Our Nature after Death Depends on the Kind of Life We Led in the World (Continued)

We should realize as well that we present our whole person in our works and deeds and that our volition and thought, or the love and faith that are our inner constituents, are not complete until they are [embodied] in the deeds and works that are our outer constituents. These latter are in fact the outmost forms in which the former find definition; and without such definitions they are like undifferentiated things that do not yet have any real presence, things that are therefore not yet in us. To think and intend without acting when we can is like a flame sealed in a jar and stifled, or it is like seed sown in the sand that does not grow but dies along with its power to reproduce. Thinking and intending and doing, though, is like a flame that sheds its light and warmth all around, or like seed sown in the soil, that grows into a tree or a flower and becomes something. Anyone can see that intending and not acting when we can is not really intending, and loving and not doing good when we can is not really loving. It is only thinking that we intend and love; so it is a matter of isolated thought that disintegrates and vanishes. Love and intent are the very soul of the deed or work. It forms its own body in the honest and fair things that we do. This is the sole source of our spiritual body, the body of our spirit; that is, our spiritual body is formed entirely from what we have done out of love or intent (see above, Section 463). In a word, everything of our character and our spirit is [embodied] in our works or deeds.

We may gather from this what is meant by the life that stays with us after death. It is actually our love and our consequent faith, not only in theory but in act as well. So it is our deeds or works because these contain within themselves our whole love and faith.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 475, 476

Notes:

Section 463: Published 8/1/2018

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