Suffer the little children . . .

Day 1 of Creation, Chaos and Confusion: a state in which all is mixed up

All the instruction which I am enjoining on you today you shall observe to obey, that you may live and multiply and enter and tenant the land about which Yahweh had sworn to your fathers.

And remember all the way which Yahweh your Elohim caused you to go these forty years in the wilderness,

that He might make you humble,

to probe you so as to know what is in your heart,

whether or not you shall observe His instructions.

Deuteronomy 8: 1-2

Each time we enter and return to the Word we hear an instruction and a command to obey it. The command isn’t made like a condescending expectation but rather one that implores us to do so because our heart is been called to it. We are reminded that the previous time we entered the Word, it offered us truth and brought us through the wilderness states of temptation as we worked with it.

And here we have returned, ready to walk through the wilderness again. Quite often we return to the Word when we are already in a state of confusion and chaos and are seeking the truth to stabilise us. And other times we are just returning intentionally with the hope of truth inspiring us. We are reminded here in the first part of Chapter 8 in Deuteronomy, that whatever happens, the process will be about being made humble and having our heart exposed as to where our loves lie and that there is an ‘as of self’ effort required to then follow through with what instructions we are given, as the work that we asked to do.


Day 2 of Creation, Distinction: Defining human states- what is human and what isn’t

So He made you humble and let you hunger;

then He fed you with the manna which neither you had known, nor had your fathers known,

that He might make you realize that not on bread alone shall the human live,

for by every utterance from the mouth of Yahweh shall the human live.

Your garment has not worn out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years,

Deuteronomy 8: 3-4

When we start to read the Word, things start to jump out at us. We start to notice things that are referring to the Lord, as in what is good and what is true and the things that aren’t. We see this expressed here in the idea that there are states that need feeding that don’t recognise what belongs to the Lord.  Thus a distinction is offered between simply taking in the truth that is good that the Word offers, and then really living it in use. It isn’t just the ‘bread alone’, from what the Word feeds us with that sustains us but it also needs to be something that is really lived as an expression in life.  How we live our life is an expression of what we love and just as our life expresses what is in our heart, the Lord’s love and truth needs to be the ‘every utterance’ of that heart and life. When our life is lived and expressed with the Word in our heart, through the Lord in this way, then we are given real life. The Divine Human, as the Word manifesting the Lord, lives through us as our life source and thus we are an expression of what is human and living.


Day 3 of Creation, Repentance/Metanoia: A change of heart

So you know with your heart that just as a man disciplines his son, Yahweh your Elohim is disciplining you.
Hence observe the instructions of Yahweh your Elohim so as to walk in His ways and to fear Him.

Deuteronomy 8: 5-6

Seeing what is human and what is not, leads us into a state of repentance in an acknowledgement that we indeed need to pay attention to what it is we hear the Word asking of us, as a means of disciplining us. The word ‘discipline’ conveys the idea of making something correct through instruction or the training of oneself to do something in a controlled and habitual way. The Hebrew word that is used here in the Text means to chastise and hence to  “make a preferred change in direction through instruction or chastisement” (Reference taken from the Mechanical Translation By Jeff Benner)

There are states with us that are chaste and unchaste and the Word as the Divine truth is what enables the separation of the two. As far as this happens then, so far as we have chastity, which is the disciplining or the chastening that is required for reformation and regeneration.

Conjugial Love 139

… love truly conjugial is chastity itself, and the love opposite thereto, which is called scortatory, is unchastity itself. In so far, therefore, as the former love is purified from the latter, so far it is chaste, for so far is its destructive opposite taken away.

From this it is evident that it is the purity of conjugial love that is called chastity.

So we have what is chaste as love truly conjugial, as the heavenly proprium where the truth and good are united as the Lord and we also have what is its opposite as unchaste as the hellish proprium, which exists as an infernal marriage of what is evil and false.

Divine Providence 233

… The terms good and truth of good, also evil and falsity of evil are used because good cannot be given without its truth, nor evil without its falsity;

for they are bedfellows or married partners;

for the life of good is from its truth, and the life of truth is from its good; it is the  same with evil and its falsity.

