5066. The answer made by those on the right hand:
Lord, when saw we Thee hungry and fed Thee? or thirsty and gave Thee drink? When saw we Thee a stranger and gathered Thee? or naked and clothed Thee? When saw we Thee sick, or in prison, and came unto Thee?
signifies that if they had seen the Lord Himself, everyone of them would have performed these offices; yet not from love toward Him, but from fear because He was to be the judge of the universe; thus not for His sake, but for the sake of themselves; thus not from within or from the heart, but from without and in act only.
This is as when one sees a king whose favor he desires to gain in order that he may become great or rich, and therefore bears himself submissively toward him. It is similar with those who are in holy external worship, in which they as it were see the Lord, and submit themselves to Him, believing that in this way they will receive eternal life; and yet they have no charity, and do no good to anyone except for their own sake, thus only to themselves. They are like persons who in outward form pay court to their king with much respect, and yet deride his commands because at heart they disregard him. These and similar things are what are signified by those on the right hand so answering; and as the evil also do the like things in outward form, therefore they who were on the left made nearly the same answer.