Online Library of Liberty

A collection of scholarly works about individual liberty and free markets. A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.

Advanced Search

Richard Hooker, The Works of Richard Hooker, vol. 1 [1888]

Title Page
Original Table of Contents or First Page

Edition used:

Richard Hooker, 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. 1.

Available in the following formats:
Facsimile PDF 25.5 MB This is a facsimile or image-based PDF made from scans of the original book.
MARC Record 1.93 KB MAchine-Readable Cataloging record.
Kindle 1.16 MB This is an E-book formatted for Amazon Kindle devices.
EBook PDF 2.26 MB This text-based PDF or EBook was created from the HTML version of this book and is part of the Portable Library of Liberty.
HTML 2.09 MB This version has been converted from the original text. Every effort has been taken to translate the unique features of the printed book into the HTML medium.

About this Title:

Volume 1 of the writings of Richard Hooker, including the editor’s introduction and the first 4 Books of his best known work Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity (1594-97).

Copyright information:

The text is in the public domain.

Fair use statement:

This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.

Table of Contents:

Edition: current; Page: [i]
Edition: current; Page: [ii]



Oxford University Press Warehouse

Amen Corner, E.C.

Edition: current; Page: [iii]
REVISED BY THE VERY REV. R. W. CHURCH, M.A., D.C.L. Honorary Fellow of Oriel College, and Dean of St. Paul’s and THE REV. F. PAGET, D.D. Canon of Christ Church, and Regius Professor of Pastoral Theology in the University of Oxford
Edition: current; Page: [iv]

All things written in this booke I humbly and meekly submit to the censure of the grave and reverend Prelates within this land, to the judgment of learned men, and the sober consideration of all others. Wherein I may happely erre as others before me have done, but an heretike by the help of Almighty God I will never be.

Hooker, MS. Note on the title leaf of the “Christian Letter.”

Edition: current; Page: [v]


In this Edition the General Index has been somewhat altered and enlarged. A separate Index of all Texts of Holy Scripture quoted in Hooker’s Works, and a Glossary of Words strange either in themselves or in Hooker’s use of them, have been added. In the preparation of the Glossary valuable help has been most kindly given by F. J. Furnivall, Esq., one of the Honorary Secretaries of the Philological Society.


This Edition is a reprint of Mr. Keble’s Edition, with some slight corrections and additions.

The Text has been again revised by comparison with the various original Editions, whether published in Hooker’s lifetime, or after his death. A few oversights in Mr. Keble’s careful collation of these Texts have been corrected. Further, the printer’s copy from which Book V. was printed, with Whitgift’s signature and corrections in Hooker’s handwriting, procured for the Bodleian by Mr. Coxe, has been collated by Dr. Paget, Professor of Pastoral Theology, with the first edition. An account of this MS. will be found prefixed to Book V.

Edition: current; Page: [vi]

Mr. Keble’s orthography and punctuation have been preserved, except in a few older forms, which are more than mere matters of spelling, and in the forms of Old Testament names, which Hooker, like most writers of the time, took from the Septuagint or Vulgate.

The Glossary, added to in the Sixth Edition by Mr. Furnivall, has been further enlarged; and an Index is given of the writers cited by Hooker, showing the range and character of his reading. Some additions to the Notes have been furnished by the Rev. Edward Marshall, late Fellow of C. C. C., Oxford, and Vicar of Sandford St. Martin. They are marked M. or E. M.

Edition: current; Page: [vii]


  • VOL. I.
    • Editor’s Preface ........................................ page ix—cxxi
    • Walton’s Dedication to Bishop Morley .................... cxxiii
    • Preface to the First Edition of the Life of Hooker ... 1
    • Life of Hooker ........................................ 3
      • Appendix to the Life of Hooker......................... 88
      • Further Appendix to the Life of Hooker .......... 100
    • Spenser’s Preface to the Reader ......................... 121
    • Preface to the Books of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity ........................................ 125
    • Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity
      • The First Book ........................................ 197
      • The Second Book ........................................ 286
      • The Third Book ........................................ 337
      • The Fourth Book........................................ 416
  • VOL. II.
    • Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity
      • The Bodleian MS. of Book V [1887] .................... v
      • The Fifth Book........................................ 1
        • Hooker’s Dedication to Archbishop Whitgift ...... ibid.
        • Appendix to Book V .............................. 537
    Edition: current; Page: [viii]
  • VOL. III.
    • Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity
      • The Sixth Book........................................ page 1
        • Appendix to Book VI .............................. 108
    • Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity
      • The Seventh Book ........................................ 140
      • The Eighth Book ........................................ 326
        • Appendices to Book VIII .............................. 456
    • A Sermon on the Certainty and Perpetuity of Faith in
      • the Elect ........................................ 469
    • A Learned Discourse on Justification, Works, and how
      • the Foundation of Faith is Overthrown ...... 483
    • Travers’s Supplication to the Council .................... 548
    • Hooker’s Answer to Travers’s Supplication .................... 570
    • A Learned Sermon on the Nature of Pride .................... 597
    • A Remedy against Sorrow and Fear: Delivered in a
      • Funeral Sermon .............................. 643
    • Jackson’s Dedication to the First of two Sermons on
      • Part of St. Jude .............................. 654
      • The First Sermon........................................ 659
      • The Second Sermon........................................ 681
    • A Sermon Found among the Papers of Bishop Andrews... 700
  • Indices .................................................. 711
    • Texts .................................................. 713
    • Authors .................................................. 730
    • Subjects .................................................. 737
    • Glossary .................................................. 793
Edition: current; Page: [a]


Vol. I. p. liii, l. 22, for Mus. Bodl. 55. 20 read Bodl. MS. e Mus. 55. Art. 20

Vol. III. p. 526, note3, l. 10, for e read a: l. 16, for tenui read tenue.

Vol. III. p. 599, note2, for Sc. 4 read Sc. 1.

The Editors are indebted for the following to the Rev. E. Marshall:

Vol. I. p. 227, note2. The earliest known occurrence of this saying is in Alcuin. Admon. ad Carol. M. § ix. ‘Nec audiendi sunt qui solent dicere, Vox populi, Vox Dei, cum tumultuositas vulgi semper insaniæ proxima est.’ Ep. cxxvii. Alcuin. Opp. t. i. p. 191 ed. Froben. 1777.

Vol. I. p. 251, note2. See Cic. de Nat. Deor. lib. i. cc. 15, 41, with a further reference to Gaisf. Paroem. Gr. p. 252 (for the Greek proverb), and to Pliny and Juvenal, in the note of A. Schott, ibid.

Vol. I. p. 314, note1, l. 18, ‘Greece of Greece.’ Mr. Evelyn Abbott points out that Athenaeus refers this title of Athens to Thucydides: Θουκυδίδης δὲ ἐν τῳ̑ εἰς Εὐριπίδην ἐπιγράμματι Ἑλλάδος Ἑλλάδα (ἔϕη), v. p. 187 E. The epigram is preserved among the Ἑπιτύμβια of the Anthologia Palatina (vii. 45. Anth. Graec. t. 1, p. 235, Tauchn.), where there occurs at v. 3: Πατρὶς δ’ Ἑλλάδος Ἑλλάς, Ἀθη̑ναι.

Vol. I. p. 315, note7. For original Greek see p. 317, note2.

Vol. I. p. 393, note of 1886. Cf. Cic. de Rep. lib. iii. ap. S. Aug. Contr. Jul. iv. 12.

Vol. II. p. 44, note2. There is a copy of the edition of 1707 in the Bodleian Library.

Vol. II. p. 53, note2. See the De Ebrietate, c. xxxvi (tom. i. p. 377 ed. 1742), τὰ ἀόρατα καὶ τὰ νοητὰ θεωρήματα ὠ̑ν αἰσθηταὶ ταυ̑τα εἰκόνες.

Vol. II. p. 260, note1, last line, for 1354 read 1654.

Vol. II. p. 302, note1. These words are condensed from Boet. de Console Lib. IV, Pros. iv. ad fin.

Vol. II. p. 406, note2, l. 15, for ‘the Levant’ read ‘those of the Levant.’

Vol. II. pp. 407, note1, l. 12, 417, note2. The passage referred to as from Ignatius is in Pseudo-Ignatius, ‘the long recension’ of Bishop Lightfoot, Vol. II. sect. ii. p. 786.

Vol. II. p. 515, note1. The words occur in Regulæ juris utriusque, tom. i. p. 269, col. 1, Lugd. 1587.

Vol. III. p. 441, note1. Add to quotation from Bishop Cooper, S. Ambr. Serm. contr. Auxent. § 5. Ep. xxi., Tom. II. p. 865, ed. Bened.

Vol. III. p. 523, note4. The passage is translated from the ‘Epistola M. Buceri in Evangelistarum enarrationes nuncupatoria ad præclaram Acad. Marpurg., mdxxx,’ of which Epistle the running title is ‘De Servanda Ecclesiæ Unitate M. Buceri Epistola Nuncupat.’ There is a copy in the Bodleian Library.

Vol. III. p. 622, l. 4 from foot. The quotation is from Digesta, Lib. l. Tit. xvii. 109, where edd. 1553, 1575 read ‘prohibere (non) potest [Editor: illegible character] ed. Berol. 1870 (Mommsen) ‘prohibere potest.’

Vol. III. p. 666, ll. 2 sqq. The reference is to St. Hilary de Trinitate, lib. IX, c. x. p. 990, ed. Bened.

Vol. III. p. 703, l. 2 sq. These words occur almost verbatim in S. Greg. M. Hom. in Evang. xxxvii. § 1. Tom. I. p. 1627, ed. Bened.

Edition: current; Page: [b] Edition: current; Page: [ix]


Edition: 1888; Page: [1]Editor’s Preface.THE first object of the present publication is, to exhibit the remains of the great and venerable writer (all, unfortunately, more or less imperfect) in as correct a form as could be attained, by reference, throughout, to the original editions; and in some few cases, to MS. copies.

1. In respect of the Life of Hooker, by Walton—which has a sort of customary right to appear first in all collections of his remains, and a right, surely, which no one would wish to disturb, who can enter into the spirit either of the biographer, or of his subject—the reader will find some considerable variations from the copy which appears in most former editions: of which the following is the account. The life was first written at Archbishop Sheldon’s suggestion to correct the errors of that by Bishop Gauden, which had come out in 1662. The first edition bears date 1665; the date of the Introduction is fixed to the year before, by the expression, “I must look back to his death, now sixty-four years past:” for Hooker died Nov. 2, 1600. In 1670, it was reprinted, together with the lives of Donne, Wotton, and Herbert, and the collection was dedicated, as the separate life had been, to Walton’s intimate friend (if he might not be called his patron) Bishop Morley. It was so popular as to reach a fourth edition in 1675: and from that, which was the last that had the author’s corrections, the present reprint has been made. To the best of the Editor’s knowledge, the copy of the Life prefixed to the editions of Hooker since 1666, was taken from Walton’s first edition. For although there were at least two reprints of Hooker before Walton’s death, one in 1676 and one in 1682, (he died Dec. 15, 1683,) the Life remained uncorrected: and this circumstance not being observed by Dr. Zouch led him to select for his edition a text which undoubtedly Walton Edition: current; Page: [x] himself had discarded. Dr. Wordsworth in his Ecclesiastical Biography saw and corrected the mistake. It is remarkable that it should have escaped Strype’s notice when he inserted his corrections and additions in the reprint of 1705. Some of the principal variations are set down in the notes to the present edition: but without exact collation of the two texts.

The general result, in the Editor’s opinion, is favourable to Walton’s veracity, industry, and judgment. The advantage he possessed was great in his connexion1 with the Cranmer family, Hooker’s near neighbours and most intimate friends. Of this connexion Walton’s biographers do not appear to have thought much, if it was at all observed by them; though it was this in all probability which gave the colouring to his whole future life, introducing him into societies and pursuits from which otherwise he seemed far removed. At the same time the Editor has no wish to deny, that which is apparent of itself to every reader—the peculiar fascination, if one may call it so, by which Walton was led unconsciously to communicate more or less of his own tone and character to all whom he undertook to represent. But this is like his custom of putting long speeches into their mouths: we see at once that it is his way, and it deceives no one. Perhaps the case of Hooker is that in which the biographer has on the whole produced the most incorrect impression of his subject. He seems to have judged rather from anecdotes which had come to his knowledge, than from the indications of temperament which Hooker’s own writings afford. Otherwise he might perhaps have seen reason to add to his commendation of him for meekness and patience, that those qualities were by no means constitutional in him. Like Moses, to whom Walton compares him, he was by nature extremely sensitive, quick in feeling any sort of unfairness, and thoroughly aware of his own power to chastise it: so that his Edition: current; Page: [xi] forbearance (which those only can judge of, who have acquainted themselves with the writings of his opponents) must have been the result of strong principle, and unwearied self-control. Again, Walton or his informants appear to have considered him as almost childishly ignorant of human nature and of the ordinary business of life: whereas his writings throughout betray uncommon shrewdness and quickness of observation, and a vein of the keenest humour runs through them; the last quality we should look for, if we judged only by reading the Life. In these respects it may seem probable that if the biographer had been personally acquainted with his subject, the picture would have been somewhat modified: in no others is there any reason, either from his writings or from contemporary evidence, to doubt the accuracy of his report.

Edition: 1888; Page: [2]It will be observed that in the Notes and Appendix to the Life, some use has been made of the collections of Mr. Fulman, which are preserved in C. C. C. Library, to the number of twenty-two volumes; of which an account may be seen in Dr. Bliss’s edition of the Athenæ Oxonienses, iv. 242: as also an account of the collector, who had been the alumnus and amanuensis of Hammond, and was the friend and literary adviser of Antony Wood. He was also acquainted with Walton, as appears from his Appendix to the Life of Hooker, p. 89 n.2; and from an indorsement in Fulman’s hand, on some papers which will be found, vol. iii. p. 108 of this edition. All therefore that he knew about Hooker he had communicated to Walton, no doubt, before 1675: and therefore little or no direct additional information was to be expected, or occurs, in his papers.

The chief use now made of them has been to extract a few passages relating to Reynolds, Hooker’s tutor, and undoubtedly the leader of the Moderate Puritanical party in the University at that time. A specimen of his tone and principles may be seen in the Further Appendix to the Life, N°. ii: which letter, with all that we read of Reynolds, tends to put in a strong light his pupil Hooker’s entire independence of thought, and the manner in which he worked his way towards other views than those in which he had been trained. For it may be observed that his uncle, John Hooker or Vowel, was rather a keen partisan, as he had been at one time an associate, Edition: current; Page: [xii] of Peter Martyr and others of the more uncompromising foreign Reformers: as his historical fragments, inserted in Holinshed, may shew. Hooker’s connexion again with Bishop Jewel; with Dr. Cole, President of C. C. C., who had been forced on the society by the Queen’s government1; and with Cole’s party in the College; were all things calculated, as far as they went, to give him a bias towards the extreme which was accounted most contrary to Romanism. And indeed the deep and sincere dread with which he regarded the errors and aggressions of Rome, is apparent in every part of his writings: and so much the more instructive will it prove, should we find him of his own accord embracing those catholic opinions and practices, which some in their zeal against popery may have too lightly parted with, but which Rome alone could not give, neither should we allow her indirectly to take them away.

The other short pieces, subjoined to the Life in this edition, are accounted for by notes as they severally occur.

Edition: 1888; Page: [3]2.If Hooker’s works were arranged in the order of their composition, (a course which is so far preferable to any other, as it gives the completest view of the progress of the writer’s own mind, and any modifications which his opinions may have undergone,) the Sermons relating to the controversy with Travers, 1585-6, would naturally come first in order. For that controversy not only preceded the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity in order of time, but actually led to the first idea and undertaking of the great work2. However, in the present publication, the precedent of all former ones has been respected; but it will be for future editors to consider whether they may not advantageously invert this order.

The statement of Walton, that the dispute in the Temple led immediately to the design of Hooker’s Treatise, is incidentally confirmed by a passage in the Sermon on pride, which appears from internal evidence to have been a subsequent part of the same course, to which the discourses censured by Travers belonged. The passage occurs in a portion of the Sermon now for the first time printed3. He is speaking of the difference between moral or natural, and positive or mutable law: “which difference,” he says, “being undiscerned, hath not a little obscured justice. It is no small perplexity which this one Edition: current; Page: [xiii] thing hath bred in the minds of many, who beholding the laws which God himself hath given abrogated and disannulled by human authority, imagine that justice is hereby conculcated; that men take upon them to be wiser than God himself; that unto their devices His ordinances are constrained to give place; which popular discourses, when they are polished with such art and cunning as some men’s wits are well acquainted with, it is no hard matter with such tunes to enchant most religiously affected souls. The root of which error is a misconceit that all laws are positive which men establish, and all laws which God delivereth immutable. No, it is not the author which maketh, but the matter whereon they are made, that causeth laws to be thus distinguished.” Such as are acquainted with the argument of the first three books of Ecclesiastical Polity, will perceive at once in the paragraph just cited the very rudiment and germ of that argument: which, occurring as it does in a sermon which must have been preached within a few months of the discourse on Justification, shews how his mind was then employed, how ripe and forward his plans were, and how accurate Walton’s information concerning them.

Accordingly, the summer of 1586 may be fixed on as the time of his commencing the work: and after six years and more, i. e. on the 9th of March, 1592-31, the four first books were licensed to “John Windet2, dwelling at the signe of the Crosse Keyes near Powle’s Wharffe.” Most of the work was therefore composed in London, amidst the annoyance of controversy, and the interruption of constant preaching to such an audience as the Temple then furnished. For it was only in July 1591, that he obtained what he had so long wished for, a quiet home in the country, viz. at Boscomb near Salisbury.

Four days after the entry at3 Stationers’ Hall, the MS. was Edition: current; Page: [xiv] sent to Lord Burghley: and it is not unlikely that the delay which ensued in the printing was occasioned by him. For the first edition bears date 15941. There is a MS. note of Hooker’s on a pamphlet called “the Christian Letter,” &c. (hereafter to be spoken of) which would lead to the supposition that Burghley as well as Whitgift had seen and approved the unpublished work. The writers or writer of the Letter, having brought sundry doctrinal exceptions to the books of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, had appealed to the author2, as to what he thought in his conscience would be the sentence of bishops and divines, were his work, and two others just then published3, to be authoritatively examined by such and such persons, and compared with the formularies of the Church. To this challenge part of Hooker’s reply is, “The books you mention have been perused. They were seen and judged of before they came abroad to the open view of the world. They were not published as yours is. As learned as any this nation hath saw them and red them before they came to your hands. And for any thing that I could ever yet learn, the learneder they are that have given sentence concerning the same, the farder they have differed from this your virulent, uncharitable, and unconscionable sentence.”

Besides Whitgift and Burghley, we know that Hooker availed himself of the judgment of his two friends, Cranmer and Sandys4, (if they were within reach;) and there is much reason to suppose that Dr. Reynolds also was consulted5. With Saravia he was unacquainted, until he went into the neighbourhood of Canterbury6.

Edition: 1888; Page: [4]As for assistance in the way of books, there is every mark of his having been abundantly supplied during the preparation of his work. In several cases he quotes foreign productions, which from the dates of their publication could have been only just out of the press in time to be so cited. Every thing probably was sent to Whitgift: and his stores, it may be supposed, were placed at Hooker’s command.

Edition: current; Page: [xv]

He observes a remarkable accuracy in citation, especially of the passages which he means to refute. Sometimes indeed he abridges, where Cartwright is unnecessarily verbose (a fault against which that writer was not much on his guard): but there is not (as the Editor believes after minute examination) a single instance of unfair citation. That the reader may judge of this for himself, the rule of the present edition has been, scrupulously to point out all particulars in which the passages produced to be refuted, or otherwise in the way of argument, at all vary from their originals. We learn from a note of Sandys1, on the sixth Book, that Hooker’s “discourse had credit of sincerity in the former books especially by means of setting down Mr. Cartwright’s and W. T[ravers]’s words in the margent wheresoever they were impugned.” As an instance of his care we may observe, that the copy of the Christian Letter, on which his notes are made, has nearly all the errata, which are marked at the end, corrected in the body of the pamphlet by his own hand.

Edition: 1888; Page: [5]The Editio Princeps2 itself is a small folio, very closely, but clearly, and in general most accurately, printed. The present edition professes to be a reprint of it, except in some matters of punctuation, and in many of orthography. As to the former: amidst great general exactness (to which also the little remaining MS. bears witness) there occur sometimes whole pages in which almost all the smaller stops are omitted in a manner which could scarcely be intentional: and there the liberty has been taken of arranging them in the way which seems most agreeable to the author’s general Edition: current; Page: [xvi] system of punctuation. Care however has been taken not unwarrantably to determine by this process the meaning of clauses, which might fairly be left ambiguous. However, both in this question and still more in that of spelling, the Editor acknowledges that he should himself prefer an exact reprint of the original, excepting of course palpable errors of the press. In one respect especially, i. e. as a specimen and monument of language, ancient books lose very much of their value by the neglect of ancient orthography. But this, it was feared, could not be remedied without making the work less fit for general use. All that remained was to take care that no word should be lost, added, or mistaken: and this it has been endeavoured to ensure by more than one exact collation.

In verifying the quotations, there has been occasional difficulty; first, from their being very often no otherwise appropriated to a particular spot in the text, than as standing opposite to it in the margin, without any letter or mark of reference: a circumstance which has caused them to be misplaced in subsequent editions, not unfrequently by whole pages. The author seems to have become aware of the inconvenience before he published the fifth book; for in that, with few exceptions, letter of reference are inserted. It is remarkable amidst so much accuracy that the titles of books quoted should have been given in many cases so very erroneously and imperfectly, as to lead to the supposition that the press was not corrected by the author, nor by any scholar on his behalf. This has added considerably to the labour inseparable from the task of verifying quotations of that date, when “Chrysostom saith,” “Augustine saith,” or the like, was the received method of alleging the Fathers and Schoolmen. And in more cases than the present Editor could have wished, his endeavours to trace the quotation have as yet proved fruitless: a thing particularly to be regretted in such a writer as Hooker, much of whose argument depends on authority, and on the exact wording and context of passages produced. Where tracing the reference was not beyond his skill, the Editor has with few exceptions thought it right to insert the whole passage referred to in the notes: and in doing so, has been almost invariably impressed with admiration, not only at the depth and fulness of the writer’s knowledge, but also Edition: current; Page: [xvii] at his fairness as well as skill in the conduct of his argument. It will be found of course, that in disputing with Romanists, he generally alleges by preference Roman Catholic authorities; and with Puritans, the writings of the reformers of Zurich and Geneva. And in some cases, where his authorities at first sight might be accounted but a gratuitous ostentation of learning, it may appear that they were severally representatives of so many classes or schools whose agreement in some common point it was of consequence to exhibit. An example may be seen in b. vii. c. xi. 8 (iii. 209 n.1): and another in b. i. c. viii. 3 (i. 227 n.3); where an array of quotations is produced in support of what appears at first sight a truism, but it will perhaps be found that the writers quoted are in fact, as has just been said, representatives of those systems in philosophy and theology which are most opposed to each other, and that it might be of use to shew them expressly assenting in common to that one principle of natural reason at least.

Edition: 1888; Page: [6]The greatest liberty taken with the text by the present Editor has been the breaking it up into numbered paragraphs and sections, and inserting, by way of running title, the chief topics of as many paragraphs as the space would conveniently receive. In doing this he is well aware that he has to a certain extent taken on himself the duties of a commentator. As such he has endeavoured to execute his task faithfully: but he cannot flatter himself that in so long a work (the arrangement of which, in many places, is rather fine and subtle, than easy and prominent) he has always succeeded in drawing his partition-lines exactly, or in hitting and describing precisely the characteristic topic of each paragraph. However, it was but a choice of two evils: and it seemed better that critical students should occasionally have to correct such errors for themselves, than that popular readers should be altogether deterred by the wearisome uninviting form of the text.

3. These remarks apply as well to the second portion of the work as to the first. That second portion, containing the fifth book alone, came out, as is well known, in 1597, altogether in the same form as its predecessors. It seems to have excited great and immediate attention; one result of which was the appearance of a pamphlet often to be mentioned in the notes to the present edition, of which therefore Edition: current; Page: [xviii] in this place it is necessary to give some account. It is entitled, “A Christian Letter of certaine English Protestants, unfained favourers of the present state of Religion, authorised and professed in England: unto that Reverend and learned man, Mr. R. Hoo. requiring resolution in certain matters of doctrine (which seeme to overthrow the foundation of Christian Religion, and of the Church among us) expreslie contained in his five books of Ecclesiastical Policie. 1599.” It is a small 4to. of 49 pages, and bears no printer’s name. Some account of it may be seen appended to the Life of Hooker in Dr. Wordsworth’s Ecclesiastical Biography; and the whole has been annexed, in the form of notes, to Hanbury’s edition of Hooker, London, 1831. Its general drift may be gathered from the opening sentences1.

2When men dreame they are asleepe, and while men sleepe the enemie soweth tares, and tares take roote and hinder the good corne of the Church before it be espied. Therefore wisemen through silence permitt nothing looselie to passe away as in a dreame. Your offer then, Maist. Hoo. is godly and laudable, to enforme men of the estate of the church of God established among us. For the teachers of righteous things are highlie to be commended. And he that leadeth men rightlie to judge of the church of God is to be beloved of all men. Howbeit sometimes goodlie promises are meere formal, and great offers serve onely to hoodwinke such as meane well. And as by a faire shew of wishing well, our first parents were fowlie deceaved; so is there a cunning framed Edition: current; Page: [xix] method, by excellencie of wordes, and intising speeches of man’s wisdome, to beguile and bewitch the verie Church of God. And such as are used for this purpose come in sheepes clothing. For he translateth himself into an angel of light, who blindeth all men with utter darkness.

“When we, therefore, your loving countrymen, (unfaynedlie favouring the present state, and embracing from our heartes the gospel of Christ, as it is preached and professed in England, being readie every hower to give up our lives for God’s glorie and the honour of our Queene1,) having so goodlie a champion to offer combat in our defence, were made verie secure, and by the sweete sounde of your melodious stile, almost cast into a dreaming sleepe: wee happelie remembring your preface that there might bee some other cause, opened at the length our heavie eyes, and casting some more earnest and intentive sight into your manner of fight, it seemed to us that covertlie and underhand you did bende all your skill and force against the present state of our English church, and by colour of defending the discipline and governement thereof, to make questionable and bring in contempt the doctrine and faith itselfe. For we saw the theme and the cause you have in hand to be notable simples, whereof a skilful popishe apoticarie can readilie make some fine potion or sweete smelling ointment, to bring heedlesse men into the pleasant dreame of well-weening, while they closelie set on fire the house of God. And may wee not trulie say that under the shewe of inveighing against. Puritanes, the chiefest pointes of popish blasphemie are many times and in many places by divers men not obscurelie broached, both in sermons and in writing: to the great griefe of many faithful subjectes, who pray for the blessed and peaceable continuance of her most gracious Majestie, and of the estate of the Church of Jesus Christ as it is now established among us? And verelie such a thing offered itselfe unto our eyes in reading your bookes, and we had not skill howe to judge otherwise of the handling of your penne and of the scope of your matter.” Then, challenging him to reconcile his positions with the Thirty-nine Articles, and the Apologies and other writings Edition: current; Page: [xx] of the defenders of the Anglican Church, they produce their charges against him, to the number of twenty-one; of which the following are the heads. 1. The Deity of the Son. 2. The Coeternity of the Son, and proceeding of the Holy Ghost. 3. The Holy Scriptures contain all things necessary to Salvation. 4. Holy Scripture above the Church. 5. Of Free-Will. 6. Of Faith and Works. 7. The virtue of Works. 8. Works of supererogation. 9. None free from all Sin. 10. Predestination. 11. The visible Church, and the Church of Rome. 12. Of Preaching. 13. Of the Minister’s Office. 14. Of the Sacraments. 15. Of Christ’s Institution. 16. Necessity of Baptism. 17. Of Transubstantiation. 18. Of speculative Doctrine. 19. Of Calvin and the reformed Churches. 20. Schoolmen, Philosophy, and Popery. 21. The Stile and Manner of writing. Specimens of the method of attack adopted on most of these heads will be found in the notes to this edition, appended to those passages in the Ecclesiastical Polity, which drew forth the several criticisms. It was considered unnecessary to reprint the whole pamphlet; enough appearing in this way to inform the reader’s judgment concerning it, and to enable him to decide whether there be much probability in a notion which some entertained at the time, that the appearance of so formidable an antagonist actually hastened the death of Hooker.

Edition: 1888; Page: [7]On this point, over and above the presumption arising from the pamphlet itself, we possess the unquestionable evidence, curious on many other accounts, of Hooker’s own MS. memoranda towards a vindication of himself, entered, as above stated, on the margins and fly-leaves of a copy of the “Christian Letter,” now preserved in the library of C. C. C. Oxford. These memoranda are in a very rough state, having been evidently set down at various times, some of them quite on the spur of the moment, and all clearly without the smallest intention of their ever meeting any eye but his own. So that the Editor for some time had serious doubts of the propriety of making them public. Some of them however are intrinsically so valuable; others so curious, as affording specimens of the way in which important discussions begin as it were to germinate in such a mind as that which planned and executed the Books of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity; a third sort again such perfect samples (so to speak) of his manner Edition: current; Page: [xxi] and sentiments, that inserting them seemed on the whole more just to the truth, and to the Author’s memory. Accordingly almost all of them will be found in locis among the notes to this edition: and amongst other things, it is apprehended they will clearly shew, whether any annoyance which he may have felt was at all mixed up with the notion, that he had a dangerous adversary to encounter, or whether it arose simply from disgust at what he considered to be malicious and unfair treatment: although in general his tone is rather playful than angry. It is clear that he knew, or strongly suspected, who the writer of the pamphlet was. For in p. 44, making answer to a passage which challenged him to submit his books to revision by authority, and which designated them as “notable bellows to blow up the coals of sedition and fiery civil war between all Christian churches, and to make all people who read them to fall either flatly to atheism or backward to popery;”—in answer to this, which he calls a “virulent unconscionable and uncharitable sentence,” having stated, as before, p. xiv of this Preface, that his work had already undergone such a revision as was demanded, he proceeds as follows: “But the best is, they are not many that sate on the bench from which this sentence hath proceeded. It is your owne. As for them against whom you give it, I think they take you for no competent judg.” In the same page, they call on him to “tell them roundly and soothly, If the reverend Fathers of our Church, assisted by some of the approved divines of both universities, did reade, peruse and examine your bookes and those two other bookes1, whether they would not judge in their conscience and give sentence with their mouthes, that by those three writinges the Church of England, and all other Christian churches are undermined.” His note is, “Why assisted? Are your reverend Fathers insufficient to judg of such a matter without assistants from the universities. Besides, what a wise question this! I must tell you what other men will speake and think in their consciences touching bookes which you condemne.” “Again I must tell you whether I have not as bad an opinion of myself and mine own writings, as you have of both. Did ever man heere such questions proposed by one that were (sic) in his Edition: current; Page: [xxii] right witts? But see how coler and rage doth make you forget your self. You plainly avouch that all the ministers which be godly and all the churches which be Christian are in those three books traduced openly and notoriously detected: and all the articles of our religion checked.

“You have asked my judgment of three books. Let me ask yours touching three other, and as I find your answere reasonable so I will accordingly frame mine own. I pray sir what sentence will you give concerning M. Calv. Lectures upon Amos1, touching the booke called Vindiciæ contra Tyrannos2, and of the Ecclesiastical History3 almost fully printed out in the Blackfriers4?”

Edition: 1888; Page: [8]From this and other portions of the memoranda which will be found here and there in the present edition, it is manifest that the author considered himself as dealing with a single opponent in the name of many: and that he did not rate that opponent very highly in any respect: in short, that there is no reason to question the statement of Dr. Covel, in his reply to the Christian Letter, dedicated to Archbishop Whitgift, and published by authority, ad 1603. Covel was patronised by Whitgift, and seems to have undertaken the Defence at his suggestion. In his address to the reader, he says, “Our Church hath had some enemies, more openly discontent in the case of discipline, than they now appeare; whom to satisfie with reason, Maister Hooker indevoured with much paines: that which might have contented all, was in divers a spurre to a more violent coler: for medicines how profitable soever worke not equally in all humours. From hence proceeded a desire in some to make a question Edition: current; Page: [xxiii] of things whereof there was no doubt, and a request for resolution of some points wherein there was no danger: to this end a Letter (which heere is answered) was published by certaine Protestants (as they tearme themselves) which I heare (how true I know not) is translated into other tongues: this they presume hath given that wound to that reverend and learned man, that it was not the least cause to procure his death. But it is farre otherwise; for he contemned it in his wisdome (as it was fit) and yet in his humility would have answered it, if he had lived.” He adds, “I staid the time, and a long time, until some elder and of riper judgment might have acquitted me from all opinion of presumption in this cause; which being not done by them whom many reasons might have induced to this defence, I could not for that part which I beare in that church, whose government was defended by Maister Hooker, with patience endure so weake a letter anie longer to remaine unanswered. And herein I have dealt as with men (although to me unknown) of some learning and gravitie, to whom peradventure in manie respects I am farre inferiour; and yet for anie thing I know, or appeareth in this letter, they may be clothed with the same infirmities that I am. But if this had beene by himself performed (which I heare he hath done, and I desire thee to expect it) thy satisfaction (gentle reader) would have beene much more; yet vouchsafe in thy kindnesse to accept this.” In p. 9, Covel begs the writers of the letter to receive from him what they had required from Hooker: “a charitable, direct, plain, and sincere answer: which, no doubt of it, from himselfe had bin far more learned and more speedy, if he could either have resolved to have done it, or after he had resolved could have lived to have seen it finished. But first of all, he was loath to entermeddle with so weake adversaries, thinking it unfit (as himselfe said) that a man that hath a long journey should turne backe to beate everie barking curre; and having taken it in hand, his urgent and greater affaires, together with the want of strength, weakened with much labour, would not give him time to see it finished. Yet his minde was stronger than his yeares, and knew not well how to yeeld to infirmitie. Wherein if he Edition: current; Page: [xxiv] had somewhat favoured himselfe, he might peradventure have lived to have answered you; to the benefite of the Church, and the comfort of a great number.”

Evidently the writer of these sentences had no access to Hooker’s papers, and his general reasonings shew as much: for he is commonly content to clear up the points objected to by production of his author’s context, and collections from other parts of his writings. However, the same impression seems to have been made on him as on Hooker, by the perusal of the Christian Letter: viz. that it was the production not of many, but of one; and that one, a person before versed in the Puritan controversy, and now desirous, under cover of anxiety for evangelical doctrine, to insinuate the principles of the Genevan discipline in all their disturbing force. Thus in p. 3, Covel says, “It is much easier to answer those shadows of reason, wherein these admonishers do please themselves, than by their silence to make them confess that they are fully answered:” where the word “admonishers” printed in Italics evidently points at the compilers of the famous Admonition to the Parliament. Again, p. 5; “Those whom we must make adversaries in this cause are men not known either by name, religion, or learning. . . .It may be peradventure the zeal of some one, who desirous to gain an opinion among his followers undertaketh to speak as from the minds of many . . . .Whosoever they are, as I cannot easily conjecture, so I am not curious to know.” In p. 46, he speaks to the unknown compilers of “the rest of their writings in that kind:” and in p. 136, tells them, “themselves were able to witness that Hooker had not shunned to encounter the best of the Disciplinarian faction in our land.”

Covel, therefore, as well as Hooker himself, countenances the idea that the pamphlet proceeded from some veteran or veterans in the cause of Puritanism, afraid to speak out, for what reason is not hinted, but probably because of late the government had been acting decisively against that party: and also on account of the great effect on men’s minds, which had been produced by the publications as well of Hooker himself, as of others hereafter to be specified. On the whole, it seems very clear that the Christian Letter may be regarded as a kind of document, expressing the views and feelings of Edition: current; Page: [xxv] the Puritans of that generation: which being understood, the question as to the author’s name, however curious, is comparatively of little moment. Cartwright and Travers were both living at the time, the one in Warwick, master of the hospital, the other in Dublin, Provost of Trinity College; but both of them apparently had finally retired from the controversy; and the style of the letter will be found on examination very unlike either of theirs. John Field, another leading admonitioner, had been dead since 15881.

Edition: 1888; Page: [9]Hooker’s notes on this pamphlet are here printed from the original, preserved (as above mentioned) in the library of C.C.C.; and collated with two transcripts, in interleaved copies of the tract, the one also in C. C. C.2, the other in Trinity College, Dublin (A. 5. 22): for which latter collation, as for all that comes from the Dublin library, the reader will understand that he is indebted to Dr. Cotton, the present Dean of Lismore. These transcripts have been eminently useful in supplying portions where the original had worn out, and in confirming readings which might have been otherwise doubtful. On comparing the two, they appear to have been made independently of each other: that in C. C. C. seems the earlier and more accurate. In one instance, the Dublin copy inserts a note, of which no vestige occurs in the original. A few of the memoranda, which the Editor conceived might be worth preserving, but for the insertion of which in the notes no convenient place had occurred, will be found at the end of this Preface.

4. But Hooker’s preparations in his own defence had proceeded further than these brief and scattered hints. In the library of Trinity College, Dublin, (MS. B. 1. 13) is what is described in the catalogue as “a Treatise by Hooker, on Grace, the Sacraments, Predestination, &c.:” which in three passages3 clearly indicates itself to have formed part of the Edition: current; Page: [xxvi] intended reply to the Christian Letter. It contains much valuable matter, although in a very undigested and imperfect form: with the exception perhaps of the portion concerning Predestination, which is much the largest of the three, containing in the MS. twenty closely written folio pages, whereas the other two, on Grace and on the Sacraments, contain but six and four respectively. We may conjecture that this more finished part was not now for the first time written, but rather that the revival of the dispute on Predestination led the author to revise papers which he had prepared more than ten years before, when Travers first attacked him on the subject. For in the Answer to Travers’s Supplication, § 23, he states himself to have “promised at some convenient time to make the points then agitated clear as light both to him and to all others.” Now the points were the very same which the Christian Letter had now called in question. If this conjecture be warrantable, it will follow, that we cannot certainly reckon upon these fragments as exhibiting Hooker’s latest and most matured judgment on all the mysterious topics introduced in them: although the distinct reference to the Lambeth Articles at the end must undoubtedly be regarded as a deliberate summary of the general conclusions at which he had then arrived. Of the second fragment, that on Sacraments, it may seem questionable whether it is rightly placed as part of this controversy. As far as it goes, it is wholly defensive, against Romanists; but it might be intended as introductory to a view of the question from the other side. The whole of these fragments will be found in the Appendix to the fifth book. Their genuineness is morally demonstrable. The writer uses the first person in speaking of the books of Ecclesiastical Polity, and refers to the Christian Letter in a way which coincides remarkably with Hooker’s own MS. memoranda. Compare (e.g.) the mention of aptness and ableness in the Fragment, p. 538, with a note in p. 11, of the pamphlet, which will be found in this edition, E. P. i. vii. 6. But indeed it is hardly necessary to dwell on minute marks of this kind, so strong and clear is the internal evidence throughout. To say nothing of favourite idioms, and turns of language; the views themselves, philosophical and theological; the mode of developing those views; the allegations Edition: current; Page: [xxvii] from the Fathers and Schoolmen, and the way of translating them; the introduction and management of rapid historical sketches; the quiet and sustained majesty of style; and more perhaps than all, the deep awe with which sacred things are approached: are so many tokens of ownership, impossible to be counterfeited. One quality indeed is wanting: there are few if any traces of that instinctive playfulness of humour, which breaks out so often in his former controversial writings. It would seem as if he had determined to be more than usually guarded in his manner of speaking of his adversaries on this occasion: a circumstance not a little remarkable, when compared with the notes on the Christian Letter, many of them so keenly expressive of his first sharp sense of their unfair usage of him.

Edition: 1888; Page: [10]5. The Appendix to the fifth Book contains moreover the letter of George Cranmer to Hooker, which in all editions since 1666 immediately follows the life by Walton. Being in a great measure historical, it was judged more convenient to place it in the order of time; and so placed, it bears a striking testimony to the effect of Hooker’s labours even at that early period, and to the apparently declining condition of the Puritan interest1; and we may judge a little of the support and encouragement which it must have afforded to his wearied and anxious mind, when he found his old friend and pupil, now rapidly rising, in the expectation of all their contemporaries, to the highest places of the state2, yet unchanged in affection for him, and bringing his varied experience and Edition: current; Page: [xxviii] independent judgment to the zealous support of the views to which he was himself devoted.

This letter is reprinted from the original, first published in 1642: the year in which, as may be gathered from Wood, Ath. Oxon. iii. 577, the parliamentarians plundered the library of Henry Jackson, rector of Meysey Hampton, Gloucestershire, who had had the care of Hooker’s remains committed to him by Dr. Spenser1. In that way possibly some loyal person might get hold of the letter, and publish it as a seasonable warning. That Jackson himself was not the publisher is evident from the mistakes in the prefixed advertisement2, which he could not well have passed over: that Walton was not, may be gathered from his silence on the subject, where he introduces the letter at the end of the Life of Hooker. At the same time, connected as he was with the Cranmers, such introduction on his part undoubtedly proves the document genuine. Some remarkable differences appear on collating the letter as printed by him (1675) with the edition of 1642, which would lead to a suspicion that he was not aware of that publication. The result of the collation the Editor proposes to give at the end of this preface; where whoever will take the trouble of examining it will see, it is hoped, sufficient reason for the preference given to the text of 1642 above that of Walton’s copy.

Edition: 1888; Page: [11]6. So far, the task of verification has proved easy: but on proceeding to the sixth book, the ground, as is well known, entirely changes. The clearest way perhaps of exhibiting the whole case, will be first to recapitulate all that is known of the fate of the three last books in common, and then to Edition: current; Page: [xxix] explain the course taken in the present edition severally with each of the three: for it so happens that they stand respectively upon distinct and very unequal grounds of evidence.

First, there can be no reasonable doubt that the author left them completed for publication. Of this fact, we have two, if not three, contemporary statements, independent of each other: first, that of Dr. Spenser in his preface to the first edition of the collected five books; “1He lived till he saw them perfected:” secondly, that of Covel, (Just and Temp. Defence, p. 149;) “Those three books of his, which from his own mouth, I am informed that they were finished.” To which in all probability might be added the testimony of the Cranmer family, of whom, it may be supposed, Walton received the anecdote related in the Life, p. 84.

Next, his papers with the rest of his chattels were given by his last will to his wife, whom he left sole executrix under the supervision of a person of the name of Churchman, probably her father, (see Bishop Andrewes’ Letter, p. 91 n.7) in conjunction with his own friend and pupil, Sandys. The will is dated Oct. 26, and Hooker died Nov. 2. Only five days afterwards Dr. Andrewes, being then at the court, wrote to Dr. Parry, who was, as it may seem, intimate with the Churchman family, and near at hand, requesting him to provide without delay for the security of the papers. He writes in a tone of the greatest anxiety, and regrets that he should be so late in giving this hint, having but just been informed of Hooker’s death. Inquiry, it may be presumed, was made accordingly, and nothing satisfactory elicited from the widow. For the next thing we are told is, that at the end of a month, the archbishop sent one of his chaplains to inquire after the three remaining books, “of which she would not, or could not, give any account:” but that after an interval of three months more, suspicions having arisen, she was summoned before the privy council, and in a preliminary examination confessed to the archbishop, that many of her husband’s writings had been burned and torn by a Mr. Charke, (probably the same who married her daughter,) and another minister who dwelt near Canterbury. Here her statement closes; for she died suddenly before the examination could be resumed.

Edition: current; Page: [xxx]

Such is the narration of Walton, communicated to him about the year 1624, “by one that well knew Mr. Hooker and the “affairs of his family:” i. e. apparently, by William the brother of George Cranmer, or by one of his sisters: the father and aunts of Walton’s first wife. To which must be added the statement of Bishop King, also a contemporary of Hooker’s, communicated through the Bishop’s son to Walton, with the express intention of its being made public in his name. See hereafter, p. 103. This evidence is surely distinct enough, and has as much claim to be attended to as contemporary evidence has in general. Of course it does not prove that the widow’s account was true, but it does prove that the papers were not forthcoming, that she was called on to undergo official examination regarding them, and that such and such was the result of the examination, according to the belief of those who were most concerned to know. It is true, no record of the transaction remains in the council books; but it does not appear from Walton’s account that it ever came officially before the council. On the whole, the conclusion is irresistible: that the completed books were irrecoverably gone; and all that remained was to secure and arrange what was left of the rough draughts. These, it may be supposed, Mrs. Hooker gave up to the archbishop, on occasion of the aforesaid inquiry, i. e. about March, 1600/1. And he committed them to the care of Dr. Spenser, not only, doubtless, as an intimate college friend of the author, but also as one of the nearest surviving representatives of George Cranmer, who of all others would have been fittest for the trust, had he been alive. But he unfortunately had fallen at the battle of Carlingford, Nov. 13, 1600, only eleven days after his friend and tutor, and in all probability before he could be aware of his death.

Edition: 1888; Page: [12]To Spenser then, who had married Cranmer’s sister, and who afterwards became President of the college, the task of editorship was by preference intrusted: the rather, as it may seem, because he was one of those with whom Hooker had most freely communicated on his great work, during its progress. And the single remaining composition of Spenser himself (single, if we except his preface to his edition of the Polity) is quite sufficient to evince his entire sympathy with Hooker’s views; at least, his thorough aptness as a learner in that Edition: current; Page: [xxxi] school. It is a posthumous publication, a sermon at St. Paul’s Cross on Isaiah v. 2, 3: full of eloquence and striking thoughts; the theological matter almost entirely, and sometimes the very words, being taken from those parts of Hooker, in which he treats of the visible Church. It may be added, that Spenser from the beginning appears to have belonged to that party in his college, which feared Puritanism as well as Romanism, and that his appointment to the office of Greek Lecturer, in 1577, had been vehemently opposed by Reynolds1. Both he and Bishop King were at the time of their common friend Hooker’s death resident in London, and neighbours, Spenser vicar of St. Sepulchre’s, and King rector of St. Andrew’s, Holborn. The first step the former took in fulfilment of the archbishop’s charge regarding Hooker’s remains, was the republication of the five Books of Polity, with a preface (reprinted in this edition): in which he distinctly announces the purpose of giving to the world the three remaining books, dismembered and defaced as they were. This took place, according to Wood, in 1604. The edition contained the five books, “without any addition or diminution whatsoever.” But the editor’s labours that year began to be interrupted by the new Translation of the Bible, in which he was engaged as one of the Westminster committee: and no progress appears to have been made with Hooker until his return to Oxford again. But in 1607, on the death of Reynolds, he was elected President of C. C. C., his and Hooker’s friend King having been made Dean of Ch. Ch. in 1605.

Edition: 1888; Page: [13]He found in the college a young scholar of the name of Henry Jackson, of the city of Oxford, skilful and industrious in translating, arranging, and compiling: him Spenser employed, as Walton says, “to transcribe for him all Mr. Hooker’s remaining written papers;” and he evidently entered on the work with an editor’s partiality, and was disposed to take to himself the editor’s credit, which indeed Spenser, as far as appears, was in no wise inclined to deny him. He began with what may be called the Opuscula: publishing in the years 1612, 13, 14, several of the Sermons, to be noticed hereafter in their places: among which that on Justification had so rapid a sale, that a new edition was Edition: current; Page: [xxxii] required in a few weeks. It seems to have been intended that the eighth book of the Polity, for whatever reason, should appear first, by itself: and Fulman has preserved three fragments of letters by Jackson, all dated 1612; the first, as it seems, early in the year, stating that the President had put the eighth book into his hands, and that he was entirely taken up with the task of “polishing” and arranging it. The second letter, dated in September, represents him as just putting the last hand to the same book: and the third, of Dec. 21, complains “that the President, as he, Jackson, had reason to think, meant to edit it in his own name, although its revival (for he could call it no less) was the work of him, Jackson, alone: a plain case of one man bearing off another man’s honours.”

Thus far the business of publication had advanced when Dr. Spenser died, 3 April, 1614. At his death, he bequeathed Hooker’s papers “as a precious legacy” to Dr. King, who in 1611 had been made Bishop of London. Thus they were taken out of Jackson’s custody, at a time when he was not very kindly affected towards any one who might interfere with the interest in them which he considered himself to have acquired. The rest of their history, as a collection, is soon told. Bishop King’s son informs Walton, that his father preserved them until his death, which happened March 30, 16211. Afterwards they continued in his, Henry King’s hand, till Archbishop Abbot claimed them for Lambeth Library. They were conveyed to him by Dr. Barkham his chaplain, who, being dean of Bocking, was probably a neighbour of King, then archdeacon of Colchester. This must have taken place before September 1633. It is remarkable, that while they were under Laud’s custody, no thought of completing the edition seems to have been entertained. The reports on the state of the MSS. were probably discouraging, and a false notion might prevail, of undue countenance likely to be afforded to the innovators by certain portions. However, the papers remained undisturbed, except by occasional copyists, (with whom the eighth book seems to have been most in favour,) until Dec. 28, 1640, when the Archbishop was committed for high treason, and his library was made over to the Edition: current; Page: [xxxiii] custody of Prynne1. From him it passed to Hugh Peters, by a vote of the Commons, June 27, 1644. Nothing more is known of the fate of the original papers: and certainly it is no great wonder, if whilst they remained in such hands, the friends of the Church looked suspiciously at the publication of any thing which professed to have formed part of them.

Edition: 1888; Page: [14]7. To record those publications in their order: The first occurs as early as 1641, from the Oxford press, under the sanction of no less a person than Archbishop Ussher. Of this an account will be given in speaking of the Appendix to Book Eight in this edition.

The second of the Hooker Fragments which appeared was the letter of George Cranmer already mentioned, in 1642. Reasons have been given above, against ascribing the editorship of this either to Jackson or to Walton: but it may have passed through the hands of Ussher; who appears to have spent the whole of that year, either in Oxford or in London: and ground may perhaps appear by and by for a reasonable conjecture as to the channel by which he became possessed of this and some other pieces.

The third was a far more important relic. In 1648, according to Wood, (Ath. Oxon. i. 695,) but according to the copy2 which has been used in correcting the press of this edition, in 16513, came out “Of the Lawes of Ecclesiasticall Politie, the Sixth and Eighth Books. By Richard Hooker. A work long expected, and now published, according to the most authentique copies. London, printed by R. B. [Richard Bishop,] and are to be sold by [John Crook, 1648] George Badger in St. Dunstan’s Churchyard in Fleet-street.” small 4to. pp. 2264. An account of the authorities from which this publication was professedly made may be seen in the Life, p. 95 n.1. Six MSS. are there mentioned: but it may be suspected that the statement relates to the eighth book only. At least, the Catalogus MSS. Anglic. mentions but one copy of the sixth book, nor have the researches made with a view to the Edition: current; Page: [xxxiv] present edition succeeded in producing any more: whereas of the eighth no fewer than four have been examined. The text, therefore, of the two books, though accidentally published together at first, must be severally accounted for.

To speak at present of the Sixth only: Dr. Cotton has collated for this edition a MS. (B. 1. 13) in the library of Trinity College, Dublin: which has proved of very great service, not only in correcting the many and often palpable errors of the first printed copy, but also in arranging the whole with a view to the argument. “The MS.,” Dr. Cotton says, “is evidently written by an amanuensis; but there are every where marks that Archbishop Ussher had read it over most carefully, as he has corrected with his own hand the errors of the copier, even in the most minute particulars. You will perceive, besides the verbal discrepancies, considerable difference in the punctuation, many sentences being materially altered in sense by it. Also, that the book is divided into sections, as are the first five: which adds to the lucidity of the work, as does likewise the breaking of it into several paragraphs.” Dr. Elrington, to whom the Editor is obliged for the first notice of these important fragments at Dublin, adds, that “in the catalogue is the following note,” relating to the marginal remarks of Ussher; “The editor of the printed copy has seen these notes, but has made some small omissions.” Dr. Elrington further remarks, that the MS. had the appearance of being written out for the press. It may be proper to add, that in this edition the arrangement thus sanctioned by Ussher is generally adopted as to the leading divisions, though not always as to chapters or sections: and that in all cases of departure from the reading of the first edition, (except matters of mere punctuation and obvious errors of the press,) the change is made on authority of the Dublin MS.

Edition: 1888; Page: [15]8. But concerning this Sixth Book, a very material inquiry remains. At first sight, of all the three questionable books, this is in one respect by far the most perplexing. As it stands at present, it is an entire deviation from its subject. For whereas the plan of the whole treatise required in this part a full discussion of the claim of lay elders to a part in church jurisdiction; and whereas the title distinctly propounds that subject; it is clear and certain, that of the whole book as it Edition: current; Page: [xxxv] stands the two first chapters only and the first section of the third chapter have any relation to that subject. The remainder, being nineteen twentieths of the whole, is a series of dissertations on Primitive and Romish Penance, in their several parts, confession, satisfaction, absolution. This anomaly, which every reader must have observed, and which in any writer carried so far would be extraordinary, but in Hooker of all writers is quite unaccountable, is explained at once by a document, which the present Editor has had permission to copy from the original in C. C. C. library: and which he has subjoined as an appendix to the sixth book. It appears that Hooker, having finished the treatise on lay elders, forwarded it, as had been his custom with former portions of his work, to his friends and confidential advisers, Cranmer and Sandys: and the paper alluded to gives the result of their criticism. It is in their own handwriting; Cranmer’s part (which was afterwards reviewed by Sandys) filling twenty-four folio pages, and Sandys’ part, which is more closely written, occupying six pages more. Its genuineness is ensured, not only by internal evidence, (for who would ever have thought such a paper worth forging?) but also by the attestations of Walton and Fulman, which the reader will find, vol. iii. p. 108 n.1. This document would have been worthy of preservation, were it only for the good sense and accurate reasoning, by which, even in such disjointed fragments, the writers have contrived to throw light on many parts of a curious and important subject: or again as a pleasing monument of the entire, affectionate confidence, which subsisted between Hooker and his two pupils: occupied as they were in lines of life very far removed from his, Cranmer as a diplomatist, Sandys as a member of parliament: but as a document in the question of the genuineness of the (so called) sixth book, these notes are in truth quite decisive. First, it will be found that among them all there are not so many as four instances, in which the catchwords at the beginning of the note occur in the text as it stands. Next, the whole subject-matter of their remarks, the scriptural and other quotations referred to, indicate an entirely different work. There is not a word about penitency, auricular confession, absolving power: but (in the third place) the frame of the whole, and each Edition: current; Page: [xxxvi] particular as far as it can be understood, implies the annotators to have had before them a work really addressing itself to the question of lay Elders, and meeting all the arguments, which, as we know from contemporary writers, the upholders of the Puritan platform were used to allege.

Edition: 1888; Page: [16]As far as can be gathered from the very scanty notices remaining, it may seem that Hooker, entering as Sandys thought rather too abruptly on his subject, treated of these following heads. 1. Of the natural connection between the two powers, of Order and of Jurisdiction. 2. Of the best way of drawing the line between Ecclesiastical and Civil Causes. 3. Of the principle of Courts Ecclesiastical, and the meaning of, “Tell the Church.” 4. Of the Church’s Anathema: in which he seems to have made three degrees, and to have considered St. Paul’s expression, Rom. ix. 3, as referring to excommunication. Cranmer’s remark on this is very striking, and very much in unison with the little that remains of him besides. 5. What offences are excommunicable; under which head the question recurred of the limits of church and state power, and Sandys lays down that it is an error to make the sovereign a mere lay person. 6. Effects of excommunication (probably against Erastus). Distinction between the Church’s anathema and that of a mere ecclesiastical judge. Whether temporal judgment on the excommunicated person might ever be expected to ensue. The case of Victor cited; probably to moot the question of the effect of a wrong excommunication. The Epicurean tendency of slighting excommunication was pointed out in the next place; and frivolous proceedings in ecclesiastical courts deprecated as leading to such contempt. 7. The interference of presbyterial jurisdiction with sovereign authority was next urged against Beza. 8. The precedents of Jewish Polity were considered; (on which head down to the time of Jehoshaphat a valuable abstract of the discourse is given in one of Cranmer’s notes.) 9. The pleas were examined, which the defenders of the eldership were accustomed to urge from the New Testament: especially Rom. xii. 8; 1 Cor. xii. 28; Acts xiv. 23; 1 Tim. v. 17. 10. He proceeded to the precedents usually alleged on this subject from the Fathers: having both in this and the part next before an eye particularly to T. C. part iii. tract 8. The book appears to have concluded as it Edition: current; Page: [xxxvii] began; rather too abruptly for the taste of the friendly revisers. Each of them recommends an appropriate conclusion: Cranmer suggesting that it might be well to add some remarks on the indirect political incoveniences of the lay eldership; Sandys, on the other incongruities of the Geneva platform; the essential distinction of pastor from teacher; the arrangements of their consistories, their synods, and the like.

Somewhat after this sort, judging by the fragments which remain, did the argument of the sixth book proceed: and every one who has read Whitgift, Bancroft or Bilson on the one hand, Beza or Cartwright on the other, will be aware that these are the topics which Hooker must have introduced in order to perform the service which he had undertaken. It now appears, in point of fact, that he did so. But the treatise which embodied his views on the subject, and which one may collect from these indistinct notices to have been more valuable by far in its constructive than in its destructive part, has disappeared, even in its rough outline, with the exception perhaps of a few sentences near the beginning.

Edition: 1888; Page: [17]The question has been asked1, “If it be true, as is alleged, that different MSS. of the last books did not agree, if even these disagreements were the result of fraud, why should we conclude that they were corrupted by the Puritans rather than by the Church?” It is presumed that the fact now demonstrated, namely the suppression of the entire book on lay elders, supplies of itself an answer to this question. For if there was one point in their system, on which the Puritans of the sixteenth century were more sensitive, and piqued themselves more2 than on the rest, this of lay elders was that point. Suppose a party of them in Hooker’s study, according to the report made to Walton; the sixth book was that which they would first lay violent hands on. A churchman would be under no temptation of the sort: if he wanted to tamper with any part, he would sooner select parts of books vii. and viii., in which he might think unguarded concessions Edition: current; Page: [xxxviii] made to the prejudice of regal or episcopal authority. As it is, there can be no question that far “other than verbal changes have been made in the loose draught which the author left;” and surely there are also very considerable appearances of the MS. having been once in the hands of Puritans. Bishop Andrewes’s letter proves how much he apprehended such a thing at the time; we know from a statement of Travers, and by the pedigree subjoined to this preface, that his kindred, in all likelihood Puritans, were connected with the Hookers by marriage: there is also reason to believe that Hooker’s own daughter married into a Puritan house: add to this only so much of the Cranmer family’s statement to Walton, as it was impossible for them to be mistaken in: and whether we believe the widow Hooker’s account of the Puritan ministers’ interference or no, it cannot be said that the case is clear of all suspicion of the kind.

But to return to the Sixth Book. As has been said, with regard to nineteen twentieths of it the case is made so clear by these notes, that it might perhaps have been more consistent with the duty of an editor, had the whole of it after c. iii. § 1, been separated entirely from the Books of Ecclesiastical Polity, of which, undoubtedly, the author never meant it for part. The reasons or impressions which told against such an arrangement will be found in the second note on this sixth book. But the change may perhaps be made with advantage in a future edition, i. e. by far the greater portion of the book may be separated, not from Hooker’s remains altogether, but from forming part of the Ecclesiastical Polity. For although it be found in the wrong place, yet is there no cause whatever to account it ascribed to a wrong author. It is full of instruction, piety, and eloquence; it has every internal proof of being Hooker’s. Its appearing where it does may be reasonably accounted for, without supposing any further liberties taken by the Puritans, if we only imagine it in a heap of papers, accidentally coming next to a sketch of the preamble of the Sixth Book. Any one eager to publish might seize on it, and with no deliberate purpose of deceiving, or as is most likely for mere purposes of trade, might send it abroad with the misnomer now detected. The wonder is that such a critic as Ussher should have corrected it, as it seems he had Edition: current; Page: [xxxix] done, for the press, without being aware of its total deviation from the question: and that Walton, and perhaps still more that Fulman, should have had the notes of Cranmer and Sandys in his possession, without discovering the interpolation in the sixth book.

Edition: 1888; Page: [18]9. On the Seventh Book, and the evidence for its genuineness, a very few words may suffice. The first publishers of the sixth and eighth in 1648 and 1651, state those two books to have been preserved in the hands of Andrewes and Ussher, “with great hopes the seventh would have been recovered, that they might have been published to the world’s view at once: but,” they add, “endeavours used to that purpose have hitherto proved fruitless.” In fact, no trace of the book appears until 1662, when Gauden, just then promoted to the see of Worcester, (the person whose name appears in so questionable a light in the affair of the Εἰκὼν Βασιλικὴ,) set forth a new edition of Hooker, augmenting it by this seventh book and some paragraphs at the end of the eighth. In his titlepage and preface he uses very sounding language, and even gives his readers to understand, that the work was now entirely recovered1 to the state in which Hooker left it. He distinctly Edition: current; Page: [xl] says, “The seventh book, by comparing the writing of it with other indisputable papers, or known MSS. of Mr. Hooker’s, is undoubtedly his own hand throughout. The eighth is written by another hand, as a copy, but interlined in many places with Mr. Hooker’s own characters, as owned by him. The best and surest test of the genuineness or legitimacy of these three now added books, will be the weight, or learned solidity of the matter, also the grave, but eloquent and potent manner of handling each subject; . . . This only may be suspected (as is said) that in some places he had not put to his last polishing or consummating hand.” And, p. 40: “When these excellent books shall obtain their deserved place in men’s heads and hearts, . . . . I shall have no cause to repent of the pains, yea pleasure, I have taken in giving the world this renewed view of Mr. Richard Hooker, and his now completed works.”

On examining the sixth and eighth books in Gauden’s impression, no material improvement occurs. What MSS. he had appear to have agreed on the whole with the printed text: excepting the aforementioned addition to the eighth book, of which something will be said in its place. It is extraordinary that in speaking of the seventh he should, as will have been seen, omit altogether to say where he found the M.S., how he came by it, and what he did with it: nor does Edition: current; Page: [xli] he leave any clue whatever for the guidance of future inquirers. For the genuineness, then, of this portion of the work, our only direct testimony is the affirmation of Dr. Gauden. In other words, we are left to make up our minds by internal evidence only. Not that Gauden had, as far as is known, any political or theological views, which would lead him to take liberties with the MSS., nor that there is any appearance of their having been tampered with on any such ground: the suspicion which occurs is rather, that forgery or at least interpolation may have been practised, in order to promote the sale of the work.

Edition: 1888; Page: [19]Under such circumstances it is satisfactory to find, that the internal evidence of this seventh book is on comparison even more decisive than either that of the sixth or of the eighth. The course of argument and flow of style are more sustained, and more decidedly characteristical. The translations from the Fathers are of the same stamp: and this is a point of extreme delicacy, a point in which Hooker perhaps is unequalled amongst English writers. It is true that in certain portions, especially towards the end, there is some verbosity, and a considerable degree of repetition1. But this may be thought to arise in part from the editor’s uniting, as members of a continuous treatise, what were in fact independent sketches of matters to be somewhere introduced. Such sketches, if not checked by comparison, would incidentally run into each other.

From the manner in which the pages of Gauden’s edition are numbered, it would seem that this seventh book must have come into the editor’s hands after the sixth and eighth books, and subsequent parts of the volume, had gone to the press2. For the paging goes regularly on to the end of the fifth book, p. 345: the sixth commences, in a way not easily accounted for, at p. 137, and goes on to p. 183; the seventh is interposed, paged from 1 to 75; and then the former reckoning is resumed, the eighth commencing at p. 184, and so on to the end of the volume. The printing is full of errors: but that is common to the whole edition.

Now all these marks of unskilful editorship, however unpleasant Edition: current; Page: [xlii] to the reader, supply in reality no mean argument in favour of the genuineness of the composition. For who would think it worth while to forge blunders? who for example, employed in setting off a spurious copy to the best advantage, would ever have left such an error as that1, so well known to all unfriendly critics on Hooker, where in discussing the opinion of St. Jerome on the divine right of Bishops, he or some one else had made a private note on the MS. and the printers have inserted it, incoherent as it is, in the body of the text? Such carelessness in the mode of publication, although it may render particular expressions more doubtful, certainly goes far to negative all idea of deliberate forgery on a large scale. Added to the mass of internal evidence, it may warrant us in accepting this seventh book, hastily written as it is in many parts, for a real though mutilated and otherwise imperfect relic.

It may further appear to have the implied sanction of Walton himself, and of Archbishop Sheldon, inasmuch as the one having by the other’s direction undertaken to correct some of Gauden’s principal mistakes, no charge is insinuated of want of fidelity in this, the most material part of his task: on the contrary the whole is reprinted without hesitation in the next edition, 1666; the Life by Walton being for the first time prefixed.

Edition: 1888; Page: [20]10. We come now to the Eighth Book: on the subject of which (no doubt from its immediate bearing on the political questions of the time) most curiosity seems to have been felt, and to have led to a greater multiplication of copies or extracts. As stated above, it was first published, but avowedly in a mutilated form, ad [1648] 1651. It broke off at the words “to give judgment,” vol. iii. p. 438, of this edition. But as far as it went, it concurred in the sequence of its parts with the text which Gauden afterwards gave, and with three out of the four now existing MSS.

Dr. Bernard in his Clavi Trabales2, 1661, published some additional fragments out of the papers of Archbishop Ussher, occupying that work from p. 64 to 94. These fragments relate, the first, p. 64—71, to the Jewish polity, as affording a precedent for something like the Anglican supremacy; which notion is maintained against the objections of Stapleton; the Edition: current; Page: [xliii] second, p. 71, 72, to the King’s claim of a share in church jurisdiction; the third, p. 73—76, to his prerogative in church legislation; the fourth, p. 77—86, to the appointment of Bishops by the king; the fifth, p. 86—92, to the same subject as the second, jurisdiction; the sixth, p. 92—94, is the opening of a treatise on the King’s exemption from church censure. With these were printed short marginal notes, and what Dr. Bernard calls “confirmations and enlargements,” under the archbishop’s own hand. In one or two of these entries, he says in the margin, “This is,” or “This is not, in the common books or copies of Mr. Hooker’s MS.:” meaning by the “common” books or copies, not those in print, 1651, (as is evident from his affirming in one instance the “common books” to have a passage which the printed copies then had not,) but his meaning was to refer to the ordinary Manuscripts of b. viii: and the passage is mentioned here simply for the purpose of remarking, that copies must have been rather frequent at that time, in order to justify such an expression.

Gauden next year confirmed the publication of Bernard by adding the passage which begins, “As therefore the person of the King,” &c. (p. 438,) and ends in p. 444, at the words “the truth therein:” and also that on the power of Legislation, which begins in Clavi Trabales at “The cause (case) is not like;” and ends, p. 76, abruptly in the middle of a sentence at the words “hath simply.” Gauden’s edition, adopting this paragraph, completes it: and thereby shews that itself was not in these portions borrowed from the Clavi Trabales, but had other copies to rely on; which also is evident from the omission of much important matter found in the pamphlet. The comparison strengthens the idea of Gauden’s good faith, while it lessens that of his industry and skill in such work. He subjoined also another fragment, on the limits of obedience to sovereigns; which the present edition transfers to an appendix, for reasons to be assigned in their place. All succeeding editors have followed him. The text now given will be found, in very many material points, widely at variance with either of these: many portions added, some few omitted, and the parts which remain transposed in such a manner, as to form on the whole an entirely new Edition: current; Page: [xliv] arrangement. It is the Editor’s duty now to account for these changes. And as in so doing he will have to mention the names of more than one friend, to whose assistance he is deeply indebted, and of more than one public body, who have liberally granted him the most unreserved use of their stores of information; he is desirous here of expressing, once for all, his gratitude for such kind permission and invaluable assistance.

Edition: 1888; Page: [21]The MSS. of the eighth book, which have been collated for this edition, are four in number: and the Editor is not aware of any others now existing. The first (Q), in the library of Queen’s College, Oxford (R. 29. i.), was the property of Dr. Thomas Barlow, Provost of that College, and Bishop of Lincoln from 1675 to 1691; in whose handwriting appear a few corrections and insertions, chiefly in the way of collation with the printed text. He was an intimate friend of Bishop Sanderson; so that possibly this may be the very MS. mentioned as having been seen by Sanderson, in the Appendix to Hooker’s Life by Walton, p. 97. It coincides indeed, except in minutis, with the received text; and this at first sight may appear not to have been the case with the MS. of which Walton is there speaking; or rather Fabian Philips as quoted by Walton. But Sanderson’s expression is on the whole not inapplicable to the received text; although Walton seems to have judged otherwise. It is simply this: that “he had seen a copy, in which no mention” (i. e. of course, no approving mention) “was made of the supreme governor’s being accountable to the people.” Is any such doctrine taught in the received text? It speaks indeed positively of the people’s implied consent being in theory the origin of government, but it expressly denies in one place1 the practical accountability which some would infer from this; nor is that denial withdrawn or qualified in any other part of the book. All things considered, it seems a fair conjecture, that Mr. Philips may have mistaken what he heard Bishop Sanderson say, which as reported by him comes to very little: and that the Bishop may rather have remarked on the positive inconsistency of Hooker’s doctrine with the conclusion on behalf of which it was alleged. If he did, his remark would be amply borne out by the place referred to, which occurs in Barlow’s MS. as well Edition: current; Page: [xlv] as in the rest; and therefore Barlow’s MS. may be that which Sanderson professed to have seen: though it certainly never could have had much pretension to the honour of being an autograph.

The second copy (L) is in the library of the Archbishop of Canterbury, at Lambeth, (MS. 711. N°. 2) and was, by permission of his Grace, most carefully collated for this edition by the Rev. C. A. Ogilvie, of Balliol College, Oxford, his Grace’s chaplain. Nothing is known of the history of this copy. Of its date thus much is ascertained, that it must have been later than 1624. Like the Queen’s MS. it differs from the old printed text only in minute verbal points.

The third MS. (C) is in the library of Caius College, Cambridge; and for the collation of it the Editor is indebted to the Rev. Thomas Thorp, fellow and tutor of Trinity College; a favour of which those only can judge who know how irksome the task of collating is, and to what a load of pressing avocations it was in this instance voluntarily superadded. This Caius MS. appears to be in some respects a less careful transcript than either of the two before mentioned; and there are a few variations in critical passages, which a fanciful person might imagine to have been made intentionally: but on the whole it belongs to the same class as the others. All three are in fact different copies of the received text.

Edition: 1888; Page: [22]But the same repository to which every part almost of the present edition is so largely indebted, the library of Trinity College, Dublin, has supplied a fourth MS. of this eighth book, far more nearly approaching to completeness than the printed copies as they stand at present, or as they might be amended from the other three MSS. It is designated in the Dublin Catalogue, MS. C. 3. 11, and in the notes to this edition by the letter (D). The important service of collating it has been performed by Archdeacon (now Dean) Cotton. The result is (to use his own words) “a great number of variations from the printed text of most important character; even so far as to assert for denial, and to deny for assertion, and to make sense where was none, and better sense where was indifferent. Besides these, and considerable improvement in punctuation, division into sections and paragraphs, &c. (such as was noticed in the sixth book,) you have a considerable Edition: current; Page: [xlvi] accession of new matter, together with a totally different arrangement of the several portions of the book. Doubtless, we are still far from having the book as Hooker himself would have published it; yet by the aid of this our MS. the disjecta membra are somewhat more decently arranged than before.” On this opinion of a most competent judge, as well as on his own conviction, (in which he feels morally certain that every person on inquiry will concur,) the Editor has felt himself justified in acting so far as to adopt the Dublin MS. for the basis of this edition: noting carefully at the foot of the page every variation from the original edition and other MSS. which at all affects the sense, and inserting in the Appendix a Table, which will bring into one view the difference of arrangement between this and former editions, and will shew what quantity of additional matter has been supplied.

