You can see from what it says in Sections 27, 28, and 38 of Teachings on Sacred Scripture that what is first, what is intermediate, and what is last make a single entity like a purpose, a means, and a result; and because they do make a single entity, the purpose itself is called the primary purpose, the means is an intermediate purpose, and the result is the final purpose. So you must see that for us, if we have spiritual goodness, our moral goodness is spiritual on the intermediate level, and our civic goodness is spiritual on the lowest level.
That is why, as already noted, if we have spiritual goodness we are moral and civic individuals as well; but if we do not have spiritual goodness we are neither moral nor civic but only seem to be. We seem to be to ourselves and to others as well.
The reason we can still think and therefore talk rationally, like spiritual people, even when we ourselves are not spiritual is that our understanding can be raised into heaven’s light, which is truth, and can see things on that basis. However, our will cannot in the same way be lifted into heaven’s warmth, which is love, and act on that basis.
That is why truth and love are not united in us unless we are spiritual. It is also why we possess the power of speech. This actually is what differentiates us from animals. It is because our understanding can be raised into heaven when our will has not yet been raised that we can be reformed and can become spiritual. We are not reformed and do not become spiritual, though, until our will has been raised.
Because at first our understanding has more of this ability than our will does, we are able to think and therefore talk rationally like spiritual people no matter what our nature, even if we are evil. However, the reason we are not rational is that our understanding does not lead our will. Rather, our will leads our understanding, as noted in Section 115 of Teachings on Sacred Scripture. All understanding does is teach us and show us the way; and as long as our will is not one with our understanding in heaven, we are not spiritual and therefore are not rational. You see, when we are left to our will or love, then we toss out our rational thinking about God, heaven, and eternal life and instead pick up whatever agrees with our will or love and call this “rational.” But this will be given further attention in the works on angelic wisdom.
from Life/Faith, Sections 14, 15