Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO THE MOST REVEREND FATHER IN GOD, MY VERY GOOD LORD, THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY HIS GRACE, PRIMATE AND METROPOLITAN OF ALL ENGLAND. - The Works of Richard Hooker, vol. 2
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TO THE MOST REVEREND FATHER IN GOD, MY VERY GOOD LORD, THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY HIS GRACE, PRIMATE AND METROPOLITAN OF ALL ENGLAND. - Richard Hooker, The Works of Richard Hooker, vol. 2 
The Works of that Learned and Judicious Divine Mr. Richard Hooker with an Account of His Life and Death by Isaac Walton. Arranged by the Rev. John Keble MA. 7th edition revised by the Very Rev. R.W. Church and the Rev. F. Paget (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1888). 3 vols. Vol. 2.
Part of: The Works of that Learned and Judicious Divine Mr. Richard Hooker with an Account of His Life and Death by Isaac Walton, 3 vols.
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TO THE MOST REVEREND FATHER IN GOD, MY VERY GOOD LORD, THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY HIS GRACE,
Most Reverend in Christ,
BOOK V1 . Dedication.The long-continued and more than ordinary favour2 which hitherto your Grace hath been pleased to shew towards me may justly claim at my hands some thankful acknowledgment thereof. In which consideration, as also for that I embrace willingly the ancient received course and conveniency of that discipline, which teacheth inferior degrees and orders in the Church of God to submit their writings to the same authority, from which their allowable dealings whatsoever in such affairs must receive approbation3 , I nothing fear but that your accustomed clemency will take in good worth the offer of these my simple and mean labours, bestowed for the necessary justification of laws heretofore made questionable, because as I take it they were not perfectly understood.
[2.]For surely I cannot find any great cause of just complaint, that good laws have so much been wanting unto us, as we to them. To seek reformation of evil laws is a commendable endeavour; but for us the more necessary is a speedy redress of ourselves. We have on all sides lost much of our first fervency towards God; and therefore concerning our own degenerated ways we have reason to exhort with St. Gregory1 , Ὅπερ ἠ̑μεν γενώμεθα, “Let us return again unto that which we sometime were:” but touching the exchange of laws in practice with laws in device, which they say are better for the state of the Church, if they might take place, the farther we examine them the greater cause we find to conclude, μένωμεν ὅπερ ἐσμέν, “although we continue the same we are, the harm is not great.” These fervent reprehenders of things established by public authority are always confident and bold-spirited men. But their confidence for the most part riseth from too much credit given to their own wits, for which cause they are seldom free from error. The errors which we seek to reform in this kind of men are such as both received at your own hands their first wound, and from that time to this present have been proceeded in with that moderation, which useth by patience to suppress boldness, and to make them conquer that suffer2 .
[3.]Wherein considering the nature and kind of these controversies, the dangerous sequels whereunto they were likely to grow, and how many ways we have been thereby taught wisdom, I may boldly aver concerning the first, that as the weightiest conflicts the Church hath had were those which touched the Head, the Person of our Saviour Christ; and the next of importance those questions which are at this day between us and the Church of Rome about the actions of the body of the Church of God; so these which have lastly sprung up for complements, rites, and ceremonies of church actions, are in truth for the greatest part such silly things, that very easiness doth make them hard to be disputed of in serious manner. Which also may seem to be the cause why divers of the reverend prelacy1 , and other most judicious men2 , have especially bestowed their pains about the matter of jurisdiction. Notwithstanding led by your Grace’s example myself have thought it convenient to wade thorough the whole cause, following that method which searcheth the truth by the causes of truth.
[4.]Now if any marvel how a thing in itself so weak could import any great danger, they must consider not so much how small the spark is that flieth up, as how apt things about it are to take fire. Bodies politic being subject as much as natural to dissolution by divers means, there are undoubtedly moe estates overthrown through diseases bred within themselves than through violence from abroad; because our manner is always to cast a doubtful and a more suspicious eye towards that over which we know we have least power; and therefore the fear of external dangers causeth forces at home to be the more united; it is to all sorts a kind of bridle, it maketh virtuous minds watchful, it holdeth contrary dispositions in suspense, and it setteth those wits on work in better things which would else be employed in worse: whereas on the other side domestical evils, for that we think we can master them at all times, are often permitted to run on forward till it be too late to recall them. In the mean while the commonwealth is not only through unsoundness so far impaired as those evils chance to prevail, but further also through opposition arising between the unsound parts and the sound, where each endeavoureth to draw evermore contrary ways, till distraction1 in the end bring the whole to ruin.
