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The Delights of Wisdom Pertaining to Conjugial Love; To Which is Added The Pleasures of Insanity Pertaining To Scortatory Love Emanuel Swedenborg

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The Delights of Wisdom Pertaining to Conjugial Love; To Which is Added The Pleasures of Insanity Pertaining To Scortatory Love

by Emanuel Swedenborg

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On Fornication

[Transcriber's Note: The out-of-order section number which follows is in the original text, as is the asterisk which does not seem to indicate a footnote.]

444.* FORNICATION means the lust of a grown up man or youth with a woman, a harlot, before marriage; but lust with a woman, not a harlot, that is, with a maiden or with another's wife, is not fornication; with a maiden it is the act of deflowering, and with another's wife it is adultery. In what manner these two differ from fornication, cannot be seen by any rational being unless he takes a clear view of the love of the sex in its degrees and diversities, and of its chaste principles on the one part, and of its unchaste principles on the other, arranging each part into genera and species, and thereby distinguishing them. Without such a view and arrangement, it is impossible there should exist in any one's idea a discrimination between the chaste principle as to more and less, and between the unchaste principle as to more and less; and without these distinctions all relation perishes, and therewith all perspicacity in matters of judgement, and the understanding is involved in such a shade, that it does not know how to distinguish fornication from adultery, and still less the milder kinds of fornication from the more grievous, and in like manner of adultery; thus it mixes evils, and of different evils makes one pottage, and of different goods one paste. In order therefore that the love of the sex may be distinctly known as to that part by which it inclines and makes advances to adulterous love altogether opposite to conjugial love, it is expedient to examine its beginning, which is fornication; and this we will do in the following series: I. Fornication is of the love of the sex. II. This love commences when a youth begins to think and act from his own understanding and his voice to be masculine. III. Fornication is of the natural man. IV. Fornication is lust, but not the lust of adultery. V. With some men the love of the sex cannot without hurt be totally checked from going forth into fornication. VI. Therefore in populous cities public stews are tolerated. VII. The lust of fornication is light, so far as it looks to conjugial love, and gives this love the preference. VIII. The lust of fornication is grievous, so far as it looks to adultery. IX. The lust of fornication is more grievous, as it verges to the desire of varieties and of defloration. X. The sphere of the lust of fornication, such as it is in the beginning, is a middle sphere between the sphere of adulterous love and the sphere of conjugial love, and makes an equilibrium. XI. Care is to be taken, lest, by inordinate and immoderate fornications, conjugial love be destroyed. XII. Inasmuch as the conjugial principle of one man with one wife is the jewel of human life and the reservoir of the Christian religion. XIII. With those who, from various reasons, cannot as yet enter into marriage, and from their passion for the sex, cannot restrain their lusts, this conjugial principle may be preserved, if the vague love of the sex be confined to one mistress. XIV. Keeping a mistress is preferable to vague amours, if only one is kept, and she be neither a maiden nor a married woman, and the love of the mistress be kept separate from conjugial love. We proceed to an explanation of each article.

445. I. FORNICATION IS OF THE LOVE OF THE SEX. We say that fornication is of the love of the sex, because it is not the love of the sex but is derived from it. The love of the sex is like a fountain, from which both conjugial and adulterous love may be derived; they may also be derived by means of fornication, and also without it: for the love of the sex is in every man (homo), and either does or does not put itself forth: if it puts itself forth before marriage with a harlot, it is called fornication; if not until with a wife, it is called marriage; if after marriage with another woman, it is called adultery: wherefore, as we have said, the love of the sex is like a fountain, from which may flow both chaste and unchaste love: but with what caution and prudence chaste conjugial love can proceed by fornication, yet from what imprudence unchaste or adulterous love can proceed thereby, we will explain in what follows. Who can draw the conclusion, that he that has committed fornication cannot be more chaste in marriage?

