137. The second experience.
While I was meditating about conjugial love, suddenly there appeared far off two naked children with baskets in their hands and turtle-doves flying around them. On a closer look they were more or less naked, but elegantly decked out with garlands. Small wreaths of flowers adorned their heads, and decorative bands of lilies and roses of blue colour hung obliquely across their chests from shoulders to hips; around the pair of them there was a kind of shared bond woven of small leaves interspersed with olives. But when they came closer, they no longer looked like children or naked, but like two people in the prime of life, dressed in gowns and tunics of shining silk with a pattern of the loveliest flowers you could see woven into it. When they stood beside me, a breath of spring-like warmth spread from heaven through them bringing a sweet fragrance, like that of fresh vegetation in gardens or fields. They were a married couple from heaven, who addressed me and asked, since my thoughts were on what I had just seen, what it was I had seen.
 I told them that they had at first looked to me like naked children, and then like children decked out in garlands, and then finally as taller and dressed in flowery clothes; and that then I felt a sudden breath of spring fill me with its delights. At this they gave a pleasant laugh, and said that while they were on their way they did not seem to themselves as children, or naked, or garlanded, but continually like they were then. Seen from a distance their conjugial love took on this appearance; its state of innocence was represented by the children being seen naked, and its delights by the garlands, as well as then by the flowers woven in their gowns and tunics. 'Since you told us,' they said, 'that as we approached a breath of spring-like warmth spread over you with pleasant scents as from a garden, we shall explain why this was.'
 'We have now,' they said, 'been married for centuries, and have been constantly in the prime of life, as you see us now. Our first state was like that of a girl and a young man when they are just married; and we then thought that state to be the utmost blessedness of our lives. But we heard from others in our heaven, and later we felt for ourselves, that our first state was one of unmodified heat together with light; and this is by stages modified, as the husband acquires higher perfection in wisdom, and the wife loves it in her husband. This happens as the result of and in proportion to the services which each performs for the mutual help of their community; and then delights follow in succession as the heat and light, that is, wisdom and the love of it, are modified.
 'The reason why, as we approached, a breath of spring-like warmth spread over you is that in our heaven conjugial love and that heat act as one, for amongst us heat is love, and light with which heat is combined is wisdom; the use to which they are put is like the atmosphere, which holds both of these in its depths. What are heat and light without something to hold them? So what are love and wisdom without a purpose to serve? They lack a conjugial bond because there is nothing for them to work on. In heaven there is truly conjugial love to be found, wherever there is the heat of springtime; and its presence is due to the fact that springtime is only to be found where heat is evenly combined with light, that is to say, there is as much heat as there is light, and vice versa. It is our conjecture that just as heat takes its pleasure with light, and light in turn does with heat, so love takes its pleasure with wisdom, and wisdom in turn with love.'
 'We in heaven,' the angel went on to say, 'enjoy perpetual light, and there are never any shades of evening, much less darkness, because our sun does not set and rise like yours, but remains constantly fixed midway between the zenith and the horizon, what you would call at an elevation of forty-five degrees. This is why the heat and light radiated by our sun create a perpetual spring, and those whose love is evenly combined with wisdom enjoy a perpetual springtime. By the everlasting combination of heat and light our Lord seeks only to further services. This too is the cause of germination in your world and the mating of birds and animals every spring. For the warmth of spring opens up their inward parts right to the inmost, what is called their souls, and works on them, implanting its tendency towards marriage, and making their reproductive faculty achieve its delights by a constant effort to produce the fruits of their purpose, which is the continuation of their kind.
 'But human beings enjoy a perpetual inflow of spring-like warmth from the Lord. They can therefore at any season, even in midwinter, enjoy the delights of marriage. For men were created to receive light, that is, wisdom, from the Lord, women to receive heat, that is, the love of their husband's wisdom, from the Lord. That then is why when we approached, you felt a breath of spring-like warmth spread a sweet fragrance over you, like that of fresh vegetation in gardens or fields.'
 After saying this the man gave me his right hand and took me to their homes, where there were married couples in the prime of life, as they were. He said that their wives, who now looked like young women, had been aged crones in the world, and the husbands, who now looked like young men, had been broken-down old men. They had all been brought back by the Lord to this flowering period, because they loved each other, and religion induced them to shun adultery as an extremely grave sin. He said that no one knows the blessed pleasures of conjugial love, unless he rejects the horrid pleasures of adultery; and no one can reject these, unless he has wisdom from the Lord, and no one has wisdom from the Lord, unless he performs services for the love of service.
I also saw the furniture of their homes, all in heavenly forms and shining with gold that seemed to be aflame with rubies interspersed.