These marriages or bedfellow pairs that constitute states that are chaste and unchaste are what are separated; from what is human and living and from what is not human and thereof dead.  This separation can be likened to when we see the clear distinctions in the Text from a demonstration in our life, of what we very obviously can identify as the Lord and what isn’t the Lord.

However, we have truths that we don’t understand or that require further exploration. These are areas that become obscure as truths, that we think are truths and are integrated into our life until the Word leads us to question them and the loves we have invested in them.  This can only happen when the Word as a truth is applied to a situation in our life and this then causes us to examine our thoughts and affections in it.

Conjugial Love 139

Yet there is a conjugial love which is non-chaste and which nevertheless is not unchastity; as, for instance, the love between partners who, for various external reasons, abstain from the effects of lasciviousness so far as not to think of them; nevertheless, if this love has not been purified in their spirits, it still is not chaste. Its form is chaste, but the essence within it, is not chaste.

Thus, at this part of the process, the Word has offered us distinctions as to what is human and not human, what is of the Lord and not, and we have humbled ourselves in a willingness to submit to what the Word is asking of us in terms of acknowledging the need to self examine.   There is now a need to work with what is redeemable. To have what is ‘not chaste’ purified.


Day 4 of Creation, Faith and Charity ignited: A vision of the promised land

For Yahweh your Elohim is bringing you into a land good and wide,

a land of watercourses, with water from springs and from the abyss coming forth in valley and in mountain,

a land of wheat and barley and vine and fig and pomegranate, a land of olive oil and honey,

a land in which you may eat bread,

not in frugality. You shall not lack anything in it,

a land whose stones have iron-ore, and from its mountain ranges you may hew copper.

When you have eaten and are satisfied, then bless Yahweh your Elohim for the good land that He has given to you.

Deuteronomy 8: 7-10

Once a clear distinction is made between what is chaste and unchaste, that is what is of the Lord and what isn’t, then the heavenly proprium is ignited and the vision of the promised land of heaven is seen as a love that one wants to be in and live from.  This is experienced as a desire to take the truth from the Word and work with it because we are inspired to want to better ourselves and be better people. We want to live in heaven and be angels and enjoy the delights of this life.  We see what the promise is and we desire to be saved.

Conjugial Love 143 IV

That love truly conjugial is chastity itself. The reasons are:
1. Because it is from the Lord and corresponds to the marriage of the Lord and the Church.
2. Because it descends from the marriage of good and truth.
3. Because it is spiritual, as is the Church with man.
4. Because it is the fundamental love and the chief of all celestial and spiritual loves.
5. Because it is the lawful seminary of the human race and thence of the angelic heaven.
6. Because for this reason it is also with the angels of heaven, and from it, with them, are born spiritual offspring, which are love and wisdom. And
7. Because its use is thus more excellent than all other uses of creation.

From this it follows that love truly conjugial, regarded from its origin and in its essence, is pure and holy, so that it may be called purity and holiness itself and consequently chastity itself.

Conjugial Love 144 V

That all the delights of love truly conjugial, even the ultimate, are chaste. This follows from what has been explained above, namely, that love truly conjugial is chastity itself; and delights are what make its life. It has been noted above, that the delights of that love ascend and enter into heaven, and on the way pass through the joys of the heavenly loves wherein are the angels of heaven; and that they conjoin themselves with the delights of their conjugial love.


Day 5 of Creation, Confirmation of goods and truths: Waking up to states that require the application of the Word

Guard yourself lest you should forget Yahweh your Elohim by failing to observe His instructions and His judgments and His statutes that I am enjoining on you today,

lest, when you eat and are satisfied and build good houses and dwell in them, and your herd and your flock multiply, and silver and gold increase for you, and all that is yours is abundant,

then your heart becomes exalted and you forget Yahweh your Elohim Who was bringing you forth from the country of Egypt, from the house of servants,

Who was causing you to go through the great and fear-inspiring wilderness with burning serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground in which there is no water,

Who was bringing forth for you water from the flinty rock,

Who was feeding you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers had not known, that He might make you humble and that He might probe you, to do you good in your latter days.