446. II. THE LOVE OF THE SEX, FROM WHICH FORNICATION IS DERIVED, COMMENCES WHEN A YOUTH BEGINS TO THINK AND ACT FROM HIS OWN UNDERSTANDING, AND HIS VOICE TO BE MASCULINE. This article is adduced to the intent, that the birth of the love of the sex, and thence of fornication, may be known, as taking place when the understanding begins of itself to become rational, or from its own reason to discern and provide such things as are of emolument and use, whereto in such case what has been implanted in the memory from parents and masters, serves as a plane. At that time a change takes place in the mind; it before thought only from things introduced into the memory, by meditating upon and obeying them; it afterwards thinks from reason exercised upon them, and then, under the guidance of the love, it arranges into a new order the things seated in the memory, and in agreement with that order it disposes its own life, and successively thinks more and more according to its own reason, and wills from its own freedom. It is well known that the love of the sex follows the commencement of a man's own understanding, and advances according to its vigor; and this is a proof that that love ascends and descends as the understanding ascends and descends: by ascending we mean into wisdom, and by descending, into insanity; and wisdom consists in restraining the love of the sex, and insanity in allowing it a wide range: if it be allowed to run into fornication, which is the beginning of its activity, it ought to be moderated from principles of honor and morality implanted in the memory and thence in the reason, and afterwards to be implanted in the reason and in the memory. The reason why the voice also begins to be masculine, together with the commencement of a man's own understanding, is, because the understanding thinks, and by thought speaks; which is a proof that the understanding constitutes the man (vir), and also his male principle; consequently, that as his understanding is elevated, so he becomes a man-man (homo vir), and also a male man (masculus vir); see above, n. 432, 433.

447. III. FORNICATION IS OF THE NATURAL MAN, in like manner as the love of the sex, which, if it becomes active before marriage, is called fornication. Every man (homo) is born corporeal, becomes sensual, afterwards natural, and successively rational; and, if in this case he does not stop in his progress, he becomes spiritual. The reason why he thus advances step by step, is, in order that planes may be formed, on which superior principles may rest and find support, as a palace on its foundations: the ultimate plane, with those that are formed upon it, may also be compared to ground, in which, when prepared, noble seeds are sown. As to what specifically regards the love of the sex, it also is first corporeal, for it commences from the flesh: next it becomes sensual, for the five senses receive delight from its common principle; afterwards it becomes natural like the same love with other animals, because it is a vague love of the sex; but as a man was born to become spiritual, it becomes afterwards natural-rational, and from natural-rational spiritual, and lastly spiritual-natural; and in this case, that love made spiritual flows into and acts upon rational love, and through this flows into and acts upon sensual love, and lastly through this flows into and acts upon that love in the body and the flesh; and as this is its ultimate plane, it acts upon it spiritually, and at the same time rationally and sensually; and it flows in and acts thus successively while the man is meditating upon it, but simultaneously while he is in its ultimate. The reason why fornication is of the natural man, is, because it proceeds proximately from the natural love of the sex; and it may become natural-rational, but not spiritual, because the love of the sex cannot become spiritual, until it becomes conjugial; and the love of the sex from natural becomes spiritual, when a man recedes from vague lust, and devotes himself to one of the sex, to whose soul he unites his own.

448. IV. FORNICATION IS LUST, BUT NOT THE LUST OF ADULTERY. The reasons why fornication is lust are, 1. Because it proceeds from the natural man, and in everything which proceeds from the natural man, there is concupiscence and lust; for the natural man is nothing but an abode and receptacle of concupiscences and lust, since all the criminal propensities inherited from the parents reside therein. 2. Because the fornicator has a vague and promiscuous regard to the sex, and does not as yet confine his attention to one of the sex; and so long as he is in this state, he is prompted by lust to do what he does; but in proportion as he confines his attention to one of the sex, and loves to conjoin his life with hers, concupiscence becomes a chaste affection, and lust becomes human love.

