then be let down through the middle and lowest region into the body. When this is done, this lowest region is purified of its unchastities by the descent of what is chaste, and then the ultimate of that love also becomes chaste. If then the successive order of this love be precipitated by corporeal conjunctions before their due time, it follows that the man acts from the lowest region which is unchaste from birth. That from this region, cold in respect to marriage and neglect of the married partner together with loathing, has its beginning and origin, is well known. Yet there are various differences in the results of premature conjunction, as also of an over-prolonging and likewise of an over-hastening of the time of betrothal; but on account of their number and varieties, these can hardly be adduced.

CL 306. X. That when the time of betrothal is completed, the wedding ought to take place. There are ceremonies which are merely formal, and ceremonies which are also essential. Among the latter are weddings. That these are classed among essentials to be publicly solemnized and formally celebrated, is confirmed by the following reasons:

1. That the wedding marks the end of the previous state inaugurated by betrothal, which was principally a state of the spirit, and the beginning of the later state to be inaugurated by marriage, which is a state of the spirit and at the same time of the body; for then the spirit enters the body and there acts. On that day, therefore, they put off the state and also the name of bridegroom and bride and put on the state and name of married partners and consorts of the bed.

2. That the wedding is an introduction and entrance into a new state, and this that the virgin may become a wife and the young man a husband, and the two one flesh. This they do become when love unites them by ultimates. That marriage does actually change the virgin into a wife and the young man into a husband, has been shown in preceding pages, as also that marriage unites the two into one human form so that they are no more two but one flesh.

3. That the wedding is the entering into a complete separation of love of the sex from conjugial love. This is effected when, through full opportunity for conjunction, there comes an exclusive devotion of the love of the one consort to the love of the other.

4. It appears as if the wedding merely marks the interval between these two states, and thus that it is a mere formality which may be omitted; yet, in the wedding there is also the essential element, that the new state mentioned above is then to be entered into by a covenant, and that consent is to be declared in the presence of witnesses and also to be consecrated by a priest, besides other things whereby it is established.

Since the wedding involves essentials, and not until after it, does the marriage become legitimate, therefore weddings are celebrated in the heavens also. See above, (n. 21), and what follows in (n. 27-41).

CL 307. XI. That before the celebration of the wedding, a conjugial covenant is to be entered into in the presence of witnesses. A conjugial covenant should rightly be entered into before the wedding is celebrated, in order that the statutes and laws of love truly conjugial may be known and may be remembered after the wedding; also that it may be a bond, holding their minds within the bounds of rightful marriage; for after the initial stages of marriage, the state preceding betrothal returns at times, and in this state remembrance vanishes and forgetfulness of the contracted covenant comes in. Yea, by reason of enticements to things unchaste coming from unchaste persons, it becomes wholly obliterated, and if it is then recalled to mind, there comes a disparagement of it. For the averting of these transgressions, society has taken upon itself the protection of this covenant, and has enacted penalties against those who break it. In a word, the ante-nuptial covenant makes known the ordinances of love truly conjugial, establishes them, and binds libertines to obedience to them. Add to this, that by this covenant the right to propagate children, and for the children the right to inherit the goods of their parents, is made legitimate.

CL 308. XII. That the marriage is to be consecrated by a priest. The reason is because, viewed in themselves, marriages are spiritual and hence holy; for they descend from the heavenly marriage of good and truth, and things conjugial correspond to the Divine marriage of the Lord and the Church. Hence they are from the Lord Himself, and are according to the state of the Church with the contracting parties. Now because on earth the ecclesiastical order administers those things with the Lord which pertain to the priesthood, that is, which pertain to His Love, and thus also those which pertain to blessing, it is necessary that marriages be consecrated by His ministers. And because at the same time these ministers are also the chief witnesses, it is likewise necessary that the consent to the covenant be heard, accepted, confirmed, and thus established by them.