Deuteronomy 8: 11-16

The truth or the spiritual principle that we are working with from the Word needs to be confirmed, in that it needs to be seen how it can be applied in our life as something useful, as a tool or a point of reference. We need illustrations of seeing it in action, of seeing how remembering the principle can change our perspective in a situation and change the pattern of our thoughts and affections.

This requires us to have moments in our life of seeing when the principle is needed which can only occur when we wake up to a situation in which we see that the hellish proprium is ruling instead. Where we have forgotten the Lord and forgotten his instruction. Where we have forgotten that it is Him that provides everything that we need. We have instead exalted our own sense of self and attributed the power of provision to ourselves.

So this is a state of waking up to the initial motivations that we had in wanting to apply the Word in our life. There was a motivation still based in self-love in that we wanted to be a better person. There is ownership in this because we attribute the good to our person rather than to seeing that we are a vessel to what is good instead, that we are vessel of the Lord and that the good is Him. So our motives were mixed. And this is the chastisement and the chastening and purification that occurs each time we take a truth and work with it. There is an experience of the truth unfolding and deepening and the preconceptions, assumptions and ownership that is still tied to the affections for that truth, have to be cast aside.  The truth then has to be re-framed and re-modelled and it is this that reforms the structures of our mind in that each time this occurs, it changes the form of it. This is the ongoing process of spiritual purification in removing what is not chaste from what is unchaste and thus the state of chastity is increasing. The conjugial love of the ‘bed fellowsDP 233 is becoming more pure.

Conjugial Love 145 VI

That with those who are made spiritual by the Lord, conjugial love is more and more purified and made chaste. The reasons are:

1. Because the first love, by which is meant the love before the nuptials and just after them, partakes somewhat of love of the sex, thus of an ardor belonging to the body, not yet moderated by the love of the spirit.

2. Because man from being natural becomes spiritual successively; for he becomes spiritual according as his rational, which is midway between heaven and the world, begins to draw its soul from influx out of heaven. It does this in the degree that it is affected and gladdened by reason of wisdom (of which above, no. 130). So far as this takes place, man’s mind is elevated into a superior aura which is the containant of heavenly light and heat, or, what is the same thing, of the wisdom and love wherein are the angels; for heavenly light acts as one with wisdom, and heavenly heat with love.

As wisdom and its love increase with the partners, so conjugial love with them is purified; and since this takes place successively, it follows that the love becomes more and more chaste. This spiritual purification can be compared with the purification of natural spirits which is effected by chemists and is called defecation, rectification, castigation, cohobation, fractionation, decantation, sublimation; and the wisdom purified can be compared with alcohol, which is a spirit most highly rectified.

3. Now because, regarded in itself, spiritual wisdom is such that it grows more and more warm with the love of becoming wise, and from this love takes increase to eternity, this being done as it is perfected as though by defecations, castigations, rectifications, fractionations, decantations, and sublimations;

and because these operations are effected by withdrawals and abstractions of the understanding from the fallacies of the senses, and of the will from the allurements of the body;

it is evident that conjugial love, whose parent is wisdom, is successively made more and more pure, thus chaste, in a like way.

That the first state of love between married partners is a state of heat not yet tempered by light, but that it is successively tempered as the husband is perfected in wisdom and the wife loves that wisdom in her husband,

Divine Providence 233(3)

…. Good and truth of good cannot be introduced by the Lord into a man’s interior, except so far as evil and the falsity of evil there have been removed.

…. It is said man’s interiors, by which is meant the internal of thought and in these of which it is now treated either the Lord or the devil must be;

the Lord is there after reformation, and the devil is there before it;

and in proportion therefore as man suffers himself to be reformed, the devil is cast out; but so far as he does not suffer himself to be reformed the devil remains.


Day 6 of Creation, The Spiritual man/mind: Letting go of ownership of what is true and false

Guard yourself lest you say in your heart: My vigor and the staunchness of my hand make for me this great estate.

Yet you will remember Yahweh your Elohim, for He is the One giving to you the vigor to make this estate, that He may confirm His covenant that He had sworn to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob, as in this day.

Deuteronomy 8: 17-18

The confirmation of the need for the spiritual principles in our life that we are working with is seen through a state of purification of what is redeemable.  There have been further separations of the state of mixed motives, so that we can examine each of them and see which were of the Lord and which were of self-love. This can often lead to a state of guilt that the states of self -love have been present in how we have been applying and working with the truth up until now.