449. That the lust of fornication is not the lust of adultery, every one sees clearly from common perception. What law and what judge imputes a like criminality to the fornicator as to the adulterer? The reason why this is seen from common perception is, because fornication is not opposed to conjugial love as adultery is. In fornication conjugial love may lie stored up within, as what is spiritual may lie stored up in what is natural; yea, what is spiritual is also actually disengaged from what is natural; and when the spiritual is disengaged, then the natural encompasses it, as bark does its wood, and a scabbard its sword, and also serves the spiritual as a defence against violence. From these considerations it is evident, that natural love, which is love to the sex, precedes spiritual love which is love to one of the sex; but if fornication comes into effect from the natural love of the sex, it may also be wiped away, provided conjugial love be regarded, desired, and sought, as the chief good. It is altogether otherwise with the libidinous and obscene love of adultery, which we have shewn to be opposite to conjugial love, and destructive thereof, in the foregoing chapter concerning the opposition of adulterous and conjugial love: wherefore if a confirmed and determined adulterer for various reasons enters into a conjugial engagement, the above case is inverted, since a natural principle lies concealed within its lascivious and obscene things, and a spiritual appearance covers it externally. From these considerations reason may see, that the lust of limited fornication is, in respect to the lust of adultery, as the first warmth is to the cold of mid-winter in northern countries.

450. V. WITH SOME MEN THE LOVE OF THE SEX CANNOT WITHOUT HURT BE TOTALLY CHECKED FROM GOING FORTH INTO FORNICATION. It is needless to recount the mischiefs which may be caused and produced by too great a check of the love of the sex, with such persons as labor under a superabundant venereal heat; from this source are to be traced the origins of certain diseases of the body and distempers of the mind, not to mention unknown evils, which are not to be named; it is otherwise with those whose love of the sex is so scanty that they can resist the sallies of its lust; also with those who are at liberty to introduce themselves into a legitimate partnership of the bed while they are young, without doing injury to their worldly fortunes, thus under the first favorable impressions. As this is the case in heaven with infants, when they have grown up to conjugial age, therefore it is unknown there what fornication is: but the case is different in the world where matrimonial engagements cannot be contracted till the season of youth is past, and where, during that season, the generality live within forms of government, where a length of time is required to perform duties, and to acquire the property necessary to support a house and family, and then first a suitable wife is to be courted.

[Footnote: This, like some other of the author's remarks, is not so applicable to English laws and customs as to those of several of the continental states, especially Germany, where men are not allowed to marry till they have attained a certain age, or can show that they possess the means of supporting a wife and family.]

451. VI. THEREFORE IN POPULOUS CITIES PUBLIC STEWS ARE TOLERATED. This is adduced as a confirmation of the preceding article. It is well known that they are tolerated by kings, magistrates, and thence by judges, inquisitors, and the people, at London, Amsterdam, Paris, Vienna, Venice, Naples, and even at Rome, besides many other places: among the reasons of this toleration are those also above mentioned.

452. VII. FORNICATION IS (COMPARATIVELY) LIGHT SO FAR AS IT LOOKS TO CONJUGIAL LOVE AND GIVES THIS LOVE THE PREFERENCE. There are degrees of the qualities of evil, as there are degrees of the qualities of good; wherefore every evil is lighter and more grievous, as every good is better and more excellent. The case is the same with fornication; which, as being a lust, and a lust of the natural man not yet purified, is an evil; but as every man (homo) is capable of being purified, therefore so far as it approaches a purified state, so far that evil becomes lighter, for so far it is wiped away; thus so far as fornication approaches conjugial love, which is a purified state of the love of the sex, (so far it becomes a lighter evil): that the evil of fornication is more grievous, so far as it approaches the love of adultery, will be seen in the following article. The reason why fornication is light so far as it looks to conjugial love, is, because it then looks from the unchaste state wherein it is, to a chaste state; and so far as it gives a preference to the latter, so far also it is in it as to the understanding; and so far as it not only prefers it, but also pre-loves it, so far also it is in it as to the will, thus as to the internal man; and in this case fornication, if the man nevertheless persists in it, is to him a necessity, the causes whereof he well examines in himself. There are two reasons which render fornication light with those who prefer and pre-love the conjugial state; the first is, that conjugial life is their purpose, intention, or end, the other is, that they separate good from evil with themselves. In regard to the FIRST, -- that conjugial life is their purpose, intention, or end, it has the above effect, inasmuch as every man is such as he is in his purpose, intention, or end, and is also such before the Lord and the angels; yea, he is likewise regarded as such by the wise in the world; for intention is the soul of all actions, and causes innocence and guilt in the world, and after death imputation. In regard to the OTHER reason, -- that those who prefer conjugial love to the lust of fornication, separate evil from good, thus what is unchaste from what is chaste, it has the above effect, inasmuch as those who separate those two principles by perception and intention, before they are in good or the chaste principle, are also separated and purified from the evil of that lust, when they come into the conjugial state. That this is not the case with those who in fornication look to adultery, will be seen in the next article.

