(ML) - Wisdom's Delight in Marriage Love: Followed by Insanity’s Pleasure in Promiscuous Love

ML 478

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No one can know that there is any evil in adultery if he judges of it merely from external appearances, for in these it is like marriage. When internals are mentioned and they are told that it is from these that external appearances draw their good or their evil, these external judges say within themselves: "What are internals? Who can see them? Is this not climbing above the sphere of one's intelligence?" Such men are like those who take all simulated good for genuine voluntary good, and judge the wisdom of a man from the elegance of his speech, or appraise the man himself from his fine clothes and his riding in a grand carriage, and not from his internal character, this being a matter of judgment from his affection of good. The same is equally the case with the judgment of the goodness of the fruit of a tree, or of anything edible, merely from sight and touch and not from taste and knowledge. This is what is done by all who are unwilling to perceive anything of a man's internals. Hence the insanity of many at this day, in that they see nothing of evil in adulteries, nay, and conjoin marriages with them in the same bed, that is, make them wholly alike, doing this merely because of the appearance of their likeness in outer manifestation.
[2] That such is the case is proved by the following testimony of experience: Angels once convoked an assembly of some hundreds from among the clever, learned, and wise men of the European world, and they were asked concerning the distinction between marriage and adultery, and were requested to consult reasons pertaining to their understanding. After the consultation, all but ten answered: "Public law alone makes the distinction, and this for the sake of some useful purpose. This purpose can indeed be recognized, yet it can be adjusted by civil prudence." Asked whether they see anything of good in marriage, and anything of evil in adultery, they replied, "No rational evil or good." Questioned as to whether they see anything of sin, they said, "Where is it? is not the act the same?" Amazed at these answers, the angels exclaimed, "Oh, this age! What grossness and how great!" Hearing this, hundreds of the wise turned round, and laughing loudly, said among themselves, "Is this grossness? Is any wisdom possible which can convince one that to love the Wife of another merits eternal damnation?"
[3] That adultery is a spiritual evil and thence a moral and civic evil, and is diametrically opposed to the wisdom of reason; and that the love of adultery is from hell and returns to hell, while the love of marriage is from heaven and returns to heaven, Was demonstrated in the first chapter of this Part, on The opposition of Scortatory Love and Conjugial Love. But because all evils, like all goods, have their breadth and their height, their genera or kinds being according to their breadth, and their degrees according to their height, therefore, that adulteries may be known as to both dimensions, they shall be distributed first into their kinds and then into their degrees. This shall be done in the following series:
I. That there are three kinds of adulteries, simple, double, and triple.
II. That simple adultery is that of an unmarried man with the wife of another, or of an unmarried woman with the husband of another.
III. That double adultery is that of a husband with the wife of another, or the reverse.
IV. That triple adultery is with blood relations.
V. That there are four degrees of adulteries, and that predications, pronouncements of guilt, and after death, imputations are made according to these degrees.
VI. That adulteries of the first degree are adulteries from ignorance, which are committed by those who cannot or as yet do not consult the understanding and thence inhibit them.
VII. That adulteries committed by these are mild.
VIII. That adulteries of the second degree are adulteries from lust, which are committed by those who are indeed able to consult the understanding, yet, on account of contingent causes, are not able at the time.
IX. That adulteries committed by these are imputable according as the understanding afterwards does or does not favor them.
X. That adulteries of the third degree are adulteries from reason, which are committed by those who by their understanding confirm them as not being evils of sin.
XI. That adulteries committed by these are grievous and are imputed according to the confirmations.
XII. That adulteries of the fourth degree are adulteries from the will, which are committed by those who make them allowable and pleasing and not of sufficient importance to merit consulting the understanding in respect to them.
XIII. That adulteries committed by these are grievous in the highest degree, and are imputed to them as evils of purpose and inseated within them as guilt.
XIV. That adulteries of the third and fourth degree, whether committed in act or not, are evils of sin according to the measure and quality of the understanding and will within them.
XV. That adulteries from purpose of the will, and adulteries from confirmation of the understanding, render men natural, sensual, and corporeal.
XVI. That they do this to such an extent that at last the adulterers cast off all things of the church and religion.
XVII. That nevertheless, like others, they still possess human rationality.
XVIII. But that they use this rationality when in externals, and abuse it when in their internals.
The explanation of the above now follows:


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