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www.BibleMeanings.info  ·  New Truth  ·  Conjugial Love  ·  Sections 462 ff previous  ·  next


CL 462. In the preceding chapter on fornication, pellicacy also was treated of, and by pellicacy was meant a stipulated conjunction of an unmarried man with a woman. By concubinage is here meant the conjunction of a married man with a woman, likewise stipulated. Those who make no distinction between kinds, use these two words as if they had the same meaning and therefore designated the same thing; but they are two different kinds of relationship, the word pellicacy being suitable to the one--a mistress (pellex) being a harlot--and the word concubine to the other--a concubine being an additional partner (succuba) of the bed. Therefore, for the sake of separating them, an ante-nuptial stipulation with a woman is designated as -pellicacy, and a post-nuptial stipulation as concubinage. Concubinage is here treated of for the sake of order, it being from order that, on the one hand, the nature of marriage is disclosed, and on the other, the nature of adultery. First it was shown that marriage and adultery are opposites, this being the subject of the chapter on that opposition. How greatly they are opposite, and the nature of their opposition, can be gathered only from the intermediate relationships which lie between them, of which concubinage is one. Because there are two kinds of concubinage, and an absolute distinction must be made between them, this chapter like the preceding shall be distributed into its parts, as follows:

1. That there are two kinds of concubinage, which greatly differ from each other; one conjointly with the wife, the other in separation from the wife.

2. That for Christians, concubinage conjointly with the wife is altogether unlawful and detestable.

3. That it is polygamy, which is banned from the Christian world, and should be banned.

4. That it is whoredom, and by it the conjugial, which is the precious treasure of Christian life, is destroyed.

5. That concubinage in separation from the wife, when engaged in from causes legitimate, just, and truly weighty, is not unlawful.

6. That the legitimate causes of this concubinage are legitimate causes of divorce, the wife being nevertheless retained in the home.

7. That the just causes of this concubinage are just causes of separation from the bed.

8. That the weighty causes of this concubinage are real and unreal.

9. That weighty causes are real when based on what is just.

10. But that weighty causes are unreal when not based on what is just, even though on an appearance thereof.

11. That those who are in this concubinage from causes legitimate, just, and really weighty, may at the same time be in conjugial love.

12. That while this concubinage continues, actual conjunction with the wife is not lawful.

The explanation of the above now follows:

CL 463. I. That there are two kinds of concubinage, which greatly differ from each other; one conjointly with the wife, the other in separation from the wife. There are two kinds of concubinage, which greatly differ from each other. The one kind is the adjoining of an additional partner to the bed and living conjointly and simultaneously with her and the wife. The other kind is the taking of a woman as companion of the bed in place of the wife, after legitimate and just separation from the latter.

[2] That these two kinds of concubinage are as alien to each other as dirty linen to washed, can be seen by those who look at things clearly and distinctly, but not by those who look at things confusedly and indistinctly. Yea, it can be seen by those who are in conjugial love, but not by those who are in the love of adultery. The latter are in night respecting all the derivations of love of the sex, but the former in day. Yet, those who are in adultery can see these derivations and their distinctions, not indeed in themselves from themselves but from others when they hear about them; for with an adulterer, there is the same faculty of elevating the understanding as with a chaste partner. Yet, after acknowledging the distinctions heard from others, the adulterer, when he immerses his understanding in his own filthy pleasures, obliterates them; for the chaste and the unchaste, and the sane and the insane, cannot abide together, though they can be distinguished by the understanding when separated.

[3] Once, in the spiritual world, some spirits who had not reputed adulteries as sins, being asked by me whether they knew a single distinction between fornication, pellicacy, the two kinds of concubinage, and the degrees of adultery, said, "The one is like the other." Asked whether marriage also was like, they looked around to see whether any of the clergy were present, and none being present, they said, "In itself it is." It was different in the case of those who, in the ideas of their thought, had reputed adulteries as sins. These said that in their interior ideas which pertain to perception they saw the differences but had not yet taken pains to discern them and distinguish between them. This I can affirm--that by angels of heaven those distinctions are perceived in their least details. In order therefore that it may be clear that there are two kinds of concubinage opposed to each other, of which the one abolishes conjugial love and the other does not, the damnable kind shall first be described, and afterwards the other which is not hurtful.