This is the coming to see that the ‘vigour and staunchness’ of our own hand has been making great of the things that belong to the self’s estate rather than the Lord’s.

So this requires further renunciation of what is false because it is not of the Lord; because it is not of religion because religion is the life that is lived from the Word.

The origin of the word religion comes from Latin origin meaning “obligation, bond, reverence”.  This is the covenant that we have sworn to with our heart, mind and body, with all the levels of our mind, as represented by Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

We see that there are states that have owned the greatness that is the Lord Himself and this is the whoredom and adultery that is present from scortatory love that is the infernal marriage, which opposes the bedfellows of conjugial love.

Divine Providence 233

(10) In the Word adulterations of good are depicted by adulteries and falsifications of truth, by whoredoms. These adulterations and falsifications are effected by reasonings from the natural man, which is in evil, also by confirmations drawn from the appearances of the sense of the letter of the Word.
[11] The love of self, which is the head of all evils, surpasses all other loves in its ability to adulterate goods and falsify truths; and it does this by a misuse of the rationality that every man, both the evil man and the good man, has from the Lord. By its proofs it can even make evil to appear wholly like good, and falsity like truth.

Conjugial Love 147 VII

That the chastity of marriage comes into existence by the total renunciation of whoredoms from religion.

The reason is because chastity is the removal of unchastity.

It is a universal rule that so far as any one removes evil, so far an opportunity is given for good to succeed it; and further, so far as evil is hated, so far good is loved, and vice versa; consequently, so far as whoredom is renounced, so far the chastity of marriage enters in.

That conjugial love is purified and rectified in proportion to the renunciation of whoredoms, is seen by every one from common perception, as soon as it is stated and heard, thus prior to any confirmation;

but because all men do not have common perception, it is important that this be made clear by confirmations also. The confirmations are as follows:

As soon as conjugial love is divided, it grows cold, and this coldness causes it to perish; for the heat of unchaste love extinguishes it, it being impossible for two opposite heats to be together without the one rejecting the other and depriving it of its power.

When therefore the heat of conjugial love removes and rejects the heat of scortatory love, conjugial love begins to grow pleasantly warm, and from the sensation of its delights, begins to bud and blossom, like an orchard and rosebed in the time of spring,

the one from the vernal temperature of the light and heat of the sun of the natural world, the other from the vernal temperature of the light and heat of the sun of the spiritual world.


Day 7 of Creation, The Celestial man/mind: Letting go of ownership of what is good and evil

It will come to be that if you forget, yea forget Yahweh your Elohim and go after other elohim and serve them and bow yourself down to them, I testify against you today that you shall perish, yea perish.

Like the nations, which Yahweh is destroying before your face, so shall you perish, inasmuch as you do not hearken to the voice of Yahweh your Elohim.

Deuteronomy 8: 19-20

It is not quite enough though to acknowledge that we need to honour the covenant again, to be brought back to the Lord. We actually need to renounce the whoredom and adulteries and then also…live the religion of One God.

Conjugial Love 149

That the chastity of marriage does not exist by the renunciation of whoredoms unless this be done from religion, is because, without religion, a man does not become spiritual but remains natural, and even if his natural man renounces whoredoms, his spirit does not renounce them.

Thus, though to himself it appears that by the renunciation he is chaste, nevertheless, unchastity lurks within, like corruption in a wound but superficially healed.

Conjugial Love 142 III

That the Christian conjugial alone is chaste, is because love truly conjugial in man keeps equal pace with the state of the Church with him; and … this state is from the Lord; also because the Church is in the Word in its genuine truths, it being in these that the Lord is present there.

From this it follows, that there is no chaste conjugial except in the Christian world; and that if it is not there, it is nevertheless possible. By the Christian conjugial is meant the marriage of one man with one wife. That this conjugial can be implanted among Christians and by inheritance can descend from parents who are in love truly conjugial to their offspring, and that from it arises a connate ability and inclination to become wise in the things of the Church and heaven, will be seen in its proper place. That Christians, if they marry more wives than one, commit not only natural but also spiritual adultery, will be shown in the chapter on Polygamy.