The concluding portion of this eighth book, as it stood in Gauden’s edition, which has been followed in all subsequent reprints, was a fragment on the Divine sanction under which human laws are to be obeyed, beginning at “Yea, that which is more,” and ending at “if so be we can find it out.” The Editor has now taken the liberty of separating this portion from the body of the book, and throwing it into the Appendix, No. 1: for although it occurs in all the MSS. he is convinced that it is no part of the treatise, but belonged most probably to a sermon or sketch of a sermon on obedience to authority, which Jackson, or some other arranger of the papers, erroneously annexed to the chapter on Ecclesiastical Legislation, which it immediately follows in the Dublin MS., as well as in the received text, although from the altered arrangement of the former it occurs in the fifth chapter instead of the conclusion of the book. It commences with two or three sentences which are found verbatim in the third book, c. ix. § 3; a circumstance decisive, as it may seem, against its being a part of the eighth book. For although a writer may silently transfer a passage from one work of his own to another, or from a printed work to a mere sermon, it is hardly conceivable that he should repeat a whole paragraph, without notice, in a subsequent part of the same work. This fact, then, and the little coherence of the whole with the course of Edition: current; Page: [xlvii] discussion in the book where it has appeared, determined the Editor to remove that portion into the Appendix: its case being the same with that which bears the name of the sixth book: no reason to doubt that it is the production of Hooker, only wrongly assigned to a place in the Ecclesiastical Polity.

Edition: 1888; Page: [23]The Clavi Trabales may also be considered as an independent authority for those portions of the text which occur in it: i. e. it clearly was not printed from any of the existing MSS. Not from either of the three English ones, because two thirds of its contents are absent in them all: not from the Dublin MS., for the following reasons, which are given in the words of Dr. Cotton, the collator. “It is certain that besides the copy now collated, Archbishop Ussher once possessed another, and almost equally certain that that other (as likewise the seventh book) was also in Trinity College library. 1. The Dublin MS. has not the marginal notes, ‘Copied from Ussher’s own hand,’ which Bernard gives, marked with an asterisk. 2. At p. 76, Bernard says, ‘Here this breaks off abruptly;’ whereas our MS. does not break off here, but pursues the argument farther. 3. Again, at p. 94, our MS. adds one more sentence to the part with which Bernard finishes:” (which is, “On earth they are not accountable to any.”) “4. It moreover contains many pages not formerly printed, nor yet printed by Bernard: who, we must therefore suppose, did not find these in his MS. But there once was another copy, even in Trinity College library. In the Catalogus MSS. Angliæ, &c. fol. 1696, is a list of the Dublin MSS. sent in by Provost Brown. This mentions, marked I. 50, “Books 6, 7, 8. of Mr. Hooker’s Eccl. Polity.’ On looking to an old catalogue preserved in the library, I find the same entry. Now at present, book vi. is bound with several other pieces, by Hooker and others, and on one of the blank covers is marked I. 50. This is in folio. But book viii. is a small quarto, bound by itself; lettered ‘Church Government;’ and entered in the catalogue not under Hooker, but as ‘a Discourse against Cartwright and others;’ and never could have formed part of 50; nor is it written in the same kind of hand. The books appear to have been rebound about 100 or 120 years ago.”

Edition: current; Page: [xlviii]

However, the hope thus occasioned of recovering, not only an additional copy of the eighth book, but also a MS. of the seventh, has unfortunately proved vain. After the most exact inquiry, none such appear to exist in the Dublin library. Whether therefore the copy of the eighth used by Bernard was the same with that indicated in the above paragraph, must remain doubtful: it may however be added, that the facts to a certain extent tally with the statement, made on the appearance of the first edition, that “two copies in the hands of the Lord Archbishop of Armagh had been compared before publication.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [24]11. There is one short paper more, which may by possibility have relation to this eighth book, as the conclusion of the whole work: and which the reader will therefore find inserted in the Appendix, N°. ii. It was put out at Oxford, 1641, by Leonard Lichfield, printer to the University; with the title: “A Discovery of the Causes of these Contentions touching Church Government, out of the Fragments of Richard Hooker.” It stood as preamble to a Collection of Tracts or Extracts, by Andrewes, Ussher, Reynolds, and others; the general drift of the publication being to recommend a sort of compromise in Church government, of the kind to which Ussher is believed to have been favourable. The immediate occasion in all likelihood was the discussions which led to the University Remonstrance for the Church, presented to parliament1, Apr. 27, 1641. Ussher was at that time in Oxford or in London, having come to England for refuge from the troubles in Ireland: and it seems nearly certain that he sanctioned this publication; although his biographer2 do not directly assert it. But in Trinity college library (D. 3. 3) is a MS. copy of this paper, which Dr. Cotton has collated with the printed text; adding to his collation the following statement. “The above is in the handwriting of some person unknown. The marginal references to Scripture are in Ussher’s hand, as likewise Edition: current; Page: [xlix] are several slight corrections in the text. It is highly probable that this is the very MS. from which the printed copy was taken: more especially as at p. 5. line 22. (of the printed copy) Ussher has added a sidenote to the printer; ‘A larger space betwixn these;’ which has been followed: the space left there being wider than between any other two paragraphs of the tract.” This seems decisive as to the fact, that Ussher originally edited the collection in question. Of course he must have believed this fragment to be really Hooker’s. If such were the case, it may have been a sketch for a conclusion to the whole eight books: in accordance perhaps with the plan which Cranmer in the last paragraph of his letter recommended. The use of the second person (“ye are not ignorant,” p. 4; “you do hear and read,” p. 6) would seem to indicate that the conclusion was meant to be addressed, as the Preface had been, by way of expostulation, to the seekers of reform. But in truth the internal evidence is not strongly in favour of the genuineness of this piece. In substance it has nothing to recall so great a name, and there is a kind of point in its turns and transitions, ingenious enough, but in nowise characteristic of Hooker. The remark on Alexander Bishop of Alexandria, and his proceedings against Arius, is little in harmony with Hooker’s known approbation of the policy of Archbishop Whitgift, and with his tone and manner, where in the fifth book he has to speak of the very same part of history. No doubt the paper was found in Hooker’s study, but if it was not found in his own handwriting, its authorship may well be doubted of. Still, in deference to Archbishop Ussher, it was judged right to insert it in this edition.

Edition: 1888; Page: [25]12. The reader has now before him an account of the materials, by the aid whereof it has been endeavoured to present this immortal but yet imperfect work, in a form somewhat more accurate, and more inviting to common readers, than it has hitherto worn. On the history of the MSS. since nothing distinct is told us, it is in vain to speculate much: but there are one or two obvious conjectures, which it may be right just to mention, if only for the chance of giving hints, which (it is barely possible) may lead to more successful researches in the same or in other quarters.

Edition: current; Page: [l]

It will be remembered that the first person who appeared as taking interest, at least as feeling alarm, concerning the Hooker papers, was Bishop Andrewes in his letter to Parry. It seems not unlikely, that in course of transmission from Hooker’s study through Lambeth to Dr. Spenser, some of them, or transcripts from them, may have lingered in Andrewes’s hands. One sermon we know was found in his study, and published for the first time by Walton long after; and it seems on the whole not to be doubted, that if any one was allowed to take copies of the rough draught of the missing books at that time, Andrewes would have been anxious to do so. Accordingly we find that among the copies stated to have been compared before the first publication, one had been in his possession: and we are afterwards given to understand that either the sixth or the eighth book, or both, were actually printed from a copy preserved in his hands, of which copy afterwards Ussher had obtained the custody. For that Ussher had in some way access to Andrewes’s papers, the publication by him of the Summary View of Church Government out of Andrewes’s rude draughts, 1641, may evince beyond all question. Not that Ussher was then the actual editor; for he would not of course call himself, as he is called in the Address to the Reader, “a Mirror of Learning;” but that he permitted the books to be printed from his MSS. And thus we seem to have arrived at a tolerable ground for considering the received text as so far guaranteed to us by Andrewes and by Ussher.

This publication took place in 1651 [1648]: when of course the Primate as yet knew nothing of the far more correct and enlarged copy now existing in Dublin: of which however there can be no doubt that it was at some time in his possession. He died in 1656: therefore this MS. must have fallen into his hands within those five [seven] years: a time during which, as he found by unpleasant experience, the treasures of retired students were not unfrequently wandering about for sale, having formed part of the spoil of the civil war in various quarters. Now in the course of the war, as before mentioned, one of the libraries which had suffered in this way was that of Henry Jackson, the rector of Meysey-Hampton, and original editor, under Spenser, of Hooker’s remains. It is possible, therefore, Edition: current; Page: [li] that a MS. from Jackson’s library might fall into Ussher’s hands. But is there any ground for imagining that such a MS. as the amended copy of the eighth book existed there? There is just ground enough, the Editor apprehends, for a plausible conjecture, and no more. The conjecture is this: that when Jackson delivered up the papers after Spenser’s death into the custody of Bishop King, he may have retained the completer copy of the last book, (which he represents in a fragment preserved by Fulman as being absolutely “restored to life” by him,) and that he may have handed over to the executors only the rough draught, from which, in course of time, so many transcripts have been made. His own expressions shew that he was precisely in the frame of mind which would make a person likely to take such a step: and perhaps it must be owned that the temptation was not inconsiderable. He writes in December, 1612, “Puto Præsidem nostrum emissurum sub suo nomine D. Hookeri librum octavum, a me plane vitæ restitutum. Tulit alter honores.” And in April, 1614, Spenser dies, and the MSS. are reclaimed. Is it doing Jackson any great injustice to suppose that in his pique he retained his more finished copy: being, as Antony Wood says, “of a cynical” as well as “of a studious temper?” And if he did, the mode has already been pointed out, how that copy or a transcript of it might fall into Ussher’s hands; and consequently might come to be deposited in the library of Trinity College, when the remains of the Primate’s books and MSS. were lodged there after the restoration. This, it is repeated, is no more than conjecture: but such as it is, it may give a possible explanation of the great superiority of that single copy; leading us to suppose, that it is either Jackson’s own, or one taken from his.

As to the seventh book, if it ever existed (as it certainly appears to have done) among Ussher’s MSS., he must clearly have acquired it within the last five years of his life: but where it could have been preserved, we have no means of ascertaining. This only is evident; that it formed no part of the collection of Bishop Andrewes. It might have been in Lambeth, where at that time Ussher would hardly have found access: or it might have formed part of Jackson’s store, as was just now conjectured with regard to the eighth book. In Edition: current; Page: [lii] any case, to prove it genuine, we must come back to internal evidence.

Edition: 1888; Page: [26]13. The few remaining Opuscula of Hooker may be arranged in two classes: the first comprising the Sermons on Habakkuk, and the controversy with Travers which arose out of some of them; the other, what may be called Miscellaneous Sermons. In the present edition, the order in which they stand has been a little changed, with a view to this arrangement. First in the first class is placed the Sermon on the Certainty and Perpetuity of Faith in the Elect: which appears, both from the mention of it by Travers and Hooker in their dispute, and from the order of the texts, to have preceded the famous discourse on Justification; itself being preceded by one on Predestination, which has not come down to us. This sermon on Assurance was originally published by Jackson, under Spenser’s guidance, [at Oxford] in 1612. The Editor regrets that he has not been able to procure a copy of that date: but the inconvenience is the less, as this and other of the sermons, regarding which he labours under the same disadvantage, viz. those on St. Jude and that on Pride, were reprinted with the whole of Hooker’s works then extant, in 16221, by William Stansby, a London bookseller, apparently under the superintendence of Jackson himself. So Wood expressly affirms; and the preface with Stansby’s initials subscribed is not unlike Jackson’s manner of writing. To the edition of 1622, therefore, in default of an earlier one, recourse has been had for correcting the present impression.

Next comes the famous discourse on Justification, the curiosity excited by which at the time of its delivery is so vividly described by Walton and Fuller: and when it was published, so many years afterwards, we learn by a fragment of a letter of Jackson’s, that the first impression was exhausted in a few days2. “Edidi ante paucos dies tractatus quosdam D. Richardi Hookeri, qui omnium applausu (excipio Puritanos ut vocant) ita excepti sunt, ut necesse jam sit typographo nostro novam editionem parare, quæ prima illa emendatior, mea cura, Deo volente, proditura est.” Accordingly Edition: current; Page: [liii] the Sermon on Justification was reprinted in the course of the following year, 1613; from a copy of which reprint, in C. C. C. library, the press has now been corrected. On comparison with a copy of the former year, preserved in St. John’s College, it seems that Jackson had kept his word, and that considerable emendations were made. Moreover, Dr. Cotton has discovered and collated for this edition a good and old MS. of this sermon, among the relics of Ussher in Trinity College Dublin, A. 5, 6, 4°. It was entered in the catalogue under the word “Sermon,” not being known to be Hooker’s. Dr. Cotton describes it as “contemporary, seemingly written in the same hand as is the Answer to Travers’ Supplication,” presently to be mentioned. It contains several good readings, and some notes in an unknown handwriting: but what is remarkable, it omits all the notes which are printed with the sermon, although many of them seem to carry strong internal evidence of their being Hooker’s.

This sermon gave immediate occasion for “Walter Travers’ Supplication to the Council,” which therefore comes next in the volume. It is a reprint of the first edition, by Joseph Barnes, Oxford, 1612, 4°: corrected from a MS. in the Bodleian (Mus. Bodl. 55. 20) evidently the work of a copyist, with some careless omissions. Much the same may be said of Hooker’s Answer, which was published by Jackson along with Travers’ attack. But the text of the Answer has now the additional benefit of a MS. (A. 5, 22. fol. 37) apparently contemporary, in Trinity College, Dublin; collated also by Archdeacon Cotton. It is said in the catalogue to be Hooker’s own handwriting: but this point surely is more than doubtful. However, there are readings in the MS. which it is hoped will be found real improvements.

The sermon “of the Nature of Pride,” the last remaining of the supposed series on Habakkuk, will also be found in this edition corrected from a MS. (B. 1. 13. folio) preserved in the same library, and supposed, like the last, but on no good ground, to be in Hooker’s own handwriting. In this copy, at the end of the sermon as it was published by Jackson, appears the following note: “Huc usque excusum exemplar: sequentia in eo non habentur.” What follows, is a continuation of the sermon, described in the Dublin catalogue Edition: current; Page: [liv] as being “five times so much in quantity as that which is already printed.” Of the genuineness of this portion, never till now published, there can be no doubt. The internal evidence alone would be almost decisive: and in addition, there is the express testimony of Archbishop Ussher. For it appears that “he procured this unprinted portion to be copied in a very fair hand as if for publication, or at least better preservation.” Such is the statement of Dr. Cotton, who transcribed the whole from the copy so made, taking care afterwards carefully to collate every part with the original, which is in a most cramped and difficult hand. In the course of transcribing he found that “several words had not been read at all by the original copier; others he had read wrong, and some few short clauses he had omitted.” On the whole, although the Editor has failed to procure a copy of the editio princeps, as well of this sermon as of those on St. Jude, and on the Certainty and Perpetuity of Faith, yet by the aid of Dr. Cotton and this Dublin MS. he hopes that it will be presented to the reader in a tolerably correct form. It is much to be regretted that the fragment proceeds no further, breaking off as it does, at a most interesting and critical point of one of the chiefest controversies between this church and Rome. But the loss, it should seem, is irrecoverable: and perhaps under all the circumstances, we ought, instead of repining, to congratulate ourselves that so much yet remains.

Edition: 1888; Page: [27]14. This additional portion of the Sermon on Pride is the last unprinted fragment of Hooker which the Editor has been able to recover. The remaining contents of the volume are the Funeral Sermon, called a Remedy against Sorrow and Fear; printed from the original edition of 1612: the Sermon on St. Matthew vii. 7, printed also from the original edition, viz. as it was published by Walton at the end of his Life of Bishop Sanderson, 1678; in the titlepage to which he describes it as “found in the study of the late learned Bishop Andrewes1:” Edition: current; Page: [lv] and the two Sermons on part of St. Jude, printed, not from the original edition, which the Editor after much inquiry has failed in procuring a sight of, but from the reprint of 1622. This failure he the more regrets, as there may appear on minute examination more internal reason for questioning the genuineness of these two sermons than of any thing besides which bears the name of Hooker. For, first, the style of writing and tone of argument are in many places marked by a kind of sharpness and quickness, and here and there by a vagueness of phraseology, far removed from the sedate majesty which reigns in all Hooker’s known compositions1: secondly, there runs through the whole a vein of heightened rhetorical expression2, quite opposite to his usual guarded way of dealing with all delicate points of doctrine: and thirdly, the appeal made here3 to men’s consciousness on their own spiritual condition, cannot easily be reconciled with the doctrine of the Sermon on the Certainty of Faith, or with the jealousy expressed in the fifth book of Ecclesiastical Polity regarding the rule of men’s private spirits. On the whole, if Edition: current; Page: [lvi] the sermons be Hooker’s, which the Editor is far from positively denying, they must be referred to a date in his life earlier than any other of his remains; to a time when he may have hardly ceased to affect the tone of others, both in composition and in doctrine, instead of writing and thinking for himself. There is a date given in one of them, which would harmonize well enough with such a conjecture. “I must,” says the preacher, “advertise all men that have the testimony of God’s holy fear within their breasts to consider, how injuriously our own countrymen and brethren have dealt with us by the space of twenty-four years from time to time, . . . never ceasing to charge us, some with heresy, some with schism, some with plain and manifest apostasy.” There are, it would seem, but two dates, from which these twenty-four years can be reckoned; viz. 1558, when Queen Elizabeth came to the throne; and 1569 or 1570, when the bull of Pius V. declaring her excommunicate and deposed, was issued and sent into England. This latter would bring down the date of the sermon in question to 1593-4: a time, at which, for the reasons above assigned, it seems most improbable that Hooker could have written them. It remains that if they be indeed his, they were preached in the 24th or 25th of Elizabeth, 1582-3: when he was not quite thirty years old, having commenced preacher at St. Paul’s Cross, as Walton informs us, in 1581. If the other supposition be preferred, viz. that the two sermons are not Hooker’s, it is not necessary to charge Jackson, their original editor, with intentional fraud. They might be found among Hooker’s papers1, might even be corrected with his own hand, (of which there are considerable indications,) without being his own compositions. But a critic like Jackson, more zealous than refined, himself evidently of the Reynolds school in theology, might excusably overlook or undervalue objections of that nature. In sum, thus much appears unquestionable: that we should not be safe in referring to these two sermons, for the matured and deliberate judgment of the Author of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, concerning any great point.

The several contents of these volumes being thus accounted Edition: current; Page: [lvii] for in their order, it remains for the Editor, first, to record his respectful gratitude to the many friends and helpers, who either out of their private stores, or as having custody of public or collegiate repositories, have aided him one and all with the most unreserved kindness1, many of them with no small labour to themselves; and next, to express an unaffected wish, that the task of arranging materials so provided had fallen into the hands of some person of more editorial skill, more leisure from unavoidable interruption, and far more historical, and theological reading. Such as the volumes are, they exhibit, he believes, in some form or other, all that remains of the venerable and judicious Hooker: and it is pleasant and reasonable to hope that their many defects will be hereafter supplied by some one more amply qualified for the task.

Edition: 1888; Page: [28]It may be useful in this place, and also just and fair to preceding labourers in the same field, if some notice be inserted of the former editions of Hooker: although the Editor has reason to fear that his list, even as a list, is imperfect, and he certainly has no intention of pronouncing any judgment on their comparative merits.

Of the books which came out in the Author’s lifetime an account has already been given. The first reprint was that of the four first Books, by Dr. Spenser, in 16042. Wood, in his account of Spenser3, says, “He did about four years after Hooker’s death publish the five books of Ecclesiastical Polity together in one volume, with an Epistle before them, subscribed I. S.” The truth seems to be that Spenser only reprinted the four first books, to bind up with the remaining copies of the fifth. It is remarkable that the titlepage4 of this Edition: current; Page: [lviii] edition promises the whole eight books: the remains of the three last being then in Spenser’s custody, waiting to be arranged and published in a second volume. The five books were reprinted, as above stated, in 16171; the Preface to which calls it the fourth edition; reckoning probably the two publications in Hooker’s lifetime as the first and second. To these in [1618 and] 1622 Henry Jackson added the second volume, comprising Travers’s Supplication with Hooker’s Answer, the Sermons on Habakkuk, the Funeral Sermon, and those on part of St. Jude. All these he had before edited separately. There was a reprint in 1632, which speaks of itself as the sixth edition: that in 1622 having been the fifth. These are all which the Editor has met with of what may be called Dr. Spenser’s editions2: and they appear on the whole more free from gross blunders than most of those which came after. Nothing more need be said here of Gauden’s edition of 1662, which added the seventh book, besides a life of Hooker and a Dedication to King Charles II. (the latter prefixed to most of the following editions.) Gauden’s too was the first collection which contained the other two imperfect books. It is unfortunate, considering the little pains taken to correct it, that this edition should have been acquiesced in as a basis, by subsequent publishers, to the end of the 17th century: only with the substitution of Walton’s Life, which at once superseded Gauden’s on its first appearance. Editions of this description came out, all in folio, in 1666, 1676, 1682. In 1705, Strype revised the Life for the publishers, and made some improvements; but there is no appearance of his having done much to Hooker’s works. However, there were several corrections made, and the series of editions which may be called Strype’s, of which in the last century there were many, are on the whole greatly superior to Gauden’s: i. e. the copies of 1705, 17193, 1723, (which is generally pointed out as the best edition of all,) 1739, &c. In 1793, the first 8vo. edition issued from the Clarendon Press, under the superintendence of Bishop Edition: current; Page: [lix] Randolph. The only material variation made in it was the insertion of Andrewes’s letter to Parry, which the Bishop had found in the Bodleian. Other editions in the same form have appeared since, but there are only two which require particular notice. The one in two volumes, (London 1825,) by the Rev. W. S. Dobson, of St. Peter’s College, Cambridge: a great improvement on all that had been done since Gauden, especially in the laborious task of verifying quotations. The present Editor is particularly bound to acknowledge his obligations to this useful but unpretending publication, having taken it as the groundwork on which to introduce the readings from the MSS. or original editions. The only remaining edition which requires to be mentioned was executed in 1831, by Mr. B. Hanbury, with considerable spirit and industry, but in some parts with a degree of haste, and in many with an expression of party feeling, tending to lessen its usefulness greatly. It is corrected from the Editiones Principes, where the Editor had access to them; and, besides many notes, contains an enlarged Index, Hooker’s Letter sent to Burghley with a copy of his work, as given by Strype, a Life of Cartwright by the Editor, the whole of the “Christian Letter,” distributed in the notes, and the “Just and Temperate Defence” by Covel, annexed to the fifth book.

Here, it may be, strictly speaking, the task of the present Editor ought to terminate. But there are two large subjects intimately connected with it, to which it appears desirable to invite particular attention. One, the state of the Puritan controversy just at the time when it was taken up by Hooker, and the mode in which it was conducted by him and his contemporaries: the other, his views on certain questions in theology, collateral indeed to that controversy, but at least equally momentous with any thing in it, questions apparently beyond his original anticipation, at which in course of discussion he successively arrived, and kept them in sight afterwards with a religious anxiety proportioned to his deep sense of their vital importance.

Edition: 1888; Page: [29]In the annals of the Church, with more certainty perhaps than in those of the world, we may from time to time mark out what may be called turning points; points in which every Edition: current; Page: [lx] thing seems to depend on some one critical event or coincidence, at the time, possibly, quite unobserved. It is awful, yet encouraging, to look back on such times, after the lapse of ages and generations, and to observe the whole course of things tending some one evil way, up to the very instant when it pleased God in His mercy to interfere, and by methods of which we now can see more than contemporaries could, to rescue, it may be, not only that generation, but succeeding times also, and among the rest, ourselves and our children, from some form of apostasy or deadly heresy.

One of these critical periods in our own church history, if the Editor mistake not, is the latter portion of the sixteenth century: and the character and views of Hooker mark him (if we may venture to judge of such a thing without irreverence) as one especially raised up to be the chief human instrument in the salutary interference which Divine Providence was then preparing. In order to have a clearer notion of the peril in which he found the truth, and of the process by which he was trained to be its defender, it may be well if we first consider the previous position of the governors of this church, relatively to the Genevan or Puritan party.

Now the nucleus of the whole controversy was undoubtedly the question of church authority: not so much the question as to the reach and limits of that authority, (which subject he fully discusses in the early part of his great work,) as that which takes up the latter part of the treatise, and which he himself denominates the “last and weightiest remains of this cause1:” the question, namely, with whom church authority resides. On this point, in Hooker’s time, as now, the Christian world in Europe (speaking largely) was divided into three great parties. The first, that of the ultramontane Roman Catholics, who judging that consent of Christian antiquity in any rule was equivalent to an universal sanction of authority, only second (if it were second) to express enactment of holy Scripture; and wrongly imagining that they could establish such consent for the paramount authority of their popes and councils; refused the civil government any further prerogative in church matters, (i. e. as they interpreted, in all matters of conscience,) than merely Edition: current; Page: [lxi] that of executing what the said popes and councils should decree.

The second party was that of the Ghibellines in the empire, of the prerogative lawyers in the kingdom of France, of Henry the Eighth in England, and generally of all in every country who maintained more or less expressly the claims of the local governments against the papacy: their common principle (with innumerable shades of difference, and some of them very deeply marked) being this; that church laws and constitutions are on the whole left by Providence to the discretion of the civil power. To this latter party, whether on principle or on account of the exigency of their position, most of the early reformers attached themselves. Its theory was implied in the general course of proceeding, both of the Lutherans in Germany, of the Zuinglians in Switzerland, and of Archbishop Cranmer and other chief leaders of the separation between England and Rome: in their general course of conduct, not in all their measures; for in such extensive and complicated movements thorough consistency is out of the question, without some visible authority more entire and permanent than any which existed for the reformers, as a body, to acknowledge.

Edition: 1888; Page: [30]To these two parties, which had subsisted in much the same form, at least down from the age of Gregory VII, the events of the Genevan Reformation and the character and views of Calvin had added a third, about thirty years after the rise of Luther; a party which agreed with the Roman Catholics in acknowledging a church authority independent of the state, but differed from them as to the persons with whom such authority was intrusted; assigning it, not to the successors of the Apostles as such, but to a mixed council of Presbyters, lay and spiritual, holding their commission, not as an inward grace derived from our Lord by laying on of hands, but as an external prerogative, granted (so they thought) by positive enactment of holy Scripture. The rapid progress of this system, wherever it was introduced at all under favourable circumstances, proves that it touched some chord in human nature which answered to it very readily: while the remarkable fact, that not one of the reformers besides ever elicited the same theory for himself, but that it Edition: current; Page: [lxii] is in all instances traceable to Calvin and Geneva, would seem to be very nearly decisive against its claim to scriptural authority. Its success is in fact neither more nor less than a signal example of the effect producible in a short time over the face of the whole church, by the deep, combined, systematic efforts of a few able and resolute men. For that their efforts were combined and systematic, not in Geneva and France only, but as far as ever they could extend the arms of their discipline, no one can doubt, who is at all acquainted with the published correspondence of Calvin first, and in the next generation, of Beza. Two such men following each other, and reigning each his time without a rival in their own section of Christendom, went far towards securing to their party that unity of proceeding, in which, as was just now remarked, Protestants generally were in that age very deficient. This has been remarked by Hooker himself, in the course of his unpublished memoranda above mentioned, where he proposes a comparison between Calvin and Beza1. “Hereby,” says he, “we see what it is for any one church or place of government to have two, one succeeding another, and both in their ways excellent, although unlike. For Beza was one whom no man would displease, Calvin one whom no man durst.” He goes on to specify some particulars of Calvin’s influence: “His dependants both abroad and at home; his intelligence from foreign churches; his correspondence every where with the chiefest; his industry in pursuing them which did at any time openly either withstand his proceedings or gainsay his opinions; his writing but of three lines in disgrace of any man as forcible as any proscription throughout all reformed churches; his rescripts and answers of as great authority as decretal epistles.” Thus far Hooker, speaking of Calvin. And any one who will consult Strype’s Annals will find incidentally very sufficient proof of the same kind of authoritative interference in English affairs on the part of Beza, throughout Queen Elizabeth’s reign.

Edition: 1888; Page: [31]There were predisposing circumstances, which made England at that time a promising field for the efforts of the foreign presbyterians. Some of these are touched on by Edition: current; Page: [lxiii] Hooker himself in his Preface, and by G. Cranmer in his Letter on the Discipline. It may be useful here to mention a few others, which could not be so clearly discerned, at least not discussed so freely, by contemporaries. First and most obviously, the unpopularity of the Romish party, through the cruelty of Queen Mary and her advisers, and their total disregard of English feelings and opinions. One very striking proof of the extent to which this prevailed is the publication of the well-known pamphlets by Knox1 and Goodman2, in which, with a view to the case of England even rather than of Scotland, it was maintained that royal authority could not be vested in a female, and that, wherever vested, it might be forfeited, by maladministration, into the hands of the people. A person of the acuteness and vigilance of the Scottish reformer, (for with all his vehemence no one knew better how to take the tide of popular opinion,) a dexterous politician like Knox would never have ventured on such a step, without good grounds for supposing that the old feeling of hereditary loyalty was fast giving way before the gathering discontent. The same remark in some measure applies to Whittingham, who seems to have been as much as any one responsible for Goodman’s book, to which he wrote a Preface. He was of a temper sufficiently cool and calculating, and not likely to commit himself in such a cause without good grounds for expecting it to be popular. And it is not perhaps easy to say how far their efforts might have succeeded, had not the failure of issue from Queen Mary, and her early demise, given a new turn to the opinions and movements of men. It would almost seem as if providentially the leaders of the Puritans had been led on to suffer these indications of their real views to escape them in good time, and so to give Elizabeth a warning, which all her life long cooperated with her natural disposition and theological opinions, in keeping her on her guard against them. But however the publications might be counteracted, the mere fact of their appearing shews to what an extent, in the judgment of competent observers, the English protestants of that Edition: current; Page: [lxiv] day were disposed to acquiesce in whatever movement appeared to take them farthest from Rome.

Edition: 1888; Page: [32]Another feeling, which to the end of the century continued acting in the same direction, was sympathy with the foreign protestants; not the foreign protestants generally, for the Lutheran and Zuinglian sections of Germany and Switzerland were then in comparative peace, and presented little to excite much interest on the part of those who watched them at a distance. The struggle, the excitement, the suffering, and the ardour, were all in those countries where the reformation had taken its line in obedience to Geneva: in France, namely, and in the Netherlands. It is well known what sympathy was kindled in Elizabeth’s court by the first news of the massacre of St. Bartholomew; which, it may be remarked, took place the very year when the English Puritans began to be more open and combined in their efforts, first in parliament for legalizing the discipline, and afterwards in their several districts, for establishing it without law. And Hooker’s own works have many incidental marks of the great and increasing interest, which was naturally felt here in the varying fortunes of the Hugonots. Of course it will be seen that such interest, as far as it had any bearing on the differences among protestants themselves, would strengthen most effectually the hands of that party, which had the perfectest agreement with the persecuted abroad, and seemed at first view most irreconcilable with the persecutors.

And as the fortunes of Genevan protestantism in France would secure for it that fellow-feeling here, which attaches itself to a band of confessors and sufferers for the truth, so its fortunes in Scotland would attract such as love to be on the winning side. We have it on very high authority, the authority of Dr. Thomas Jackson1, that the first impulse towards puritanism in his neighbourhood, Newcastle, was given by Knox himself, acting in King Edward’s time as a kind of missionary under the direction of the council. Afterwards, when the door had been opened to change in his own country, neither he nor his successors in the management of the Kirk ever lost sight of their kindred party in England. In Bancroft’s Dangerous Positions may be found repeated assertions, Edition: current; Page: [lxv] and several instances, of the support which the Puritan agitators constantly received from that quarter: such as their procuring one Waldegrave, a printer devoted to their cause, to be king’s printer in Edinburgh, in the minority of James VI. And it is known that Penry, the author of the Marprelate libels, when he was most active in that line, resorted to Scotland for refuge and cooperation. The course of the new reformation in short was notoriously such as Bancroft has expressed, quaintly but not unaptly, in the titles of his sections: first comes “Scottish Genevating,” and then “English Scottizing, for Discipline.”

In aid of all these feelings, after a while, came the resentment occasioned by the dethroning bull of pope Pius, which made it seem a matter of plain loyalty and patriotism, to secede from the Romish Church in every thing as completely as possible.

Accordingly, we find that not only in the parliaments of Elizabeth, but also in her cabinet, at least for the first thirty years of her reign, there existed a very strong bias in behalf of the Puritan party. Not only such persons as Knolles and Mildmay, and others who were Calvinists and Low Churchmen on principle; nor again only such as Leicester, who may be suspected of looking chiefly to the spoils which any great church movement might place at his disposal: but even Burghley and Walsingham, it is well known, were continually finding themselves at issue with the Archbishop of the day concerning the degree of discouragement due to the reformers. So that as far as the government was concerned, nothing but the firmness of the Queen herself, supporting first Parker and afterwards Whitgift, prevented the adoption of the new model, at least in those parts of it which did not apparently and palpably intrude on royal authority. To our argument it does not much matter, whether this tendency in such men as Burghley and Walsingham, were occasioned by any supposed necessity for conceding to popular opinion, or whether it were really the conscientious bias of their minds: but one symptom of the latter we may here observe, viz. that in their appointments, when left to themselves, they evidently gave a preference to the Puritan side. Thus Walsingham having provided a divinity lecture at Oxford, with the sole declared view Edition: current; Page: [lxvi] of resisting and discrediting Romanism, nominated Reynolds the first reader of his lecture: indeed it seems to have been endowed expressly for him. And Burghley employed as domestic chaplain and tutor to his children, Walter Travers, the well-known antagonist of Hooker, and author of the book de Ecclesiastica Disciplina, not the least able and influential of the treatises which Geneva was continually pouring into this country.

Without investigating more deeply laid grounds of error, principles which must make the struggle with Puritanism at all times painful and arduous, even such a superficial view as has now been attempted may serve to give some idea of the amount of disadvantage under which they laboured, who had to conduct that controversy on the side of the existing Church down to the middle of Elizabeth’s reign. There is hardly need to add express mention of the certainty, under such circumstances, that whatever they said and did would be tainted with the name and suspicion of papistry; so easily affixed, and so hard to shake off, wherever men demur to the extreme of what are denominated protestant opinions.

Edition: 1888; Page: [33]Our argument now requires a brief account of the mode in which those who preceded Hooker had considered it best to meet the invasion from Geneva: confining attention still to the question, in whom church authority is properly vested: which question, as was remarked in the outset, forms a kind of centre around which the other points of the controversy gradually came to arrange themselves. It is evident, (speaking largely,) that there were but two ways of meeting the claim of the New Discipline: the one, the way of the early Church, of which the doctrine of papal supremacy is a perversion and excess: the other, the way which in modern times has been very generally denominated Erastian; though far indeed from being an invention of Erastus, since in every kingdom of Europe the Roman claims had been resisted on the like principles for centuries before he was born. The peculiarity of Erastus’ teaching lay rather in his refusing all right of excommunication to the Christian Church. However, it has become usual to designate from him the theory in question, which would rest the government of the Church, spiritual as well as civil, altogether in the Christian magistrate: Edition: current; Page: [lxvii] thus entirely denying the principle, on which the Genevan innovation proceeded; whereas the High Churchmen (as they were called) of a later age, would grant the principle, but deny the application: they would allow that a succession of governors exists in the Church, of apostolical authority, not to be superseded by man; but they would deny the claim of Geneva to that succession; maintaining, what undoubtedly prima facie church history would seem to teach, that the Bishops are the true heirs of the apostles in their governing powers as well as in their power of order.

Now, since the episcopal succession had been so carefully retained in the Church of England, and so much anxiety evinced to render both her liturgy and ordination services strictly conformable to the rules and doctrines of antiquity, it might have been expected that the defenders of the English hierarchy against the first Puritans should take the highest ground, and challenge for the Bishops the same unreserved submission, on the same plea of exclusive apostolical prerogative, which their adversaries feared not to insist on for their elders and deacons. It is notorious, however, that such was not in general the line preferred by Jewel, Whitgift, Bishop Cooper, and others, to whom the management of that controversy was intrusted, during the early part of Elizabeth’s reign. They do not expressly disavow, but they carefully shun, that unreserved appeal to Christian antiquity, in which one would have thought they must have discerned the very strength of their cause to lie. It is enough, with them, to shew that the government by archbishops and bishops is ancient and allowable; they never venture to urge its exclusive claim, or to connect the succession with the validity of the holy Sacraments: and yet it is obvious that such a course of argument alone (supposing it borne out by facts) could fully meet all the exigencies of the case. It must have occurred to the learned writers above-mentioned, since it was the received doctrine of the Church down to their days; and if they had disapproved it, as some theologians of no small renown have since done, it seems unlikely that they should have passed it over without some express avowal of dissent; considering that they always wrote with an eye to the pretensions of Rome also, which popular opinion had in a great degree mixed up with this doctrine of apostolical succession.

Edition: current; Page: [lxviii]

One obvious reason, and probably the chief one, of their silence, was the relation in which they stood to the foreign protestant congregations. The question had been mixed up with considerations of personal friendship, first by Cranmer’s connection with the Lutherans, and after King Edward’s death, by the residence of Jewel, Grindal, and others at Zurich, Strasburgh, and elsewhere, in congregations which had given up the apostolical succession. Thus feelings arose, which came, insensibly no doubt, but really and strongly, in aid of the prevailing notion that every thing was to be sacrificed to the paramount object of union among protestants.

Edition: 1888; Page: [34]To these theological sympathies with the German reformers must be added the effect of political sympathies with the imperialist party, and generally speaking with the advocates of civil interference in the Church in the several nations of Europe. Some who cared little for religion at all, and others who had no objection to the doctrines of Rome, had united nevertheless with the zealots of the new opinions in promoting changes which they considered necessary for the deliverance of their respective countries from priestly usurpation. In England, as in other countries, the leading protestant divines had availed themselves largely of the cooperation of these numerous and powerful parties: and had occasionally committed themselves to statements and principles, which would stand greatly in their way, if ever they found it requisite to assert the claims of apostolical episcopacy.

Add to this, what the papacy itself had done, and was daily doing, to weaken all notions of independent authority in Bishops: of which policy the full development may be seen in the proceedings of the Italian party at Trent, and their efforts to obtain an express declaration from the council, that no prelate had any power in the Church, except what he received through the successors of St. Peter. So that on the one hand a large section of the reformers had a direct interest in making light of apostolical claims, and on the other, no inconsiderable portion of the opponents of innovation were prepared beforehand to concede this point. Indeed, when we consider the joint effect of all these interests, so various in themselves, yet concurring to disparage primitive episcopacy, the wonder will be, not that apostolical claims were not advanced to the Edition: current; Page: [lxix] full extent by the opponents of the Puritans in England, but rather that any thing like apostolical succession is left amongst us. It is indeed, throughout modern English history, a continually recurring theme of admiration and of thankfulness.

Should it be asked, how such accomplished divines, as Jewel and others of his class undoubtedly were, could permit themselves, for any present benefit to the Church, so to waver in so capital a point, with the full evidence of antiquity before their eyes; it may be replied, first of all, that in some sort they wanted that full evidence with which later generations have been favoured. The works of the Fathers had not yet been critically sifted, so that in regard of almost every one of them men were more or less embarrassed, during the whole of that age, with vague suspicions of interpolation. The effect of this is apparent in various degrees throughout the controversies of the time; but on no question would it be more felt than on this, of the apostolical succession and the frame of the visible Church: because that was a subject on which, more continually perhaps than on any other, temptations to forgery had arisen: and also because the remains of St. Ignatius in particular, for a single writer the most decisive of all who have borne witness to apostolical principles, were all that time under a cloud of doubt, which was providentially dispelled in the next age by the discovery of a copy unquestionably genuine. This consideration, as it accounts (among other things) for the little stress which Hooker seems to lay on quotations from St. Ignatius, to us most important and decisive: so it must in the nature of things have placed his predecessors, of whom we are now speaking, under a considerable disadvantage, as compared with the writers of the following century: and in all candour should be taken into account, on the one hand by those who would take advantage of the silence of the reformers to disparage the apostolical succession; on the other hand by the advocates of that doctrine, to prevent their judging too hardly of the reformers themselves for their comparative omission of it.

Further; it is obvious that those divines in particular, who had been instrumental but a little before in the second change of the liturgy in King Edward’s time, must have felt themselves Edition: current; Page: [lxx] in some measure restrained from pressing with its entire force the ecclesiastical tradition on church government and orders, inasmuch as in the aforesaid revision they had given up altogether the same tradition, regarding certain very material points in the celebration, if not in the doctrine, of the holy Eucharist. It is but fair to add, that the consideration last suggested, viz. indefinite fear of interpolation in the early liturgies, may have told with equal or more force in justifying to their minds the omissions in question. This subject also since their time has been happily and satisfactorily cleared up1. But whether it were this, or extreme jealousy of practices which had been made occasions of abuse, or whatever the cause might be, the fact is unquestionable, that certain services had been abandoned, which according to the constant witness of the remains of antiquity had constituted an important portion of the Christian ritual: e.g. the solemn offering of the elements before consecration for the living and the dead, with commemoration of the latter, in certain cases, by name. It should seem that those who were responsible for these omissions must have felt themselves precluded, ever after, from urging the necessity of Episcopacy, or of any thing else, on the ground of uniform Church Tradition. Succeeding generations obviously need not experience the same embarrassment to the same extent: since they have only to answer for bearing with the innovation, not for introducing it.

To all these causes of hesitation we must add the direct influence of the Court, which of course on this as on all similar occasions would come strongly in aid of the Erastian principle. It is well known to what an extent prudential regards of this kind were carried by the several generations of the Anglican Reformers.

On the whole, (and the remark is made without any disrespectful thought towards them,) it was very natural for them to waive, as far as they did, the claim of exclusive divine authority in their defences of episcopal rights; nor ought their having done so to create any prejudice, in such as deservedly hold them in respect, against that claim itself.

Edition: 1888; Page: [35]Lest it should be imagined that we are here conceding more than we really mean to concede regarding the views of Edition: current; Page: [lxxi] the writers in question, two propositions are subjoined, as comprising the substance of the argument by which they resisted the demands of the Puritans.

1. The whole Church, being naturally the subject in which all ecclesiastical power resides, may have had originally the right of determining how it would be governed.

2. Inasmuch as the Church did determine from very early times to be governed by Bishops, it cannot be right to swerve from that government, in any country where the same may be maintained, consistently with soundness of doctrine, and the rights of the chief magistrate, being Christian.

This statement, of Whitgift’s opinions in particular, it were easy to verify by extracts from his Defence against Cartwright. His object was, evidently, to maintain the episcopal system, i.e. the government of the Church by three orders, without at all entering on the matter of apostolical succession. Natural reason, and Church history, spoke, he thought, plainly enough. There was no occasion to settle the question, whether the charter granted by our Lord to the Twelve, was granted to them and the whole Church, or to them and the heirs for ever of their spiritual power, set apart by laying on of their hands.

Practically, perhaps, and in reason, even such a mode of arguing ought to have prevailed against the arrogant innovations which it was intended to meet. But being as it was far from the whole truth, (was it ever stated as such by those who advanced it?) it could not either correspond to the standard, which those would naturally form to themselves who looked much to Christian antiquity; or satisfy those feelings and expectations in mankind generally, which the true church system was graciously intended to supply. Cartwright therefore, inconclusive as his reasoning was, and unsubstantial his learning, appeared to maintain his ground against Whitgift. About the same time the death of Archbishop Parker made room for Grindal in the metropolitical see; whose connivance at the conduct of the Puritans is well known, and generally alleged as not the least of the causes which contributed to the increase of their influence. When the Queen interfered to repress them, and chastise him, it was in such a manner as to give the whole an air chiefly of political precaution, and to encourage the idea Edition: current; Page: [lxxii] that the defenders of the Church were in fact identifying her almost entirely with the state. About this juncture came out Travers’s famous Book of Discipline; very much superior to Cartwright’s publications in eloquence and the skill of composition, though not at all more satisfactory in argument. Altogether the current was setting strongly in favour of the innovators, up to the time when Whitgift became Archbishop. Acute and indefatigable as he was in his efforts to produce a reaction, not only by his official edicts and remonstrances, but by his disposal of preferment also, and the literary labours which he encouraged, there was no one step of his to be compared in wisdom and effect with his patronage of Hooker, and the help which he provided towards the completion of his undertaking. It is true that in the course of the ten years which preceded that publication many things happened which had the same tendency. Abundant experiment was made elsewhere of the mischief occasioned by extreme protestant principles: and at home, the Marprelate libels and Hacket’s conspiracy had disgusted all reflecting and conscientious men. A new generation had arisen both in Oxford and Cambridge, which by the comparative tranquillity of the times enjoyed more leisure from pressing disputes, and had a better chance of considering all points thoroughly, than any one could have during the hurry of the Reformation. And (what was most important of all) the feverish and exclusive dread of Romanism, which had for a long time so occupied all men’s thoughts as to leave hardly any room for precautions in any other direction, was greatly abated by several intervening events. First, the execution of Queen Mary, though at the cost of a great national crime, had removed the chief hope of the Romanist party in England; and had made it necessary for those, who were pledged at all events to the violent proceedings of that side, to disgust all British feeling by transferring their allegiance to the king of Spain. And when, two years afterwards, his grand effort had been made, and had failed so entirely as to extinguish all present hope of the restoration of Popery in England; it is remarkable how immediately the effect of that failure is discernible in the conduct of the church controversy with the Puritans. The Armada was destroyed in July. In the February following was preached and published the famous Edition: current; Page: [lxxiii] Sermon of Bancroft at St. Paul’s Cross, on the duty of trying the spirits; which sermon has often been complained of by Puritans and Erastians as the first express development of high church principles here. It may have been the first published: but there is internal evidence of the same views having existed long before, in some of the Treatises which appeared successively on that side of the question during the four or five subsequent years.

Edition: 1888; Page: [36]For example, Saravia in his three Tractates gives proof that the sentiments complained of in Bancroft’s sermon had been long familiar to him, and that their being unacceptable to his countrymen abroad was one chief reason of his finally establishing himself in England1. Now Saravia’s judgment of Edition: current; Page: [lxxiv] the divine right of Bishops was such as is expressed in the following passages; a few out of many which occur in his first treatise. The title of that treatise is, “Concerning the various degrees of Ministers of the Gospel, as they were instituted by the Lord, and delivered on by the Apostles, and confirmed by constant use of all Churches.” In his dedication, after exposing the error of those who would make church goods public property, he mentions as one thing which tended to encourage that error, the notion that the superiority of Bishops over presbyters was not of any divine institution: and adds, “Our fathers and all the old theologians believed that the controuling prudence of one man was divinely appointed in the church of each city or province, for avoiding schism and repressing the rashness of the many.” Thirdly, and especially, in his Address to the Reader he speaks thus fully to the point: “There are some” (the Erastians) “who think that all controul of manners is to be left entirely to the civil magistrate, and confine the ministry of the Gospel to bare preaching of the word of God and administering the Sacraments; which being impossible to be made out by the word of God, or by any example of the Fathers, I wonder that such a thought could ever enter into the mind of a theologian. Others there are who assign the power of church censures to Bishops, and to Presbyters who are both called and really are such, with that authority which God gave to the Apostles and to those who after them should be Bishops of the Church. The third sort are those who rejecting the order of Bishops, join to the pastors elders chosen for a time, to whom they commit the whole government of the churches, and discipline ecclesiastical.” Then he proceeds to enumerate the forms of civil polity, and adds, “To no nation did God ever appoint any certain and perpetual form of government, which it should be unlawful to alter according to place and times. But of this government whereof we are now discoursing the case is different, for since it came immediately from God, men cannot alter it at their own free will. Nor is there any occasion to do so. For God’s wisdom hath so tempered this polity, that it opposes itself to no form of civil government . . . Bishops I consider to be necessary to Edition: current; Page: [lxxv] the Church, and that discipline and government of the Church to be the best, and divine, which religious Bishops, with Presbyters truely so called, administer by the rule of God’s word and ancient councils.”

Saravia, then, is a distinct and independent testimony to the doctrine of exclusive divine right in Bishops. He had worked it out, as appears, for himself; he had made material sacrifices for its sake; and he seized the first opportunity of making it public allowed him by the caution of the English government, hitherto so scrupulously sensitive in, behalf of the foreign reformers. And since Saravia was afterwards in familiar intercourse with Hooker, and his confidential adviser when writing on nearly the same subjects, we may with reason use the recorded opinions of the one for interpreting what might seem otherwise ambiguous in the other.

Edition: 1888; Page: [37]The same year and the year following (1591), Matthew Sutcliffe, afterwards Dean of Exeter, an acute and amusing but not always very scrupulous controversialist, published several treatises against the Puritan discipline; the tone of which may be judged of by the following complaint of Penry; (Petition to the Queen, 1590 or 1591.) “Mat. Sutcliffe hath openly in Latin defaced foreign churches, of whom D. Whitgift and others have always written honourably. Whereby it is likely there will arise as dangerous troubles to the churches about discipline as hath grown by the question of consubstantiation.” He probably alludes to the Tract “De Presbyterio,” in which Sutcliffe had handled the subject of lay elders with small veneration for the French and Genevan arrangements.

Next to Sutcliffe in order of time comes an anonymous Latin treatise, entitled “Querimonia Ecclesiæ;” a work more particularly to be noticed here, because it should seem from a passage in the Christian Letter, that Hooker himself was at that time suspected of having some concern in it. The passage in the Letter occurs in p. 44. “We beseech you therefore in the name of Jesus Christ, and as you will answer for the use of those great gifts which God hath bestowed upon you, that you would return and peruse advisedly all your five books, compare them with the articles of our profession set out by public authority, and with the Edition: current; Page: [lxxvi] works apologetical and other authorized sermons and homilies of our Church, and of the reverend Fathers of our land, and with the holy Book of God, and all other the Queen’s Majesty’s proceedings, and then read and examine with an indifferent and equall mind a book set out in Latin, called Querimonia Ecclesiæ, and another in English late come abroad, speaking of Scotizing and Genevating, and Allobrogical discipline: . . . and tell us . . . whether the reverend Fathers of our Church would not give sentence . . . that by those three writings the Church of England and all other Christian churches are undermined.” Hooker’s reply to this challenge (which has been given above, p. xxii) consists in a similar challenge to his adversary to give his opinion of three Calvinistic works, in two of which the royal supremacy in religion, and in the third the very principle of irresponsible authority in Kings, had been expressly controverted. He does not, it will be observed, at all disavow the connection, or at least the strong sympathy, which had been hinted at as subsisting between him and the author of the “Querimonia Ecclesiæ.” That tract, it may be worth remarking, was printed by Windet, the person whom Hooker himself employed for both portions of the Ecclesiastical Polity, and Saravia for the first edition of his three treatises; which Windet in all probability was the same who appears in the pedigree of the Hooker family as the eldest son of an aunt of Hooker’s. Be that as it may, the coincidence between the views of Hooker and those of the anonymous pamphlet is very striking on many topics, while on others there is quite variation enough to prove the two testimonies independent of each other.

Edition: 1888; Page: [38]Now on the point of church government, the “Querimonia” is, if any difference, even more express than Hooker in insisting on the divine origin and indispensable necessity of the episcopal order. The writer (speaking, as throughout, in the person of “Ecclesia”) enumerates the want of discipline as the second of four grave defects, by which, he says, our western reformation has been generally blemished; the first being, disparagement of the fasts of the Church. His language concerning episcopacy, and those who had so irreverently dispensed with it, is such as the following (speaking of Aërius Edition: current; Page: [lxxvii] and his followers ancient and modern): “Optimæ illi disciplinæ reciderunt nervos, qui . . . eam, quæ sæpe mihi salutem attulit, episcopalem auctoritatem improbe violarunt.” Again, referring as it seems to an expression of Beza, which had obtained great currency; “Aërius . . . presbyterum episcopo dignitate adæquandum censuit: episcopatum nostri a Diabolo institutum contendunt.” In the sketch which he draws of the fallen state of the Church in all parts of Christendom, when he comes to the protestants, he says, “Ita episcoporum ambitionem reprehendunt, ut episcopalem interdum ordinem repugnent: ita superstitionem condemnant, ut permulta simul religionis tollant ornamenta.” When he comes to particular countries it is remarkable that he says not a word of Scotland. In p. 81, he affirms, “Princeps ille noster Christus, etiamsi non omnes disciplinæ partes præscripsit, communes tamen proposuit regulas, quas in regenda Ecclesia semper intueri oportet.” In p. 83, he gives specimens of things, “quæ tota observat Dei Ecclesia, et instituta sunt ab Apostolis vel apostolicis viris, et perpetuo prosunt Christianæ societati:” which therefore “religiose ubique retinenda judico;” and his examples are, Lent; the holidays of our Saviour; different offices in the Church, and degrees in the ministry, including not only diocesan Bishops, but Archbishops, Primates or Metropolitans, and Patriarchs. Here then is another strong instance of the alteration in tone on which we are remarking: and the writer, whoever he might be, was no common person; as will further appear when reference is made to him, for illustration of Hooker’s opinions on other matters, some of them even more important than this of episcopacy.

The last writer now to be mentioned is one whose work came out in the very same year with the first part of Hooker’s, 1593-4: Bilson, then Warden, afterwards Bishop of Winchester, author of “the Perpetual Government of Christ’s Church:” a more elaborate and complete work than either of the former, full of good learning and sound argument, regularly arranged and clearly expressed. He, it may be observed, makes in his Preface an acknowledgment similar to that which will be presently quoted from Hooker himself; “the credit of the first devisers” of the new discipline “did somewhat Edition: current; Page: [lxxviii] deceive me.” His principles of church government are such as follows: “The power of the keys was first settled in the Apostles before it was delivered unto the Church; and the Church received it from the Apostles, not the Apostles from the Church:” p. 104. And, p. 106. “The authority of their first calling liveth yet in their succession, and time and travel joined with God’s graces bring pastors at this present to perfection; yet the Apostles’ charge to teach, baptize, and administer the Lord’s Supper, to bind and loose sins in heaven and in earth, to impose hands for the ordaining of pastors and elders: these parts of the apostolic function are not decayed, and cannot be wanted in the Church of God. There must either be no Church, or else these must remain; for without these no Church can continue.” And, p. 107. “As the things be needful in the Church, so the persons to whom they were first committed cannot be doubted. . . The service must endure as long as the promise; to the end of the world. . . Christ is present with those who succeed his Apostles in the same function and ministry for ever.” And, p. 244. “Things proper to Bishops, that might not be common to them with presbyters, were singularity in succeeding, and superiority in ordaining.” 247. “The singularity of one pastor in each place descended from the Apostles and their scholars in all famous churches in the world by a perpetual chair of succession, and doth to this day continue, but where abomination or desolation, I mean knavery or violence, interrupt it.” From p. 108 to 112 is a course of direct reasoning to the same purpose.

Edition: 1888; Page: [39]It were easy to multiply quotations: but enough perhaps has been advanced to justify the assertion, that while Hooker was engaged on his great work, a new school of writers on church subjects had begun to shew itself in England: men had been gradually unlearning some of those opinions, which intimacy with foreign Protestants had tended to foster, and had adopted a tone and way of thinking more like that of the early Church. The change in the political situation of the country gave them opportunity and encouragement to develope and inculcate their amended views. At such a time, the appearance in the field of a champion like Hooker on their side must have been worth every thing to the defenders of Edition: current; Page: [lxxix] Apostolical order: and that he was then considered as taking the field on their side is clear from the manner in which, as we have seen, he was attacked, and from the names with which his was associated, by the Puritans. In later times, a different construction has very generally been put on his writings, and he has commonly been cited by that class of writers who concede least to church authority, as expressly sanctioning their loose and irreverent notions. And yet he has distinctly laid down, and adopted as his own, both the principles and the conclusion of the stricter system of antiquity. The principles, where he asks so emphatically, “What angel in heaven could have said to man, as our Lord did unto Peter, ‘Feed my sheep; preach; baptize; do this in remembrance of me; whose sins ye retain, they are retained, and their offences in heaven pardoned whose faults you shall on earth forgive?’ What think we? Are these terrestrial sounds, or else are they voices uttered out of the clouds above? The power of the ministry of God translateth out of darkness into glory; it raiseth men from the earth, and bringeth God himself down from heaven; by blessing visible elements it maketh them invisible grace; it giveth daily the Holy Ghost; it hath to dispose of that flesh which was given for the life of the world, and that blood which was poured out to redeem souls; when it poureth malediction upon the heads of the wicked, they perish, when it revoketh the same they revive. O wretched blindness, if we admire not so great power; more wretched if we consider it aright, and notwithstanding imagine that any but God can bestow it1!” Can we help wondering, that the author of these sentiments should be generally reckoned among those, who account the ministry a mere human ordinance? Again, it is certain from Hooker’s own express statement, that the ministry of which he entertained these exalted ideas was from the beginning an episcopal ministry. “Let us not,” he says, “fear to be herein bold and peremptory, that if any thing in the Church’s government, surely the first institution of bishops was from heaven, was even of God; the Holy Ghost was the author of it.” Nay, he has marked his opinion yet more forcibly, by stating elsewhere, that he had Edition: current; Page: [lxxx] not thought thus always1. “I myself did sometimes judge it a great deal more probable than now I do, merely that after the Apostles were deceased, churches did agree amongst themselves for preservation of peace and order, to make one presbyter in each city chief over the rest, and to translate into him that power by force and virtue whereof the Apostles . . . did preserve and uphold order in the Church.” This he calls “that other conjecture which so many have thought good to follow,” whereas “the general received persuasion held from the first beginning” was, “that the Apostles themselves left bishops invested with power above other pastors.”

There is something very significant in the list of authorities, from whose opinion or conjecture of the equality of bishops and presbyters he here specifies his own dissent. They are first the Waldenses; then Marsilius the jurist of Padua, an extreme partizan of the imperial cause against Rome; then Wicliffe, Calvin, Bullinger, (as representing the Zuinglians,) Jewel, who had tolerated, and Fulke who had maintained, the presbyterian principle in their controversies with the Romanists. By Hooker’s distinctly specifying all these authorities, every one of whom stands, as it were, for a class or school, and putting on record his dissent from them, all and each, it should seem as if he were anxious to disengage himself openly from servile adherence to any school or section of Protestants, and to claim a right of conforming his judgment to that of the primitive or catholic Church, with whomsoever amongst moderns he might be brought into agreement or disagreement.

Edition: 1888; Page: [40]The passages above cited are such as cannot well be explained away: and if (as many will be ready to assert) they are expressly or virtually contradicted by other passages of the same author, the utmost effect of such contradiction must be to neutralize him in this controversy, and make him unfit to be quoted on either side. But is it so certain, that his reasonings and assertions elsewhere are at variance with these unequivocal declarations? Appeal would probably be made, first of all, to the line which he has adopted in his second and third books: whereof the second is taken up with sifting that main principle of the Puritans, that nothing should be done Edition: current; Page: [lxxxi] without command of Scripture; the third, in refuting the expectation, grounded on that principle, that in Scripture there must of necessity be found some certain form of ecclesiastical polity, the laws whereof admit not any kind of alteration. But it may be replied, that all his reasonings in that part of the treatise relate to the a priori question, whether, antecedently to our knowledge of the fact, it were necessary that Scripture (as a perfect rule of faith) should of purpose prescribe any one particular form of church government. The other question, of history and interpretation, how far such a form is virtually prescribed in the New Testament, he touches there only in passing, not however without very significant hints which way his opinion leaned1. “Those things,” says he, “which are of principal weight in the very particular form of church polity (although not that form which they imagine, but that which we against them uphold) are in the Scriptures contained.” And again, “If we did seek to maintain that which most advantageth our own cause, the very best way for us, and the strongest against them, were to hold even as they do, that there must needs be found in Scripture some particular form of church polity which God hath instituted, and which for that very cause belongeth to all churches, to all times. But with any such partial eye to respect, ourselves, and by cunning to make those things seem the truest which are the fittest to serve our purpose, is a thing which we neither like nor mean to follow. Wherefore that which we take to be generally true concerning the mutability of laws, the same we have plainly delivered.” This passage is perhaps one of the strongest which the adversaries of ancient church order could adduce in support of their interpretation of Hooker. But what does it amount to? Surely to this, and no more: that he waives in behalf of the episcopal succession the mode of reasoning from antecedent necessity, on which the Puritans relied so confidently in behalf of their pastors, elders and deacons. Here, as in all other cases, he recommends the safe and reverential course of inquiring what the New Testament, as interpreted by natural reason and church history, contains, rather than determining beforehand what in reason it ought to contain. Edition: current; Page: [lxxxii] But even in this place he not obscurely implies, and in other parts of the same dissertation he expressly affirms, that the result of such reverential inquiry into the meaning of God’s later revelation would be in favour of the episcopal claims1. “Forasmuch as where the clergy are any great multitude, order doth necessarily require that by degrees they be distinguished; we hold there have ever been and ever ought to be in such case at leastwise two sorts of ecclesiastical persons, the one subordinate unto the other; as to the Apostles in the beginning, and to the Bishops always since, we find plainly, both in Scripture and in all ecclesiastical records, other ministers of the word and sacraments have been . . . So as the form of polity by them set down for perpetuity is . . . faulty in omitting some things which in Scripture are of that nature; as namely the difference that ought to be of pastors, when they grow to any great multitude.” His manner of speaking of the foreign protestants tallies exactly with this view2. “For mine own part, although I see that certain reformed churches, the Scottish especially and the French, have not that which best agreeth with the sacred Scripture, I mean the government that is by bishops, . . . this their defect and imperfection I had rather lament in such case than exagitate, considering that men oftentimes, without any fault of their own, may be driven to want that kind of polity or regiment which is best.” There is nothing here to indicate indifference in Hooker with regard to the apostolical succession; there is much to shew how unwilling he was harshly to condemn irregularities committed under the supposed pressure of extreme necessity.

Edition: 1888; Page: [41]On the whole, it should seem that where he speaks so largely of the mutability of church laws, government, and discipline, he was not so much thinking of what may be called the constitution and platform of the Church herself, as of the detail of her legislation and ceremonies: although it has become somewhat hard for a modern reader to enter into this construction of his argument, because the notion which he had to combat, of every the minutest part of discipline being of necessity contained in Scripture, has now comparatively become obsolete; whereas the episcopalian controversy Edition: current; Page: [lxxxiii] is as rife as ever. We are therefore unavoidably apt to survey with an eye to that controversy portions of his argument, in which, if we were better acquainted with the notions of the first Puritans, we might perceive that he was not thinking at all about it. If we take this observation along with us, and weigh well the amount of the statements above quoted on the episcopal side, we shall not perhaps hesitate to set down Hooker as belonging to the same school in ecclesiastical opinions with Bilson and the author of the “Querimonia:” and for those times undoubtedly the weightiest, although not perhaps the most open and uncompromising advocate of their views: the substance of those views being, that episcopacy grounded on apostolical succession was of supernatural origin and divine authority, whatever else was right or wrong.

If moreover we would fully estimate the value of Hooker’s testimony in particular to the divine right of Bishops, we must add the following considerations. First, that such opinions were contrary to those in which he had been brought up. For his uncle, who had the entire superintendance of his education, was an intimate friend of Peter Martyr, and as his remains shew, likely in all questions to take that side which appeared most opposite to Romish tradition. And of his tutor Reynolds we have already spoken; he was a leader in the Puritan cause, and no doubt did his very best to leaven such a mind as Hooker’s, a mind naturally full of affectionate docility, with Genevan notions in preference to those of antiquity. On this particular point, the exclusive divine right of episcopacy, there are extant letters and remonstrances from Reynolds, occasioned by the preaching of Bancroft’s sermon above mentioned, sufficient by themselves to shew how deeply he was imbued with doctrines most abhorrent from those of his great pupil.

Secondly, that may be remarked here, which must be remembered throughout in reading Hooker by those who would weigh and measure his expressions truly; viz. that whatever he wrote was more or less modified, in the wording of it if not in the substance, by his resolution to make the best of things as they were, and in any case to censure as rarely and as tenderly as possible what he found established by authority.

These two feelings will account in some good measure for Edition: current; Page: [lxxxiv] the admission in the seventh book1, an admission, which, after all we have seen, may appear somewhat anomalous; that “there may be sometimes very just and sufficient reason to allow ordination without a bishop.” The excepted cases, according to Hooker, are two: first that of a supernatural call, on which little needs now to be said, although some of the leading foreign reformers, Beza for one, were content to have it urged on their behalf; thereby, as it may seem, silently owning an instinctive mistrust about the reality of their commission. The other “extraordinary kind of vocation is, when the exigence of necessity doth constrain to leave the usual ways of the Church, which otherwise we would willingly keep: where the Church must needs have some ordained, and neither hath nor can have possibly a bishop to ordain: in case of such necessity the ordinary institution of God hath given oftentimes and may give place.” Here, that we may not overstrain the author’s meaning, we must observe first with what exact conditions of extreme necessity, unwilling deviation, impossibility of procuring a bishop to ordain, he has limited his concession. In the next place, it is very manifest that the concession itself was inserted to meet the case of the foreign Protestants, not gathered by exercise of independent judgment from the nature of the case or the witness of antiquity. Thirdly, this was one of the instances in which unquestionably Hooker might feel himself biassed by his respect for existing authority. For nearly up to the time when he wrote, numbers had been admitted to the ministry of the Church in England, with no better than Presbyterian ordination: and it appears by Travers’s Supplication to the Council, that such was the construction not uncommonly put upon the statute of the 13th of Elizabeth, permitting those who had received orders in any other form than that of the English Service Book, on giving certain securities, to exercise their calling in England. If it were really the intention of that act to authorize other than episcopal ordination, it is but one proof more of the low accommodating notions concerning the Church which then prevailed; and may serve to heighten our sense of the imminent risk which we were in of losing the Succession. But however, the apparent decision Edition: current; Page: [lxxxv] of the case by high authority in church and state may account for Hooker’s going rather out of his way, to signify that he did not mean to dispute that authority.

At the same time it is undeniable, that here and in many other passages we may discern a marked distinction between that which now perhaps we may venture to call the school of Hooker, and that of Laud, Hammond, and Leslie, in the two next generations. He, as well as they, regarded the order of Bishops as being immediately and properly of Divine right; he as well as they laid down principles, which strictly followed up would make this claim exclusive. But he, in common with most of his contemporaries, shrunk from the legitimate result of his own premises, the rather, as the fulness of apostolical authority on this point had never come within his cognizance; whereas the next generation of divines entered on the subject, as was before observed, fresh from the discovery of the genuine remains of St. Ignatius. He did not feel at liberty to press unreservedly, and develope in all its consequences, that part of the argument, which they, taught by the primitive Church, regarded as the most vital and decisive: the necessity, namely, of the apostolical commission to the derivation of sacramental grace, and to our mystical communion with Christ. Yet on the whole, considering his education and circumstances, the testimony which he bears to the bolder and completer view of the divines of the seventeenth century is most satisfactory. Their principles, as we have seen, he lays down very emphatically; and if he does not exactly come up to their conclusion, the difference may be accounted for, without supposing any fundamental variance of judgment. It seems to have been ordered that in this, as in some other instances, his part should be “serere arbores, quæ alteri sæculo prosint.” His language was to be ϕωνα̑ντα συνέτοισιν, more than met the ear of the mere ordinary listener, yet clear enough to attract the attention of the considerate; and this, it will be perceived, was just what the age required.

Edition: 1888; Page: [42]As to the relation of the ecclesiastical to the civil power: the proposition, that the whole body of the Church is properly the subject in which power resides, is repeatedly Edition: current; Page: [lxxxvi] acknowledged, in terminis, by Hooker himself1: as indeed it was the received doctrine of all protestants in his time, and also of that numerous section of Romanists, which maintained the prerogative of councils as against the Pope. It seems to have been borrowed by analogy from the Roman Law, of which the fundamental proposition is2, “Quod principi placuit, legis habet vigorem: utpote cum lege regia, quæ de imperio ejus lata est, populus ei et in eum omne suum imperium et potestatem conferat.” Those who are familiar with the reasoning of Hooker on the origin of civil government, in the first and eighth books, will at once recognise the elements of that reasoning in those few words of Justinian. A remarkable fact, that the liberal politics of modern days should delight to base themselves on the very same tenet, which was the corner stone of the Cæsarean despotism of old. By Hooker, however, it was so completely assumed as an axiomatic principle of all government, that he transferred it without scruple to ecclesiastical legislation, and as long as he could have the benefit of it in support of the system which he wished to uphold, was little anxious to dwell even on the apostolical charter, which he has himself elsewhere asserted, in behalf of that system. As therefore in respect of kingly power he sufficiently secured existing authority by calling it, once conferred, irrevocable, although it were at first a trust from the body of the people, so in respect of episcopal power it ought, by his rule, to make practically little difference, whether it were appointed by Christ Himself to certain persons, or whether3 “they from the Church do receive the power which Christ did institute in the Church, according to such laws and canons as Christ hath prescribed, and the light of nature or scripture taught men to institute.” In either case, whatever other portions of the Church system might continue voluntary, this part of it, the hereditary monarchy of the Apostles’ successors, ought on Hooker’s principles to be accounted indefeasible, where it could be had. As far as regards their power of order, he allows, nay strongly enforces this; but when he comes to their power of dominion, feeling himself Edition: current; Page: [lxxxvii] embarrassed by the received notion of the supremacy, he changes his ground, and recurs to the prime theory of government; according to which, the Christian state being one with the Church, and the sovereign by irrevocable cession the representative of the whole state, the same sovereign must necessarily, in the last resort, represent the whole Church also, and overrule even the Apostles’ successors as well in legislation and jurisdiction as in nomination to offices.

It is true, that in these large concessions to the civil power, Hooker always implies, not only that those who exercise it are Christians, but also that they are sound and orthodox churchmen, in complete communion with the Church which they claim to govern. Where that condition fails, on his own principles the identity or union of Church and state is at an end; and the Church, as a distinct body, is free without breach of loyalty to elect officers, make laws, and decide causes for herself, no reference at all being had to the civil power.

Edition: 1888; Page: [43]It were beyond the scope of this Preface to inquire, whether this limitation amount, even in theory, to a real safeguard; since all questions relating to the churchmanship of the sovereign are by the supposition in every case to be ultimately decided by the same sovereign himself: or again, practically, whether it have not terminated in rendering the Church throughout protestant Europe too much a slave of the civil power: neither is this the place to dwell on the grave reflection which naturally arises, how dangerous it is trusting in human theories, where God has so plainly spoken out by the voice of His ancient Church; nor to expatiate on the peril in which the very power of order in bishops is involved, as soon as their inherent powers of ecclesiastical jurisdiction and dominion are surrendered: both resting, to so great an extent, on the same Scriptures and the same precedents. But it may be allowable just to point out one fallacious proposition, which seems to have had a great share in making such a reasoner as Hooker thus inconsistent with himself and with antiquity. It is simply this, the notion which his reasoning, and all Erastian reasoning, implies, that coordinate authorities are incompatible; that the sovereign is not a sovereign, if the Church is independent. Surely this is as untenable, as if one denied the sovereignty of the king under the old constitution Edition: current; Page: [lxxxviii] of England, because the houses of lords and commons had certain indefeasible privileges, independent of him. If their veto, for example, on acts of civil legislation, did not impeach the king’s temporal sovereignty, why should the Church’s veto impeach the same sovereignty, in case a way could be found of giving her a power over any proposed act of ecclesiastical legislation? Hooker himself supplies, obviously enough, this correction of his own argument, where he reasons concerning civil power, that it must be limited before it be given; and concerning ecclesiastical, that though it reside in the sovereign as the delegate of the whole Church, yet it must always be exercised “according to such laws and canons as Christ hath prescribed, and the light of Nature or Scripture taught men to institute.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [44]Thus much on the point of church government, the immediate matter of controversy between Hooker and the Puritans. But there is cause to regard his appearance in the Church as most timely on other grounds, some of them yet higher and more sacred. Beginning as he did, from a point not far short of what may be truly called extreme protestantism, he seems to have been gradually impressed with the necessity of recurring in some instances to more definite, in others to higher views, to modes of thinking altogether more primitive, than were generally entertained by the Protestants of that age. Circumstances (fully related in his life) having determined him to undertake his large treatise, and the character of his mind and studies having determined him to lay the foundation deep, and begin far back, he found there, as he went on, opportunities of inculcating his gradually improving views, (the more effectually perhaps because not obtrusively) concerning one after another of almost all the great controversies. This may be the true account of many dissertations, or parts of dissertations, which might otherwise appear to be introduced on insufficient grounds. From time to time he lays hold of occasions for establishing rules, and pointing to considerations, by which the mind of the reformed church might be steadied against certain dangerous errors, which the opinions of some early reformers, too hastily adopted or carried too far, were sure to produce or encourage. At the same time he desired Edition: current; Page: [lxxxix] to shew Roman catholics (for whose case especially we may constantly discern him providing with charitable and anxious care) that there might be something definite and primitive in a system of church polity, though it disavowed the kind of unity on which they are taught exclusively to depend.