453. VIII. THE LUST OF FORNICATION IS GRIEVOUS, SO FAR AS IT LOOKS TO ADULTERY. In the lust of fornication all those look to adultery who do not believe adulteries to be sins, and who think similarly of marriage and of adulteries, only with the distinction of what is allowed and what is not; these also make one evil out of all evils, and mix them together, like dirt with eatable food in one dish, and like things vile and refuse with wine in one cup, and thus eat and drink: in this manner they act with the love of the sex, fornication and keeping a mistress, with adultery of a milder sort, of a grievous sort, and of a more grievous sort, yea with ravishing or defloration: moreover, they not only mingle all those things, but also mix them in marriages, and defile the latter with a like notion; but where it is the case, that the latter are not distinguished from the former, such persons, after their vague commerce with the sex, are overtaken by colds, loathings, and nauseousness, at first in regard to a married partner, next in regard to women in other characters, and lastly in regard to the sex. It is self-evident that with such persons there is no purpose, intention, or end, of what is good or chaste, that they may be exculpated, and no separation of evil from good, or of what is unchaste from what is chaste, that they may be purified, as in the case of those who from fornication look to conjugial love, and give the latter the preference, (concerning whom, see the foregoing article, n. 452). The above observations I am allowed to confirm by this new information from heaven: I have met with several, who in the world had lived outwardly like others, wearing rich apparel, feasting daintily, trading like others with money, borrowed upon interest, frequenting stage exhibitions, conversing jocosely on love affairs as from wantonness, besides other similar things: and yet the angels charged those things upon some as evils of sin, and upon others as not evils, and declared the latter guiltless, but the former guilty; and on being questioned why they did so, when the deeds were alike, they replied, that they regard all from purpose, intention, or end, and distinguish accordingly; and that on this account they excuse and condemn those whom the end excuses and condemns, since all in heaven are influenced by a good end, and all in hell by an evil end; and that this, and nothing else, is meant by the Lord's words, Judge not, that ye be not judged, Matt. vii. I.

454. IX. THE LUST OF FORNICATION IS MORE GRIEVOUS AS IT VERGES TO THE DESIRE OF VARIETIES AND OF DEFLORATION. The reason of this is, because these two desires are accessories of adulteries, and thus aggravations of it: for there are mild adulteries, grievous adulteries, and most grievous; and each kind is estimated according to its opposition to, and consequent destruction of, conjugial love. That the desire of varieties and the desire of defloration, strengthened by being brought into act, destroy conjugial love, and drown it as it were in the bottom of the sea, will be seen presently, when those subjects come to be treated of.

455. X. THE SPHERE OF THE LUST OF FORNICATION, SUCH AS IT IS IN THE BEGINNING, IS A MIDDLE SPHERE BETWEEN THE SPHERE OF ADULTEROUS LOVE AND THE SPHERE OF CONJUGIAL LOVE, AND MAKES AN EQUILIBRIUM. The two spheres, of adulterous love and conjugial love, were treated of in the foregoing chapter, where it was shewn that the sphere of adulterous love ascends from hell, and the sphere of conjugial love descends from heaven, n. 435; that those two spheres meet each other in each world, but do not unite, n. 436; that between those two spheres there is an equilibrium, and that man is in it, n. 437; that a man can turn himself to whichever sphere he pleases; but that so far as he turns himself to the one, so far he turns himself from the other, n. 438: for the meaning of spheres, see n. 434, and the passages there cited. The reason why the sphere of the lust of fornication is a middle sphere between those two spheres, and makes an equilibrium, is, because while any one is in it, he can turn himself to the sphere of conjugial love, that is, to this love, and also to the sphere of the love of adultery, that is, to the love of adultery; but if he turns himself to conjugial love, he turns himself to heaven; if to the love of adultery, he turns himself to hell: each is in the man's free determination, good pleasure, and will, to the intent that he may act freely according to reason, and not from instinct: consequently that he may be a man, and appropriate to himself influx, and not a beast, which appropriates nothing thereof to itself. It is said the lust of fornication such as it is in the beginning, because at that time it is in a middle state. Who does not know that whatever a man does in the beginning, is from concupiscence, because from the natural man? And who does not know that that concupiscence is not imputed, while from natural he is becoming spiritual? The case is similar in regard to the lust of fornication, while a man's love is becoming conjugial.

