452. VII. THAT FORNICATION IS LIGHT SO FAR AS IT LOOKS TO CONJUGIAL LOVE AND PREFERS IT. There are degrees of evil as to its nature, just as there are degrees of good as to its nature. Therefore, every evil is a more or less light or grievous evil, just as every good is a more or less better or best good. It is the same with fornication. Being a lust and belonging to the natural man not yet purified, fornication is an evil. But since every man can be purified, therefore, so far as he approaches a purified state, thus so far as fornication approaches conjugial love which is the purified state of love of the sex, so far that evil becomes a lighter evil, for so far it is wiped away. That the evil of fornication is more grievous so far as it approaches the love of adultery will be seen in the next article.  That fornication is light so far as the man looks to conjugial love, is because from the unchaste state in which he is, he then looks to a chaste state, and so far as he prefers this [in thought], so far he is in it as to his understanding; and so far as he prefers it not only [in thought] but also in love, so far he is in it as to his will also, thus as to his internal man. Then fornication, if nevertheless he continues in it, is to him a necessity, the causes of which he has examined in himself.
 There are two reasons which render fornication light with those who, in thought and love, prefer the conjugial state. The first is, because with them a conjugial life is the purpose, intention or end. The second is, because in themselves they separate evil from good. As regards the FIRST POINT--that with them a conjugial life is their purpose, intention or end--this is because a man is such as he is in his purpose, intention or end. Such also is he before the Lord and before angels, yea, he is also regarded as such in the view of wise men in the world; for intention is the soul of all actions and makes for blame or excuse in the world and for imputation after death.  As regards the SECOND POINT that those who prefer conjugial love to the lust of fornication, separate evil from good--they thus separate the unchaste from the chaste, and those who separate these two in their perception and intention, before they are themselves in the good or the chaste, when they come into the conjugial state are separated and purified from the evil of that lust. That this is not the case with those who in fornication look to adultery, will be seen in the article that now follows.