Perfection to eternity


[1 of 2] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Afterlife, spiritual growth in" (search under Afterlife/Afterlife, Heaven, Hell)": source "Heaven and Hell": detail "Section 221"
The angels are being perfected continually in wisdom and love. For they possess, as men do, understanding and will; and both their understanding and their will are capable of being continually perfected, the understanding by means of truths of intelligence, and the will by means of the goods of love.

[2 of 2] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Humans, changeable only in bodily life" (search under Inner Life/Teachings)": source "Spiritual Experiences, vol.3": detail "Section 4645a - 4646a"
As long as people live, they are in the lowest level of order, have a bodily memory, which grows, and in which those things are to take root what belong to the inward memory. Consequently, the more harmony and interaction of good and truth there is in them, and between them, the more of life they have from the Lord, and the more they can be perfected in the other life. But it is that outward or bodily memory in which inward qualities take root. People after death indeed have with them all their outward or bodily memory, in all and the least details, but it can no longer grow, and where it is not functioning, new harmony and interaction cannot be formed. Nevertheless, all things of their inward memory are also grounded in their outward memory, even though it is not permitted them to use it.
 This all shows what it means that as the tree falls, so it remains [Eccl. 11:3]—not that those imbued with good cannot be perfected: such can be perfected immensely, even unto angelic wisdom, but to the level corresponding to the harmony and interaction that had existed between their inner and outer qualities when they lived in the world. After the life of the body, no one receives outer, but only inward, and inner qualities.
 As for that dogma that the tree remains where it falls, its meaning is not as it is usually explained, but it is the degree of harmony of our inner or spiritual person with our outer or earthly one, that remains as it falls, both of which man has with him in the other life. The inner or spiritual quality is grounded in his outer or earthly one as its base. The inner or spiritual person is perfected in the other life, but depending on the harmony it is able to find in the outer or earthly one. But the latter, namely outer or earthly one cannot be perfected in the other life, but remains of the quality it had acquired in the life of the body, and is perfected in that life by the removal of the love of self and of the world, and then by the reception of the good of charity, and of the truth of faith, from the Lord. Hence it is the harmony or disharmony that is the tree, together with its root, that remains after death, where it falls.