“All religion is of life; and the life of religion is to do good.” - Doctrine of Life §1
Kempton New Church

Week 2
Day 5

    Listen:

The Most Excellent Use

The use of conjugial love is the most excellent of all uses, because therefrom comes the procreation of the human race, and from the human race the angelic heaven. —Conjugial Love 183

Parents and the Most Excellent of All Uses

CL 385. There are indications which show clearly that conjugial love, and the love of infants [or little children], which is called storge, are conjoined; and there are indications also which may induce the belief that they are not conjoined. For there is a love of infants with married partners who from the heart love each other, and with married partners who are discordant; and also with those that are separated, and sometimes it is more tender and stronger with them than with others. But nevertheless, that the love of infants is conjoined perpetually with conjugial love is evident from the origin from whence it flows in. Although varied in those who receive it, the loves yet remain unseparated, just as the first end is in the final end which is the effect. The first end of conjugial love is the procreation of offspring, and the last end, which is the effect, is the offspring procreated.

CL 392. That this sphere affects the evil as well as the good, and disposes everyone to love, protect, and sustain his offspring, from his own love. It is testified by experience that the love of infants, or storge, is equally with the evil as with the good; likewise with gentle and ungentle beasts; in fact, that with evil men and with ungentle beasts it is sometimes stronger and more ardent. The reason is that every love proceeding and flowing in from the Lord is turned, in the subject, into the love of its life. For no animate subject feels otherwise than that he loves of himself, since he does not perceive the influx; and while in fact he is really loving himself, he makes the love of infants the love of his own, for he as it were sees himself in them and them in himself, and thus himself as united with them.

CL 405. That the love of infants is of one kind with spiritual married partners, and of another with natural. To appearance the love of infants with spiritual married partners is similar to the love of infants with natural married partners, but it is more internal and thence more tender, because that love exists from innocence, and from a nearer reception and thus more present perception of it in themselves; for the spiritual are spiritual in the degree that they partake of innocence. Moreover fathers and mothers, after they have tasted the sweetness of innocence with their infants, love their children altogether otherwise than natural fathers and mothers. The spiritual love their children according to their spiritual intelligence and moral life; thus they love them according to their fear of God and actual piety, or piety of life, and at the same time according to their affection for and application to uses serviceable to society, that is, according to the virtues and good morals with them. For their love of these things, principally, they provide for and minister to their necessities. Wherefore, if they do not see such virtues in them, they alienate the mind from them, and do nothing for them except from duty.

With natural fathers and mothers the love of infants is indeed also from innocence, but this, received by them, is wrapped about with their own love, and hence they love infants from this and at the same time from that, kissing, embracing, carrying, taking them to their bosom, and fondling them beyond all measure, and look upon them as of one heart and one soul with themselves. And then, after their state of infancy, up to adolescence and beyond, when innocence no longer operates, they love them, not on account of any fear of God and actual piety, or piety of life, nor for any rational and moral intelligence in them, and little, indeed scarcely at all, do they consider their internal affections and thence virtues and good morals, but only the things external for which they have regard. To these they adjoin, affix, and attach their love, and consequently close the eyes to their faults, excusing and favoring them. The reason is that the love of their progeny with them is also the love of themselves….

Questions and Comments
  1. What is storge? And what makes it good or bad?
  2. How does baptism relate to a parent’s commitment to being a spiritual parent, as opposed to a merely natural parent? What does baptism do?
  3. What might be signs we need to watch out for that would indicate an excusing and favoring of faults in a child as described in CL 405?
  4. How can we support parents who are trying to be spiritual parents as described in CL 405?
  5. What does it mean in CL 405 when it says spiritual parents “alienate the mind from them, and do nothing for them except from duty”?
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