Of these collateral subjects, the first to be mentioned on all accounts is the Catholic doctrine concerning the Most Holy Trinity. Hooker saw with grief and horror what had taken place in Geneva, Poland, and elsewhere: how crude notions of the right of private judgment, and of the sufficiency, to each man, of his own interpretations of Scripture, had ended in the revival of the worst and wildest blasphemies. He saw in the writings of that reformer especially, whose influence was greatest in this and the neighbouring countries, he saw in Calvin a disposition to treat irreverently, not only the Creeds, the sacred guards provided by the Church for Christian truth, but also that holiest truth itself, in some of its articles1. He knew who had called the Nicene Creed “frigida cantilena;” had treated the doctrine expressed in the words, “God of God, Light of Light,” as a mere dream of Platonizing Greeks; and had pressed, in opposition to that formula, for the use of the word αὐτόθεος, in relation to the Son. These, it may be presumed, were some of the reasons why Hooker so anxiously availed himself of the opportunity which the question of the sacraments afforded him for entering at large on the sacred theology of the Church, and exhibiting it in its primitive fulness. The controversy in which he was directly engaged required no such discussion. But when these alarming symptoms are recollected, we cease to wonder at his pausing so long upon it.

It is observable that the author of the Christian Letter, a person evidently most jealous of Calvin’s honour, has selected for the very first point of his attack on Hooker a passage in which the subordination of the Son is affirmed. “We crave of you, Maister Hoo. to explaine your owne meaninge where you saye, (b. v. p. 1132,) ‘The Father alone is originallie that Deitie which Christ originallie is not.’ Howe the Edition: current; Page: [xc] Godhead of the Father and of the Sonne be all one, and yet originallie not the same Deitie: and then teach us how farre this differeth from the heresie of Arius, who sayeth of God the Sonne, ‘There was when he was not,’ who yet graunteth that He was before all creatures, ‘of thinges which were not.’ Whether such wordes weaken not the eternitie of the Sonne in the opinion of the simple, or at the least make the Sonne inferior to the Father in respect of the Godhead; or els teach the ignorant, there be many Gods.” On which Hooker’s note is, “The Godhead of the Father and of the Sonne is no way denied but graunted to be the same. The only thing denied is that the Person of the Sonne hath Deitie or Godhead in such sort as the Father hath it.” Again, Christian Letter, p. 7. “We pray your full meaning where you say, ‘The coeternitie of the Sonne of God with His Father, and the proceeding of the Spirit from the Father and the Sonne, are in Scripture nowhere to be found by express literal mention’. . . Whether such maner of speeches may not worke a scruple in the weak Christian, to doubt of these articles; or at the least to underproppe the popish traditions, that menne may the rather favour their allegations, when they see us fain to borrow of them.” This complaint they support by citing various texts of Scripture, which as they supposed express the doctrines in question. Hooker remarks in the margin, “These places prove that there is undoubted ground for them in Scripture, whence they may be deduced, as is confessed in the place cited (lib. i. n. 131): but that they are literally and verbatim set down you have not yet proved2.”

The attack, the reply, and the principle on which the reply turns, are all worthy of the gravest consideration on the part of those who are at all tempted to disparage the authority of primitive interpretation through excessive dread of Romish inventions.

Edition: 1888; Page: [45]The like reverential care and watchful forethought is most apparent in all that has fallen from Hooker’s pen on the Edition: current; Page: [xci] Incarnation of the Most Holy Son of God. While the apprehensions of other theologians, contemplating the growth of Puritanism, were confined to points of external order and the peace of the visible Church, Hooker considered the very life and substance of saving truth to be in jeopardy, as on the side of the Romanists, so on that of the Lutherans also, by reasonings likely to be grounded, whether logically or no, on the tenet which they taught in common of the proper ubiquity of our Saviour’s glorified body in the Eucharist1. Evidently it was a feeling of this kind, rather than any fear of exaggerating the honour due to that blessed Sacrament, which reigns in those portions of the fifth Book, where he lays down certain limitations, under which the doctrine of the Real Presence must be received. The one drift and purpose of all those limitations is, to prevent any heretical surmise, of our Lord’s manhood now being, or having been at any time since His Incarnation, other than most true and substantial. Whatever notion of the real presence does not in effect interfere with this foundation of the faith, that, the genuine philosophy of Hooker, no less than his sound theology, taught him to embrace with all his heart. No writer, since the primitive times, has shewn himself in this and all parts of his writings more thoroughly afraid of those tendencies, which in our age are called Utilitarian and Rationalist. If at any time he seem over scrupulous in the use of ideas or phrases, from which the early Fathers saw no reason to shrink, it is always the apprehension of irreverence, not of the contrary, which is present to Edition: current; Page: [xcii] his mind. For example, let the three following passages only be well considered and compared: i.e. as they stand with their context; for in these critical parts more especially, no separate citation can ever do Hooker justice.

1.1Christ’s body being a part of that nature, which whole nature is presently joined unto Deity wheresoever Deity is, it followeth that His bodily substance hath every where a presence of true conjunction with Deity. And forasmuch as it is by virtue of that conjunction made the body of the Son of God, by whom also it was made a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, this giveth it a presence of force and efficacy throughout all generations of men.” 2. “2Doth any man doubt, but that even from the flesh of Christ our very bodies do receive that life which shall make them glorious at the latter day, and for which they are already accounted parts of his blessed body? Our corruptible bodies could never live the life they shall live, were it not that here they are joined with His body which is incorruptible, and that His is in ours as a cause of immortality; a cause by removing through the death and merit of His own flesh that which hindered the life of ours. Christ is therefore, both as God and as man, that true vine whereof we both spiritually and corporally are branches. The mixture of His bodily substance with ours is a thing which the ancient Fathers disclaim. Yet the mixture of His flesh with ours, they speak of, to signify what our very bodies, through mystical conjunction, receive from that vital efficacy which we know to be in His; and from bodily mixtures they borrow divers similitudes, rather to declare the truth than the manner of coherence between His sacred and the sanctified bodies of saints.” 3. “3As for any mixture of the substance of His flesh with ours, the participation which we have of Christ includeth no such kind of gross surmise.”

A striking exemplification of the difference of doctrine between Hooker and those who preceded him occurs on comparing the second of the above-cited passages with the language of Bishop Jewel on the same subject4. “Ye” (Harding) “say, ‘The raising of our flesh is also assigned Edition: current; Page: [xciii] in the holy Scripture to the real and substantial eating of Christ’s flesh.’ But whence had ye these words, M. Harding? Where found ye these Scriptures? Dissemble no longer: deal plainly and simply: it is God’s cause. For a show ye allege these words of Christ written by St. John: ‘He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath life everlasting; and I will raise him up again at the last day.’ These words we know, and the eating of Christ’s flesh we know, but where is your ‘real’ and ‘substantial,’ and ‘carnal1’ eating? . . . . . . Neither these words nor the former (‘except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you’) pertain directly to the Sacrament.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [46]In treating on this subject of the Incarnation, that which comes next in order has been in some respects unavoidably anticipated; i. e. Hooker’s doctrine concerning the holy Sacraments. Here he saw reason to practise the same circumspection, in regard of the Sacramentarians, as before, on the question of ubiquity, in regard of the Romanists and Lutherans. The erroneous theory to be obviated was one most seducing to the pride of human reason; the construction, namely, which would explain away, first, the Communion of Saints itself, and secondly, the instrumentality of sacramental signs in that Communion, so as to dispense with every thing supernatural in either.

The germ of the first error is probed2 (as it were) in the following remarkable passage. “It is too cold an interpretation, whereby some men expound our being in Christ to import nothing else, but only that the selfsame nature which maketh us to be men is in Him, and maketh Him man as we are. For what man in the world is there, which hath not so far forth communion with Jesus Christ? It is not this that can sustain the weight of such sentences as speak of the mystery of our coherence with Jesus Christ.” Whether the particular misinterpretation here specified were common in those days, or no3, certainly it is in unison with Edition: current; Page: [xciv] that mode of thinking, which inclines men to be uneasy, until they have rid their creed as they think, as nearly as possible, of all mysterious meaning. Such persons, having been even constrained by inevitable force of Scripture to adopt one great mystery, the proper Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ, endeavour at least to obviate the necessity of the other, the real, substantial Participation of Christ by His saints.

Edition: 1888; Page: [47]It is only a part of the same general view, that the Sacrament should be regarded simply as expressive actions; or tokens, morally at most, but in no wise mystically, conducive to the complete union of the renewed soul with God: a heresy, the disavowal of which by Hooker1 is, as might be supposed, express, reiterated, and fervent, in proportion to his deep sense of its fatal consequence, and to the probability which he saw of its one day generally prevailing. Whatever such anticipations he might form, have been fully and fatally confirmed by subsequent experience.

Edition: current; Page: [xcv]

But not only does this great writer with religious horror disavow the Zuinglian notion, that the sacraments are only valid as moral aids to piety; he is also very full and precise in guarding against another theory, less malignant, but hardly less erroneous and unscriptural, (though unhappily too much countenanced in later days;) the theory which denies, not indeed the reality, but the exclusive virtue, of the Sacraments, as ordinary means to their respective graces. He hesitates not to teach, with the old Christian writers, that Baptism is the only ordinary mean of regeneration, the Eucharist the only ordinary mean whereby Christ’s body and blood can be taken and received. He is far from sanctioning the too prevalent idea, that every holy prayer and devout meditation renders the faithful soul a partaker of Christ, in the same sense that His own divine Sacrament does. His words concerning Baptism are: “1As we are not naturally men without birth, so neither are we Christian men in the eye of the Church of God but by new birth; nor according to the manifest ordinary course of Divine dispensation new born, but by that Baptism which both declareth and maketh us Christians.” Concerning the Eucharist and Baptism both; “It is not ordinarily His will to bestow the grace of sacraments on any, but by the sacraments2.” He expounds the awful declarations in the sixth chapter of St. John, without all controversy, Edition: current; Page: [xcvi] of that heavenly feast1; considering our Saviour to have spoken by anticipation of what He meant ere long to ordain. A mode of interpretation the more remarkable on Hooker’s part, as in embracing it he was contradicting an authority which he held in most especial reverence; that of his own early patron, Bishop Jewel, whom he designates as “the worthiest divine which Christendom hath bred by the space of some hundreds of years2.” This is therefore as strong an example as could be given of the freedom and courage of Hooker’s theological judgment: nor will it be unprofitable to compare his tones of unaffected reverence with the peremptory language, almost amounting to scornfulness, of Jewel on the same subject. One instance, from the Defence of the Apology, has already been quoted. Others may be found in the following places: Part ii. c. 12. div. 3. “The Sacrament is one thing, and Christ is another. We eat Christ only by faith; we eat the Sacrament only with the mouth of our body. When Christ spake these words, ‘He that eateth me, shall live by me;’ he spake only of himself to be eaten spiritually by faith: but he spake not one word there of the Sacrament. He that knoweth not this, knoweth nothing.” And Reply to Harding, art. viii. div. 16. p. 292. “Christ in these words, as is witnessed by all the holy Fathers, speaketh not of the Sacrament, but of the spiritual eating with our faith; and in this behalf utterly excludeth the corporal office of our body.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [48]The opinions we form on the Sacraments are sure to mingle, insensibly perhaps to ourselves, with our views of every part of practical religion. Hooker’s judgment on the reality and exclusiveness of the spiritual grace of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper being thus distinct and unquestionable, we are prepared to find him speaking of church ceremonies in general, and of every part and instrument of communion with the visible Church, in a very different manner from that which now commonly prevails. More especially in regard of those observances, which, though not strictly sacraments, according Edition: current; Page: [xcvii] to the more precise definition of the word, have yet in them somewhat of a sacramental nature, and were ever accounted, in the early Church, means toward several graces. Take, for example, the sign of the cross in Baptism1. He dwells indeed much on its use by way of instruction; whether “to put us in mind of our own duty, or to be a memorial, sign or monument of God’s miraculous goodness towards us:” which is much the same definition as a rationalist would give of Baptism or the Eucharist itself. But Hooker has other expressions, which imply that for aught we know it may be more than this. He calls the cross, “in some sense a mean to work our preservation from reproach.” He likens it to God’s mark set on the forehead of His chosen in the vision of the Prophet Ezekiel. He approves of the custom adopted by the primitive Christians, of referring to it, as they did by constant crossing, whenever their baptismal integrity was in danger, and refreshing it as it were and burnishing it up in those foreheads, in which it had been impressed as God’s own signature at Baptism. In other words, he makes it one among many things, which may be, if God so please, supernaturally as well as morally means of grace; and what more would Zuinglius or Hoadly have allowed concerning the blessed Eucharist itself?

Again, to imposition of hands in confirmation, in receiving penitents, or in other solemn acts of blessing, he scruples not to attribute the same virtue which the Fathers every where acknowledge. “2Our warrant,” he says, “for the great good effect thereof is the same which Patriarchs, Prophets, Priests, Apostles, Fathers, and men of God have had for such their particular invocations and benedictions, as no man, I suppose, professing truth of religion, will easily think to have been without fruit.”

In respect therefore of these things, which (to use Hooker’s own expression) though not sacraments, are as sacraments, and which perhaps it might not be amiss to denominate sacramentals, it will be seen that Hooker, liberal as he is sometimes accounted, was at least as far from proud and faithless indifference as he was from irrational superstition. Edition: current; Page: [xcviii] Even of those parts of the ancient ritual, which he dared not wish to restore, he makes mention in such a tone, as to shew that he deeply lamented the necessity of parting with them. He compares them to the rank growth of over fertile grounds: he acknowledges that although “now superstitious in the greater part of the Christian world,” yet in their first original they sprang from “the strength of virtuous, devout, or charitable affection,” and “could not by any man be justly condemned as evil.” In a word, his language regarding them comes to this: that the Church is fallen and become unworthy of them, instead of their being in themselves unmeet for the Church.

Nor can such sentiments on his part be summarily disposed of by calling them “errors of that day,” “relics of Romanism, not yet throughly purged out.” For, as we have had occasion more than once to remark, Hooker’s bias by education and society, the bias “of the day” as it was likely to influence him, lay quite on the other side. Every sentiment like that just quoted was a return to something which had grown out of fashion, an attempt, if the expression may be allowed, to “lock the wheel” of extreme innovation. It is certain that the divines most approved in Hooker’s time go far beyond him in a seeming willingness to explain away every thing of deeper meaning in Church services. The common topics of Jewel for example, and Cranmer, when they treat of ceremonies, are the supposed origination of some of them from heathen or Jewish customs, or from mere childish fancy; the absolute indifferency of those even which are more properly Christian; and the arbitrary power of national churches over them, which they press, not in the guarded tone of our thirty-fourth article, but without any kind of scruple or remorse. We nowhere find in the Ecclesiastical Polity such contemptuous mention of the old usages of the Church, as in that writer, who being asked by a Romanist, how he could prove from St. Augustine, that altars might be pulled down, and vows of poverty disallowed, as also the keeping of Lent and the use of consecrated oil, made this short reply, “His altars, his vows, his Lents, and his oils, be answered sufficiently otherwheres.” How different from Hooker, who earnestly bespeaks our reverence for primitive ordinances, not Edition: current; Page: [xcix] only “as betokening God’s greatness and beseeming the dignity of religion,” but also “as concurring with celestial impressions in the minds of men:” a phrase which implies that such ordinances may be real means of sundry graces, though not of those vital graces which are appropriate to the two blessed Sacraments; nor of any graces, certainly, or by virtue of express promise.

Edition: 1888; Page: [49]The truth is, Hooker’s notion of ceremonies appears to have been the legitimate result of a certain high and rare course of thought, into which deep study of Christian antiquity would naturally guide a devout and reflective mind. The moral and devotional writings of the Fathers shew that they were deeply imbued with the evangelical sentiment, that Christians as such are living in a new heaven and a new earth; that to them “old things are passed away,” and “all things are become new;” that the very inanimate creation itself also is “delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” Thus in a manner they seem to have realized, though in an infinitely higher sense, the system of Plato: every thing to them existed in two worlds: in the world of sense, according to its outward nature and relations; in the world intellectual, according to its spiritual associations. And thus did the whole scheme of material things, and especially those objects in it which are consecrated by scriptural allusion, assume in their eyes a sacramental or symbolical character.

This idea, as it may serve to explain, if not to justify, many things, which to modern ears sound strange and forced in the imagery of the Fathers and in their interpretations of Scripture; so it may be of no small use in enabling us to estimate rightly the ceremonials of the Church. The primitive apostolical men, being daily and hourly accustomed to sacrifice and dedicate to God even ordinary things, by mixing them up with Christian and heavenly associations, might well consider every thing whatever as capable of becoming, so far, a mean of grace, a pledge and token of Almighty presence and favour: and in that point of view might without scruple give the name of μυστηρία or sacraments to all those material objects which were any how taken unto the service of religion: whether by Scripture, in the way of type or figure; or by the Church, Edition: current; Page: [c] introducing them into her solemn ritual. In the writings of St. Cyprian1, for example, to go no further at present; we have the homer full of manna, gathered by each of the Israelites, denominated “the sacrament of Christ’s equal and impartial grace;” the words of the Pater noster, considered as meaning far more than at first meets the ear, are “the sacraments of the Lord’s Prayer;” the Church’s rule for keeping Easter, with many other like points, are so many “sacraments of Divine service;” the cross is “a sacrament of salvation;” St. Cyprian, having collected a number of what would now be called fanciful allusions, to console and encourage certain martyrs in their sufferings, is thanked by those martyrs for “his constant care to make known by his treatises hidden and obscure sacraments.” In these and innumerable similar applications of the term, it will perhaps be found that such words as “figure,” “symbol,” “emblem,” do by no means come fully up to the force annexed to it by the Church and ecclesiastical writers. God omnipresent was so much in all their thoughts, that what to others would have been mere symbols, were to them designed expressions of His truth, providential intimations of His will. In this sense, the whole world, to them, was full of sacraments.

No doubt such a view as this harmonizes to a considerable degree with Platonism; no doubt, again, it has much in common with the natural workings and aspirations of poetical minds under any system of belief. Still, should it appear, on fair inquiry, to have been very early and very generally diffused; should we find unconscious disclosures of it among Christian interpreters and moralists quite down from St. Clement and St. Ignatius; these things would seem to indicate that it may have been a real part of the very apostolical system; grounded as it plainly might be on such scriptures as were just now mentioned.

Edition: 1888; Page: [50]Thus then we seem to discern a kind of theory, silently pervading the whole language and system of the Church, much to this effect: that whereas all sensible things may have other meanings and uses than we know of; spiritual and heavenly relations, associations, resemblances, apt to assist men in realizing Divine contemplations; the Church (no one Edition: current; Page: [ci] of course can say how far by celestial guidance at first) selected a certain number and order of sensible things; certain actions of the body, such as bowing at the name of Jesus, and turning towards the east in prayer; certain forms of matter, such as the cross and ring; generally or always significant in themselves, and very instructive, one might almost say needful, to children and men of childlike understanding and knowledge; such things as these the Church of God instinctively selected for her ceremonies, and combined them by degrees into an orderly system, varying as circumstances might require in different dioceses, but every where constituting a kind of perpetual sacrifice; offering to the Most Holy Trinity so many samples (if we may so call them) or specimens of our common hourly actions, and of the material objects in which we are most conversant, as tithes are a sample and specimen of our whole property, and holy-days, of our whole time: likely, therefore, as tithes and holy-days are, by devout using to bring down a blessing on the whole.

Hence it would follow, that those fragments of the primitive ritual, which are still, by God’s providence, allowed to remain amongst us, are to be cherished as something more than merely decent and venerable usages. They are authorized, perchance divinely authorized, portions of the Church’s perpetual spiritual sacrifice; and the omission of such ceremonies, how imperative soever on individuals, acting by authority of their own particular church, must needs bring a grave responsibility on the churches themselves which may at any time direct such omission. Unquestionably circumstances might arise to justify them, such as are mentioned in the short discourse on ceremonies, prefixed to our Common Prayer: but the burden of proof in every case would lie on those omitting, not on those retaining the usage.

It is not affirmed that this view of Church ceremonies is any where expressly set down, either by Hooker or by his guides, the early Fathers. But surely something like it lies at the root of their mystical interpretations of Scripture, and of their no less mystical expositions of many portions of their ritual. Nay, it may have given many hints towards the framing that ritual itself, as far as we can judge of it after so many transformations. Surely also, on this point as on many others, Edition: current; Page: [cii] Hooker’s sympathy with the fourth century rather than the sixteenth is perpetually breaking out, however chastened by his too reasonable dread of superstition.

Fasting, which may in some respects very well stand for one of the sacramentals just mentioned, affords a very prominent and decisive instance. For although the Church of England, by God’s favouring providence, has retained the primitive system of fasting in greater perfection than any other among those bodies which have come to be separated from the Roman communion; yet even here also, at a very early period of the reformation, that evil tendency began to be disclosed, which in our days, we see, has led too generally to the undisguised abandonment of this part of Christian discipline. Now the Querimonia Ecclesiæ, which for reasons above stated may be regarded as a kind of exponent of the views of Hooker and his school in theology, expatiates, as one of its leading topics, on the prevalent neglect of Church fasts, and the revival of Aërius’ error in the reformed churches. It should seem that the Utilitarians of those days could only imagine one moral use of fasting: they could not approve of it as a periodical expression of penitence, or as helping to withdraw the mind from earth, and supply it with heavenly contemplations. Consequently, prescribed universal fasts were to them unmeaning superstitions. And the result was, as Hooker not obscurely hints1, and the writer of the Querimonia more openly affirms, that among protestants religious abstinence was becoming rather discreditable than otherwise. Here we seem to perceive the reason why Hooker thought it needful in his fifth book to go so far back in vindication of fasting itself. And we know that his course of life bore continual witness to his deep sense of the importance of that duty.

He differs indeed from the writer of the Querimonia, as to the apostolical institution of Lent. The pamphlet is very full for the affirmative; but the Ecclesiastical Polity says, “It doth not appear that the Apostles ordained any set and certain days to be generally kept of all.” This is noted Edition: current; Page: [ciii] here by the way, as decisive against making Hooker responsible for the Querimonia, as the authors of the Christian Letter tried to do; unless we suppose him to have changed his opinion about Lent between 1592, the date of the Querimonia, and 1597, when the fifth book was published. This however is no difference in principle, since both agree in adopting St. Augustin’s rule, that what is universally observed in the Church, yet not commanded in Scripture nor in any general council, cannot well be of less than apostolical origin. The variance therefore about Lent amounts only to this; that the Querimonia considers the historical evidence sufficient to prove reception by the whole Church, Hooker not so.

Edition: 1888; Page: [51]There is another branch of the same subject, on which their agreement is more complete; though here also the anonymous author speaks out more clearly sentiments, of which Hooker, coming after, is content to imply rather than express his approbation. In each we find a parallel between the heresy of Aërius on fasting, and the low disparaging notions of that duty, becoming at that time prevalent among many Protestants. This comparison is distinctly made in the Querimonia, as indeed there was ample reason: Beza having gone so far, in one of his tracts against Saravia, as to take part avowedly with Aërius, and endeavour to exculpate him from the charge of heresy. The controversy having proceeded so far, it is obvious that Hooker, writing as he does of Aërius, must have had an eye to Beza as well as to Cartwright. Evidently his wish was to hold up Aërius, as a warning in terrorem to Protestants generally, so far as they were tempted to fall into errors like his: only to make the warning more impartial and instructive, he subjoins tacitly, and by implication, another and an opposite parallel, viz. between the error of Tertullian in his Montanizing days, and some errors of the church of Rome in her rules on the subject of Fasting.

The last thing now to be observed in this very important portion of Hooker’s Treatise, is the thorough practical good sense which the conclusion of it evinces. Among other benefits of fasting he enumerates the following; “That children, as it were in the wool of their infancy dyed with Edition: current; Page: [civ] hardness, may never afterwards change colour; that the poor, whose perpetual fasts are necessity, may with better contentment endure the hunger, which virtue causeth others so often to choose,” &c. This is a specimen of the way in which Hooker, in the midst of his lofty and sometimes subtle speculations, observed and entered into men’s daily pursuits and feelings; how he contrived (if one may so speak) to know what all sorts of persons are really about: a merit the more needful to be remarked in him, as it is one for which his readers and the readers of his Life have generally been apt to give him but little credit; but, certainly one of the highest merits which can be attributed to a practical divine, and not one of the least rare. In the eyes of plain unlearned persons, who read merely for practical improvement, this is what will ever give Hooker a peculiar value, as compared with many of no small name in theology; with Hall for instance, with Barrow, or with Warburton. He enters into the real feelings of men, and balances the true relative importance of things, in a manner which no depth of learning, or power of language, no logical or rhetorical skill could insure; and without which, to persons of the description now mentioned, no talent or energy can make theology interesting.

On festival days the opinion of Hooker is well known. He urges the perpetual observance of the Lord’s day (carefully separating from it the name of Sabbath) on a mixed ground of ritual and of moral obligation; considering the general requisition of natural piety to be determined to a seventh part of time by the Decalogue. For saints’ days again he regards the same obligation as being in like manner determined, only not by God’s own voice, but by the authorized legislation of His Church. Praise, Bounty, and Rest, according to the law of nature, and the analogy of holy Scripture, constitute the proper elements of each kind of festival. Thus diametrically are the views of Hooker opposed, on the one hand, to the profane and insolent indifference of some following generations towards all festivals but Sunday; on the other, to the affectation of respect, almost more insolent and profane, which some persons are in the habit of bestowing on the Sunday itself. The rest of that blessed day is Edition: current; Page: [cv] now too commonly enforced on reasons of mere economy and expediency, far indeed removed from Hooker’s representation of it as a sacrifice of one-seventh part of our time to God; just as in those days to such a degree had popular opinion swerved from the primitive rules, that many, and among them even a writer in our own Homilies, were fain to plead, in behalf of fasting, the supposed preservation of pasturage, and encouragement of fisheries1, instead of simply referring the duty to its own high and spiritual grounds. Admirable as these two chapters are throughout, in no respect do they call for more attentive consideration, than as a melancholy testimony to the total decay of religion properly so called, i.e. of the service of God, in an age so boastful of its own religion as the present.

Another development of the same principle occurs, in passing from the consideration of festivals and fasting days to that of churches, church lands, and tithes. Hooker evidently delights in resting the claim of both on one and the same ground of natural piety, warranted rather than expressly ordained by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. “Sith we know2 that religion requireth at our hands the taking away of so great a part of the time of our lives quite and clean from our own business, and the bestowing of the same in His; suppose we that nothing of our wealth and substance is immediately due to God, but all our own to bestow and spend as ourselves think meet? Are not our riches as well His, as the days of our life are His?” A tenth of our substance, no less than a seventh of our time, is, in Hooker’s judgment, part of the grand sacrifice which we all owe to God continually, and the payment whereof is the great business of our lives.

Edition: 1888; Page: [52]Again; whatever has been once so dedicated, be it land, or house, or treasure, or church furniture, that Hooker regards as absolutely devoted and inalienable. The diverting it wilfully away from sacred purposes he deems no less than plain sacrilegious impiety: the same kind of sin as profaning holy days; or as if a clergyman should abandon God’s special service, and try to become a mere layman again, after his solemn vow of dedication to the altar. It is very observable Edition: current; Page: [cvi] on what principle Hooker defends the English reformation from this charge of sacrilege, to which it would seem at first sight liable, on account of the unsparing plunder of monastic property. He is far from acquiescing in the ordinary political plea of “changed circumstances,” “comparative uselessness,” and the like. His sentence (right or wrong) is, that the property in question was never, strictly speaking, clerical. He professes it not to be his meaning “to make the state of bishopric and of those dissolved companies” (the monasteries) “alike; the one no less unlawful to be removed than the other. For those religious persons were men which followed only a special kind of contemplative life in the commonwealth, they were not properly a portion of God’s clergy, (only such amongst them excepted as were also priests,) their goods (that excepted which they unjustly held through the Pope’s usurped power of appropriating ecclesiastical livings unto them) may in part seem to be of the nature of civil possessions, held by other kinds of corporations, such as the city of London hath divers. Wherefore, as their institution was human, and their end for the most part superstitious, they had not therein merely that holy and Divine interest which belongeth unto Bishops, who being employed by Christ in the principal service of His Church, are receivers and disposers of His patrimony, . . . which whosoever shall withhold or withdraw at any time from them, he undoubtedly robbeth God Himself1.” According to this statement, the goods of the religious houses under Henry VIII. were lay corporate property, forfeited (as was judged) by abuse. To resume it, therefore, and apply it to other lay purposes, might be dishonest or arbitrary, but could not well be sacrilegious. Should this view appear paradoxical, it will but the more amply illustrate Hooker’s deep conviction of the impiety of alienating things once hallowed. That being granted, the following dilemma ensued. He must either expressly condemn a principal part of the settlement at the reformation in England, confirmed and carried on as it had Edition: current; Page: [cvii] been by subsequent monarchs; or else (which he chose to do) must deny the sacredness of the confiscated property. So evident to Hooker’s mind was the proposition, that whatever has been once dedicated to Almighty God can never cease to be His, but by His own cession.

Edition: 1888; Page: [53]It is but a continuation of the same process of thought, where Hooker expresses his sense of the real sanctity of consecrated places, and his horror at the hard and profane notions of the Brownists or Independents on that subject, which were just then beginning to prevail among some of the reformed, though far from the alarming acceptance which they find at present. And again, where he dwells so long and so earnestly on the great mistake which the Puritans committed in their estimate of the relative importance of the parts of public service; where he shews himself so full of regret at their presumption in undervaluing scriptures and written prayers, and their fond superstition in reckoning sermons only “the quick and forcible Word of God1:” wherever, in short, he inculcates more or less directly the momentous truth, that a church is a place of solemn homage and sacrifice, not only nor chiefly a place of religious instruction; a place of supernatural even more than of moral blessings. For although he disclaim the existence of any sacrifice, properly so called, in the ritual of the Church, it is clear enough that this expression must be restrained to expiatory sacrifices. Take the word sacrifice in its other senses, for eucharistical or penitential homage, and it is very plain that by Hooker’s own account, prayers, tithes, festival days, church ceremonies, are so many sacrifices, truly and properly so called. Nay, the very establishment of a national church, instead of being merely, as modern theorists hold, a national expedient for securing instruction to the people, ought also on Hooker’s principle to be regarded as a grand public sacrifice: a continued act of religious worship and homage, offered to God on the part of kings and states.

So far, the Catholic Church has been considered as a channel of supernatural grace; in which light chiefly Hooker regards it all through the fifth book. Again, his doctrine Edition: current; Page: [cviii] concerning the Church, considered as a witness to the truth, that is to say, in her relation to the rule of faith, may be found at large in the three first books. His principle is that of the sixth article of our Church, so admirably developed by Laud in his conference with Fisher: viz. that in doctrines supernatural, holy Scripture is paramount and sole: reason and Church authority coming in as subsidiary only, to interpret Scripture or infer from it; but in no such point ever claiming to dictate positively where Scripture is silent1. Nevertheless they teach, that in regard of rites and customs, which are a sort of practical deductions from truths supernatural, apostolical tradition, derived through Church records, if any can be proved really such, must be of force no less binding, than if the same were set down in the very writings of the Apostles. “For both,” says Hooker, “being known to be apostolical, it is not the manner of delivering them unto the Church, but the author from whom they proceed, which doth give them their force and credit.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [54]On Hooker’s doctrine concerning the covenant of grace, a very few words must here suffice. His compositions on that subject are mostly of an early date, when, as has been exemplified, he hardly seems to have acquired the independence of thought, which appears in the Polity. And the writer to whose interpretations he had been taught to defer most constantly, and with deepest reverence, undoubtedly was St. Austin. In treating of justification, his great care was, of course, to exclude all notion of merit: of merit, i. e. as a ground of dependence, not as a qualification for supernatural blessings, divinely given to the baptized as members of Christ, for in that sense he himself allows the name, and hints no ambiguous censure on the affectation of shrinking from it, sanctioned as it is by the constant use of antiquity2. This exclusion of our own desert he represents, as many writers before and since have done, by the things which Edition: current; Page: [cix] Christ did and suffered being imputed to us for righteousness: and in this sense earnestly presses against the schoolmen and the council of Trent, that justifying righteousness is not inherent. But whilst he thus separates justification from sanctification in re, he is careful (plainly with an eye to Antinomian abuse) to maintain that the two are always united in tempore. “The Spirit, the virtues of the Spirit, the habitual justice which is engrafted, the external justice of Jesus Christ which is imputed, these we receive all at one and the same time; whensoever we have any of these, we have all; they go together1.” He allows that the word justification is sometimes used (e. g. by St. James) so as to imply sanctification also; that in this sense we are justified by works and not by faith only; and that this is essential, and inseparable, as a result and evidence of the former; so that however “2by the one we are interested in the right of inheriting,” yet without the other we must not look to be “brought to the actual possession of eternal bliss.” On the whole, the differences, which at first sight would appear considerable, between Hooker’s teaching, and that of Bishop Bull on this subject, will be found on examination rather verbal than doctrinal: turning upon their use of certain modes of expression, and upon their interpretation of particular texts, rather than on their conceptions of the process itself and order of Divine mercy in the salvation of sinners. Hooker, for instance, adopts without scruple the phrase of Christ’s imputed righteousness: which Bull disavows and argues against as unscriptural. Hooker again reconciles St. James with St. Paul by making the one speak of the righteousness of justification, the other of that of sanctification: a distinction which seems to correspond nearly with the first and second justification of some other protestant commentators, and is disapproved by Bull, whose mode of harmonizing the two Apostles is to shew, that the works rejected by St. Paul are not Christian works, not those required by St. James, but that these on the contrary are included in St. Paul’s faith; as all right principles include and imply corresponding practice, when occasion arises. But since Hooker on the one hand makes the two justifications Edition: current; Page: [cx] which he insists on inseparable and contemporaneous; and Bull, on the other, disclaims with all possible earnestness all notion of condignity, in faith alike and in works, and in every thing else that is ours; it should seem that, really and practically, there is no such great difference between them.

Edition: 1888; Page: [55]With regard to the points usually called Calvinistic; Hooker undoubtedly found the tone and language, which has since come to be characteristic of that school, commonly adopted by those theologians, to whom his education led him as guides and models; and therefore uses it himself, as a matter of course, on occasions, where no part of Calvinism comes expressly into debate. It is possible that this may cause him to appear, to less profound readers, a more decided partisan of Calvin than he really was. At least it is certain that on the following subjects he has avowed himself decidedly in favour of very considerable modifications of the Genevan theology. First, of election; the very ground of his original controversy with Travers was his earnestly protesting, in a sermon at the Temple, against irrespective predestination to death: a protest which he repeated in the Ecclesiastical Polity1; and afterwards drew out at large in the fragment of an answer to the Christian Letter. The sum of it is this: “The nature of God’s goodness, the nature of justice, and the nature of death itself, are all opposite to their opinion, if any will be of opinion, that God hath eternally decreed condemnation without the foresight of sin as a cause. The place of Judas was locus suus, a place of his own proper procurement. Devils were not ordained of God for hell-fire, but hell-fire for them; and for men so far as it was foreseen that men would be like them.”

But the extent to which, on this and some other topics, Hooker was willing to admit modifications of Calvinism, may be judged of accurately by the conclusion of the fragment just quoted, which consists of eight propositions, so worded, as to shew clearly that they are altered from the famous articles of Lambeth; so that on comparing the two, the degrees by which Hooker stopped short of extreme Calvinism will Edition: current; Page: [cxi] become apparent even to the very eye. Now the first article of Lambeth affirms eternal predestination and reprobation both: Hooker’s, predestination only, omitting all mention of reprobation. The second Lambeth article is not only negative, denying the foresight of any good in man to have been the ground of predestination to life; but also affirmative, that its only ground is the will of the good pleasure of God: Hooker omits the affirmative part, and sets down the negative only. The third Lambeth article states the number of the elect to be definite and certain, so that it can be neither increased nor diminished: Hooker, far less hard and peremptory in tone, says, “To him the number of his elect is definitely known.” The fifth pair of articles relates to perseverance in grace, and presents so remarkable a difference, that it may be right to insert both here, for avoiding of apparent or inadvertent misrepresentation.

Lambeth Art. 5.

Vera, viva, justificans fides, et Spiritus Dei sanctificans non extinguitur, non excidit, non evanescit in electis aut finaliter aut totaliter.


That to God’s foreknown elect, final continuance of grace is given.

It could hardly be without meaning, that he omitted those expressions of the article, which seemed to imply that justifying faith and sanctification, where real, must of course be indefectible. Yet this of all the tenets, commonly designated as Calvinistic, was that which in his earlier productions he seems to maintain with least hesitation. For example; in the sermon on the Certainty and Perpetuity of Faith; “In this we know we are not deceived, neither can we deceive you, when we teach that the faith whereby ye are sanctified cannot fail; it did not in the prophet, it shall not in you.” Also (inter alia) in the Discourse of Justification1: “If he Edition: current; Page: [cxii] which once hath the Son, may cease to have the Son, though it be for a moment, he ceaseth for that moment to have life. But the life of them which have the Son of God is everlasting in the world to come. Because as Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more, death hath no more power over Him; so justified man, being allied to God in Jesus Christ our Lord, doth as necessarily from that time forward always live, as Christ, by whom he hath life, liveth always1.” And even in the Ecclesiastical Polity2 he uses the following strong expressions concerning a believer’s first participation of Christ’s grace. “The first thing of his so infused into our hearts is the Spirit of Christ: whereupon . . . the rest of what kind soever do both necessarily depend and infallibly also ensue.” It is not quite clear why a person holding such an opinion as this should scruple to receive the fifth Lambeth Article: yet Hooker it seems had such a scruple3. It may be, that when he came to weigh more exactly his own doctrine of the Sacraments, he felt that it could not well stand with the supposed indefectibility of grace. For how could or can any person, beholding what numbers fall away after Baptism, hold consistently, on the one hand, that real sanctifying grace can never be finally forfeited; on the other, that it is given at Baptism? which latter, Hooker unquestionably holds: for these are his words4: “Baptism is a sacrament which God hath instituted in his Church, to the end that they which receive the same might thereby be incorporated into Christ, and so through his most precious merit obtain as well that Edition: current; Page: [cxiii] saving grace of imputation which taketh away all former guiltiness, as also that infused Divine virtue of the Holy Ghost which giveth to the powers of the soul their first disposition towards future newness of life.” This is one passage among many attributing to baptism when not unworthily received, and therefore in all cases to infant baptism, no less than justifying or pardoning grace, together with the first infusionEdition: 1888; Page: [56] of that which sanctifies. It is for those who suppose the writer an uncompromising Calvinist, to explain how these representations can be reconciled with Calvin’s doctrine, of the absolute perpetuity of justifying and of the first sanctifying grace. It is not here meant to deny that such reconciliation may be possible: but the Editor has never yet met with it. And until some way be discovered of clearing up this difficulty, it will be at least as fair in the advocates as they are called of free-will, to quote Hooker’s doctrine of the sacraments, as in predestinarians to insist on his doctrine of final perseverance. The rather, as the next, the sixth Lambeth article, which lays it down that all truly justified souls have full assurance of faith concerning their own pardon and salvation; this article is totally omitted by Hooker: no doubt for the same kind of reasons as induced him, writing on the Certainty and Perpetuity of Faith, to make so large allowance for the little understanding men have of their own spiritual condition. The modifications of the three remaining articles are much less considerable; they are, first, “that inward grace whereby to be saved is deservedly not given to all men:” where the word “deservedly” is an insertion of Hooker’s, anxious to counteract all notions of arbitrary punishment. Secondly, that “no man can come to Christ, whom God by the inward grace of his Spirit draweth not.” Hooker contents himself with this anti-Pelagian proposition: whereas the Lambeth divines added, “Not all men are drawn by the Father to come to his Son.” Next, whereas they nakedly affirm, “It lies not in the will or power of each individual to be saved or lost:” Hooker, charitably and cautiously, guards the assertion; “It is not in every, no not in any man’s own mere ability, freedom or power, to be saved; no man’s salvation being possible without grace.” And lastly, he adds a distinct reserve in behalf of the claim of practical obedience on Edition: current; Page: [cxiv] every soul of man. “God is no favourer of sloth: and therefore there can be no such absolute decree touching man’s salvation as on our part includeth no necessity of care and travail.” On this there is a deep silence in the Lambeth propositions.

Edition: 1888; Page: [57]So much for the points which it was considered material to enumerate, as best exemplifying the gradual but decisive change which English Theology underwent in the hands of Hooker. The results of his publications were great and presently perceptible: a school of writers immediately sprung up, who by express reference, or style, or tone of thought, betray their admiration of Hooker; Covel, Edwin Sandys, Field, Raleigh1, and others; and what was infinitely more important, Hooker had his full share in training up for the next generation, Laud, Edition: current; Page: [cxv] Hammond, Sanderson1, and a multitude more such divines: to which succession and series, humanly speaking, we owe it, that the Anglican church continues at such a distance from that of Geneva, and so near to primitive truth and apostolical order. There have been and are those, who resort, or would be thought to resort, to the books of Ecclesiastical Polity, for conclusions and maxims very different from these. King James II, it is well known, ascribed to Hooker, more than to any other writer, his own ill-starred conversion to Romanism: against which, nevertheless, if he had thought a little more impartially, he might have perceived that Hooker’s works every where inculcate that which is the only sufficient antidote, respect for the true Church of the Fathers, as subsidiary to Scripture and a witness of its true meaning. And the rationalists on the contrary side, and the liberals of the school of Locke and Hoadly, are never weary of claiming Hooker as the first distinct enunciator of their principles. Whereas, even in respect of civil government, though he might allow their theory of its origin, he pointedly deprecates their conclusion in favour of resistance. And in respect of sacramental grace, and the consequent nature and importance of Church communion, themselves have never dared to claim sanction from him.

Edition: 1888; Page: [58]It is hoped that this republication of his remains, by making them in certain respects more accessible, will cause them to become more generally read and known: and surely the better they are known, the more entirely will they be rescued from the unpleasant association, and discreditable praise, just now mentioned; the more will they appear in their true light, as a kind of warning voice from antiquity, a treasure of primitive, catholic maxims and sentiments, seasonably provided for this Church, at a time when she was, humanly speaking, in a fair way to fall as low towards rationalism, as the lowest of the protestant congregations are now fallen, Bold must be he who should affirm, that great as was then her need of such a defender, it at all exceeded her peril from the same quarter at the present moment. Should these volumes prove at all instrumental in awakening any of her children to Edition: current; Page: [cxvi] a sense of that danger, and in directing their attention to the primitive, apostolical Church, as the ark of refuge divinely provided for the faithful, such an effect will amply repay the Editor, not only for the labour of his task, which to one more skilful would have been comparatively nothing, but for that which must otherwise be always a source of some regret to him—the consciousness, namely, of having undertaken an office, for which in many respects he knew himself to be so very imperfectly prepared.

The chief circumstance important to be stated on this reprint of the edition of 1836, is, that the whole of the Dublin MSS. of Hooker have been carefully collated for it a second time by Dr. Todd and Mr. Gibbings; and all the resulting variations of any importance will be found inserted in their proper places. They have ascertained what it is on many accounts satisfactory to know; that the notes on the Sermon on Justification, supposed to be Archbishop Ussher’s, and given as his in the former edition, are unquestionably by another hand. Mr. Young, of the College of Arms, has kindly revised the Pedigree of the Hooker family, and corrected it from documents in the library of that institution: towards which object valuable information has been furnished by Mr. Dalton, of Dunkirk House in Gloucestershire. The Editor gladly avails himself of this mode of acknowledging the obligation he feels to all these gentlemen for their valuable and friendly aid.

Edition: current; Page: [cxvii]

Collation of the first edition of G. Cranmer’s Letter on the New Church Discipline with Walton’s edition, 1675. See in this edition, vol. ii. p. 598—609.Editor’s Preface, Appendix 2.

Readings of first Edition. Readings of Walton.
P. 598, l. 21. diffidence defiance
599, l. 1. emprese impress
— l. 11. is mightily did mightily
— l. 12. to possess possess
— l. 13. to lose if lost
— l. 20. workmen workman
— l. 21. they find and they find
— l. 31. cap and surplice the cap and surplice
— l. 32. government then established government established
— l. 36. in Latin and in Latin
600, l. 13. desired of the common people desired by all the common people
— l. 17. acknowledging by acknowledging
— l. 24. further to proceed to proceed further
— l. 26. was in fact was also in fact
— l. 27. that undone that to be undone
601, l. 6. out of a pease cart out of a pease cart in Cheapside
— l. 20. their entering they entered
602, l. 4. prayers prayer
— l. 7. were they rather were they not rather
— l. 8. aloof aloof off
— l. 8. and loath as being loath
— l. 8. the Spirit that Spirit
603, l. 4. hath taken have taken
604, l. 4. both lawful is both lawful
605, l. 8. might so be salved might be salved
— l. 16. erection erections
— l. 23. τὸ ἴδιον distraction
606, l. 9. they are not able that they are not able
— l. 10. with dislike with a dislike
608, l. 1. open to advantage open an advantage
— l. 6. somewhat overflow so often overflow
— l. 13. erection and erection
— l. 23. their sovereign or their sovereign
— l. 37. or of innovation or innovation
— l. 42. common people, judges common people who are judges
609, l. 2. for want and for want
— l. 30. of infinite of the infinite
— l. 38. shod, girt should be girt
610, l. 6. what men that what men
— l. 10. but things but even things
Edition: current; Page: [cxviii]

Editor’s Preface, Appendix 3.Memoranda for an Answer to theChristian Letter,omitted in the notes to this Edition1.

Titlepage.] The title of my answere this. To the Penman of a Letter intitled Christian2, [and published with his name against whom it is writ,] in the name of certain English Protestants.

Ibid.] “Credo Apostolos nostros, nec cum suspicerentur ab hominibus inflatos fuisse, nec cum despicerentur elisos. Neutra quippe tentatio defuit illis viris; nam et credentium celebrabantur præconio, et persequentium maledictis infamabantur.” Aug. Doct. Christ. iii. c. 20. [t. iii. 54.]

“Prorsus si quid veri me tenere vel scio vel credo vel puto, in quo aliter sentis; quantum dat Dominus, sine tua injuria conabor asserere.” Aug. ad Hieron. Ep. 15. [t. ii. 167.]

As hitherto I have alwaies framed my selfe to respect truth with reverence, and error with compassion, soe I would be loath to begin in you a chaunge of that course, wherein I could never yet find any inconvenience.

It appeareth cleare throughout the course of his whole booke that this fellow did in no one point of doctrine understand either what he pretendeth the Church of England to establish, or what he allegeth as said by the adversarie; or what he would beare men in hand to be contradicted by the one and craftily upheld by the other; but sheweth such pittiful and palpable ignorance even in every article, as for mine own part I am ashamed that the common enemy of us both should see, being forward enough thereby to imagine that great blindnes must needs reign there where such a champion as this fighteth without eyes.

P. 2.] “Pericles convitiis certare recusat, quod qui vincat victo deterior sit.” Phil. Jud. p. 138. De Agricult. p. 133.

“Veritas est lux quam Sophistæ, consuetudo, conjectura, et falsus testis corrumpunt.

“Deus rerum omnium certissimus, et similis incerto.” Tertul. p. 635.

“Sapiens in eo quod est sapiens, intentio ejus est perquirere veritatem, non facere dubitationes, et ponere involutiones in opinionibus.” Aver. Disp. Metaph. fol. 148. p. 1.

Edition: current; Page: [cxix]

“Qui falsum aliquid in principio sumunt, verisimilitudine inducti, necesse est eos in ea quæ consequuntur incurrere.” Lactant. p. 178. (l. 3. c. 24.)1.

“Necesse est falsa esse quæ rebus falsis congruunt.” p. 178.

“Cum primis habuerint fidem, qualia sunt ea quæ sequuntur non circumspiciunt, sed defendunt omni modo, cum debeant prima utrumne vera sint an falsa ex consequentibus judicare.” p. 178.

“Sermo de scientia quam Deus gloriosus de se et de aliis habet est prohibitus. Quanto magis ponere eum in scriptis. Nam non pervenit intelligentia vulgi ad tales profunditates: et cum disputatur ab eis, in hoc destruitur divinitas apud eos. Quare disputatio eis de hac scientia prohibita est, cum sufficiat in fælicitatem eorum ut intelligant id quod potest percipere intelligentia eorum. Quare lex cujus intentio prima fuit docere vulgus non defecit circa intelligentiam harum rerum ex iis quæ sunt in homine, sed ad faciendum intelligere aliqua de Deo indiguit assimilatione ejus, instrumentis humanis. Ut dixit, ‘Manus ejus fundavit terram, et dextra ejus mensuravit cœlum.’ Et hæc quidem quæstio est propria sapientibus, quos dedicavit Deus veritati.” Aver. fol. 208.

“Aliquando est opinio, quæ erit venenum in aliquibus hominibus, et nutrimentum in aliis.” fol. 209.

“Cum impossibile sit quin loquamur in hac quæstione, dicimus de ea secundum quod requirit vis loquelæ de ea, et apud eum qui non est assuefactus in rebus in quibus se debet exercere ante considerationem in hac quæstione.” fol. 209.

Γνω̑μαι αἱ μὲν τω̑ν ἄρτι μανθάνειν ἀρχομένων ἄστατοι καὶ ἀνίδρυτοι.

P. 36. “Where is it revealed . . . . that angels’ perpetuity is the hand that draweth out celestial motion! . . . Do you not mean the angels which kept not their first estate,” &c.] What a misery is it to be troubled with an adversary into whom a man must put both truth and wit.

Ibid. On “warrant of present grace in the very work wrought of baptism.”] See Mornæus, Misc. p. 773.

P. 40. “When those officers” (of Geneva, who had expelled Calvin) “like unto filthy froth, were cast out, the one accused of sedition going about to escape through a window, falling down headlong, by the pease” (weight) “of his body, was so hurt that within few days he died: another for murder was put to death, and the two other being accused for ill government in a certain embassage, forsook the country, and were condemned being absent,” &c.] Not unlikely but men, when they fail of their hope, Edition: current; Page: [cxx] and are at a stop in their purposes, may grow desperate; as Achitophel, Hacquet, Coppinger, and such like melancholiques.

P. 45. “In all your bookes . . . the ingenuous schoolemen almost in all points have some finger.”] As if you should say, the brave and courtly husbandmen, the high spirited shepperds, the victorious friars, the brave and prudent scullers on Thamesis, or any other the like unfit and mischosen titles. A term as fit as is a saddle for a cow’s back. Were it fit for me to say of reformers, they are hir majestie’s fair and well favoured [subjects]?

P. 46. “As a man afar off beholding a briar tree all blown over with his flowers, with great desire approacheth near unto it, and findeth himself deceived; so the delight of reading your book,” &c.] What a goodly show there is in the blossoms of a briar tree. No tree in all the field or forest fit to serve your turn in this comparison, but the briar tree only? Indeed the briar is noted for a proud aspiring tree, carrying a more ambitious mind than either the olive tree or vine, although it bring forth nothing worthy to be accounted of. But, good sir, the heart of the tree you see not; it may be the kind you also mistake; and as for the fruit, you are not ignorant how distasteful all fruits are when the tongue is scorched and blistered with heat.

Ibid. “Sometime it seemeth to us that we perceive great flourishing of warlike and glistering weapons, and to hear the loud outcries and noise of them which pursue their enemies in battle, thundering, gunshot, tossing of spears, and rattling of harness,” &c.] O brave gallant! This martial spirit of yours doth surely deserve a knighthood, but that you are a man more willing to be heard than known in the field; neither do you, like a Pyrgopolimius, swell, and so break, but from big words you proceed, as a valiant champion should do, to deadly blows.

P. 47.] I doubt not but if you once attain to understand the rudiments and principles of Christian religion, which with good helps may be done in reasonable time; those other gifts of speech and writing, wherewith it hath pleased God to indue you in very good handsome measure, may do good for the edifying of poor country people, in case you apply your talent that way, and leave the controversies of religion to other men that have bestowed their time on them.

Ibid. “That you would be careful not to corrupt the English Creed,” &c.] Be you careful to understand the English Creed, which as yet you do not. Read some good Catechism, and take the help of divines allowed by authority, that they may a little better Edition: current; Page: [cxxi] make it sink into your head, before you meddle again with matters of religion.

Add here such sentiments as the Fathers use for admonition to shallow witted men, and consolation, although they be not able to argue and dispute in matters of doctrine: which thing belongeth not to them, but to others, whom God hath more enabled for that purpose.

P. 48.] “Now in all these things, good Maister Hoo. though we thus write, we do not take upon us to censure your books, neither rashly to judge of you for them; but because . . . . he that toucheth our faith toucheth the apple of our eye; we could not but utter our inward grief, and yet in as charitable manner, as the cause in hand would suffer.”] As if Cassius and Brutus, having slain Cæsar, they should have solemnly protested to his friends, they meant him nothing but mere good-will and friendship. Only they feared lest the commonwealth should take harm by his means. Was there any friend he had so ill-minded, as not to believe such honest protestations?

An imitation of this conclusion in the person of Cassius and Brutus. You have given me as many stabs as my body could receive at your hands: although in effect, I praise God for it, none of them deadly, whatsoever your intent were. But for this once I will take your word without further reply; and am content to let the world think, if it will, that as you have done me, so likewise you have meant me no evil in any thing hitherto written; not in traducing me as an underminer, not in, &c.

Forget not here to use that of Solomon, Prov. xxvi. 18, “As a madman who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death, so is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport?”

P. 49. At the foot of their conclusion.] “Hæc pro animi nostri pura conscientia et Domini ac Dei nostri fiducia rescripsi. Habes tu literas meas et ego tuas. In die judicii ante tribunal Christi utraque recitabuntur.” Cyprian. ad Papin. [Pupian.] Ep. 66. in fine.

Edition: current; Page: [cxxii]


My Lord,

I HERE present you with a relation of the life of that humble man, to whom, at the mention of his name, princes, and the most learned of this nation, have paid a reverence. It was written by me under your roof: for which, and more weighty reasons, you might, if it were worthy, justly claim a title to it: but indeed, my Lord, though this be a well-meant sacrifice to the memory of that venerable man; yet I have so little confidence in my performance, that I beg your pardon for subscribing2 your name to it; and desire all that know your Lordship to receive it, not as a dedication, by which you receive any access of honour, but rather as a more humble and a more public acknowledgment of your long continued, and your now daily, favours to

your most affectionate,
and most humble servant,
Edition: current; Page: [1]



I think it necessary to inform my reader, that Dr. Gauden (the late1 Bishop of Worcester) hath also lately wrote and published the life of Master Hooker2. And though this be not writ by design to oppose what he hath truly written, yet I am put upon a necessity to say, that in it there be many material mistakes3, and more omissions. I conceive some of his mistakes did proceed from a belief in Master Thomas Fuller, who had too hastily published what he hath since most ingenuously retracted4. And for the bishop’s omissions, I suppose his more weighty business, and want of time, made Edition: current; Page: [2] him pass over many things without that due examination, which my better leisure, my diligence, and my accidental advantages, have made known unto me.

And now for myself, I can say, I hope, or rather know, there are no material mistakes in what I here present to you that shall become my reader. Little things that I have received by tradition (to which there may be too much and too little faith given) I will not at this distance of time undertake to justify; for though I have used great diligence, and compared relations and circumstances, and probable results and expressions, yet I shall not impose my belief upon my reader; I shall rather leave him at liberty: but if there shall appear any material omission, I desire every lover of truth and the memory of Master Hooker, that it may be made known unto me. And, to incline him to it, I here promise to acknowledge and rectify any such mistake in a second impression1, which the printer says he hopes for; and by this means my weak (but faithful) endeavours may become a better monument, and in some degree more worthy the memory of this venerable man.

I confess, that when I consider the great learning and virtue of Master Hooker, and what satisfaction and advantages many eminent scholars and admirers of him have had by his labours, I do not a little wonder, that in sixty years2 no man did undertake to tell posterity of the excellences of his life and learning, and the accidents of both; and sometimes wonder more at myself, that I have been persuaded to it; and, indeed, I do not easily pronounce my own pardon, nor expect that my reader shall, unless my introduction shall prove my apology, to which I refer him.

Edition: current; Page: [3]



I have been persuaded by a friend1, whom I reverence, and ought to obey, to write The Life of Richard Hooker, the happy author of five (if not more) of the eight learned books of The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity. And though I have undertaken it, yet it hath been with some unwillingness, because I foresee that it must prove to me, and especially at this time of my age, a work of much labour to inquire, consider, research, and determine, what is needful to be known concerning him. For I knew him not in his life, and must therefore Edition: current; Page: [4] not only look back to his death, (now sixty-four years past,) but almost fifty years beyond that, even to his childhood and youth, and gather thence such observations and prognostics, as may at least adorn, if not prove necessary for the completing of what I have undertaken.

This trouble I foresee, and foresee also, that it is impossible to escape censures; against which I will not hope my well-meaning and diligence can protect me, (for I consider the age in which I live,) and shall therefore but entreat of my reader a suspension of his censures, till I have made known unto him some reasons, which I myself would now gladly believe do make me in some measure fit for this undertaking: and if these reasons shall not acquit me from all censures, they may at least abate of their severity; and this is all I can probably hope for.

My reasons follow.

About forty years past1 (for I am now past the seventy of my age2) I began a happy affinity with William Cranmer, (now with God,) grand nephew unto the great archbishop of that name; a family of noted prudence and resolution; with him and two of his sisters I had an entire and free friendship: one of them was the wife of Dr. Spencer, a bosom friend, and sometime com-pupil with Mr. Hooker in Corpus Christi college in Oxford, and after, President of the same. I name Edition: current; Page: [5] them here, for that I shall have occasion to mention them in this following discourse; as also George Cranmer their brother, of whose useful abilities my reader may have a more authentic testimony than my pen can purchase for him, by that of our learned Camden and others.

This William Cranmer, and his two forenamed sisters, had some affinity, and a most familiar friendship with Mr. Hooker, and had had some part of their education with him in his house, when he was parson of Bishop’s-Borne near Canterbury; in which city their good father then lived. They had (I say) a part of their education with him, as myself, since that time, a happy cohabitation with them; and having some years before read part of Mr. Hooker’s works with great liking and satisfaction, my affection to them made me a diligent inquisitor into many things that concerned him: as namely, of his person, his nature, the management of his time, his wife, his family, and the fortune of him and his. Which inquiry hath given me much advantage in the knowledge of what is now under my consideration, and intended for the satisfaction of my reader.

I had also a friendship with the reverend Doctor Usher, the late learned Archbishop of Armagh; and with Doctor Morton, the late learned and charitable Bishop of Durham; as also with the learned John Hales, of Eton College1; and with them also (who loved the very name of Mr. Hooker) I have had many discourses concerning him; and from them, and many others that have now put off mortality, I might have had more informations, if I could then have admitted a thought of any fitness for what by persuasion I have now undertaken. But, though that full harvest be irrecoverably lost, yet my memory hath preserved some gleanings, and my diligence made such additions to them, as I hope will prove useful to the completing of what I intend. In the discovery of which I shall be faithful, and with this assurance put a period to my introduction.

Edition: current; Page: [6]


It is not to be doubted, but that Richard Hooker was born at Heavy-tree1, near, or within the precincts, or in the city of Exeter; a city which may justly boast, that it was the birthplace of him, and Sir Thomas Bodley; as indeed the county may, in which it stands, that it hath furnished this nation with Bishop Jewel, Sir Francis Drake, Sir Walter Raleigh, and many others, memorable for their valour and learning. He was born about the year of our redemption 15532; and of parents that were not so remarkable for their extraction or riches, as for their virtue and industry, and God’s blessing upon both3; by which they were enabled to educate their children in some degree of learning, of which our Richard Hooker may appear to be one fair testimony; and that nature is not so partial, as always to give the great blessings of wisdom and learning, and with them the greater blessings of virtue and government, to those only that are of a more high and honourable birth.

His complexion (if we may guess by him at the age of Edition: current; Page: [7] forty1) was sanguine, with a mixture of choler; and yet, his motion was slow even in his youth, and so was his speech, never expressing an earnestness in either of them, but an humble gravity suitable to the aged. And it is observed (so far as inquiry is able to look back at this distance of time) that at his being a schoolboy he was an early questionist, quietly inquisitive, why this was, and that was not, to be remembered? why this was granted, and that denied? This being mixed with a remarkable modesty, and a sweet serene quietness of nature; and with them a quick apprehension of many perplext parts of learning imposed then upon him as a scholar, made his master and others to believe him to have an inward blessed divine light, and therefore to consider him to a little wonder. For in that, children were less pregnant, less confident, and more malleable, than in this wiser, but not better, age.

This meekness, and conjuncture of knowledge with modesty in his conversation, being observed by his schoolmaster, caused him to persuade his parents (who intended him for an apprentice) to continue him at school, till he could find out some means, by persuading his rich uncle, or some other charitable person, to ease them of a part of their care and charge; assuring them, that their son was so enriched with the blessings of nature and grace, that God seemed to single him out as a special instrument of His glory. And the good man told them also, that he would double his diligence in instructing Edition: current; Page: [8] him, and would neither expect nor receive any other reward than the content of so hopeful and happy an employment.

This was not unwelcome news, and especially to his mother, to whom he was a dutiful and dear child; and all parties were so pleased with this proposal, that it was resolved, so it should be. And in the mean time, his parents and master laid a foundation for his future happiness, by instilling into his soul the seeds of piety, those conscientious principles of loving and fearing God; of an early belief that he knows the very secrets of our souls; that he punisheth our vices, and rewards our innocence; that we should be free from hypocrisy, and appear to man what we are to God, because first or last the crafty man is catcht in his own snare. These seeds of piety were so seasonably planted, and so continually watered with the daily dew of God’s blessed Spirit, that his infantvirtues grew into such holy habits, as did make him grow daily into more and more favour both with God and man; which, with the great learning that he did after attain to, hath made Richard Hooker honoured in this, and will continue him to be so to succeeding generations.

This good schoolmaster, whose name I am not able to recover, (and am sorry, for that I would have given him a better memorial in this humble monument, dedicated to the memory of his scholar1,) was very solicitous with John Hooker2, then chamberlain of Exeter, and uncle to our Richard, to take his nephew into his care, and to maintain him for one year in the university, and in the mean time to use his endeavours to procure an admission for him into some college, though it Edition: current; Page: [9] were but in a mean degree; still urging and assuring him, that his charge would not continue long; for the lad’s learning and manners were both so remarkable, that they must of necessity be taken notice of; and that doubtless God would provide him some second patron, that would free him and his parents from their future care and charge.

These reasons, with the affectionate rhetorick of his good master, and God’s blessing upon both, procured from his uncle a faithful promise, that he would take him into his care and charge before the expiration of the year following, which was performed by him, and with the assistance of the learned Mr. John Jewel; of whom this may be noted, that he left, or was, about the first of Queen Mary’s reign, expelled out of, Corpus Christi college in Oxford, (of which he was a fellow,) for adhering to the truth of those principles of religion, to which he had assented and given testimony in the days of her brother and predecessor Edward the Sixth; and this John Jewel having within a short time after a just cause to fear a more heavy punishment than expulsion, was forced, by forsaking this, to seek safety in another nation; and, with that safety, the enjoyment of that doctrine and worship, for which he suffered.

But the cloud of that persecution and fear ending with the life of Queen Mary, the affairs of the church and state did then look more clear and comfortable; so that he, and with him many others of the same judgment, made a happy return into England about the first of Queen Elizabeth; in which year this John Jewel was sent a commissioner or visitor of the churches of the western parts of this kingdom, and especially Edition: current; Page: [10] of those in Devonshire, in which county he was born; and then and there he contracted a friendship with John Hooker, the uncle of our Richard1.

About the second or third year of her reign, this John Jewel was made Bishop of Salisbury2; and there being always observed in him a willingness to do good, and to oblige his friends, and now a power added to this willingness: this John Hooker gave him a visit in Salisbury, and besought him for charity’s sake to look favourably upon a poor nephew of his, whom nature had fitted for a scholar, but the estate of his parents was so narrow, that they were unable to give him the advantage of learning; and that the bishop would therefore become his patron, and prevent him from being a tradesman: for he was a boy of remarkable hopes. And though the bishop knew, men do not usually look with an indifferent eye upon their own children and relations, yet he assented so far to John Hooker, that he appointed the boy and his schoolmaster should attend him about Easter next following at that place; which was done accordingly; and then, after some questions and observations of the boy’s learning, and gravity, and behaviour, the bishop gave his schoolmaster a reward, and took order for an annual pension for the boy’s parents, promising also to take him into his care for a future preferment; which he performed; for, about the fifteenth3 year of his age, which was anno 1567, he was by the bishop appointed to remove to Oxford, and there to attend Dr. Cole4, then president of Corpus Christi college; which he Edition: current; Page: [11] did; and Doctor Cole had (according to a promise made to the bishop) provided for him both a tutor (which was said to be the learned Doctor John Reynolds1) and a clerk’s place2 in that college: which place, though it were not a full maintenance, yet with the contribution of his uncle, and the continued pension of his patron, the good bishop, gave him a comfortable subsistence. And in this condition he continued unto the eighteenth year of his age, still increasing in learning and Edition: current; Page: [12] prudence, and so much in humility and piety, that he seemed to be filled with the Holy Ghost, and even like St. John Baptist, to be sanctified from his mother’s womb, who did often bless the day in which she bare him.

About this time of his age he fell into a dangerous sickness, which lasted two months: all which time his mother, having notice of it, did in her hourly prayers as earnestly beg his life of God, as the mother of St. Augustin did1 that he might become a true Christian; and their prayers were both so heard, as to be granted. Which Mr. Hooker would often mention with much joy, “and as often pray that he might never live to occasion any sorrow to so good a mother; of whom, he would often say, he loved her so dearly, that he would endeavour to be good, even as much for her’s, as for his own sake.”

As soon as he was perfectly recovered from this sickness, he took a journey from Oxford to Exeter, to satisfy and see his good mother, being accompanied with a countryman and companion of his own college, and both on foot; which was then either more in fashion, or want of money, or their humility made it so: but on foot they went, and took Salisbury in their way, purposely to see the good bishop, who made Mr. Hooker and his companion dine with him at his own table; which Mr. Hooker boasted of with much joy and gratitude when he saw his mother and friends: and at the bishop’s parting with him, the bishop gave him good counsel, and his benediction, but forgot to give him money; which when the bishop had considered, he sent a servant in all haste to call Richard back to him; and at Richard’s return, the bishop said to him, “Richard, I sent for you back to lend you a horse which hath carried me many a mile, and, I thank God, with much ease;” and presently delivered into his hand a walking staff, with which he professed he had travelled through many parts of Germany2. And he said, “Richard, I do not give, but lend you my horse; be sure you be honest, and bring my horse back to me at your return this way to Oxford. And I do now give you ten groats3 to Edition: current; Page: [13] bear your charges to Exeter; and here is ten groats more, which I charge you to deliver to your mother, and tell her, I send her a bishop’s benediction with it, and beg the continuance of her prayers for me. And if you bring my horse back to me, I will give you ten groats more, to carry you on foot to the college: and so God bless you, good Richard.”

And this, you may believe, was performed by both parties. But, alas! the next news that followed Mr. Hooker to Oxford was, that his learned and charitable patron had changed this for a better life1. Which may be believed, for that as he lived, so he died, in devout meditation and prayer; and in both so zealously, that it became a religious question, Whether his last ejaculations, or his soul, did first enter into heaven2?

And now Mr. Hooker became a man of sorrow and fear: of sorrow, for the loss of so dear and comfortable a patron; and of fear, for his future subsistence. But Mr. Cole raised his spirits from this dejection, by bidding him go cheerfully to his studies, and assuring him he should neither want food nor raiment, (which was the utmost of his hopes,) for he would become his patron.

And so he was for about nine months, and not longer; for about that time, this following accident did befall Mr. Hooker.

Edwin Sandys (sometime bishop of London, and after Archbishop of York3) had also been in the days of Queen Mary forced, by forsaking this, to seek safety in another nation; where for some4 years Bishop Jewel and he were companions at bed and board in Germany; and where, in this their exile, they did often eat the bread of sorrow, and by that means they there began such a friendship as lasted till the death of Bishop Jewel, which was in September 1571. Edition: current; Page: [14] A little before which time the two bishops meeting, Jewel began a story of his Richard Hooker, and in it gave such a character of his learning and manners, that though Bishop Sandys was educated in Cambridge, where he had obliged and had many friends; yet his resolution was, that his son Edwin, should be sent to Corpus Christi college, in Oxford, and by all means be pupil to Mr. Hooker, though his son Edwin was not much younger than Mr. Hooker then was: for, the bishop said, “I will have a tutor for my son, that shall teach him learning by instruction, and virtue by example; and my greatest care shall be of the last; and (God willing) this Richard Hooker shall be the man into whose hands I will commit my Edwin.” And the bishop did so about twelve months, or not much longer1, after this resolution.

And doubtless as to these two a better choice could not be made; for Mr. Hooker was now in the nineteenth year of his age; had spent five in the university; and had by a constant unwearied diligence attained unto a perfection in all the learned languages; by the help of which, an excellent tutor2, and his unintermitted studies, he had made the subtilty of all the arts easy and familiar to him, and useful for the discovery of such learning as lay hid from common searchers; so that by these added to his great reason, and his industry added to both, he did not only know more of causes and effects; but what he knew, he knew better than other men. And with this knowledge he had a most blessed and clear method of demonstrating what he knew, to the great advantage of all his pupils, (which in time were many,) but especially to his two first, his dear Edwin Sandys, and his as dear George Cranmer3; of which there will be a fair testimony in the ensuing relation.

Edition: current; Page: [15]

This for Mr. Hooker’s learning. And for his behaviour, amongst other testimonies this still remains of him, that in four years he was but twice absent from the chapel-prayers; and that his behaviour there was such as shewed an awful reverence of that God which he then worshipped and prayed to; giving all outward testimonies that his affections were set on heavenly things. This was his behaviour towards God; and for that to man, it is observable that he was never known to be angry, or passionate, or extreme in any of his desires; never heard to repine or dispute with Providence, but, by a quiet gentle submission and resignation of his will to the wisdom of his Creator, bore the burthen of the day with patience; never heard to utter an uncomely word; and by this, and a grave behaviour, which is a divine charm, he begot an early reverence unto his person, even from those that at other times, and in other companies, took a liberty to cast off that strictness of behaviour and discourse that is required in a collegiate life. And when he took any liberty to be pleasant, his wit was never blemished with scoffing, or the utterance of any conceit that bordered upon, or might beget a thought of looseness in his hearers. Thus mild, thus innocent and exemplary was his behaviour in his college; and thus this good man continued till his death, still increasing in learning, in patience, and piety.

In this nineteenth year of his age, he was, December 24, 1573, admitted to be one of the twenty scholars of the foundation1; being elected and so admitted as born in Devon or Hantshire, out of which counties a certain number are to be elected in vacancies by the founder’s statutes2. And now, as he was much encouraged, so now he was perfectly incorporated into this beloved college, which was then noted for an eminent library, strict students, and remarkable scholars. And indeed it may glory, that it had Cardinal Poole, Edition: current; Page: [16] but more, that it had Bishop Jewel, Dr. John Reynolds, and Dr. Thomas Jackson, of that foundation1. The first famous for his learned Apology for the Church of England, and his Defence of it against Harding. The second, for the learned and wise menage of a public dispute with John Hart (of the Romish persuasion) about the head and faith of the church, then printed by consent of both parties. And the third, for his most excellent Exposition of the Creed, and other treatises: all, such as have given greatest satisfaction to men of the greatest learning. Nor was Doctor Jackson more noteworthy for his learning, than for his strict and pious life, testified by his abundant love and meekness and charity to all men.

