209. THE OUTMOST DEGREE IS THE COMPLEX, CONTAINANT AND BASE OF THE PRIOR DEGREES.
The doctrine of degrees which is taught in this Part, has hitherto been illustrated by various things which exist in both worlds; as by the degrees of the heavens where angels dwell, by the degrees of heat and light with them, and by the degrees of atmospheres, and by various things in the human body, and also in the animal and mineral kingdoms. But this doctrine has a wider range; it extends not only to natural, but also to civil, moral, and spiritual things, and to each and all their details. There are two reasons why the doctrine of degrees extends also to such things. First, in every thing of which anything can be predicated there is the trine which is called end, cause, and effect, and these three are related to one another according to degrees of height. And secondly things civil, moral, and spiritual are not something abstract from substance, but are substances. For as love and wisdom are not abstract things, but substance (as was shown above, n. 40-43), so in like manner are all things that are called civil, moral, and spiritual. These may be thought of abstractly from substances, yet in themselves they are not abstract; as for example, affection and thought, charity and faith, will and understanding; for it is the same with these as with love and wisdom, in that they are not possible outside of subjects which are substances, but are states of subjects, that is, substances. That they are changes of these, presenting variations, will be seen in what follows. By substance is also meant form, for substance is not possible apart from form.