The Christian church in us is the image of One truth with One good- one man with one wife. It is the Lord as One rather than worshiping the ‘other elohim’ that is the hellish proprium of self-love. The latter is the self that is grounded in the appearance that it is the source of good and truth. The Christian church however is where the Word as the truth and its good, have come down into our natural earthy mind and been made into a living human in our life. This is the only marriage that is chaste because it not only renounces any parings with ‘others’ as whoredoms and adulteries, but it also lives this belief in life.

This occurs when we not only acknowledge that the truth that we are working with has affections and thoughts attached to it that are false and based in the belief that they belong to us… but its also when we accept that this aspect of the ’truth’ that is now seen as false, must be cast aside and along with it, the associated affections and thoughts.

Because our sense of self has been grounded in these affections and loves, we experience it as a perishing of the current self that we identify as our own.  We then accept that a new self must be received in its place.  This new self knows that the truth that we have been working with and holding, is actually the Lord working with us and holding us and that we are a vessel for it.  We humble ourselves to this and receive the blessedness and mercy of experiencing the Lord coming again in our hearts and minds. The heavenly marriage that is the chastity of conjugial love is coming, bringing with it its own delights that are constantly restored and replenished.

Conjugial Love 148

Implanted in every man from creation and thence by birth is an internal conjugial and an external conjugial. The internal is spiritual and the external, natural. Man comes first into the latter, and he comes into the former as he becomes spiritual. If therefore he remains in the external or natural conjugial, the internal or spiritual conjugial is being veiled over until at last he knows nothing of it, yea, and calls it a vain idea.

But if man becomes spiritual, then he begins to know something of it, and later to have some perception of its nature, and successively to feel its pleasantness, its delights, and its delightsomeness; and as this takes place, the above-mentioned veiling between the external and the internal begins to grow thin, then, as it were, to melt away, and finally, to dissolve and disappear.

When this comes to pass, the external conjugial does indeed remain, but it is being continually purged and purified of its dregs by the internal, and this until the external becomes, as it were, the face of the internal and derives its delight and at the same time its life and the delights of its potency from the blessedness which is in the internal. Such is the renunciation of whoredoms by which the chastity of marriage comes into existence.

[2] It may be thought that the external conjugial which remains after the internal has separated itself from it, or it from itself, is the same as the external not separated. But I have heard from angels that they are so entirely unlike, that the external from the internal, which they called the external of the internal, is devoid of all lasciviousness, inasmuch as the internal cannot be lascivious but can be delighted only chastely; and that it carries the like into its external wherein it feels its own delights.

It is wholly otherwise with the external separated from the internal. This, they said, is lascivious in its whole and in every part.
They compared the external conjugial from the internal to a noble fruit whose pleasant savor and fragrance insinuate themselves into its surface and form this into correspondence with themselves.

[3] They also compared the external conjugial from the internal to a granary whose store never diminishes, what is taken from it being constantly restored anew.

But the external separated from the internal, they compared to wheat in a winnower, which, if it is scattered about, there remains only chaff, which is dissipated by the wind. Such is the case with conjugial love unless what is scortatory is renounced.

And hence, the Word as the Lord is eternally and perpetually born again for us each time we renounce the old self that was present in the truth as we knew it before and receive the new self, which is grounded in the childlike wonder of chastity. Of a love that feels and appears new and pure and heavenly, where the truth and its good are married bedfellows once more.

Luke 2: 11-12

And the angel said unto them,

Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you;

Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.


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Ian Keal
Ian Keal
1 month ago

Thank you Sarah. This is just beautiful. I really liked Day 5…and realizing the internal famine, and the need to give up ownership of the infernal proprium, casting our “crowns” of self importance at His feet.

Paddy Morahan
Paddy Morahan
1 month ago

Hey Sarah, I enjoyed this. I replaced your use of ‘we, our and us’ with ‘I, my and me’ and it allowed me to better hear you in this piece; where you are and what you are working with. I was better able to hear and connect with you this way. The subject of the heavenly marriage and its correspondence in the human reproductive systems and the act of coitus is of interest to me. Perhaps an elephant that for Swedenborg’s time was best left unseen but in our own, for me at least, seems all too obvious. Merry Christmas… Read more »