1. The two steps mentioned above, by leading us to God by means of
Traces, whereby He shines forth in all creatures, have led us to
of entering into ourselves, that is, into our minds in which the
image shines. Now in the third place, as we enter into ourselves,
leaving the vestibule and coming into the sanctum, that is, the
of the tabernacle, we should strive to see God through a mirror.
mirror the light of truth is shining before our minds as in a
for in it gleams the resplendent image of the most blessed
Enter then into yourselves and see, for your mind loves itself
fervently. Nor could it love itself unless it knew itself. Nor
know itself unless it remembered itself, for we receive nothing
intelligence which is not present to our memory. And from this be
not with the eye of the flesh but with that of reason, that your
soul has a
threefold power. Consider then the operations and the functions of
three powers, and you will be able to see God in yourselves as in
which is to see through a glass darkly [I Cor., 13, 12].
2. The operation of memory is retention and representation, not
things present, corporeal, and temporal, but also of past and
things, simple and eternal. For memory retains the past by
the present by receiving it, the future by foreseeing it. It
simple, as the principles of continuous and discrete
the instant, the unit--without which it is impossible to remember
think about those things whose source is in these.
the eternal principles and the axioms of the sciences and retains
eternally. For it can never so forget them while it uses reason
will not approve of them when heard and assent to them, not as
were perceiving them for the first time, but as if it were
as innate and familiar, as appears when someone says to another,
either affirm or deny," or, "Every whole is greater than its
part," or any
other law which cannot be rationally contradicted.
From the first actual retention of all temporal things, namely, of
past, present, and future, it has the likeness of eternity whose
indivisible present extends to all times. From the second it
it is not only formed from without by images [phantasms], but also
receiving simple forms from above and retaining them in
cannot enter through the doors of the senses and the images of
things. From the third it follows that it has an undying light
itself in which it remembers unchangeable truths.
operations of the memory, it appears that the soul itself is the
God and His likeness, so present to itself and having Him present
receives Him in actuality and is susceptible of receiving Him in
and that it can also participate in Him.
3. The operation of the intellect is concerned with the meaning of
propositions, and inferences. The intellect however, understands
meaning of terms when it comprehends what anything is through its
definition. But a definition must be made by higher terms and
still higher, until one comes to the highest and most general, in
of which the lower cannot be defined.
Unless, therefore, it is
is being-in-itself, the definition of no special substance can be
known. For can being-in-itself be known unless it be known along
conditions: the one, the true, the good. Since being, however, can
as incomplete or complete, as imperfect or perfect, as potential
as relative or absolute, as partial or total, as transient or
dependent or independent, as mixed with non-being or as pure, as
or necessary (per se), as posterior or prior, as mutable or
simple or composite; since privations and defects can be known
affirmations in some positive sense, our intellect cannot reach
of fully understanding any of the created beings unless it be
the understanding of the purest, most actual, most complete, and
Being, which is simply and eternally Being, and in which are the
of all things in their purity. For how would the intellect know
being is defective and incomplete if it had no knowledge of being
all defect? And thus for all the aforesaid conditions.
The intellect is said to comprehend truly the meaning of
it knows with certitude that they are true. And to know this is
know, since error is impossible in comprehension of this sort. For
that such truth cannot be otherwise than it is. It knows,
such truth is unchangeable. But since our mind itself is
cannot see that truth shining forth unchangeably except by some
shining without change in any way; and it is impossible that such
be a mutable creature. Therefore it knows in that light which
every man that cometh into this world [John, 1, 9], which is true
the Word which in the beginning was with God [John, 1, 1].
Our intellect perceives truly the meaning of inference when it
sees that a
conclusion necessarily follows from its premises. This it sees not
necessary terms but also in contingent. Thus if a man is running,
a man is
moving. It perceives, however, this necessary connection, not only
things which are, but also in things which are not. Thus if a man
it follows that if he is running, he is moved. And this is true
even if the
man is not existing.