And in the year 1576, Febr. 23, Mr. Hooker’s grace was given him for Inceptor of Arts; Dr. Herbert Westphaling, a man of note for learning, being then vice-chancellor; and the act following he was completed Master2; which was anno 1577, his patron Doctor Cole being vice-chancellor that year, and his dear friend Henry Savill of Merton College being then one of the proctors. It was that Henry Savill that was after Sir Henry Savill, Warden of Merton college, and Provost of Eton: he which founded in Oxford two famous lectures, and endowed them with liberal maintenance. It was that Sir Henry Savill, that translated and enlightened the History of Cornelius Tacitus with a most excellent comment; and enriched the world by his laborious and chargeable collecting the scattered pieces of S. Chrysostome, and the publication of them in one entire body in Greek; in which language he was a most judicious critick. It was this Sir Henry Savill, that had the happiness to be a contemporary, and familiar friend to Mr. Hooker, and let posterity know it.

Edition: current; Page: [17]

And in this year of 1577, he was so happy as to be admitted fellow of the college1: happy also in being the contemporary and friend of that Dr. John Reynolds, of whom I have lately spoken, and of Dr. Spencer; both which were after, and successively, made Presidents of Corpus Christi college2: men of great learning and merit, and famous in their generations.

Nor was Mr. Hooker more happy in his contemporaries of his time and college, than in the pupilage and friendship of his Edwin Sandys and George Cranmer, of whom my reader may note, that this Edwin Sandys was after Sir Edwin Sandys, and as famous for his Speculum Europæ3, as his brother George for making posterity beholden to his pen by a learned Relation and Comment on his dangerous and remarkable travels; and for his harmonious Translation of the Psalms of David, the Book of Job, and other poetical parts of Holy Writ, into most high and elegant verse. And for Cranmer, his other pupil, I shall refer my reader to the printed testimonies of our learned Mr. Camden, of Fines Morison, and others4.

“This Cranmer, (says Mr. Camden, in his Annals of Queen Elizabeth5,) whose Christian name was George, was a gentleman of singular hopes, the eldest son of Thomas Cranmer, son of Edmund Cranmer, the archbishop’s brother: he spent much of his youth in Corpus Christi college in Oxford, where he continued master of arts for some time before he removed, and then betook himself to travel, accompanying that worthy gentleman Sir Edwin Sandys into France, Germany, and Italy, for the space of three years; and after their happy return he betook himself to an employment Edition: current; Page: [18] under Secretary Davison1, a privy counsellor of note, who for an unhappy undertaking, became clouded and pitied; after whose fall, he went in place of secretary with Sir Henry Killegrew in his embassage into France; and after his death he was sought after by the most noble Lord Mountjoy, with whom he went into Ireland, where he remained until in a battle against the rebels near Carlingford, an unfortunate wound put an end both to his life and the great hopes that were conceived of him2: he being then but in the thirty-sixth year of his age3.”

Betwixt Mr. Hooker, and these his two pupils, there was a sacred friendship; a friendship made up of religious principles, which increased daily by a similitude of inclinations to the same recreations and studies; a friendship elemented in youth, and in an university, free from self-ends, which the friendships of age usually are not: and in this sweet, this blessed, this spiritual amity they went on for many years: and, as the holy Prophet saith, so “they took sweet counsel together, and walked in the house of God as friends.” By which means they improved this friendship to such a degree of holy amity as bordered upon heaven: a friendship so sacred, that when it ended in this world, it began in that next, where it shall have no end.

And, though this world cannot give any degree of pleasure equal to such a friendship, yet, obedience to parents, and a desire to know the affairs, manners, laws, and learning of other nations, that they might thereby become the more serviceable unto their own, made them put off their gowns, and leave the college and Mr. Hooker to his studies; in which he was daily more assiduous: still enriching his quiet and capacious soul with the precious learning of the philosophers, casuists, and schoolmen; and with them, the foundation and reason of all laws, both sacred and civil; and indeed, with such other learning as lay most remote from the track of Edition: current; Page: [19] common studies. And as he was diligent in these, so he seemed restless in searching the scope and intention of God’s Spirit revealed to mankind in the sacred scripture: for the understanding of which, he seemed to be assisted by the same Spirit with which they were written; He that regardeth truth in the inward parts, making him to understand wisdom secretly. And the good man would often say, that “God abhors confusion as contrary to his nature;” and as often say, that the scripture was not writ to beget disputations and pride, and opposition to government; but moderation, charity, and humility, obedience to authority, and peace to mankind: of which virtues,” he would as often say, “no man did ever repent himself upon his death-bed.” And, that this was really his judgment, did appear in his future writings, and in all the actions of his life. Nor was this excellent man a stranger to the more light and airy parts of learning, as musick and poetry; all which he had digested, and made useful; and of all which the reader will have a fair testimony, in what will follow.

In the year 1579, the chancellor of the university1 was given to understand, that the public Hebrew lecture was not read according to the statutes; nor could be, by reason of a distemper that had then seized the brain of Mr. Kingsmill2, who was to read it; so that it lay long unread, to the great detriment of those that were studious of that language: therefore, the chancellor writ to his vice-chancellor, and the university, that he had heard such commendations of the excellent knowledge of Mr. Richard Hooker in that tongue, that he desired he might be procured to read it: and he did, and continued to do so, till he left Oxford.

Within three months after his undertaking this lecture (namely, in October 15793) he was, with Dr. Reynolds and others, expelled his college; and this letter, transcribed from Dr. Reynolds his own hand, may give some account of it.

Edition: current; Page: [20]
John Rainoldes
Rainoldes, John
October 9, 1579
Sir Francis Knolles
Knolles, Sir Francis

To Sir Francis Knolles1.

“I am sorry, right honourable, that I am enforced to make unto you such a suit, the which, I cannot move it, but I must complain of the unrighteous dealing of one of our college; who hath taken upon him, against all law and reason, to expel out of our house both me and Mr. Hooker, and three other of our fellows, for doing that which by oath we were bound to do. Our matter must be heard before Edition: current; Page: [21] the Bishop of Winchester1, with whom I do not doubt but we shall find equity. Howbeit, forasmuch as some of our adversaries have said, that the bishop is already forestalled, and will not give us such audience as we do look for; therefore I am humbly to beseech your honour, that you will desire the bishop by your letters to let us have justice; though it be with rigour, so it be justice: our cause is so good, that I am sure we shall prevail by it. Thus much I am bold to request of your honour for Corpus Christi college sake, or rather for Christ’s sake; whom I beseech to bless you with daily increase of His manifold gifts, and the blessed graces of His Holy Spirit.

“Your Honour’s,
in Christ to command,
Jo. Cantuar
Cantuar, Jo.
August, 1584
Dr. John Barfoote
Barfoote, Dr. John

This expulsion was by Dr. John Barfoote2, then vice-president of the college, and chaplain to Ambrose earl of Warwick. I cannot learn the pretended cause; but, that they were restored the same month is most certain.

Edition: current; Page: [22]

I return to Mr. Hooker in his college, where he continued his studies in all quietness for the space of three years1; about which time, he entered into sacred orders, being then made Deacon and Priest; and, not long after, was appointed to preach at St. Paul’s Cross2.

In order to which sermon, to London he came, and immediately to the Shunammite’s house; (which is a house so called, for that, besides the stipend paid the preacher, there is provision made also for his lodging and diet for two days before, and one day after his sermon.) This house was then kept by John Churchman, sometime a draper of good note in Watling-street, upon whom poverty had at last come like an armed man, and brought him into a necessitous condition: which, though it be a punishment, is not always an argument of God’s disfavour, for he was a virtuous man: I shall not yet give the like testimony of his wife, but leave the reader to judge by what follows. But to this house Mr. Hooker came so wet, so weary, and weatherbeaten, that he was never known to express more passion, than against a friend that dissuaded him from footing it to London, and for finding him no easier an horse; supposing the horse trotted, when he did not: and at this time also, such a faintness and fear possest him, that he would not be persuaded two days’ rest and quietness, or any other means could be used to make him able to preach his Sunday’s sermon; but a warm bed, and rest, and drink, proper for a cold, given him by Mrs. Churchman, and her diligent attendance added unto it, enabled him to perform the office of the day, which was in or about the year 1581.

And in this first public appearance to the world, he was not so happy as to be free from exceptions against a point of doctrine delivered in his sermon, which was “That in God there were two wills; an antecedent, and a consequent will: his first will, that all mankind should be saved; but his second will was, that those only should be saved, that did live answerable to that degree of grace which he had Edition: current; Page: [23] offered, or afforded them1.” This seemed to cross a late opinion of Mr. Calvin’s, and then taken for granted by many that had not a capacity to examine it, as it had been by him before, and hath been since by Master Henry Mason2, Dr. Jackson3, Dr. Hammond4, and others of great learning, who believed that a contrary opinion entrenches upon the honour and justice of our merciful God. How he justified this, I will not undertake to declare: but it was not excepted against (as Mr. Hooker declares in his rational answer to Mr. Travers) by John Elmer5, then Bishop of London, at this time one of his auditors, and at last one of his advocates too, when Mr. Hooker was accused for it6.

But the justifying of this doctrine did not prove of so bad consequence, as the kindness of Mrs. Churchman’s curing him of his late distemper and cold; for that was so gratefully7 apprehended by Mr. Hooker, that he thought himself bound in conscience to believe all that she said: so that the good man came to be persuaded by her, “that he was a man of Edition: current; Page: [24] a tender constitution;” and “that it was best for him to have a wife, that might prove a nurse to him; such an one as might both prolong his life, and make it more comfortable; and such an one she could and would provide for him, if he thought fit to marry.” And he not considering that “the children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light;” but, like a true Nathanael, fearing no guile, because he meant none, did give her such a power as Eleazar was trusted with, (you may read it in the book of Genesis,) when he was sent to choose a wife for Isaac; for, even so he trusted her to choose for him, promising upon a fair summons to return to London, and accept of her choice; and he did so in that or about the year following. Now the wife provided for him, was her daughter Joan, who brought him neither beauty nor portion; and for her conditions, they were too like that wife’s, which is by Solomon compared to “a dripping house1:” so that the good man had no reason to “rejoice in the wife of his youth,” but too just cause to say with the holy Prophet, “Wo is me, that I am constrained to have my habitation in the tents of Kedar!”

This choice of Mr. Hooker’s (if it were his choice) may be wondered at; but let us consider that the prophet Ezekiel says, “There is a wheel within a wheel;” a secret sacred wheel of Providence (most visible in marriages), guided by his hand, that “allows not the race to the swift,” nor “bread to the wise,” nor good wives to good men: and he that can bring good out of evil (for mortals are blind to this reason) only knows why this blessing was denied to patient Job, to meek Moses2, and to our as meek and patient Mr. Hooker. But so it was; and let the reader cease to wonder, for “affliction is a divine diet;” which, though it be not pleasing to mankind, yet Almighty God hath often, very often imposed it as good, though bitter physick to those children whose souls are dearest to him.

Edition: current; Page: [25]

And by this marriage the good man was drawn from the tranquillity of his college1; from that garden of piety, of pleasure, of peace, and a sweet conversation, into the thorny wilderness of a busy world; into those corroding cares that attend a married priest, and a country parsonage; which was Draiton Beauchamp in Buckinghamshire (not far from Ailesbury, and in the diocese of Lincoln); to which he was presented by John Cheny, esq. then patron of it, the 9th of December 1584, where he behaved himself so as to give no occasion of evil, but (as St. Paul adviseth a minister of God) “in much patience, in afflictions, in anguishes, in necessities; in poverty, and no doubt in long-suffering;” yet troubling no man with his discontents and wants.

And in this condition he continued about a year, in which time his two pupils, Edwin Sandys and George Cranmer2, took a journey to see their tutor; where they found him with a book in his hand (it was the Odes of Horace), he being then, like humble and innocent Abel, tending his small allotment of sheep in a common field, which he told his pupils he was forced to do then, for that his servant was gone home to dine, and assist his wife to do some necessary household business. When his servant returned and released him, then his two pupils attended him unto his house, where their best entertainment was his quiet company, which was presently denied them; for “Richard was called to rock the cradle3;” and the rest of their welcome was so like this, that they stayed but till the next morning, which was time enough to discover and pity their tutor’s condition; and they having in that time rejoiced in the remembrance, and then paraphrased on many Edition: current; Page: [26] of the innocent recreations of their younger days, and other like diversions, and thereby given him as much present comfort as they were able, they were forced to leave him to the company of his wife Joan, and seek themselves a quieter lodging for next night. But at their parting from him, Mr. Cranmer said, “Good tutor, I am sorry your lot is fallen in no better ground as to your parsonage: and more sorry that your wife proves not a more comfortable companion after you have wearied yourself in your restless studies.” To whom the good man replied, “My dear George, if saints have usually a double share in the miseries of this life, I that am none, ought not to repine at what my wise Creator hath appointed for me, but labour (as indeed I do daily) to submit mine to his will, and possess my soul in patience and peace.”

At their return to London, Edwin Sandys acquaints his father1, who was then Archbishop of York, with his tutor’s sad condition, and solicits for his removal to some benefice that might give him a more quiet and a more comfortable subsistence; which his father did most willingly grant him, when it should next fall into his power. And not long after this time, which was in the year 15852, Mr. Alvie (Master of the Temple) died, who was a man of a strict life, of great learning, and of so venerable behaviour, as to gain so high a degree of love and reverence from all men, that he was generally known by the name of Father Alvie. And at the Temple reading, next after the death of this Father Alvie, he the said Archbishop of York being then at dinner with the judges, the reader and benchers of that society, met with a general condolement for the death of Father Alvie, and with a high commendation of his saint-like life, and of his great merit both towards God and man; and as they bewailed his death, so they wished for a like pattern of virtue and learning to succeed him. And here came in a fair occasion for the bishop to commend Mr. Hooker to Father Alvie’s place, which he did with so effectual an earnestness, and that seconded with so many other testimonies of his worth, that Mr. Hooker Edition: current; Page: [27] was sent for from Draiton Beauchamp to London, and there the mastership of the Temple proposed unto him by the bishop, as a greater freedom from his country cares, the advantage of a better society, and a more liberal pension than his country parsonage did afford him. But these reasons were not powerful enough to incline him to a willing acceptance of it: his wish was rather to gain a better country living, where he might “see God’s blessing spring out of the earth, and be free from noise” (so he exprest the desire of his heart), “and eat that bread which he might more properly call his own in privacy and quietness.” But, notwithstanding this averseness, he was at last persuaded to accept of the bishop’s proposal; and was by patent for life made Master of the Temple the 17th of March, 15851, he being then in the thirty-fourth year of his age.

Endeavours for Travers to be Master of the Temple.2[But before any mention was made of Mr. Hooker for this place, two other divines were nominated to succeed Alvey; whereof Mr. Walter Travers, a disciplinarian in his judgment and practice, and preacher here in the afternoons, was chief, and recommended by Alvey himself on his deathbed, to be master after him: and no marvel, for Alvey’s and Travers’s principles did somewhat correspond. And many gentlemen of the house desired him; which desire the lord treasurer Burghley was privy to, and by their request, and his own inclination towards him, being a good preacher, he moved the queen to allow of him; for the disposal of the place was in her. But Archbishop Whitgift knew the man, and his hot temper and principles, from the time he was fellow in Trinity college, and had observed his steps ever after: he knew how turbulently he had carried himself at the college, how he had disowned the English established church and episcopacy, and went to Geneva, and afterwards to Antwerp, Edition: current; Page: [28] to be ordained minister, as he was by Villers1 and Cartwright and others, the heads of a congregation there; and so came back again more confirmed for the discipline. And knowing how much the doctrine and converse of the master to be placed here would influence the gentlemen, and their influence and authority prevail in all parts of the realm, where their habitations and estates were, that careful prelate made it his endeavour to stop Travers’ coming in;Opposed by the archbishop. and had a learned man in his view, and of principles more conformable and agreeable to the church, namely one Dr. Bond, the queen’s chaplain, and one well known to her. She well understanding the importance of this place, and knowing by the archbishop what Travers was, by a letter he timely writ to her majesty upon the vacancy, gave particular order to the treasurer to discourse with the archbishop about it.

The lord treasurer, hereupon, in a letter, consulted with the said archbishop, and mentioned Travers to him as one desired by many of the house. But the archbishop in his answer, plainly signified to his lordship that he judged him altogether unfit, for the reasons mentioned before; and that he had recommended to the queen Dr. Bond as a very fit person. But however she declined him, fearing his bodily strength to perform the duty of the place, as she did Travers for other causes. And by laying both aside, she avoided giving disgust to either of those great men. This Dr. Bond seems to be that Dr. Nicholas Bond that afterwards was President of Magdalen college, Oxon, and was much abused by Martin Mar-prelate.

These particulars I have collected from a letter of the archbishop to the queen, and other letters that passed between the archbishop and the lord treasurer about this affair, while the mastership was vacant. The passages whereof, taken verbatim out of their said letters, may deserve here to be specified for the satisfaction of the readers.

And first, in the month of August, upon the death of the former master, the archbishop wrote this letter unto the queen:

The archbishop to the queen concerning the vacancy of the Temple.“It may please your majesty to be advertised, that the mastership of the Temple is vacant by the death of Mr. Edition: current; Page: [29] Alvey. The living is not great, yet doth it require a learned, discreet, and wise man, in respect of the company there: who being well directed and taught may do much good elsewhere in the commonwealth, as otherwise also they may do much harm. And because I hear there is a suit made unto your highness for one Mr. Travers, I thought it my duty to signify unto your majesty, that the said Travers hath been and is one of the chief and principal authors of dissension in this church, a contemner of the book of Prayers, and of other orders by authority established; an earnest seeker of innovation; and either in no degree of the ministry at all, or else ordered beyond the seas; not according to the form in this church of England used. Whose placing in that room, especially by your majesty, would greatly animate the rest of that faction, and do very much harm in sundry respects.

“Your majesty hath a chaplain of your own, Dr. Bond, a man in my opinion very fit for that office, and willing also to take pains therein, if it shall please your highness to bestow it upon him. Which I refer to your most gracious disposition; beseeching Almighty God long to bless, prosper, and preserve your majesty to his glory, and all our comforts.

“Your majesty’s most faithful servant and chaplain,

Jo. Cantuar.
Will. Burghley
Burghley, Will.
Sept. 14, 1584
Lord Treasurer
Lord Treasurer

Next, in a letter of the archbishop to the lord treasurer, dated from Lambeth, Sept. 14, 1584, he hath these words:

The archbishop to the lord treasurer.“I beseech your lordship to help such an one to the mastership of the Temple, as is known to be conformable to the laws and orders established; and a defender not a depraver of the present state and government. He that now readeth there is nothing less, as I of mine own knowledge and experience can testify. Dr. Bond is desirous of it, and I know not a fitter man.”

Will. Burghley
Burghley, Will.
17th Sept. 1584
Lord Treasurer
Lord Treasurer

The lord treasurer in a letter to the archbishop, dated from Oatlands (where the queen now was), Sept. 17, 1584, thus wrote:—

The lord treasurer to the archbishop.“The queen hath asked me what I thought of Travers Edition: current; Page: [30] to be master of the Temple. Whereunto I answered, that at the request of Dr. Alvey in his sickness, and a number of honest gentlemen of the Temple, I had yielded my allowance of him to the place, so as he would shew himself conformable to the orders of the church. Whereunto I was informed, that he would so be. But her majesty told me, that your grace did not so allow of him. Which I said might be for some things supposed to be written by him in a book intituled, De Disciplina Ecclesiastica. Whereupon her majesty commanded me to write to your grace to know your opinion, which I pray your grace to signify unto her, as God shall move you. Surely it were great pity that any impediment should be occasion to the contrary; for he is well learned, very honest, and well allowed and loved of the generality of that house. Mr. Bond told me, that your grace liked well of him; and so do I also, as one well learned and honest; but, as I told him, if he came not to the place with some applause of the company, he shall be weary thereof. And yet I commended him unto her majesty, if Travers should not have it. But her majesty thinks him not fit for that place, because of his infirmities. Thus wishing your grace assistance of God’s Spirit to govern your charge unblameably,

“Your grace’s to command,
Will. Burghley.
“From the court at

Part of the archbishop’s letter in answer to this was to this tenor:

Archbishop Whitgift
Whitgift, Archbishop
Lord Treasurer
Lord Treasurer

The archbishop in answer to the letter of the lord treasurer.“Mr. Travers, whom your lordship names in your letter, is to no man better known, I think, than to myself. I did elect him fellow of Trinity college, being before rejected by Dr. Beaumont for his intolerable stomach: whereof I had also afterwards such experience, that I was forced by due punishment so to weary him, till he was fain to travel, and depart from the college to Geneva, otherwise he should have been expelled for want of conformity towards the orders of the house, and for his pertinacy. Neither was there ever any under our government, in whom I found less submission and humility than in him. Nevertheless if Edition: current; Page: [31] time and years have now altered that disposition (which I cannot believe, seeing yet no token thereof, but rather the contrary), I will be as ready to do him good as any friend he hath. Otherwise I cannot in duty but do my endeavour to keep him from that place, where he may do so much harm, and do little or no good at all. For howsoever some commend him to your lordship and others, yet I think that the greater and better number of both the Temples have not so good an opinion of him. Sure I am that divers grave, and of the best affected of them, have shewed their misliking of him to me; not only out of respect of his disorderliness, in the manner of the communion, and contempt of the prayers, but also of his negligence in reading. Whose lectures, by their report, are so barren of matter, that his hearers take no commodity thereby.

“The book De Disciplina Ecclesiastica, by common opinion, hath been reputed of his penning, since the first publishing of it. And by divers arguments I am moved to make no doubt thereof. The drift of which book is wholly against the state and government. Wherein also, among other things, he condemneth the taking and paying of first fruits, tenths, &c.1 And therefore, unless he will testify his conformity by subscription, as all others do, which now enter into ecclesiastical livings, and make proof unto me that he is a minister ordered according to the laws of this church of England, as I verily believe he is not, because he forsook his place in the college upon that account; I can by no means yield my consent to the placing, him there, or elsewhere, in any function of this church.”]

And here I shall make a stop; and, that the reader may the better judge of what follows, give him a character of the times, and temper of the people of this nation, when Mr. Edition: current; Page: [32] Hooker had his admission into this place: a place which he accepted, rather than desired: and yet here he promised himself a virtuous quietness, that blessed tranquillity which he always prayed and laboured for; that so he might in peace bring forth the fruits of peace, and glorify God by uninterrupted prayers and praises: for this he always thirsted and prayed: but Almighty God did not grant it: for his admission into this place was the very beginning of those oppositions and anxieties, which till then this good man was a stranger to; and of which the reader may guess by what follows.

In this character of the times, I shall, by the reader’s favour, and for his information, look so far back as to the beginning of the reign of Queen Elizabeth; a time, in which the many pretended titles to the crown, the frequent treasons, the doubts of her successor, the late civil war, and the sharp persecution for religion that raged to the effusion of so much blood in the reign of Queen Mary, were fresh in the memory of all men; and begot fears in the most pious and wisest of this nation, lest the like days should return again to them, or their present posterity. And the apprehension of these dangers begot a hearty desire of a settlement in the church and state; believing, there was no other probable way left to make them sit quietly under their own vines and fig-trees, and enjoy the desired fruit of their labours. But time, and peace, and plenty, begot self-ends; and these begot animosities, envy, opposition, and unthankfulness for those very blessings for which they lately thirsted, being then the very utmost of their desires, and even beyond their hopes.

This was the temper of the times in the beginning of her reign1: and thus it continued too long: for those very people that had enjoyed the desires of their hearts in a reformation from the church of Rome, became at last so like the grave, as never to be satisfied, but were still thirsting for more and more: neglecting to pay that obedience, and perform those vows which they made in their days of adversities and fear: so that in short time there appeared three several interests, Edition: current; Page: [33] each of them fearless and restless in the prosecution of their designs; they may for distinction be called, the active Romanists, the restless Nonconformists (of which there were many sorts), and, the passive peaceable Protestant. The counsels of the first considered and resolved on in Rome: the second in Scotland, in Geneva, and in divers selected, secret, dangerous conventicles, both there, and within the bosom of our own nation: the third pleaded and defended their cause by establisht laws, both ecclesiastical and civil; and, if they were active, it was to prevent the other two from destroying what was by those known laws happily establisht to them and their posterity.

I shall forbear to mention the very many and dangerous plots of the Romanists against the church and state; because what is principally intended in this digression, is an account of the opinions and activity of the Nonconformists; against whose judgment and practice, Mr. Hooker became at last, but most unwillingly, to be engaged in a book-war; a war which he maintained not as against an enemy, but with the spirit of meekness and reason.

In which number of Nonconformists, though some might be sincere, well meaning men, whose indiscreet zeal might be so like charity, as thereby to cover a multitude of their errors; yet, of this party, there were many that were possest with a high degree of “spiritual wickedness;” I mean, with an innate restless pride and malice. I do not mean the visible carnal sins of gluttony and drunkenness, and the like, (from which good Lord deliver us,) but sins of a higher nature, because they are more unlike God, who is the God of love and mercy, and order, and peace; and more like the Devil, who is not a glutton, nor can be drunk, and yet is a devil; but I mean those spiritual wickednesses of malice and revenge, and an opposition to government: men that joyed to be the authors of misery, which is properly his work, that is the enemy and disturber of mankind; and thereby greater sinners than the glutton or drunkard, though some will not believe it. And of this party, there were also many, whom prejudice and a furious zeal had so blinded, as to make them neither to hear reason, nor adhere to the ways of peace: men, that were the very dregs and pest of mankind: men Edition: current; Page: [34] whom pride and self-conceit had made to overvalue their own pitiful, crooked wisdom so much, as not to be ashamed to hold foolish and unmannerly disputes against those men whom they ought to reverence, and those laws which they ought to obey; men that laboured and joyed first to find out the faults, and then to “speak evil of government,” and to be the authors of confusion: men, whom company, and conversation, and custom had at last so blinded, and made so insensible that these were sins, that, like those that “perisht in the gainsaying of Core,” so these died without repenting of these “spiritual wickednesses,” of which the practices of Coppinger and Hacket1 in their lives, and the death of them and their adherents, are God knows too sad examples; and ought to be cautions to those men that are inclined to the like “spiritual wickednesses.”

And in these times which tended thus to confusion, there were also many of these scruplemongers that pretended a tenderness of conscience, refusing to take an oath before a lawful magistrate2: and yet these very men, in their secret conventicles, did covenant3 and swear to each other, to be assiduous and faithful in using their best endeavours to set up the presbyterian doctrine and discipline; and both in such a manner as they themselves had not yet agreed on4, but, up that government must. To which end there were many that wandered up and down, and were active in sowing discontents and sedition, by venomous and secret murmurings, and a dispersion of scurrilous pamphlets and libels against the church and state; but especially against the bishops; by which means, together with venomous and indiscreet sermons, the common people became so fanatic, as to believe the bishops to be Antichrist, and the only obstructors of God’s Discipline; and at last some of them were given over to so bloody a zeal, and such other desperate delusions, as to find Edition: current; Page: [35] out a text in the Revelation of St. John, that “Antichrist was to be overcome by the sword.” So that those very men1, who began with tender and meek petitions2, proceeded to admonitions3, then to satirical remonstrances4, and at last having like Absalom5 numbered who was not, and who was, for their cause, they got a supposed certainty of so great a party, that they durst threaten first the bishops, and then the Queen and parliament6; to all which they were secretly encouraged by the earl of Leicester, then in great favour with her majesty, and the reputed cherisher and patron-general of these pretenders to tenderness of conscience; his design being, by their means, to bring such an odium upon the bishops, as to procure an alienation of their lands, and a large proportion of them for himself; which avaricious desire had at last so blinded his reason, that his ambitious and greedy hopes seemed to put him into a present possession of Lambeth-house7.

And to these undertakings the Nonconformists of this nation were much encouraged and heightened by a correspondence and confederacy with that brotherhood in Scotland8; so that here they became so bold, that one9 told the Queen Edition: current; Page: [36] openly in a sermon, “She was like an untamed heifer, that would not be ruled by God’s people, but obstructed his discipline.” And in Scotland they were more confident, for there they declared her an Atheist1, and grew to such a height as not to be accountable for any thing spoken against her; nor for treason against their own king, if it were but spoken in the pulpit2; shewing at last such a disobedience to him, that his mother being in England, and then in distress, and in prison, and in danger of death, the church denied the King their prayers for her3; and at another time, when he had appointed a day of feasting, their church declared for a general fast in opposition to his authority4.

To this height they were grown in both nations; and by these means there was distilled into the minds of the common people such other venomous and turbulent principles, as were inconsistent with the safety of the church and state: and these opinions vented so daringly, that, beside the loss of life and limbs5, the governors of the church and state were forced to use such other severities, as will not admit of an excuse, if it had not been to prevent the gangrene of confusion, and the perilous consequences of it; which, without such prevention, would have been first confusion, and then ruin and misery to this numerous nation.

These errors and animosities were so remarkable, that they begot wonder in an ingenious Italian, who being about this time come newly into this nation, writ scoffingly to a friend in his own country, to this purpose, “That the common people of England were wiser than the wisest of his nation; for here the very women and shopkeepers were able to judge of predestination, and determine what laws were fit Edition: current; Page: [37] to be made concerning church-government; and then, what were fit to be obeyed or abolisht: That they were more able (or at least thought so) to raise and determine perplext cases of conscience, than the wisest of the most learned colleges in Italy: That men of the slightest learning, and the most ignorant of the common people, were mad for a new, or super, or re-reformation of religion; and that in this they appeared like that man, who would never cease to whet and whet his knife, till there was no steel left to inake it useful.” And he concluded his letter with this observation, “That those very men that were most busy in oppositions, and disputations, and controversies, and finding out the faults of their governors, had usually the least of Humility and Mortification, or of the power of Godliness.”

And to heighten all these discontents and dangers, there was also sprung up a generation of godless men; men that had so long given way to their own lusts and delusions, and so highly opposed the blessed motions of his Spirit, and the inward light of their own consciences, that they became the very slaves of vice, and had thereby sinned themselves into a belief of that which they would, but could not believe; into a belief which is repugnant even to human nature (for the heathens believe that there are many gods), but these had sinned themselves into a belief, that there was no God; and so, finding nothing in themselves but what was worse than nothing, began to wish what they were not able to hope for, namely, “that they might be like the beasts that perish;” and in wicked company (which is the atheist’s sanctuary) were so bold as to say so, though the worst of mankind, when he is left alone at midnight, may wish, but is not then able to think it; even into a belief that there is no God. Into this wretched, this reprobate condition, many had then sinned themselves1.

And now when the church was pestered with them, and with all those other forenamed irregularities; when her lands were in danger of alienation, her power at least neglected, and her peace torn to pieces by several schisms, and such Edition: current; Page: [38] heresies as do usually attend that sin, for heresies do usually outlive their first authors; when the common people seemed ambitious of doing those very things that were forbidden and attended with most dangers, that thereby they might be punished, and then applauded and pitied; when they called the spirit of opposition a tender conscience, and complained of persecution, because they wanted power to persecute others; when the giddy multitude raged, and became restless to find out misery for themselves and others; and the rabble would herd themselves together, and endeavour to govern and act in spite of authority: in this extremity of fear, and danger of the church and state, when, to suppress the growing evils of both, they needed a man of prudence and piety, and of an high and fearless fortitude; they were blest in all by John Whitgift his being made Archbishop of Canterbury; of whom Sir Henry Wotton that knew him well in his youth, and had studied him in his age, gives this true character: “that he was a man of reverend and sacred memory; and of the primitive temper; a man of such a temper, as when the Church by lowliness of spirit did flourish in highest examples of virtue1.” And indeed this man proved so.

And though I dare not undertake to add to this excellent and true character of Sir Henry Wotton; yet, I shall neither do right to this discourse, nor to my reader, if I forbear to give him a further and short account of the life and manners of this excellent man; and it shall be short, for I long to end this digression, that I may lead my reader back to Mr. Hooker, where we left him at the Temple.

John Whitgift was born in the county of Lincoln, of a family that was ancient, and noted to be both prudent and affable, and gentle by nature; he was educated in Cambridge; much of his learning was acquired in Pembroke-hall, (where Mr. Bradford the martyr was his tutor); from thence he was removed to Peter-house; from thence to be Master of Pembroke-hall; and from thence to the Mastership of Trinity college: about which time the Queen made him her chaplain; and not long after, Prebend of Ely2, and then Dean of Edition: current; Page: [39] Lincoln; and having for many years past looked upon him with much reverence and favour, gave him a fair testimony of both, by giving him the bishopric of Worcester, and (which was not with her a usual favour1) forgiving him his first-fruits; then by constituting him Vice-president of the principality of Wales. And having experimented his wisdom, his justice, and moderation in the menage of her affairs, in both these places; she in the twenty-sixth of her reign made him Archbishop of Canterbury, and not long after of her privy council; and trusted him to manage all her ecclesiastical affairs and preferments. In all which removes, he was like the ark, which left a blessing upon the place where it rested2; and in all his employments was like Jehoiada, that did good unto Israel3.

These were the steps of this bishop’s ascension to this place of dignity and cares; in which place (to speak Mr. Camden’s very words in his Annals of Queen Elizabeth4) “he devoutly consecrated both his whole life to God, and his painful labours to the good of his church.” And yet, in this place he met with many oppositions in the regulation of church-affairs, which were much disordered at his entrance, by reason of the age and remissness of Bishop Grindal5, his immediate predecessor, the activity of the Nonconformists, and their chief assistant the Earl of Leicester; and indeed, by too many others of the like sacrilegious principles. With these he was to encounter; and though he wanted neither courage nor a good cause, yet he foresaw, that without a great measure of the Queen’s favour, it was impossible to stand in the breach that had been lately made into the lands and immunities of the Church, or indeed to maintain the remaining lands and rights of it. And therefore by justifiable sacred insinuations, such as St. Paul to Agrippa, (“Agrippa, believest Edition: current; Page: [40] thou? I know thou believest,”) he wrought himself into so great a degree of favour with her, as, by his pious use of it, hath got both of them a great degree of fame in this world, and of glory in that into which they are now both entered.

His merits to the Queen, and her favours to him, were such, that she called him her little black husband, and called his servants her servants1: and she saw so visible and blessed a sincerity shine in all his cares and endeavours for the Church’s and for her good, that she was supposed to trust him with the very secrets of her soul, and to make him her confessor: of which she gave many fair testimonies; and of which one was, that “she would never eat flesh in Lent without obtaining a license from her little black husband;” and would often say, “she pitied him because she trusted him, and had thereby eased herself, by laying the burden of all her clergy-cares upon his shoulders, which he managed with prudence and piety.”

I shall not keep myself within the promised rules of brevity in this account of his interest with her majesty, and his care of the Church’s rights, if in this digression I should enlarge to particulars; and therefore my desire is, that one example may serve for a testimony of both. And, that the reader may the better understand it, he may take notice, that not many years before his being made archbishop, there passed an act or acts of parliament2, intending the better preservation of the church-lands, by recalling a power which was vested in others to sell or lease them, by lodging and trusting the future care and protection of them only in the crown: and amongst many that made a bad use of this power or trust of the Queen’s, the Earl of Leicester was one3; and the bishop having, by his interest with her majesty, put a Edition: current; Page: [41] stop to the earl’s sacrilegious designs, they two fell to an open opposition before her; after which, they both quitted the room, not friends in appearance: but the bishop made a sudden and a seasonable return to her majesty, (for he found her alone,) and spake to her with great humility and reverence, to this purpose:

“I beseech your majesty to hear me with patience, and to believe that your’s and the Church’s safety are dearer to me than my life, but my conscience dearer than both: and therefore give me leave to do my duty, and tell you, that princes are deputed nursing fathers of the Church, and owe it a protection; and therefore God forbid that you should be so much as passive in her ruins, when you may prevent it; or that I should behold it without horror and detestation; or should forbear to tell your majesty of the sin and danger of sacrilege. And though you and myself were born in an age of frailties, when the primitive piety and care of the Church’s lands and immunities are much decayed; yet, madam, let me beg that you would first consider that there are such sins as profaneness and sacrilege; and that, if there were not, they could not have names in Holy Writ, and particularly in the New Testament. And I beseech you to consider, that though our Saviour said, ‘He judged no man;’ and to testify it, would not judge nor divide the inheritance betwixt the two brethren, nor would judge the woman taken in adultery; yet in this point of the Church’s rights he was so zealous, that he made himself both the accuser and the judge, and the executioner too, to punish these sins; witnessed, in that he himself made the whip to drive the profaners out of the temple, overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and drove them out of it. And I beseech you to consider, that it was St. Paul that said to those Christians of his time that were offended with idolatry, yet committed sacrilege, ‘Thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?’ supposing, (I think,) sacrilege the greater sin. This may occasion your majesty to consider that there is such a sin as sacrilege; and to incline you to prevent the curse that will follow it, I beseech you also to consider, that Constantine the first Christian emperor, and Helena his Edition: current; Page: [42] mother1, that King Edgar2, and Edward the Confessor3, and indeed many others of your predecessors, and many private Christians, have also given to God, and to his Church, much land, and many immunities, which they might have given to those of their own families, and did not; but gave them for ever as an absolute right and sacrifice to God: and with these immunities and lands, they have entailed a curse upon the alienators of them4; God prevent your majesty from being liable to that curse, which will cleave unto church-lands, as the leprosy to the Jews.

“And, to make you that are trusted with their preservation, the better to understand the danger of it, I beseech you forget not, that to prevent these curses, the Church’s land and power have been also endeavoured to be preserved (as far as human reason, and the law of this nation, have been able to preserve them) by an immediate and most sacred obligation on the consciences of the princes of this realm. For they that consult Magna Charta5 shall find, that as all your predecessors were at their coronation, so you also were sworn before all the nobility and bishops then present, and in the presence of God, and in his stead to him that anointed you, ‘to maintain the church-lands, and the rights belonging to it;’ and this you yourself have testified openly to God at the holy altar, by laying your hands on the Bible then lying upon it. And not only Magna Charta, but many modern statutes have denounced a curse upon those that break Magna Charta: a curse like the leprosy, that was entailed on the Jews6; for as that, so these curses have and will cleave to the very stones of those buildings that have been consecrated to God; and the father’s sin of sacrilege hath and will prove to be entailed on his son and family. And now, madam, what account can be given for the breach of this oath at the last great Edition: current; Page: [43] day, either by your majesty, or by me, if it be wilfully, or but negligently violated, I know not.

“And therefore, good madam, let not the late lord’s exceptions against the failings of some few clergymen prevail with you to punish posterity for the errors of this present age; let particular men suffer for their particular errors, but let God and his Church have their inheritance: and though I pretend not to prophecy, yet I beg posterity to take notice of what is already become visible in many families; that church-land added to an ancient and just inheritance, hath proved like a moth fretting a garment, and secretly consumed both; or like the eagle that stole a coal from the altar, and thereby set her nest on fire, which consumed both her young eagles and herself that stole it1.

“And, though I shall forbear to speak reproachfully of your father; yet I beg you to take notice, that a part of the Church’s rights, added to the vast treasure left him by his father, hath been conceived to bring an unavoidable consumption upon both, notwithstanding all his diligence to preserve them. And consider that after the violation of those laws, to which he had sworn in Magna Charta, God did so far deny him his restraining grace, that as king Saul after he was forsaken of God fell from one sin to another; so he, till at last he fell into greater sins than I am willing to mention. Madam, religion is the foundation and cement of human societies: and when they that serve at God’s altar shall be exposed to poverty, then religion itself will be exposed to scorn, and become contemptible; as you may already observe it to be in too many poor vicarages in this nation. And therefore, as you are by a late act or acts of parliament entrusted with a great power to preserve or waste the Church’s lands; yet dispose of them for Jesus’ sake, as you have promised to men, and vowed to God; that is, as the donors intended; let neither falsehood nor flattery beguile you to do otherwise: but put a stop to God’s and the Levite’s portion, I beseech you, and to the approaching ruins of His Church, as you expect comfort at the last great day; for, Kings must be judged. Pardon Edition: current; Page: [44] this affectionate plainness, my most dear sovereign, and let me beg to be still continued in your favour, and the Lord still continue you in his.”

The Queen’s patient hearing this affectionate speech, and her future care to preserve the Church’s rights, which till then had been neglected, may appear a fair testimony, that he made her’s and the Church’s good the chiefest of his cares, and that she also thought so. And of this there were such daily testimonies given, as begat betwixt them so mutual a joy and confidence, that they seemed born to believe and do good to each other: she not doubting his piety to be more than all his opposers, which were many; nor doubting his prudence to be equal to the chiefest of her council, who were then as remarkable for active wisdom, as those dangerous times did require, or this nation did ever enjoy. And in this condition he continued twenty years1, in which time he saw some flowings, but many more ebbings of her favour towards all men that had opposed him, especially the Earl of Leicester: so that God seemed still to keep him in her favour, that he might preserve the remaining church-lands and immunities from sacrilegious alienations. And this good man deserved all the honour and power with which she gratified and trusted him; for he was a pious man, and naturally of noble and grateful principles: he eased her of all her church cares by his wise menage of them; he gave her faithful and prudent counsels in all the extremities and dangers of her temporal affairs, which were very many; he lived to be the chief comfort of her life in her declining age, and to be then most frequently with her, and her assistant at her private devotions; he lived to be the greatest comfort of her soul upon her death-bed, to be present at the expiration of her last breath, and to behold the closing of those eyes that had long looked upon him with reverence and affection. And let this also be added, that he was the chief mourner at her sad funeral; nor let this be forgotten, that within a few hours after her death, he was the happy proclaimer, that King James (her peaceful successor) was heir to the crown.

Edition: current; Page: [45]

Let me beg of my reader, that he allow me to say a little, and but a little, more of this good bishop, and I shall then presently lead him back to Mr. Hooker; and, because I would hasten, I will mention but one part of the bishop’s charity and humility; but this of both1: he built a large almshouse near to his own palace at Croyden in Surrey, and endowed it with maintenance for a master and twenty-eight poor men and women; which he visited so often, that he knew their names and dispositions; and was so truly humble, that he called them Brothers and Sisters: and whensoever the Queen descended to that lowliness to dine with him at his palace in Lambeth, (which was very often,) he would usually the next day shew the like lowliness to his poor brothers and sisters at Croyden, and dine with them at his hospital; at which time, you may believe, there was joy at the table. And at this place he built also a fair free-school, with a good accommodation and maintenance for the master and scholars; which gave just occasion for Boyse Sisi2, then ambassador for the French king, and resident here, at the bishop’s death, to say, “The bishop had published many learned books; but a free-school to train up youth, and an hospital to lodge and maintain aged and poor people, were the best evidences of Christian learning that a bishop could leave to posterity.” This good bishop lived to see King James settled in peace, and then fell into an extreme sickness at his palace in Lambeth3; of which when the King had notice, he went presently to visit him, and found him in his bed in a declining condition, and very weak; and after some short discourse betwixt them, the King at his departure assured him, “He had a great affection for him, and a very high value for his prudence and virtues, and would endeavour to beg his life of God for the good of his Church.” To which the good bishop replied, Pro ecclesia Dei, Pro ecclesia Dei: which were the last words he ever spake; therein testifying, Edition: current; Page: [46] that as in his life, so at his death, his chiefest care was of God’s Church.

This John Whitgift was made archbishop in the year 1583. In which busy place he continued twenty years and some months; and in which time, you may believe, he had many trials of his courage and patience; but his motto was, Vincit qui patitur: and he made it good.

Many of his many trials were occasioned by the then powerful Earl of Leicester, who did still (but secretly) raise and cherish a faction of Nonconformists to oppose him; especially one Thomas Cartwright, a man of noted learning; some time contemporary with the bishop in Cambridge, and of the same college, of which the bishop had been master: in which place there began some emulations, (the particulars I forbear1,) and at last, open and high oppositions betwixt them; and in which you may believe Mr. Cartwright was most faulty, if his expulsion out of the university can incline you to it.

And in this discontent2 after the earl’s death (which was 1588,) Mr. Cartwright appeared a chief cherisher of a party that were for the Geneva church-government; and, to effect it, he ran himself into many dangers both of liberty and life; appearing at the last to justify himself and his party in many remonstrances, which he caused to be printed, and Edition: current; Page: [47] to which the bishop made a first answer, and Cartwright replied upon him: and then the bishop having rejoined to his first reply, Mr. Cartwright either was, or was persuaded to be, satisfied: for he wrote no more1, but left the reader to be judge which had maintained their cause with most charity and reason. After some silence, Mr. Cartwright received from the bishop many personal favours, and betook himself to a more private living, which was at Warwick, where he was made master of an hospital, and lived quietly, and grew rich2; and where the bishop gave him a license to preach, upon promise not to meddle with controversies, but incline his hearers to piety and moderation: and this promise he kept during his life, which ended 1602, the bishop surviving him but some few months, each ending his days in perfect charity with the other.

J. S.[It is true, the archbishop treated Cartwright with such civility as gained much upon him, and made him declare unto his patron, the Earl of Leicester, how much the archbishop’s humane carriage had endeared him to him; and withal shewed his desire that he might have liberty sometimes to have access to him; professing that he would seek to persuade all with whom he had concern and converse, to keep up an union with the church of England. This, I say, is certain; but it is not so certain, that the archbishop gave Cartwright a license to preach. It appears, that in the year 1585 he refused to grant it him, however solicited by Leicester’s Edition: current; Page: [48] own letter to do it; and notwithstanding Cartwright’s promises, he required more space of time to be satisfied of his conformity. For the elucidation whereof, and some further light into this matter, let both these letters be read and considered; the former of the earl to the archbishop; the latter of the archbishop to the earl.

Rob. Leicester
Leicester, Rob.
14th of July
Archbishop Whitgift
Whitgift, Archbishop
“My good Lord,

The Earl of Leicester to the Archbishop concerning Mr. Cartwright.“I most heartily thank you for your favourable and courteous usage of Mr. Cartwright, who hath so exceeding kindly taken it also, as, I assure your Grace, he cannot speak enough of it. I trust it shall do a great deal of good. And he protesteth and professeth to me, to take no other course, but to the drawing of all men to the unity of the Church: and that your Grace hath so dealt with him, as no man shall so command him, and dispose of him, as you shall: and doth mean to let this opinion publicly be known, even in the pulpit, (if your Grace so permit him,) what he himself will, and would all others should do, for obedience to the laws established. And if any little scruple be, it is not great, and easy to be reformed by your Grace; whom I do most heartily entreat to continue your favour and countenance towards him, with such access sometimes as your leisure may permit. For I perceive he doth much desire and crave it, &c. Thus, my good lord, praying to God to bless his Church, and to make his servants constant and faithful, I bid your Grace farewell.

“Your Grace’s very assured friend,
Rob. Leicester.

To which letter the archbishop returned this answer:

Archbishop Whitgift
Whitgift, Archbishop
Rob. Leicester
Leicester, Rob.
“My singular good Lord,

The Archbishop to the Earl.“Mr. Cartwright shall be welcome to me at all times, and using himself quietly, as becomes him, and as I hope he will, he shall find me willing to do him any good: but to grant unto him, as yet, my license to preach, without longer trial, I cannot; especially seeing he protesteth Edition: current; Page: [49] himself to be of the same mind he was at the writing of his book, for the matter thereof, though not for the manner; myself also, I thank God, not altered in any point by me set down to the contrary; and knowing many things [in his book] to be very dangerous. Wherefore, notwithstanding I am content and ready to be at peace with him, so long as he liveth peaceably; yet doth my conscience and duty forbid me to give unto him any further public approbation, until I be better persuaded of his conformity. And so being bold to use my accustomed plainness with your good lordship, I commit you to the tuition of Almighty God; this 17th of July, 1585.”]

And now after this long digression made for the information of my reader concerning what follows, I bring him back to venerable Mr. Hooker, where we left him in the Temple; and where we shall find him as deeply engaged in a controversy with Walter Travers1, a friend and favourite of Mr. Cartwright’s, as the bishop had ever been with Mr. Cartwright himself; and of which I shall proceed to give this following account.

And first this; that though the pens of Mr. Cartwright and the bishop were now at rest2, yet there was sprung up a new generation of restless men, that by company and clamours became possest of a faith which they ought to have kept to themselves, but could not: men that were become positive in asserting, “that a Papist cannot be saved:” insomuch, that about this time, at the execution of the Queen of Scots3, the bishop that preached her funeral sermon (which was Dr. Howland4, then Bishop of Peterborough) was reviled for not being positive for her damnation. And besides this boldness Edition: current; Page: [50] of their becoming gods, so far as to set limits to His mercies; there was not only one Martin Mar-prelate1, but other venomous books daily printed and dispersed; books that were so absurd and scurrilous, that the graver divines disdained them an answer. And yet these were grown into high esteem with the common people, till Tom Nash appeared against them all; who was a man of a sharp wit, and the master of a scoffing satirical merry pen, which he employed to discover the absurdities of those blind, malicious, senseless pamphlets, and sermons as senseless as they; Nash his answers being like his books2, which bore these titles, An Almond for a Parrot3, A Fig for my God-son, Come crack me this Nut, and the like: so that his merry wit made some sport, and such a discovery of their absurdities, as Edition: current; Page: [51] (which is strange) he put a greater stop to these malicious pamphlets, than a much wiser man had been able1.

And now the reader is to take notice, that at the death of Father Alvie, who was master of the Temple, this Walter Travers was lecturer there for the evening sermons2, which he preached with great approbation, especially of some citizens, and the younger gentlemen of that society; and for the most part approved by Mr. Hooker himself, in the midst of their oppositions: for he continued lecturer a part of his time: Mr. Travers being indeed a man of competent learning, of winning behaviour, and of a blameless life. But he had taken orders by the presbytery in Antwerp3, (and with them some opinions, that could never be eradicated,) and if in any thing he was transported, it was in an extreme desire to set up that government in this nation: for the promoting of which he had a correspondence with Theodore Beza at Geneva4, and others in Scotland5; and was one of the chiefest assistants to Mr. Cartwright in that design.

Mr. Travers had also a particular hope to set up this government in the Temple, and to that end used his most Edition: current; Page: [52] zealous endeavours to be master of it; and his being disappointed by Mr. Hooker’s admittance, proved the occasion of a public opposition betwixt them in their sermons. Many of which were concerning the doctrine and ceremonies of this church: insomuch that as St. Paul withstood St. Peter to his face, so did they withstand each other in their sermons; for as one hath pleasantly exprest it, “The forenoon sermon spake Canterbury, and the afternoon, Geneva1.”

In these sermons there was little of bitterness, but each party brought all the reasons he was able, to prove his adversary’s opinion erroneous. And thus it continued a long time, till the oppositions became so visible, and the consequences so dangerous, especially in that place, that the prudent archbishop put a stop to Mr. Travers his preaching by a positive prohibition; [and that chiefly because of his foreign ordination2:] against which Mr. Travers appealed, and petitioned her Majesty’s Privy Council to have it recalled, where besides his patron the Earl of Leicester3, he met also with many assisting friends; but they were not able to prevail with or against the archbishop, whom the Queen had entrusted with all church-power; and he had received so fair a testimony of Mr. Hooker’s principles, and of his learning and moderation, that he withstood all solicitations.

But the denying this petition of Mr. Travers was unpleasant to divers of his party, and the reasonableness of it became at last to be so publicly magnified by them and many others of that party, as never to be answered: so that, intending the bishop’s and Mr. Hooker’s disgrace, they procured it to be privately printed4, and scattered abroad; and then Mr. Hooker was forced to appear and make as public an answer: which Edition: current; Page: [53] he did, and dedicated it to the archbishop; and it proved so full an answer, an answer that had in it so much of clear reason, and writ with so much meekness and majesty of style, that the bishop began to have him in admiration1, and to rejoice that he had appeared in his cause, and disdained not earnestly to beg his friendship, even a familiar friendship, with a man of so much quiet learning and humility2.

To enumerate the many particular points, in which Mr. Hooker and Mr. Travers dissented, (all or most of which I have seen written,) would prove at least tedious: and therefore I shall impose upon my reader no more than two, which shall immediately follow, and by which he may judge of the rest.

Mr. Travers excepted against Mr. Hooker, for that in one of his sermons he declared, “That the assurance of what we believe by the word of God is not to us so certain as that which we perceive by sense.” And Mr. Hooker confesseth he said so, and endeavours to justify it by the reasons following3:

“First, I taught, that the things which God promises in his word are surer than what we touch, handle, or see: but are we so sure and certain of them? If we be, why doth God so often prove his promises to us as he doth, by arguments drawn from our sensible experience? For we must be surer of the proof, than of the things proved; otherwise it is no proof. For example, how is it that many men looking on the moon at the same time, every one knoweth it to be the moon as certainly as the other doth? But many believing one and the same promise, have not all the same fulness of persuasion. For how falleth it out, that men being assured of any thing by sense, can be no surer of it than they are; when as the strongest in faith that liveth upon the earth hath always need to labour, strive, and pray, that his assurance concerning heavenly and spiritual things may grow, increase, and be augmented?”

Edition: current; Page: [54]

The sermon1 that gave him the cause of this his justification, makes the case more plain, by declaring, “that there is besides this certainty of evidence, a certainty of adherence.” In which, having most excellently demonstrated what the certainty of adherence is, he makes this comfortable use of it: “Comfortable (he says) as to weak believers, who suppose themselves to be faithless, not to believe, when notwithstanding they have their adherence; the Holy Spirit hath his private operations, and worketh secretly in them, and effectually too, though they want the inward testimony of it.”

Tell this, saith he, to a man that hath a mind too much dejected by a sad sense of his sin; to one that by a too severe judging of himself, concludes that he wants faith, because he wants the comfortable assurance of it; and his answer will be, “Do not persuade me, against my knowledge, against what I find and feel in myself: I do not, I know I do not, believe.” Mr. Hooker’s own words follow: “Well then, to favour such men a little in their weakness, let that be granted which they do imagine; be it, that they adhere not to God’s promises, but are faithless, and without belief: but are they not grieved for their unbelief? They confess they are. Do they not wish it might, and also strive that it may be otherwise? We know they do. Whence cometh this, but from a secret love and liking that they have of those things believed? For no man can love those things which in his own opinion are not; and if they think those things to be, which they shew they love, when they desire to believe them; then must it be, that by desiring to believe, they prove themselves true believers: for without faith no man thinketh that things believed are: which argument all the subtilties of infernal powers will never be able to dissolve.” This is an abridgment of part of the reasons Mr. Hooker gives for his justification of this his opinion, for which he was excepted against by Mr. Travers.

Mr. Hooker was also accused by Mr. Travers, for that he in one of his sermons2 had declared, “That he doubted not Edition: current; Page: [55] but that God was merciful to many of our forefathers living in popish superstition, forasmuch as they sinned ignorantly:” and Mr. Hooker in his answer professeth it to be his judgment, and declares his reasons for this charitable opinion to be as followeth.

But first1 [because Travers’s argument against this charitable opinion of Hooker was, that they could not be saved, because they sought to be justified by the merit of their works, and so overthrow the foundation of faith] he states the question about justification and works, and how the foundation of faith without works is overthrown; and then he proceeds to discover that way which natural men and some others have mistaken to be the way, by which they hope to attain true and everlasting happiness: and having discovered the mistaken, he proceeds to direct to that true way, by which, and no other, everlasting life and blessedness is attainable. And these two ways he demonstrates thus (they be his own words that follow): “That, the way of nature; this, the way of grace: the end of that way, salvation merited, presupposing the righteousness of men’s works; their righteousness, a natural ability to do them; that ability, the goodness of God which created them in such perfection. But the end of this way, salvation bestowed upon men as a gift: presupposing not their righteousness, but the forgiveness of their unrighteousness, justification; their justification, not their natural ability to do good, but their hearty sorrow for not doing, and unfeigned belief in Him, for whose sake not doers are accepted, which is their vocation; their vocation, the election of God, taking them out of the number of lost children; their election, a Mediator in whom to be elected; this mediation inexplicable mercy; this mercy supposing their misery for whom he vouchsafed to die, and make himself a Mediator.”

And he also declareth, “there is no meritorious cause for our justification but Christ; no effectual, but His mercy;” and says also, “we deny the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, we abuse, disannul, and annihilate the benefit of His passion, if by a proud imagination we believe we can merit everlasting life, or can be worthy of it.” This belief (he Edition: current; Page: [56] declareth) is to destroy the very essence of our justification, and he makes all opinions that border upon this to be very dangerous. “Yet nevertheless” (and for this he was accused) “considering how many virtuous and just men, how many saints and martyrs, have had their dangerous opinions, amongst which this was one, that they hoped to make God some part of amends, by voluntary punishments which they laid upon themselves: because by [of?] this, or the like erroneous opinions which do by consequence overthrow the merits of Christ, shall man be so bold as to write on their graves, ‘Such men are damned, there is for them no salvation!’ St. Austin says, Errare possum, hæreticus esse nolo. And except we put a difference betwixt them that err ignorantly, and them that obstinately persist in it, how is it possible that any man should hope to be saved? Give me a Pope or a Cardinal, whom great afflictions have made to know himself; whose heart God hath touched with true sorrow for all his sins, and filled with a love of Christ and his Gospel; whose eyes are willingly open to see the truth, and his mouth ready to renounce all error, this one opinion of merit excepted, which he thinketh God will require at his hands; and because he wanteth, trembleth, and is discouraged, and yet can say, ‘Lord, cleanse me from all my secret sins!’ shall I think, because of this, or a like error, such men touch not so much as the hem of Christ’s garment? If they do, wherefore should I doubt but that virtue may proceed from Christ to save them? No, I will not be afraid to say to such a one, ‘You err in your opinion, but be of good comfort, you have to do with a merciful God, who will make the best of that little which you hold well, and not with a captious sophister, who gathereth the worst out of every thing in which you are mistaken.’

“But it will be said, (says Mr. Hooker,) ‘The admittance of merit in any degree, overthroweth the foundation, excludeth from the hope of mercy, from all possibility of salvation.’ ” (And now Mr. Hooker’s own words follow.)

“What, though they hold the truth sincerely in all other parts of Christian faith; although they have in some measure all the virtues and graces of the Spirit; although Edition: current; Page: [57] they have all other tokens of God’s children in them; although they be far from having any proud opinion that they shall be saved by the worthiness of their deeds; although the only thing that troubleth and molesteth them be a little too much dejection, somewhat too great a fear arising from an erroneous conceit, that God will require a worthiness in them, which they are grieved to find wanting in themselves? although they be not obstinate in this opinion? although they be willing and would be glad to forsake it, if any one reason were brought sufficient to disprove it? although the only cause why they do not forsake it ere they die, be their ignorance of that means by which it might be disproved? although the cause why the ignorance in this point is not removed, be the want of knowledge in such as should be able, and are not, to remove it? Let me die (says Mr. Hooker) if it be ever proved, that simply an error doth exclude a Pope or Cardinal in such a case utterly from hope of life. Surely I must confess, that if it be an error to think that God may be merciful to save men even when they err, my greatest comfort is my error: were it not for the love I bear to this error, I would never wish to speak or to live.”

I was willing to take notice of these two points, as supposing them to be very material; and that as they are thus contracted, they may prove useful to my reader; as also, for that the answers be arguments of Mr. Hooker’s great and clear reason, and equal charity. Other exceptions were also made against him by Mr. Travers, as, “That he prayed before and not after his sermons; that in his prayers he named bishops; that he kneeled both when he prayed and when he received the Sacrament; and” (says Mr. Hooker in his defence) “other exceptions so like these, as but to name, I should have thought a greater fault than to commit them.”

And it is not unworthy the noting, that in the manage of so great a controversy, a sharper reproof than this, and one like it, did never fall from the happy pen of this humble man. That like it was upon a like occasion of exceptions, to which his answer was, “Your next argument consists of railing and of reasons: to your railing, I say nothing; to Edition: current; Page: [58] your reasons, I say what follows1.” And I am glad of this fair occasion, to testify the dovelike temper of this meek, this matchless man; and doubtless, if Almighty God had blessed the dissenters from the ceremonies and discipline of this church with a like measure of wisdom and humility, instead of their pertinacious zeal; then, Obedience and Truth had kissed each other; then peace and piety had flourished in our nation, and this church and state had been blessed like “Jerusalem that is at unity with itself;” but this can never be expected, till God shall bless the common people of this nation with a belief “That schism is a sin, and, they not fit to judge what is schism:” and bless them also with a belief, “that there may be offences taken, which are not given;” and, “that laws are not made for private men to dispute, but to obey.”

J. S. The articles of false doctrines objected by Travers to Hooker.[Before we pass from these unhappy disceptations between Hooker and Travers, as we have heard two articles of pretended false doctrine objected by the one to the other, so it is pity the rest should be wholly lost, and for ever buried in silence: therefore, for the making this considerable part of the reverend man’s life and history complete, and to retrieve whatsoever may be gotten of the pen and mind of so learned and judicious a person, take this further account, not only of two, but of all the articles that his before-mentioned adversary had marshalled up against him, collected from a sermon or sermons he had heard him preach at the Temple: together with his endeavoured confutation of them; and likewise Hooker’s own vindication of himself to each of these articles. These articles seem to have been delivered by Travers to the Lord Treasurer. The same lord delivered them to Hooker to consider of, and to make his reply to. And of these articles the archbishop also was privy, and briefly declared his judgment and determination of them. I shall set all down exactly from an authentic manuscript.

Edition: current; Page: [59]

Doctrines delivered by Mr. Hooker, as they were set down and shewed by Mr. Travers, Mar. 30, 1585, under this title1;

A short Note of sundry unsound Points of Doctrine at divers times delivered by Mr. Hooker in his public Sermons.

1. The church of Rome is a true church of Christ, and a church sanctified by profession of that truth, which God had revealed unto us by his Son, though not a pure and perfect church.

2. The fathers which lived and died in Popish superstition were saved, because they sinned ignorantly.

3. They which are of the church of Rome may be saved by such a faith as they have in Christ, and a general repentance of all their sins.

4. The church of Rome holdeth all men sinners, even the Blessed Virgin, though some of them think otherwise of her.

5. The church of Rome teacheth Christ’s righteousness to be the only meritorious cause of taking away sin.

6. The Galatians which joined with faith in Christ, circumcision, as necessary unto salvation, notwithstanding be saved.

7. Neither the church of Rome, nor the Galatians, deny the foundation directly, but only by consequent: and therefore may be saved. Or else neither the Lutherans, nor whosoever hold any error (for every error by consequent denieth the foundation), may be saved.

Edition: current; Page: [60]

8. An additament taketh not away that whereunto it is added, but confirmeth it. As he that saith of any, that he is a righteous man, saith, that he is a man: except it be privative; as when he saith, he is a dead man, then he denieth him to be a man: and of this sort of [privative] additaments neither are works, which are added to Christ by the Church of Rome; nor circumcision, added to him by the Galatians.

9. The Galatians’ case is harder than the case of the church of Rome; for they added to Christ circumcision, which God had forbidden and abolished: but that which the church of Rome addeth, are works which God hath commanded.

10. No one sequel urged by the Apostle against the Galatians, for joining circumcision with Christ, but may be as well enforced against the Lutherans holding ubiquity.

11. A bishop or cardinal of the church of Rome, yea, the Pope himself, denying all other errors of popery, notwithstanding his opinion of justification by works, may be saved.

12. Predestination is not of the absolute will of God, but conditional.

13. The doings of the wicked are not of the will of God positive, but only permissive.

14. The reprobates are not rejected, but for the evil works which God did foresee they would commit.

15. The assurance of things which we believe by the Word, is not so sure, as of those which we perceive by sense.

Here follows an Account, given in by Mr. Hooker himself, of what he preached, March 28, 15851. And then of what Travers in his Lectures excepted thereunto. And lastly, of Hooker’s Reply and Vindication of himself and his Sermons.

Hooker’s own relation of his assertions, and vindication of them against Travers.“I doubted not but that God was merciful to thousands of our fathers, which lived in popish superstition: for that they sinned ignorantly. But we have the light of the truth.

Edition: current; Page: [61]

1“Which doctrine was withstood, because we are commanded to depart out of Babylon, else we should be partakers of those plagues there denounced against such as repent not of their superstitions: which they cannot who know them not.

“I answered, that there were thousands in our days who hate sin, desiring to walk according to the will of God; and yet committing sin which they know not to be sin. I think, that they that desire forgiveness of secret sins, which they know not to be sins, and that are sorry for sins, that they know not to be sins, [such] do repent.

“It is replied, that without faith there is no repentance. Our fathers in desiring mercy did but as divers pagans; and had no true repentance.

“They thought they could not be saved by Christ without works, as the Galatians did: and so they denied the foundation of faith.

“I answered, although the proposition were true, that he who thinketh he cannot be saved by Christ without works, overthroweth the foundation; yet we may persuade ourselves that our forefathers might be saved. 1. Because many of them were ignorant of the dogmatical positions of the church of Rome. 2. Albeit they had divers positions of that church, yet it followeth not that they had this. 3. Although they did generally hold this position, yet God might be merciful unto them. No exception hath been taken against any one of these assertions. 4. I add, that albeit all those, of whom we speak, did not only hold this generally, but as the scholars of Rome hold this position now, of joining works with Christ; whether doth that position overthrow the foundation directly, or only by consequence? If it doth overthrow the foundation directly, &c. Edition: current; Page: [62] To make all plain, these points are to be handled. First, what is meant by the foundation. Secondly, what it is to deny the foundation directly. Thirdly, whether the elect may be so deceived, that they may come to this, to deny the foundation directly. Fourthly, whether the Galatians did directly deny it. Fifthly, whether the church of Rome, by joining works with Christ in the matter of salvation, do directly deny it.

I. To the first I answer: “The foundation is, that which Peter, Nathaniel, and the Samaritans confessed; and that which the Apostles expressly [affirm,] Acts iv. [12.] ‘There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.’ It is, in fine, this, Salvation is by Christ only. This word only, what doth it exclude? [As when we say,] ‘This judge shall only determine this matter:’ this only doth not exclude all other things, besides the person of the judge; as, necessary witnesses, the equity of the cause, &c. but all persons: and not all persons from being present, but from determining the cause. So when we say, ‘Salvation only is by Christ,’ we do not exclude all other things. For then how could we say, that faith were necessary? We exclude therefore not those means whereby the benefits of Christ are applied to us; but all other persons, for working any thing for our redemption.

“II. To the second point: We are said to deny the foundation directly, when plainly and expressly we deny that Christ only doth save. By consequence we deny the foundation, when any such thing is defended, whereby it may be inferred, that Christ doth not only save.

“III. To the third: The elect of God cannot so err that they should deny directly the foundation: for that Christ doth keep them from that extremity: and there is no salvation to such as deny the foundation directly. Therefore it is said, that they ‘shall worship the beast, whose names are not found in the book of life.’ Antichrist may prevail much against them [viz. the elect], and they may receive the sign of the beast in the same degree, but not so that they should directly deny the foundation.

“IV. To the fourth: Albeit the Galatians fell into error; but not so that they lost salvation. If they had died before Edition: current; Page: [63] they had known the doctrine of Paul, being before deceived by those that they thought did teach the truth: what do you think? should they have been damned? This we are taught, that such errors [as are damning] shall not take hold, but on those that love not the truth. The Galatians had embraced the truth; and for it had suffered many things, &c. There came among them seducers that required circumcision. They being moved with a religious fear, thought it to be the word of God, that they should be circumcised. The best of them might be brought into that opinion; and dying before they could be otherwise instructed, they may not for that be excluded from salvation. Circumcision being joined with Christ doth only by consequence overthrow the foundation. To hold the foundation by an additament is not to deny the foundation; unless the additament be a privative. He is a just man, therefore a man: but this followeth not; he is a dead man, therefore he is a man. In the 15th chapter of the Acts they are called credentes [i. e. such as believed] that taught the necessity of circumcision. That name could not have been given unto them, if directly they had denied the foundation. That which the Apostle doth urge against the Galatians, in respect of circumcision, may be urged against the Lutherans in respect of their consubstantiation. [But they do not directly deny the foundation.] So neither did the Galatians directly deny it.

“V. Lastly: Whether doth the church of Rome directly deny the foundation, by joining Christ and works? There is a difference between the papists and the Galatians: for circumcision, which the Galatians joined with Christ, was forbidden, and taken away by Christ. But works are commanded, which the church of Rome doth join with Christ. So that there is greater repugnancy to join circumcision with Christ, than to join works with him. But let them be equal. As the Galatians only by consequent denied the foundation, so do the Papists. (Zanchy, Calvin, Mornay; I need not go so far as some of these.)1 But Edition: current; Page: [64] this I think, if the Pope, or any of the Cardinals, should forsake all other their corruptions, and yield up their souls, holding the foundation again but by a slender thread, and did but as it were touch the hem of Christ’s garment, believing that which the Church of Rome doth in this point of doctrine, they may obtain mercy. For they have to deal with God, who is no captious sophister, and will not examine them in quiddities, but accept them if they plainly hold the foundation.

“This error is my only comfort as touching the salvation of our fathers. I follow Mr. Martyr. I know Ignorantia non excusat in toto, but in tanto. It maketh not a fault to be no fault, but that which is a fault to be a less one.”

The Archbishop’s judgment of those controversies.At length, thus did the Archbishop of Canterbury discreetly and warily correct and moderate these articles between them both:

I. “Papists living and dying Papists may notwithstanding be saved. The reason; ignorance excused them. As the apostle allegeth, 1 Tim. i. 13. ‘I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly.’

The Archbishop’s Judgment.

“Not Papists, but our fathers. Nor they all, but many of them. Nor living and dying Papists, but living in popish superstitions. Nor simply might, but might by the mercy of God, be saved. Ignorance did not excuse the fault to make it no fault: but the less their fault was, in respect of ignorance, the more hope we have, that God was merciful to them.”

II. “Papists hold the foundation of faith: so that they may be saved, notwithstanding their opinion of merit.”

Archbishop. “And Papists overthrow the foundation of faith, both by their doctrine of merit, and otherwise many ways. So that if they have, as their errors deserve, I do not see how they should be saved.”

III. “General repentance may serve to their salvation, though they confess not their error of merit.”

Archbishop. “General repentance will not serve any but the faithful man. Nor him, for any sin, but for such sins only as he doth not mark, nor know to be sin.”

Edition: current; Page: [65]

IV. “The Church of Rome is within the new covenant.”

Archbishop. “The Church of Rome is not as the assemblies of Turks, Jews, and Painims.”

V. “The Galatians joining the law with Christ might have been saved, before they received the Epistle.”

Archbishop. “Of the Galatians, before they were told of their error, what letteth us to think, as of our fathers, before the Church of Rome was admonished of her defection from the truth?”]

And this also may be worthy of noting, that these exceptions of Mr. Travers against Mr. Hooker proved to be felix error, for they were the cause of his transcribing those few of his sermons, which we now see printed with his books; and of his Answer to Mr. Travers his Supplication: and of his most learned and useful Discourse of Justification, of Faith and Works; and by their transcription they fell into such hands as have preserved them from being lost, as too many of his other matchless writings were; and from these I have gathered many observations in this discourse of his life.