CL 309. XIII. That the wedding is to be celebrated with festivity. The reasons are, because the ante-nuptial love which was that of the bridegroom and bride, then descends into their hearts, and by its diffusion therefrom into every part of their body, the delights of marriage are sensated. From these delights, their minds have festive thoughts and also express themselves in festivities so far as this is proper and becoming. For the promotion of these, it is important that the festivities of their minds be enjoyed in the company of others, and they themselves be thus introduced into the joys of conjugial love.

CL 310. XIV. That after the wedding, the marriage of the spirit becomes also a marriage of the body and thus complete. All that is done by man in the body flows in from his spirit. As is well known, the mouth does not speak of itself but the thought of the mind by the mouth, and the hands do not act, nor the feet walk, of themselves, but the will of the mind by them; consequently, it is the mind that speaks by its organ the mouth, and the mind that acts by its organs in the body. It is evident, therefore, that as the mind is, such are the words of the mouth and such the deeds of the body. From this the conclusion follows, that by continual influx, the mind instigates the body to activities conformable and synchronous with itself. Therefore, inwardly regarded, the bodies of men are nothing else than forms of their minds organized outwardly to effect the behests of the soul. The above is premised that it may be perceived whence it is that minds or spirits must first be united with each other as in a marriage before there is unition as to the body also; and this, in order that marriages may be marriages of the spirit when they become marriages of the body; consequently, that married partners may love each other from the spirit and thence in the body.

[2] With these premises, let us now look at marriage. When conjugial love conjoins the minds of two and forms them into a marriage, it also conjoins and forms their bodies for that marriage; for, as was said, the form of the mind is also interiorly the form of the body, with the sole difference that the latter is outwardly organized for bringing into effect that to which the interior form of the body is determined by the mind. But the mind which has been formed by reason of conjugial love is not only inwardly present in the whole body and its every part, but in addition is inwardly present in the organs devoted to generation, which are situated in their own region below the other regions of the body. With those who are united in conjugial love, the forms of their minds terminate in these organs; consequently, the affections and thoughts of their minds are determined thither. In this respect, it is different with the activities of minds arising from other loves, for these do not reach thus far. From this comes the conclusion, that according to the nature of the conjugial love in the minds or spirits of two, such is it interiorly in these its organs. That after the wedding the marriage of the spirit becomes also a marriage of the body and thus complete, is self-evident. Consequently, that if the marriage in the spirit is chaste and partakes of the holiness of marriage, it is likewise chaste when in its fullness in the body; and the reverse, if the marriage in the spirit is unchaste.

CL 311. XV. That this is the order of conjugial love, with its modes, from its first heat to its first torch. It is said, from its first heat to its first torch because vital heat is love, and conjugial heat or love increases more and more, and finally as though to a flame or torch. It is said to the first torch, because what is meant is the first state after the wedding when the love is ardent. What it becomes after this torch, in the marriage itself, has been described in preceding chapters. This part of the lucubration has explained its order from the first starting point to this its first goal.

[2] From what is known and visible in the world, it can be adequately confirmed and made clear before the reason that all order proceeds from first things to last, and that the last of one order becomes the first of the next following order; also that all things of an intermediate order are the last of a prior and the first of a posterior order; and that it is in this way that ends go forth continually through causes into effects. But these matters are passed by, since all that is here treated of is the order in which (conjugial) love goes forth from its first starting point to its goal. Respecting this, we say only the following: As is the order of this love from its first heat to its first torch, such for the most part it is, in and within its subsequent progress; for in that progress, this first heat reveals itself such as it was in itself; if chaste, then, in its progressions, its chasteness is strengthened; but if unchaste, then in its progress its unchasteness increases until it is deprived of all the chasteness in which it had been outwardly but not inwardly from the time of betrothal.

CL 312. XVI. That conjugial love, precipitated without order and its modes, burns out the marrows and is consumed. This is so stated by some in heaven; and by the marrows they mean the interiors of the mind and body. The reason why these are burned out, that is, are consumed, when conjugial love is precipitated, is because the love then commences from a flame which consumes and destroys the sanctuaries wherein, as in its beginnings, conjugial love is to dwell, and from which it is to commence. This is the case when a man and woman precipitate marriage without order, not looking to the Lord, not consulting reason, rejecting betrothal, and yielding only to the flesh; and if that love commences from the burning heat of the flesh, it becomes external and not internal, thus not conjugial. It can then be called a shell-love, not a kernel-love; or a flesh-love, lean and dry, because emptied of its genuine essence. More on this subject may be seen above (n. 305).