[5.]To reckon up how many causes there are, by force whereof divisions may grow in a commonwealth, is not here necessary. Such as rise from variety in matter of religion are not only the farthest spread, because in religion all men presume themselves interessed alike; but they are also for the most part hotlier prosecuted and pursued than other strifes, forasmuch as coldness, which in other contentions may be thought to proceed from moderation, is not in these so favourably construed2 . The part which in this present quarrel striveth against the current and stream of laws was a long while nothing feared, the wisest contented not to call to mind how errors have their effect many times not proportioned to that little appearance of reason whereupon they would seem built, but rather to the vehement affection or fancy which is cast towards them and proceedeth from other causes. For there are divers motives drawing men to favour mightily those opinions, wherein their persuasions are but weakly settled; and if the passions of the mind be strong, they easily sophisticate the understanding; they make it apt to believe upon very slender3 warrant, and to imagine infallible truth where scarce any probable show appeareth.
[6.]Thus were those poor seduced creatures, Hacket and his other two adherents4 , whom I can neither speak nor think of but with much commiseration and pity, thus were they trained by fair ways, first accounting their own extraordinary love to this Discipline a token of God’s more than ordinary love towards them; from hence they grew to a strong conceit, that God, which had moved them to love his Discipline more than the common sort of men did, might have a purpose by their means to bring a wonderful work to pass, beyond all men’s expectation, for the advancement of the throne of Discipline by some tragical execution, with the particularities whereof it was not safe for their friends1 to be made acquainted; of whom they did therefore but covertly demand, what they thought of extraordinary motions of the Spirit in these days, and withal request to be commended unto God by their prayers whatsoever should be undertaken by men of God in mere zeal to his glory and the good of his distressed Church. With this unusual and strange course they went on forward, till God, in whose heaviest worldly judgments I nothing doubt but that there may lie hidden mercy, gave them over to their own inventions, and left them made in the end an example for headstrong and inconsiderate zeal no less fearful, than Achitophel for proud and irreligious wisdom. If a spark of error have thus far prevailed, falling even where the wood was green and farthest off to all men’s thinking from any inclination unto furious attempts; must not the peril thereof be greater in men whose minds are of themselves as dry fuel, apt beforehand unto tumults, seditions, and broils? But by this we see in a cause of religion to how desperate adventures men will strain themselves, for relief of their own part, having law and authority against them.
[7.]Furthermore let not any man think that in such divisions either part can free itself from inconveniences, sustained not only through a kind of truce, which virtue on both sides doth make with vice during war between truth and error; but also in that there are hereby so fit occasions ministered for men to purchase to themselves well-willers, by the colour under which they oftentimes prosecute quarrels of envy or inveterate malice: and especially because contentions were as yet never able to prevent two evils; the one a mutual exchange of unseemly and unjust disgraces offered by men whose tongues and passions are out of rule; the other a common hazard of both to be made a prey by such as study how to work upon all occurrents with most advantage in private. I deny not therefore, but that our antagonists in these controversies may peradventure have met with some not unlike to Ithacius1 ; who mightily bending himself by all means against the heresy of Priscillian, the hatred of which one evil was all the virtue he had, became so wise in the end, that every man careful of virtuous conversation, studious of Scripture, and given unto any abstinence in diet, was set down in his calendar of suspected Priscillianists, for whom it should be expedient to approve their soundness of faith by a more licentious and loose behaviour. Such proctors and patrons the truth might spare. Yet is not their grossness so intolerable, as on the contrary side the scurrilous and more than satirical immodesty of Martinism; the first published schedules whereof being brought to the hands of a grave and a very honourable knight2 , with signification given that the book would refresh his spirits, he took it, saw what the title was, read over an unsavoury sentence or two, and delivered back the libel with this answer: “I am sorry you are of the mind to be solaced with these sports, and sorrier you have herein thought mine affection to be like your own.”
[8.]But as these sores on all hands lie open, so the deepest wounds of the Church of God have been more softly and closely given. It being perceived that the plot of Discipline did not only bend itself to reform ceremonies, but seek farther to erect a popular authority of Elders, and to take away episcopal jurisdiction, together with all other ornaments and means whereby any difference or inequality is upheld in the ecclesiastical order; towards this destructive part they have found many helping hands, divers, although peradventure not willing to be yoked with elderships, yet contented (for what intent God doth know) to uphold opposition against bishops; not without greater hurt to the course of their whole proceedings in the business of God and her Majesty’s service, than otherwise much more weighty adversaries had been able by their own power to have brought to pass. Men are naturally better contented to have their commendable actions suppressed, than the contrary much divulged. And because the wits of the multitude are such, that many things they cannot lay hold on at once, but being possest with some notable either dislike or liking of any one thing whatsoever, sundry other in the meantime may escape them unperceived: therefore if men desirous to have their virtues noted do in this respect grieve at the fame of others, whose glory obscureth and darkeneth theirs; it cannot be chosen but that when the ears of the people are thus continually beaten with exclamations against abuses in the Church, these tunes come always most acceptable to them, whose odious and corrupt dealings in secular affairs both pass by that mean the more covertly, and whatsoever happen do also the least feel that scourge of vulgar imputation, which notwithstanding they most deserve1 .