CL 464. II. That for Christians, concubinage conjointly with the wife is (altogether) unlawful and detestable. It is unlawful because it is against the conjugial covenant, and detestable because against religion, and what is against the latter and at the same time against the former is against the Lord. Wherefore, as soon as anyone adjoins a concubine to his wife without a real weighty cause, heaven is closed to him and by the angels he is no more numbered among Christians. Moreover, from that time he spurns the things of the Church and religion, and afterwards does not lift up his face above nature, but turns to her as to a deity which favours his lust, by the influx of which his spirit is then animated. The interior cause of this apostasy will be laid open in what follows. That such concubinage is detestable, this the man himself does not see because after heaven has been closed to him he becomes spiritually insane. But a chaste wife sees it clearly because she is conjugial love, and this love nauseates it. Therefore, many of them are then repellent to actual conjunction with their men, as something which would contaminate their chastity from the contact of the lust adhering to the men from the courtesans.

CL 465. III. That it is polygamy, which is banned from the Christian world, and should be banned. That simultaneous concubinage, or concubinage conjointly with the wife, is polygamy, though not acknowledged as such because not so decreed by any law and thus not so denominated, is seen by everyone, even if not clear-sighted; for the woman is used as a wife and a sharer of the conjugial couch. That polygamy is banned from the Christian world and should be banned was proved in the chapter on polygamy, especially from the following: That for a Christian it is not lawful to marry more than one wife (n. 338); and that if a Christian marries more wives than one, he commits not only natural adultery but also spiritual adultery (n. 339); that it was permitted the Israelitish nation because with that nation there was no Christian Church (n. 340). From this it is clear that to adjoin a concubine to the wife, and share the bed with both, is filthy polygamy.

CL 466. IV. That it is whoredom, and by it the conjugial which is the precious treasure of Christian life, is destroyed. That it is a whoredom more opposed to conjugial love than the common whoredom which is called simple adultery, and that it is the deprivation of all ability and inclination for the conjugial life which is within Christians from birth, can be proved by arguments which are valid before the reason of a wise man.

As regards the FIRST point, that simultaneous concubinage or concubinage conjointly with the wife is a whoredom more opposed to conjugial love than the common whoredom which is called simple adultery, this can be seen from the following: Within common whoredom or simple adultery there is no love analogous to conjugial love, it being merely a burning heat of the flesh which cools down directly, and sometimes does not leave behind it any vestige of love for the woman. Therefore, this effervescing lasciviousness, if the act is not committed from purpose or confirmation, and if the adulterer repents of it, detracts only some little from conjugial love. Not so with polygamous whoredom. Within this, unlike the former, is a love analogous to conjugial love; for after the effervescence, it does not cool down, disperse, and pass off into nothing, but remains and renews and establishes itself. To that extent it takes away from love to the wife and induces cold for her in its place; for the man then looks upon the harlot who shares his bed as lovely, doing this because of the freedom of his will in that he can withdraw if he pleases. This freedom is inborn in the natural man, and being pleasing to him, it supports his love. Moreover, unition with a concubine, with all its allurements, is closer than with the wife. On the other hand, he does not look upon his wife as lovely, and this because of the duty of cohabitation with her enjoined by a covenant for life; and his perception of this duty as being forced is the stronger because of his freedom with the other woman. That love for the married partner grows cold, and she herself is held cheap in proportion as love for the one who is a harlot grows warm, and she is prized, is evident.

