The eye cannot determine the shape of any solid object, however simple, from any one single point of view. Take, for example, a statue. A photograph taken from one point of view, however well selected, will not give a complete idea of the statue; two photographs from two different points will give a fuller idea; three fuller still, and so on ad infinitum; that is to say, the larger the number of photographs the more complete the idea; but, for all practical purposes, three photographs taken from three different well-chosen points of view will give a very fair notion of the original statue and enable us to estimate its artistic value.
Again, Geometry teaches that all solid objects have at least three dimensions: that "there is nothing complete and perfect unless it is a triad; for a line is nothing unless it becomes a surface, nor is a surface anything unless it becomes a body; one therefore is drawn into another that they may exist, and they co-exist in the third. As in this, so it is also in each and all created things, which "are all terminated in a third." Now this first principle of measurement will become perfectly clear even to the most unmathematical mind by means of a few familiar examples. A line has one dimension, i.e. length; a square surface has two dimensions, i.e. length and breadth; a cube has three dimensions, i.e. length, breadth, and height. These three dimensions are inherent in all solid material things. Some things, of course, like the statue, have many more besides, but all have at least "these three."
And, as in the material world, so in the spiritual, there exists in all ideas, which are the subjects and objects of that world, a Divine Order or Sequence which may be compared to the three dimensions of the world of matter. These three states or dimensions are Motive, Means, Effect; or Essence, Form, Use. Now, one of the most oft-recurring questions in life is Cui bono? that is, What is the use of such and such a thing? And rightly so, for the Use of a thing is one of its three essential conditions of existence, one of its three dimensions. Every action of our life, good or bad, has a motive, a means, and an end. These are its three dimensions. They exist together, and each is bound to each like the links of a chain, and the use of a thing is the end and aim of its existence. Even Love and Wisdom are nothing without "the good of Use." Separately they are but ideal or potential entities and do not become real until they exist in Use. For "Love, Wisdom, and Use are three things that cannot be separated; if they are separated neither one of them is anything. Love is not anything without wisdom; but in wisdom it is formed to something. This something into which it is formed is use; therefore when love, by means of wisdom, is in use, then it really is, because it actually exists. They are precisely like end, cause, and effect; the end is not anything unless through the cause it exists in an effect; if one of the three is dispersed the whole is dispersed and becomes as nothing." This plain reasoning completely settles the old theological quibble about Faith and Works. For "Charity is nothing without faith, neither is faith anything without charity, nor charity and faith without works; but in the works they are something, and a something of the same "nature as the use of the works. It is the same with affection, thought, and operation. And it is the same with the will, the understanding, and action; for the will without the understanding is like the eye without sight; and both without action are as a mind without a body."
Let us now apply these principles to "Human Conduct. A man may conceive what he considers to be a good idea; and yet, unless the means he employs to carry it out are good, and the use or end accomplished is also good, the idea which he considered good is not good at all. The most important thing to be considered, and therefore the first thing, is the third dimension, the use or end. This lies, like a germ, in the first dimension or motive as a flower in the bud. It then passes into the second dimension—that is, suitable means are selected or devised—and thence proceeds the operation, use, or end; that is the third dimension. Hence we deduce this all important Rule of Conduct:—Before undertaking any important course of action, calculate and measure out the work in the form of an estimate under three heads, namely, Idea, Plan, and Use. If you cannot honestly admit that all these three things are good, then dismiss the idea from your thoughts as a bad and unprofitable one. In other words, (1) Is your motive a good one? (2) Have you the proper means to carry it out? (3) Will it be useful when finished? If so, proceed. If not, at once reverse the engines before it is too late, or disaster is sure to follow. If not only all artists, painters, authors, inventors, and workers of all sorts, but also all men, women, and children, would ponder these things and apply them as first principles in all they conceive, plan, and accomplish, how different at once would become the quality of all human work; how the level of art would be raised; how the slow evolution of man would e be accelerated!