Opinion, let us now
see here the effects of the two other modes of
Knowing. And first of all, [the effect] of what we
have called True Belief. [N1]
[Note N1]: Belief is a strong proof based on Reasons, whereby I am convinced in my mind that the thing is really, and just such, outside my understanding, as I am convinced in my mind that it is. I say, a strong proof based on Reasons, in order thereby to distinguish it both from Opinion, which is always doubtful and liable to error, and from Knowledge which does not consist in being convinced by Reasons, but in an immediate union with the thing itself. I say, that the thing is really and just such outside my understanding -- really, because reasons cannot deceive me in this, for otherwise they would not be different from opinion. Just such, for it can only tell me what the thing ought to be, and not what it really is, otherwise it would not be different from Knowing. Outside, for it makes us enjoy intellectually not what is in us, but what is outside us.
[Note N1]: A: third; B: fourth.
true belief is that it brings us to a clearer understanding, through which we love God, and thus it makes us intellectually aware of the things which are not in us, but outside us.
thing of Reason. And when we have conceived in our mind an Idea of a perfect man, it should make us look (when we examine ourselves) to see whether we have any means of attaining to such perfection.
individual man,* say, e.g., of Adam, I should be confusing a real thing (ens reale) with a thing of Reason (ens Rationis), which must be most scrupulously avoided by an upright Philosopher, for reasons which we shall state in the sequel, or on another occasion. Furthermore, since the destiny of Adam, or of any other individual creature, is not known to us except through the result, so *it follows* that what we can say even of the destiny of man must be based on the idea which our understanding forms of a perfect man,[N1] which destiny, since it is a thing of Reason, we may well know; so also, as already remarked, are good and evil, which are only modes of thinking.
[Note N1]: For from no individual creature can one derive an Idea that is perfect; for the perfection of this object itself, [that is,] whether it is really perfect or not, cannot be deduced except from a general perfect Idea, or Ens Rationis.
belief, clear knowledge. And from what we have now seen of the effects of all these, it is evident that the fourth, namely, clear knowledge, is the most perfect of all. For opinion often leads us into error. True belief is good only because it is the way to true knowledge, and awakens us to things which are really lovable. So that the final end that we seek, and the highest that we know, is true knowledge. But even this true knowledge varies with the objects that come before it: the better the object is with which it happens to unite itself, so much the better also is this knowledge. And, for this reason, he is the most perfect man who is united with God (who is the most perfect being of all), and so enjoys him.