[2] As regards the SECOND point, that simultaneous concubinage or concubinage conjointly with the wife deprives man of all ability and inclination for that conjugial life which is within Christians from birth, this can be seen from the following: So far as love for the married partner is transcribed into love for the concubine, so far it is torn away, exhausted, and emptied out, as shown just above. That this is effected through the closing of the interior parts of the man's natural mind and the unclosing of the inferior, can be evident from the fact that, with Christians, the seat of the inclination to love one of the sex is in their inmosts, and that while this seat can be shut off, it cannot be extirpated. That the inclination to love one of the sex and also the ability to receive that love is implanted in Christians from birth, is because that love is from the Lord alone and is made a matter of religion; and in Christendom the Divine of the Lord is acknowledged and worshipped, and religion is from His Word. Hence is the engrafting of that inclination, and also its transplantation from generation to generation. It was said that by polygamous whoredom this Christian conjugial is destroyed; but what is meant is, that in a Christian polygamist it is closed up and intercepted. Yet it can be resuscitated in his posterity, just as is the case with the likeness of a grandfather or remote ancestor returning in his grandson or great-grandson. Hence it is that this conjugial is called the precious treasure of Christian life, and above (n. 457, 458), the precious jewel of human life and the repository of the Christian religion.

[3] That with a Christian who is in polygamous whoredom this conjugial is thereby destroyed is manifestly evident from the fact that unlike the Mohammedan Polygamist, a Christian cannot love a concubine and a wife equally, but so far as he loves the concubine, that is, grows warm to her, so far he does not love his wife, that is, so far he grows cold to her; and, what is more detestable, in the same degree at heart he acknowledges the Lord as merely a natural man and as the son of Mary, and not at the same time the Son of God. Moreover, in the same degree he makes religion to be of no account. It should be well noted, however, that this is the case with those who add a concubine to the wife and conjoin themselves to both actually. It in no way applies to those who, from causes legitimate, just, and truly weighty, separate and disjoin themselves from the wife as to actual love and take a woman for use. The consideration of this kind of concubinage now follows.

CL 467. V. That concubinage in separation from the wife, when engaged in from causes legitimate, just, and truly weighty, is not unlawful. What causes are meant by legitimate, by just, and by truly weighty, will be stated in their order. Here a bare mention of the causes is premised, that the concubinage to be treated of in what now follows may be distinguished from the former concubinage.

CL 468. VI. That the legitimate causes of this concubinage are legitimate causes of divorce, the wife being nevertheless retained in the home. By divorce is meant the abolition of the conjugial covenant and thus plenary separation and entire liberty thereafter to take another wife. The one only cause of this total separation or divorce is whoredom, according to the Lord's precept. (Matthew 19:9). Referable to the same cause are also manifest obscenities which banish modesty and fill and infest the house with shameful panderings, from which arises a scortatory shamelessness into which the whole mind is dissolved. To these causes is added malicious desertion which involves whoredom and causes the wife to commit adultery and thus to be put away (Matt 5:32). These three causes, being legitimate causes of divorce the first and third before a public judge, and the second before the man himself as judge, are also legitimate causes of concubinage, in case the adulterous wife is retained in the home. That whoredom is the one only cause of divorce is because it is diametrically opposite to the life of conjugial love and destroys it even to the point of extermination. See above (n. 255).

CL 469. The reasons why by many men the meretricious wife is nevertheless retained in the home are:

1. That the man fears to contest the suit with his wife, to accuse her of adultery, and thus to publish her crime abroad; for unless the testimony of eyewitnesses or the equivalent thereof resulted in her conviction, he would be covered with reproaches, covert in assemblies of men and open in assemblies of women.

2. He fears also clever pleas in exculpation of his adulterous wife, and likewise the favouring of her by the judge, and thus the dishonouring of his name.

