205. IN SUCCESSIVE ORDER THE FIRST DEGREE MAKES THE HIGHEST, AND THE THIRD THE LOWEST; BUT IN SIMULTANEOUS ORDER THE FIRST DEGREE MAKES THE INNERMOST, AND THE THIRD THE OUTERMOST.
There is successive order and simultaneous order. The successive order of these degrees is from highest to lowest, or from top to bottom. The angelic heavens are in this order; the third heaven there is the highest, the second is the middle, and the first is the lowest; such is their relative situation. In like successive order are the states of love and wisdom with the angels there, also states of heat and light, and of the spiritual atmospheres. In like order are all the perfections of the forms and forces there. When degrees of height, that is, discrete degrees, are in successive order, they may be compared to a column divided into three stories, through which ascent and descent are made. In the upper rooms are things most perfect and most beautiful; in the middle rooms, things less perfect and beautiful; in the lowest, things still less perfect and beautiful. But simultaneous order, which consists of like degrees, has another appearance. In it, the highest things of successive order, which are (as was said above) the most perfect and most beautiful, are in the inmost, the lower things are in the middle, and the lowest in the circumference. They are as if in a solid body composed of these three degrees: in the middle or center are the finest parts, round about this are parts less fine, and in the extremes which constitute the circumference are the parts composed of these and which are therefore grosser. It is like the column mentioned just above subsiding into a plane, the highest part of which forms the innermost of the plane, the middle forms the middle, and the lowest the outermost.