CL 313. XVII. That the states of the mind of each, proceeding in successive order, inflow into the state of marriage, yet in one way with the spiritual and in another with the natural. That the last or ultimate state is of the same nature as the successive order from which it is formed and has existence, is a canon which must be acknowledged in the learned world because of its truth; for thereby is disclosed what influx is, and what its operation. By influx is meant all that which precedes and composes a sequence and, by means of what follows in order, composes the last or ultimate thing; thus, with man, all that precedes and composes his wisdom; with a statesman, all that precedes and composes his prudence; with a theologian, all that precedes and composes his learning; likewise everything from a man's infancy which precedes and composes the man; also what proceeds in order from the seed and shrub and makes the tree, and then proceeds from the blossom and makes the fruit; in like manner, all that precedes and proceeds with a bride-groom and bride and makes their marriage. This is what is meant by influx.

[2] That in human minds all the things which precede, form series, and that the series band together, one beside the other and one after the other, and together compose the ultimate, is as yet unknown in the world. It is adduced here because it is a truth from heaven whereby the operation of influx is disclosed, and also the nature of the ultimate in which the successively formed series just spoken of coexist. From this it can be seen that the states of the mind of each married partner, proceeding in successive order, flow into the state of marriage. But after marriage they are in complete ignorance concerning the successive things in their animi, which are insinuated from things antecedent; yet it is these that give form to their conjugial love and make that state of mind from which they act with each other.

[3] That with spiritual men as compared with natural, a different state is formed from a different origin, is because spiritual men proceed in just order and natural men in unjust. The spiritual look to the Lord, and the Lord provides the order and directs it; but the natural look to themselves and hence proceed in inverted order. Therefore, the state of their marriage is inwardly full of things unchaste, and these are so many colds, and the colds so many obstructions to inmost life, closing its stream and drying up its fountain.

CL 314. XVIII. Because there is successive order and simultaneous order, and the latter is from the former and according to it. This is adduced as a cause confirming what has preceded. That there is succession and simultaneity, is known, but that simultaneous order is from successive order and according to it, is not known. It is extremely difficult, however, to present to the perception the mode in which things successive carry themselves into things simultaneous, and the nature of the order they form there; for among the learned there is as yet no idea that can serve for the elucidation of the matter. And since a preliminary idea of this arcanum cannot be presented in a few words, and to present it here at length would draw the mind away from a clearer view of conjugial love, it will suffice as serving to throw light on the subject, to adduce what is said in summary form concerning these two orders, the successive and the simultaneous, and concerning the influx of the former into the latter, in THE DOCTRINE OF THE NEW JERUSALEM CONCERNING THE SACRED SCRIPTURE (SACRED n. 38), where are these words:

[2] "Both in heaven and in the world there is successive order and simultaneous order. In successive order, one thing follows after another from the highest to the lowest, but in simultaneous order one thing is next to another from the inmost to the outmost. Successive order is like a column with steps from the top to the bottom; simultaneous order is like a work coherent from the centre to the circumference. In the ultimate, successive order becomes simultaneous in the following way: The highest things of successive order become the inmost of simultaneous order; and the lowest things of successive order become the outmost of simultaneous order. It is comparatively like as when a column of steps by subsiding becomes a body cohering in a plane. In this way, what is simultaneous is formed from things successive, and this in each and every thing of the spiritual world, and in each and every thing of the natural world." See also (SACRED n. 65) in that work, and further on this subject in ANGELIC WISDOM CONCERNING DIVINE LOVE AND WISDOM, (DLW n. 205-229).

