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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Marriage Love
By Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772)
 
From ‘Heaven and Hell’

TRUE marriage love is derived from the Lord’s love for the church, and from the love of good and truth, which is the love of the angels of the third heaven; therefore marriage love, which descends therefrom as the love of that heaven, is innocence, which is in the very being (esse) of every good in the heavens. And for this reason embryos in the womb are in a state of peace, and when they have been born as infants are in a state of innocence; so too is the mother in relation to them. For as the love of marriage corresponds to the love of the highest heaven, which is love to the Lord from the Lord, so the love of adultery corresponds to the love of the lowest hell.  1
  The love of marriage is so holy and heavenly because it has its beginning in the inmosts of man from the Lord himself, and it descends according to order to the outmosts of the body, and thus fills the whole man with heavenly love and brings him into a form of the Divine love, which is the form of heaven, and is an image of the Lord. But the love of adultery has its beginning in the outmosts of man from an impure lascivious fire there, and thus, contrary to order, penetrates towards the interiors, always into the things that are man’s own, which are nothing but evil, and brings these into a form of hell, which is an image of the devil. Therefore a man who loves adultery and turns away from marriage is in form a devil.  2
  How holy in themselves, that is, from creation, marriages are, can be seen from the fact that they are nurseries of the human race; and as the angelic heaven is from the human race, they are also the nurseries of heaven; consequently by marriages not only the earths but also the heavens are filled with inhabitants; and as the end of the entire creation is the human race, and thus heaven, where the Divine itself may dwell as in its own and as it were in itself, and as the procreation of mankind according to Divine order is accomplished through marriages, it is clear how holy marriages are in themselves,—that is, from creation,—and thus how holy they should be esteemed. It is true that the earth might be filled with inhabitants by fornications and adulteries as well as marriages, but not heaven; and for the reason that hell is from adulteries but heaven from marriages.  3
  Hell is from adulteries, because adultery is from the marriage of evil and falsity, from which hell in the whole complex is called adultery; while heaven is from marriages, because marriage is from the marriage of good and truth, from which heaven in its whole complex is called a marriage. That is called adultery where its love, which is called a love of adultery, reigns,—whether it be within wedlock or apart from it; and that is called marriage where its love, which is called marriage love, reigns.  4
  When procreations of the human race are effected by marriages, in which the holy love of good and truth from the Lord reigns, then it is on earth as it is in the heavens, and the Lord’s kingdom in the heavens. For the heavens consist of societies arranged according to all the varieties of celestial and spiritual affections, from which arrangement the form of heaven springs; and this pre-eminently surpasses all other forms in the universe. There would be a like form on the earth, if the procreations there were effected by marriages in which a true marriage love reigned; for then, however many families might descend in succession from one head of a family, there would spring forth as many images of the societies of heaven in a like variety.  5
  Families would then be like fruit-bearing trees of various kinds, forming as many different gardens, each containing its own kind of fruit; and these gardens taken together would present the form of a heavenly paradise. This is said in the way of comparison, because “trees” signify men of the church, “gardens” intelligence, “fruits” goods of life, and “paradise” heaven. I have been told from heaven that with the most ancient people, from whom the first church on this globe was established, which was called by ancient writers the golden age, there was such a correspondence between families on the earth and societies in the heavens, because love to the Lord, mutual love, innocence, peace, wisdom, and chastity in marriages, then prevailed; and it was also told me from heaven that they were then inwardly horrified at adulteries, as the abominable things of hell. (From ‘Apocalypse Explained.’)  6
  I heard an angel describing truly conjugial love and its heavenly delights in this manner, that it is the Divine of the Lord in the heavens, which is the Divine good and the Divine truth, united in two, yet so that they are not two, but as one. He said that two conjugial partners in heaven are that love, because every one is his own good and his own truth, both as to mind and as to body; for the body is an image of the mind, because formed to its likeness. He thence inferred that the Divine is imaged in two who are in truly conjugial love; and because the Divine, that heaven also is imaged, since the universal heaven is the Divine Good and the Divine Truth proceeding from the Lord: and that hence it is that all things of heaven are inscribed on that love, and so many blessings and delights as to exceed all number.  7
 
 
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