After the publication of his Answer to the Petition of Mr. Travers, Mr. Hooker grew daily into greater repute with the most learned and wise of the nation; but it had a contrary effect in very many of the Temple that were zealous for Mr. Travers and for his Church-discipline; insomuch, that though Mr. Travers left the place1, yet the seeds of discontent could not be rooted out of that society, by the great reason, and as great meekness, of this humble man: for Edition: current; Page: [66] though the chief benchers gave him much reverence and encouragement, yet he there met with many neglects and oppositions by those of Master Travers’ judgment; insomuch that it turned to his extreme grief: and that he might unbeguile and win them, he designed to write a deliberate sober Treatise of the Church’s power to make canons for the use of ceremonies, and by law to impose an obedience to them, as upon her children; and this he proposed to do in eight books of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity; intending therein to shew such arguments as should force an assent from all men, if reason delivered in sweet language, and void of any provocation, were able to do it: and that he might prevent all prejudice, he wrote before it a large Preface or Epistle to the Dissenting Brethren, wherein there were such bowels of love, and such a commixture of that love with reason, as was never exceeded but in Holy Writ; and particularly by that of St. Paul to his dear brother and fellow-labourer Philemon: than which, none was ever more like this Epistle of Mr. Hooker’s: so that his dear friend and companion in his studies, Dr. Spenser, might after his death justly say1, “What admirable height of learning and depth of judgment dwelt in the lowly mind of this truly humble man, great in all wise men’s eyes except his own; with what gravity and majesty of speech his tongue and pen uttered heavenly mysteries; whose eyes, in the humility of his heart, were always cast down to the ground: how all things that proceeded from him were breathed as from the spirit of love; as if he, like the bird of the Holy Ghost, the Dove, had wanted gall: let those that knew him not in his person, judge by these living images of his soul, his writings.”

The foundation of these books was laid in the Temple; but he found it no fit place to finish what he had there designed; and he therefore earnestly solicited the archbishop for a remove from that place, to whom he spake to this purpose: “My Lord, when I lost the freedom of my cell, which was my college; yet, I found some degree of it in my quiet country parsonage: but I am weary of the noise and oppositions of this place, and indeed God and nature Edition: current; Page: [67] did not intend me for contentions, but for study and quietness. My Lord, my particular contests with Mr. Travers here have proved the more unpleasant to me, because I believe him to be a good man1; and that belief hath occasioned me to examine mine own conscience concerning his opinions; and, to satisfy that, I have consulted the scripture, and other laws both human and divine, whether the conscience of him and others of his judgment ought to be so far complied with as to alter our frame of Church-government, our manner of God’s worship, our praising and praying to him, and our established ceremonies, as often as his and others’ tender consciences shall require us: and, in this examination, I have not only satisfied myself, but have begun a Treatise, in which I intend2 a justification of the Laws of our Ecclesiastical Polity; in which design God and his holy Angels shall at the last great day bear me that witness which my conscience now does; that my meaning is not to provoke any, but rather to satisfy all tender consciences, and I shall never be able to do this, but where I may study, and pray for God’s blessing upon my endeavours, and keep myself in peace and privacy, and behold God’s blessing spring out of my mother Edition: current; Page: [68] earth, and eat my own bread without oppositions; and therefore, if your Grace can judge me worthy of such a favour, let me beg it, that I may perfect what I have begun.”

About this time the parsonage or rectory of Boscum, in the diocese of Sarum, and six miles from that city, became void. The Bishop of Sarum is patron of it: but in the vacancy of that see (which was three years betwixt the translation1 of Bishop Pierce to the see of York, and Bishop Caldwell’s admission into it) the disposal of that and all benefices belonging to that see during this said vacancy, came to be disposed of by the Archbishop of Canterbury; and he presented Richard Hooker to it, in the year 1591. And Richard Hooker was also in this said year instituted, July 17, to be a minor prebend of Salisbury, the corps to it being Nether-Havin2, about ten miles from that city; which prebend was of no great value, but intended chiefly to make him capable of a better preferment in that church3. In this Boscum he continued till he had finished four of his eight proposed books of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, and these were entered into the Register-book in Stationers’-hall, the 9th of Edition: current; Page: [69] March, 15921, but not published2 till the year 1594, and then were with the before-mentioned large and affectionate preface, which he directs “to them that seek (as they term it) the Reformation of the Laws and Orders Ecclesiastical in the Church of England;” of which books I shall yet say nothing more, but that he continued his laborious diligence to finish the remaining four during his life (of all which more properly hereafter) but at Boscum he finisht and publisht but only the first four, being then in the thirty-ninth year of his age.

He left Boscum in the year 1595, by a surrender of it into the hands of Bishop Caldwell, and he presented Benjamin Russel, who was instituted into it the 23d of June in the same year.

The parsonage of Bishopsborne in Kent, three miles from Canterbury, is in that archbishop’s gift; but, in the latter end of the year 1594, Dr. William Redman the rector of it was made Bishop of Norwich3; by which means the power of presenting to it was pro ea vice in the Queen; and she presented Richard Hooker, whom she loved well, to this good living of Borne the 7th of July, 1595, in which living he Edition: current; Page: [70] continued till his death, without any addition of dignity or profit1.

And now having brought our Richard Hooker, from his birthplace to this where he found a grave, I shall only give some account of his books, and of his behaviour in this parsonage of Borne, and then give a rest both to myself and my reader.

His first four Books and large Epistle have been declared to be printed at his being at Boscum, anno 1594. Next, I am to tell, that at the end of these four Books, there was when he first printed them this Advertisement to the Reader: “I have for some causes thought it at this time more fit to let go these first four Books by themselves, than to stay both them and the rest, till the whole might together be published. Such generalities of the cause in question as are here handled, it will be perhaps not amiss to consider apart, by way of introduction unto the books that are to follow concerning particulars; in the mean time the reader is requested to mend the printer’s errors, as noted underneath.”

And I am next to declare, that his fifth Book (which is larger than his first four) was first also printed by itself anno 1597, and dedicated to his patron (for till then he chose none) the archbishop. These Books were read with an admiration of their excellency in this, and their just fame spread itself also into foreign nations. And I have been told more than forty years past, that either Cardinal Allen, or learned Dr. Stapleton2 (both Englishmen, and in Italy Edition: current; Page: [71] about the time when Hooker’s four Books were first printed) meeting with this general fame of them, were desirous to read an author that both the reformed and the learned of their own Romish Church did so much magnify, and therefore caused them to be sent for to Rome; and after reading them, boasted to the Pope, (which then was Clement the Eighth,) “That though he had lately said he never met with an English book whose writer deserved the name of an author; yet there now appeared a wonder to them, and it would be so to his Holiness, if it were in Latin; for a poor obscure English priest had writ four such Books of Laws and Church-Polity, and in a style that expressed such a grave and so humble a majesty, with such clear demonstration of reason, that in all their readings they had not met with any that exceeded him;” and this begot in the Pope an earnest desire that Dr. Stapleton should bring the said four books, and looking on the English read a part of them to him in Latin; which Dr. Stapleton did, to the end of the first book; at the conclusion of which, the Pope spake to this purpose: “There is no learning that this man hath not searcht into; nothing too hard for his understanding: this man indeed deserves the name of an author; his books will get reverence by age, for there is in them such seeds of eternity, that if the rest be like this, they shall last till the last fire shall consume all learning.”

Nor was this high, the only testimony and commendations given to his Books; for at the first coming of King James into this kingdom, he inquired of the Archbishop Whitgift for his friend Mr. Hooker that writ the Books of Church-Polity; to which the answer was, that he died a year before Queen Elizabeth, who received the sad news of his death with very much sorrow: to which the King replied, “And I receive it with no less, that I shall want the desired happiness of seeing and discoursing with that man, from whose Books I have received such satisfaction: indeed, my Lord, I have received more satisfaction in reading a leaf, or paragraph, in Mr. Hooker, though it were but about the fashion of Churches, or Church-musick, or the like, but especially of the Sacraments, than I have had in the reading particular large treatises written but of one of Edition: current; Page: [72] those subjects by others, though very learned men; and, I observe there is in Mr. Hooker no affected language1; but a grave, comprehensive, clear manifestation of reason; and that backed with the authority of the Scripture, the fathers and schoolmen, and with all law both sacred and civil. And though many others write well, yet in the next age they will be forgotten; but doubtless there is in every page of Mr. Hooker’s book the picture of a divine soul, such pictures of Truth and Reason, and drawn in so sacred colours, that they shall never fade, but give an immortal memory to the author.” And it is so truly true, that the king thought what he spake, that as the most learned of the nation have and still do mention Mr. Hooker with reverence; so he also did never mention him but with the epithet of learned, or judicious, or reverend, or venerable Mr. Hooker.

Nor did his son, our late King Charles the First, ever Edition: current; Page: [73] mention him but with the same reverence, enjoining his son1, our now gracious King, to be studious in Mr. Hooker’s books. And our learned antiquary Mr. Camden2 mentioning the death, the modesty, and other virtues of Mr. Hooker, and magnifying his books, wisht “that for the honour of this, and benefit of other nations, they were turned into the universal language.” Which work, though undertaken by many, yet they have been weary, and forsaken it; but the reader may now expect it, having been long since begun, and lately finisht by the happy pen of Dr. Earl, now Lord Bishop of Salisbury, of whom I may justly say, (and let it not offend him, because it is such a truth as ought not to be concealed from posterity, or those that now live, and yet know him not,) that since Mr. Hooker died, none have lived whom God hath blessed with more innocent wisdom, more sanctified learning, or a more pious, peaceable, primitive temper: so that this excellent person seems to be only like himself, and our venerable Richard Hooker; and only fit to make the learned of all nations happy, in knowing what hath been too long confined to the language of our little island3.

Edition: current; Page: [74]

There might be many more and just occasions taken to speak of his books, which none ever did or can commend too much; but I decline them, and hasten to an account of his Christian behaviour and death at Borne; in which place he continued his customary rules of mortification and self-denial; was much in fasting, frequent in meditation and prayers, enjoying those blessed returns, which only men of strict lives feel and know, and of which men of loose and godless lives cannot be made sensible; for, spiritual things are spiritually discerned.

At his entrance into this place, his friendship was much sought for by Dr. Hadrian Saravia, then or about that time made one of the prebends of Canterbury, a German by birth1, and sometimes a pastor both in Flanders and Holland2, where he had studied and well considered the controverted points concerning episcopacy and sacrilege, and in England had a just occasion to declare his judgment concerning both, unto his brethren ministers in the Low Countries; which was excepted against by Theodore Beza and others3; against whose exceptions, he rejoined4, and thereby became the happy author of many learned tracts writ in Latin; especially of three; one of the Degrees of Ministers, and of Edition: current; Page: [75] the Bishop’s Superiority above the Presbytery; a second against Sacrilege; and a third of Christian Obedience to Princes; the last being occasioned by Gretzerus the Jesuit1. And it is observable, that when in a time of church-tumults, Beza gave his reasons to the Chancellor of Scotland for the abrogation of episcopacy in that nation, partly by letters, and more fully in a treatise of a threefold episcopacy, (which he calls divine, human, and Satanical,) this Dr. Saravia had by the help of Bishop Whitgift made such an early discovery of their intentions2, that he had almost as soon answered that Edition: current; Page: [76] treatise as it became publick, and he therein discovered how Beza’s opinion did contradict that of Calvin and his adherents; leaving them to interfere with themselves in point of episcopacy1; but of these tracts it will not concern me to say more, than that they were most of them dedicated to his and the Church of England’s watchful patron, John Whitgift, the archbishop, and printed about the time in which Mr. Hooker also appeared first to the world, in the publication of his first four Books of Ecclesiastical Polity2.

Edition: current; Page: [77]

This friendship being sought for by this learned doctor, you may believe was not denied by Mr. Hooker, who was by fortune so like him, as to be engaged against Mr. Travers, Mr. Cartwright, and others of their judgment, in a controversy too like Dr. Saravia’s; so that in this year of 1595, and in this place of Borne, these two excellent persons began a holy friendship, increasing daily to so high and mutual affections, that their two wills seemed to be but one and the same: and, their designs both for the glory of God, and peace of the Church, still assisting and improving each other’s virtues, and the desired comforts of a peaceable piety. Which I have willingly mentioned, because it gives a foundation to some things that follow.

This parsonage of Borne is from Canterbury three miles, and near to the common road that leads from that city to Dover: in which parsonage Mr. Hooker had not been twelve months, but his Books, and the innocency and sanctity of his life became so remarkable, that many turned out of the road, and others (scholars especially) went purposely to see the man, whose life and learning were so much admired; and alas! as our Saviour said of St. John Baptist, “What went they out to see? a man clothed in purple and fine linen?” No, indeed; but1 an “obscure, harmless man; a man in poor clothes, his loins usually girt in a coarse gown, or canonical coat; of a mean stature, and stooping, and yet more lowly in the thoughts of his soul; his body worn out, not with age, but study, and holy mortifications; his face full of heatpimples, begot by his unactivity and sedentary life.” And to this true character of his person, let me add this of his Edition: current; Page: [78] disposition and behaviour: God and nature blessed him with so blessed a bashfulness, that as in his younger days his pupils might easily look him out of countenance; so neither then, nor in his age, “did he ever willingly look any man in the face; and was of so mild and humble a nature, that his poor parish-clerk and he did never talk but with both their hats on, or both off, at the same time:” and to this may be added, that though he was not purblind, yet he was short or weak-sighted; and where he fixt his eyes at the beginning of his sermon, there they continued till it was ended; and the reader has a liberty to believe, that his modesty and dim sight were some of the reasons why he trusted Mrs. Churchman to choose his wife.

This parish-clerk lived till the third or fourth year of the late long parliament: betwixt which time and Mr. Hooker’s death, there had come many to see the place of his burial, and the monument dedicated to his memory by Sir William Cooper, (who still lives,) and the poor clerk had many rewards for shewing Mr. Hooker’s grave-place, and his said monument, and did always hear Mr. Hooker mentioned with commendations and reverence; to all which, he added his own knowledge and observations of his humility and holiness; and in all which discourses, the poor man was still more confirmed in his opinion of Mr. Hooker’s virtues and learning: but it so fell out, that about the said third or fourth year of the long parliament, the then present parson of Borne was sequestred, (you may guess why,) and a Genevian minister put into his good living. This, and other like sequestrations, made the clerk express himself in a wonder, and say, “They had sequestred so many good men, that he doubted, if his good master Mr. Hooker had lived till now, they would have sequestred him too.”

It was not long, before this intruding minister had made a party in and about the said parish, that were desirous to receive the sacrament as in Geneva; to which end, the day was appointed for a select company, and forms and stools set about the altar or communion-table, for them to sit and eat, and drink; but when they went about this work, there was a want of some joint-stools, which the minister sent the clerk to fetch, and then to fetch cushions (but not to Edition: current; Page: [79] kneel upon). When the clerk saw them begin to sit down, he began to wonder; but the minister bade him “cease wondering, and lock the church door;” to whom he replied, “Pray take you the keys, and lock me out: I will never come more into this church; for all men will say, my master Hooker was a good man, and a good scholar, and I am sure it was not used to be thus in his days.” And, report says, the old man went presently home, and died; I do not say died immediately, but within a few days after1.

But let us leave this grateful clerk in his quiet grave, and return to Mr. Hooker himself, continuing our observations of his Christian behaviour in this place, where he gave a holy valediction to all the pleasures and allurements of earth, possessing his soul in a virtuous quietness, which he maintained by constant study, prayers, and meditations: his use was to preach once every Sunday, and he or his curate to catechise after the second lesson in the evening prayer; his sermons were neither long nor earnest, but uttered with a grave zeal, and an humble voice; his eyes always fixt on one place to prevent his imagination from wandering, insomuch that he seemed to study as he spake2; the design of his Edition: current; Page: [80] sermons (as indeed of all his discourses) was to shew reasons for what he spake; and with these reasons, such a kind of rhetorick, as did rather convince and persuade, than frighten men into piety1; studying not so much for matter (which he never wanted) as for apt illustrations to inform and teach his unlearned hearers by familiar examples, and then make them better by convincing applications; never labouring by hard words, and then by needless distinctions and subdistinctions, to amuse his hearers, and get glory to himself; but glory only to God. Which intention, he would often say, was as discernible in a preacher, “as a natural from an artificial beauty.”

He never failed, the Sunday before every Ember week, to give notice of it to his parishioners, persuading them both to fast, and then to double their devotions for a learned and pious clergy; but especially the last; saying often, “That the life of a pious clergyman was visible rhetorick, and so convincing, that the most godless men (though they would not deny themselves the enjoyment of their present lusts) did yet secretly wish themselves like those of the strictest lives.” And to what he persuaded others, he added his own example of fasting and prayer; and did usually every Ember-week take from the parish-clerk the key of the church-door; into which place he retired every day, and lockt himself up for many hours; and did the like most Fridays, and other days of fasting.

He would by no means omit the customary time of Procession2, persuading all both rich and poor, if they desired the Edition: current; Page: [81] preservation of love, and their parish-rights and liberties, to accompany him in his perambulation; and most did so: in which perambulation, he would usually express more pleasant discourse than at other times, and would then always drop some loving and facetious observations to be remembered against the next year, especially by the boys and young people; still inclining them and all his present parishioners, to meekness, and mutual kindnesses, and love; because “love thinks not evil, but covers a multitude of infirmities.”

He was diligent to inquire who of his parish were sick, or any ways distrest, and would often visit them, unsent for; supposing that the fittest time to discover to them those errors to which health and prosperity had blinded them; and having by pious reasons and prayers moulded them into holy resolutions for the time to come, he would incline them to confession, and bewailing their sins, with purpose to forsake them, and then to receive the Communion, both as a strengthening of those holy resolutions, and as a seal betwixt God and them of his mercies to their souls, in case that present sickness did put a period to their lives.

And as he was thus watchful and charitable to the sick, so he was as diligent to prevent lawsuits, still urging his parishioners and neighbours to bear with each other’s infirmities, and live in love, because (as St. John says) “he that lives in love lives in God, for God is love.” And to maintain this holy fire of love constantly burning on the altar of a pure heart, his advice was to watch and pray, and always keep themselves fit to receive the Communion; and then to receive it often, for it was both a confirming and strengthening of their graces; this was his advice: and at his entrance or departure out of any house, he would usually speak to the whole family, and bless them by name; insomuch, that as he seemed in his youth to be taught of God, so he seemed in this place to teach his precepts, as Enoch did by walking with him, in all holiness and humility, making each day a step towards a blessed eternity. And though in this weak and declining age of the world, such examples are become Edition: current; Page: [82] barren, and almost incredible; yet let his memory be blest with this true recordation, because he that praises Richard Hooker praises God, who hath given such gifts to men; and let this humble and affectionate relation of him become such a pattern, as may invite posterity to imitate these his virtues.

This was his constant behaviour both at Borne and in all the places in which he lived: thus did he walk with God and tread the footsteps of primitive piety; and yet, as that great example of meekness and purity, even our blessed Jesus, was not free from false accusations, no more was this disciple of his, this most humble, most innocent, holy man; his was a slander parallel to that of chaste Susannah’s by the wicked elders; or that against St. Athanasius, as it is recorded in his life1, (for that holy man had heretical enemies,) a slander which this age calls trepanning2; the particulars need not a repetition; and that it was false, needs no other testimony than the public punishment of his accusers, and their open confession of his innocency. It was said that the accusation was contrived by a dissenting brother, one that endured not church-ceremonies, hating him for his Books’ sake, which he was not able to answer; and his name hath been told me, but I have not so much confidence in the relation, as to make my pen fix a scandal on him to posterity; I shall rather leave it doubtful till the great day of revelation. But this is certain, that he lay under the great charge, and the anxiety of this accusation, and kept it secret to himself for many months; and being a helpless man, had lain longer under this heavy burden, but that the Protector of the innocent gave such an accidental occasion as forced him to make it known to his two dear friends, Edwin Sandys and George Cranmer: who were so sensible of their tutor’s sufferings, that they gave themselves no rest, till by their disquisitions and diligence they had found out the fraud, and brought him the welcome news, that his accusers did confess they had wronged him, and begged his pardon: to which the good man’s reply was to this purpose, “The Lord forgive them;” and, “The Lord Edition: current; Page: [83] bless you for this comfortable news. Now I have a just occasion to say with Solomon, ‘Friends are born for the days of adversity,’ and such you have proved to me: and to my God I say, as did the mother of St. John Baptist, ‘Thus hath the Lord dealt with me, in the day wherein he looked upon me, to take away my reproach among men.’ And, O my God, neither my life nor my reputation are safe in mine own keeping, but in thine, who didst take care of me, when I yet hanged upon my mother’s breast: blessed are they that put their trust in thee, O Lord; for when false witnesses were risen up against me; when shame was ready to cover my face, when my nights were restless, when my soul thirsted for a deliverance, as the hart panteth after the rivers of waters; then thou, Lord, didst hear my complaints, pity my condition, and art now become my deliverer; and as long as I live I will hold up my hands in this manner, and magnify thy mercies, who didst not give me over as a prey to mine enemies, the net is broken and they are taken in it. O blessed are they that put their trust in thee; and no prosperity shall make me forget those days of sorrow, or to perform those vows that I have made to thee in the days of my affliction; for with such sacrifices, thou, O God, art well pleased; and I will pay them.”

Thus did the joy and gratitude of this good man’s heart break forth. And it is observable, that as the invitation to this slander was his meek behaviour and dovelike simplicity, for which he was remarkable; so his Christian charity ought to be imitated: for, though the spirit of revenge is so pleasing to mankind, that it is never conquered but by a supernatural grace, revenge being indeed so deeply rooted in human nature, that to prevent the excesses of it (for men would not know moderation) Almighty God allows not any degree of it to any man, but says, “Vengeance is mine:” and though this be said positively by God himself, yet this revenge is so pleasing, that man is hardly persuaded to submit the menage of it to the time, and justice, and wisdom of his Creator, but would hasten to be his own executioner of it: and yet nevertheless, if any man ever did wholly decline, and leave this pleasing passion to the time and measure of God alone, it was this Richard Hooker of whom I write; for when his slanderers Edition: current; Page: [84] were to suffer, he laboured to procure their pardon; and when that was denied him, his reply was, “That however he would fast and pray, that God would give them repentance, and patience to undergo their punishment.” And his prayers were so far returned into his own bosom, that the first was granted, if we may believe a penitent behaviour, and an open confession. And it is observable, that after this time he would often say to Dr. Saravia, “O with what quietness did I enjoy my soul after I was free from the fears of my slander! and how much more after a conflict and victory over my desires of revenge!”

About the year 1600, and of his age forty-six, he fell into a long and sharp sickness, occasioned by a cold taken in his passage by water betwixt London and Gravesend; from the malignity of which he was never recovered; for, after that time till his death he was not free from thoughtful days and restless nights: but a submission to His will that makes the sick man’s bed easy by giving rest to his soul, made his very languishment comfortable: and yet all this time he was solicitous in his study, and said often to Dr. Saravia, (who saw him daily, and was the chief comfort of his life,) “That he did not beg a long life of God for any other reason, but to live to finish his three remaining Books of Polity; and then, Lord, let thy servant depart in peace;” which was his usual expression. And God heard his prayers, though he denied the Church the benefit of them, as completed by himself; and it is thought he hastened his own death, by hastening to give life to his Books. But this is certain, that the nearer he was to his death, the more he grew in humility, in holy thoughts and resolutions.

About a month before his death, this good man, that never knew, or at least never considered, the pleasures of the palate, became first to lose his appetite, and then, to have an averseness to all food, insomuch, that he seemed to live some intermitted weeks by the smell of meat only, and yet still studied and writ. And now his guardian Angel seemed to foretell him, that the day of his dissolution drew near; for which, his vigorous soul appeared to thirst.

In this time of his sickness, and not many days before his death, his house was robbed; of which he having notice, his Edition: current; Page: [85] question was, “Are my books and written papers safe?” and being answered, that they were, his reply was, “Then it matters not; for no other loss can trouble me.”

About one day before his death, Dr. Saravia, who knew the very secrets of his soul, (for they were supposed to be confessors to each other,) came to him, and after a conference of the benefit, the necessity, and safety of the Church’s absolution, it was resolved the doctor should give him both that and the Sacrament the day following. To which end, the doctor came, and after a short retirement and privacy, they two returned to the company; and then the doctor gave him and some of those friends which were with him, the blessed Sacrament of the body and blood of our Jesus. Which being performed, the doctor thought he saw a reverend gaiety and joy in his face; but it lasted not long; for his bodily infirmities did return suddenly, and became more visible; insomuch that the doctor apprehended death ready to seize him: yet, after some amendment, left him at night, with a promise to return early the day following; which he did, and then found him better in appearance, deep in contemplation, and not inclinable to discourse; which gave the doctor occasion to inquire his present thoughts: to which he replied, “That he was meditating the number and nature of angels, and their blessed obedience and order, without which, peace could not be in heaven; and oh that it might be so on earth!” After which words he said, “I have lived to see this world is made up of perturbations, and I have been long preparing to leave it, and gathering comfort for the dreadful hour of making my account with God, which I now apprehend to be near; and, though I have by his grace loved him in my youth, and feared him in mine age, and laboured to have a conscience void of offence to him, and to all men; yet, if thou, O Lord, be extreme to mark what I have done amiss, who can abide it? And therefore, where I have failed, Lord shew mercy to me, for I plead not my righteousness, but the forgiveness of my unrighteousness, for His merits who died to purchase pardon for penitent sinners; and since I owe thee a death, Lord let it not be terrible, and then take thine own time; I submit to it! Let not mine, O Lord, but let thy will be done!” With Edition: current; Page: [86] which expression he fell into a dangerous slumber; dangerous, as to his recovery; yet recover he did, but it was to speak only these few words: “Good doctor, God hath heard my daily petitions, for I am at peace with all men, and He is at peace with me; and from that blessed assurance I feel that inward joy, which this world can neither give nor take from me: my conscience beareth me this witness, and this witness makes the thoughts of death joyful. I could wish to live to do the Church more service, but cannot hope it, for my days are past as a shadow that returns not.” More he would have spoken, but his spirits failed him; and after a short conflict betwixt nature and death, a quiet sigh put a period to his last breath, and so he fell asleep. And now he seems to rest like Lazarus in Abraham’s bosom; let me here draw his curtain, till with the most glorious company of the Patriarchs and Apostles, the most noble army of Martyrs and Confessors, this most learned, most humble, holy man, shall also awake to receive an eternal tranquillity; and with it, a greater degree of glory than common Christians shall be made partakers of.

In the mean time, bless, O Lord, Lord bless his brethren, the clergy of this nation, with effectual endeavours to attain, if not to his great learning, yet to his remarkable Meekness, his godly Simplicity, and his Christian Moderation: for these will bring peace at the last! And, Lord, let his most excellent writings be blest with what he designed when he undertook them: which was, “Glory to thee, O God on high, peace in thy Church, and good-will to mankind!”

Amen, Amen.
Izaak Walton.

The following epitaph was long since presented to the world, in memory of Mr. Hooker, by Sir William Cooper, who also built him a fair monument in Borne church, and acknowledges him to have been his spiritual father.

  • Though nothing can be spoke worthy his fame,
  • Or the remembrance of that precious name,
  • Judicious Hooker; though this cost be spent
  • On him that hath a lasting monument
  • Edition: current; Page: [87]
  • In his own Books, yet ought we to express,
  • If not his worth, yet our respectfulness.
  • Church ceremonies he maintained, then why
  • Without all ceremony should he die?
  • Was it because his life and death should be
  • Both equal patterns of humility?
  • Or that perhaps this only glorious one
  • Was above all to ask, why had he none?
  • Yet he that lay so long obscurely low
  • Doth now preferr’d to greater honours go.
  • Ambitious men, learn hence to be more wise;
  • Humility is the true way to rise:
  • And God in me this lesson did inspire,
  • To bid this humble man, Friend, sit up higher1.
Edition: current; Page: [88]


AND now having by a long and laborious search satisfied myself, and I hope my reader, by imparting to him the true relation of Mr. Hooker’s life: I am desirous also to acquaint him with some observations that relate to it, and which could not properly fall to be spoken till after his death; of which my reader may expect a brief and true account in the following Appendix.

And first it is not to be doubted, but that he died in the forty-seventh, if not in the forty-sixth year of his age; which I mention, because many have believed him to be more aged; but I have so examined it, as to be confident I mistake not; and for the year of his death, Mr. Camden, who, in his Annals of Queen Elizabeth, 1599, mentions him with a high commendation of his life and learning, declares him to die in the year 1599; and yet in that inscription of his monument set up at the charge of Sir William Cooper in Borne church, where Mr. Hooker was buried, his death is there said to be in anno 16031, but doubtless both mistaken; for I have it attested under the hand of William Somner the archbishop’s register for the province of Canterbury, that Richard Hooker’s Edition: current; Page: [89] will1 bears date Octob. 26th, in anno 1600, and that it was proved the third of December following2. And that at his death he left four daughters, Alice, Cicily, Jane, and Margaret; Edition: current; Page: [90] that he gave to each of them an hundred pound; that he left Joan his wife his sole executrix; and that by his inventory, his estate (a great part of it being in books) came to 1092l. 9s. 2d. which was much more than he thought himself worth; and which was not got by his care, much less by the good housewifery of his wife, but saved by his trusty servant Thomas Lane, that was wiser than his master in getting money for him, and more frugal than his mistress in keeping of it: of which will of Mr. Hooker’s I shall say no more, but that his dear friend Thomas, the father of George Cranmer, (of whom I have spoken, and shall have occasion to say more,) was one of the witnesses to it1.

One of his elder daughters was married to one Chalinor, sometime a schoolmaster in Chichester, and are both dead long since. Margaret his youngest daughter was married unto Ezekiel Chark2, bachelor in divinity, and rector of St. Nicholas in Harbledown near Canterbury, who died about sixteen years past, and had a son Ezekiel, now living, and in sacred orders, being at this time rector of Waldron in Sussex; she left also a daughter, with both whom I have spoken not many months past, and find her to be a widow in a condition that wants not, but very far from abounding; and these two attested unto me, that Richard Hooker their grandfather had a sister, by name Elizabeth Harvey, that lived to the age of 121 years, and died in the month of September, 16633.

For his other two daughters, I can learn little certainty, but have heard they both died before they were marriageable; and for his wife, she was so unlike Jephtha’s daughter, that she stayed not a comely time to bewail her widowhood; nor lived long enough to repent her second marriage, for which doubtless she would have found cause, if there had Edition: current; Page: [91] been but four months betwixt Mr. Hooker’s and her death. But she is dead, and let her other infirmities be buried with her.

Thus much briefly for his age, the year of his death, his estate, his wife, and his children. I am next to speak of his Books, concerning which I shall have a necessity of being longer, or shall neither do right to myself, or my reader, which is chiefly intended in this Appendix.

I have declared in his Life, that he proposed Eight Books, and that his first four were printed anno 1594, and his Fifth Book first printed, and alone, anno 1597, and that he lived to finish the remaining three of the proposed eight; but whether we have the last three as finisht by himself, is a just and material question; concerning which I do declare, that I have been told almost 40 years past, by one that very well knew Mr. Hooker, and the affairs of his family, that about a month after the death of Mr. Hooker, Bishop Whitgift, then Archbishop of Canterbury, sent one of his chaplains1 to inquire of Mrs. Hooker for the three remaining Books of Polity, writ by her husband; of which she would not, or could not give any account: and that about three months after that time the bishop procured her to be sent for to London, and then by Edition: current; Page: [92] his procurement she was to be examined, by some of her Majesty’s council, concerning the disposal of those Books; but by way of preparation for the next day’s examination, the bishop invited her to Lambeth; and, after some friendly questions, she confessed to him, “that one Mr. Charke, and another minister that dwelt near Canterbury, came to her, and desired that they might go into her husband’s study, and look upon some of his writings; and that there they two burnt and tore many of them, assuring her, that they were writings not fit to be seen; and that she knew nothing more concerning them.” Her lodging was then in Kingstreet in Westminster, where she was found next morning dead in her bed, and her new husband suspected and questioned for it; but he was declared innocent of her death.

And I declare also, that Dr. John Spencer, (mentioned in the Life of Mr. Hooker,) who was of Mr. Hooker’s college, and of his time there, and betwixt whom there was so friendly a friendship, that they continually advised together in all their studies, and particularly in what concerned these Books of Polity: this Dr. Spencer, the three perfect books being lost, had delivered into his hands (I think by Bishop Whitgift) the imperfect Books, or first rough draughts of them, to be made as perfect as they might be, by him, who both knew Mr. Hooker’s handwriting, and was best acquainted with his intentions1, And a fair testimony of this may appear by an Epistle first and usually printed before Mr. Hooker’s five Books (but omitted, I know not why, in the last impression of the eight printed together in anno 1662, in which the publishers seem to impose the three doubtful Edition: current; Page: [93] Books to be the undoubted Books of Mr. Hooker) with these two letters J. S. at the end of the said Epistle, which was meant for this John Spencer: in which Epistle the reader may find these very words, which may give some authority to what I have here written of his last three Books.

“And though Mr. Hooker hastened his own death by hastening to give life to his Books, yet he held out with his eyes to behold these Benjamins, these sons of his right hand, though to him they proved Benonies, sons of pain and sorrow1. But, some evil-disposed minds, whether of malice, or covetousness, or wicked blind zeal, it is uncertain, as soon as they were born, and their father dead, smothered them; and, by conveying the perfect copies, left unto us nothing but the old imperfect mangled draughts dismembered into pieces; no favour, no grace, not the shadow of themselves remaining in them. Had the father lived to behold them thus defaced, he might rightly have named them Benonies, the sons of sorrow; but being the learned will not suffer them to die and be buried, it is intended the world shall see them as they are: the learned will find in them some shadows of resemblances of their father’s face. God grant, that as they were with their brethren dedicated to the Church for messengers of peace; so, in the strength of that little breath of life that remaineth in them, they may prosper in their work, and by satisfying the doubts of such as are willing to learn, they may help to give an end to the calamities of these our Civil Wars!

“J. S.”
Fabian Philips
Philips, Fabian

And next the reader may note, that this epistle of Dr. Spencer’s was writ and first printed within four years after the death of Mr. Hooker, in which time all diligent search had been made for the perfect copies; and then granted not recoverable, and therefore endeavoured to be completed out of M. Hooker’s rough draughts, as is exprest by the said D. Spencer, since whose death it is now 50 years2.

Edition: current; Page: [94]

And I do profess by the faith of a Christian, that Dr. Spencer’s wife (who was my aunt1, and sister to George Cranmer, of whom I have spoken) told me forty years since, in these, or in words to this purpose, “that her husband had made up, or finisht Mr. Hooker’s last three Books; and that upon her husband’s death-bed, or in his last sickness, he gave them into her hand, with a charge they should not be seen by any man, but be by her delivered into the hands of the then Archbishop of Canterbury, which was Dr. Abbot, or unto Dr. King then Bishop of London, and that she did as he enjoined her.”

I do conceive, that from D. Spencer’s, and no other copy, there have been divers transcripts, and I know that these were to be found in several places, as namely, Sir Thomas Bodlie’s library, in that of D. Andrews, late Bishop of Winton, in the late Lord Conway’s, in the Archbishop of Canterbury’s, and in the Bishop of Armagh’s, and in many Edition: current; Page: [95] others1; and most of these pretended to be the author’s own hand, but much disagreeing, being indeed altered and diminisht, as men have thought fittest to make Mr. Hooker’s judgment suit with their fancies, or give authority to their corrupt designs; and for proof of a part of this, take these following testimonies.

Dr. Barnard, sometime chaplain to Dr. Usher, late Lord Archbishop of Armagh, hath declared in a late book called Clavi Trabales, printed by Richard Hodgkinson, anno 16612, Edition: current; Page: [96] that in his search and examination of the said bishop’s manuscripts, he there found the three written Books, which were supposed the 6, 7, and 8, of Mr. Hooker’s Books of Ecclesiastical Polity; and, that in the said three Books (now printed as Mr. Hooker’s) there are so many omissions, that they amount to many paragraphs, and which cause many incoherencies; Edition: current; Page: [97] the omissions are by him set down at large in the said printed Book, to which I refer the reader for the whole; but think fit in this place to insert this following short part of some of the said omissions.

“First, as there could be in natural bodies no motion of any thing, unless there were some first which moved all things, and continued unmoveable; even so in politic societies there must be some unpunishable, or else no man shall suffer punishment; for such [sith] punishments proceed always from superiors, to whom the administration of justice belongeth, which administration must have necessarily a fountain that deriveth it to all others, and receiveth not from any, because otherwise the course of justice should go infinitely in a circle, every superior having his superior without end, which cannot be; therefore, a well-spring, it followeth, there is, a supreme head of justice whereunto all are subject, but itself in subjection to none. Which kind of preeminency if some ought to have in a kingdom, who but the king shall have it? Kings therefore, or no man, can have lawful power to judge1.

“If private men offend, there is the magistrate over them which judgeth; if magistrates, they have their prince; if princes, there is Heaven, a tribunal, before which they shall appear; on earth they are not accountable to any.” “Here,” says the doctor, “it breaks off abruptly2.”

And I have these words also attested under the hand of Mr. Fabian Philips, a man of note for his useful books. “I will make oath, if I shall be required, that Dr. Sanderson, the late Bishop of Lincoln, did a little before his death affirm to me, he had seen a manuscript affirmed to him to be the handwriting of Mr. Richard Hooker, in which there was no mention made of the king or supreme governors being accountable to the people3; this I will make oath, that that good man attested to me.

Fabian Philips.
Edition: current; Page: [98]
I. W.
W., I.

So that there appears to be both omissions and additions in the said last three printed Books; and this may probably be one reason why Dr. Sanderson, the said learned bishop (whose writings are so highly and justly valued) gave a strict charge near the time of his death, or in his last will, “that nothing of his, that was not already printed, should be printed after his death.”

It is well known how high a value our learned King James put upon the Books writ by Mr. Hooker, as also that our late King Charles (the martyr for the Church) valued them the second of all books, testified by his commending them to the reading of his son Charles, that now is our gracious king1; and you may suppose that this Charles the First was not a stranger to the pretended three Books, because in a discourse with the Lord Say, in the time of the long parliament, when the said lord required the king to grant the truth of his argument, because it was the judgment of Mr. Hooker, (quoting him in one of the three written Books,) the king replied, “they were not allowed to be Mr. Hooker’s books;” but, however, “he would allow them to be Mr. Hooker’s, and consent to what his lordship proposed to prove out of those doubtful Books, if he would but consent to the judgment of Mr. Hooker in the other five that were the undoubted Books of Mr. Hooker2.”

[In this relation concerning these three doubtful Books of Mr. Hooker’s, my purpose was to inquire, then set down what I observed and know, which I have done, not as an engaged person, but indifferently; and now, leave my reader Edition: current; Page: [99] to give sentence, for their legitimation, as to himself; but so, as to leave others the same liberty of believing or disbelieving them to be Mr. Hooker’s; and it is observable, that as Mr. Hooker advised with Dr. Spencer, in the design and manage of these books, so also, and chiefly with his dear pupil George Cranmer1, (whose sister was the wife of Dr. Spencer,) of which this following letter may be a testimony; and doth also give authority to some things mentioned both in this Appendix and in the Life of Mr. Hooker, and is therefore added2.

I. W.]
Edition: current; Page: [100]


Henry Chichester
Chichester, Henry
Novem. 17, 1664
Mr. Izaak Walton
Walton, Mr. Izaak

The Copy of a Letter writ to Mr. Izaak Walton, by Dr. King, Lord Bishop of Chichester1.

Honest Izaak,

THOUGH a familiarity of more than forty years’2 continuance, and the constant experience of your love, even in the worst of the late sad times, be sufficient to endear our friendship; yet I must confess my affection much improved, not only by evidences of private respect to those very many that know and love you, but by your new demonstration of a public spirit, testified in a diligent, true, and useful collection, of so many material passages as you have now afforded me in the Life of venerable Mr. Hooker; of which, since desired by such a friend as yourself, I shall not deny to give the testimony of what I know concerning him and his learned Books; but shall first here take a fair occasion to tell you, that you have been happy in choosing to write the lives of three such persons, as posterity hath just cause to honour; Edition: current; Page: [101] which they will do the more for the true relation of them by your happy pen; of all which I shall give you my unfeigned censure.

I shall begin with my most dear and incomparable friend, Dr. Donne, late dean of St. Paul’s church, who not only trusted me as his executor, but three days before his death delivered into my hands those excellent sermons of his now made public; professing before Dr. Winniff1, Dr. Monford2, and, I think, yourself, then present at his bed-side, that it was by my restless importunity that he had prepared them for the press; together with which (as his best legacy) he gave me all his sermon-notes, and his other papers, containing an extract of near fifteen hundred authors. How these were got out of my hands, you, who were the messenger for them3, and how lost both to me and yourself, is not now seasonable to complain; but, since they did miscarry, I am glad that the general demonstration of his worth was so fairly preserved, and represented to the world by your pen in the history of his life; indeed so well, that, beside others, the best critic of our later time (Mr. John Hales, of Eton college) affirmed to me, “he had not seen a life written with more advantage to the subject, or more reputation to the writer, than that of Dr. Donne’s.”

After the performance of this task for Dr. Donne, you undertook the like office for our friend Sir Henry Wotton, betwixt which two there was a friendship begun in Oxford, continued in their various travels, and more confirmed in the religious friendship of age, and doubtless this excellent person had writ the life of Dr. Donne, if death had not prevented him: by which means, his and your precollections for that work fell to the happy menage of your pen: a work, which you would have declined, if imperious persuasions had not been stronger than your modest resolutions against it. And I am thus far glad, that the first life was so imposed upon you, because it gave an unavoidable cause of writing the second: if not, it is too probable we had wanted both, which had been Edition: current; Page: [102] a prejudice to all lovers of honour and ingenious learning. And let me not leave my friend Sir Henry without this testimony added to yours, that he was a man of as florid a wit, and as elegant a pen, as any former (or ours which in that kind is a most excellent) age, hath ever produced.

And now having made this voluntary observation of our two deceased friends, I proceed to satisfy your desire concerning what I know and believe of the ever-memorable Mr. Hooker, who was schismaticorum malleus1, so great a champion for the church of England’s rights, against the factious torrent of Separatists that then ran high against Church Discipline, and in his unanswerable Books continues still to be so against the unquiet disciples of their schism, which now under other names still carry on their design; and who (as the proper heirs of their irrational zeal) would again rake into the scarce-closed wounds of a newly bleeding state and church.

And first, though I dare not say that I knew Mr. Hooker, yet, as our2 ecclesiastical history reports to the honour of S. Ignatius, that he lived in the time of St. John, and had seen him in his childhood3; so, I also joy that in my minority I have often seen Mr. Hooker, with my father, who was after Lord Bishop of London4; from whom, and others, at that time, I have heard most of the material passages which you relate in the history of his life; and from my father received such a character of his learning, humility, and other virtues, that, like jewels of unvaluable price, they still cast such a lustre as envy or the rust of time shall never darken.

From my father I have also heard all the circumstances of the plot to defame him; and how Sir Edwin Sandys Edition: current; Page: [103] outwitted his accusers, and gained their confession; and I could give an account of each particular of that plot, but that I judge it fitter to be forgotten, and rot in the same grave with the malicious authors.

I may not omit to declare, that my father’s knowledge of Mr. Hooker was occasioned by the learned Dr. John Spencer, who after the death of Mr. Hooker was so careful to preserve his unvaluable sixth, seventh, and eighth Books of Ecclesiastical Polity, and his other writings, that he procured Henry Jackson1, then of Corpus Christi College, to transcribe for him all Mr. Hooker’s remaining written papers2; many of which were imperfect; for his study had been rifled, or worse used, by Mr. Chark, and another, of principles too like his: but these papers were endeavoured to be completed by his dear friend, Dr. Spencer, who bequeathed them as a precious legacy to my father; after whose death they rested in my hand, till Dr. Abbot, then Archbishop of Canterbury, commanded them out of my custody, by authorizing Dr. John Barkham3 to require and bring them to him to his palace in Edition: current; Page: [104] Lambeth1; at which time, I have heard, they were put into the bishop’s library, and that they remained there till the martyrdom of Archbishop Laud, and were then by the brethren of that faction given with all the library to Hugh Peters2, as a reward for his remarkable service in those sad times of the Church’s confusion: and though they could hardly fall into a fouler hand, yet there wanted not other endeavours to corrupt and make them speak that language, for which the faction then fought; which indeed was, “to subject the sovereign power to the people.”

But I need not strive to vindicate Mr. Hooker in this particular; his known loyalty to his prince whilst he lived, the sorrow expressed by King James at his death, the value our late Sovereign (of ever-blessed memory) put upon his works, and now the singular character of his worth by you given in the passages of his life, (especially in your Appendix to it,) do sufficiently clear him from that imputation: and I am glad you mention how much value Thomas Stapleton, Pope Clement the Eighth, and other eminent men of the Romish persuasion, have put upon his Books, having been told the same in my youth by persons of worth that have travelled Italy.

Lastly, I must again congratulate this undertaking of yours, as now more proper to you than any other person, by reason of your long knowledge and alliance to the worthy family of the Cranmers, (my old friends also,) who have been men of noted wisdom, especially Mr. George Cranmer, whose prudence, added to that of Sir Edwin Sandys, proved very useful in the completing of Mr. Hooker’s matchless Books; one of their letters I herewith send you, to make use of, if you think Edition: current; Page: [105] fit1. And let me say further, you merit much from many of Mr. Hooker’s best friends then living; namely, from the everrenowned Archbishop Whitgift, of whose incomparable worth, with the character of the times, you have given us a more short and significant account than I have received from any other pen. You have done much for the learned Sir Henry Savile, his contemporary and familiar friend; amongst the surviving monuments of whose learning (give me leave to tell you so) two are omitted; his edition of Euclid2; but especially his translation of King James his Apology for the Oath of Allegiance, into elegant Latin3: which flying in that dress as far as Rome, was by the Pope and conclave sent to Salamanca unto Franciscus Suarez, (then residing there as President of that college,) with a command to answer it. And it is worth noting, that when he had perfected the work, (which he calls Defensio Fidei Catholicæ,) it was transmitted to Rome for a view of the inquisitors; who according to their custom blotted out what they pleased, and (as Mr. Hooker hath been used since his death) added whatsoever might advance the Pope’s supremacy, or carry on their own interest: commonly coupling together deponere et occidere, the deposing and then killing of princes4; which cruel and unchristian language Mr. John Saltkell, the amanuensis to Suarez, when he wrote that answer, (but since a convert, and living long in my father’s house,) often professed, the good old man (whose piety and charity Mr. Saltkell magnified much) not only disavowed, but detested. Not to trouble you further, your reader (if, according to your desire, my approbation of your Edition: current; Page: [106] work carries any weight) will here find many just reasons to thank you for it; and possibly for this circumstance here mentioned (not known to many) may happily apprehend one to thank him, who is,

Your ever faithful and affectionate old Friend,
Johannes Rainoldus
Rainoldus, Johannes

[See before, p. 11, note 1.]

D. Johannes Rainoldus Georgio Cranmero1.

*****tua paria2, quæ vocas, mi Georgi, non probavi quidem, fateor; neque tamen tam ingratus mihi fuit conspectus amborum, in altero pari, quam unius in altero. Nam quamvis ad notitiam earum rerum quas scire cupis, aliquantum in Ramo, permultum in Vive, plurimum in Scaligero, te putem opis habiturum; tamen in Scoto et Aquinate non esse nihil quod inservire possit tuo studio promovendo, libens agnosco. Illud inter meum et tuum judicium discriminis intercedit, quod tu de iis videris honorificentius sentire, quam ego. Nam ego minus tribuo Scoto quam Aquinati3, Aquinati quam Scaligero, immo vero pluris unum Scaligerum quam sexcentos Scotos et Aquinates facio. Verum tamen si speras te collecturum aurum ex Ennii sterquilino4, nihil impedio; præsertim cum promittas te daturum operam, ne maculeris luto. In altero vero pari, quo Campianum conjungis Ciceroni, τὸ ἐπὶ τῃ̑ ϕακῃ̑ μύρον5, multo magis a te dissentio, nec in eo tuum mihi vel affectum satis sobrium, vel judicium satis sanum esse Edition: current; Page: [107] visum, concedo. Nam qui te præ manibus habere semper eum scribis, et laudas tanquam novum Æsculpaii filium, et (quasi parum esset esse proximum Ciceroni) in verbis, in sententiis, in metaphoris, in figuris, denique in omni eloquentiæ munere perfectissimum1 esse prædicas: negare non possum quin et studiosius eum pervolutare, quam decuit, virulentissimum hostem pietatis, et admirari vehementius, quam calamistratum oportuit rhetorculum, mihi videare. Cæterum de judicio tuo non judico. Sit Isocrate concinnior, acutior Hyperide, nervosior Demosthene, subtilior Lysia, copiosior Platone. Sit repertus nostro seculo, cui cedat Lactantius, antiquitate judice, Christianus Cicero. Affectus mihi tuus non placet, Georgi: qui tam libenter eum lectitas, a quo veritas mendaciis, pietas convitiis, religio calumniis; veritatis, pietatis, religionis cultores maledictis et contumeliis acerbissimis proscinduntur. At enim, “Sit,” inquies, “in rebus impurior; exhauriam ego sentinam, et fæces, et inde purissima delibabo.” At ex sentina pestilens odor exhalat, infestissimus valetudini, præsertim corporis infirmi. Tune tuis viribus ita præfidis ut nihil metuas periculi? Avunculus quidem tuus, quum ei sciscitanti ut solet quid Georgius, literas ostenderem; ingemuit. Timuit fortasse plusquam necesse fuit, ut amor res solliciti plena est timoris; sed ingemuit. Faxit Deus, ut eventus illum potius nimis timidum, quam te parum prudentem fuisse coarguat. Sed meminisse debes prudenter dictum a Cicerone; “ut qui in sole ambulant, quamvis alia de causa ambulent;” nosti quid sequatur2. Ego vero Fabium existimo meritissimo interdixisse pueris poetas qui nocent moribus3. Quid ita M. Fabi? quia mihi potior bene vivendi, quam vel optime loquendi, ratio habetur. Illi tanta ratio bene vivendi; tibi minor recte credendi? Illi, “teneræ mentes, non solum quæ diserta, sed vel magis quæ Edition: current; Page: [108] honesta sunt, discant;” tibi, quamvis impia, tamen si diserta, teneris ediscenda mentibus placebunt? Quid? ne ipse quidem Campianus tuus persuadet tibi meliora? qui “bella sterquilinia spernenda” monet1? Spernito. Laudas ejus scripta, ut perdiserta; agnoscis res impuras, sentinam, fæces. Ergo bella sterquilinia, te ipso judice. Contemnito. Quanquam utinam essent tantummodo sterquilinia bella: sunt gladii liti melle, sunt venena mixta vino. Quare mihi prorsus displicet quod scribis: “Non res ab illo, sed voces postulo.” Perinde quasi diceres de poculo venenato, “non venenum sed vinum haurio.” Non res ab illo, sed voces postulas. Atque adeo Augustinus, cum esset Manichæus, ut de seipso confitetur, “verbis” Ambrosii suspendebatur intentus; verum autem incuriosus et contemptor astabat. “Cum autem,” inquit, “non satagerem discere quæ dicebat, sed tantum quemadmodum dicebat, audire, veniebant in animum meum simul cum verbis quæ diligebam, res etiam quas negligebam; neque enim ea dirimere poteram2.” Quod si Augustinus Manichæus cum audiret (non propter res sed propter voces) Ambrosium Catholicum, et rebus captus, et vocibus, evasit Catholicus; ignosce mihi si putem esse posse periculum, ne Cranmerus religiosus dum Campianum Pontificium (non propter res, sed propter voces) assidua versat manu, (avertat Deus omen; sed qui amant, metuunt,) ne quid contrahat contagionis. Nam sive te cogitas esse vel ingenio majore, vel judicio, quam fuit Augustinus, teipsum nimis amas; sive homines facilius a pravis ad recta flecti, quam a rectis ad prava, putas; laberis imprudentia. Quamobrem si me forsitan uti consultore, quam teipso, malis; nec in Græcis Julianum Apostatam cum Demosthene, nec in Latinis Campianum Papistam cum Cicerone, tanquam optimos magistros eloquentiæ conjunges. Vale, et tuum cole. Londini, ex ædibus D. Walsinghami, 15 Mart.

Tuus, amore parens, præceptor officio,
Johannes Rainoldus.
Edition: current; Page: [109]
Richard Hooker
Hooker, Richard
Mr. Fulman
Mr. Fulman

[These two letters, also preserved by Fulman, IX. 208, 210, are conjectured to be Hooker’s on the following account. They were evidently written by a Hebrew scholar, a married man, having a residence in London, intimate with Reynolds and under obligations to him, and thoroughly entering into his character. All this, added to the initials R. H., may perhaps justify the insertion of the letters here. To the Editor they appear strongly marked by Hooker’s peculiar vein of humour.]

Richard Hooker
Hooker, Richard
Mr. D. Rainoldes
Rainoldes, Mr. D.

To the worshipfull my verie loving frend Mr. D. Rainoldes at Queenes college1 in Oxford.

S. Your excuse is so reasonable that if the falt had bene found in earnest yeat you have thereof fullie cleered your self. I wish your physick may this yeare so cure you that the next we maie see you heere2, which I should be glad of. Mr. Parrie3 is returned unto the citie this last night as I understand, but as yeat I have not seen him, and therefore what to answere you touching my self for the matter of lazines and Moses Maimonius I do not know. I have both. And trulie the one doth not suffer the other to doe me that pleasure which otherwise it might. But concerning bookes Edition: current; Page: [110] which you saie you would often write of but that Cajetan hath hindered, there is no cause it should if all be considered which I my self should waigh though you doe not. Nevertheless because I will not anie waie have you hindered by such meanes, I am content to observe legem Cinciam1. Persons’ Directory2 when I can procure you shall have. Mine own I lent unto Mr. Sandes D. Chaloner’s3 neighbour. Otherwise that you should have to use till I get one for you. In the mean while I send you an English Jordanus Brunus4, the price amounteth unto two whole pence. He is an earnest suter to the stationers for their hall to read his Concent in5. The report goeth here that he hath fullie satisfied you both by speech and letters and that you have now assented unto him6. What the question Edition: current; Page: [111] is I doe not know. But the report I accompt as true as the like concerning his confounding of the Jewes at Francford and their desyre to have had him read Hebrue unto them, which notwithstanding I assure you he seemeth a little himself contented to nourish by some wordes of his own in this pamphlet1. The commentaries which he mentioneth I can assure you to be meere emptie names. For except those which are in the Venice Bibles2, let any man in Christendome show me so manie as he speaketh of upon the book of Esther, and I dare make my self his bondman. And even for those in Bomberg edition of the Bible, I know not whether Ezra and Solomo be joygned there or no in any of those editions which are his. But that you shall quicklie see. I will know what that Sepher Juchasim is, and when I have known I will send you word3. I would spend one twentie poundes to find a man so skilfull in those writings as he would seeme. He sometime nameth Sephur Zohar as roundlie4 as if the book were familiar unto him. And yeat the book known to be such as scarce one Jew amongst thousandes doth by long studie attain tolerablie to understand. In summe if needes you must have adversaries I wish you had them which are more judicious and lesse vaine than this Edition: current; Page: [112] man. But for this time enough unlesse my matter were of more importance. To Mr. Provost1 my hartie commendations. Ours heer salute you. Have care of your health which I wish the Lord to continue.

Yors ever,
R. H.
Richard Hooker
Hooker, Richard
Mr. D. Rainoldes
Rainoldes, Mr. D.

To the worshipfull my verie good frend Mr. D. Rainoldes at Queenes college in Oxford.

S. You doe amisse to make a law to take place in things past. It must stand for heereafter and I am verie well content it shall. Of your two jewels the one, but whether the better or no I know not, as it is you shall receyve heere again inclosed. I hope notwithstanding the man’s modestie in detracting from himself still in the Latin tonge, that yeat he hath more knowledg that waie than in the Greek, which by this epistle2 doth seeme no otherwise to flow from him nor to proceed lesse naturallie then what? you know the old comparison of hony out of a stockfish. And therefore there is no need he should κήδεσθαι καλλιεπείας εὐλέξιος ὡραιοκόμου. A phrase than which I dare saie Heliodorus3 hath not a sleeker and a tricshier4 one. But were it not trow you a great deal better to have fewer tongues and a litle more wisdome to guide them? For any thing I can discern by this small bit of write his judgment in things and wordes are much about one pitch. And therefore in my mind you have done very well in resolving not to Edition: current; Page: [113] troble yourself much with him1. Your lectures I should be marvelous glad to see published. But I fear least you be not able to perfect them still as you read. And if not then perhaps your revising them will be more then another reading, and by that meanes time will beguile both your purpose and other men’s hope. Well, as God will, whome I beseech to direct and strengthen you for the best. We are now in the countrie. Yeat if there be ought which you would have to be done in London, there cometh everie daie lightlie some or other from thence. Mr. Parrye’s suddain departure out of London caused your busines to be forgotten Edition: current; Page: [114] as I think. My self could not at that time goe to D. Turner, when I receyved your letter, and therefore I sent Benjamin unto him, and by his appointment thapothecarie hath delivered for you that which I hope is come ere this to your own handes. If he have not written unto you himself, then upon receipt of your next letter I will goe unto him or send, that he may be discharged, and you shall have word thereof. If my self had bene within when it was delivered, I had done it then. I left word it should be done. But they to whome I gave charge thereof were not in the waie or els their mindfulnes was not out of the waie1. My hartie commendations to Mr. Provost. Ours all unto your self. The Lord preserve blesse and keepe you. Enfield the vth of September

Yors ever,
R. H.
Richard Hooker
Hooker, Richard
Mr. Fulman
Mr. Fulman

A List, in order of time, of Letters preserved by Mr. Fulman, MSS. t. ix. relating to the disputes in C. C. C. which led to Hooker’s temporary expulsion, ad 1580.

1. Reynolds to the Bishop of Winton (Horn) complaining of the appointment of John Spenser, B.A. then only nineteen, and of the county of Suffolk, (which had no place on the foundation,) to be Greek lecturer. 3 July, 1578. (fol. 188.)

2. Appeal to the same, by several fellows of C. C. C. (as appears,) Hooker probably being one. 16 July. (fol. 188, 9.)

3. Reasons confirming the appeal. 26 July. (fol. 189, 190.)

4. Fragment of a letter on the same subject apparently from Reynolds to Sir F. Walsingham, Aug. 2. (fol. 191.)

5. (If there be no error in the date) Memorial “from D. Bickley, (Warden of Merton,) D. Floide,” (probably Griffith Lloyd, then Principal of Jesus,) “D. Bush, D. Dunne, the President of St. John’s, the principal of Brodegates, Edition: current; Page: [115] and to the number of a fourescore Masters of Art, to the Earl of Warwick,” (Leicester’s brother,) remonstrating against the appointment of Barfoote to succeed Cole in the headship of C. C. C. Nov. 26, probably 1579. (fol. 182.)

6. Reynolds to Walsingham, inclosing part of a letter to the Earl of Warwick, in which he explains his reasons for opposing the proposed nomination of Barfoote. 9 March 1579/80. (fol. 178, 179.)

7. Dr. Humfrey, Dr. James, and others, to the Earl of Leicester, recommending Reynolds in case of a vacancy at C. C. C. probably 15 March, 1579/80. (fol. 170.)

8. The same, to Walsingham, in support of the above. Same date. (fol. 171.)

9. Walsingham and Wilson, in reply to the above, signifying that Leicester had withdrawn his support promised to Barfoote, and that the fellows might “use their liberty” in electing Reynolds. 20 March 1579/80. (fol. 171.)

10. Reynolds to Walsingham, acknowledging the above and requesting him to use his influence with the Earl of Warwick, not to press the election of Barfoote. 6 Apr. 1580. (fol. 172.)

11. Walsingham and Wilson to Dr. Cole, President of C. C. C. requesting him to time his resignation so as to insure, if possible, Reynolds for his successor. 9 Apr. 1580. (fol. 172.)

12. Reynolds to Walsingham, thanking him for the above, and informing him that Cole is willing to continue president, for which purpose he solicits Walsingham’s aid. May 11, 1580. (fol. 173.)

13. Reynolds to Walsingham, complaining of his expulsion. Oct. 9, probably 1580. (fol. 174.) See note 1, p. 20, on the Life of Hooker.

14. Reynolds to Knollis, the same date. See Life, p. 26. (fol. 180.)

15. Reynolds to Wilson, the same date, and to the same effect; adding a petition, that the Lord Treasurer might be prevailed on to intercede with the visitor for the expelled fellows. (fol. 180.)

16. Reynolds to Walsingham, stating that he had been advised by the Bishop of Winchester to endeavour to conciliate Edition: current; Page: [116] the Earl of Warwick; and requesting his good offices thereto. In this letter he speaks very strongly against Barfoote’s character and conduct, and intimates that he was still agitating to obtain the headship. 22 Oct. 1580. (fol. 174.)

17. The same to the same; thanking him for having been instrumental in disposing the Earl of Warwick to receive him kindly, and acquiescing in his advice, that he should resign all thoughts of the headship: adding however expressions of extreme anxiety lest Barfoote should obtain it. Oxford, Nov. 2, probably 1580. (fol. 175.)

18. Reynolds to Secretary Wilson, (as appears,) apologizing for not having called to thank him, before he left London: expressing satisfaction at his own and his friends’ return, but alarm as to the future prospects of the college. No date.

[It may be questioned whether N°. 5, (the Oxford memorial to Lord Warwick,) ought not to come in here, rather than in the preceding year, to which Mr. Fulman, though doubtingly, assigns it. If it be rightly placed here, one may conjecture, that it prevailed with Lord Warwick to withdraw his recommendation, and that the matter was then finally compromised, as Reynolds before wished, (see Letter 12,) by Cole’s retaining the presidentship.]

Mr. Richard Hooker
Hooker, Mr. Richard
xiiith of March, 1592
Lord Treasurer
Lord Treasurer

1Mr. Richard Hooker to the Lord Treasurer, when he sent him the written copy of his Ecclesiastical Polity.

MSS. Burghlean.My duty in most humble maner remembered. So it is, my good Lord, that manitimes affection causeth those things to be don, which would rather be forborn, if men were wholly guided by judgment. Albeit therefore, I must needs in reason condemne my self of over-great boldness, for thus presuming to offer to your Lordship’s view my poor and slender labours: yet, because that which moves me so to do, is a dutiful affection some way to manifest itself, and glad to take this present occasion, for want of other more worthy your Lordship’s acceptation: I am in that behalf not out of hope, Edition: current; Page: [117] your Lordship’s wisdom wil the easier pardon my fault, the rather, because my self am persuaded, that my faultiness had been greater, if these writings concerning the nobler part of those laws under which we live, should not have craved with the first your Lordship’s favourable approbation. Whose painful care to uphold al laws, and especially the ecclesiastical, hath by the space of so meny years so apparently shewed it self: that if we, who enjoy the benefit thereof, did dissemble it, they whose malice doth most envy our good herein, would convince our unthankfulness. Wherefore submitting both myself and these my simple doings unto your Lordship’s most wise judgment, I here humbly take my leave. London, the xiiith of March, 1592 [i.e. 159⅔].

Your Lordships most willingly at commandment,
Richard Hooker1.
Edition: current; Page: [118] Edition: current; Page: [119]


Edition: current; Page: [120] Edition: current; Page: [121]


THIS unhappy controversy, about the received ceremonies and discipline of the Church of England, which hath so long time withdrawn so many of her ministers from their principal work, and employed their studies in contentious oppositions; hath by the unnatural growth and dangerous fruits thereof, made known to the world, that it never received blessing from the Father of peace. For whose experience doth not find, what confusion of order, and breach of the sacred bond of love, hath sprung from this dissension; how it hath rent the body of the church into divers parts, and divided her people into divers sects; how it hath taught the sheep to despise their pastors, and alienated the pastors from the love of their flocks; how it hath strengthened the irreligious in their impieties, and hath raised the hopes of the sacrilegious devourers of the remains of Christ’s patrimony; and given way to the common adversary of God’s truth, and our prosperity, to grow great in our land without resistance? who seeth not how it hath distracted the minds of the multitude, and shaken their faith, and scandalized their weakness, and hath generally killed the very heart of true piety, and religious devotion, by changing our zeal towards Christ’s glory, into the fire of envy and malice, and heart-burning, and zeal to every man’s private cause? This is the sum of all the gains which the tedious contentions of so many years have brought in, by the ruin of Christ’s kingdom, the increase of Satan’s, partly in superstition and partly in impiety. So much better were it in these our dwellings of peace, to endure any inconvenience whatsoever in the outward frame, than in desire of alteration, Edition: current; Page: [122] thus to set the whole house on fire. Which moved the religious heart of this learned writer, in zeal of God’s truth, and in compassion to his church, the mother of us all, which gave us both the first breath of spiritual life, and from her breasts hath fed us unto this whatsoever measure of growth we have in Christ, to stand up and take upon him a general defence both of herself, and of her established laws; and by force of demonstration, so far as the nature of the present matter could bear, to make known to the world and these oppugners of her, that all those bitter accusations laid to her charge, are not the faults of her laws and orders, but either their own mistakes in the misunderstanding, or the abuses of men in the ill execution of them. A work subject to manifold reprehensions and oppositions, and not suitable to his soft and mild disposition, desirous of a quiet, private life, wherein he might bring forth the fruits of peace in peace. But the love of God and of his country, whose greatest danger grew from this division, made his heart hot within him, and at length the fire kindled, and amongst many other most reverend and learned men, he also presumed to speak with his pen. And the rather, because he saw that none of these ordinary objections of partialities could elevate the authority of his writing, who always affected a private state, and neither enjoyed, nor expected any the least dignity in our church. What admirable height of learning and depth of judgment dwelled within the lowly mind of this true humble man, great in all wise men’s eyes, except his own; with what gravity and majesty of speech his tongue and pen uttered heavenly mysteries, whose eyes in the humility of his heart were always cast down to the ground; how all things that proceeded from him were breathed, as from the spirit of love, as if he like the bird of the Holy Ghost, the dove, had wanted gall; let them that knew him not in his person judge by these living images of his soul, his writings. For out of these, even those who otherwise agree not with him in opinion, do afford him the testimony of a mild and a loving spirit; and of his learning, what greater proof can we have than this, that his writings are most admired by those who themselves do most excel in judicious learning, and by them the more often they are read, the more highly they are extolled and desired? Edition: current; Page: [123] which is the cause of this second1 edition of his former books, and that without any addition or diminution whatsoever. For who will put a pencil to such a work, from which such a workman hath taken his? There is a purpose of setting forth the three last books also, their father’s Posthumi. For as in the great declining of his body, spent out with study, it was his ordinary petition to Almighty God, that if he might live to see the finishing of these books, then, Lord, let thy servant depart in peace, (to use his own words,) so it pleased God to grant him his desire. For he lived till he saw them perfected; and though like Rachel he died as it were in the travail of them, and hastened death upon himself, by hastening to give them life: yet he held out to behold with his eyes, these partus ingenii, these Benjamins, sons of his right hand, though to him they were Benonies, sons of pain and sorrow. But some evil disposed minds, whether of malice, or covetousness, or wicked blind zeal, it is uncertain, as if they had been Egyptian midwives, as soon as they were born, and their father dead, smothered them, and by conveying away the perfect copies, left unto us nothing but certain old unperfect and mangled draughts, dismembered into pieces, and scattered like Medea’s Absyrtus, no favour, no grace, not the shadows of themselves almost remaining in them. Had the father lived to see them brought forth thus defaced, he might rightfully have named them Benonies, the sons of sorrow.

But seeing the importunities of many great and worthy persons will not suffer them quietly to die and to be buried, it is intended that they shall see them as they are. The learned and judicious eye will yet perhaps delight itself in beholding the goodly lineaments of their well set bodies, and in finding out some shadows and resemblances of their father’s face. God grant that as they were with their brethren dedicated to the church for messengers of peace, so in the strength of that little breath of life that remaineth in them, they may prosper in their work; and by satisfying the doubts of such as are willing to learn, may help to give an end to the calamities of these our civil wars.

J. S.2
Edition: current; Page: [124] Edition: current; Page: [a]

ARMS OF VOWELL, als HOKER, recorded in the Visitations of the county of Devon made in 1565 and 1572. Or, a fess vaire between two lions passant guardant sable: quartering Druett, Kelly, and Wilford.

CREST, a hind statant or, carrying in her mouth a branch of roses argent, stalked and leaved vert.

Edition: current; Page: [b] Edition: current; Page: [c]
Edition: current; Page: [d] Edition: current; Page: [125]


The cause and occasion of handling these things, and what might be wished in them, for whose sakes so much pain is taken.THOUGH for no other cause, yet for this; that posterity may know we have not loosely through silence permitted things to pass away as in a dream, there shall be for men’s information extant thus much concerning the present state of the Church of God established amongst us, and their careful endeavour which would have upheld the same2. At your hands, beloved in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, (for in him the love which we bear unto all that would but seem to be born of him, it is not the sea of your gall and bitterness that shall ever drown,) I have no great cause to look for other than the selfsame portion and lot, which your manner hath been hitherto to lay on them that concur not in opinion and sentence with you3. Edition: current; Page: [126] But our hope is, that the God of peace shall (notwithstanding man’s nature too impatient of contumelious malediction) enable us quietly and even gladly to suffer all things, for that work sake which we covet to perform.Preface. Ch. i. 2.

Edition: 1888; Page: [2.]The wonderful zeal and fervour wherewith ye have withstood the received orders of this Church, was the first thing which caused me to enter into consideration, whether (as all your published books and writings peremptorily maintain) every Christian man, fearing God, stand bound to join with you for the furtherance of that which ye term the Lord’s Discipline. Wherein I must plainly confess unto you, that before I examined your sundry declarations in that behalf, it could not settle in my head to think, but that undoubtedly such numbers of otherwise right well affected and most religiously inclined minds had some marvellous reasonable inducements, which led them with so great earnestness that way. But when once, as near as my slender ability would serve, I had with travail and care performed that part of the Apostle’s advice and counsel in such cases, whereby he willeth to “try all things1,” and was come at the length so far, that there remained only the other clause to be satisfied, wherein he concludeth that “what good is must be held;” there was in my poor understanding no Edition: current; Page: [127] remedy, but to set down this as my final resolute persuasion:Preface. Ch. ii. 1. “Surely the present form of church-government which the laws of this land have established is such, as no law of God nor reason of man hath hitherto been alleged of force sufficient to prove they do ill, who to the uttermost of their power withstand the alteration thereof.” Contrariwise, “The other, which instead of it we are required to accept, is only by error and misconceit named the ordinance of Jesus Christ, no one proof as yet brought forth whereby it may clearly appear to be so in very deed.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [3.]The explication of which two things I have here thought good to offer into your own hands, heartily beseeching you even by the meekness of Jesus Christ, whom I trust ye love; that, as ye tender the peace and quietness of this church, if there be in you that gracious humility which hath ever been the crown and glory of a Christianly-disposed mind, if your own souls, hearts, and consciences (the sound integrity whereof can but hardly stand with the refusal of truth in personal respects) be, as I doubt not but they are, things most dear and precious unto you: let “not the faith which ye have in our Lord Jesus Christ” be blemished “with partialities1;” regard not who it is which speaketh, but weigh only what is spoken. Think not that ye read the words of one who bendeth himself as an adversary against the truth which ye have already embraced; but the words of one who desireth even to embrace together with you the self-same truth, if it be the truth; and for that cause (for no other, God he knoweth) hath undertaken the burdensome labour of this painful kind of conference. For the plainer access whereunto, let it be lawful for me to rip up to the very bottom, how and by whom your Discipline was planted, at such time as this age we live in began to make first trial thereof.