456. XI. CARE IS TO BE TAKEN LEST, BY IMMODERATE AND INORDINATE FORNICATIONS, CONJUGIAL LOVE BE DESTROYED. By immoderate and inordinate fornications, whereby conjugial love is destroyed, we mean fornications by which not only the strength is enervated, but also all the delicacies of conjugial love are taken away; for from unbridled indulgence in such fornications, not only weakness and consequent wants, but also impurities and immodesties are occasioned, by reason of which conjugial love cannot be perceived and felt in its purity and chastity, and thus neither in its sweetness and the delights of its prime; not to mention the mischiefs occasioned to both the body and the mind, and also the disavowed allurements, which not only deprive conjugial love of its blessed delights, but also take it away, and change it into cold, and thereby into loathing. Such fornications are the violent excesses whereby conjugial sports are changed into tragic scenes: for immoderate and inordinate fornications are like burning flames which, arising out of ultimates, consume the body, parch the fibres, defile the blood, and vitiate the rational principles of the mind; for they burst forth like a fire from the foundation into the house, which consumes the whole. To prevent these mischiefs is the duty of parents; for a grown up youth, inflamed with lust, cannot as yet from reason impose restraint upon himself.

457. XII. INASMUCH AS THE CONJUGIAL PRINCIPLE OF ONE MAN WITH ONE WIFE IS THE JEWEL OF HUMAN LIFE AND THE RESERVOIR OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION. These two points have been demonstrated universally and singularly in the whole preceding part of CONJUGIAL LOVE AND ITS CHASTE DELIGHTS. The reason why it is the jewel of human life is, because the quality of a man's life is according to the quality of that love with him; since that love constitutes the inmost of his life; for it is the life of wisdom dwelling with its love, and of love dwelling with its wisdom, and hence it is the life of the delights of each; in a word, a man is a soul living by means of that love: hence, the conjugial tie of one man with one wife is called the jewel of human life. This is confirmed from the following articles adduced above: only with one wife there exists truly conjugial friendship, confidence, and potency, because there is a union of minds, n. 333, 334: in and from a union with one wife there exist celestial blessednesses, spiritual satisfactions, and thence natural delights, which from the beginning have been provided for those who are in love truly conjugial, n. 335. That it is the fundamental love of all celestial, spiritual, and derivative natural loves, and that into that love are collected all joys and delights from first to last, n. 65-69: and that viewed in its origin, it is the sport of wisdom and love, has been fully demonstrated in the CONJUGIAL LOVE AND ITS CHASTE DELIGHTS, which constitutes the first part of this work.

458. The reason why that love is the reservoir of the Christian religion is, because this religion unites and dwells with that love; for it was shewn, that none come into that love, and can be in it, but those who approach the Lord, and do the truths of his church and its goods; n. 70, 71: that that love is from the only Lord, and that hence it exists with those who are of the Christian religion; n. 131, 335, 336: that that love is according to the state of the church, because it is according to the state of wisdom with man; n. 130. That these things are so, was fully confirmed in the chapter on the correspondence of that love with the marriage of the Lord and the church; n. 116, 131; and in the chapter on the origin of that love from the marriage of good and truth; n. 83-102.

