4663. Anyone without a knowledge of the internal sense cannot do other than suppose that these words were spoken by the Lord to refer to some last day when all throughout the world will be gathered together before the Lord for judgement and that the process of judgement will be exactly as described in the letter .That is to say, they believe that He will place them at His right hand and at His left and will address them in the actual words used there. But a person who is acquainted with the internal sense and who has learned from other places in the Word that the Lord never sentences anyone to eternal fire - but that everyone sentences himself, that is, casts himself into that place - and also who has learned that each person's last judgement takes place when he dies, is able to gain a general impression of what the Lord's words imply. And if from the internal sense and from correspondence he is acquainted with the interior connotations of individual words, he is able to gain a more detailed idea of them, which is that the reward everyone receives in the next life is determined by the life he has led in the world.
 Those who maintain that a person is saved by faith alone cannot explain the things which the Lord speaks of as works as anything else than the fruits of faith, and that He made mention of these alone for the sake of the simple who know nothing about mysteries. But even this opinion of theirs shows that the fruits of faith are what make a person blessed and happy after death. The fruits of faith are nothing else than a life led in keeping with what faith commands, and therefore it is a life in keeping with what faith commands that saves a person, not faith apart from life. For a person takes with him after death every state of his life, so that he is like what he was when in the body. That is to say, anyone who during his lifetime despised others compared with himself continues in the next life to despise others compared with himself. Anyone who hated his neighbour during his lifetime continues in the next life to hate his neighbour. Anyone who engaged in deceitful practices against companions during his lifetime continues to engage in them against companions in the next life And so on. Everyone retains in the next life the essential character he has acquired during his lifetime; and it is well known that it is not possible to get rid of one's essential character, for if one does so, no life at all remains.
 This then is the reason why solely the works of charity are mentioned by the Lord, for anyone who practices the works of charity - or what amounts to the same, leads the life of faith - possesses the ability to receive faith, if not during his lifetime, then in the next life. But anyone who does not practice the works of charity, or lead the life of faith, has no ability at all to receive faith, neither during his lifetime nor in the next life. For evil never does accord with truth; rather, the one rejects the other. And even if people who are under the influence of evil utter truths, they do so with their lips but not from their hearts, so that evil and truths are still very far away from each other.