The necessity of this mode of inference comes
the existence of the thing in matter, because that is contingent,
its existence in the soul because then it would be a fiction if it
in the world of things. Therefore it comes from the archetype in
art according to which things have an aptitude and a comportment
another by reason of the representation of that eternal art. As
says in his "On True Religion" [Ch. 39, 72], "The light of all who
truly is kindled at that truth and strives to return to it." From
is obvious that our intellect is conjoined with that eternal truth
it cannot receive anything with certainty except under its
Therefore you can see the truth through yourself, the truth that
you, if concupiscence and phantasms do not impede you and place
like clouds between you and the rays of truth.
4. The operation of the power of choice is found in deliberation,
and desire. Deliberation is found in inquiring what is better,
that. But the better has no meaning except by its proximity to the
But such proximity is measured by degrees of likeness. No one,
can know whether this is better than that unless he knows that
closer to the best. But no one knows that one of two things is
more like another unless he knows the other. For I do not know
that this man is like
Peter unless I know or am acquainted with Peter. Therefore the
idea of the
good must be involved in every deliberation about the highest
Certain judgment of the objects of deliberation comes about
law. But none can judge with certainty through law unless he be
that that law is right and that he ought not to judge it But the
judges itself. Since, then, it cannot judge the law it employs in
that law is higher than our minds, and through this higher law one
judgments according to the degree with which it is impressed upon
there is nothing higher than the human mind except Him Who made
Therefore our deliberative faculty in judging reaches upward to
if it solves its problems completely.
Now desire is of that which especially moves one. But that
one which is especially loved. But happiness is loved above all.
happiness does not come about except through the best and ultimate
Human desire, therefore, seeks nothing unless it be the highest
something which leads to it or something which has some
resemblance to it.
So great is the force of the highest good that nothing can be
through desire for it by a creature which errs and is deceived
takes truth's image and likeness for the truth.
See then how close the soul is to God and how memory in its
leads to eternity, intelligence to truth, the power of choice to
5. Following the order and origin and comportment of these powers,
led to the most blessed Trinity itself. From memory arises
its offspring, for then do we know when a likeness which is in the
leaps into the eye of the intellect, which is nothing other than a
From memory and intelligence is breathed forth love, which is the
between the two.
These three--the generating mind, the word, and
in the soul as memory, intelligence, and will, which are
coequal, and coeval, mutually immanent. If then God is perfect
has memory, intelligence, and will; and He has both the begotten
spirated Love. These are necessarily distinguished, since one is
from the other--distinguished, not essentially or accidentally,
When therefore the mind considers itself, it rises
itself as through a mirror to the contemplation of the Blessed
Trinity--Father, Word, and Love--three persons coeternal, coequal, and
consubstantial; so that each one is in each of the others, though
not the other, but all three are one God.
6. This consideration which the soul has of its threefold and
principle through the trinity of its powers, by which it is the
God, is supported by the light of knowledge which perfects it and
it, and represents in three ways the most blessed Trinity. For all
philosophy is either natural or rational or moral. The first deals
cause of being, and therefore leads to the power of the Father.
deals with the principle of understanding, and therefore leads to
wisdom of the Word. The third deals with the order of living, and
leads to the goodness of the Holy Spirit.
Again, the first is divided into metaphysics, mathematics, and
first concerns the essences of things; the second, numbers and
third, natures, powers, and extensive operations. Therefore the
the First leads Principle, the Father; the second, to His image,
third, to the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The second is divided into grammar, which gives us the power of
logic, which gives us skill in argumentation; rhetoric, which
skillful in persuasion or stirring the emotions. And this
the mystery of the most blessed Trinity.
The third is divided into individual, family, and political
And therefore the first images the First Principle, which has no
second, the family relationship of the Son; the third, the
the Holy Spirit.
7. All these sciences have certain and infallible rules, like rays
descending from the eternal law into our minds. And thus our
illumined and suffused by such great radiance, unless they be
blind, can be
led through themselves alone to the contemplation of that eternal
The irradiation and consideration of this light holds the wise
wonder; and, on the other hand, it leads into confusion the
foolish, who do
not believe that they may understand. Hence this prophecy is
"Thou enlightenest wonderfully from the everlasting hills. All the
of heart were troubled" [Ps., 75, 5-6].