The first establishment of new discipline by Mr. Calvin’s industry in the Church of Geneva; and the beginning of strife about it amongst ourselves.II. 2A founder it had, whom, for mine own part, I think incomparably the wisest man that ever the French Church did enjoy, since the hour it enjoyed him. His bringing Edition: current; Page: [128] up was in the study of the civil law. Divine knowledge he gathered, not by hearing or reading so much, as by teaching others. For, though thousands were debtors to him, as touching knowledge in that kind; yet he to none but only to God, the author of that most blessed fountain, the Book of Life, and of the admirable dexterity of wit, together with the helps of other learning which were his guides: till being occasioned to leave France, he fell at the length upon Geneva; which city the bishop and clergy thereof had a little before (as some do affirm) forsaken1, being of likelihood frighted with the people’s sudden attempt for abolishment of popish religion: the event of which enterprise they thought it not safe for themselves to wait for in that place.[ad 1536.] At the coming of Calvin thither2, the form of their civil regiment was popular, as it continueth at this day: neither king, nor duke, nor nobleman of any authority or power over them, but officers chosen by the people yearly out of themselves, to order all things with public consent. For spiritual government, they had no laws at all agreed upon, but did what the pastors of their souls by persuasion could win them unto. Calvin, being admitted one of their preachers, and a divinity reader amongst them, considered how dangerous it was that the whole estate of that Church should hang still on so slender a thread as the liking of an ignorant multitude is, if it have power to change whatsoever itself listeth. Wherefore taking unto him two of the other ministers3 for more countenance of the action, (albeit the rest were all against it,) they moved, and in the end persuaded4 with much ado, the people to bind themselves by solemn oath, first never to admit the Papacy Edition: current; Page: [129] amongst them again;Preface, Ch. ii. 2. and secondly, to live in obedience unto such orders concerning the exercise of their religion, and the form of their ecclesiastical government, as those their true and faithful ministers of God’s word had agreeably to scripture set down for that end and purpose.

Edition: 1888; Page: [2.]When these things began to be put in ure, the people also (what causes moving them thereunto, themselves best know) began to repent them of that they had done, and irefully to champ upon the bit they had taken into their mouths; the rather, for that they grew by means of this innovation into dislike with some Churches near about them, the benefit of whose good friendship their state could not well lack1.

It was the manner of those times (whether through men’s desire to enjoy alone the glory of their own enterprizes, or else because the quickness of their occasions required present despatch; so it was,) that every particular Church did that within itself, which some few of their own thought good, by whom the rest were all directed. Such number of Churches then being, though free within themselves, yet small, common conference beforehand might have eased them of much after trouble2. But a greater inconvenience it bred, that every later endeavoured to be certain degrees more removed from conformity with the Church of Rome, than the rest before had been3: whereupon grew marvellous great dissimilitudes, and by reason thereof, jealousies, heart-burnings, jars and Edition: current; Page: [130] discords amongst them.Preface, Ch. ii. 3. Which, notwithstanding, might have easily been prevented, if the orders, which each Church did think fit and convenient for itself, had not so peremptorily been established under that high commanding form, which tendered them unto the people, as things everlastingly required by the law of that Lord of lords, against whose statutes there is no exception to be taken. For by this mean it came to pass, that one Church could not but accuse and condemn another of disobedience to the will of Christ, in those things where manifest difference was between them: whereas the selfsame orders allowed, but yet established in more wary and suspense manner, as being to stand in force till God should give the opportunity of some general conference what might be best for every of them afterwards to do; this I say had both prevented all occasion of just dislike which others might take, and reserved a greater liberty unto the authors themselves of entering into farther consultation afterwards. Which though never so necessary they could not easily now admit, without some fear of derogation from their credit: and therefore that which once they had done, they became for ever after resolute to maintain.

[ad 1538.]Calvin therefore and the other two his associates, stiffly refusing to administer the holy Communion to such as would not quietly, without contradiction and murmur, submit themselves unto the orders which their solemn oath had bound them to obey, were in that quarrel banished the town1.

Edition: 1888; Page: [3.]A few years after2 (such was the levity of that people) the places of one or two of their ministers being fallen void, they were not before so willing to be rid of their learned pastor, as now importunate to obtain him again from them who had given him entertainment, and which were loath to part with him, had not unresistable earnestness been used. One of the town ministers, that saw in what manner the people were bent for the revocation of Calvin, gave him notice of their affection in this sort3. Edition: current; Page: [131] “The senate of two hundred being assembled, they all crave Calvin. The next day a general convocation. They cry in like sort again all, We will have Calvin, that good and learned man, Christ’s minister. This,” saith he, “when I understood, I could not choose but praise God, nor was I able to judge otherwise than that ‘this was the Lord’s doing, and that it was marvellous in our eyes,’ and that ‘the stone which the builders refused was now made the head of the corner1.’ ” The other two2 whom they had thrown out, (together with Calvin,) they were content should enjoy their exile. Many causes might lead them to be more desirous of him. First, his yielding unto them in one thing might happily put them in hope, that time would breed the like easiness of condescending further unto them. For in his absence he had persuaded them, with whom he was able to prevail, that albeit himself did better like of common bread to be used in the Eucharist, yet the other they rather should accept, than cause any trouble in the church about it3. Again, they saw that the name of Calvin waxed every day greater abroad4, and that together with his fame, their infamy was spread, which had so rashly and childishly ejected him. Besides, it was not unlikely but that his credit in the world might many ways stand the poor town in great stead: as the truth is,Preface, Ch. ii. 4. their minister’s foreign estimation Edition: current; Page: [132] hitherto hath been the best stake in their hedge. But whatsoever secret respects were likely to move them, for contenting of their minds Calvin returned (as it had been another Tully) to his old home.Sept. 13.

Edition: 1888; Page: [4.]He ripely considered how gross a thing it were for men of his quality, wise and grave men, to live with such a multitude, and to be tenants at will under them, as their ministers, both himself and others, had been. For the remedy of which inconvenience, he gave them plainly to understand, that if he did become their teacher again, they must be content to admit a complete form of discipline, which both they and also their pastors should now be solemnly sworn to observe for ever after. Of which discipline the main and principal parts were these: A standing ecclesiastical court to be established; perpetual judges in that court to be their ministers; others of the people to be annually chosen (twice so many in number as they) to be judges together with them in the same court: these two sorts to have the care of all men’s manners, power of determining all kind of ecclesiastical causes, and authority to convent, to control, to punish, as far as with excommunication, whomsoever they should think worthy, none either small or great excepted.

This device I see not how the wisest at that time living could have bettered, if we duly consider what the present estate of Geneva did then require. For their bishop and his clergy being (as it is said) departed from them by moonlight, or howsoever, being departed; to choose in his room any other bishop, had been a thing altogether impossible. And for their ministers to seek that themselves alone might have coercive power over the whole church, would perhaps have been hardly construed at that time. But when so frank an offer was made, that for every one minister there should be two of the people to sit and give voice in the ecclesiastical consistory, what inconvenience could they easily find which themselves might not be able always to remedy?

Howbeit (as evermore the simpler sort are, even when they see no apparent cause, jealous notwithstanding over the secret intents and purposes of wiser men) this proposition Edition: current; Page: [133] of his did somewhat trouble them. Of the ministers themselves which had stayed behind in the city when Calvin was gone, some, upon knowledge of the people’s earnest intent to recall him to his place again, had beforehand written their letters of submission, and assured him of their allegiance for ever after, if it should like him to hearken unto that public suit. But yet misdoubting what might happen, if this discipline did go forward; they objected against it the example of other reformed churches living quietly and orderly without it. Some of chiefest place and countenance amongst the laity professed with greater stomach their judgments, that such a discipline was little better than Popish tyranny disguised and tendered unto them under a new form1. This sort, it may be2, Edition: current; Page: [134] had some fear, that the filling up of the seats in the consistory with so great a number of laymen was but to please the minds of the people, to the end they might think their own sway somewhat; but when things came to trial of practice, their pastors’ learning would be at all times of force to over-persuade simple men, who knowing the time of their own presidentship to be but short would always stand in fear of their ministers’ perpetual authority: and among the ministers themselves, one being so far in estimation above the rest, the voices of the rest were likely to be given for the most part respectively, with a kind of secret dependency and awe: so that in show a marvellous indifferently composed senate ecclesiastical was Edition: current; Page: [135] to govern, but in effect one only man should, as the spirit and soul of the residue, do all in all1.Preface, Ch. ii. 5. But what did these vain surmises boot? Brought they were now to so strait an issue, that of two things they must choose one: namely, whether they would to their endless disgrace, with ridiculous lightness dismiss him whose restitution they had in so impotent manner desired; or else condescend unto that demand, wherein he was resolute either to have it, or to leave them. They thought it better to be somewhat hardly yoked at home, than for ever abroad 1541. Wherefore in the end those orders were on all sides assented unto: with no less alacrity of mind than cities unable to hold out longer are wont to shew, when they take conditions such as it liketh him to offer them which hath them in the narrow straits of advantage.

[Nov. 20.][5.] Not many years were over-passed, before these twice-sworn men adventured to give their last and hottest assault to the fortress of the same discipline;[1553.] childishly granting by common consent of their whole Senate, and that under their town seal, a relaxation to one Bertelier, whom the Eldership had excommunicated2: further also decreeing, with strange absurdity, that to the same Senate it should belong to give final judgment in matter of excommunication, and to absolve whom it pleased them: clean contrary to their own former deeds and oaths. The report of which decree being forthwith brought unto Calvin; “Before,” saith he, “this decree take place, either my blood or banishment shall sign it.” Again, two days before the communion should be celebrated, his speech was publickly to like effect: “Kill me if ever this hand do reach forth the things that are holy to them whom the Church hath judged despisers3.” Whereupon, for fear of tumult, the forenamed Bertelier was by his friends advised for that time not to use the liberty granted him by the Senate, nor to present Edition: current; Page: [136] himself in the church, till they saw somewhat further what would ensue.Preface, Ch. ii. 6. After the communion quietly ministered, and some likelihood of peaceable ending of these troubles without any more ado, that very day in the afternoon, besides all men’s expectation, concluding his ordinary sermon, he telleth them, that because he neither had learned nor taught to strive with such as are in authority, “therefore,” saith he, “the case so standing as now it doth, let me use these words of the apostle unto you, ‘I commend you unto God and the word of his grace1;’ ” and so bade them heartily all adieu2.

Edition: 1888; Page: [6.]It sometimes cometh to pass, that the readiest way which a wise man hath to conquer, is to fly. This voluntary and unexpected mention of sudden departure caused presently the Senate (for according to their wonted manner they still continued only constant in unconstancy) to gather themselves together, and for a time to suspend their own decree, leaving things to proceed as before till they had heard the judgment of four Helvetian cities3 concerning the matter which was in strife. This to have done at the first before they gave assent unto any order had shewed some wit and discretion in them: but now to do it was as much as to say in effect, that they would play their parts on a stage. Calvin therefore dispatched with all expedition his letters unto some principal pastor in every of those cities, craving earnestly at their hands, to respect this cause as a thing whereupon the whole state of religion and piety in that church did so much depend, that God and all good men were now inevitably certain to be trampled under foot, unless those four cities by their good means might be brought to give sentence with the Edition: current; Page: [137] ministers of Geneva, when the cause should be brought before them:Preface, Ch. ii. 7. yea so to give it, that two things it might effectually contain; the one an absolute approbation of the discipline of Geneva as consonant unto the word of God, without any cautions, qualifications, ifs or ands; the other an earnest admonition not to innovate or change the same. His vehement request herein as touching both points was satisfied. For albeit the said Helvetian Churches did never as yet observe that discipline, nevertheless, the Senate of Geneva having required their judgment concerning these three questions: First, “After what manner, by God’s commandment, according to the scripture and unspotted religion, excommunication is to be exercised:” Secondly, “Whether it may not be exercised some other way than by the Consistory:” Thirdly, “What the use of their Churches was to do in this case1:” answer was returned from the said Churches, “That they had heard already of those consistorial laws, and did acknowledge them to be godly ordinances drawing towards the prescript of the word of God; for which cause they did not think it good for the Church of Geneva by innovation to change the same, but rather to keep them as they were2.” Which answer, although not answering unto the former demands, but respecting what Master Calvin had judged requisite for them to answer, was notwithstanding accepted without any further reply: in as much as they plainly saw, that when stomach doth strive with wit, the match is not equal. And so the heat of their former contentions began to slake.

Edition: 1888; Page: [7.]The present inhabitants of Geneva, I hope, will not take it in evil part, that the faultiness of their people heretofore is by us so far forth laid open, as their own learned guides and pastors have thought necessary to discover it unto the world. For out of their books and writings it is that I have collected this whole narration, to the end it might thereby appear in what sort amongst them that discipline was Edition: current; Page: [138] planted, for which so much contention is raised amongst ourselves. The reason which moved Calvin herein to be so earnest, was, as Beza himself testifieth1, “For that he saw how needful these bridles were, to be put in the jaws of that city.” That which by wisdom he saw to be requisite for that people, was by as great wisdom compassed.

But wise men are men, and the truth is truth. That which Calvin did for establishment of his discipline, seemeth more commendable than that which he taught for the countenancing of it established2. Nature worketh in us all a love to our own counsels. The contradiction of others is a fan to inflame that love. Our love set on fire to maintain that which once we have done, sharpeneth the wit to dispute, to argue, and by all means to reason for it. Wherefore a marvel it were if a man of so great capacity, having such incitements to make him desirous of all kind of furtherances unto his cause, could espy in the whole Scripture of God nothing which might breed at the least a probable opinion of likelihood, that divine authority itself was the same way somewhat inclinable. And Edition: current; Page: [139] all which the wit even of Calvin was able from thence to draw,Preface, Ch. ii. 8. by sifting the very utmost sentence and syllable, is no more than that certain speeches there are which to him did seem to intimate that all Christian churches ought to have their Elderships endued with power of excommunication, and that a part of those Elderships every where should be chosen out from amongst the laity, after that form which himself had framed Geneva unto. But what argument are ye able to shew, whereby it was ever proved by Calvin, that any one sentence of Scripture doth necessarily enforce these things, or the rest wherein your opinion concurreth with his against the orders of your own church?

Edition: 1888; Page: [8.]We should be injurious unto virtue itself, if we did derogate from them whom their industry hath made great. Two things of principal moment there are which have deservedly procured him honour throughout the world: the one his exceeding pains in composing the Institutions of Christian religion; the other his no less industrious travails for exposition of holy Scripture according unto the same Institutions. In which two things whosoever they were that after him bestowed their labour, he gained the advantage of prejudice against them, if they gainsayed; and of glory above them, if they consented. His writings published after the question about that discipline was once begun omit not any the least occasion of extolling the use and singular necessity thereof. Of what account the Master of Sentences1 was in the church of Rome, the same and more amongst the preachers of reformed churches Calvin had purchased; so that the perfectest divines were judged they, which were skilfullest in Calvin’s writings. His books almost the very canon to judge both doctrine and discipline by2. French churches, both Edition: current; Page: [140] under others abroad and at home in their own country, all cast according to that mould which Calvin had made.Preface, Ch. ii. 9. The Church of Scotland in erecting the fabric of their reformation took the selfsame pattern. Till at length the discipline, which was at the first so weak, that without the staff of their approbation, who were not subject unto it themselves, it had not brought others under subjection, began now to challenge universal obedience1, and to enter into open conflict with those very Churches, which in desperate extremity had been relievers of it.

Edition: 1888; Page: [9.]To one of those churches which lived in most peaceable sort, and abounded as well with men for their learning in other professions singular, as also with divines whose equals were not elsewhere to be found, a church ordered by Gualter’s discipline, and not by that which Geneva adoreth; unto this church, the Church of Heidelberg, there cometh one who craving leave to dispute publicly defendeth with open disdain of their government, that “to a minister with his Eldership power is given by the law of God to excommunicate whomsoever, yea even kings and princes themselves2.’ Here were the seeds sown of that controversy which sprang up between Beza and Erastus about the matter of excommunication, whether there ought to be in all churches an Eldership Edition: current; Page: [141] having power to excommunicate, and a part of that Eldership to be of necessity certain chosen out from amongst the laity for that purpose.Preface, Ch. ii. 10. In which disputation they have, as to me it seemeth, divided very equally the truth between them; Beza most truly maintaining the necessity of excommunication, Erastus as truly the non-necessity of lay elders to be ministers thereof.

Edition: 1888; Page: [10.]Amongst ourselves, there was in King Edward’s days some question moved by reason of a few men’s scrupulosity1 touching certain things. And beyond seas, of them which fled in the days of Queen Mary, some contenting themselves abroad with the use of their own service-book at home authorized before their departure out of the realm, others liking better the Common Prayer-book of the Church of Geneva translated, those smaller contentions before begun were by this mean somewhat increased2. Under the happy reign of her Majesty which now is, the greatest matter a while contended for was the wearing of the cap and surplice3, till there came Admonitions4 directed unto the high court of Parliament, by men who concealing their names thought it Edition: current; Page: [142] glory enough to discover their minds and affections, which now were universally bent even against all the orders and laws, wherein this church is found unconformable to the platform of Geneva1. Concerning the Defender2 of which Admonitions, all that I mean to say is but this: there will come a time when three words uttered with charity and meekness shall receive a far more blessed reward than three thousand volumes written with disdainful sharpness of wit. But the manner of men’s writing must not alienate our hearts from the truth, if it appear they have the truth; as the followers of the same defender do think he hath; and in that persuasion they follow him, no otherwise than himself doth Calvin, Beza, and others, with the like persuasion that they in this cause had the truth. We being as fully persuaded otherwise, it resteth that some kind of trial be used to find out which part is in error.

Edition: current; Page: [143]

Preface, Ch. iii. 2.III. The first mean whereby nature teacheth men to judge good from evil, as well in laws as in other things, is the force of their own discretion. Hereunto therefore St. Paul referreth oftentimes his own speech, to be considered of by them that heard him.By what means so many of the people are trained unto the liking of that discipline. “I speak as to them which have understanding, judge ye what I say1.” Again afterward, “Judge in yourselves, is it comely that a woman pray uncovered2?” The exercise of this kind of judgment our Saviour requireth in the Jews3. In them of Berea the Scripture commendeth it4. Finally, whatsoever we do, if our own secret judgment consent not unto it as fit and good to be done, the doing of it to us is sin, although the thing itself be allowable. St. Paul’s rule therefore generally is, “Let every man in his own mind be fully persuaded of that thing which he either alloweth or doth5.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [2.]Some things are so familiar and plain, that truth from falsehood, and good from evil, is most easily discerned in them, even by men of no deep capacity. And of that nature, for the most part, are things absolutely unto all men’s salvation recessary, either to be held or denied, either to be done or avoided. For which cause St. Augustine6 acknowledgeth, that they are not only set down, but also plainly set down in Scripture; so that he which heareth or readeth may without any great difficulty understand. Other things also there are belonging (though in a lower degree of importance) unto the offices of Christian men: which, because they are more obscure, more intricate and hard to be judged of, therefore God hath appointed some to spend their whole time principally in the study of things divine, to the end that in these more doubtful cases their understanding might be a light to direct others. “If the understanding power or faculty of the soul be” (saith the Edition: current; Page: [144] grand physician1) “like unto bodily sight, not of equal sharpness in all, what can be more convenient than that, even as the dark-sighted man is directed by the clear about things visible;Preface, Ch. iii. 3. so likewise in matters of deeper discourse the wise in heart do shew the simple where his way lieth?” In our doubtful cases of law, what man is there who seeth not how requisite it is that professors of skill in that faculty be our directors? So it is in all other kinds of knowledge. And even in this kind likewise the Lord hath himself appointed, that “the priest’s lips should preserve knowledge, and that other men should seek the truth at his mouth, because he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts2.” Gregory Nazianzen, offended at the people’s too great presumption in controlling the judgment of them to whom in such cases they should have rather submitted their own, seeketh by earnest entreaty to stay them within their bounds: “Presume not ye that are sheep to make yourselves guides of them that should guide you; neither seek ye to overskip the fold which they about you have pitched. It sufficeth for your part, if ye can well frame yourselves to be ordered. Take not upon you to judge your judges, nor to make them subject to your laws who should be a law to you; for God is not a God of sedition and confusion, but of order and of peace3.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [3.]But ye will say that if the guides of the people be blind, the common sort of men must not close up their own eyes and be led by the conduct of such4: if the priest be “partial in the law5,” the flock must not therefore depart from the ways of sincere truth, and in simplicity Edition: current; Page: [145] yield to be followers of him for his place sake and office over them.Preface, Ch. iii. 4. Which thing, though in itself most true, is in your defence notwithstanding weak; because the matter wherein ye think that ye see, and imagine that your ways are sincere, is of far deeper consideration than any one amongst five hundred of you conceiveth. Let the vulgar sort amongst you know, that there is not the least branch of the cause wherein they are so resolute, but to the trial of it a great deal more appertaineth than their conceit doth reach unto. I write not this in disgrace of the simplest that way given, but I would gladly they knew the nature of that cause wherein they think themselves throughly instructed and are not; by means whereof they daily run themselves, without feeling their own hazard, upon the dint of the Apostle’s sentence against “evil-speakers as touching things wherein they are ignorant1.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [4.]If it be granted a thing unlawful for private men, not called unto public consultation, to dispute which is the best state of civil polity2, (with a desire of bringing in some other kind, than that under which they already live, for of such disputes I take it his meaning was;) if it be a thing confessed, that of such questions they cannot determine without rashness, inasmuch as a great part of them consisteth in special circumstances, and for one kind as many reasons may be brought as for another; is there any reason in the world, why they should better judge what kind of regiment ecclesiastical is the fittest? For in the civil state more insight, and in those affairs more experience a great deal must needs be granted them, than in this they can possibly have. When they which write in defence of your discipline and commend it unto the Highest not in the least cunning manner, are forced notwithstanding to acknowledge, “that with whom the truth is they know not3,” they are not certain; what certainty or knowledge can the multitude have thereof?

Edition: current; Page: [146]

Preface, Ch. iii. 5, 6, 7.[5.] Weigh what doth move the common sort so much to favour this innovation, and it shall soon appear unto you, that the force of particular reasons which for your several opinions are alleged is a thing whereof the multitude never did nor could so consider as to be therewith wholly carried; but certain general inducements are used to make saleable your cause in gross; and when once men have cast a fancy towards it, any slight declaration of specialties will serve to lead forward men’s inclinable and prepared minds.

Edition: 1888; Page: [6.]The method of winning the people’s affection unto a general liking of “the cause” (for so ye term it) hath been this. First, In the hearing of the multitude, the faults especially of higher callings are ripped up with marvellous exceeding severity and sharpness of reproof1; which being oftentimes done begetteth a great good opinion of integrity, zeal, and holiness, to such constant reprovers of sin, as by likelihood would never be so much offended at that which is evil, unless themselves were singularly good.

Edition: 1888; Page: [7.]The next thing hereunto is, to impute all faults and corruptions, wherewith the world aboundeth, unto the kind of ecclesiastical government established2. Wherein, as before Edition: current; Page: [147] by reproving faults they purchased unto themselves with the multitude a name to be virtuous;Preface, Ch. iii. 8, 9. so by finding out this kind of cause they obtain to be judged wise above others: whereas in truth unto the form even of Jewish government, which the Lord himself (they all confess) did establish, with like shew of reason they might impute those faults which the prophets condemn in the governors of that commonwealth, as to the English kind of regiment ecclesiastical, (whereof also God himself though in other sort is author,) the stains and blemishes found in our state; which springing from the root of human frailty and corruption, not only are, but have been always more or less, yea and (for any thing we know to the contrary) will be till the world’s end complained of, what form of government soever take place.

Edition: 1888; Page: [8.]Having gotten thus much sway in the hearts of men, a third step is to propose their own form of church-government, as the only sovereign remedy of all evils; and to adorn it with all the glorious titles that may be. And the nature, as of men that have sick bodies, so likewise of the people in the crazedness of their minds possessed with dislike and discontentment at things present, is to imagine that any thing, (the virtue whereof they hear commended,) would help them; but that most, which they least have tried.

Edition: 1888; Page: [9.]The fourth degree of inducement is by fashioning the very notions and conceits of men’s minds in such sort, that when they read the scripture, they may think that every thing soundeth towards the advancement of that discipline, and to the utter disgrace of the contrary. Pythagoras, by bringing up his scholars in the speculative knowledge of numbers, made their conceits therein so strong, that when they came to the contemplation of things natural, they imagined that in every particular thing they even beheld as it were with their eyes, how the elements of number gave essence and being to the works of nature. A thing in reason impossible; which notwithstanding, through their misfashioned Edition: current; Page: [148] preconceit, appeared unto them no less certain, than if nature had written it in the very foreheads of all the creatures of God1.Preface, Ch. iii. 9. When they of the “Family of Love” have it once in their heads, that Christ doth not signify any one person, but a quality whereof many are partakers; that to be “raised” is nothing else but to be regenerated, or endued with the said quality; and that when separation of them which have it from them which have it not is here made, this is “judgment:” how plainly do they imagine that the Scripture every where speaketh in the favour of that sect2? And assuredly, the very Edition: current; Page: [149] cause which maketh the simple and ignorant to think they even see how the word of God runneth currently on your side, is, that their minds are forestalled and their conceits perverted beforehand, by being taught, that an “elder” doth signify a layman admitted only to the office or rule of government in the Church; a “doctor,” one which may only teach, and neither preach nor administer the Sacraments; a “deacon,” one which hath charge of the alms-box, and of nothing else: that the “sceptre,” the “rod,” the “throne” and “kingdom” of Christ, are a form of regiment, only by pastors, elders, doctors, Edition: current; Page: [150] and deacons1;Preface, Ch. iii. 10. that by mystical resemblance Mount Sion and Jerusalem are the churches which admit, Samaria and Babylon the churches which oppugn the said form of regiment. And in like sort they are taught to apply all things spoken of repairing the walls and decayed parts of the city and temple of God, by Esdras, Nehemias, and the rest2; as if purposely the Holy Ghost had therein meant to foresignify, what the authors of Admonitions to the Parliament, of Supplications to the Council, of Petitions to her Majesty, and of such other like writs, should either do or suffer in behalf of this their cause.

Edition: 1888; Page: [10.]From hence they proceed to an higher point, which is the persuading of men credulous and over-capable of such pleasing errors, that it is the special illumination of the Holy Ghost, whereby they discern those things in the word, which others reading yet discern them not. “Dearly beloved,” saith St. John, “give not credit unto every spirit3.” There are but two ways whereby the Spirit leadeth men into all truth; the one extraordinary, the other common; the one belonging but unto some few, the other extending itself unto all that are of God; the one, that which we call by a special divine excellency Revelation, the other Reason. If the Spirit by such revelation have discovered unto them the secrets of that discipline out of Scripture, they must profess themselves to be all (even men, women, and children) Prophets. Or if reason be the hand which the Spirit hath led them by; forasmuch as persuasions grounded upon reason are either weaker or stronger according to the force of those reasons whereupon the same are grounded, they must every of them from the greatest to the least be able for every several article to shew Edition: current; Page: [151] some special reason as strong as their persuasion therein is earnest.Preface, Ch. iii. 11, 12. Otherwise how can it be but that some other sinews there are from which that overplus of strength in persuasion doth arise? Most sure it is, that when men’s affections do frame their opinions, they are in defence of error more earnest a great deal, than (for the most part) sound believers in the maintenance of truth apprehended according to the nature of that evidence which scripture yieldeth: which being in some things plain, as in the principles of Christian doctrine; in some things, as in these matters of discipline, more dark and doubtful; frameth correspondently that inward assent which God’s most gracious Spirit worketh by it as by his effectual instrument. It is not therefore the fervent earnestness of their persuasion, but the soundness of those reasons whereupon the same is built, which must declare their opinions in these things to have been wrought by the Holy Ghost, and not by the fraud of that evil spirit, which is even in his illusions strong1.

Edition: 1888; Page: [11.]After that the fancy of the common sort hath once throughly apprehended the Spirit to be author of their persuasion concerning discipline; then is instilled into their hearts, that the same Spirit leading men into this opinion doth thereby seal them to be God’s children; and that, as the state of the times now standeth, the most special token to know them that are God’s own from others is an earnest affection that way. This hath bred high terms of separation between such and the rest of the world; whereby the one sort are named The brethren, The godly, and so forth; the other, worldlings, time-servers, pleasers of men not of God, with such like2.

Edition: 1888; Page: [12.]From hence, they are easily drawn on to think it exceeding necessary, for fear of quenching that good Spirit, to use all means whereby the same may be both strengthened in themselves, and made manifest unto others. This maketh them diligent hearers of such as are known that way to incline; this maketh them eager to take and to seek all Edition: current; Page: [152] occasions of secret conference with such;Preface, Ch. iii. 13. this maketh them glad to use such as counsellors and directors in all their dealings which are of weight, as contracts, testaments, and the like; this maketh them, through an unweariable desire of receiving instruction from the masters of that company, to cast off the care of those very affairs which do most concern their estate, and to think that then they are like unto Mary, commendable for making choice of the better part. Finally, this is it which maketh them willing to charge, yea, often-times even to overcharge themselves, for such men’s sustenance and relief, lest their zeal to the cause should any way be unwitnessed. For what is it which poor beguiled souls will not do through so powerful incitements?

Edition: 1888; Page: [13.]In which respect it is also noted, that most labour hath been bestowed to win and retain towards this cause them whose judgments are commonly weakest by reason of their sex1. And although not “women loden with sins2,” as Edition: current; Page: [153] the apostle Saint Paul speaketh, but (as we verily esteem of them for the most part) women propense and inclinable to holiness be otherwise edified in good things, rather than carried away as captives into any kind of sin and evil by such as enter into their houses, with purpose to plant there a zeal and a love towards this kind of discipline:Preface, Ch. iii. 14. yet some occasion is hereby ministered for men to think, that if the cause which is thus furthered did gain by the soundness of proof whereupon it doth build itself, it would not most busily endeavour to prevail where least ability of judgment is: and therefore, that this so eminent industry in making proselytes more of that sex than of the other groweth, for that they are deemed apter to serve as instruments and helps in the cause. Apter they are through the eagerness of their affection, that maketh them, which way soever they take, diligent in drawing their husbands, children, servants, friends and allies the same way; apter through that natural inclination unto pity, which breedeth in them a greater readiness than in men to be bountiful towards their preachers who suffer want; apter through sundry opportunities, which they especially have, to procure encouragements for their brethren; finally, apter through a singular delight which they take in giving very large and particular intelligence, how all near about them stand affected as concerning the same cause.

Edition: 1888; Page: [14.]But be they women or be they men, if once they have tasted of that cup, let any man of contrary opinion open his mouth to persuade them, they close up their ears, his reasons they weigh not, all is answered with rehearsal of the words of John, “ ‘We are of God; he that knoweth God heareth us1:’ as for the rest, ye are of the world; for this world’s pomp and vanity it is that ye speak, and the world, whose ye are, heareth you.” Which cloak sitteth no less fit on the back of their cause, than of the Anabaptists, when the dignity, authority and honour of God’s magistrate is upheld against them. Shew these eagerly-affected men their inability to judge of such matters; their answer is, “God hath chosen the simple2.” Convince them of folly, and that so plainly, that very children upbraid them with it; they have their bucklers Edition: current; Page: [154] of like defence:Preface, Ch. iii. 15. “Christ’s own apostle was accounted mad: the best men evermore by the sentence of the world have been judged to be out of their right minds1.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [15.]When instruction doth them no good, let them feel but the least degree of most mercifully-tempered severity2, they fasten on the head of the Lord’s vicegerents here on earth whatsoever they any where find uttered against the cruelty of bloodthirsty men, and to themselves they draw all the sentences which scripture hath in the favour of innocency persecuted for the truth; yea, they are of their due and deserved sufferings no less proud, than those ancient disturbers to whom Saint Augustine writeth, saying3: “Martyrs rightly so named are they not which suffer for their disorder, and for the ungodly breach they have made of Christian unity, but which for righteousness’ sake are persecuted. For Agar also suffered persecution at the hands of Sara, wherein, she which did impose was holy, and she unrighteous which did bear the burden. In like sort, with thieves was the Lord himself crucified; but they, who were matched in the pain which they suffered4, were in the cause of their sufferings disjoined.”. . .“If that must needs be the true church which doth endure persecution, Edition: current; Page: [155] and not that which persecuteth, let them ask of the apostle what church Sara did represent, when she held her maid in affliction.Preface, Ch. iii. 16. iv. 1. For even our mother which is free, the heavenly Jerusalem, that is to say, the true Church of God, was, as he doth affirm, prefigured in that very woman by whom the bondmaid was so sharply handled. Although, if all things be throughly scanned, she did in truth more persecute Sara by proud resistance, than Sara her by severity of punishment.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [16.]These are the paths wherein ye have walked that are of the ordinary sort of men; these are the very steps ye have trodden, and the manifest degrees whereby ye are of your guides and directors trained up in that school: a custom of inuring your ears with reproof of faults especially in your governors; an use to attribute those faults to the kind of spiritual regiment under which ye live; boldness in warranting the force of their discipline for the cure of all such evils; a slight of framing your conceits to imagine that Scripture every where favoureth that discipline; persuasion that the cause why ye find it in Scripture is the illumination of the Spirit, that the same Spirit is a seal unto you of your nearness unto God, that ye are by all means to nourish and witness it in yourselves, and to strengthen on every side your minds against whatsoever might be of force to withdraw you from it.

What hath caused so many of the learneder sort to approve the same discipline.IV. Wherefore to come unto you whose judgment is a lantern of direction for all the rest, you that frame thus the people’s hearts, not altogether (as I willingly persuade myself) of a politic intent or purpose, but yourselves being first overborne with the weight of greater men’s judgments: on your shoulders is laid the burden of upholding the cause by argument. For which purpose sentences out of the word of God ye allege divers: but so, that when the same are discussed, thus it always in a manner falleth out, that what things by virtue thereof ye urge upon us as altogether necessary, are found to be thence collected only by poor and marvellous slight conjectures. I need not give instance in any one sentence so alleged, for that I think the instance in any alleged otherwise a thing not easy to be given. A very strange thing sure it were, that such a discipline as ye speak Edition: current; Page: [156] of should be taught by Christ and his apostles in the word of God, and no church ever have found it out, nor received it till this present time1;Preface, Ch. iv. 2. contrariwise, the government against which ye bend yourselves be observed every where throughout all generations and ages of the Christian world, no church ever perceiving the word of God to be against it. We require you to find out but one church upon the face of the whole earth; that hath been ordered by your discipline, or hath not been ordered by ours, that is to say, by episcopal regiment, sithence the time that the blessed Apostles were here conversant.

Edition: 1888; Page: [2.]Many things out of antiquity ye bring, as if the purest times of the Church had observed the selfsame orders which you require; and as though your desire were that the churches of old should be patterns for us to follow, and even glasses, wherein we might see the practice of that which by you is gathered out of Scripture. But the truth is, ye mean nothing less. All this is done for fashion’s sake only: for ye complain of it as of an injury, that men should be willed to seek for examples and patterns of government in any of those times that have been before2. Ye plainly hold, that from the very Apostles’ time till this present age, wherein yourselves imagine ye have found out a right pattern of sound discipline, there never was any time safe to be followed. Which thing ye thus endeavour to prove. “Out of3 Egesippus” ye say that “Eusebius4 writeth,” how although “as long as the Apostles lived the Church did remain a pure Edition: current; Page: [157] virgin, yet after the death of the Apostles, and after they were once gone whom God vouchsafed to make hearers of the divine wisdom with their own ears, the placing of wicked error began to come into the Church.Preface, Ch. iv. 3. Clement also in a certain place, to confirm that there was corruption of doctrine immediately after the Apostles’ time, allegeth the proverb, that ‘There are few sons like their fathers1.’ Socrates saith of the churches of Rome and Alexandria2, the most famous churches in the Apostles’ times, that about the year 430, the Roman and Alexandrian bishops, leaving the sacred function, were degenerate to a secular rule of dominion3.” Hereupon ye conclude, that it is not safe to fetch our government from any other than the Apostles’ times.

Edition: 1888; Page: [3.]Wherein by the way it may be noted, that in proposing the Apostles’ times as a pattern for the Church to follow, though the desire of you all be one, the drift and purpose of you all is not one. The chiefest thing which lay-reformers yawn for is, that the clergy may through conformity in state and condition be apostolical, poor as the Apostles of Christ were poor. In which one circumstance if they imagine so great perfection, they must think that Church which hath such store of mendicant Friars, a church in that respect most happy. Were it for the glory of God and the good of his Church indeed that the clergy should be left even as bare as the Apostles when they had neither staff nor scrip, that God, which should lay upon them the condition of his Apostles, would I hope endue them with the selfsame affection which was in that holy Apostle, whose words concerning his own right virtuous contentment of heart, “as well how to want, as how to abound4,” are a most fit episcopal emprese. The Church of Christ is a body mystical. A body cannot stand, unless the parts thereof be proportionable. Let it therefore be required on both parts, at the hands of the Edition: current; Page: [158] clergy, to be in meanness of state like the Apostles;Preface, Ch. iv. 4. at the hands of the laity, to be as they were who lived under the Apostles: and in this reformation there will be, though little wisdom, yet some indifferency.

Edition: 1888; Page: [4.]But your reformation which are of the clergy (if yet it displease you not that I should say ye are of the clergy1) seemeth to aim at a broader mark. Ye think that he which will perfectly reform must bring the form of church-discipline unto the state which then it was at. A thing neither possible, nor certain, nor absolutely convenient.

Concerning the first, what was used in the Apostles’ times, the Scripture fully declareth not; so that making their times the rule and canon of church-polity, ye make a rule, which being not possible to be fully known, is as impossible to be kept.

Again, sith the later even of the Apostles’ own times had that which in the former was not thought upon; in this general proposing of the apostolical times, there is no certainty which should be followed: especially seeing that ye give us great cause to doubt how far ye allow those times2. For albeit “the loover of antichristian building were not,” ye say, as then “set up, yet the foundations thereof were secretly and under the ground laid in the Apostles’ times3:’ so that all other times ye plainly reject, and the Apostles’ own times ye approve with marvellous great suspicion, leaving Edition: current; Page: [159] it intricate and doubtful, wherein we are to keep ourselves unto the pattern of their times.

Thirdly, whereas it is the error of the common multitude to consider only what hath been of old, and if the same were well, to see whether still it continue; if not, to condemn that presently which is, and never to search upon what ground or consideration the change might grow: such rudeness cannot be in you so well borne with, whom learning and judgment hath enabled much more soundly to discern how far the times of the Church and the orders thereof may alter without offence. True it is, the ancienter1, the better ceremonies of religion are; howbeit, not absolutely true and without exception: but true only so far forth as those different ages do agree in the state of those things, for which at the first those rites, orders, and ceremonies, were instituted. In the Apostles’ times that was harmless, which being now revived would be scandalous; as their oscula sancta2. Those feasts of charity3, which being instituted by the Apostles, were retained in the Church long after, are not now thought any where needful. What man Edition: current; Page: [160] is there of understanding, unto whom it is not manifest how the way of providing for the clergy by tithes, the device of almshouses for the poor,Preface, Ch. iv. 5, 6. the sorting out of the people into their several parishes, together with sundry other things which the Apostles’ times could not have, (being now established,) are much more convenient and fit for the Church of Christ, than if the same should be taken away for conformity’s sake with the ancientest and first times?

Edition: 1888; Page: [5.]The orders therefore, which were observed in the Apostles’ times, are not to be urged as a rule universally either sufficient or necessary. If they be, nevertheless on your part it still remaineth to be better proved, that the form of discipline, which ye entitle apostolical, was in the Apostles’ times exercised. For of this very thing ye fail even touching that which ye make most account of1, as being matter of substance in discipline, I mean the power of your lay-elders, and the difference of your Doctors from the Pastors in all churches. So that in sum, we may be bold to conclude, that besides these last times, which for insolency, pride, and egregious contempt of all good order, are the worst, there are none wherein ye can truly affirm, that the complete form of your discipline, or the substance thereof, was practised.

Edition: 1888; Page: [6.]The evidence therefore of antiquity failing you, ye fly to the judgments of such learned men, as seem by their writings to be of opinion, that all Christian churches should receive your discipline, and abandon ours. Wherein, as ye heap up the names of a number of men not unworthy to be had in honour; so there are a number whom when ye mention, although it serve you to purpose with the ignorant and vulgar sort, who measure by tale and not by weight, yet surely they who know what quality and value the men are of, will think ye draw very near the dregs. But were they all of as great account as the best and chiefest amongst them, with us notwithstanding neither are they, neither ought Edition: current; Page: [161] they to be of such reckoning, that their opinion or conjecture should cause the laws of the Church of England to give place.Preface, Ch. iv. 7. Much less when they neither do all agree in that opinion, and of them which are at agreement, the most part through a courteous inducement have followed one man as their guide, finally that one therein not unlikely to have swerved1. If any chance to say it is probable that in the Apostles’ times there were lay-elders, or not to mislike the continuance of them in the Church, or to affirm that Bishops at the first were a name but not a power distinct from Presbyters, or to speak any thing in praise of those Churches which are without episcopal regiment, or to reprove the fault of such as abuse that calling; all these ye register for men persuaded as you are, that every Christian Church standeth bound by the law of God to put down Bishops, and in their rooms to elect an Eldership so authorized as you would have it for the government of each parish. Deceived greatly they are therefore, who think that all they whose names are cited amongst the favourers of this cause, are on any such verdict agreed2.

Edition: 1888; Page: [7.]Yet touching some material points of your discipline, a kind of agreement we grant there is amongst many divines of reformed Churches abroad. For, first, to do as the Church of Geneva did the learned in some other Churches must needs be the more willing, who having used in like manner not the slow and tedious help of proceeding by public authority, but the people’s more quick endeavour for alteration, in such an exigent I see not well how they could have stayed to deliberate about any other regiment than that which already was devised to their hands, that which in like case had been taken, that which was easiest to be established without delay, that which was likeliest to content the people by reason of some kind of sway which it giveth them. When therefore the example of one Church was thus at the first almost through a kind of constraint or necessity followed by many, their concurrence in persuasion about some material points belonging to the same polity is not strange. For we are not to marvel greatly, if they which Edition: current; Page: [162] have all done the same thing, do easily embrace the same opinion as concerning their own doings.Preface, Ch. iv. 8.

Edition: 1888; Page: [8.]Besides, mark I beseech you that which Galen in matter of philosophy noteth1; for the like falleth out even in questions of higher knowledge. It fareth many times with men’s opinions as with rumours and reports. “That which a credible person telleth is easily thought probable by such as are well persuaded of him. But if two, or three, or four, agree all in the same tale, they judge it then to be out of controversy, and so are many times overtaken for want of due consideration; either some common cause leading them all into error, or one man’s oversight deceiving many through their too much credulity and easiness of belief.” Though ten persons be brought to give testimony in any cause, yet if the knowledge they have of the thing whereunto they come as witnesses, appear to have grown from some one amongst them, and to have spread itself from hand to hand, they all are in force but as one testimony. Nor is it otherwise here where the daughter churches do speak their mother’s dialect; here where so many sing one song, by reason that he is the guide of the choir2, concerning whose deserved authority amongst even the gravest divines we have already spoken at large. Will ye ask what should move those many learned to be followers of one man’s judgment, no necessity of argument forcing them thereunto? Your demand is answered by yourselves. Loth ye are to think that they, whom ye judge to have attained as sound knowledge in all points of doctrine as any since the Apostles’ time, should mistake in discipline3. Such is naturally Edition: current; Page: [163] our affection, that whom in great things we mightily admire, in them we are not persuaded willingly that any thing should be amiss.Preface, Ch. v. 1. The reason whereof is, “for that as dead flies putrify the ointment of the apothecary1, so a little folly him that is in estimation for wisdom2.” This in every profession hath too much authorized the judgments of a few. This with Germans hath caused Luther, and with many other Churches Calvin, to prevail in all things. Yet are we not able to define, whether the wisdom of that God, (who setteth before us in holy Scripture so many admirable patterns of virtue, and no one of them without somewhat noted wherein they were culpable, to the end that to Him alone it might always be acknowledged, “Thou only art holy, thou only art just3;”) might not permit those worthy vessels of his glory to be in some things blemished with the stain of human frailty, even for this cause, lest we should esteem of any man above that which behoveth.

Their calling for trial by disputation.V. Notwithstanding, as though ye were able to say a great deal more than hitherto. your books have revealed to the world, earnest challengers4 ye are of trial by some public disputation. Wherein if the thing ye crave be no more than only leave to dispute openly about those matters that are in question, the schools in universities (for any thing I know) are open unto you. They have their yearly Edition: current; Page: [164] Acts and Commencements, besides other disputations both ordinary and upon occasion,Preface, Ch. v. 2, 3. wherein the several parts of our own ecclesiastical discipline are oftentimes offered unto that kind of examination; the learnedest of you have been of late years noted seldom or never absent from thence at the time of those greater assemblies; and the favour of proposing there in convenient sort whatsoever ye can object (which thing myself have known them to grant of scholastical courtesy unto strangers) neither hath (as I think) nor ever will (I presume) be denied you.

Edition: 1888; Page: [2.]If your suit be to have some great extraordinary confluence, in expectation whereof the laws that already are should sleep and have no power over you, till in the hearing of thousands ye all did acknowledge your error and renounce the further prosecution of your cause: haply1 they whose authority is required unto the satisfying of your demand do think it both dangerous to admit such concourse of divided minds, and unmeet that laws, which being once solemnly established are to exact obedience of all men and to constrain thereunto, should so far stoop as to hold themselves in suspense from taking any effect upon you till some disputer can persuade you to be obedient2. A law is the deed of the whole body politic, whereof if ye judge yourselves to be any part, then is the law even your deed also. And were it reason in things of this quality to give men audience, pleading for the overthrow of that which their own very deed hath ratified? Laws that have been approved may be (no man doubteth) again repealed, and to that end also disputed against, by the authors thereof themselves. But this is when the whole doth deliberate what laws each part shall observe, and not when a part refuseth the laws which the whole hath orderly agreed upon.

Edition: 1888; Page: [3.]Notwithstanding, forasmuch as the cause we maintain is (God be thanked) such as needeth not to shun any trial, might it please them on whose approbation the matter dependeth to condescend so far unto you in this behalf, I Edition: current; Page: [165] wish heartily that proof were made even by solemn conference in orderly and quiet sort, whether you would yourselves be satisfied,Preface, Ch. v. 3. or else could by satisfying others draw them to your part. Provided always, first, inasmuch as ye go about to destroy a thing which is in force, and to draw in that which hath not as yet been received; to impose on us that which we think not ourselves bound unto, and to overthrow those things whereof we are possessed; that therefore ye are not to claim in any such conference other than the plaintiff’s or opponent’s part, which must consist altogether in proof and confirmation of two things: the one, that our orders by you condemned we ought to abolish; the other, that yours we are bound to accept in the stead thereof: secondly, because the questions in controversy between us are many, if once we descend unto particularities; that for the easier and more orderly proceeding therein the most general be first discussed, nor any question left off, nor in each question the prosecution of any one argument given over and another taken in hand, till the issue whereunto by replies and answers both parts are come, be collected, read, and acknowledged as well on the one side as on the other to be the plain conclusion which they are grown unto: thirdly, for avoiding of the manifold inconveniences whereunto ordinary and extemporal disputes are subject; as also because, if ye should singly dispute one by one as every man’s own wit did best serve, it might be conceived by the rest that haply some other would have done more; the chiefest of you do all agree in this action, that whom ye shall then choose your speaker, by him that which is publickly brought into disputation be acknowledged by all your consents not to be his allegation but yours, such as ye all are agreed upon, and have required him to deliver in all your names; the true copy whereof being taken by a notary, that a reasonable time be allowed for return of answer unto you in the like form. Fourthly, whereas a number of conferences have been had in other causes with the less effectual success, by reason of partial and untrue reports published afterwards unto the world; that to prevent this evil, there be at the first a solemn declaration made on both parts, of their agreement to have that very book and no other set abroad, wherein their present authorized notaries do write those things fully and Edition: current; Page: [166] only, which being written and there read, are by their own open testimony acknowledged to be their own.Preface, Ch. vi. 2. Other circumstances hereunto belonging, whether for the choice of time, place, and language, or for prevention of impertinent and needless speech, or to any end and purpose else—they may be thought on when occasion serveth.

In this sort to broach my private conceit for the ordering of a public action I should be loth (albeit I do it not otherwise than under correction of them whose gravity and wisdom ought in such cases to overrule,) but that so venturous boldness I see is a thing now general; and am thereby of good hope, that where all men are licensed to offend, no man will shew himself a sharp accuser.

No end of contention, without submission of both parts unto some definitive sentence.VI. What success God may give unto any such kind of conference or disputation, we cannot tell. But of this we are right sure, that nature, Scripture1, and experience itself, have all taught the world to seek for the ending of contentions by submitting itself unto some judicial and definitive sentence, whereunto neither part that contendeth may under any pretence or colour refuse to stand. This must needs be effectual and strong. As for other means without this, they seldom prevail. I would therefore know, whether for the ending of these irksome strifes, wherein you and your followers do stand thus formally divided against the authorized guides of this church, and the rest of the people subject unto their charge; whether I say ye be content to refer your cause to any other higher judgment than your own, or else intend to persist and proceed as ye have begun, till yourselves can be persuaded to condemn yourselves. If your determination be this, we can be but sorry that ye should deserve to be reckoned with such, of whom God himself pronounceth, “The way of peace they have not known2.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [2.]Ways of peaceable conclusion there are, but these two certain: the one, a sentence of judicial decision given by authority thereto appointed within ourselves; the other, the like kind of sentence given by a more universal authority. The former of which two ways God himself in the Law Edition: current; Page: [167] prescribeth, and his Spirit it was which directed the very first Christian churches in the world to use the latter.Preface, Ch. vi. 3.

The ordinance of God in the Law was this. “1If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea, &c. then shalt thou arise, and go up unto the place which the Lord thy God shall choose; and thou shalt come unto the Priests of the Levites, and unto the Judge that shall be in those days, and ask, and they shall shew thee the sentence of judgment, and thou shalt do according to that thing, which they of that place which the Lord hath chosen shew thee, and thou shalt observe to do according to all that they inform thee; according to the law which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, shalt thou do; thou shalt not decline from the thing which they shall shew thee to the right hand nor to the left. And that man that will do presumptuously, not hearkening unto the Priest (that standeth before the Lord thy God to minister there) or unto the Judge, that man shall die, and thou shalt take away evil from Israel.”

When there grew in the Church of Christ a question, Whether the Gentiles believing might be saved, although they were not circumcised after the manner of Moses, nor did observe the rest of those legal rites and ceremonies whereunto the Jews were bound; after great dissension and disputation about it, their conclusion in the end was to have it determined by sentence at Jerusalem; which was accordingly done in a council there assembled for the same purpose2. Are ye able to allege any just and sufficient cause wherefore absolutely ye should not condescend in this controversy to have your judgments overruled by some such definitive sentence, whether it fall out to be given with or against you; that so these tedious contentions may cease?

Edition: 1888; Page: [3.]Ye will perhaps make answer, that being persuaded already as touching the truth of your cause, ye are not to hearken unto any sentence, no not though Angels should define otherwise, as the blessed Apostle’s own example teacheth3: again, that men, yea councils, may err; and that, unless the judgment given do satisfy your minds, Edition: current; Page: [168] unless it be such as ye can by no further argument oppugn, in a word, unless you perceive and acknowledge it yourselves consonant with God’s word; to stand unto it not allowing it were to sin against your own consciences.

But consider I beseech you first as touching the Apostle, how that wherein he was so resolute and peremptory, our Lord Jesus Christ made manifest unto him even by intuitive revelation, wherein there was no possibility of error. That which you are persuaded of, ye have it no otherwise than by your own only probable collection, and therefore such bold asseverations as in him were admirable, should in your mouths but argue rashness. God was not ignorant that the priests and judges, whose sentence in matters of controversy he ordained should stand, both might and oftentimes would be deceived in their judgment. Howbeit, better it was in the eye of His understanding, that sometime an erroneous sentence definitive should prevail, till the same authority perceiving such oversight, might afterwards correct or reverse it, than that strifes should have respite to grow, and not come speedily unto some end.

Neither wish we that men should do any thing which in their hearts they are persuaded they ought not to do, but this persuasion ought (we say) to be fully settled in their hearts; that in litigious and controversed causes of such quality, the will of God is to have them do whatsoever the sentence of judicial and final decision shall determine, yea, though it seem in their private opinion to swerve utterly from that which is right: as no doubt many times the sentence amongst the Jews did seem unto one part or other contending, and yet in this case, God did then allow them to do that which in their private judgment it seemed, yea and perhaps truly seemed, that the law did disallow. For if God be not the author of confusion but of peace, then can he not be the author of our refusal, but of our contentment, to stand unto some definitive sentence; without which almost impossible it is that either we should avoid confusion, or ever hope to attain peace. To small purpose had the Council of Jerusalem been assembled, if once their determination being set down, men might afterwards have defended their former opinions. When therefore they had given their definitive sentence, all Edition: current; Page: [169] controversy was at an end.Preface, Ch. vi. 4. Things were disputed before they came to be determined; men afterwards were not to dispute any longer, but to obey. The sentence of judgment finished their strife, which their disputes before judgment could not do. This was ground sufficient for any reasonable man’s conscience to build the duty of obedience upon, whatsoever his own opinion were as touching the matter before in question. So full of wilfulness and self-liking is our nature, that without some definitive sentence, which being given may stand, and a necessity of silence on both sides afterward imposed, small hope there is that strifes thus far prosecuted will in short time quietly end.

Edition: 1888; Page: [4.]Now it were in vain to ask you, whether ye could be content that the sentence of any court already erected should be so far authorized, as that among the Jews established by God himself, for the determining of all controversies: “That man which will do presumptuously, not hearkening unto the Priest that standeth before the Lord to minister there, nor unto the Judge, let him die.” Ye have given us already to understand, what your opinion is in part concerning her sacred Majesty’s Court of High Commission; the nature whereof is the same with that amongst the Jews1, albeit the power be not so great. The other way haply may like you better, because Master Beza, in his last book save one2 written about these matters, professeth himself to be now weary of such combats and encounters, whether by word or writing, inasmuch as he findeth that “controversies thereby are made but brawls;” and therefore wisheth “that in some common lawful assembly of churches all these strifes may at once be decided.”

Edition: current; Page: [170]

Preface, Ch. vi. 5, 6.[5.] Shall there be then in the meanwhile no “doings?” Yes. There are the weightier matters of the law, “judgment, and mercy, and fidelity1.” These things we ought to do; and these things, while we contend about less, we leave undone. Happier are they whom the Lord when he cometh shall find “doing” in these things, than disputing about “Doctors, Elders, and Deacons.” Or if there be no remedy but somewhat needs ye must do which may tend to the setting forward of your discipline; do that which wise men, who think some statute of the realm more fit to be repealed than to stand in force, are accustomed to do before they come to parliament where the place of enacting is; that is to say, spend the time in re-examining more duly your cause, and in more throughly considering of that which ye labour to overthrow. As for the orders which are established, sith equity and reason, the law of nature, God and man, do all favour that which is in being, till orderly judgment of decision be given against it; it is but justice to exact of you, and perverseness in you it should be to deny, thereunto your willing obedience.

Edition: 1888; Page: [6.]Not that I judge it a thing allowable for men to observe those laws which in their hearts they are steadfastly persuaded to be against the law of God: but your persuasion in this case ye are all bound for the time to suspend; and in otherwise doing, ye offend against God by troubling his Church without any just or necessary cause. Be it that there are some reasons inducing you to think hardly of our laws. Are those reasons demonstrative, are they necessary, or but mere probabilities only? An argument necessary and demonstrative is such, as being proposed unto any man and understood, the mind cannot choose but inwardly assent. Any one such reason dischargeth, I grant, the conscience, and setteth it at full liberty. For the public approbation given by the body of this whole church unto those things which are established, doth make it but probable that they are good. And therefore unto a necessary proof that they are not good it must give place. But if the skilfullest amongst you can shew that all the books ye have hitherto written be able to afford any one argument of this nature, let Edition: current; Page: [171] the instance be given.Preface, Ch. vii. 1, 2. As for probabilities, what thing was there ever set down so agreeable with sound reason, but some probable shew against it might be made? Is it meet that when publicly things are received, and have taken place, general obedience thereunto should cease to be exacted, in case this or that private person, led with some probable conceit, should make open protestation, “I Peter or John disallow them, and pronounce them nought?” In which case your answer will be, that concerning the laws of our church, they are not only condemned in the opinion of “a private man, but of thousands,” yea and even “of those amongst which divers are in public charge and authority1.” As though when public consent of the whole hath established any thing, every man’s judgment being thereunto compared were not private, howsoever his calling be to some kind of public charge. So that of peace and quietness there is not any way possible, unless the probable voice of every entire2 society or body politic overrule all private of like nature in the same body. Which thing effectually proveth, that God, being author of peace and not of confusion in the church, must needs be author of those men’s peaceable resolutions, who concerning these things have determined with themselves to think and do as the church they are of decreeth, till they see necessary cause enforcing them to the contrary.

The matter contained in these eight Books.VII. Nor is mine own intent any other in these several books of discourse, than to make it appear unto you, that for the ecclesiastical laws of this land, we are led by great reason to observe them, and ye by no necessity bound to impugn them. It is no part of my secret meaning to draw you hereby into hatred, or to set upon the face of this cause any fairer glass than the naked truth doth afford; but my whole endeavour is to resolve the conscience, and to shew as near as I can what in this controversy the heart is to think, if it will follow the light of sound and sincere judgment, without either cloud of prejudice, or mist of passionate affection.

Edition: 1888; Page: [2.]Wherefore seeing that laws and ordinances in particular, whether such as we observe, or such as yourselves would have established;—when the mind doth sift and Edition: current; Page: [172] examine them, it must needs have often recourse to a number of doubts and questions about the nature, kinds, and qualities of laws in general;Preface, Ch. vii. 3-5. whereof unless it be throughly informed, there will appear no certainty to stay our persuasion upon: I have for that cause set down in the first place an introduction on both sides needful to be considered: declaring therein what law is, how different kinds of laws there are, and what force they are of according unto each kind.

Edition: 1888; Page: [3.]This done, because ye suppose the laws for which ye strive are found in Scripture, but those not, against which ye strive; and upon this surmise are drawn to hold it as the very main pillar of your whole cause, “That Scripture ought to be the only rule of all our actions,” and consequently that the church-orders which we observe being not commanded in Scripture, are offensive and displeasant unto God: I have spent the second Book in sifting of this point, which standeth with you for the first and chiefest principle whereon ye build.

Edition: 1888; Page: [4.]Whereunto the next in degree is, That as God will have always a Church upon earth, while the world doth continue, and that Church stand in need of government; of which government it behoveth Himself to be both the Author and Teacher: so it cannot stand with duty that man should ever presume in any wise to change and alter the same; and therefore “that in Scripture there must of necessity be found some particular form of Polity Ecclesiastical, the Laws whereof admit not any kind of alteration.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [5.]The first three Books being thus ended, the fourth proceedeth from the general grounds and foundations of your cause unto your general accusations against us, as having in the orders of our Church (for so you pretend) “corrupted the right form of church-polity with manifold popish rites and ceremonies, which certain reformed Churches have banished from amongst them, and have thereby given us such example as” (you think) “we ought to follow.” This your assertion hath herein drawn us to make search, whether these be just exceptions against the customs of our Church, when ye plead that they are the same which the Church of Rome hath, or that they are not the same which some other reformed Churches have devised.

Edition: current; Page: [173]

Preface, Ch. vii. 6, 7. viii. 1.[6.] Of those four Books which remain and are bestowed about the specialties of that cause which lieth in controversy, the first examineth the causes by you alleged, wherefore the public duties of Christian religion, as our prayers, our Sacraments, and the rest, should not be ordered in such sort as with us they are; nor that power, whereby the persons of men are consecrated unto the ministry, be disposed of in such manner as the laws of this church do allow. The second and third are concerning the power of jurisdiction: the one, whether laymen, such as your governing Elders are, ought in all congregations for ever to be invested with that power; the other, whether Bishops may have that power over other Pastors, and therewithal that honour, which with us they have? And because besides the power of order which all consecrated persons have, and the power of jurisdiction which neither they all nor they only have, there is a third power, a power of Ecclesiastical Dominion, communicable, as we think, unto persons not ecclesiastical, and most fit to be restrained unto the Prince or Sovereign commander over the whole body politic: the eighth book we have allotted unto this question, and have sifted therein your objections against those preeminences royal which thereunto appertain.

Edition: 1888; Page: [7.]Thus have I laid before you the brief of these my travails, and presented under your view the limbs of that cause litigious between us: the whole entire body whereof being thus compact, it shall be no troublesome thing for any man to find each particular controversy’s resting-place, and the coherence it hath with those things, either on which it dependeth, or which depend on it.

How just cause there is to fear the manifold dangerous events likely to ensue upon this intended reformation, if it did take place.VIII. The case so standing therefore, my brethren, as it doth, the wisdom of governors ye must not blame, in that they further also forecasting the manifold strange and dangerous innovations which are more than likely to follow, if your discipline should take place, have for that cause thought it hitherto a part of their duty to withstand your endeavours that way. The rather, for that they have seen already some small beginnings of the fruits thereof, in them who concurring with you in judgment about the necessity of that discipline, have adventured without more ado to separate themselves from the rest of the Church, and to put your speculations in Edition: current; Page: [174] execution1. These men’s hastiness the warier sort of you doth not commend;Preface, Ch. viii. 1. ye wish they had held themselves longer in, and not so dangerously flown abroad before the feathers of the cause had been grown; their error with merciful terms ye reprove, naming them, in great commiseration of mind, your “poor brethren2.” They on the contrary side more bitterly accuse you as their “false brethren;” and against you they plead, saying: “From your breasts it is that we have sucked those things, which when ye delivered unto us ye termed that heavenly, sincere, and wholesome milk of God’s word3, howsoever ye now abhor as poison that which the virtue thereof hath wrought and brought forth in us. You sometime our companions, guides and familiars, with whom we have had most sweet consultations4, are now Edition: current; Page: [175] become our professed adversaries, because we think the statute-congregations in England to be no true Christian churches1; because we have severed ourselves from them; and because without their leave and license that are in civil authority, we have secretly framed our own churches according to the platform of the word of God. For of that point between you and us there is no controversy. Alas! what would ye have us to do? At such time as ye were content to accept us in the number of your own, your teachings we heard, we read your writings: and though we would, yet able we are not to forget with what zeal ye have ever professed, that in the English congregations (for so many of them as be ordered according unto their own laws) the very public service of God is fraught as touching matter with heaps of intolerable pollutions, and as concerning form, borrowed from the shop of Antichrist; hateful both ways in the eyes of the Most Holy; the kind of their government by bishops and archbishops antichristian; that discipline which Christ hath ‘essentially tied,’ that is to say, so united unto his Church, that we cannot account it really to be his Church which hath not in it the same discipline, that very discipline no less there despised, than in the highest throne of Antichrist2; all such parts of the Edition: current; Page: [176] word of God as do any way concern that discipline no less unsoundly taught and interpreted by all authorized English pastors, than by Antichrist’s factors themselves; at baptism crossing, at the supper of the Lord kneeling, at both, a number of other the most notorious badges of Antichristian recognizance usual. Being moved with these and the like your effectual discourses, whereunto we gave most attentive ear, till they entered even into our souls, and were as fire within our bosoms; we thought we might hereof be bold to conclude, that sith no such Antichristian synagogue may be accounted a true church of Christ, you by accusing all congregations ordered according to the laws of England as Antichristian, did mean to condemn those congregations, as not being any of them worthy the name of a true Christian church. Ye tell us now it is not your meaning. But what meant your often threatenings of them, who professing themselves the inhabitants of Mount Sion, were too loth to depart wholly as they should out of Babylon? Whereat our hearts being fearfully troubled, we durst not, we durst not continue longer so near her confines, lest her plagues might suddenly overtake us, before we did cease to be partakers with her sins: for so we could not choose but acknowledge with grief that we were, when, they doing evil, we by our presence in their assemblies seemed to like thereof, or at leastwise not so earnestly to dislike, as became men heartily zealous of God’s glory. For adventuring to erect the discipline of Christ without the leave of the Christian magistrate, haply ye may condemn us as fools, in that we hazard thereby our estates and persons further than you which are that way more wise think necessary: but of any offence or sin therein committed against God, with what conscience can you accuse us, when your own positions are, that the things we observe should every of them be dearer unto us than ten thousand lives; that they are the peremptory commandments of God; that no mortal man can dispense with them, and that the magistrate grievously sinneth Edition: current; Page: [177] in not constraining thereunto?Preface, Ch. viii. 2. Will ye blame any man for doing that of his own accord, which all men should be compelled to do that are not willing of themselves? When God commandeth, shall we answer that we will obey, if so be Cæsar will grant us leave? Is discipline an ecclesiastical matter or a civil? If an ecclesiastical, it must of necessity belong to the duty of the minister. And the minister (you say) holdeth all his authority of doing whatsoever belongeth unto the spiritual charge of the house of God even immediately from God himself, without dependency upon any magistrate. Whereupon it followeth, as we suppose, that the hearts of the people being willing to be under the sceptre of Christ, the minister of God, into whose hands the Lord himself hath put that sceptre, is without all excuse if thereby he guide them not. Nor do we find that hitherto greatly ye have disliked those churches abroad, where the people with direction of their godly ministers have even against the will of the magistrate brought in either the doctrine or discipline of Jesus Christ. For which cause we must now think the very same thing of you, which our Saviour did sometime utter concerning falsehearted Scribes and Pharisees, ‘they say, and do not1.’ ” Thus the foolish Barrowist deriveth his schism by way of conclusion, as to him it seemeth, directly and plainly out of your principles. Him therefore we leave to be satisfied by you from whom he hath sprung.

Edition: 1888; Page: [2.]And if such by your own acknowledgment be persons dangerous, although as yet the alterations which they have made are of small and tender growth; the changes likely to ensue throughout all states and vocations within this land, in case your desire should take place, must be thought upon.

First concerning the supreme power of the Highest, they are no small prerogatives, which now thereunto belonging the form of your discipline will constrain it to resign; as in the last book of this treatise we have shewed at large2.

Edition: current; Page: [178]

Preface, Ch. viii. 3.Again it may justly be feared whether our English nobility, when the matter came in trial, would contentedly suffer themselves to be always at the call, and to stand to the sentence of a number of mean persons assisted with the presence of their poor teacher1, a man (as sometimes it happeneth) though better able to speak, yet little or no whit apter to judge, than the rest: from whom, be their dealings never so absurd, (unless it be by way of complaint to a synod,) no appeal may be made unto any one of higher power, inasmuch as the order of your discipline admitteth no standing inequality of courts, no spiritual judge to have any ordinary superior on earth, but as many supremacies as there are parishes and several congregations.

Edition: 1888; Page: [3.]Neither is it altogether without cause that so many do fear the overthrow of all learning as a threatened sequel of this your intended discipline. For if “the world’s preservation” depend upon “the multitude of the wise2;” and of that sort the number hereafter be not likely to wax overgreat, “when” (that wherewith the son of Sirach professeth himself at the heart grieved) “men of understanding are” already so “little set by3:” how should their minds whom the love of so precious a jewel filleth with secret jealousy even in regard of the least things which may any way hinder the flourishing estate thereof, choose but misdoubt lest this discipline, which always you match with divine doctrine as her natural and true sister, be found unto all kinds of knowledge Edition: current; Page: [179] a step-mother1; seeing that the greatest worldly hopes, which are proposed unto the chiefest kind of learning, ye seek utterly to extirpate as weeds, and have grounded your platform on such propositions as do after a sort undermine those most renowned habitations, where through the goodness of Almighty God all commendable arts and sciences are with exceeding great industry hitherto (and so may they for ever continue) studied, proceeded in, and professed2? To charge you as purposely bent to the overthrow of that, wherein so many of you have attained no small perfection, were injurious. Only therefore I wish that yourselves did well consider, how opposite certain your positions are unto the state of collegiate societies, whereon the two universities consist. Those degrees which their statutes bind them to take are by your laws taken away3; yourselves who have sought them ye so excuse, as that ye would have men to think ye judge them not allowable, but tolerable only, and to be borne with, for some help which ye find in them unto the furtherance of your purposes, till the corrupt estate of the Church may be better reformed. Your laws forbidding ecclesiastical persons utterly the exercise of civil power must needs deprive the Heads and Masters in the same colleges of all such authority as now they exercise, either at home, by punishing the faults of those, who not as children to their parents by the law of nature, but altogether by civil authority are subject unto them: or abroad by keeping courts amongst their tenants. Your laws making permanent equality amongst Edition: current; Page: [180] ministers a thing repugnant to the word of God, enforce those colleges, the seniors whereof are all or any part of them ministers under the government of a master in the same vocation, to choose as oft as they meet together a new president.Preface, Ch. viii. 4. For if so ye judge it necessary to do in synods, for the avoiding of permanent inequality amongst ministers, the same cause must needs even in these collegiate assemblies enforce the like. Except peradventure ye mean to avoid all such absurdities, by dissolving those corporations, and by bringing the universities unto the form of the School of Geneva. Which thing men the rather are inclined to look for, inasmuch as the ministry, whereinto their founders with singular providence have by the same statutes appointed them necessarily to enter at a certain time, your laws bind them much more necessarily to forbear, till some parish abroad call for them1.

Edition: 1888; Page: [4.]Your opinion concerning the law civil is that the knowledge thereof might be spared, as a thing which this land doth not need2. Professors in that kind being few, ye are the bolder to spurn at them, and not to dissemble your minds as concerning their removal: in whose studies although myself have not much been conversant, nevertheless exceeding great cause I see there is to wish that thereunto more encouragement were given; as well for the singular treasures of wisdom therein contained, as also for the great use we have thereof, both in decision of certain kinds of causes arising daily within ourselves, and especially for commerce with nations abroad, whereunto that knowledge is most requisite. The reasons wherewith ye would persuade that Scripture is the only rule to frame all our actions by, are in every respect as effectual for proof that the same is the only law whereby to determine all our civil controversies. And then what doth let, but that as those men may have their Edition: current; Page: [181] desire,Preface, Ch. viii. 5. who frankly broach it already that the work of reformation will never be perfect, till the law of Jesus Christ be received alone; so pleaders and counsellors may bring their books of the common law, and bestow them as the students of curious and needless arts1 did theirs in the Apostles’ time? I leave them to scan how far those words of yours may reach, wherein ye declare that, whereas now many houses lie waste through inordinate suits of law, “this one thing will shew the excellency of discipline for the wealth of the realm, and quiet of subjects; that the Church is to censure such a party who is apparently troublesome and contentious, and without reasonable cause upon a mere will and stomach doth vex and molest his brother, and trouble the country2.” For mine own part I do not see but that it might very well agree with your principles, if your discipline were fully planted, even to send out your writs of surcease unto all courts of England besides, for the most things handled in them3.

Edition: 1888; Page: [5.]A great deal further I might proceed and descend Edition: current; Page: [182] lower.Preface, Ch. viii. 6. But forasmuch as against all these and the like difficulties your answer is1, that we ought to search what things are consonant to God’s will, not which be most for our own ease; and therefore that your discipline being (for such is your error) the absolute commandment of Almighty God, it must be received although the world by receiving it should be clean turned upside down; herein lieth the greatest danger of all. For whereas the name of divine authority is used to countenance these things, which are not the commandments of God, but your own erroneous collections; on him ye must father whatsoever ye shall afterwards be led, either to do in withstanding the adversaries of your cause, or to think in maintenance of your doings. And what this may be, God doth know. In such kinds of error the mind once imagining itself to seek the execution of God’s will, laboureth forthwith to remove both things and persons which any way hinder it from taking place; and in such cases if any strange or new thing seem requisite to be done, a strange and new opinion concerning the lawfulness thereof is withal received and broached under countenance of divine authority.