459. XIII. WITH THOSE WHO, FROM VARIOUS REASONS, CANNOT AS YET ENTER INTO MARRIAGE, AND FROM THEIR PASSION FOR THE SEX, CANNOT MODERATE THEIR LUSTS, THIS CONJUGIAL PRINCIPLE MAY BE PRESERVED, IF THE VAGUE LOVE OF THE SEX BE CONFINED TO ONE MISTRESS. That immoderate and inordinate lust cannot be entirely checked by those who have a strong passion for the sex, is what reason sees and experience proves: with a view therefore that such lust may be restrained, in the case of one whose passions are thus violent, and who for several reasons cannot precipitately enter into marriage, and that it may be rendered somewhat moderate and ordinate, there seems to be no other refuge, and as it were asylum, than the keeping of a woman, who in French is called maitresse. It is well known that in kingdoms, where certain forms and orders are to be observed, matrimonial engagements cannot be contracted by many till the season of youth is past; for duties are first to be performed, and property to be acquired for the support of a house and family, and then first a suitable wife is to be courted; and yet in the previous season of youth few are able to keep the springing fountain of manliness closed, and reserved for a wife: it is better indeed that it should be reserved; but if this cannot be done on account of the unbridled power of lust, a question occurs, whether there may not be an intermediate means, by which conjugial love may be prevented from perishing in the mean time. That keeping a mistress is such a means appears reasonable from the following considerations: I. That by this means promiscuous inordinate fornications are restrained and limited, and thus a less disorderly state is induced, which more resembles conjugial life. II. That the ardor of venereal propensities, which in the beginning is boiling hot, and as it were burning, is appeased and mitigated; and thereby the lascivious passion for the sex, which is filthy, is tempered by somewhat analogous to marriage. III. By this means too the strength is not cast away, neither are weaknesses contracted, as by vague and unlimited amours. IV. By this means also disease of the body and insanity of mind are avoided. V. In like manner by this means adulteries, which are whoredoms with wives, and debaucheries, which are violations of maidens, are guarded against; to say nothing of such criminal acts as are not to be named; for a stripling does not think that adulteries and debaucheries are different from fornications; thus he conceives that the one is the same with the other; nor is he able from reason to resist the enticements of some of the sex, who are proficients in meretricious arts: but in keeping a mistress, which is a more ordinate and safer fornication, he can learn and see the above distinctions. VI. By keeping a mistress, also no entrance is afforded to the four kinds of lusts, which are in the highest degree destructive of conjugial love, -- the lust of defloration, the lust of varieties, the lust of violation, and the lust of seducing innocences, which are treated of in the following pages. These observations, however, are not intended for those who can check the tide of lust; nor for those who can enter into marriage during the season of youth, and offer and impart to their wives the first fruits of their manliness.

460. XIV. KEEPING A MISTRESS IS PREFERABLE TO VAGUE AMOURS, PROVIDED ONLY ONE IS KEPT AND SHE BE NEITHER A MAIDEN NOR A MARRIED WOMAN, AND THE LOVE OF THE MISTRESS BE KEPT SEPARATE FROM CONJUGIAL LOVE. At what time and with what persons keeping a mistress is preferable to vague amours, has been pointed out just above. I. The reason why only one mistress is to be kept, is, because if more than one be kept, a polygamical principle gains influence, which induces in a man a merely natural state, and thrusts him down into a sensual state, so much so that he cannot be elevated into a spiritual state, in which conjugial love must be; see n. 338, 339. II. The reason why this mistress must not be a maiden, is because conjugial love with women acts in unity with their virginity, and hence constitutes the chastity, purity, and sanctity of that love; wherefore when a woman makes an engagement and allotment of her virginity to any man, it is the same thing as giving him a certificate that she will love him to eternity: on this account a maiden cannot, from any rational consent, barter away her virginity, unless when entering into the conjugial covenant: it is also the crown of her honor: wherefore to seize it without a covenant of marriage, and afterwards to discard her, is to make a courtezan of a maiden, who might have been a bride or a chaste wife, or to defraud some man; and each of these is hurtful. Therefore whoever takes a maiden and unites her to himself as a mistress, may indeed dwell with her, and thereby initiate her into the friendship of love, but still with a constant intention, if he does not play the whoremaster, that she shall be or become his wife. III. That the kept mistress must not be a married woman, because this is adultery, is evident. IV. The reason why the love of a mistress is to be kept separate from conjugial love, is because those loves are distinct, and therefore ought not to be mixed together: for the love of a mistress is an unchaste, natural, and external love; whereas the love of marriage is chaste, spiritual, and internal. The love of a mistress keeps the souls of two persons distinct, and unites only the sensual principles of the body; but the love of marriage unites souls, and from their union conjoins also the sensual principles of the body, until from two they become as one, which is one flesh. V. The love of a mistress enters only into the understanding and the things which depend on it; but the love of marriage enters also into the will and the things which depend on it, consequently into every thing appertaining to man (homo); wherefore if the love of a mistress becomes the love of marriage, a man cannot retract from any principle of right, and without violating the conjugial union; and if he retracts and marries another woman, conjugial love perishes in consequence of the breach thereof. It is to be observed, that the love of a mistress is kept separate from conjugial love by this condition, that no engagement of marriage be made with the mistress, and that she be not induced to form any such expectation. Nevertheless it is far better that the torch of the love of the sex be first lighted with a wife.

