• There are in man from the Lord two capacities whereby he is distinguished from beasts.
• One of these is the ability to understand what is true and what is good; this is called rationality, and is a capacity of his understanding.
• The other is an ability to do what is true and good; this is called freedom, and is a capacity of his will.
• For man by virtue of his rationality is able to think whatever he pleases, either with or against God, either with or against the neighbor; he is also able to will and to do what he thinks; but when he sees evil and fears punishment, he is able, by virtue of his freedom, to abstain from doing it. By virtue of these two capacities man is man, and is distinguished from beasts.
Man has these two capacities from the Lord, and they are from Him every moment; nor are they taken away, for if they were, man’s human would perish.
• In these two capacities the Lord is with every man, good and evil alike; they are the Lord’s abode in the human race; from this it is that all men live for ever, both the good and evil. But the Lord’s abode in man is nearer as by the agency of these capacities man opens the higher degrees, for by the opening of these man comes into higher degree of love and wisdom, thus nearer to the Lord. From this it can be seen that as these degrees are opened, man is in the Lord and the Lord in him.
• [T]he three degrees of height are like end, cause, and effect, and that love, wisdom, and use follow in succession according to these degrees; therefore a few things shall be said here about love as being end, wisdom as being cause, and use as being effect.
• Whoever consults his reason, if it is enlightened, can see that the end of all things of man is his love; for what he loves that he thinks, decides upon, and does, consequently that he has for his end. Man can also see from his reason that wisdom is cause; since he, that is, his love, which is his end, searches in his understanding for its means through which to attain its end, thus consulting its wisdom, and these means constitute the instrumental cause. That use is effect is evident without explanation.
• But one man’s love is not the same as another’s, neither is one man’s wisdom the same as another’s; so it is with use. And since these three are homogeneous … it follows that such as is the love in man, such is the wisdom and such is the use. Wisdom is here spoken of, but by it what pertains to man’s understanding is meant.