[3] It is the same with the successive order leading to marriage and the simultaneous order in marriage, that is to say, the latter is from the former and according to it. He who knows the influx of things successive into things simultaneous can comprehend the reason why angels are able to see in a man's hand all the thoughts and intentions of his mind; and also why it is, that wives, from their husbands' hands upon their breasts, can feel their affections, of which matter mention has been made at times in the Memorable Relations. The reason is because the hands are the ultimates of man into which the deliberations and conclusions of his mind are determined and become simultaneous. Therefore it is said in the Word that it is "written upon the hands" (Isa. 49:16).

CL 315. To the above I will add two Memorable Relations. First:

I once saw not far from me a meteor. I saw a cloud divided into little clouds, some of which were blue and some opaque. These I saw colliding, as it were, with one another. Rays flashed across them in the form of streaks appearing now sharp like the points of swords, now blunt like broken blades. These streaks now darted forwards, now retreated, exactly like pugilists. It seemed as though the vari-coloured cloudlets were fighting with one another, but they were sporting. Since the meteor appeared to be not far away, I lifted up my eyes, and looking intently, saw boys, men, and old men entering a house which was built of marble with a substructure of porphyry. Above this house was the phenomenon which I had seen. Then, addressing one of those who were entering, I asked, "What is going on there?" He answered, "A gymnasium where young men are initiated into various matters pertaining to wisdom."

[2] Hearing this, I went in with them, being in the spirit, that is, in a state like that in which are men in the spiritual world who are called spirits and angels. And lo, in the gymnasium, in front was seen a stately chair with steps; in the middle, benches; round about at the sides, seats, and over the entrance a balcony. The chair was for the young men who gave answer to the problem then to be proposed; the benches were for the auditors; the seats at the sides for those who had answered wisely on previous occasions; and the balcony for the elders who were to be the arbiters and judges. In the middle of the balcony was a tribune where sat a wise man whom they called Chief Teacher. It was he who proposed the problems which the young men were to answer from the chair.

After they were assembled, this man arose from the tribune and said, "Give answer now, I pray, to this problem, and solve it if you can: What is the soul, and what is its nature?"

[3] On hearing this problem all were amazed, and there was a general murmur. Some of the assembly sitting on the benches then exclaimed, "Who among men, from the Saturnian age to the present time, has been able to see and apprehend with any rational thought what the soul is, and still less what its nature? Is not this above the sphere of the understanding of all men?" But to this those in the balcony replied, "It is not above the understanding but within it and before it; only answer."

The young men chosen for that day to mount the chair and give answer to the problem then rose up. They were five young men who had been examined by the elders and found to excel in sagacity. They were then sitting on couches at the sides of the chair. Later they mounted the chair in the order in which they were sitting. When going up, each put on a silk tunic of an opaline colour, over this a robe of soft wool in which flowers were embroidered, and on his head a cap, upon the crown of which was a chaplet of roses encircled with small sapphires.

[4] I saw the first young man go up thus clothed. He said: "What the soul is and what its nature, has not been revealed to anyone since the day of creation. It is an arcanum among the treasures of God alone. It has, however, been disclosed that the soul resides in man as a queen, and learned seers have conjectured as to the place of her court. Some conjecture that it is in a small tubercle between the cerebrum and cerebellum, called the pineal gland. They fixed the seat of the soul there because the whole man is ruled from those two brains, and this tubercle regulates them. Therefore, regulating the brains at its will, it also regulates the whole man from head to heel." He then added, "To many in the world this appeared to be true or probable, but a later age has rejected it as a figment."

[5] When he had said this, he put off the robe, tunic, and cap, and the second of the chosen young men put them on and entered the chair. His statement respecting the soul was as follows: "What the soul is and what its nature is unknown in the whole of heaven and in all the world. That there is a soul is known, and also that it is within man, but where, is a matter of conjecture. That it is in the head is certain, since there the understanding thinks and the will intends; moreover, frontwards in the face of the head are man's five sensories. Nothing gives life to the latter as well as to the former save the soul which resides in the head. But where in the head its court is, this I do not venture to say, though in the past I have agreed sometimes with those who place its seat in the three ventricles of the cerebrum, sometimes with those who place its seat in the corpora striata there, sometimes with those who place its seat in the medullary substance of each brain, sometimes with those who place it in the cortical substance, sometimes with those who place it in the dura mater.