461. To the above I shall add the following MEMORABLE RELATION. I was once conversing with a novitiate spirit who, during his abode in the world, had meditated much about heaven and hell. (Novitiate spirits are men newly deceased, who are called spirits, because they are then spiritual men.) As soon as he entered into the spiritual world he began to meditate in like manner about heaven and hell, and seemed to himself, when meditating about heaven, to be in joy, and when about hell, in sorrow. When he observed that he was in the spiritual world, he immediately asked where heaven and hell were, and also their nature and quality? And he was answered, "Heaven is above your head, and hell beneath your feet; for you are now in the world of spirits, which is immediate between heaven and hell; but what are their nature and quality we cannot describe in a few words." At that instant, as he was very desirous of knowing, he fell upon his knees, and prayed devoutly to God that he might be instructed; and lo! an angel appeared at his right hand, and having raised him, said, "You have prayed to be instructed concerning heaven and hell; INQUIRE AND LEARN WHAT DELIGHT IS, AND YOU WILL KNOW;" and having said this, the angel was taken up. Then the novitiate spirit said within himself, "What does this mean, Inquire and learn what delight is, and you will know the nature and quality of heaven and hell?" And leaving that place, he wandered about, and accosting those he met, said, "Tell me, if you please, what delight is?" Some said, "What a strange question! Who does not know what delight is? Is it not joy and gladness? Wherefore delight is delight; one delight is like another; we know no distinction." Others said, that delight was the laughter of the mind; for when the mind laughs, the countenance is cheerful, the discourse is jocular, the behaviour sportive, and the whole man is in delight. But some said, "Delight consists in nothing but feasting, and delicate eating and drinking, and in getting intoxicated with generous wine, and then in conversing on various subjects, especially on the sports of Venus and Cupid." On hearing these relations, the novitiate spirit being indignant, said to himself; "These are the answers of clowns, and not of well-bred men: these delights are neither heaven nor hell; I wish I could meet with the wise." He then took his leave of them, and inquired where he might find the wise? At that instant he was seen by a certain angelic spirit, who said, "I perceive that you have a strong desire to know what is the universal of heaven and of hell; and since this is DELIGHT, I will conduct you up a hill, where there is every day an assembly of those who scrutinize effects, of those who investigate causes, and of those who explore ends. There are three companies; those who scrutinize effects are called spirits of knowledges, and abstractedly knowledges; those who investigate causes are called spirits of intelligence, and abstractedly intelligences; and those who explore ends are called spirits of wisdom, and abstractedly wisdoms. Directly above them in heaven are angels, who from ends see causes, and from causes effects; from these angels those three companies are enlightened." The angelic spirit then taking the novitiate spirit by the hand, led him up the hill to the company which consisted of those who explore ends, and are called wisdoms. To these the novitiate spirit said, "Pardon me for having ascended to you: the reason is, because from my childhood I have meditated about heaven and hell, and lately came into this world, where I was told by some who accompanied me, that here heaven was above my head, and hell beneath my feet; but they did not tell me the nature and quality of either; wherefore, becoming anxious from my thoughts being constantly employed on the subject, I prayed to God; and instantly an angel presented itself, and said, 'Inquire and learn what delight is, and you will know.' I have inquired, but hitherto in vain: I request therefore that you will teach me, if you please, what delight is." To this the wisdoms replied, "Delight is the all of life to all in heaven and all in hell: those in delight have the delight of good and truth, but those in hell have the delight of what is evil and false; for all delight is of love, and love is the esse of a man's life; therefore as a man is a man according to the quality of his love, so also is he according to the quality of his delight. The activity of love makes the sense of delight; its activity in heaven is with wisdom, and in hell with insanity; each in its objects presents delight: but the heavens and the hells are in opposite delights, because in opposite loves; the heavens in the love and thence in the delight of doing good, but the hells in the love and thence in the delight of doing evil; if therefore you know