3. Besides the above, there are advantages in regard to domestic uses which dissuade him from separating her from the home, as, for instance, if they have small children towards whom even the love of an adulterous wife is maternal; if between them and conjoining them are mutual services which cannot be broken off; if the wife have parental inheritances or patronage from relatives or acquaintances and there is hope of fortune from them; if in the beginning he had enjoyed loving companionship with her; and if after becoming an adulteress she knows how cleverly to soothe the man with flattering pleasantries and pretended civilities, that she may not be accused; besides other reasons. What in themselves are legitimate causes of divorce, are also legitimate causes of concubinage. The reasons for the wife's retention in the home when she has committed whoredom do not take away the cause of divorce. Who but a man of vile character can observe the rights of the conjugial bed and share the couch with an adulteress? If this is done here and there it is not conclusive.

CL 470. VII. That the just causes of this concubinage are just causes of separation from the bed. There are legitimate causes of separation and there are just causes. The legitimate causes are made by the pronouncements of judges, and the just by pronouncements adjudged by the man alone. Both the legitimate and the just causes of separation from the bed and also from the house have been briefly recounted above (n. 252, 253). Of these, BLEMISHES OF THE BODY are:

(1) Diseases by which the whole body is infected to a degree which may lead to fatal results by contagion. Such diseases are malignant and pestilential fevers, leprosy, venereal diseases, cancer.

(2) Also diseases by which the whole body becomes so weighed down that no consociation is possible, and from which hurtful effluvia and noxious vapours are exhaled, either from the surface of the body or from its inner parts, especially the stomach and lungs. From the surface of the body: malignant pox, warts, pustules, consuming scurvy, virulent itch, especially if by these diseases the face is made loathsome. From the stomach: eructations constantly foul, rank, and fetid. From the lungs: filthy and putrid exhalations exhaling from tumours, ulcers or abscesses, or from vitiated blood or serum.

(3) In addition to these, there are also other diseases of various names, such as lipothymy, which is a total languidness of the body and a lack of vital forces; paralysis, which is a loosening and relaxation of the membranes and ligaments that serve for motion; epilepsy; permanent infirmity from apoplexy; certain chronic diseases; the iliac passion; hernia; besides other diseases of which pathology teaches.

BLEMISHES OF THE MIND are also just causes of separation from bed and house, such as mania, frenzy, insanity, actual foolishness and idiocy, loss of memory, and other like blemishes. That these, being just causes of separation, are just causes of concubinage, is seen by reason without a judge.

CL 471. VIII. That the weighty causes of this concubinage are real and unreal. In addition to just causes, which are just causes of separation and so become just causes of concubinage, there are also weighty causes which depend on the judgment and justice of the man. These must therefore be mentioned; but since the judgments of justice may be perverted and by confirmations be turned into appearances of justice, these causes are distinguished into real and unreal weighty causes, and are described separately.

CL 472. IX. That weighty causes are real when based on what is just. For the knowing of these causes, it suffices to recite some that are real, such as an absence of parental love and the consequent rejection of infants; intemperance, drunkenness, uncleanness, shamelessness; proneness to divulge the secrets of the home, to quarrel, strike blows, take revenge, do evil, steal, deceive; internal dissimilitude causing antipathy; a shameless demand for the conjugial debt whereby the man becomes a cold stone; addiction to magical arts and sorceries; extreme impiety, and other like faults.

CL 473. There are also milder causes which are real weighty causes and separate from the bed though not from the home, such as the cessation of childbearing with the wife due to the feebleness of advanced age, and hence a non-tolerance and refusal of actual love, while ardour still continues with the man; besides other like causes in which the rational judgment sees what is just, and which do not hurt the conscience.

CL 474. X. That weighty causes are unreal when not based on what is just, even though on an appearance there of. These are learned from the real weighty causes recounted above. If not rightly scrutinized, they may appear as just and yet are not just. Thus: Periods of abstinence requisite after childbirth; transitory illness of the wife; outflows of the prolific fluid whether from this cause or not; the polygamy permitted the Israelites. These and other like causes are of no validity when viewed from justice. They are causes made up by men after cold has been contracted and unchaste lusts have deprived them of conjugial love and infatuated them with an idea of its likeness to scortatory love. When they enter into concubinage, such men, in order to avoid loss of reputation, make spurious and fallacious causes of this sort to be pertinent and genuine causes. For the most part, they also spread lies about the wife, and these are assented to and sung out by friendly fellow-citizens according as they favour the husbands.

