Extracts

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Sex and afterlife

swedenborg

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[1 of 1] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Love, conjugial (marriage)" (search under Inner Life/Love, Positive Emotion, Virtue, Will)": source "Conjugial Love": detail "Section 44"
What is love truly conjugial?”
 “It is not the love of sex, but the love of one of the sex; and it has no other ground of existence than this, that when a youth sees a virgin provided by the Lord, and a virgin sees a youth, they are each made sensible of a conjugial principle kindling in their hearts, and perceive that each is the other's, he hers, and she his; for love meets love and causes them to know each other, and instantly conjoins their souls, and afterwards their minds, and thence enters their bosoms, and after the nuptials penetrates further, and thus becomes love in its fullness, which grows every day into conjunction, till they are no longer two, but as it were one. I know also that they will be ready to affirm in the most solemn manner, that they are not acquainted with any other love of the sex; for they say, ‘How can there be a love of sex, unless it be tending mutually to meet, and reciprocal, so as to seek an eternal union, which consists in two becoming one flesh?'"
 To this the angelic spirits added, "In heaven they are in total ignorance what whoredom is; nor do they know that it exists, or that its existence is even possible. The angels feel a chill all over the body at the idea of unchaste or extra-conjugial love; and on the other hand, they feel a genial warmth throughout the body arising from chaste or conjugial love. With the males, all the nerves lose their proper tension at the sight of a harlot, and recover it again at the sight of a wife."
 The three novitiates, on hearing this, asked, "Does a similar love exist between married partners in the heavens as in the earths?"
 The two angelic spirits replied, that it was altogether similar; and as they perceived in the novitiates an inclination to know, whether in heaven there were similar ultimate delights, they said, that they were exactly similar, but much more blessed, because angelic perception and sensation is much more exquisite than human: "And what," added they, "is the life of that love unless derived from a flow of vigor? When this vigor fails, must not the love itself also fail and grow cold? Is not this vigor the very measure, degree, and basis of that love? Is it not its beginning, its support, and its fulfilment? It is a universal law, that things primary exist, subsist, and persist from things ultimate: this is true also of that love; therefore unless there were ultimate delights, there would be no delights of conjugial love."
 The novitiates then asked, whether from the ultimate delights of that love in heaven any offspring were produced; and if not, to what use did those delights serve? The angelic spirit answered, that natural offspring were not produced, but spiritual offspring: and the novitiates said, "What are spiritual offspring?"
 They replied, "Two conjugial partners by ultimate delights are more and more united in the marriage of good and truth, which is the marriage of love and wisdom; and love and wisdom are the offspring produced therefrom: in heaven the husband is wisdom, and the wife is the love thereof, and both are spiritual; therefore, no other than spiritual offspring can be there conceived and born: hence it is that the angels, after such delights, do not experience sadness, as some do on earth, but are cheerful; and this in consequence of a continual influx of fresh powers succeeding the former, which serve for their renovation, and at the same time illustration: for all who come into heaven, return into their vernal youth, and into the vigor of that age, and thus continue to eternity."