From what has been said in the Doctrine of the Holy Scripture (n. 27-28*, 38**), it may be seen that what is highest, what is intermediate, and what is last, make a one, like end, cause, and effect; and that because they make a one, the end itself is called the first end, the cause the intermediate end, and the effect the last end. From this it must be evident that in the case of a man who possesses spiritual good, what is moral in him is intermediate spiritual, and what is civic is ultimate spiritual. And for this reason it has been said that a man who possesses spiritual good is also a moral man and a civic man; and that a man who does not possess spiritual good is neither a moral man nor a civic man, although he may appear to be so both to himself and to others.
* THE SENSE OF THE LETTER OF THE WORD IS THE BASIS, THE CONTAINANT, AND THE SUPPORT OF ITS SPIRITUAL AND CELESTIAL SENSES
In every Divine work there is a first, a middle, and a last (or ultimate); and the first passes through the middle to the last (or ultimate), and so comes into manifest being and subsists. Hence the last or ultimate is the basis. But the first is in the middle, and through the middle in the ultimate; so that the ultimate is the container. And as the ultimate is the container and the basis, it is also the support.
The learned reader will comprehend that these three may be called end, cause, and effect; also esse, fieri, and existere; and that the end is the esse, the cause the fieri, and the effect the existere; consequently, that in every complete thing there is a trine, which is called first, middle, and ultimate; also end, cause, and effect; and also esse, fieri, and existere. When these things are comprehended, it is also comprehended that every Divine work is complete and perfect in its ultimate; and likewise that the whole is in the ultimate, which is a trine, because the prior things are together, or simultaneously, in it.
** There are in heaven and in this world a successive order and a simultaneous order. In successive order one thing succeeds and follows another from highest to lowest; but in simultaneous order one thing is next to another from inmost to outmost. Successive order is like a column with successive parts from the top to the bottom; but simultaneous order is like a connected structure with successive circumferences from center to surface.
It shall now be told how successive order becomes simultaneous order in the ultimate. It is in this way: The highest things of successive order become the inmost ones of simultaneous order, and the lowest things of successive order become the outermost ones of simultaneous order. Comparatively speaking it is as if the column of successive parts were to sink down and become a connected body in a plane.
Thus is the simultaneous formed from the successive, and this in all things both in general and in particular of the natural world, and also of the spiritual world; for everywhere there is a first, a middle, and an ultimate, and the first aims at and goes through the middle to its ultimate.
Apply this to the Word. The celestial, the spiritual, and the natural proceed from the Lord in successive order, and in the ultimate are in simultaneous order; and it is in this way that the celestial and spiritual senses of the Word are simultaneous in its natural sense. When this is comprehended, it may be seen how the natural sense of the Word, which is the sense of the letter, is the basis, containant, and support of its spiritual and celestial senses; and how in the sense of the letter of the Word Divine good and Divine truth are in their fullness, in their holiness, and in their power.