what delight is, you will know the nature and quality of heaven and hell. But inquire and learn further what delight is from those who investigate causes, and are called intelligences: they are to the right from hence." He departed, and came to them, and told them the reason of his coming, and requested that they would teach him what delight is? And they, rejoicing at the question, said, "It is true that he that knows what delight is, knows the nature and quality of heaven and hell. The will-principle, by virtue whereof a man is a man, cannot be moved at all but by delight; for the will-principle, considered in itself, is nothing but an affect and effect of some love, thus of some delight; for it is somewhat pleasing, engaging, and pleasurable, which constitutes the principle of willing; and since the will moves the understanding to think, there does not exist the least idea of thought but from the influent delight of the will. The reason of this is, because the Lord by influx from himself actuates all things of the soul and the mind with angels, spirits, and men; which he does by an influx of love and wisdom; and this influx is the essential activity from which comes all delight, which in its origin is called blessed, satisfactory, and happy, and in its derivation is called delightful, pleasant, and pleasurable, and in a universal sense, GOOD. But the spirits of hell invert all things with themselves; thus they turn good into evil, and the true into the false, their delights continually remaining: for without the continuance of delight, they would have neither will nor sensation, thus no life. From these considerations may be seen the nature and origin of the delight of hell, and also the nature and origin of the delight of heaven." Having heard this, he was conducted to the third company, consisting of those who scrutinize effects, and are called knowledges. These said, "Descend to the inferior earth, and ascend to the superior earth: in the latter you will perceive and be made sensible of the delights of the angels of heaven, and in the former of the delights of the spirits of hell." But lo! at that instant, at a distance from them, the ground cleft asunder, and through the cleft there ascended three devils, who appeared on fire from the delight of their love; and as those who accompanied the novitiate spirit perceived that the three ascended out of hell by proviso, they said to them, "Do not come nearer; but from the place where you are, give some account of your delights." Whereupon they said, "Know, then, that every one, whether he be good or evil, is in his own delight; the good in the delight of his good, and the evil in the delight of his evil." They were then asked, "What is your delight?" They said. "The delight of whoring, stealing, defrauding, and blaspheming." Again they were asked, "What is the quality of those delights?" They said, "To the senses of others they are like the stinks arising from dunghills, the stenches from dead bodies, and the scents from stale urine." And it was asked them, "Are those things delightful to you?" They said, "Most delightful." And reply was made, "Then you are like unclean beasts which wallow in such things." To which they answered, "If we are, we are: but such things are the delights of our nostrils." And on being asked, "What further account can you give?" they said, "Every one is allowed to be in his delight, even the most unclean, as it is called, provided he does not infest good spirits and angels; but since, from our delight, we cannot do otherwise than infest them, therefore we are cast together into workhouses, where we suffer direfully. The witholding and keeping back our delights in those houses is what is called hell-torments: it is also interior pain." It was then asked them, "Why have you infested the good?" They replied, that they could not do otherwise: "It is," said they, "as if we were seized with rage when we see any angel, and are made sensible of the divine sphere about him." It was then said to them, "Herein also you are like wild beasts." And presently, when they saw the novitiate spirit with the angel, they were overpowered with rage, which appeared like the fire of hatred; wherefore, in order to prevent their doing mischief, they were sent back to hell. After these things, appeared the angels who from ends see causes, and by causes effects, who were in the heaven above those three companies. They were seen in a bright cloud, which rolling itself downwards by spiral flexures, brought with it a circular garland of flowers, and placed it on the head of the novitiate spirit; and instantly a voice said to him from thence, "This wreath is given you because from your childhood you have meditated on heaven and hell." New Thought Magazine features the best of.

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