[6] Votes based on confirmations in favour of each of these seats have not been lacking. The arguments favouring the three ventricles were, that these ventricles are the receptacles of animal spirits and lymphs from all parts of the cerebrum. The arguments favouring the striated bodies were, that these bodies furnish the medulla through which the nerves have their exit and through which both brains are continued into the spine, and from the latter and the former issue the fibres of which the whole body is contextured. The arguments favouring the medullary substance of the two brains were, that this substance is a collection and congeries of all the fibres which are the initiaments of the whole man. The arguments favouring the cortical substance were, that in this substance are the first ends and the last, and thus the beginnings of all the fibres, and so of all sensations and motions. The arguments favouring the dura mater were that this mater is the common covering of both brains, and from these, by a kind of continuity, extends over the heart and over the viscera of the body. As for myself, I make no decision concerning anyone argument more than another. Do you yourselves decide, I pray, and elect which of them is the preferable."

[7] Having thus spoken, he descended from the chair and passed the tunic, robe, and cap to the third young man. Ascending the chair, the latter then said: "What have I, a young man, to do with so sublime a theorem? I appeal to the learned men sitting here at the sides; I appeal to you wise men in the balcony; yea, I appeal to the angels of the highest heaven, whether anyone from his own rational light can get any idea of the soul. As to its seat in man, however, I, like others, can make conjecture; and I conjecture that it is in the heart and thence in the blood. This is my conjecture because the heart by its blood rules both the body and the head; for it sends out the great vessel called the aorta into the whole body, and the vessels called the carotids into the whole head. Hence there is general agreement that it is from the heart by means of the blood that the soul sustains, nourishes, vivifies the whole organic system of the body and head. What adds to the credibility of this assertion is the fact that soul and heart are so often mentioned in Sacred Scripture, as that thou shalt love God from the whole heart and the whole soul, and that God creates in man a new soul and a new heart (Deut. 6:5; 10:12; 11:13; 26:16; Jer. 32:41; Matt. 22:37; Mark 12:30, 33; Luke 10:27). In (Leviticus 17:11, 14), it is openly said that the blood is the soul of the flesh." On hearing this, some raised their voices and exclaimed, "Learnedly spoken, learnedly spoken." They were of the clergy.

[8] Then the fourth young man put on the vestments of the former speaker, and entering the chair, said: "I also suspect that no one is of a genius so subtle and refined that he can discern what the soul is and what its nature. I opine therefore, that in the man who wishes to investigate it, subtlety is wasted in vain efforts. Yet, from boyhood I have retained a belief in the opinion held by the ancients, that man's soul is in the whole of him and in every part of that whole; thus, that it is both in the head and the several parts thereof, and in the body and in its several parts; and that the assigning it a seat in some special place and not everywhere was a vain notion invented by the moderns. The soul, moreover, is a spiritual substance, and of this, extension cannot be predicated, nor can place, but only habitation and impletion. Besides, when anyone mentions soul, does he not mean life? and is not life in the whole and in every part?" Many in the audience showed their approval of these remarks.

[9] The fifth young man then arose and, adorned with the same insignia, spoke from the chair as follows: "I do not dwell on telling where the soul is, whether in some one part or everywhere in the whole; but from my stock and store, I will open my mind on the question, What is the soul and what its nature? No one thinks of the soul as being aught else than a pure something which can be likened to ether or air or wind, wherein, by reason of the rationality which man has above beasts, is something vital. I base this opinion upon the fact that when a man expires, he is said to breathe out or give up his soul or spirit. Moreover, it is from this that the soul, when living after death, is thought to be such a breath wherein is the cogitative life called soul. What else can the soul be? But as I heard you say from the balcony that the problem concerning the soul, what it is and what its nature, is not above the understanding but in it and before it, I beg and pray that you yourselves will open up this eternal arcanum."