CL 475. XI. That those who are in this concubinage from causes legitimate, just, and really weighty, may at the same time be in conjugial love. It is said that they may at the same time be in conjugial love, the meaning being that they may retain this love stored up within themselves; for in the subject in whom that love is, it does not perish but is quiescent. The following are the reasons why conjugial love is preserved with those who prefer marriage to concubinage and yet enter into the latter for the causes mentioned above:

(1) That this concubinage is not repugnant to conjugial love.

(2) That it is not a separation from it.

(3) That it is but a veiling around it.

(4) That the veil is removed from them after death.

1. That this concubinage is not repugnant to conjugial love follows from what was demonstrated above, namely, that when it is from causes legitimate, just, and really weighty, it is not unlawful (n. 467-473).

[2] 2. That this concubinage is not a separation from conjugial love, is because when legitimate or just or really weighty causes arise, persuade, and impel, conjugial love is not separated with the marriage but is only interrupted, and love interrupted and not separated remains in the subject. The cause is the same as with one who is in a function which he loves, and is detained from it by social company, shows, or travel--his love of the function is not destroyed; or as with one who loves generous wine, yet when he drinks ignoble wine he does not lose his appetite and taste for the generous.

[3] 3. That this concubinage is only a veiling around of conjugial love is because the love of concubinage is natural and the love of marriage spiritual, and when the spiritual love is intercepted, natural love veils it over. The lover himself does not know that such is the case because spiritual love is not sensated of itself but only through a natural love, and (then) it is sensated as a delight wherein is blessedness from heaven, while natural love by itself is sensated merely as delight.

[4] 4. That the veil is removed after death is because then, from being natural the man becomes spiritual, and instead of a material body he enjoys a substantial body wherein natural delight from the spiritual is sensated in its eminence. That such is the case, I have heard from communication with some in the spiritual world, even from kings there, who in the natural world had been in concubinage from really weighty causes.

CL 476. XII. That while this concubinage continues, actual conjunction with the wife is not lawful. The reason is because in such case conjugial love, which in itself is spiritual, chaste, pure and holy, becomes natural, is contaminated and worn out, and thus perishes. Wherefore, that this love may be preserved, it is expedient that concubinage from really weighty causes (n. 472, 473) be with one only and not with two at the same time.

CL 477. To the above shall be added the following Memorable Relation:

I heard a certain spirit, a young man recently from the world, boasting of his whoredoms and eager to catch laudation as being masculine above other men. Among the extravagances of his boasting, he poured forth this: "What is more dismal than to imprison one's love and to live with one woman alone? and what more delightful than to set love free? Who is not wearied from being with one woman alone? and who is not enlivened from being with many? What is sweeter than promiscuous liberty, variety, deflorations, the deceiving of husbands, and scortatory hypocrisies? Do not things obtained by cunning, deception, and stealthy arts delight the inmost regions of the mind?"

[2] Hearing this, the bystanders said, "Speak not so; you know not where you are and with whom. You are but lately come hither. Under your feet is hell, and above your head is heaven. You are now in a world which is in the middle between these two and is called the world of spirits. Here come all who depart out of the world, and here they are gathered, explored as to their nature, and prepared, the evil for hell and the good for heaven. Perhaps, from hearing priests in the world, you still keep in mind that whoremongers and harlots are cast down into hell and that chaste partners are taken up into heaven."

At this the novitiate laughed and said: "What is heaven? and what is hell? Is it not heaven where one is free? and is not he free who is allowed to love as many women as he pleases? And is it not hell where one is a slave? and is not he a slave who is obliged to stick to one?"

