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CHAPTER CXXIThat the Divine Law directs man to a Rational Use of Corporeal and Sensible Things

AS man’s mind may be raised to God by corporeal and sensible things, provided that they are duly used to show reverence to God, so also the undue use of them either totally withdraws the mind from God, fixing the final intention of the will upon inferior things,753753As is the ease with those whose god is their belly (Phil. iii, 19): i.e., who live for drink, and will do anything to get it, and for the lusts of the lower belly: that is their ‘religion,’ an insult to the living God. or clogs the mind’s aspiration after God, making it take unnecessary interest in such things.754754The interest that we take in some things by way of much needed recreation and distraction of mind, cannot be called an “unnecessary interest.” Now the divine law is given for this end chiefly, to lead man to cling to God. It is a function therefore of divine law to direct man in his affection for and use of corporeal and sensible things.

2. As man’s mind is subordinate to God, so his body is subordinate to his soul, and his lower powers to his reason. It belongs therefore to divine providence, the plan of which, as proposed by God to man, is the divine law, to see that all things keep their order. Therefore that divine law must so direct man as that his lower powers shall be subject to his reason, and his body to his soul, and exterior things shall serve his necessity.

4. Every lawgiver must comprise in his legislation those enactments without which the law could not be observed. Now law being set over reason,755755That is, law being set to govern the rational will. man could not follow the law unless all other things belonging to man were subjected to reason.

Hence it is said: Your reasonable service (Rom. xii, i); and, This is the will of God, your sanctification (1 Thess. iv, 9).

Hereby is excluded the error of such as say that those acts alone are sinful, whereby our neighbour is either hurt or shocked.

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