[9.]All this considered as behoveth, the sequel of duty on our part is only that which our Lord and Saviour requireth, harmless discretion; the wisdom of serpents tempered with the innocent meekness of doves1 . For this world will teach them wisdom that have capacity to apprehend it. Our wisdom in this case must be such as doth not propose to itself τὸ ἴδιον, our own particular, the partial and immoderate desire whereof poisoneth wheresoever it taketh place; but the scope and mark which we are to aim at is τὸ κοινὸν, the public and common good of all; for the easier procurement whereof, our diligence must search out all helps and furtherances of direction, which scriptures, councils, fathers, histories, the laws and practices of all churches, the mutual conference of all men’s collections and observations may afford: our industry must even anatomize every particle of that body, which we are to uphold sound. And because be it never so true which we teach the world to believe, yet if once their affections begin to be alienated, a small thing persuadeth them to change their opinions, it behoveth that we vigilantly note and prevent by all means those evils whereby the hearts of men are lost: which evils for the most part being personal do arm in such sort the adversaries of God and his Church against us, that, if through our too much neglect and security the same should run on, soon might we feel our estate brought to those lamentable terms, whereof this hard and heavy sentence was by one of the ancient uttered upon like occasions, “Dolens dico, gemens denuncio, sacerdotium quod apud nos intus cecidit, foris diu stare non poterit2 .”
[10.]But the gracious providence of Almighty God hath I trust put these thorns of contradiction in our sides, lest that should steal upon the Church in a slumber, which now I doubt not but through his assistance may be turned away from us, bending thereunto ourselves with constancy; constancy in labour to do all men good, constancy in prayer unto God for all men: her especially whose sacred power matched with incomparable goodness of nature hath hitherto been God’s most happy instrument, by him miraculously kept for works of so miraculous preservation and safety unto others, that as, “By the sword of God and Gedeon1 ,” was sometime the cry of the people of Israel, so it might deservedly be at this day the joyful song of innumerable multitudes, yea, the emblem of some estates and dominions in the world, and (which must be eternally confest even with tears of thankfulness) the true inscription, style, or title, of all churches as yet standing within this realm, “By the goodness of Almighty God and his servant Elizabeth we are.” That God who is able to make mortality immortal give her such future continuance, as may be no less glorious unto all posterity than the days of her regiment past have been happy unto ourselves; and for his most dear anointed’s sake grant them all prosperity, whose labours, cares, and counsels, unfeignedly are referred to her endless welfare: through his unspeakable mercy, unto whom we all owe everlasting praise. In which desire I will here rest, humbly beseeching your Grace to pardon my great boldness, and God to multiply his blessings upon them that fear his name.
Your Grace’s in all duty,
[2 ][See the life of Hooker, p. 53.]
[3 ][The following letter, preserved by Fulman, ix. 214. furnishes an instance of this kind of deference, on the part of Hooker, towards Ecclesiastical Authorities.
[1 ]Greg. Naz. [Orat. xxxix. i. 624. D. (speaking of the season of Epiphany.) Καιρὸς ἀναγεννήσεως· γεννηθω̑μεν ἄνωθεν· καιρὸς ἀναπλάσεως· τὸν πρω̑τον Ἀδὰμ ἀναλάβωμεν· μὴ μείνωμεν ὅπερ ἔσμεν, ἀλλ’ ὅπερ ἠ̑μεν γενώμεθα.]
[2 ][An allusion, as it seems, to the Archbishop’s motto: “Vincit qui patitur.” See Walton’s Life of Hooker, p. 58. Camden’s Annals of Q. Elizabeth, ed. 1675. p. 289. anno 1583. Wordsworth’s Eccl. Biog. iv. 334.]
[1 ][Bancroft, (who had been just made Bishop of London,) in his “Dangerous Positions,” and “Survey of the pretended Holy Discipline,” both 1593. Bilson, Bishop of Winchester, in his “Perpetual Government of Christ’s Church,” also 1593.]
