It must be laid down as a principle, that the use of the gifts of God is not erroneous, when it is directed to the same end for which the Creator himself hath created and appointed them for us; since he hath created them for our benefit, not for our injury.
Wherefore, no one will observe a more proper rule, than he who shall diligently regard this end.
Now, if we consider for what end he hath created the various kinds of food, we shall find, that he intended to provide not only for our necessity, but likewise for our pleasure and delight. …
Even the natural qualities of things demonstrate sufficiently to what end and extent we may enjoy them. Has the Lord clothed the flowers with the great beauty that greets our eyes, the sweetness of smell that is wafted upon our nostrils, and yet will it be unlawful for our eyes to be affected by that beauty, or our sense of smell by the sweetness of that odor? What? Did he not so distinguish colors as to make some more lovely than others? What? Did he not endow gold and silver, ivory and marble, with a loveliness that renders them more precious than other metals or stones? Did he not, in short, render many things attractive to us, apart from their necessary use?
Adapted from Institutes of the Christian Religion, 3:10.2.
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