[3] An angel, looking down from heaven, heard these words, and in order that the young man might go no further in profaning marriages, he interrupted him and said, "Come up hither and I will show you in a living way what heaven is, and what hell and the nature of the hell for confirmed whoremongers."

He then showed him the way, and the young man went up. After being received, he was led first into a paradisal garden where were fruit-trees and flowers which from their beauty, pleasantness and fragrance filled the animus of all with the delights of life. Seeing these, he expressed his great admiration; but he was then in the external sight in which he had been when seeing like things in the world. In this sight he was rational, but in his internal sight, wherein whoredom played the chief role and occupied every least thought, he was not rational. Therefore, his external sight was closed and his internal sight opened. With this opened, he said, "What do I see now? is it not straw and sticks of wood? And what do I smell now? are they not bad smells? Where now are the things of paradise?" The angel said: "They are near by and at hand, but they do not appear before your internal sight which is scortatory, for that sight turns heavenly things into infernal, seeing only their opposites. Every man has an internal mind and an external, and so an internal sight and an external. With the evil, the internal mind is insane, and the external wise, while with the good, the internal is wise and from this the external also; and in the spiritual world a man sees objects according to the nature of his mind."

[4] From power given him, the angel then closed the young man's internal sight and opened his external. He then led him through the gates towards the centre of the dwellings. There he saw magnificent palaces of alabaster, marble, and various precious stones, and beside them porticos, and columns round about, overlaid and encompassed with stupendous insignia and adornments. On seeing these, he was amazed and said, "What do I see? I see magnificent things in their true magnificence, and architecture in its true art."

Thereupon the angel again closed his external sight and opened his internal sight, which was evil, being filthily scortatory. When this was done, he cried out, saying, "What do I see now? Where am I? Where now are the palaces? and the magnificent things? I see heaps, ruins, and places full of holes!"

[5] After this he was brought back into his external state, and, being introduced into one of the palaces, saw the decorations on its gates, windows, walls, and ceilings, especially on the utensils, upon and around which were heavenly forms of gold and precious stones such as no words can describe nor any art portray; for they were above the ideas expressed by words, and above the notions of art. On seeing these, the young man again cried out, saying, "These are truly marvels such as eye has never seen." But then his internal sight was opened and the external closed as before, and being asked what he saw now, he replied, "Nothing but walls, here of rushes, there of straw, and yonder of fire-brands."

[6] He was then brought once more into his external state of mind, and maidens who were beauties, being images of heavenly affection, were brought to him and addressed him with the sweet voice of their affection. On seeing and hearing them, his face changed and he returned of himself to his internals which were scortatory; and because these cannot endure anything of heavenly love and, on the other hand, cannot be endured by heavenly love, they both vanished, the maidens from the sight of the man, and the man from the sight of the maidens.

[7] After this the angel instructed him as to whence these inversions of the state of his sight came. He said: "I perceive that in the world from which you have come you were twofold, being one man inwardly and another outwardly. Outwardly you were a civil, moral, and rational man, while inwardly you were neither civil nor moral nor rational because you were a whoremonger and an adulterer. When such men are allowed to ascend into heaven and are there kept in their externals, they are able to see the heavenly things there; but when their internals are opened, then, instead of heavenly they see infernal things.

[8] Know, however, that with everyone in this world, his externals are successively closed and his internals opened. In this way they are prepared for heaven or for hell. And because the evil of whoredom defiles the internals of the mind more than any other evil, you must needs be brought down to the filthy things of your own love, and these are in hells where the caverns stink of excrement. Who cannot know from reason that in the spiritual world, what is unchaste and lascivious is impure and unclean, and thus that there is nothing which more pollutes and defiles a man and induces on him what is infernal. Take care, therefore, that you glory no more in your whoredom that therein you are a masculine man above others. I predict that you will become so feeble that you will scarcely know where your masculinity is. Such is the lot that awaits those who glory in the potency of whoredom."

After hearing this, the young man descended and returned to the world of spirits and to his former companions. He then spoke With them modestly and chastely, yet not for long.

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