[10] The elders in the balcony then looked to the Chief Teacher who had proposed the problem. Understanding from their nods that they wished him to go down and teach, he at once descended from the tribune, passed through the auditorium, and entered the chair. Then, extending his hand, he said: "Listen, I pray. Who does not believe the soul to be the inmost and subtlest essence of man! and what is an essence without a form but an imaginary entity? The soul, therefore, is a form. As to the nature of its form, this shall now be told. It is the form of all things pertaining to love, and of all things pertaining to wisdom. All things pertaining to love are called affections, and all pertaining to wisdom are called perceptions. The latter are from the former, and the two together thus make one form wherein innumerable things are in such order, series, and coherence, that they can be called a one. They can be called a one because, if that one is to remain what it is, nothing can be taken away from it, nor anything be added. What is the human soul but such a form? Are not all things pertaining to love, and all things pertaining to wisdom, the essentials of that form? And with man these are in his soul and, from his soul, in his head and body.

[11] You are called spirits and angels; and in the world you thought that spirits and angels and thus minds and animi are as winds or ethers. But now you see clearly that you are truly, really, and actually men--men who in the world had lived and thought in a material body. You knew that it is not the material body that lives and thinks but the spiritual substance in that body. You called this the soul, but did not know its form. Yet, you have now seen it and still see it. All here present are souls, about the immortality of which you have heard, thought, spoken, and written so much; and being forms of love and wisdom from God, you cannot die to all eternity. The soul then is a human form from which not the least thing can be taken away, and to which not the least can be added. It is also the inmost form of all the forms of the entire body. And since the forms which are outside it take their essence and form from this inmost form, therefore you, just as you appear to yourselves and to us, are souls. In a word, the soul, being the inmost man, is the man himself, and therefore its form is the human form in all fullness and perfection. Yet it is not life but the nearest receptacle of life from God, and thus the dwelling-place of God."

[12] Many applauded these words, but some said, "We must weigh them."

I then went home and lo, in place of the former meteor there was seen above the gymnasium a bright white cloud, devoid of contending streaks or rays. This cloud, penetrating the roof, entered the gymnasium and illumined its walls, and I heard that they saw inscriptions there, and among others the following: Jehovah God breathed into man's nostrils the SOUL OF LIVES and man became a LIVING SOUL. (Gen. 2:7).

CL 316. The second Memorable Relation:

Walking once in tranquillity of animus and delightful peace of mind, I saw in the distance a grove, midway in which was an avenue leading to a small palace; and I saw maidens and young men and husbands and wives entering therein. In the spirit, I also went thither, and asked a guard standing at the entrance whether I too might enter. He looked at me, and I said, "Why do you look at me?" He answered: "I look at you to see whether the delight of peace which is in your face is in any way derived from the delight of conjugial love. Behind this avenue is a small garden, and in its centre a house where are two newly married partners, and today their friends of both sexes are coming to them to wish them happiness. Those whom I admit, I myself do not know, but I was told that I would know them by their faces; if in their faces I saw the delight of conjugial love I was to admit, but not others."

All angels can perceive the heart's delights of others from their faces, and because I was meditating on conjugial love, it was the delight of that love that he saw in my face; the meditation shone forth from my eyes and thence entered the interiors of my face. Therefore he told me I might enter.

[2] The avenue by which I entered was an avenue of fruit trees joined together by their branches, thus forming a continuous wall of trees on either side. Through this avenue I passed into a small garden which breathed a pleasant fragrance from its shrubs and flowers. The shrubs and the flowers were in pairs, and I heard that gardens of this kind appear around houses where there are or have been weddings, and that they are therefore called nuptial gardens.

I then went into the house and there saw the two partners holding each other by the hand and conversing together from love truly conjugial; and it was given me to see from their faces the effigy of conjugial love, and from their conversation its vitality.