[2 ][Saravia in his Tract de Diversis Ministerii Gradibus, 1590. Bridges (afterwards Bishop of Oxford) in his “Defence of the Government established in the Church of England, 1587.” Sutcliffe, Dean of Exeter, in his Latin tract, “De Presbyterio,” 1591, and his English, “Remonstrance to the Demonstration of Discipline,” 1590, and “The False Semblant of Counterfeit Discipline detected,” 1591: Cosins, Dean of the Arches, in his “Apology for sundry proceedings by Jurisdiction Ecclesiastical,” 1593.]
[1 ][“distraction,” first ed. 1597; “destruction,” ed. 1616, and so Keble.] 1886.
[2 ][“constred,” A.]
[3 ][“sclender,” A.]
[4 ][In 1591. See Strype, Annals IV. 95. . . . .101. Camden, Ann. Eliz. t. ii. 34-38. ed. 1627, and chiefly Cosins’ “Conspiracy for pretended Reformation, viz. Presbyterial Discipline; a Treatise discovering the designs and courses held for advancement thereof by Wm. Hacket, yeoman, Edm. Coppinger and Henry Arthington, Gent. out of others’ depositions, and their own letters, writings, and confessions upon examination . . . . published by authority.” London, Barker, 1592.]
[1 ][Cosins has printed letters to Cartwright, Udall, P. W. (Peter Wentworth?) and others, in illustration of what is here affirmed: p. 16, Coppinger writes to Cartwright (4 Feb.) that “he was stirred up to such business of importance, as in the eyes of flesh and blood were likely to bring much danger to himself, and unlikely to bring any good success to the Church of God.” Then he relates certain fancied revelations, and adds “I desire the Church, I mean yourself and such as you shall name unto me, (because I cannot come to you without danger to yourself and me,) to look narrowly into me,” &c. Adding certain questions relating to “extraordinary callings,” “a waste of the Church,” and the like. In p. 15, is a similar communication to P. W. a layman; p. 26, to Charke; p. 36, to Udall. As to Wiggington, (who was a deprived preacher from Yorkshire,) he was in constant communication with the conspirators up to the very moment of their outbreak.]
[1 ]Sulp. Sever. (363-420) Epi. Hist. Eccles. [lib. ii. c. 63.] “Certe Ithacium nihil pensi, nihil sancti habuisse definio. Fuit enim audax, loquax, impudens, sumptuosus, ventri et gulæ plurimum impertiens. Hic stultitiæ eo usque processerat, ut omnes etiam sanctos viros, quibus aut studium inerat lectionis, aut propositum erat certare jejuniis, tanquam Priscilliani socios aut discipulos, in crimen arcesseret. Ausus etiam miser est, ea tempestate, Martino episcopo, viro plane Apostolis conferendo, palam objectare hæresis infamiam.” p. 472, ed. Horn. 1654.]
[2 ][Perhaps Sir F. Walsingham: who being Reynolds’s patron, and generally inclined to favour the Puritan party, (Strype, Whitgift, i. 425.) might be supposed not unlikely to be “solaced with those sports.” When the Marprelate pamphlets first appeared, in 1587-8, his health was declining, so that he accepted the office of chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, with an intention, as was reported, of withdrawing from the secretaryship; (Strype, Ann. III. i. 696;) and this agrees with what is said of books being brought to “refresh the knight’s spirits.” And Hooker from his intimacy with Reynolds might well have access to familiar anecdotes of Walsingham; who, it may be added, died in 1590; and this may be thought to make it the more likely that he is the person referred to in the text.]
[1 ][All this seems very apposite to Leicester: and considering how directly he was opposed to Whitgift in his lifetime, and that he had been now dead so long (since 1588) as to make his character matter of history, we may perhaps conclude that the writer was thinking of him.]
[1 ][St. Matth. x. 16.]
[2 ]Leg. Carol. Mag. fol. 421. [The passage is quoted from Gregory the Great (Ep. v. 53), about simony in Gaul and Germany, in one of the Capitula of Charles the Bald, 846 (v. Lindenbrog. Codex LL. Antiq. (1613), p. 1200. Baluze, Capitularia, Ven. 1772, ii. 24.) Gregory’s words are, “Flens dico, gemens denuncio, quia cum sacerdotalis ordo intus cecidit, foris quoque diu stare non poterit.”] 1886.
[1 ]Judges vii. 20.
[In the Fifth Book, the first edition, which was published in Hooker’s lifetime, 1597, is marked A. C. denotes the edition of 1616.] 1886.