Emanuel Swedenborg: Scientist and Mystic

By Signe Toksvig | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR Marriages in Heaven

THE new book had a long but promising title: The Delights of Wisdom pertaining to Conjugial Love, after which follow The Pleasures of Insanity pertaining to Scortatory Love, and it was signed by Emanuel Swedenborg, A Swede, the first of his books since his scientific publications that he had signed. (In plain English "scortatory" means whorish.)

But the book was also about his religious ideas and about his observations in the other world. When Dr. Beyer wrote to him, asking him about certain attributes of God, Swedenborg answered that he would write further about these when he was dealing with angelic wisdom concerning conjugial love. He was fully aware that too many abstractions were not readable by most people, for as he said to Beyer, "To write a separate treatise on these Divine attributes without the assistance of something to support them would cause too great an elevation of the thoughts, wherefore these subjects have been treated in a series with other things which fall within the understanding."1

These other things in the present book were certainly if not within the understanding at least very much within the interests of everybody, for here Swedenborg frankly gave his views on love and sex, and love versus sex, in and out of marriage, on earth and in the other world.

As Baron Tilas had written, gossip in Stockholm mentioned that Swedenborg claimed there was marriage in heaven, and gossip was right. Tilas was "all in a flutter" for fear his deceased wife might have remarried, and he might well be. According to Swedenborg if the Baroness had not been united with him in "conjugial" love (the word "conjugial" is peculiar to Swedenborg) the chances were that she either had or would eventually find not only a mate for her soul but one who would be a mate of her body as well, when she had advanced so far as one of the heavens.

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