Edition: 1888; Page: [6.]One example2 herein may serve for many, to shew that false opinions, touching the will of God to have things done, are wont to bring forth mighty and violent practices against the hindrances of them; and those practices new opinions more pernicious than the first, yea most extremely sometimes opposite to that which the first did seem to intend. Where the people took upon them the reformation of the Church by casting out popish superstition, they having received from their pastors a general instruction “that whatsoever the heavenly Father hath not planted must be rooted out3,” proceeded in some foreign places so far that down went oratories and the very temples of God themselves. For as they chanced to take the compass of their commission stricter or larger, so their dealings Edition: current; Page: [183] were accordingly more or less moderate. Amongst others there sprang up presently one kind of men, with whose zeal and forwardness the rest being compared were thought to be marvellous cold and dull. These grounding themselves on rules more general; that whatsoever the law of Christ commandeth not, thereof Antichrist is the author: and that whatsoever Antichrist or his adherents did in the world, the true professors of Christ are to undo; found out many things more than others had done, the extirpation whereof was in their conceit as necessary as of any thing before removed. Hereupon they secretly made their doleful complaints every where as they went1, that albeit the world did begin to profess some dislike of that which was evil in the kingdom of darkness, yet fruits worthy of a true repentance were not seen; and that if men did repent as they ought, they must endeavour to purge the earth of all manner evil, to the end there might follow a new world afterward, wherein righteousness only should dwell. Private repentance they said must appear by every man’s fashioning his own life contrary unto the customs and orders of this present world, both in greater things and in less. To this purpose they had always in their mouths those greater things, charity, faith, the true fear of God, the cross, the mortification of the flesh2. All their exhortations were to set light Edition: current; Page: [184] of the things in this world,Prfeace, Ch. viii. 7. to count riches and honours vanity, and in token thereof not only to seek neither, but if men were possessors of both, even to cast away the one and resign the other, that all men might see their unfeigned conversion unto Christ1. They were solicitors of men to fasts2, to often meditations of heavenly things, and as it were conferences in secret with God by prayers, not framed according to the frozen manner of the world, but expressing such fervent desires as might even force God to hearken unto them. Where they found men in diet, attire, furniture of house, or any other way, observers of civility and decent order, such they reproved as being carnally and earthly minded. Every word otherwise than severely and sadly uttered seemed to pierce like a sword through them3. If any man were pleasant, their manner was presently with deep sighs to repeat those words of our Saviour Christ, “Woe be to you which now laugh, for ye shall lament4.” So great was their delight to be always in trouble, that such as did quietly lead their lives, they judged of all other men to be in most dangerous case. They so much affected to cross the ordinary custom in every thing, that when other men’s use was to put on better attire, they would be sure to shew themselves openly abroad in worse: the ordinary names of the days in the week they thought it a kind of profaneness to use, and therefore accustomed themselves to make no other distinction than by numbers, the First, Second, Third day5.

Edition: 1888; Page: [7.]From this they proceeded unto public reformation, first ecclesiastical, and then civil. Touching the former, they boldly avouched that themselves only had the truth, which thing upon peril of their lives they would at all times defend; and that since the apostles lived, the same was never before in all points sincerely taught6. Wherefore that things might again be brought to that ancient integrity which Jesus Christ by his word requireth, they began to control the ministers of the gospel for attributing so much force and virtue unto the scriptures of God read, whereas the truth was, that when the word is said to engender faith in the heart, and to convert Edition: current; Page: [185] the soul of man, or to work any such spiritual divine effect, these speeches are not thereunto appliable as it is read or preached, but as it is ingrafted in us by the power of the Holy Ghost opening the eyes of our understanding, and so revealing the mysteries of God, according to that which Jeremy promised before should be, saying, “I will put my law in their inward parts, and I will write it in their hearts1.” The Book of God they notwithstanding for the most part so admired, that other disputation against their opinions than only by allegation of Scripture they would not hear; besides it they thought no other writings in the world should be studied; insomuch as one of their great prophets exhorting them to cast away all respects unto human writings, so far to his motion they condescended, that as many as had any books save the Holy Bible in their custody, they brought and set them publicly on fire2. When they and their Bibles were alone together, what strange fantastical opinion soever at any time entered into their heads, their use was to think the Spirit taught it them. Their phrensies concerning our Saviour’s incarnation, the state of souls departed, and such-like3, are things needless to be rehearsed. And forasmuch as they were of the same suit with those of whom the apostle speaketh, saying, “They are still learning, but never attain to the knowledge of truth4,” it was no marvel to see them every day broach some new thing, not heard of before. Which restless levity they did interpret to be their growing to spiritual perfection, and a proceeding from faith to faith5. The differences amongst them grew by this mean in a manner infinite, so that scarcely was there found any one of them, the forge of whose brain was not possessed with some special mystery. Whereupon, although their mutual contentions6 were most fiercely prosecuted amongst themselves, yet when they came to defend the cause common to them all against the adversaries of their faction, they had ways to lick one another whole; the sounder in his own persuasion excusing the dear brethren7, which were not so far enlightened, and professing a charitable hope of the mercy of Edition: current; Page: [186] God towards them notwithstanding their swerving from him in some things. Their own ministers they highly magnified as men whose vocation was from God1; the rest their manner was to term disdainfully Scribes and Pharisees2, to account their calling an human creature, and to detain the people as much as might be from hearing them. As touching Sacraments3, Baptism administered in the Church of Rome they judged to be but an execrable mockery and no baptism; both because the ministers thereof in the Papacy are wicked idolaters, lewd persons, thieves and murderers, cursed creatures, ignorant beasts; and also for that to baptize is a proper action belonging unto none but the Church of Christ, whereas Rome is Antichrist’s synagogue. The custom of using godfathers and godmothers at christenings they scorned4. Baptizing of infants, although confessed by themselves to have been continued ever sithence the very Apostles’ own times, yet they altogether condemned; partly because sundry errors are of no less antiquity5; and partly for that there is no commandment in the gospel of Christ which saith, “Baptize infants6;” but he contrariwise in saying, “Go preach and baptize,” doth appoint that the minister of baptism shall in that action first administer doctrine, and then baptism; as also in saying, “Whosoever doth believe and is baptized,” he appointeth that the party to whom baptism is administered shall first believe and then be baptized; to the end that believing may go before this sacrament in the receiver, no otherwise than preaching in the giver; sith equally in both7, the law of Christ declareth not only what things are required, but also in what order they are required. The Eucharist they received (pretending our Lord and Saviour’s example) after supper; and for avoiding all those impieties which have been grounded upon the mystical words of Christ, “This is my body, this is my blood,” they thought it not safe to mention either body or blood in that sacrament, but rather to abrogate both, and to use no words but these, “Take, eat, declare the death of our Lord: Drink, shew forth our Lord’s death8.” In rites and ceremonies their profession was hatred of all conformity with the Church of Rome: for which cause they Edition: current; Page: [187] would rather endure any torment than observe the solemn festivals which others did, inasmuch as Antichrist (they said) was the first inventor of them1.Preface, Ch. viii. 8-10.

Edition: 1888; Page: [8.]The pretended end of their civil reformation was that Christ might have dominion over all; that all crowns and sceptres might be thrown down at his feet; that no other might reign over Christian men but he, no regiment keep them in awe but his discipline, amongst them no sword at all be carried besides his, the sword of spiritual excommunication. For this cause they laboured with all their might in overturning the seats of magistracy2, because Christ hath said, “Kings of nations3;” in abolishing the execution of justice4, because Christ hath said, “Resist not evil;” in forbidding oaths, the necessary means of judicial trial5, because Christ hath said, “Swear not at all:” finally, in bringing in community of goods6, because Christ by his apostles hath given the world such example, to the end that men might excel one another not in wealth the pillar of secular authority, but in virtue.

Edition: 1888; Page: [9.]These men at the first were only pitied in their error, and not much withstood by any; the great humility, zeal, and devotion, which appeared to be in them, was in all men’s opinion a pledge of their harmless meaning. The hardest that men of sound understanding conceived of them was but this, “O quam honesta voluntate miseri errant! With how good a meaning these poor souls do evil7!” Luther made request unto Frederick duke of Saxony8, that within his dominion they might be favourably dealt with and spared, for that (their error excepted9) they seemed otherwise right good men. By means of which merciful toleration they gathered strength, much more than was safe for the state of the commonwealth wherein they lived. They had their secret corner-meetings and assemblies in the night, the people flocked unto them by thousands10.

Edition: 1888; Page: [10.]The means whereby they both allured and retained so great multitudes were most effectual: first, a wonderful show Edition: current; Page: [188] of zeal towards God, wherewith they seemed to be even rapt in every thing they spake:Preface, Ch. viii. 11. secondly, an hatred of sin, and a singular love of integrity, which men did think to be much more than ordinary in them, by reason of the custom which they had to fill the ears of the people with invectives against their authorized guides, as well spiritual as civil: thirdly, the bountiful relief wherewith they eased the broken estate of such needy creatures, as were in that respect the more apt to be drawn away1: fourthly, a tender compassion which they were thought to take upon the miseries of the common sort, over whose heads their manner was even to pour down showers of tears, in complaining that no respect was had unto them, that their goods were devoured by wicked cormorants, their persons had in contempt, all liberty both temporal and spiritual taken from them2, that it was high time for God now to hear their groans, and to send them deliverance: lastly, a cunning sleight which they had to stroke and smooth up the minds of their followers, as well by appropriating unto them all the favourable titles, the good words, and the gracious promises in Scripture; as also by casting the contrary always on the heads of such as were severed from that retinue. Whereupon the people’s common acclamation unto such deceivers was, “These are verily the men of God, these are his true and sincere prophets3.” If any such prophet or man of God did suffer by order of law condign and deserved punishment, were it for felony, rebellion, murder, or what else, the people, (so strangely were their hearts enchanted,) as though blessed Saint Stephen had been again martyred, did lament that God took away his most dear servants from them4.

Edition: 1888; Page: [11.]In all these things being fully persuaded, that what they did, it was obedience to the will of God, and that all men should do the like; there remained, after speculation, practice, whereby the whole world thereunto (if it were possible) might be framed. This they saw could not be done but with mighty opposition and resistance; against which to strengthen themselves, they secretly entered into league of association5. And peradventure considering, that although they were many, Edition: current; Page: [189] yet long wars would in time waste them out; they began to think whether it might not be that God would have them do, for their speedy and mighty increase, the same which sometime God’s own chosen people, the people of Israel, did.Preface, Ch. viii. 12. Glad and fain they were to have it so; which very desire was itself apt to breed both an opinion of possibility, and a willingness to gather arguments of likelihood, that so God himself would have it. Nothing more clear unto their seeming, than that a new Jerusalem being often spoken of in Scripture, they undoubtedly were themselves that new Jerusalem, and the old did by way of a certain figurative resemblance signify what they should both be and do. Here they drew in a sea of matter, by applying all things unto their own company, which are any where spoken concerning divine favours and benefits bestowed upon the old commonwealth of Israel: concluding that as Israel was delivered out of Egypt, so they spiritually out of the Egypt of this world’s servile thraldom unto sin and superstition; as Israel was to root out the idolatrous nations, and to plant instead of them a people which feared God; so the same Lord’s good will and pleasure was now, that these new Israelites should, under the conduct of other Josuas, Samsons, and Gedeons, perform a work no less miraculous in casting out violently the wicked from the earth, and establishing the kingdom of Christ with perfect liberty: and therefore, as the cause why the children of Israel took unto one man many wives, might be lest the casualties of war should any way hinder the promise of God concerning their multitude from taking effect in them; so it was not unlike that for the necessary propagation of Christ’s kingdom under the Gospel the Lord was content to allow as much.

Edition: 1888; Page: [12.]Now whatsoever they did in such sort collect out of Scripture, when they came to justify or persuade it unto others, all was the heavenly Father’s appointment, his commandment, his will and charge. Which thing is the very point, in regard whereof I have gathered this declaration. For my purpose herein is to shew, that when the minds of men are once erroneously persuaded that it is the will of God to have those things done which they fancy, their opinions are as thorns in their sides, never suffering them to take rest Edition: current; Page: [190] till they have brought their speculations into practice.Preface, Ch. viii. 13. The lets and impediments of which practice their restless desire and study to remove leadeth them every day forth by the hand into other more dangerous opinions, sometimes quite and clean contrary to their first pretended meanings: so as what will grow out of such errors as go masked under the cloak of divine authority, impossible it is that ever the wit of man should imagine, till time have brought forth the fruits of them: for which cause it behoveth wisdom to fear the sequels thereof, even beyond all apparent cause of fear. These men, in whose mouths at the first sounded nothing but only mortification of the flesh, were come at the length to think they might lawfully have their six or seven wives apiece; they which at the first thought judgment and justice itself to be merciless cruelty, accounted at the length their own hands sanctified with being embrued in Christian blood; they who at the first were wont to beat down all dominion, and to urge against poor constables, “Kings of nations;” had at the length both consuls and kings of their own erection amongst themselves: finally, they which could not brook at the first that any man should seek, no not by law, the recovery of goods injuriously taken or withheld from him, were grown at the last to think they could not offer unto God more acceptable sacrifice, than by turning their adversaries clean out of house and home, and by enriching themselves with all kind of spoil and pillage; which thing being laid to their charge, they had in a readiness their answer1, that now the time was come, when according to our Saviour’s promise, “the meek ones must inherit the earth2;” and that their title hereunto was the same which the righteous Israelites had unto the goods of the wicked Egyptians3.

Edition: 1888; Page: [13.]Wherefore sith the world hath had in these men so fresh experience, how dangerous such active errors are, it must not offend you, though, touching the sequel of your present mispersuasions, much more be doubted, than your own intents and purposes do haply aim at. And yet your words already are somewhat, when ye affirm, that your Edition: current; Page: [191] Pastors, Doctors, Elders, and Deacons, ought to be in this Church of England, “whether her Majesty and our state will or no1;” when for the animating of your confederates ye publish the musters which ye have made of your own bands, and proclaim them to amount I know not to how many thousands2; when ye threaten, that sith neither your suits to the parliament, nor supplications to our convocation-house, neither your defences by writing, nor challenges of disputation in behalf of that cause are able to prevail, we must blame Edition: current; Page: [192] ourselves, if to bring in discipline some such means hereafter be used as shall cause all our hearts to ache1. “That things doubtful are to be construed2 in the better part,” is a principle not safe to be followed in matters concerning the public state of a commonweal. But howsoever these and the like speeches be accounted as arrows idly shot at random, without either eye had to any mark, or regard to their lighting-place; hath not your longing desire for the practice of your discipline brought the matter already unto this demurrer amongst you, whether the people and their godly pastors that way affected ought not to make separation from the rest, and to begin the exercise of discipline without the license of civil powers, which license they have sought for, and are not heard? Upon which question as ye have now divided yourselves, the warier sort of you taking the one part, and the forwarder in zeal the other; so in case these earnest ones should prevail, what other sequel can any wise man imagine but this, that having first resolved that attempts for discipline without superiors are lawful, it will follow in the next place to be disputed what may be attempted against superiors which will not have the sceptre of that discipline to rule over them? Yea even by you which have stayed yourselves from running headlong with the other sort, somewhat notwithstanding there hath been done without the leave or liking of your lawful superiors, for the exercise of a part of your discipline amongst the clergy thereunto addicted3. And lest examination of principal Edition: current; Page: [193] parties therein should bring those things to light, which might hinder and let your proceedings;Preface, Ch. viii. 14. behold, for a bar against that impediment, one opinion ye have newly added unto the rest even upon this occasion, an opinion to exempt you from taking oaths which may turn to the molestation of your brethren in that cause1. The next neighbour opinion whereunto, when occasion requireth, may follow for dispensation with oaths already taken, if they afterwards be found to import a necessity of detecting ought which may bring such good men into trouble or damage, whatsoever the cause be2. O merciful God, what man’s wit is there able to sound the depth of those dangerous and fearful evils, whereinto our weak and impotent nature is inclinable to sink itself, rather than to shew an acknowledgment of error in that which once we have unadvisedly taken upon us to defend, against the stream as it were of a contrary public resolution!

Edition: 1888; Page: [14.]Wherefore if we any thing respect their error, who being persuaded even as you are have gone further upon that persuasion than you allow; if we regard the present state of the highest governor placed over us, if the quality and disposition of our nobles, if the orders and laws of our famous universities, if the profession of the civil or the practice of the common law amongst us, if the mischiefs whereinto even before our eyes so many others have fallen headlong from no less plausible and fair beginnings than yours are: there is in every of these considerations most just cause to fear lest our hastiness to embrace a thing of so perilous consequence Edition: current; Page: [194] should cause posterity to feel those evils, which as yet are more easy for us to prevent than they would be for them to remedy.Preface, Ch. ix. 1-3.

IX. The best and safest way for you therefore, my dear brethren, is, to call your deeds past to a new reckoning, to reexamine the cause ye have taken in hand, and to try it even point by point, argument by argument, with all the diligent exactness ye can;The conclusion of all. to lay aside the gall of that bitterness wherein your minds have hitherto over-abounded, and with meekness to search the truth. Think ye are men, deem it not impossible for you to err; sift unpartially your own hearts, whether it be force of reason or vehemency of affection, which hath bred and still doth feed these opinions in you. If truth do any where manifest itself, seek not to smother it with glosing delusions, acknowledge the greatness thereof, and think it your best victory when the same doth prevail over you.

Edition: 1888; Page: [2.]That ye have been earnest in speaking or writing again and again the contrary way, shall be no blemish or discredit at all unto you. Amongst so many so huge volumes as the infinite pains of St. Augustine have brought forth, what one hath gotten him greater love, commendation and honour, than the book1 wherein he carefully collecteth his own oversights, and sincerely condemneth them? Many speeches there are of Job’s whereby his wisdom and other virtues may appear; but the glory of an ingenuous mind he hath purchased by these words only, “2Behold, I will lay mine hand on my mouth: I have spoken once, yet will I not therefore maintain argument; yea twice, howbeit for that cause further I will not proceed.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [3.]Far more comfort it were for us (so small is the joy we take in these strifes) to labour under the same yoke, as men that look for the same eternal reward of their labours, to be joined with you in bands of indissoluble love and amity, to live as if our persons being many our souls were but one, rather than in such dismembered sort to spend our few and wretched days in a tedious prosecuting of wearisome contentions: the end whereof, if they have not some speedy end, Edition: current; Page: [195] will be heavy even on both sides.Preface, Ch. ix. 4. Brought already we are even to that estate which Gregory Nazianzen mournfully describeth, saying1, “My mind leadeth me” (sith there is no other remedy) “to fly and to convey myself into some corner out of sight, where I may scape from this cloudy tempest of maliciousness, whereby all parts are entered into a deadly war amongst themselves, and that little remnant of love which was, is now consumed to nothing. The only godliness we glory in, is to find out somewhat whereby we may judge others to be ungodly. Each other’s faults we observe as matter of exprobration and not of grief. By these means we are grown hateful in the eyes of the heathens themselves, and (which woundeth us the more deeply) able we are not to deny but that we have deserved their hatred. With the better sort of our own our fame and credit is clean lost. The less we are to marvel if they judge vilely of us, who although we did well would hardly allow thereof. On our backs they also build that are lewd, and what we object one against another, the same they use to the utter scorn and disgrace of us all. This we have gained by our mutual home-dissensions. This we are worthily rewarded with, which are more forward to strive than becometh men of virtuous and mild disposition.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [4.]But our trust in the Almighty is, that with us contentions are now at their highest float, and that the day will come (for what cause of despair is there?) when the passions of former enmity being allayed, we shall with ten times redoubled tokens of our unfeignedly reconciled love, Edition: current; Page: [196] shew ourselves each towards other the same which Joseph and the brethren of Joseph were at the time of their interview in Egypt. Our comfortable expectation and most thirsty desire whereof what man soever amongst you shall any way help to satisfy, (as we truly hope there is no one amongst you but some way or other will,) the blessings of the God of peace, both in this world and in the world to come, be upon him moe than the stars of the firmament in number.

What Things are handled in the Books following:

Book the First, concerning Laws in general.

The Second, of the use of Divine Law contained in Scripture; whether that be the only Law which ought to serve for our direction in all things without exception.

The Third, of Laws concerning Ecclesiastical Polity; whether the form thereof be in Scripture so set down, that no addition or change is lawful.

The Fourth, of general exceptions taken against the Laws of our Polity, as being popish, and banished out of certain reformed churches.

The Fifth, of our Laws that concern the public religious duties of the Church, and the manner of bestowing that Power of Order, which enableth men in sundry degrees and callings to execute the same.

The Sixth, of the Power of Jurisdiction, which the reformed platform claimeth unto lay-elders, with others.

The Seventh, of the Power of Jurisdiction, and the honour which is annexed thereunto in Bishops.

The Eighth, of the power of Ecclesiastical Dominion or Supreme Authority, which with us the highest governor or Prince hath, as well in regard of domestical Jurisdictions, as of that other foreignly claimed by the Bishop of Rome.

Edition: current; Page: [197]




  • I. The cause of writing this general Discourse concerning Laws.
  • II. Of that Law which God from before the beginning hath set for himself to do all things by.
  • III. The Law which natural agents observe, and their necessary manner of keeping it.
  • IV. The Law which the Angels of God obey.
  • V. The Law whereby man is in his actions directed to the imitation of God.
  • VI. Men’s first beginning to understand that Law.
  • VII. Of Man’s Will, which is the first thing that Laws of action are made to guide.
  • VIII. Of the natural finding out of Laws by the light of Reason, to guide the Will unto that which is good.
  • IX. Of the benefit of keeping that Law which Reason teacheth.
  • X. How Reason doth lead men unto the making of human Laws, whereby politic Societies are governed, and to agreement about Laws whereby the fellowship or communion of independent Societies standeth.
  • XI. Wherefore God hath by Scripture further made known such supernatural Laws as do serve for men’s direction.
  • XII. The cause why so many natural or rational Laws are set down in Holy Scripture.
  • XIII. The benefit of having divine Laws written.
  • XIV. The sufficiency of Scripture unto the end for which it was instituted.
  • XV. Of Laws positive contained in Scripture, the mutability of certain of them, and the general use of Scripture.
  • XVI. A Conclusion, shewing how all this belongeth to the cause in question.
Edition: current; Page: [198]

BOOK I. Ch. i. 1, 2.I. HE that goeth about to persuade a multitude, that they are not so well governed as they ought to be, shall never want attentive and favourable hearers; because they know the manifold defects whereunto every kind of regiment is subject, but the secret lets and difficulties,The cause of writing this general Discourse. which in public proceedings are innumerable and inevitable, they have not ordinarily the judgment to consider. And because such as openly reprove supposed disorders of state are taken for principal friends to the common benefit of all, and for men that carry singular freedom of mind; under this fair and plausible colour whatsoever they utter passeth for good and current. That which wanteth in the weight of their speech, is supplied by the aptness of men’s minds to accept and believe it. Whereas on the other side, if we maintain things that are established, we have not only to strive with a number of heavy prejudices deeply rooted in the hearts of men, who think that herein we serve the time, and speak in favour of the present state, because thereby we either hold or seek preferment; but also to bear such exceptions as minds so averted beforehand usually take against that which they are loth should be poured into them.

Edition: 1888; Page: [2.]Albeit therefore much of that we are to speak in this present cause may seem to a number perhaps tedious, perhaps obscure, dark, and intricate; (for many talk of the truth, which never sounded the depth from whence it springeth; and therefore when they are led thereunto they are soon weary, as men drawn from those beaten paths wherewith they have been inured;) yet this may not so far prevail as to cut off that which the matter itself requireth, howsoever the nice humour of some be therewith pleased or no. They unto whom we shall seem tedious are in no wise injured1 by us, because it is in their own hands to spare that labour which they are not willing to endure. And if any complain of obscurity, they must consider, that in these matters it cometh no otherwise to pass than in sundry the works both of art and also of nature, where that which hath greatest force in the very things we see is notwithstanding itself oftentimes not seen. The stateliness of houses, the goodliness Edition: current; Page: [199] of trees, when we behold them delighteth the eye;BOOK I. Ch. i. 3. but that foundation which beareth up the one, that root which ministereth unto the other nourishment and life, is in the bosom of the earth concealed; and if there be at any time occasion to search into it, such labour is then more necessary than pleasant, both to them which undertake it and for the lookers-on. In like manner, the use and benefit of good laws all that live under them may enjoy with delight and comfort, albeit the grounds and first original causes from whence they have sprung be unknown, as to the greatest part of men they are. But when they who withdraw their obedience pretend that the laws which they should obey are corrupt and vicious; for better examination of their quality, it behoveth the very foundation and root, the highest wellspring and fountain of them to be discovered. Which because we are not oftentimes accustomed to do, when we do it the pains we take are more needful a great deal than acceptable, and the matters which we handle seem by reason of newness (till the mind grow better acquainted with them) dark, intricate, and unfamiliar. For as much help whereof as may be in this case, I have endeavoured throughout the body of this whole discourse, that every former part might give strength unto all that follow, and every later bring some light unto all before. So that if the judgments of men do but hold themselves in suspense as touching these first more general meditations, till in order they have perused the rest that ensue; what may seem dark at the first will afterwards be found more plain, even as the later particular decisions will appear I doubt not more strong, when the other have been read before.

Edition: 1888; Page: [3.]The Laws of the Church, whereby for so many ages together we have been guided in the exercise of Christian religion and the service of the true God, our rites, customs, and orders of ecclesiastical government, are called in question: we are accused as men that will not have Christ Jesus to rule over them, but have wilfully cast his statutes behind their backs, hating to be reformed and made subject unto the sceptre of his discipline. Behold therefore we offer the laws whereby we live unto the general trial and judgment of the whole world; heartily beseeching Almighty God, whom we desire to serve according to his own will, that both we Edition: current; Page: [200] and others (all kind of partial affection being clean laid aside) may have eyes to see and hearts to embrace the things that in his sight are most acceptable.BOOK I. Ch. ii. 1, 2.

And because the point about which we strive is the quality of our laws, our first entrance hereinto cannot better be made, than with consideration of the nature of law in general, and of that law which giveth life unto all the rest, which are commendable, just, and good; namely the law whereby the Eternal himself doth work. Proceeding from hence to the law, first of Nature, then of Scripture, we shall have the easier access unto those things which come after to be debated, concerning the particular cause and question which we have in hand.

Of that law which God from before the beginning hath set for himself to do all things by.II. All things that are, have some operation not violent or casual. Neither doth any thing ever begin to exercise the same, without some fore-conceived end for which it worketh. And the end which it worketh for is not obtained, unless the work be also fit to obtain it by. For unto every end every operation will not serve. That which doth assign unto each thing the kind, that which doth moderate the force and power, that which doth appoint the form and measure, of working, the same we term a Law. So that no certain end could ever be attained, unless the actions whereby it is attained were regular; that is to say, made suitable, fit and correspondent unto their end, by some canon, rule or law. Which thing doth first take place in the works even of God himself.

Edition: 1888; Page: [2.]All things therefore do work after a sort, according to law: all other things according to a law, whereof some superior, unto whom they are subject, is author; only the works and operations of God have Him both for their worker, and for the law whereby they are wrought. The being of God is a kind of law to his working: for that perfection which God is, giveth perfection to that he doth. Those natural, necessary, and internal operations of God, the Generation of the Son, the Proceeding of the Spirit, are without the compass of my present intent: which is to touch only such operations as have their beginning and being by a voluntary purpose, wherewith God hath eternally decreed when and how they should be. Which eternal decree is that we term an eternal law.

Edition: current; Page: [201]

Dangerous it were for the feeble brain of man to wade far into the doings of the Most High;BOOK I. Ch. ii. 3. whom although to know be life, and joy to make mention of his name; yet our soundest knowledge is to know that we know him not as indeed he is, neither can know him: and our safest eloquence concerning him is our silence, when we confess without confession that his glory is inexplicable, his greatness above our capacity and reach1. He is above, and we upon earth; therefore it behoveth our words to be wary and few2.

Our God is one, or rather very Oneness, and mere unity, having nothing but itself in itself, and not consisting (as all things do besides God) of many things. In which essential Unity of God a Trinity personal nevertheless subsisteth, after a manner far exceeding the possibility of man’s conceit. The works which outwardly are of God, they are in such sort of Him being one, that each Person hath in them somewhat peculiar and proper. For being Three, and they all subsisting in the essence of one Deity; from the Father, by the Son, through the Spirit, all things are. That which the Son doth hear of the Father, and which the Spirit doth receive of the Father and the Son, the same we have at the hands of the Spirit as being the last, and therefore the nearest unto us in order, although in power the same with the second and the first3.

Edition: 1888; Page: [3.]The wise and learned among the very heathens themselves have all acknowledged some First Cause, whereupon originally the being of all things dependeth. Neither have they otherwise spoken of that cause than as an Agent, which knowing what and why it worketh, observeth in working a most exact order or law. Thus much is signified by that which Homer mentioneth, Διὸς δ’ ἐτελείετο βουλή4. Thus Edition: current; Page: [202] much acknowledged by Mercurius Trismegistus, Τὸν πάντα κόσμον ἐποίησεν ὁ δημιουργὸς οὐ χερσὶν ἀλλὰ λόγῳ1. Thus much confest by Anaxagoras and Plato, terming the Maker of the world an intellectual Worker2. Finally the Stoics, although imagining the first cause of all things to be fire, held nevertheless, that the same fire having art, did ὁδῳ̑ βαδίζειν ἐπὶ γενέσει κόσμου3. They all confess therefore in the working of that first cause, that Counsel is used, Reason followed, a Way observed; that is to say, constant Order and Law is kept; whereof itself must needs be author unto itself. Otherwise it should have some worthier and higher to direct it, and so could not itself be the first. Being the first, it can have no other than itself to be the author of that law which it willingly worketh by.

God therefore is a law both to himself, and to all other things besides. To himself he is a law in all those things, whereof our Saviour speaketh, saying, “My Father worketh as yet, so I4.” God worketh nothing without cause. All those things which are done by him have some end for which they are done; and the end for which they are done is a reason of his will to do them. His will had not inclined to create woman, but that he saw it could not be well if she were not created. Non est bonum, “It is not good man should be alone; therefore let us make a helper for him5.” That and nothing else is done by God, which to leave undone were not so good.

If therefore it be demanded, why God having power and ability infinite, the effects notwithstanding of that power are all so limited as we see they are: the reason hereof is the end which he hath proposed, and the law whereby his wisdom hath stinted the effects of his power in such sort, that it doth not work infinitely, but correspondently unto that end for which it worketh, even “all things χρηστω̑ς6, Edition: current; Page: [203] in most decent and comely sort,” all things in “Measure, Number, and Weight.”BOOK I. Ch. ii. 4, 5.

Edition: 1888; Page: [4.]The general end of God’s external working is the exercise of his most glorious and most abundant virtue. Which abundance doth shew itself in variety, and for that cause this variety is oftentimes in Scripture exprest by the name of riches1. “The Lord hath made all things for his own sake2.” Not that any thing is made to be beneficial unto him, but all things for him to shew beneficence and grace in them.

The particular drift of every act proceeding externally from God we are not able to discern, and therefore cannot always give the proper and certain reason of his works. Howbeit undoubtedly a proper and certain reason there is of every finite work of God, inasmuch as there is a law imposed upon it; which if there were not, it should be infinite, even as the worker himself is.

Edition: 1888; Page: [5.]They err therefore who think that of the will of God to do this or that there is no reason besides his will. Many times no reason known to us; but that there is no reason thereof I judge it most unreasonable to imagine, inasmuch as he worketh all things κατὰ τὴν βουλὴν του̑ θελήματος αὐτου̑, not only according to his own will, but “the Counsel of his own will3.” And whatsoever is done with counsel or wise resolution hath of necessity some reason why it should be done, albeit that reason be to us in some things so secret, that it forceth the wit of man to stand, as the blessed Apostle himself doth, amazed thereat4: “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments,” &c. That law eternal which God himself hath made to himself, and thereby worketh all things whereof he is the cause and author; that law in the admirable frame whereof shineth with most perfect beauty the countenance of that wisdom which hath testified concerning herself5, “The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, even before his works of old I was set up;” that law, which hath been the pattern to make, and is the card Edition: current; Page: [204] to guide the world by; that law which hath been of God and with God everlastingly; that law, the author and observer whereof is one only God to be blessed for ever: how should either men or angels be able perfectly to behold?BOOK I. Ch. ii. 6, iii. 1. The book of this law we are neither able nor worthy to open and look into. That little thereof which we darkly apprehend we admire, the rest with religious ignorance we humbly and meekly adore.

Edition: 1888; Page: [6.]Seeing therefore that according to this law He worketh, “of whom, through whom, and for whom, are all things1;” although there seem unto us confusion and disorder in the affairs of this present world: “Tamen quoniam bonus mundum rector temperat, recte fieri cuncta ne dubites2:” “let no man doubt but that every thing is well done, because the world is ruled by so good a guide,” as transgresseth not His own law, than which nothing can be more absolute, perfect, and just.

The law whereby He worketh is eternal, and therefore can have no show or colour of mutability: for which cause, a part of that law being opened in the promises which God hath made (because his promises are nothing else but declarations what God will do for the good of men) touching those promises the Apostle hath witnessed, that God may as possibly “deny himself3” and not be God, as fail to perform them. And concerning the counsel of God, he termeth it likewise a thing “unchangeable4;” the counsel of God, and that law of God whereof now we speak, being one.

Nor is the freedom of the will of God any whit abated, let or hindered, by means of this; because the imposition of this law upon himself is his own free and voluntary act.

This law therefore we may name eternal, being “that order which God before all ages hath set down with himself, for himself to do all things by.”

The law which natural agents have given them to observe, and their necessary manner of keeping it.III. I am not ignorant that by “law eternal” the learned for the most part do understand the order, not which God hath eternally purposed himself in all his works to observe, Edition: current; Page: [205] but rather that which with himself he hath set down as expedient to be kept by all his creatures, according to the several condition1 wherewith he hath endued them. They who thus are accustomed to speak apply the name of Law unto that only rule of working which superior authority imposeth; whereas we somewhat more enlarging the sense thereof term any kind of rule or canon, whereby actions are framed, a law. Now that law which, as it is laid up in the bosom of God, they call Eternal,BOOK I. Ch. iii. 1. receiveth according unto the different kinds of things which are subject unto it different and sundry kinds of names. That part of it which ordereth natural agents we call usually Nature’s law; that which Angels do clearly behold and without any swerving2 observe is a law Celestial and heavenly; the law of Reason, that which bindeth creatures reasonable in this world, and with which by reason they may most plainly perceive themselves bound; that which bindeth them, and is not known but by special revelation from God, Divine law; Human law, that which out of the law either of reason or of God men probably gathering to be expedient, they make it a law. All things therefore, which are as they ought to be, are conformed unto this second law eternal; and even those things which to this eternal law are not conformable are notwithstanding in some sort ordered by the first eternal law. For what good or evil is there under the sun, what action correspondent or repugnant unto the law which God hath imposed upon his creatures, but in or upon it God doth work according to the law which himself hath eternally purposed to keep; that is to say, the first law eternal? So that a twofold law eternal being thus made, it is not hard to conceive how they both take place in all things3.

Edition: current; Page: [206]

BOOK I. Ch. iii. 2.[2.] Wherefore to come to the law of nature: albeit thereby we sometimes mean that manner of working which God hath set for each created thing to keep; yet forasmuch as those things are termed most properly natural agents, which keep the law of their kind unwittingly, as the heavens and elements of the world, which can do no otherwise than they do; and forasmuch as we give unto intellectual natures the name of Voluntary agents, that so we may distinguish them from the other; expedient it will be, that we sever the law of nature observed by the one from that which the other is tied unto. Touching the former, their strict keeping of one tenure, statute, and law, is spoken of by all, but hath in it more than men have as yet attained to know, or perhaps ever shall attain, seeing the travail of wading herein is given of God to the sons of men1, that perceiving how much the least thing in the world hath in it more than the wisest are able to reach unto, they may by this means learn humility. Moses, in describing the work of creation, attributeth speech unto God: “God said, Let there be light: let there be a firmament: let the waters under the heaven be gathered together into one place: let the earth bring forth: let there be lights in the firmament of heaven.” Was this only the intent of Moses, to signify the infinite greatness of God’s power by the easiness of his accomplishing such effects, without travail, pain, or labour? Surely it seemeth that Moses had herein besides this a further purpose, namely, first to teach that God did not work as a Edition: current; Page: [207] necessary but a voluntary agent, intending beforehand and decreeing with himself that which did outwardly proceed from him: secondly, to shew that God did then institute a law natural to be observed by creatures, and therefore according to the manner of laws, the institution thereof is described, as being established by solemn injunction. His commanding those things to be which are, and to be in such sort as they are, to keep that tenure and course which they do, importeth the establishment of nature’s law. This world’s first creation, and the preservation since of things created, what is it but only so far forth a manifestation by execution, what the eternal law of God is concerning things natural? And as it cometh to pass in a kingdom rightly ordered, that after a law is once published, it presently takes effect far and wide, all states framing themselves thereunto; even so let us think it fareth in the natural course of the world: since the time that God did first proclaim the edicts of his law upon it, heaven and earth have hearkened unto his voice, and their labour hath been to do his will: He “made a law for the rain1;” He gave his “decree unto the sea, that the waters should not pass his commandment2.” Now if nature should intermit her course, and leave altogether though it were but for a while the observation of her own laws; if those principal and mother elements of the world, whereof all things in this lower world are made, should lose the qualities which now they have; if the frame of that heavenly arch erected over our heads should loosen and dissolve itself; if celestial spheres should forget their wonted motions, and by irregular volubility turn themselves any way as it might happen; if the prince of the lights of heaven, which now as a giant doth run his unwearied course3, should as it were through a languishing faintness begin to stand and to rest himself; if the moon should wander from her beaten way, the times and seasons of the year blend themselves by disordered and confused mixture, the winds breathe out their last gasp, the clouds yield no rain, the earth be defeated of heavenly influence, the fruits of the earth pine away as children at the withered breasts of their mother no longer Edition: current; Page: [208] able to yield them relief1: what would become of man himself, whom these things now do all serve?BOOK I. Ch. iii. 3. See we not plainly that obedience of creatures unto the law of nature is the stay of the whole world?

Edition: 1888; Page: [3.]Notwithstanding with nature it cometh sometimes to pass as with art. Let Phidias have rude and obstinate stuff to carve, though his art do that it should, his work will lack that beauty which otherwise in fitter matter it might have had. He that striketh an instrument with skill may cause notwithstanding a very unpleasant sound, if the string whereon he striketh chance to be uncapable of harmony. In the matter whereof things natural consist, that of Theophrastus taketh place, Πολὺ τὸ οὐχ ὑπακου̑ον οὐδὲ δεχόμενον τὸ εὐ̑2. “Much of it is oftentimes such as will by no means yield to receive that impression which were best and most perfect.” Which defect in the matter of things natural, they who gave themselves unto the contemplation of nature amongst the heathen observed often: but the true original cause thereof, divine malediction, laid for the sin of man upon these creatures which God had made for the use of man, this being an article of that saving truth which God hath revealed unto his Church, was above the reach of their merely natural Edition: current; Page: [209] capacity and understanding.BOOK I. Ch. iii. 4. But howsoever these swervings are now and then incident into the course of nature, nevertheless so constantly the laws of nature are by natural agents observed, that no man denieth but those things which nature worketh are wrought, either always or for the most part, after one and the same manner1.

Edition: 1888; Page: [4.]If here it be demanded what that is which keepeth nature in obedience to her own law, we must have recourse to that higher law whereof we have already spoken, and because all other laws do thereon depend, from thence we must borrow so much as shall need for brief resolution in this point. Although we are not of opinion therefore, as some are, that nature in working hath before her certain exemplary draughts or patterns, which subsisting in the bosom of the Highest, and being thence discovered, she fixeth her eye upon them, as travellers by sea upon the pole-star of the world, and that according thereunto she guideth her hand to work by imitation: although we rather embrace the oracle of Hippocrates2, that “each thing both in small and in great fulfilleth the task which destiny hath set down;” and concerning the manner of executing and fulfilling the same, “what they do they know not, yet is it in show and appearance as though they did know what they do; and the truth is they do not discern the things which they look on:” nevertheless, forasmuch as the works of nature are no less exact, than if she did both behold and study how to express some absolute shape or mirror always present before her; yea, such her dexterity and skill appeareth, that no intellectual creature in the world were able by capacity to do that which nature doth without capacity and knowledge; it cannot be but nature hath some director of infinite knowledge to guide her in all her ways. Who the guide of nature, but only the God of nature? “In him we live, move, and are3.” Those things which nature is said to do, are by divine art performed, Edition: current; Page: [210] using nature as an instrument; nor is there any such art or knowledge divine in nature herself working, but in the Guide of nature’s work.

Whereas therefore things natural which are not in the number of voluntary agents, (for of such only we now speak, and of no other,) do so necessarily observe their certain laws, that as long as they keep those forms1 which give them their being, they cannot possibly be apt or inclinable to do otherwise than they do; seeing the kinds of their operations are both constantly and exactly framed according to the several ends for which they serve, they themselves in the meanwhile, though doing that which is fit, yet knowing neither what they do, nor why: it followeth that all which they do in this sort proceedeth originally from some such agent, as knoweth, appointeth, holdeth up, and even actually frameth the same.

The manner of this divine efficiency, being far above us, we are no more able to conceive by our reason than creatures unreasonable by their sense are able to apprehend after what manner we dispose and order the course of our affairs. Only thus much is discerned, that the natural generation and process of all things receiveth order of proceeding from the settled stability of divine understanding. This appointeth unto them their kinds of working; the disposition whereof in the purity of God’s own knowledge and will is rightly termed by the name of Providence. The same being referred unto the things themselves here disposed by it, was wont by the ancient to be called natural Destiny. That law, the performance whereof we behold in things natural, is as it were an authentical or an original draught written in the bosom of God himself; whose Spirit being to execute the same useth every particular nature, every mere natural agent, only as an instrument created at the beginning, and ever since the beginning used, to work his own will and pleasure withal. Nature therefore is nothing else but God’s instrument2: in the course whereof Dionysius perceiving Edition: current; Page: [211] some sudden disturbance is said to have cried out, “Aut Deus naturæ patitur, aut mundi machina dissolvetur1:” “either God doth suffer impediment, and is by a greater than himself hindered;BOOK I. Ch. iii. 5. or if that be impossible, then hath he determined to make a present dissolution of the world; the execution of that law beginning now to stand still, without which the world cannot stand.”

This workman, whose servitor nature is, being in truth but only one, the heathens imagining to be moe, gave him in the sky the name of Jupiter, in the air the name of Juno, in the water the name of Neptune, in the earth the name of Vesta and sometimes of Ceres, the name of Apollo in the sun, in the moon the name of Diana, the name of Æolus and divers other in the winds; and to conclude, even so many guides of nature they dreamed of, as they saw there were kinds of things natural in the world. These they honoured, as having power to work or cease accordingly as men deserved of them. But unto us there is one only2 Guide of all agents natural, and he both the Creator and the Worker of all in all, alone to be blessed, adored and honoured by all for ever.

Edition: 1888; Page: [5.]That which hitherto hath been spoken concerneth natural agents considered in themselves. But we must further remember also, (which thing to touch in a word shall suffice,) that as in this respect they have their law, which law directeth them in the means whereby they tend to their own perfection: so likewise another law there is, which toucheth them as they are sociable parts united into one body; a law which bindeth them each to serve unto other’s good, and all to prefer the good of the whole before whatsoever their own particular; as we plainly see they do, when things natural in that regard forget their ordinary natural wont; that which is heavy mounting sometime upwards of Edition: current; Page: [212] it1 own accord, and forsaking the centre of the earth which to itself is most natural, even as if it did hear itself commanded to let go the good it privately wisheth, and to relieve the present distress of nature in common.BOOK I. Ch. iv. 1.

The law which angels do work by.IV. But now that we may lift up our eyes (as it were) from the footstool to the throne of God, and leaving these natural, consider a little the state of heavenly and divine creatures: touching Angels, which are spirits2 immaterial and intellectual, the glorious inhabitants of those sacred palaces, where nothing but light and blessed immortality, no shadow of matter for tears, discontentments, griefs, and uncomfortable passions to work upon, but all joy, tranquillity, and peace, even for ever and ever doth dwell: as in number and order they are huge, mighty, and royal armies3, so likewise in perfection of obedience unto that law, which the Highest, whom they adore, love, and imitate, hath imposed upon them, such observants they are thereof, that our Saviour himself being to set down the perfect idea of that which we are to pray and wish for on earth, did not teach to pray or wish for more than only that here it might be with us, as with them it is in heaven4. God which moveth mere natural agents as an efficient only, doth otherwise move intellectual creatures, and especially his holy angels: for beholding the face of God5, in admiration of so great excellency they all adore him; and being rapt with the love of his beauty, they cleave inseparably for ever unto him. Desire to resemble him in goodness maketh them unweariable and even unsatiable in their longing to do by all means all manner good unto all the creatures of God6, but especially unto the children of Edition: current; Page: [213] men1: in the countenance of whose nature, looking downward, they behold themselves beneath themselves; even as upward, in God, beneath whom themselves are, they see that character which is no where but in themselves and us resembled.BOOK I. Ch. iv. 2. Thus far even the paynims have approached; thus far they have seen into the doings of the angels of God; Orpheus confessing, that “the fiery throne of God is attended on by those most industrious angels, careful how all things are performed amongst men2;” and the Mirror of human wisdom plainly teaching, that God moveth angels, even as that thing doth stir man’s heart, which is thereunto presented amiable3. Angelical actions may therefore be reduced unto these three general kinds: first, most delectable love arising from the visible apprehension of the purity, glory, and beauty of God, invisible saving only unto spirits that are pure4: secondly, adoration grounded upon the evidence of the greatness of God, on whom they see how all things depend5; thirdly, imitation6, bred by the presence of his exemplary goodness, who ceaseth not before them daily to fill heaven and earth with the rich treasures of most free and undeserved grace.

Edition: 1888; Page: [2.]Of angels, we are not to consider only what they are and do in regard of their own being, but that also which concerneth them as they are linked into a kind of corporation amongst themselves, and of society or fellowship with men. Consider angels each of them severally in himself, and their law is that which the prophet David mentioneth, “All ye his angels praise him7.” Consider the angels of God associated, and their law is that which disposeth them as an army, one in order and degree above another8. Consider finally the angels as having with us that communion which the apostle to the Hebrews noteth, and in regard whereof Edition: current; Page: [214] angels have not disdained to profess themselves our “fellow-servants;” from hence there springeth up a third law, which bindeth them to works of ministerial employment1.BOOK I. Ch. iv. 3. Every of which their several functions are by them performed with joy.

Edition: 1888; Page: [3.]A part of the angels of God notwithstanding (we know) have fallen2, and that their fall hath been through the voluntary breach of that law, which did require at their hands continuance in the exercise of their high and admirable virtue. Impossible it was that ever their will should change or incline to remit any part of their duty, without some object having force to avert their conceit from God, and to draw it another way; and that before they attained that high perfection of bliss, wherein now the elect angels3 are without possibility of falling. Of any thing more than of God they could not by any means like, as long as whatsoever they knew besides God they apprehended it not in itself without dependency upon God; because so long God must needs seem infinitely better than any thing which they so could apprehend. Things beneath them could not in such sort be presented unto their eyes, but that therein they must needs see always how those things did depend on God. It seemeth therefore that there was no other way for angels to sin, but by reflex of their understanding upon themselves; when being held with admiration of their own sublimity and honour, the memory of their subordination unto God and their dependency on him was drowned in this conceit; whereupon their adoration, love, and imitation of God could not choose but be also interrupted. The fall of angels therefore was pride4. Since their fall, their practices have been the clean contrary unto those before mentioned5. For being dispersed, Edition: current; Page: [215] some in the air, some on the earth, some in the water, some among the minerals, dens, and caves, that are under the earth; they have by all means laboured to effect an universal rebellion against the laws, and as far as in them lieth utter destruction of the works of God.BOOK I. Ch. v. 1, 2. These wicked spirits the heathens honoured instead of gods, both generally under the name of Dii inferi, “gods infernal;” and particularly, some in oracles, some in idols, some as household gods, some as nymphs: in a word, no foul and wicked spirit which was not one way or other honoured of men as God, till such time as light appeared in the world and dissolved the works of the devil. Thus much therefore may suffice for angels, the next unto whom in degree are men.

The law whereby man is in his actions directed to the imitation of God.V.God alone excepted, who actually and everlastingly is whatsoever he may be, and which cannot hereafter be that which now he is not1; all other things besides are somewhat in possibility, which as yet they are not in act. And for this cause there is in all things an appetite or desire, whereby they incline to something which they may be; and when they are it, they shall be perfecter than now they are. All which perfections are contained under the general name of Goodness. And because there is not in the world any thing whereby another may not some way be made the perfecter, therefore all things that are, are good.

Edition: 1888; Page: [2.]Again, sith there can be no goodness desired which proceedeth not from God himself, as from the supreme cause of all things; and every effect doth after a sort contain, at leastwise resemble, the cause from which it proceedeth: all things in the world are said in some sort to seek the highest, and to covet more or less the participation of God himself2. Yet this doth no where so much appear as it doth in man, because there are so many kinds of perfections which man seeketh. The first degree of goodness is that general perfection which all things do seek, in desiring the continuance of their being. All things therefore coveting as much as may be to be like unto God in being ever, that which cannot hereunto Edition: current; Page: [216] attain personally doth seek to continue itself another way, that is by offspring and propagation.BOOK I. Ch. v. 3. The next degree of goodness is that which each thing coveteth by affecting resemblance with God in the constancy and excellency of those operations which belong unto their kind. The immutability of God they strive unto, by working either always or for the most part after one and the same manner; his absolute exactness they imitate, by tending unto that which is most exquisite in every particular. Hence have risen a number of axioms in philosophy1, showing how “the works of nature do always aim at that which cannot be bettered.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [3.]These two kinds of goodness rehearsed are so nearly united to the things themselves which desire them, that we scarcely perceive the appetite to stir in reaching forth her hand towards them. But the desire of those perfections which grow externally is more apparent; especially of such as are not expressly desired unless they be first known, or such as are not for any other cause than for knowledge itself desired. Concerning perfections in this kind; that by proceeding in the knowledge of truth, and by growing in the exercise of virtue, man amongst the creatures of this inferior world aspireth to the greatest conformity with God; this is not only known unto us, whom he himself hath so instructed2, but even they do acknowledge, who amongst men are not judged the nearest unto him. With Plato what one thing more usual, than to excite men unto the love of wisdom, by shewing how much wise men are thereby exalted above men; how knowledge doth raise them up into heaven; how it maketh them, though not gods, yet as gods, high, admirable, and divine? And Mercurius Trismegistus speaking of the virtues of a righteous soul3, “Such spirits” (saith he) “are never cloyed with praising and speaking well of all men, with doing good unto every one by word and deed, because they study to frame themselves according to the pattern of the Father of spirits.”

Edition: current; Page: [217]

BOOK I. Ch. vi. 1-3.VI. In the matter of knowledge, there is between the angels of God and the children of men this difference: angels already have full and complete knowledge in the highest degree that can be imparted unto them; men, if we view them in their spring, are at the first without understanding or knowledge at all1.Men’s first beginning to grow to the knowledge of that law which they are to observe. Nevertheless from this utter vacuity they grow by degrees, till they come at length to be even as the angels themselves are. That which agreeth to the one now, the other shall attain unto in the end; they are not so far disjoined and severed, but that they come at length to meet. The soul of man being therefore at the first as a book, wherein nothing is and yet all things may be imprinted; we are to search by what steps and degrees it riseth unto perfection of knowledge.

Edition: 1888; Page: [2.]Unto that which hath been already set down concerning natural agents this we must add, that albeit therein we have comprised as well creatures living as void of life, if they be in degree of nature beneath men; nevertheless a difference we must observe between those natural agents that work altogether unwittingly, and those which have though weak yet some understanding what they do, as fishes, fowls, and beasts have. Beasts are in sensible capacity as ripe even as men themselves, perhaps more ripe. For as stones, though in dignity of nature inferior unto plants, yet exceed them in firmness of strength or durability of being; and plants, though beneath the excellency of creatures endued with sense, yet exceed them in the faculty of vegetation and of fertility: so beasts, though otherwise behind men, may notwithstanding in actions of sense and fancy go beyond them; because the endeavours of nature, when it hath a higher perfection to seek, are in lower the more remiss, not esteeming thereof so much as those things do, which have no better proposed unto them.

Edition: 1888; Page: [3.]The soul of man therefore being capable of a more divine perfection, hath (besides the faculties of growing unto sensible knowledge which is common unto us with beasts) a further ability, whereof in them there is no show at all, the ability of reaching higher than unto sensible things2. Till Edition: current; Page: [218] we grow to some ripeness of years, the soul of man doth only store itself with conceits of things of inferior and more open quality, which afterwards do serve as instruments unto that which is greater;BOOK I. Ch. vi. 4. in the meanwhile above the reach of meaner creatures it ascendeth not. When once it comprehendeth any thing above this, as the differences of time, affirmations, negations, and contradictions in speech, we then count it to have some use of natural reason. Whereunto if afterwards there might be added the right helps of true art and learning (which helps, I must plainly confess, this age of the world, carrying the name of a learned age, doth neither much know nor greatly regard), there would undoubtedly be almost as great difference in maturity of judgment between men therewith inured, and that which now men are, as between men that are now and innocents. Which speech if any condemn, as being over hyperbolical, let them consider but this one thing. No art is at the first finding out so perfect as industry may after make it. Yet the very first man that to any purpose knew the way we speak of1 and followed it, hath alone thereby performed more very near in all parts of natural knowledge, than sithence in any one part thereof the whole world besides hath done.

Edition: 1888; Page: [4.]In the poverty of that other new devised aid2 two Edition: current; Page: [219] things there are notwithstanding singular.BOOK I. Ch. vi. 5. vii. 1. Of marvellous quick despatch it is, and doth shew them that have it as much almost in three days, as if it dwell threescore years with them. Again, because the curiosity of man’s wit doth many times with peril wade farther in the search of things than were convenient; the same is thereby restrained unto such generalities as every where offering themselves are apparent unto men of the weakest conceit that need be. So as following the rules and precepts thereof, we may define it to be, an Art which teacheth the way of speedy discourse, and restraineth the mind of man that it may not wax over-wise.

Edition: 1888; Page: [5.]Education and instruction are the means, the one by use, the other by precept, to make our natural faculty of reason both the better and the sooner able to judge rightly between truth and error, good and evil. But at what time a man may be said to have attained so far forth the use of reason, as sufficeth to make him capable of those Laws, whereby he is then bound to guide his actions; this is a great deal more easy for common sense to discern, than for any man by skill and learning to determine; even as it is not in philosophers, who best know the nature both of fire and of gold, to teach what degree of the one will serve to purify the other, so well as the artisan, who doth this by fire, discerneth by sense when the fire hath that degree of heat which sufficeth for his purpose.

Of man’s Will, which is the thing that Laws of action are made to guide.VII. By reason man attaineth unto the knowledge of things that are and are not sensible. It resteth therefore that we search how man attaineth unto the knowledge of such things unsensible as are to be known that they may be done. Seeing then that nothing can move unless there be Edition: current; Page: [220] some end, the desire whereof provoketh unto motion; how should that divine power of the soul, that “spirit of our mind1,” as the apostle termeth it, ever stir itself unto action, unless it have also the like spur?BOOK I. Ch. vii. 2. The end for which we are moved to work, is sometimes the goodness which we conceive of the very working itself, without any further respect at all; and the cause that procureth action is the mere desire of action, no other good besides being thereby intended. Of certain turbulent wits it is said, “Illis quieta movere magna merces videbatur2:” they thought the very disturbance of things established an hire sufficient to set them on work. Sometimes that which we do is referred to a further end, without the desire whereof we would leave the same undone; as in their actions that gave alms to purchase thereby the praise of men3.

Edition: 1888; Page: [2.]Man in perfection of nature being made according to the likeness of his Maker resembleth him also in the manner of working: so that whatsoever we work as men, the same we do wittingly work and freely; neither are we according to the manner of natural agents any way so tied, but that it is in our power to leave the things we do undone. The good which either is gotten by doing, or which consisteth in the very doing itself, causeth not action, unless apprehending it as good we so like and desire it: that we do unto any such end, the same we choose and prefer before the leaving of it undone. Choice there is not, unless the thing which we take be so in our power that we might have refused and left it. If fire consume the stubble, it chooseth not so to do, because the nature thereof is such that it can do no other. To choose is to will one thing before another. And to will is to bend our souls to the having or doing of that which they see to be good. Goodness is seen with the eye of the understanding. And the light of that eye, is reason. So that two principal fountains there are of human action, Knowledge and Will; which Will, in things tending towards any end, is termed Choice4. Concerning Knowledge, “Behold, (saith Moses5,) I have set before you this day good and evil, life and death.” Concerning Will, he addeth Edition: current; Page: [221] immediately, “Choose life;” that is to say, the things that tend unto life, them choose.BOOK I. Ch. vii. 3.

Edition: 1888; Page: [3.]But of one thing we must have special care, as being a matter of no small moment; and that is, how the Will, properly and strictly taken, as it is of things which are referred unto the end that man desireth, differeth greatly from that inferior natural desire which we call Appetite. The object of Appetite is whatsoever sensible good may be wished for; the object of Will is that good which Reason doth lead us to seek. Affections, as joy, and grief, and fear, and anger, with such like, being as it were the sundry fashions and forms of Appetite, can neither rise at the conceit of a thing indifferent, nor yet choose but rise at the sight of some things. Wherefore it is not altogether in our power, whether we will be stirred with affections or no: whereas actions which issue from the disposition of the Will are in the power thereof to be performed or stayed. Finally, Appetite is the Will’s solicitor, and the Will is Appetite’s controller; what we covet according to the one by the other we often reject; neither is any other desire termed properly Will, but that where Reason and Understanding, or the show of Reason, prescribeth the thing desired.

It may be therefore a question, whether those operations of men are to be counted voluntary, wherein that good which is sensible provoketh Appetite, and Appetite causeth action, Reason being never called to counsel; as when we eat or drink, and betake ourselves unto rest, and such like. The truth is, that such actions in men having attained to the use of Reason are voluntary. For as the authority of higher powers hath force even in those things, which are done without their privity, and are of so mean reckoning that to acquaint them therewith it needeth not; in like sort, voluntarily we are said to do that also, which the Will if it listed might hinder from being done, although about the doing thereof we do not expressly use our reason or understanding, and so immediately apply our wills thereunto. In cases therefore of such facility, the Will doth yield her assent as it were with a kind of silence, by not dissenting; in which respect her force is not so apparent as in express mandates or prohibitions, especially upon advice and consultation going before,

Edition: current; Page: [222]

BOOK I. Ch. vii. 4-6.[4.] Where understanding therefore needeth, in those things Reason is the director of man’s Will by discovering in action what is good. For the Laws of well-doing are the dictates of right Reason. Children, which are not as yet come unto those years whereat they may have; again, innocents, which are excluded by natural defect from ever having; thirdly, madmen, which for the present cannot possibly have the use of right Reason to guide themselves, have for their guide the Reason that guideth other men, which are tutors over them to seek and to procure their good for them. In the rest there is that light of Reason, whereby good may be known from evil, and which discovering the same rightly is termed right.

Edition: 1888; Page: [5.]The Will notwithstanding doth not incline to have or do that which Reason teacheth to be good, unless the same do also teach it to be possible. For albeit the Appetite, being more general, may wish any thing which seemeth good, be it never so impossible1; yet for such things the reasonable Will of man doth never seek. Let Reason teach impossibility in any thing, and the Will of man doth let it go; a thing impossible it doth not affect, the impossibility thereof being manifest.

Edition: 1888; Page: [6.]There is in the Will of man naturally that freedom, whereby it is apt to take or refuse any particular object whatsoever being presented unto it2. Whereupon it followeth, Edition: current; Page: [223] that there is no particular object so good, but it may have the shew of some difficulty or unpleasant quality annexed to it, in respect whereof the Will may shrink and decline it;BOOK I. Ch. vii. 6. contrariwise (for so things are blended) there is no particular evil which hath not some appearance of goodness whereby to insinuate itself. For evil as evil cannot be desired1: if that be desired which is evil, the cause is the goodness which is or seemeth to be joined with it. Goodness doth not move by being, but by being apparent; and therefore many things are neglected which are most precious, only because the value of them lieth hid. Sensible Goodness is most apparent, near, and present; which causeth the Appetite to be therewith strongly provoked. Now pursuit and refusal in the Will do follow, the one the affirmation the other the negation of goodness, which the understanding apprehendeth2, grounding itself upon sense, unless some higher Reason do chance to teach the contrary. And if Reason have taught it rightly to be good, yet not so apparently that the mind receiveth it with utter impossibility of being otherwise, still there is place left for the Will to take or leave. Whereas therefore amongst so many things as are to be done, there are so few, the goodness whereof Reason in such sort doth or easily can discover, we are not to marvel at the choice of evil even then when the contrary is probably known. Hereby it cometh to pass that custom inuring the mind by long practice, and so leaving there a sensible impression, prevaileth more than reasonable Edition: current; Page: [224] persuasion what way soever.BOOK I. Ch. vii. 7. Reason therefore may rightly discern the thing which is good, and yet the Will of man not incline itself thereunto, as oft as the prejudice of sensible experience doth oversway.

Edition: 1888; Page: [7.]Nor let any man think that this doth make any thing for the just excuse of iniquity. For there was never sin committed, wherein a less good was not preferred before a greater, and that wilfully; which cannot be done without the singular disgrace of Nature, and the utter disturbance of that divine order, whereby the preeminence of chiefest acceptation is by the best things worthily challenged. There is not that good which concerneth us, but it hath evidence enough for itself, if Reason were diligent to search it out. Through neglect thereof, abused we are with the show of that which is not; sometimes the subtilty of Satan inveigling us as it did Eve1, sometimes the hastiness of our Wills preventing the more considerate advice of sound Reason, as in the Apostles2, when they no sooner saw what they liked not, but they forthwith were desirous of fire from heaven; sometimes the very custom of evil making the heart obdurate against whatsoever instructions to the contrary, as in them over whom our Saviour spake weeping3, “O Jerusalem, how often, and thou wouldest not!” Still therefore that wherewith we stand blameable, and can no way excuse it, is, In doing evil, we prefer a less good before a greater, the greatness whereof is by reason investigable and may be known. The search of knowledge is a thing painful; and the painfulness of knowledge is that which maketh the Will so hardly inclinable thereunto. The root hereof, divine malediction; whereby the instruments4 being weakened wherewithal the soul (especially in reasoning) doth work, it preferreth rest in ignorance before wearisome labour to know. For a spur of diligence therefore we have a natural thirst after knowledge ingrafted in us. But by reason of that original weakness in the instruments, without which the understanding part is not Edition: current; Page: [225] able in this world by discourse to work, the very conceit of painfulness is as a bridle to stay us.BOOK I. Ch. viii. 1. For which cause the Apostle, who knew right well that the weariness of the flesh is an heavy clog to the Will, striketh mightily upon this key, “Awake thou that sleepest; Cast off all which presseth down; Watch; Labour; Strive to go forward, and to grow in knowledge1.”

Of the natural way of finding out Laws by Reason to guide the Will unto that which is good.VIII. Wherefore to return to our former intent of discovering the natural way, whereby rules have been found out concerning that goodness wherewith the Will of man ought to be moved in human actions; as every thing naturally and necessarily doth desire the utmost good and greatest perfection whereof Nature hath made it capable, even so man. Our felicity therefore being the object and accomplishment of our desire, we cannot choose but wish and covet it. All particular things which are subject unto action, the Will doth so far forth incline unto, as Reason judgeth them the better for us, and consequently the more available to our bliss. If Reason err, we fall into evil, and are so far forth deprived of the general perfection we seek. Seeing therefore that for the framing of men’s actions the knowledge of good from evil is necessary, it only resteth that we search how this may be had. Neither must we suppose that there needeth one rule to know the good and another the evil by2. For he that knoweth what is straight doth even thereby discern what is crooked, because the absence of straightness in bodies capable thereof is crookedness. Goodness in actions is like unto straightness; wherefore that which is done well we term right. For as the straight way is most acceptable to him that travelleth, because by it he cometh soonest to his journey’s end; so in action, that which doth lie the evenest between us and the end we desire must needs be the fittest for our use. Besides which fitness for use, there is also in rectitude, beauty; as contrariwise in obliquity, deformity. And that which is good in the actions of men, doth not only delight as profitable, but as amiable also. In which consideration the Grecians most divinely have given to the active perfection of Edition: current; Page: [226] men a name expressing both beauty and goodness1, because goodness in ordinary speech is for the most part applied only to that which is beneficial.BOOK I. Ch. viii. 2, 3. But we in the name of goodness do here imply both.

Edition: 1888; Page: [2.]And of discerning goodness there are but these two ways; the one the knowledge of the causes whereby it is made such; the other the observation of those signs and tokens, which being annexed always unto goodness, argue that where they are found, there also goodness is, although we know not the cause by force whereof it is there. The former of these is the most sure and infallible way, but so hard that all shun it, and had rather walk as men do in the dark by haphazard, than tread so long and intricate mazes for knowledge’ sake. As therefore physicians are many times forced to leave such methods of curing as themselves know to be the fittest, and being overruled by their patients’ impatiency are fain to try the best they can, in taking that way of cure which the cured will yield unto; in like sort, considering how the case doth stand with this present age full of tongue and weak of brain, behold we yield to the stream thereof; into the causes of goodness we will not make any curious or deep inquiry; to touch them now and then it shall be sufficient, when they are so near at hand that easily they may be conceived without any far-removed discourse: that way we are contented to prove, which being the worse in itself, is notwithstanding now by reason of common imbecility the fitter and likelier to be brooked2.

Edition: 1888; Page: [3.]Signs and tokens to know good by are of sundry kinds; some more certain and some less. The most certain token of evident goodness is, if the general persuasion of all men do so account it. And therefore a common received error is never utterly overthrown, till such time as we go from signs unto causes, and shew some manifest root or fountain thereof common unto all, whereby it may clearly appear how it hath come to pass that so many have been overseen. In which case surmises and slight probabilities will not serve, because the universal consent of men is the perfectest and strongest in this kind, which comprehendeth Edition: current; Page: [227] only the signs and tokens of goodness.BOOK I. Ch. viii. 3. Things casual do vary, and that which a man doth but chance to think well of cannot still have the like hap. Wherefore although we know not the cause, yet thus much we may know; that some necessary cause there is, whensoever the judgments of all men generally or for the most part run one and the same way, especially in matters of natural discourse. For of things necessarily and naturally done there is no more affirmed but this, “They keep either always or for the most part one tenure1.” The general and perpetual voice of men is as the sentence of God himself2. For that which all men have at all times learned, Nature herself must needs have taught3; and God being the author of Nature, her voice is but his instrument. By her from Him we receive whatsoever in such sort we learn. Infinite duties there are, the goodness whereof is by this rule sufficiently manifested, although we had no other warrant besides to approve them. The Apostle St. Paul having speech concerning the heathen saith of them4, “They are a law unto themselves.” His meaning is, that by force of the light of Reason, wherewith God illuminateth every one which cometh into the world, men being enabled to know truth from falsehood, Edition: current; Page: [228] and good from evil, do thereby learn in many things what the will of God is;BOOK I. Ch. viii. 4, 5. which will himself not revealing by any extraordinary means unto them, but they by natural discourse attaining the knowledge thereof, seem the makers of those Laws which indeed are his, and they but only the finders of them out.

Edition: 1888; Page: [4.]A law therefore generally taken, is a directive rule unto goodness of operation. The rule of divine operations outward, is the definitive appointment of God’s own wisdom set down within himself. The rule of natural agents that work by simple necessity, is the determination of the wisdom of God, known to God himself the principal director of them, but not unto them that are directed to execute the same. The rule of natural agents which work after a sort of their own accord, as the beasts do, is the judgment of common sense or fancy concerning the sensible goodness of those objects wherewith they are moved. The rule of ghostly or immaterial natures, as spirits and angels, is their intuitive intellectual judgment concerning the amiable beauty and high goodness of that object, which with unspeakable joy and delight doth set them on work. The rule of voluntary agents on earth is the sentence that Reason giveth concerning the goodness of those things which they are to do. And the sentences which Reason giveth are some more some less general, before it come to define in particular actions what is good.

Edition: 1888; Page: [5.]The main principles of Reason are in themselves apparent. For to make nothing evident of itself unto man’s understanding were to take away all possibility of knowing any thing. And herein that of Theophrastus is true, “They that seek a reason of all things do utterly overthrow Reason1.” In every kind of knowledge some such grounds there are, as that being proposed the mind doth presently embrace them as free from all possibility of error, clear and manifest without proof. In which kind axioms or principles more general are such as this, “that the greater good is to be chosen before the less.” If therefore it should be demanded what reason there is, why the Will of Man, which doth necessarily shun harm and covet whatsoever Edition: current; Page: [229] is pleasant and sweet, should be commanded to count the pleasures of sin gall, and notwithstanding the bitter accidents wherewith virtuous actions are compassed, yet still to rejoice and delight in them:BOOK I. Ch. viii. 5. surely this could never stand with Reason, but that wisdom thus prescribing groundeth her laws upon an infallible rule of comparison; which is, “That small difficulties, when exceeding great good is sure to ensue, and on the other side momentany benefits, when the hurt which they draw after them is unspeakable, are not at all to be respected.” This rule is the ground whereupon the wisdom of the Apostle buildeth a law, enjoining patience unto himself1; “The present lightness of our affliction worketh unto us even with abundance upon abundance an eternal weight of glory; while we look not on the things which are seen, but on the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal:” therefore Christianity to be embraced, whatsoever calamities in those times it was accompanied withal. Upon the same ground our Saviour proveth the law most reasonable, that doth forbid those crimes which men for gain’s sake fall into. “For a man to win the world if it be with the loss of his soul, what benefit or good is it2?” Axioms less general, yet so manifest that they need no further proof, are such as these, “God to be worshipped;” “parents to be honoured;” “others to be used by us as we ourselves would by them.” Such things, as soon as they are alleged, all men acknowledge to be good; they require no proof or further discourse to be assured of their goodness.

Notwithstanding whatsoever such principle there is, it was at the first found out by discourse, and drawn from out of the very bowels of heaven and earth. For we are to note, that things in the world are to us discernible, not only so far forth as serveth for our vital preservation, but further also in a twofold higher respect. For first if all other uses were utterly taken away, yet the mind of man being by nature speculative and delighted with contemplation in itself, they were to be known even for mere knowledge and understanding’s sake. Yea further besides this, the knowledge of every the least Edition: current; Page: [230] thing in the whole world hath in it a second peculiar benefit unto us, inasmuch as it serveth to minister rules, canons, and laws, for men to direct those actions by, which we properly term human.BOOK I. Ch. viii. 6, 7. This did the very heathens themselves obscurely insinuate, by making Themis, which we call Jus, or Right, to be the daughter of heaven and earth1.

Edition: 1888; Page: [6.]We know things either as they are in themselves, or as they are in mutual relation one to another. The knowledge of that which man is in reference unto himself, and other things in relation unto man, I may justly term the mother of all those principles, which are as it were edicts, statutes, and decrees, in that Law of Nature, whereby human actions are framed. First therefore having observed that the best things, where they are not hindered, do still produce the best operations, (for which cause, where many things are to concur unto one effect, the best is in all congruity of reason to guide the residue, that it prevailing most, the work principally done by it may have greatest perfection:) when hereupon we come to observe in ourselves, of what excellency our souls are in comparison of our bodies, and the diviner part in relation unto the baser of our souls; seeing that all these concur in producing human actions, it cannot be well unless the chiefest do command and direct the rest2. The soul then ought to conduct the body, and the spirit of our minds3 the soul. This is therefore the first Law, whereby the highest power of the mind requireth general obedience at the hands of all the rest concurring with it unto action.

Edition: 1888; Page: [7.]Touching the several grand mandates, which being imposed by the understanding faculty of the mind must be obeyed by the Will of Man, they are by the same method found out, whether they import our duty towards God or towards man.

Touching the one, I may not here stand to open, by what degrees of discourse the minds even of mere natural men have attained to know, not only that there is a God, but also what power, force, wisdom, and other properties that God hath, and how all things depend on him. This being therefore presupposed, from that known relation which God hath Edition: current; Page: [231] unto us as unto children1, and unto all good things as unto effects whereof himself is the principal cause2, these axioms and laws natural concerning our duty have arisen, “that in all things we go about his aid is by prayer to be craved3:”BOOK I. Ch. viii. 7. “that he cannot have sufficient honour done unto him, but the utmost of that we can do to honour him we must4;” which is in effect the same that we read5, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind:” which Law our Saviour doth term6 “The first and the great commandment.”