With many others, I offered my congratulations and wished them happiness, after which I went into the nuptial garden. There, on the right, I saw a group of young men to which all who came from the house were hastening. The reason they were all hastening was because the discourse there was about conjugial love, and by some hidden power such discourse attracts the minds of all. I then heard a wise man speaking of that love, and what I heard was in brief as follows:

[3] "The Lord's Divine Providence is most singular and at the same time most universal in regard to marriages in the heavens, and in the marriages themselves, because all the happiness of heaven springs from the delights of conjugial love, as sweet waters from the sweet vein of a fountain. Therefore it is provided by the Lord that conjugial pairs be born, and that, all unknown to the boy and girl, they be continually educated for marriage; that in due time, the girl, then a marriageable maiden, and the boy then a young man fit for entrance into marriage, meet somewhere as if by chance and see each other; that, as if by instinct, they instantly know that they are mates, and, as though from a kind of inner dictate, think within themselves, the young man, `She is mine', and the maiden, `He is mine'; and that after this thought has dwelt for some time in the minds of both, they deliberately address each other and are betrothed. It is said, as if by fate and as if by instinct, but what is meant is by Divine Providence because, when not known, Divine Providence has this appearance."

That conjugial pairs are born, and, unknown to both, are educated for marriage, this he confirmed by the conjugial similitude visible in the faces of both; also by their inmost and eternal union, in animus and mind. Unions of this kind, such as they are in heaven, are not possible unless foreseen and provided by the Lord.

[4] After the wise man had thus spoken and the company had applauded, he said further: "There is something conjugial in the very minutest particulars with man, both male and female; but this conjugial is one thing with the male and another with the female. In the masculine conjugial there is something conjunctive with the feminine conjugial, and vice versa, and this in their most single parts." This he confirmed by the marriage of the will and understanding in each individual. "These two act together upon the most single parts of the mind, and upon the most single parts of the body, and from this it can be seen that the conjugial is present in each individual substance, even the least. This becomes evident from their compound substances, these being made up of simple substances. Thus there are two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, two cheeks, two lips, two arms and hands, two loins, two feet; and within man, two hemispheres of the brain, two ventricles of the heart, two lobes of the lungs, two kidneys, two testicles; and where the organs are not dual they are yet divided into two parts. They are two because the one pertains to the will and the other to the understanding, and these act upon each other so marvellously that they present a one. Thus the two eyes make one sight, the two ears one hearing, the two nostrils one smell, the two lips one speech, the two hands one labour, the two feet one walking, the two hemispheres of the brain one dwelling-place of the mind, the two chambers of the heart one life of the body by means of the blood, the two lobes of the lungs one respiration, and so on; but the masculine and feminine when united by love truly conjugial make one life completely human."

[5] While these words were being spoken, there appeared on the right, lightning which became red; and on the left, lightning which became a bright white. Both were mild, and through the eyes they entered into the mind and enlightened this also. After these lightnings came thunder, being a gentle murmur flowing down from the angelic heaven and growing louder. Hearing and seeing this, the wise man said: "This is a sign and admonition to me that I should add these words to my discourse: The right of those pairs signifies their good, and the left their truth. This is from the marriage of good and truth which is inscribed on the whole man and on his every single part; and good harks back to the will, and truth to the understanding, and both together to a one. It is because of this that in heaven the right eye is the good of sight, and the left its truth; the right ear the good of hearing, and the left its truth; the right hand the good of man's power, and the left its truth; and so likewise with the other pairs. It was because the right and left have these significations that the Lord said:

If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out; and if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off (Matt. 5:29, 30).

by which He meant that if good becomes evil, it is to be cast out; and also that He told His Disciples that they should cast the net on the right side of the ship, and when they did so, they took a great multitude of fishes (John 21:6, 7), by which He meant that they should teach the good of charity and thus would gather men."

[6] After these words, the two lightnings were again seen but milder than before; and it was then seen that the lightning on the left derived its bright whiteness from the ruddy fire of the lightning on the right. Seeing this, the wise man said, "This is a sign from heaven confirmatory of what I have said; for in heaven the fiery is good, and bright white is truth. The sight of the lightning on the left taking its brightness from the ruddy fire of the lightning on the right is a sign showing that the bright whiteness of light, or light itself, is nothing else than the brilliance of fire."

On hearing this, all went home, kindled by those lightnings and by the discourse concerning them, with the good and truth of gladness.

Conjugial Love previous · next Author:  E. Swedenborg (1688-1772). www.biblemeanings.info