Touching the next, which as our Saviour addeth is “like unto this,” (he meaneth in amplitude and largeness, inasmuch as it is the root out of which all Laws of duty to menward have grown, as out of the former all offices of religion towards God,) the like natural inducement hath brought men to know that it is their duty no less to love others than themselves. For seeing those things which are equal must needs all have one measure; if I cannot but wish to receive all good, even as much at every man’s hand as any man can wish unto his own soul, how should I look to have any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless myself be careful to satisfy the like desire which is undoubtedly in other men, we all being of one and the same nature? To have any thing offered them repugnant to this desire must needs in all respects grieve them as much as me: so that if I do harm I must look to suffer; there being no reason that others should shew greater measure of love to me than they have by me shewed unto them. My desire therefore to be loved of my equals in nature as much as possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural duty of bearing to them-ward fully the like affection. From which relation of equality between ourselves and them that are as ourselves, what several rules and canons natural Reason hath drawn for direction of life no man is ignorant; as namely, “That because we would take no harm, we must Edition: current; Page: [232] therefore do none;”BOOK I. Ch. viii. 8. “That sith we would not be in any thing extremely dealt with, we must ourselves avoid all extremity in our dealings;” “That from all violence and wrong we are utterly to abstain1;” with such like; which further to wade in would be tedious, and to our present purpose not altogether so necessary, seeing that on these two general heads already mentioned all other specialities are dependent2.

Edition: 1888; Page: [8.]Wherefore the natural measure whereby to judge our doings, is the sentence of Reason, determining and setting down what is good to be done. Which sentence is either mandatory, shewing what must be done; or else permissive, declaring only what may be done; or thirdly admonitory, opening what is the most convenient for us to do. The first taketh place, where the comparison doth stand altogether between doing and not doing of one thing which in itself is absolutely good or evil; as it had been for Joseph3 to yield or not to yield to the impotent desire of his lewd mistress, the one evil the other good simply. The second is, when of divers things evil, all being not evitable, we are permitted to take one; which one saving only in case of so great urgency were not otherwise to be taken; as in the matter of divorce amongst the Jews4. The last, when of divers things good, one is principal and most eminent; as in their act who sold their possessions and laid the price at the Apostles’ feet5; which possessions they might have retained unto themselves without sin: again, in the Apostle St. Paul’s own choice6 to maintain himself by his own labour; whereas in living by the Church’s maintenance, as others did, there had been no offence committed7. In Goodness therefore there is a latitude or extent, whereby it cometh to pass that even of good actions some are better than other some; whereas Edition: current; Page: [233] otherwise one man could not excel another, but all should be either absolutely good, as hitting jump that indivisible point or centre wherein goodness consisteth;BOOK I. Ch. viii. 9. or else missing it they should be excluded out of the number of well-doers. Degrees of well-doing there could be none, except perhaps in the seldomness and oftenness of doing well. But the nature of Goodness being thus ample, a Law is properly that which Reason in such sort defineth to be good that it must be done. And the Law of Reason or human Nature is that which men by discourse of natural Reason have rightly found out themselves to be all for ever bound unto in their actions.

Edition: 1888; Page: [9.]Laws of Reason have these marks to be known by. Such as keep them resemble most lively in their voluntary actions that very manner of working which Nature herself doth necessarily observe in the course of the whole world. The works of Nature are all behoveful, beautiful, without superfluity or defect; even so theirs, if they be framed according to that which the Law of Reason teacheth. Secondly, those Laws are investigable by Reason, without the help of Revelation supernatural and divine. Finally, in such sort they are investigable, that the knowledge of them is general, the world hath always been acquainted with them; according to that which one in Sophocles observeth concerning a branch of this Law, “It is no child of to-day’s or yesterday’s birth, but hath been no man knoweth how long sithence1.” It is not agreed upon by one, or two, or few, but by all. Which we may not so understand, as if every particular man in the whole world did know and confess whatsoever the Law of Reason doth contain; but this Law is such that being proposed no man can reject it as unreasonable and unjust. Again, there is nothing in it but any man (having natural perfection of wit and ripeness of judgment) may by labour and travail find out. And to conclude, the general principles thereof are such, as it is not easy to find men ignorant of them, Law rational therefore, which men commonly use to call the Law of Nature, meaning thereby the Law which human Nature knoweth itself in reason universally bound unto, which also Edition: current; Page: [234] for that cause may be termed most fitly the Law of Reason; this Law, I say, comprehendeth all those things which men by the light of their natural understanding evidently know, or at leastwise may know, to be beseeming or unbeseeming, virtuous or vicious, good or evil for them to do.BOOK I. Ch. viii. 10.

Edition: 1888; Page: [10.]Now although it be true, which some have said1, that “whatsoever is done amiss, the Law of Nature and Reason thereby is transgressed,” because even those offences which are by their special qualities breaches of supernatural laws, do also, for that they are generally evil, violate in general that principle of Reason, which willeth universally to fly from evil: yet do we not therefore so far extend the Law of Reason, as to contain in it all manner laws whereunto reasonable creatures are bound, but (as hath been shewed) we restrain it to those only duties, which all men by force of natural wit either do or might understand to be such duties as concern all men. “Certain half-waking men there are” (as Saint Augustine noteth2), “who neither altogether asleep in folly, nor yet throughly awake in the light of true understanding, have thought that there is not at all any thing just and righteous in itself; but look, wherewith nations are inured, the same they take to be right and just. Whereupon their conclusion is, that seeing each sort of people hath a different kind of right from other, and that which is right of its own nature must be everywhere one and the same, therefore in itself there is nothing right. These good folk,” saith he, (“that I may not trouble their wits with rehearsal of too many things,) have not looked so far into the world as to perceive that, ‘Do as thou wouldest be done unto,’ is a sentence which all nations Edition: current; Page: [235] under heaven are agreed upon.BOOK I. Ch. viii. 11. Refer this sentence to the love of God, and it extinguisheth all heinous crimes; refer it to the love of thy neighbour, and all grievous wrongs it banisheth out of the world.” Wherefore as touching the Law of Reason, this was (it seemeth) Saint Augustine’s judgment: namely, that there are in it some things which stand as principles universally agreed upon; and that out of those principles, which are in themselves evident, the greatest moral duties we owe towards God or man may without any great difficulty be concluded.

Edition: 1888; Page: [11.]If then it be here demanded, by what means it should come to pass (the greatest part of the Law moral being so easy for all men to know) that so many thousands of men notwithstanding have been ignorant even of principal moral duties, not imagining the breach of them to be sin: I deny not but lewd and wicked custom, beginning perhaps at the first amongst few, afterwards spreading into greater multitudes, and so continuing from time to time, may be of force even in plain things to smother the light of natural understanding; because men will not bend their wits to examine whether things wherewith they have been accustomed be good or evil. For example’s sake, that grosser kind of heathenish idolatry, whereby they worshipped the very works of their own hands, was an absurdity to reason so palpable, that the Prophet David comparing idols and idolaters together maketh almost no odds between them, but the one in a manner as much without wit and sense as the other; “They that make them are like unto them, and so are all that trust in them1.” That wherein an idolater doth seem so absurd and foolish is by the Wise Man thus exprest2, “He is not ashamed to speak unto that which hath no life, he calleth on him that is weak for health, he prayeth for life unto him which is dead, of him which hath no experience he requireth help, for his journey he sueth to him which is not able to go, for gain and work and success in his affairs he seeketh furtherance of him that hath no manner of power.” The cause of which senseless stupidity is afterwards imputed to custom3. “When a father mourned grievously for his son that was taken away suddenly, he Edition: current; Page: [236] made an image for him that was once dead, whom now he worshippeth as a god, ordaining to his servants ceremonies and sacrifices. Thus by process of time this wicked custom prevailed, and was kept as a law;” the authority of rulers, the ambition of craftsmen, and such like means thrusting forward the ignorant, and increasing their superstition.

Unto this which the Wise Man hath spoken somewhat besides may be added. For whatsoever we have hitherto taught, or shall hereafter, concerning the force of man’s natural understanding, this we always desire withal to be understood; that there is no kind of faculty or power in man or any other creature, which can rightly perform the functions allotted to it, without perpetual aid and concurrence of that Supreme Cause of all things. The benefit whereof as oft as we cause God in his justice to withdraw, there can no other thing follow than that which the Apostle noteth, even men endued with the light of reason to walk notwithstanding1 “in the vanity of their mind, having their cogitations darkened, and being strangers from the life of God through the ignorance which is in them, because of the hardness of their hearts.” And this cause is mentioned by the prophet Esay2, speaking of the ignorance of idolaters, who see not how the manifest Law of Reason condemneth their gross iniquity and sin. “They have not in them,” saith he, “so much wit as to think, ‘Shall I bow to the stock of a tree?’ All knowledge and understanding is taken from them; for God hath shut their eyes that they cannot see.”

That which we say in this case of idolatry serveth for all other things, wherein the like kind of general blindness hath prevailed against the manifest Laws of Reason. Within the compass of which laws we do not only comprehend whatsoever may be easily known to belong to the duty of all men, but even whatsoever may possibly be known to be of that quality, so that the same be by necessary consequence deduced out of clear and manifest principles. For if once we descend unto probable collections what is convenient for men, we are then in the territory where free and arbitrary determinations, the territory where Human Laws take place; which laws are after to be considered.

Edition: current; Page: [237]

BOOK I. Ch. ix. 1.IX. Now the due observation of this Law which Reason teacheth us cannot but be effectual unto their great good that observe the same. For we see the whole world and each part thereof so compacted, that as long as each thing performeth only that work which is natural unto it,The benefit of keeping that Law which Reason teacheth. it thereby preserveth both other things and also itself. Contrariwise, let any principal thing, as the sun, the moon, any one of the heavens or elements, but once cease or fail, or swerve, and who doth not easily conceive that the sequel thereof would be ruin both to itself and whatsoever dependeth on it? And is it possible, that Man being not only the noblest creature in the world, but even a very world in himself, his transgressing the Law of his Nature should draw no manner of harm after it? Yes1, “tribulation and anguish unto every soul that doeth evil.” Good doth follow unto all things by observing the course of their nature, and on the contrary side evil by not observing it; but not unto natural agents that good which we call Reward, not that evil which we properly term Punishment. The reason whereof is, because amongst creatures in this world, only Man’s observation of the Law of his Nature is Righteousness, only Man’s transgression Sin. And the reason of this is the difference in his manner of observing or transgressing the Law of his Nature. He doth not otherwise than voluntarily the one or the other. What we do against our wills, or constrainedly, we are not properly said to do it, because the motive cause of doing it is not in ourselves, but carrieth us, as if the wind should drive a feather in the air, we no whit furthering that whereby we are driven. In such cases therefore the evil which is done moveth compassion; men are pitied for it, as being rather miserable in such respect than culpable. Some things are likewise done by man, though not through outward force and impulsion, though not against, yet without their wills; as in alienation of mind, or any the like inevitable utter absence of wit and judgment. For which cause, no man did ever think the hurtful actions of furious men and innocents to be punishable. Again, some things we do neither against nor without, and yet not simply and merely with our wills, but with our wills in such sort moved, that Edition: current; Page: [238] albeit there be no impossibility but that we might, nevertheless we are not so easily able to do otherwise.BOOK I. Ch. ix. 2. In this consideration one evil deed is made more pardonable than another. Finally, that which we do being evil, is notwithstanding by so much more pardonable, by how much the exigence of so doing or the difficulty of doing otherwise is greater; unless this necessity or difficulty have originally risen from ourselves. It is no excuse therefore unto him, who being drunk committeth incest, and allegeth that his wits were not his own; inasmuch as himself might have chosen whether his wits should by that mean have been taken from him. Now rewards and punishments do always presuppose something willingly done well or ill; without which respect though we may sometimes receive good or harm, yet then the one is only a benefit and not a reward, the other simply an hurt not a punishment. From the sundry dispositions of man’s Will, which is the root of all his actions, there groweth variety in the sequel of rewards and punishments, which are by these and the like rules measured: “Take away the will, and all acts are equal: That which we do not, and would do, is commonly accepted as done1.” By these and the like rules men’s actions are determined of and judged, whether they be in their own nature rewardable or punishable.

Edition: 1888; Page: [2.]Rewards and punishments are not received, but at the hands of such as being above us have power to examine and judge our deeds. How men come to have this authority one over another in external actions, we shall more diligently examine in that which followeth. But for this present, so much all do acknowledge, that sith every man’s heart and conscience doth in good or evil, even secretly committed and known to none but itself, either like or disallow itself, and accordingly either rejoice, very nature exulting (as it were) in certain hope of reward, or else grieve (as it were) in a sense of future punishment; neither of which can in this case be looked for from any other, saving only from Him who discerneth and judgeth the very secrets of all hearts: Edition: current; Page: [239] therefore He is the only rewarder and revenger of all such actions; although not of such actions only, but of all whereby the Law of Nature is broken whereof Himself is author.BOOK I. Ch. x. 1. For which cause, the Roman laws, called The Laws of the Twelve Tables, requiring offices of inward affection which the eye of man cannot reach unto, threaten the neglecters of them with none but divine punishment1.

How Reason doth lead men unto the making of human laws whereby politic Societies are governed; and to agreement about laws whereby the fellowship or communion of independent societies standeth.X. That which hitherto we have set down is (I hope) sufficient to shew their brutishness, which imagine that religion and virtue are only as men will account of them; that we might make as much account, if we would, of the contrary, without any harm unto ourselves, and that in nature they are as indifferent one as the other. We see then how nature itself teacheth laws and statutes to live by. The laws which have been hitherto mentioned do bind men absolutely even as they are men, although they have never any settled fellowship, never any solemn agreement amongst themselves what to do or not to do2. But forasmuch as we are not by ourselves sufficient to furnish ourselves with competent store of things needful for such a life as our nature doth desire, a life fit for the dignity of man; therefore to supply those defects and imperfections which are in us living single and solely by ourselves, we are naturally induced to seek communion and fellowship with others. This was the cause of men’s uniting themselves at the first in politic Societies, which societies could not be without Government, nor Government without a distinct kind of Law from that which hath been already declared. Two foundations there are which bear up public societies; the one, a natural inclination, whereby all men desire sociable life and fellowship; the other, an order expressly or secretly agreed upon touching the manner of their union in living together. The latter is that which we call the Law of a Commonweal, the very soul of a politic body, the parts whereof are by law animated, held together, and set on work in such actions, as the common good requireth. Laws politic, ordained for external order and regiment amongst men, are never framed as they Edition: current; Page: [240] should be, unless presuming the will of man to be inwardly obstinate, rebellious, and averse from all obedience unto the sacred laws of his nature;BOOK I. Ch. x. 2. in a word, unless presuming man to be in regard of his depraved mind little better than a wild beast, they do accordingly provide notwithstanding so to frame his outward actions, that they be no hindrance unto the common good for which societies are instituted: unless they do this, they are not perfect. It resteth therefore that we consider how nature findeth out such laws of government as serve to direct even nature depraved to a right end.

Edition: 1888; Page: [2.]All men desire to lead in this world a happy life. That life is led most happily, wherein all virtue is exercised without impediment or let. The Apostle1, in exhorting men to contentment although they have in this world no more than very bare food and raiment, giveth us thereby to understand that those are even the lowest of things necessary; that if we should be stripped of all those things without which we might possibly be, yet these must be left; that destitution in these is such an impediment, as till it be removed suffereth not the mind of man to admit any other care. For this cause, first God assigned Adam maintenance of life, and then appointed him a law to observe2. For this cause, after men began to grow to a number, the first thing we read they gave themselves unto was the tilling of the earth and the feeding of cattle. Having by this mean whereon to live, the principal actions of their life afterward are noted by the exercise of their religion3. True it is, that the kingdom of God must be the first thing in our purposes and desires4. But inasmuch as righteous life presupposeth life; inasmuch as to live virtuously it is impossible except we live; therefore the first impediment, which naturally we endeavour to remove, is penury and want of things without which we cannot live. Unto life many implements are necessary; moe, if we seek (as all men naturally do) such a life as hath in it joy, comfort, delight, and pleasure. To this end we see how quickly sundry arts mechanical were found out, in the very prime of the world5. As things of greatest Edition: current; Page: [241] necessity are always first provided for, so things of greatest dignity are most accounted of by all such as judge rightly.BOOK I. Ch. x. 3, 4. Although therefore riches be a thing which every man wisheth, yet no man of judgment can esteem it better to be rich, than wise, virtuous, and religious. If we be both or either of these, it is not because we are so born. For into the world we come as empty of the one as of the other, as naked in mind as we are in body. Both which necessities of man had at the first no other helps and supplies than only domestical; such as that which the Prophet implieth, saying, “Can a mother forget her child1?” such as that which the Apostle mentioneth, saying, “He that careth not for his own is worse than an infidel2;” such as that concerning Abraham, “Abraham will command his sons and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord3.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [3.]But neither that which we learn of ourselves nor that which others teach us can prevail, where wickedness and malice have taken deep root. If therefore when there was but as yet one only family in the world, no means of instruction human or divine could prevent effusion of blood4; how could it be chosen but that when families were multiplied and increased upon earth, after separation each providing for itself, envy, strife, contention and violence must grow amongst them? For hath not Nature furnished man with wit and valour, as it were with armour, which may be used as well unto extreme evil as good? Yea, were they not used by the rest of the world unto evil; unto the contrary only by Seth, Enoch, and those few the rest in that line5? We all make complaint of the iniquity of our times: not unjustly; for the days are evil. But compare them with those times wherein there were no civil societies, with those times wherein there was as yet no manner of public regiment established, with those times wherein there were not above eight persons righteous living upon the face of the earth6; and we have surely good cause to think that God hath blessed us exceedingly, and hath made us behold most happy days.

Edition: 1888; Page: [4.]To take away all such mutual grievances, injuries, and wrongs, there was no way but only by growing unto composition Edition: current; Page: [242] and agreement amongst themselves, by ordaining some kind of government public, and by yielding themselves subject thereunto;BOOK I. Ch. x. 4. that unto whom they granted authority to rule and govern, by them the peace, tranquillity, and happy estate of the rest might be procured. Men always knew that when force and injury was offered they might be defenders of themselves; they knew that howsoever men may seek their own commodity, yet if this were done with injury unto others it was not to be suffered, but by all men and by all good means to be withstood; finally they knew that no man might in reason take upon him to determine his own right, and according to his own determination proceed in maintenance thereof, inasmuch as every man is towards himself and them whom he greatly affecteth partial; and therefore that strifes and troubles would be endless, except they gave their common consent all to be ordered by some whom they should agree upon: without which consent there were no reason that one man should take upon him to be lord or judge over another; because, although there be according to the opinion of some very great and judicious men a kind of natural right in the noble, wise, and virtuous, to govern them which are of servile disposition1; nevertheless for manifestation of this their right, and men’s more peaceable contentment on both sides, the assent of them who are to be governed seemeth necessary.

To fathers within their private families Nature hath given a supreme power; for which cause we see throughout the world even from the foundation thereof, all men have ever been taken as lords and lawful kings in their own houses. Howbeit over a whole grand multitude having no such dependency upon any one, and consisting of so many families as every politic society in the world doth, impossible it is that any should have complete lawful power, but by consent of men, or immediate appointment of God; because not having the natural superiority of fathers, their power must needs be either usurped, and then unlawful; or, if lawful, then either granted or consented unto by them over whom they exercise the same, or else given extraordinarily from God, unto whom all the world is subject. It is no improbable opinion therefore which the arch-philosopher was of, that as the chiefest person Edition: current; Page: [243] in every household was always as it were a king, so when numbers of households joined themselves in civil society together, kings were the first kind of governors amongst them1.BOOK I. Ch. x. 5. Which is also (as it seemeth) the reason why the name of Father continued still in them, who of fathers were made rulers; as also the ancient custom of governors to do as Melchisedec, and being kings to exercise the office of priests, which fathers did at the first, grew perhaps by the same occasion.

Howbeit not this the only kind of regiment that hath been received in the world. The inconveniences of one kind have caused sundry other to be devised. So that in a word all public regiment of what kind soever seemeth evidently to have risen from deliberate advice, consultation, and composition between men, judging it convenient and behoveful; there being no impossibility in nature considered by itself, but that men might have lived without any public regiment. Howbeit, the corruption of our nature being presupposed, we may not deny but that the Law of Nature doth now require of necessity some kind of regiment, so that to bring things unto the first course they were in, and utterly to take away all kind of public government in the world, were apparently to overturn the whole world.

Edition: 1888; Page: [5.]The case of man’s nature standing therefore as it doth, some kind of regiment the Law of Nature doth require; yet the kinds thereof being many, Nature tieth not to any one, but leaveth the choice as a thing arbitrary. At the first when some certain kind of regiment was once approved, it may be that nothing was then further thought upon for the manner of governing, but all permitted unto their wisdom and discretion which were to rule2; till by experience they found this for all parts very inconvenient, so as the thing which they had devised for a remedy did indeed but increase the sore which it should have cured. They saw that to live by one man’s will became the cause of all men’s misery. This constrained Edition: current; Page: [244] them to come unto laws, wherein all men might see their duties beforehand, and know the penalties of transgressing them.BOOK I. Ch. x. 6, 7. If things be simply good or evil, and withal universally so acknowledged, there needs no new law to be made for such things1. The first kind therefore of things appointed by laws human containeth whatsoever being in itself naturally good or evil, is notwithstanding more secret than that it can be discerned by every man’s present conceit, without some deeper discourse and judgment. In which discourse because there is difficulty and possibility many ways to err, unless such things were set down by laws, many would be ignorant of their duties which now are not, and many that know what they should do would nevertheless dissemble it, and to excuse themselves pretend ignorance and simplicity, which now they cannot2.

Edition: 1888; Page: [6.]And because the greatest part of men are such as prefer their own private good before all things, even that good which is sensual before whatsoever is most divine; and for that the labour of doing good, together with the pleasure arising from the contrary, doth make men for the most part slower to the one and proner to the other, than that duty prescribed them by law can prevail sufficiently with them: therefore unto laws that men do make for the benefit of men it hath seemed always needful to add rewards, which may more allure unto good than any hardness deterreth from it, and punishments, which may more deter from evil than any sweetness thereto allureth. Wherein as the generality is natural, virtue rewardable and vice punishable; so the particular determination of the reward or punishment belongeth unto them by whom laws are made. Theft is naturally punishable, but the kind of punishment is positive, and such lawful as men shall think with discretion convenient by law to appoint.

Edition: 1888; Page: [7.]In laws, that which is natural bindeth universally, that which is positive not so. To let go those kind of positive Edition: current; Page: [245] laws which men impose upon themselves, as by vow unto God, contract with men, or such like; somewhat it will make unto our purpose, a little more fully to consider what things are incident into the making of the positive laws for the government of them that live united in public society.BOOK I. Ch. x. 8. Laws do not only teach what is good, but they enjoin it, they have in them a certain constraining force. And to constrain men unto any thing inconvenient doth seem unreasonable. Most requisite therefore it is that to devise laws which all men shall be forced to obey none but wise men be admitted. Laws are matters of principal consequence; men of common capacity and but ordinary judgment are not able (for how should they?) to discern what things are fittest for each kind and state of regiment. We cannot be ignorant how much our obedience unto laws dependeth upon this point. Let a man though never so justly oppose himself unto them that are disordered in their ways, and what one amongst them commonly doth not stomach at such contradiction, storm at reproof, and hate such as would reform them? Notwithstanding even they which brook it worst that men should tell them of their duties, when they are told the same by a law, think very well and reasonably of it. For why? They presume that the law doth speak with all indifferency; that the law hath no side-respect to their persons; that the law is as it were an oracle proceeded from wisdom and understanding1.

Edition: 1888; Page: [8.]Howbeit laws do not take their constraining force from the quality of such as devise them, but from that power which doth give them the strength of laws. That which we spake before concerning the power of government must here be applied unto the power of making laws whereby to govern; which power God hath over all: and by the natural law, whereunto he hath made all subject, the lawful power of making laws to command whole politic societies of men belongeth so properly unto the same entire societies, that for any prince or potentate of what kind soever upon earth to exercise the same of himself, and not either by express commission immediately and personally received from God, or else by authority derived at the first from Edition: current; Page: [246] their consent upon whose persons they impose laws, it is no better than mere tyranny.BOOK I. Ch. x. 9.

Laws they are not therefore which public approbation hath not made so. But approbation not only they give who personally declare their assent by voice sign or act, but also when others do it in their names by right originally at the least derived from them. As in parliaments, councils, and the like assemblies, although we be not personally ourselves present, notwithstanding our assent is by reason of others agents there in our behalf. And what we do by others, no reason but that it should stand as our deed, no less effectually to bind us than if ourselves had done it in person. In many things assent is given, they that give it not imagining they do so, because the manner of their assenting is not apparent. As for example, when an absolute monarch commandeth his subjects that which seemeth good in his own discretion, hath not his edict the force of a law whether they approve or dislike it? Again, that which hath been received long sithence and is by custom now established, we keep as a law which we may not transgress; yet what consent was ever thereunto sought or required at our hands?

Of this point therefore we are to note, that sith men naturally have no full and perfect power to command whole politic multitudes of men, therefore utterly without our consent we could in such sort be at no man’s commandment living. And to be commanded we do consent, when that society whereof we are part hath at any time before consented, without revoking the same after by the like universal agreement. Wherefore as any man’s deed past is good as long as himself continueth; so the act of a public society of men done five hundred years sithence standeth as theirs who presently are of the same societies, because corporations are immortal; we were then alive in our predecessors, and they in their successors do live still. Laws therefore human, of what kind soever, are available by consent.

Edition: 1888; Page: [9.]If here it be demanded how it cometh to pass that this being common unto all laws which are made, there should be found even in good laws so great variety as there Edition: current; Page: [247] is; we must note the reason hereof to be the sundry particular ends, whereunto the different disposition of that subject or matter, for which laws are provided, causeth them to have especial respect in making laws. A law there is mentioned amongst the Grecians whereof Pittacus is reported to have been author; and by that law it was agreed, that he which being overcome with drink did then strike any man, should suffer punishment double as much as if he had done the same being sober1. No man could ever have thought this reasonable, that had intended thereby only to punish the injury committed according to the gravity of the fact: for who knoweth not that harm advisedly done is naturally less pardonable, and therefore worthy of the sharper punishment? But forasmuch as none did so usually this way offend as men in that case, which they wittingly fell into, even because they would be so much the more freely outrageous; it was for their public good where such disorder was grown to frame a positive law for remedy thereof accordingly. To this appertain those known laws of making laws; as that law-makers must have an eye to the place where, and to the men amongst whom; that one kind of laws cannot serve for all kinds of regiment; that where the multitude beareth sway, laws that shall tend unto preservation of that state must make common smaller offices to go by lot, for fear of strife and division likely to arise; by reason that ordinary qualities sufficing for discharge of such offices, they could not but by many be desired, and so with danger contended for, and not missed without grudge and discontentment, whereas at an uncertain lot none can find themselves grieved, on whomsoever it lighteth; contrariwise the greatest, whereof but few are capable, to pass by popular election, that neither the people may envy such as have those honours, inasmuch as themselves bestow them, and that the chiefest may be kindled with desire to exercise all parts of rare and beneficial virtue, knowing they shall not lose their labour by growing in fame and estimation amongst the people: if the helm of chief government be in the hands of a few of the wealthiest, that then laws providing for continuance thereof must make the punishment of contumely and wrong offered Edition: current; Page: [248] unto any of the common sort sharp and grievous, that so the evil may be prevented whereby the rich are most likely to bring themselves into hatred with the people, who are not wont to take so great offence when they are excluded from honours and offices, as when their persons are contumeliously trodden upon.BOOK I. Ch. x. 10. In other kinds of regiment the like is observed concerning the difference of positive laws, which to be every where the same is impossible and against their nature.

Edition: 1888; Page: [10.]Now as the learned in the laws1 of this land observe, that our statutes sometimes are only the affirmation or ratification of that which by common law was held before; so here it is not to be omitted that generally all laws human, which are made for the ordering of politic societies, be either such as establish some duty whereunto all men by the law of reason did before stand bound; or else such as make that a duty now which before was none. The one sort we may for distinction’s sake call “mixedly,” and the other “merely” human. That which plain or necessary reason bindeth men unto may be in sundry considerations expedient to be ratified by human law. For example, if confusion of blood in marriage, the liberty of having many wives at once, or any other the like corrupt and unreasonable custom doth happen to have prevailed far, and to have gotten the upper hand of right reason with the greatest part; so that no way is left to rectify such foul disorder without prescribing by law the same things which reason necessarily doth enforce but is not perceived that so it doth; or if many be grown unto that which the Apostle did lament in some, concerning whom he writeth, saying, that “even what things they naturally know, in those very things as beasts void of reason they corrupted themselves2;” or if there be no such special accident, yet forasmuch as the common sort are led by the sway of their Edition: current; Page: [249] sensual desires, and therefore do more shun sin for the sensible evils which follow it amongst men, than for any kind of sentence which reason doth pronounce against it1: this very thing is cause sufficient why duties belonging unto each kind of virtue, albeit the Law of Reason teach them, should notwithstanding be prescribed even by human law.BOOK I. Ch. x. 11. Which law in this case we term mixed, because the matter whereunto it bindeth is the same which reason necessarily doth require at our hands, and from the Law of Reason it differeth in the manner of binding only. For whereas men before stood bound in conscience to do as the Law of Reason teacheth, they are now by virtue of human law become constrainable, and if they outwardly transgress, punishable. As for laws which are merely human, the matter of them is any thing which reason doth but probably teach to be fit and convenient; so that till such time as law hath passed amongst men about it, of itself it bindeth no man. One example whereof may be this. Lands are by human law in some places after the owner’s decease divided unto all his children, in some all descendeth to the eldest son. If the Law of Reason did necessarily require but the one of these two to be done, they which by law have received the other should be subject to that heavy sentence, which denounceth against all that decree wicked, unjust, and unreasonable things, woe2. Whereas now whichsoever be received there is no Law of Reason transgressed; because there is probable reason why either of them may be expedient, and for either of them more than probable reason there is not to be found.

Edition: 1888; Page: [11.]Laws whether mixedly or merely human are made by politic societies: some, only as those societies are civilly united; some, as they are spiritually joined and make such a body as we call the Church. Of laws human in this latter kind we are to speak in the third book following. Let it therefore suffice thus far to have touched the force wherewith Almighty God hath graciously endued our nature, and thereby enabled the same to find out both those laws which all men generally are for ever bound to observe, and also such Edition: current; Page: [250] as are most fit for their behoof, who lead their lives in any ordered state of government.BOOK I. Ch. x. 12.

Edition: 1888; Page: [12.]Now besides that law which simply concerneth men as men, and that which belongeth unto them as they are men linked with others in some form of politic society, there is a third kind of law which toucheth all such several bodies politic, so far forth as one of them hath public commerce with another. And this third is the Law of Nations. Between men and beasts there is no possibility of sociable communion, because the well-spring of that communion is a natural delight which man hath to transfuse from himself into others, and to receive from others into himself especially those things wherein the excellency of his kind doth most consist. The chiefest instrument of human communion therefore is speech, because thereby we impart mutually one to another the conceits of our reasonable understanding1. And for that cause seeing beasts are not hereof capable, forasmuch as with them we can use no such conference, they being in degree, although above other creatures on earth to whom nature hath denied sense, yet lower than to be sociable companions of man to whom nature hath given reason; it is of Adam said that amongst the beasts “he found not for himself any meet companion2.” Civil society doth more content the nature of man than any private kind of solitary living, because in society this good of mutual participation is so much larger than otherwise. Herewith notwithstanding we are not satisfied, but we covet (if it might be) to have a kind of society and fellowship even with all mankind. Which thing Socrates intending to signify professed himself a citizen, not of this or that commonwealth, but of the world3. And an effect of that very natural desire in us (a manifest token that we wish after a sort an universal fellowship with all men) appeareth by the wonderful delight men have, some to visit foreign countries, some to discover nations not heard of in former ages, we all to know the affairs and dealings of other people, yea to be in league of amity with them: and this not only for traffick’s sake, or to the end that when many are confederated each may make other the more strong, but Edition: current; Page: [251] for such cause also as moved the Queen of Saba to visit Salomon1; and in a word, because nature doth presume that how many men there are in the world, so many gods as it were there are, or at leastwise such they should be towards men2.BOOK I. Ch. x. 13.

Edition: 1888; Page: [13.]Touching laws which are to serve men in this behalf; even as those Laws of Reason, which (man retaining his original integrity) had been sufficient to direct each particular person in all his affairs and duties, are not sufficient but require the access of other laws, now that man and his offspring are grown thus corrupt and sinful; again, as those laws of polity and regiment, which would have served men living in public society together with that harmless disposition which then they should have had, are not able now to serve, when men’s iniquity is so hardly restrained within any tolerable bounds: in like manner, the national laws of mutual3 commerce between societies of that former and better quality might have been other than now, when nations are so prone to offer violence, injury, and wrong. Hereupon hath grown in every of these three kinds that distinction between Primary and Secondary laws; the one grounded upon sincere, the other built upon depraved nature. Primary laws of nations are such as concern embassage, such as belong to the courteous entertainment of foreigners and strangers, such as serve for commodious traffick, and the like. Secondary laws in the same kind are such as this present unquiet world is most familiarly acquainted with; I mean laws of arms, which yet are much better known than kept. But what matter the Law of Nations doth contain I omit to search.

The strength and virtue of that law is such that no particular nation can lawfully prejudice the same by any their several laws and ordinances, more than a man by his private resolutions the law of the whole commonwealth or state wherein he liveth. For as civil law, being the act of a whole body politic, doth therefore overrule each several part of the same body; so there is no reason that any one commonwealth of itself should to the prejudice of another Edition: current; Page: [252] annihilate that whereupon the whole world hath agreed.BOOK I. Ch. x. 14. For which cause, the Lacedæmonians forbidding all access of strangers into their coasts, are in that respect both by Josephus and Theodoret deservedly blamed1, as being enemies to that hospitality which for common humanity’s sake all the nations on earth should embrace.

Edition: 1888; Page: [14.]Now as there is great cause of communion, and consequently of laws for the maintenance of communion, amongst nations; so amongst nations Christian the like in regard even of Christianity hath been always judged needful.

And in this kind of correspondence amongst nations the force of general councils doth stand. For as one and the same law divine, whereof in the next place we are to speak, is unto all Christian churches a rule for the chiefest things; by means whereof they all in that respect make one church, as having all but “one Lord, one faith, and one baptism2:” so the urgent necessity of mutual communion for preservation of our unity in these things, as also for order in some other things convenient to be every where uniformly kept, maketh it requisite that the Church of God here on earth have her laws of spiritual commerce between Christian nations; laws by virtue whereof all churches may enjoy freely the use of those reverend, religious, and sacred consultations, which are termed Councils General. A thing whereof God’s own blessed Spirit was the author3; a thing practised by the holy Apostles themselves; a thing always afterwards kept and observed throughout the world; a thing never otherwise than most highly esteemed of, till pride, ambition, and tyranny began by factious and vile endeavours to abuse that divine invention unto the furtherance of wicked purposes. But as the just authority of civil courts and parliaments is not therefore to be abolished, because sometime there is cunning used to frame them according to the private intents of men over potent in the commonwealth; so the grievous abuse which hath been of councils should rather cause men to study how so gracious a thing may again be reduced to that first perfection, than in regard of stains and blemishes sithence growing be held for ever in extreme disgrace.

Edition: current; Page: [253]

To speak of this matter as the cause requireth would require very long discourse.BOOK I. Ch. x. 15. xi. 1. All I will presently say is this: whether it be for the finding out of any thing whereunto divine law bindeth us, but yet in such sort that men are not thereof on all sides resolved; or for the setting down of some uniform judgment to stand touching such things, as being neither way matters of necessity, are notwithstanding offensive and scandalous when there is open opposition about them; be it for the ending of strifes, touching matters of Christian belief, wherein the one part may seem to have probable cause of dissenting from the other; or be it concerning matters of polity, order, and regiment in the church; I nothing doubt but that Christian men should much better frame themselves to those heavenly precepts, which our Lord and Saviour with so great instancy gave1 as concerning peace and unity, if we did all concur in desire to have the use of ancient councils again renewed, rather than these proceedings continued, which either make all contentions endless, or bring them to one only determination, and that of all other the worst2, which is by sword.

Edition: 1888; Page: [15.]It followeth therefore that a new foundation being laid, we now adjoin hereunto that which cometh in the next place to be spoken of; namely, wherefore God hath himself by Scripture made known such laws as serve for direction of men.

Wherefore God hath by Scripture further made known such supernatural laws, as do serve for men’s direction.XI. All things, (God only excepted,) besides the nature which they have in themselves, receive externally some perfection from other things, as hath been shewed. Insomuch as there is in the whole world no one thing great or small, but either in respect of knowledge or of use it may unto our perfection add somewhat. And whatsoever such perfection there is which our nature may acquire, the same we properly term our Good; our Sovereign Good or Blessedness, that wherein the highest degree of all our perfection consisteth, that which being once attained unto there can rest nothing further to be desired; and therefore with it our souls are fully content and satisfied, in that they have they rejoice, and thirst for no more. Wherefore of good things desired some are such that for themselves we covet them not, but only because they serve as instruments unto that for which we are Edition: current; Page: [254] to seek: of this sort are riches.BOOK I. Ch. xi. 2. Another kind there is, which although we desire for itself, as health, and virtue, and knowledge, nevertheless they are not the last mark whereat we aim, but have their further end whereunto they are referred, so as in them we are not satisfied as having attained the utmost we may, but our desires do still proceed. These things are linked and as it were chained one to another; we labour to eat, and we eat to live, and we live to do good, and the good which we do is as seed sown with reference to a future harvest1. But we must come at length to some pause. For, if every thing were to be desired for some other without any stint, there could be no certain end proposed unto our actions, we should go on we know not whither; yea, whatsoever we do were in vain, or rather nothing at all were possible to be done. For as to take away the first efficient of our being were to annihilate utterly our persons, so we cannot remove the last final cause of our working, but we shall cause whatsoever we work to cease. Therefore something there must be desired for itself simply and for no other. That is simply for itself desirable, unto the nature whereof it is opposite and repugnant to be desired with relation unto any other. The ox and the ass desire their food, neither propose they unto themselves any end wherefore; so that of them this is desired for itself; but why? By reason of their imperfection which cannot otherwise desire it; whereas that which is desired simply for itself, the excellency thereof is such as permitteth it not in any sort to be referred to a further end.

Edition: 1888; Page: [2.]Now that which man doth desire with reference to a further end, the same he desireth in such measure as is unto that end convenient; but what he coveteth as good in itself, towards that his desire is ever infinite. So that unless the last good of all, which is desired altogether for itself, be also infinite, we do evil in making it our end; even as they who placed their felicity in wealth or honour or pleasure or any thing here attained; because in desiring any thing as our final perfection which is not so, we do amiss2. Nothing Edition: current; Page: [255] may be infinitely desired but that good which indeed is infinite; for the better the more desirable; that therefore most desirable wherein there is infinity of goodness: so that if any thing desirable may be infinite, that must needs be the highest of all things that are desired.BOOK I. Ch. xi. 3. No good is infinite but only God; therefore he our felicity and bliss. Moreover, desire tendeth unto union with that it desireth. If then in Him we be blessed, it is by force of participation and conjunction with Him. Again, it is not the possession of any good thing can make them happy which have it, unless they enjoy the thing wherewith they are possessed. Then are we happy therefore when fully we enjoy God, as an object wherein the powers of our souls are satisfied even with everlasting delight; so that although we be men, yet by being unto God united we live as it were the life of God.

Edition: 1888; Page: [3.]Happiness therefore is that estate whereby we attain, so far as possibly may be attained, the full possession of that which simply for itself is to be desired, and containeth in it after an eminent sort the contentation of our desires, the highest degree of all our perfection. Of such perfection capable we are not in this life. For while we are in the world, subject we are unto sundry imperfections1, griefs of body, defects of mind; yea the best things we do are painful, and the exercise of them grievous, being continued without intermission; so as in those very actions whereby we are especially perfected in this life we are not able to persist; forced we are with very weariness, and that often, to interrupt them: which tediousness cannot fall into those operations that are in the state of bliss, when our union with God is complete. Complete union with him must be according unto every power and faculty of our minds apt to receive so glorious an object. Capable we are of God both by understanding and will: by understanding, as He is that sovereign Truth which comprehendeth the rich treasures of all wisdom; by will, as He is that sea of Goodness whereof whoso tasteth Edition: current; Page: [256] shall thirst no more.BOOK I. Ch. xi. 4. As the will doth now work upon that object by desire, which is as it were a motion towards the end as yet unobtained; so likewise upon the same hereafter received it shall work also by love. “Appetitus inhiantis fit amor fruentis,” saith St. Augustine: “The longing disposition of them that thirst is changed into the sweet affection of them that taste and are replenished1.” Whereas we now love the thing that is good, but good especially in respect of benefit unto us; we shall then love the thing that is good, only or principally for the goodness of beauty in itself. The soul being in this sort, as it is active, perfected by love of that infinite good, shall, as it is receptive, be also perfected with those supernatural passions of joy, peace, and delight. All this endless and everlasting2. Which perpetuity, in regard whereof our blessedness is termed “a crown which withereth not3,” doth neither depend upon the nature of the thing itself, nor proceed from any natural necessity that our souls should so exercise themselves for ever in beholding and loving God, but from the will of God, which doth both freely perfect our nature in so high a degree, and continue it so perfected. Under Man, no creature in the world is capable of felicity and bliss. First, because their chiefest perfection consisteth in that which is best for them, but not in that which is simply best, as ours doth. Secondly, because whatsoever external perfection they tend unto, it is not better than themselves, as ours is. How just occasion have we therefore even in this respect with the Prophet to admire the goodness of God! “Lord, what is man, that thou shouldst exalt him above the works of thy hands4,” so far as to make thyself the inheritance of his rest and the substance of his felicity?

Edition: 1888; Page: [4.]Now if men had not naturally this desire to be happy, how were it possible that all men should have it? All men have. Therefore this desire in man is natural. It is not in our power not to do the same; how should it then be in our power to do it coldly or remissly? So that our desire being Edition: current; Page: [257] natural is also in that degree of earnestness whereunto nothing can be added. And is it probable that God should frame the hearts of all men so desirous of that which no man may obtain? It is an axiom of nature that natural desire cannot utterly be frustrate1. This desire of ours being natural should be frustrate, if that which may satisfy the same were a thing impossible for man to aspire unto. Man doth seek a triple perfection2: first a sensual, consisting in those things which very life itself requireth either as necessary supplements, or as beauties and ornaments thereof; then an intellectual, consisting in those things which none underneath man is either capable of or acquainted with; lastly a spiritual and divine, consisting in those things whereunto we tend by supernatural means here, but cannot here attain unto them. They that make the first of these three the scope of their whole life, are said by the Apostle3 to have no god but only their belly, to be earthly-minded men. Unto the second they bend themselves, who seek especially to excel in all such knowledge and virtue as doth most commend men. To this branch belongeth the law of moral and civil perfection. That there is somewhat higher than either of these two, no other proof doth need than the very process of man’s desire, which being natural should be frustrate, if there were not some farther thing wherein it might rest at the length contented, which in the former it cannot do. For man doth not seem to rest satisfied, either with fruition of that wherewith his life is preserved, or with performance of such actions as advance him most deservedly in estimation; but doth further covet, yea oftentimes manifestly pursue with great sedulity and earnestness, that which cannot stand him in any stead for vital use; that which exceedeth the reach of sense; yea somewhat above capacity of reason, somewhat divine and heavenly, which with hidden exultation it rather surmiseth than conceiveth; somewhat it seeketh, and what that is directly it knoweth not, yet very intentive desire thereof doth so incite it, that all other known delights and pleasures are Edition: current; Page: [258] laid aside, they give place to the search of this but only suspected desire. If the soul of man did serve only to give him being in this life, then things appertaining unto this life would content him, as we see they do other creatures; which creatures enjoying what they live by seek no further, but in this contentation do shew a kind of acknowledgment that there is no higher good which doth any way belong unto them. With us it is otherwise. For although the beauties, riches, honours, sciences, virtues, and perfections of all men living, were in the present possession of one; yet somewhat beyond and above all this there would still be sought and earnestly thirsted for. So that Nature even in this life doth plainly claim and call for a more divine perfection than either of these two that have been mentioned.

Edition: 1888; Page: [5.]This last and highest estate of perfection whereof we speak is received of men in the nature of a Reward1. Rewards do always presuppose such duties performed as are rewardable. Our natural means therefore unto blessedness are our works; nor is it possible that Nature should ever find any other way to salvation than only this. But examine the works which we do, and since the first foundation of the world what one can say, My ways are pure? Seeing then all flesh is guilty of that for which God hath threatened eternally to punish, what possibility is there this way to be saved? There resteth therefore either no way unto salvation, or if any, then surely a way which is supernatural, a way which could never have entered into the heart of man as much as once to conceive or imagine, if God himself had not revealed it extraordinarily. For which cause we term it the Mystery or secret way of salvation. And therefore St. Ambrose in this matter appealeth justly from man to God2, “Cœli mysterium doceat me Deus qui condidit, non homo qui seipsum ignoravit:—Let God himself that made me, let not man that knows not himself, be my instructor concerning the mystical way to heaven.” “When men of excellent wit,” saith Lactantius, “had wholly betaken themselves unto study, after farewell bidden unto all kind as well of private as public action, they spared no labour that might be spent in the Edition: current; Page: [259] search of truth; holding it a thing of much more price to seek and to find out the reason of all affairs as well divine as human, than to stick fast in the toil of piling up riches and gathering together heaps of honours. Howbeit, they both did fail of their purpose, and got not as much as to quite1 their charges; because truth which is the secret of the Most High God, whose proper handy-work all things are, cannot be compassed with that wit and those senses which are our own. For God and man should be very near neighbours, if man’s cogitations were able to take a survey of the counsels and appointments of that Majesty everlasting. Which being utterly impossible, that the eye of man by itself should look into the bosom of divine Reason; God did not suffer him being desirous of the light of wisdom to stray any longer up and down, and with bootless expense of travail to wander in darkness that had no passage to get out by. His eyes at the length God did open, and bestow upon him the knowledge of the truth by way of Donative, to the end that man might both be clearly convicted of folly, and being through error out of the way, have the path that leadeth unto immortality laid plain before him2.” Thus far Lactantius Firmianus, to shew that God himself is the teacher of the truth, whereby is made known the supernatural way of salvation and law for them to live in that shall be saved. In the natural path of everlasting life the first beginning is that Edition: current; Page: [260] ability of doing good, which God in the day of man’s creation endued him with;BOOK I. Ch. xi. 6. from hence obedience unto the will of his Creator, absolute righteousness and integrity in all his actions; and last of all the justice of God rewarding the worthiness of his deserts with the crown of eternal glory. Had Adam continued in his first estate, this had been the way of life unto him and all his posterity. Wherein I confess notwithstanding with the wittiest of the school-divines1, “That if we speak of strict justice, God could no way have been bound to requite man’s labours in so large and ample a manner as human felicity doth import; inasmuch as the dignity of this exceedeth so far the other’s value. But be it that God of his great liberality had determined in lieu of man’s endeavours to bestow the same by the rule of that justice which best beseemeth him, namely, the justice of one that requiteth nothing mincingly, but all with pressed and heaped and even over-enlarged measure; yet could it never hereupon necessarily be gathered, that such justice should add to the nature of that reward the property of everlasting continuance; sith possession of bliss, though it should be but for a moment, were an abundant retribution.” But we are not now to enter into this consideration, how gracious and bountiful our good God might still appear in so rewarding the sons of men, albeit they should exactly perform whatsoever duty their nature bindeth them unto. Howsoever God did propose this reward, we that were to be rewarded must have done that which is required at our hands; we failing in the one, it were in nature an impossibility that the other should be looked for. The light of nature is never able to find out any way of obtaining the reward of bliss, but by performing exactly the duties and works of righteousness.

Edition: 1888; Page: [6.]From salvation therefore and life all flesh being Edition: current; Page: [261] excluded this way, behold how the wisdom of God hath revealed a way mystical and supernatural, a way directing unto the same end of life by a course which groundeth itself upon the guiltiness of sin, and through sin desert of condemnation and death. For in this way the first thing is the tender compassion of God respecting us drowned and swallowed up in misery; the next is redemption out of the same by the precious death and merit of a mighty Saviour, which hath witnessed of himself, saying1, “I am the way,” the way that leadeth us from misery into bliss. This supernatural way had God in himself prepared before all worlds. The way of supernatural duty which to us he hath prescribed, our Saviour in the Gospel of St. John doth note, terming it by an excellency, The Work of God2, “This is the work of God, that ye believe in him whom he hath sent.” Not that God doth require nothing unto happiness at the hands of men saving only a naked belief (for hope and charity we may not exclude3); but that without belief all other things are as nothing, and it the ground of those other divine virtues.

Concerning Faith, the principal object whereof is that eternal Verity which hath discovered the treasures of hidden wisdom in Christ; concerning Hope, the highest object whereof is that everlasting Goodness which in Christ doth quicken the dead; concerning Charity, the final object whereof is that incomprehensible Beauty which shineth in the countenance of Christ the Son of the living God: concerning these virtues, the first of which beginning here with a weak apprehension of things not seen, endeth with the intuitive vision of God in the world to come; the second beginning here with a trembling expectation of things far removed and as yet but only heard of, endeth with real and actual fruition of that which no tongue can express; the third beginning here with a weak inclination of heart towards him unto whom we are not able to approach, endeth with endless union, the Edition: current; Page: [262] mystery whereof is higher than the reach of the thoughts of men;BOOK I. Ch. xii. 1. concerning that Faith, Hope, and Charity, without which there can be no salvation, was there ever any mention made saving only in that law which God himself hath from heaven revealed? There is not in the world a syllable muttered with certain truth concerning any of these three, more than hath been supernaturally received from the mouth of the eternal God.

Laws therefore concerning these things are supernatural, both in respect of the manner of delivering them, which is divine; and also in regard of the things delivered, which are such as have not in nature any cause from which they flow, but were by the voluntary appointment of God ordained besides the course of nature, to rectify nature’s obliquity withal.

The cause why so many natural or rational Laws are set down in Holy Scripture.XII. When supernatural duties are necessarily exacted, natural are not rejected as needless. The law of God therefore is, though principally delivered for instruction in the one, yet fraught with precepts of the other also. The Scripture is fraught even with laws of Nature; insomuch that Gratian1 defining Natural Right, (whereby is meant the right which exacteth those general duties that concern men naturally even as they are men,) termeth “Natural Right, that which the Books of the Law and the Gospel do contain.” Neither is it vain that the Scripture aboundeth with so great store of laws in this kind: for they are either such as we of ourselves could not easily have found out, and then the benefit is not small to have them readily set down to our hands; or if they be so clear and manifest that no man endued with reason can lightly be ignorant of them, yet the Spirit as it were borrowing them from the school of Nature, as serving to prove things less manifest, and to induce a persuasion of somewhat which were in itself more hard and dark, unless it should in such sort be cleared, the very applying of them unto cases particular is not without most singular use and profit many ways for men’s instruction. Besides, be they plain of themselves or obscure, the evidence of God’s own testimony added to the natural assent of reason concerning the certainty of them, doth not a little comfort and confirm the same.

Edition: current; Page: [263]

BOOK I. Ch. xii. 2.Edition: 1888; Page: [2.]Wherefore inasmuch as our actions are conversant about things beset with many circumstances, which cause men of sundry wits to be also of sundry judgments concerning that which ought to be done; requisite it cannot but seem the rule of divine law should herein help our imbecility, that we might the more infallibly understand what is good and what evil. The first principles of the Law of Nature are easy; hard it were to find men ignorant of them. But concerning the duty which Nature’s law doth require at the hands of men in a number of things particular, so far hath the natural understanding even of sundry whole nations been darkened, that they have not discerned no not gross iniquity to be sin1. Again, being so prone as we are to fawn upon ourselves, and to be ignorant as much as may be of our own deformities, without the feeling sense whereof we are most wretched, even so much the more, because not knowing them we cannot so much as desire to have them taken away: how should our festered sores be cured, but that God hath delivered a law as sharp as the two-edged sword, piercing the very closest and most unsearchable corners of the heart2, which the Law of Nature can hardly, human laws by no means possible, reach unto? Hereby we know even secret concupiscence to be sin, and are made fearful to offend though it be but in a wandering cogitation. Finally, of those things which are for direction of all the parts of our life needful, and not impossible to be discerned by the Edition: current; Page: [264] light of Nature itself; are there not many which few men’s natural capacity, and some which no man’s, hath been able to find out?BOOK I. Ch. xii. 3. xiii. 1. They are, saith St. Augustine1, but a few, and they endued with great ripeness of wit and judgment, free from all such affairs as might trouble their meditations, instructed in the sharpest and the subtlest points of learning, who have, and that very hardly, been able to find out but only the immortality of the soul. The resurrection of the flesh what man did ever at any time dream of, having not heard it otherwise than from the school of Nature? Whereby it appeareth how much we are bound to yield unto our Creator, the Father of all mercy, eternal thanks, for that he hath delivered his law unto the world, a law wherein so many things are laid open, clear, and manifest, as a light which otherwise would have been buried in darkness, not without the hazard, or rather not with the hazard but with the certain loss, of infinite thousands of souls most undoubtedly now saved.

Edition: 1888; Page: [3.]We see, therefore, that our sovereign good is desired naturally; that God the author of that natural desire had appointed natural means whereby to fulfil it; that man having utterly disabled his nature unto those means hath had other revealed from God, and hath received from heaven a law to teach him how that which is desired naturally must now supernaturally be attained. Finally, we see that because those latter exclude not the former quite and clean as unnecessary, therefore together with such supernatural duties as could not possibly have been otherwise known to the world, the same law that teacheth them, teacheth also with them such natural duties as could not by light of Nature easily have been known.

The benefit of having divine laws written.XIII. In the first age of the world God gave laws unto our fathers, and by reason of the number of their days their memories served instead of books; whereof the manifold imperfections and defects being known to God, he mercifully relieved the same by often putting them in mind of that whereof it behoved them to be specially mindful. In which respect we see how many times one thing hath been iterated unto sundry even of the best and wisest amongst them. After Edition: current; Page: [265] that the lives of men were shortened, means more durable to preserve the laws of God from oblivion and corruption grew in use, not without precise direction from God himself. First therefore of Moyses1 it is said, that he “wrote all the words of God2;” not by his own private motion and device: for God taketh this act to himself3, “I have written.” Furthermore, were not the Prophets following commanded also to do the like? Unto the holy evangelist St. John, how often express charge is given, “Scribe,” “Write these things4.” Concerning the rest of our Lord’s disciples, the words of St. Augustine are5, “Quicquid ille de suis factis et dictis nos legere voluit, hoc scribendum illis tanquam suis manibus imperavit.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [2.]Now, although we do not deny it to be a matter merely accidental unto the law of God to be written; although writing be not that which addeth authority and strength thereunto; finally, though his laws do require at our hands the same obedience howsoever they be delivered; his providence, notwithstanding, which hath made principal choice of this way to deliver them, who seeth not what cause we have to admire and magnify? The singular benefit that hath grown unto the world, by receiving the laws of God even by his own appointment committed unto writing, we are not able to esteem as the value thereof deserveth. When the question therefore is, whether we be now to seek for any revealed law of God otherwhere than only in the sacred Scripture; whether we do now stand bound in the sight of God to yield to traditions urged by the Church of Rome the same obedience and reverence we do to his written law, honouring equally and adoring both as divine: our answer is, No. They that so earnestly plead for the authority of tradition, as if nothing were more safely conveyed than that which spreadeth itself by report, and descendeth by relation of former generations unto the ages that succeed, are not all of them (surely a miracle it were if they should be) so simple as thus to persuade themselves; howsoever, if the simple Edition: current; Page: [266] were so persuaded, they could be content perhaps very well to enjoy the benefit, as they account it, of that common error.BOOK I. Ch. xiii. 3. What hazard the truth is in when it passeth through the hands of report, how maimed and deformed it becometh, they are not, they cannot possibly be ignorant. Let them that are indeed of this mind consider but only that little of things divine, which the1 heathen have in such sort received. How miserable had the state of the Church of God been long ere this, if wanting the sacred Scripture we had no record of his laws, but only the memory of man receiving the same by report and relation from his predecessors?

Edition: 1888; Page: [3.]By Scripture it hath in the wisdom of God seemed meet to deliver unto the world much but personally expedient to be practised of certain men; many deep and profound points of doctrine, as being the main original ground whereupon the precepts of duty depend; many prophecies, the clear performance whereof might confirm the world in belief of things unseen; many histories to serve as looking-glasses to behold the mercy, the truth, the righteousness of God towards all that faithfully serve, obey, and honour him; yea many entire meditations of piety, to be as patterns and precedents in cases of like nature; many things needful for explication, many for application unto particular occasions, such as the providence of God from time to time hath taken to have the several books of his holy ordinance written. Be it then that together with the principal necessary laws of God there are sundry other things written, whereof we might haply be ignorant and yet be saved: what? shall we hereupon think them needless? shall we esteem them as riotous branches wherewith we sometimes behold most pleasant vines overgrown? Surely no more than we judge our hands or our eyes superfluous, or what part soever, which if our bodies did want, we might notwithstanding any such defect retain still the complete being of men. As therefore a complete Edition: current; Page: [267] man is neither destitute of any part necessary,BOOK I. Ch. xiv. 1. and hath some parts whereof though the want could not deprive him of his essence, yet to have them standeth him in singular stead in respect of the special uses for which they serve; in like sort all those writings which contain in them the Law of God, all those venerable books of Scripture, all those sacred tomes and volumes of Holy Writ, they are with such absolute perfection framed, that in them there neither wanteth any thing the lack whereof might deprive us of life, nor any thing in such wise aboundeth, that as being superfluous, unfruitful, and altogether needless, we should think it no loss or danger at all if we did want it.

The sufficiency of Scripture unto the end for which it was instituted.XIV. Although the Scripture of God therefore be stored with infinite variety of matter in all kinds, although it abound with all sorts of laws, yet the principal intent of Scripture is to deliver the laws of duties supernatural. Oftentimes it hath been in very solemn manner disputed, whether all things necessary unto salvation be necessarily set down in the Holy Scriptures or no1. If we define that necessary unto salvation, whereby the way to salvation is in any sort made more plain, apparent, and easy to be known; then is there no part of true philosophy, no art of account, no kind of science rightly so called, but the Scripture must contain it. If only those things be necessary, as surely none else are, without the knowledge and practice whereof it is not the will and pleasure of God to make any ordinary grant of salvation; it may be notwithstanding and oftentimes hath been demanded, how the books of Holy Scripture contain in them all necessary things, when of things necessary the very chiefest is to know what books we are bound to esteem holy; which point is confessed impossible for the Scripture itself to teach. Whereunto we may answer with truth, that there is not in the world any art or science, which proposing unto itself an end (as every one doth some end or other) hath been therefore thought defective, if it have not delivered simply whatsoever is needful to the same end; but all kinds of knowledge have their certain bounds and limits; each Edition: current; Page: [268] of them presupposeth many necessary things learned in other sciences and known beforehand.BOOK I. Ch. xiv. 2. He that should take upon him to teach men how to be eloquent in pleading causes, must needs deliver unto them whatsoever precepts are requisite unto that end; otherwise he doth not the thing which he taketh upon him. Seeing then no man can plead eloquently unless he be able first to speak; it followeth that ability of speech is in this case a thing most necessary. Notwithstanding every man would think it ridiculous, that he which undertaketh by writing to instruct an orator should therefore deliver all the precepts of grammar; because his profession is to deliver precepts necessary unto eloquent speech, yet so that they which are to receive them be taught beforehand so much of that which is thereunto necessary, as comprehendeth the skill of speaking. In like sort, albeit Scripture do profess to contain in it all things that are necessary unto salvation; yet the meaning cannot be simply of all things which are necessary, but all things that are necessary in some certain kind or form; as all things which are necessary, and either could not at all or could not easily be known by the light of natural discourse; all things which are necessary to be known that we may be saved, but known with presupposal of knowledge concerning certain principles whereof it receiveth us already persuaded, and then instructeth us in all the residue that are necessary. In the number of these principles one is the sacred authority of Scripture. Being therefore persuaded by other means that these Scriptures are the oracles of God, themselves do then teach us the rest, and lay before us all the duties which God requireth at our hands as necessary unto salvation.

Edition: 1888; Page: [2.]Further, there hath been some doubt likewise, whether containing in Scripture do import express setting down in plain terms, or else comprehending in such sort that by reason we may from thence conclude all things which are necessary. Against the former of these two constructions instance hath sundry ways been given. For our belief in the Trinity, the co-eternity of the Son of God with his Father, the proceeding of the Spirit from the Father and the Son, the duty of baptizing infants: these with such Edition: current; Page: [269] other principal points, the necessity whereof is by none denied, are notwithstanding in Scripture nowhere to be found by express literal mention, only deduced they are out of Scripture by collection.BOOK I. Ch. xiv. 3. This kind of comprehension in Scripture being therefore received, still there is doubt how far we are to proceed by collection, before the full and complete measure of things necessary be made up. For let us not think that as long as the world doth endure the wit of man shall be able to sound the bottom of that which may be concluded out of the Scripture; especially if “things contained by collection” do so far extend, as to draw in whatsoever may be at any time out of Scripture but probably and conjecturally surmised. But let necessary collection be made requisite, and we may boldly deny, that of all those things which at this day are with so great necessity urged upon this church under the name of reformed church-discipline, there is any one which their books hitherto have made manifest to be contained in the Scripture. Let them, if they can, allege but one properly belonging to their cause, and not common to them and us, and shew the deduction thereof out of Scripture to be necessary.

Edition: 1888; Page: [3.]It hath been already shewed, how all things necessary unto salvation in such sort as before we have maintained must needs be possible for men to know; and that many things are in such sort necessary, the knowledge whereof is by the light of Nature impossible to be attained. Whereupon it followeth that either all flesh is excluded from possibility of salvation, which to think were most barbarous; or else that God hath by supernatural means revealed the way of life so far forth as doth suffice. For this cause God hath so many times and ways spoken to the sons of men. Neither hath he by speech only, but by writing also, instructed and taught his Church. The cause of writing hath been to the end that things by him revealed unto the world might have the longer continuance, and the greater certainty of assurance, by how much that which standeth on record hath in both those respects preeminence above that which passeth from hand to hand, and hath no pens but the tongues, no books but the ears of men to record it. The several books of Scripture having had each some several occasion and particular purpose which Edition: current; Page: [270] caused them to be written, the contents thereof are according to the exigence of that special end whereunto they are intended.BOOK I. Ch. xiv. 4. Hereupon it groweth that every book of Holy Scripture doth take out of all kinds of truth, natural1, historical2, foreign3, supernatural4, so much as the matter handled requireth.

Now forasmuch as there hath been reason alleged sufficient to conclude, that all things necessary unto salvation must be made known, and that God himself hath therefore revealed his will, because otherwise men could not have known so much as is necessary; his surceasing to speak to the world, since the publishing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the delivery of the same in writing, is unto us a manifest token that the way of salvation is now sufficiently opened, and that we need no other means for our full instruction than God hath already furnished us withal.

Edition: 1888; Page: [4.]The main drift of the whole New Testament is that which St. John setteth down as the purpose of his own history; 5“These things are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is Christ the Son of God, and that in believing ye might have life through his name.” The drift of the Old that which the Apostle mentioneth to Timothy, 6“The Holy Scriptures are able to make thee wise unto salvation.” So that the general end both of Old and New is one; the difference between them consisting in this, that the Old did make wise by teaching salvation through Christ that should come, the New by teaching that Christ the Saviour is come, and that Jesus whom the Jews did crucify, and whom God did raise again from the dead, is he. When the Apostle therefore affirmeth unto Timothy, that the Old was able to make him wise to salvation, it was not his meaning that the Old alone can do this unto us which live sithence the publication of the New. For he speaketh with presupposal of the doctrine of Christ known also unto Timothy; and therefore first it is said, 7“Continue thou in those things which thou hast learned and art persuaded, knowing of whom thou hast been taught them.” Again, those Scriptures Edition: current; Page: [271] he granteth were able to make him wise to salvation;BOOK I. Ch. xiv. 5. but he addeth, 1“through the faith which is in Christ.” Wherefore without the doctrine of the New Testament teaching that Christ hath wrought the redemption of the world, which redemption the Old did foreshew he should work, it is not the former alone which can on our behalf perform so much as the Apostle doth avouch, who presupposeth this when he magnifieth that so highly. And as his words concerning the books of ancient Scripture do not take place but with presupposal of the Gospel of Christ embraced; so our own words also, when we extol the complete sufficiency of the whole entire body of the Scripture, must in like sort be understood with this caution, that the benefit of nature’s light be not thought excluded as unnecessary, because the necessity of a diviner light is magnified.

Edition: 1888; Page: [5.]There is in Scripture therefore no defect, but that any man, what place or calling soever he hold in the Church of God, may have thereby the light of his natural understanding so perfected, that the one being relieved by the other, there can want no part of needful instruction unto any good work which God himself requireth, be it natural or supernatural, belonging simply unto men as men, or unto men as they are united in whatsoever kind of society. It sufficeth therefore that Nature and Scripture do serve in such full sort, that they both jointly, and not severally either of them, be so complete, that unto everlasting felicity we need not the knowledge of any thing more than these two may easily furnish our minds with on all sides2; and therefore they which add traditions, as a part of supernatural necessary truth, have not the truth, but are in error. For they only plead, that whatsoever God revealeth as necessary for all Edition: current; Page: [272] Christian men to do or believe, the same we ought to embrace, whether we have received it by writing or otherwise;BOOK I. Ch. xv. 1. which no man denieth: when that which they should confirm, who claim so great reverence unto traditions, is, that the same traditions are necessarily to be acknowledged divine and holy. For we do not reject them only because they are not in the Scripture, but because they are neither in Scripture, nor can otherwise sufficiently by any reason be proved to be of God. That which is of God, and may be evidently proved to be so, we deny not but it hath in his kind, although unwritten, yet the selfsame force and authority with the written laws of God. It is by ours acknowledged, “that the Apostles did in every church institute and ordain some rites and customs serving for the seemliness of church-regiment, which rites and customs they have not committed unto writing1.” Those rites and customs being known to be apostolical, and having the nature of things changeable, were no less to be accounted of in the Church than other things of the like degree; that is to say, capable in like sort of alteration, although set down in the Apostles’ writings. For both being known to be apostolical, it is not the manner of delivering them unto the Church, but the author from whom they proceed; which doth give them their force and credit.

Of laws positive contained in Scripture; the mutability of certain of them, and the general use of Scripture.XV. Laws being imposed either by each man upon himself, or by a public society upon the particulars thereof, or by all the nations of men upon every several society, or by the Lord himself upon any or every of these; there is not amongst these four kinds any one but containeth sundry both natural and positive laws. Impossible it is but that they should fall into a number of gross errors, who only take such laws for positive as have been made or invented of men, and holding this position hold also, that all positive and none but positive laws are mutable. Laws natural do always bind; laws positive not so, but only after they have been expressly and Edition: current; Page: [273] wittingly imposed.BOOK I. Ch. xv. 2. Laws positive there are in every of those kinds before mentioned. As in the first kind the promises which we have passed unto men, and the vows we have made unto God; for these are laws which we tie ourselves unto, and till we have so tied ourselves they bind us not. Laws positive in the second kind are such as the civil constitutions peculiar unto each particular commonweal. In the third kind the law of Heraldry in war is positive: and in the last all the judicials which God gave unto the people of Israel to observe. And although no laws but positive be mutable, yet all are not mutable which be positive. Positive laws are either permanent or else changeable, according as the matter itself is concerning which they were first made. Whether God or man be the maker of them, alteration they so far forth admit, as the matter doth exact.

Edition: 1888; Page: [2.]Laws that concern supernatural duties are all positive1, and either concern men supernaturally as men, or else as parts of a supernatural society, which society we call the Church. To concern men as men supernaturally is to concern them as duties which belong of necessity to all, and yet could not have been known by any to belong unto them, unless God had opened them himself, inasmuch as they do not depend upon any natural ground at all out of which they may be deduced, but are appointed of God to supply the defect of those natural ways of salvation, by which we are not now able to attain thereunto. The Church being a supernatural society doth differ from natural societies in this, that the persons unto whom we associate ourselves, in the one are men simply considered as men, but they to whom we be joined in the other, are God, Angels, and holy men. Again the Church being both a society and a society supernatural, although as it is a society it have the selfsame original Edition: current; Page: [274] grounds which other politic societies have,BOOK I. Ch. xv. 3. namely, the natural inclination which all men have unto sociable life, and consent to some certain bond of association, which bond is the law that appointeth what kind of order they shall be associated in: yet unto the Church as it is a society supernatural this is peculiar, that part of the bond of their association which belong to the Church of God must be a law supernatural, which God himself hath revealed concerning that kind of worship which his people shall do unto him. The substance of the service of God therefore, so far forth as it hath in it any thing more than the Law of Reason doth teach, may not be invented of men, as it is amongst the heathens1, but must be received from God himself, as always it hath been in the Church, saving only when the Church hath been forgetful of her duty.

Edition: 1888; Page: [3.]Wherefore to end with a general rule concerning all the laws which God hath tied men unto: those laws divine that belong, whether naturally or supernaturally, either to men as men, or to men as they live in politic society, or to men as they are of that politic society which is the Church, without any further respect had unto any such variable accident as the state of men and of societies of men and of the Church itself in this world is subject unto; all laws that so belong unto men, they belong for ever, yea although they be Positive Laws, unless being positive God himself which made them alter them. The reason is, because the subject or matter of laws in general is thus far forth constant: which matter is that for the ordering whereof laws were instituted, and being instituted are not changeable without cause, neither can they have cause of change, when that which gave them their first institution remaineth for ever one and the same. On the other side, laws that were made for men or societies or churches, in regard of their being such as they do not always continue, but may perhaps be clean otherwise a while after, and so may require to be otherwise ordered than before; the laws of God himself which are of this nature, no man endued with common sense will ever deny to be of a different constitution from the former, in respect of the one’s Edition: current; Page: [275] constancy and the mutability of the other.BOOK I. Ch. xv. 4. And this doth seem to have been the very cause why St. John doth so peculiarly term the doctrine that teacheth salvation by Jesus Christ, 1Evangelium æternum, “an eternal Gospel;” because there can be no reason wherefore the publishing thereof should be taken away, and any other instead of it proclaimed, as long as the world doth continue: whereas the whole law of rites and ceremonies, although delivered with so great solemnity, is notwithstanding clean abrogated, inasmuch as it had but temporary cause of God’s ordaining it.

Edition: 1888; Page: [4.]But that we may at the length conclude this first general introduction unto the nature and original birth, as of all other laws, so likewise of those which the sacred Scripture containeth, concerning the Author whereof even infidels have confessed that He can neither err nor deceive2: albeit about things easy and manifest unto all men by common sense there needeth no higher consultation; because as a man whose wisdom is in weighty affairs admired would take it in some disdain to have his counsel solemnly asked about a toy, so the meanness of some things is such, that to search the Scripture of God for the ordering of them were to derogate from the reverend authority and dignity of the Scripture, no less than they do by whom Scriptures are in ordinary talk very idly applied unto vain and childish trifles: yet better it were to be superstitious than profane; to take from thence our direction even in all things great or small, than to wade through matters of principal weight and moment, without ever caring what the law of God hath either for or against our designs. Concerning the custom of the very Painims, thus much Strabe witnesseth: “Men that are civil do lead their lives after one common law appointing them what to do. For that otherwise a multitude should with harmony amongst themselves concur in the doing of one thing, (for this is civilly to live,) or that they should in any sort manage community of life, it is not possible. Now laws or statutes are of two sorts. For they are either received from gods, or else from men. Edition: current; Page: [276] And our ancient predecessors did surely most honour and reverence that which was from the gods; for which cause consultation with oracles was a thing very usual and frequent in their times1.” Did they make so much account of the voice of their gods, which in truth were no gods; and shall we neglect the precious benefit of conference with those oracles of the true and living God, whereof so great store is left to the Church, and whereunto there is so free, so plain, and so easy access for all men? “By thy commandments2” (this was David’s confession unto God) “thou hast made me wiser than mine enemies.” Again, “I have had more understanding than all my teachers, because thy testimonies are my meditations.” What pains would not they have bestowed in the study of these books, who travelled sea and land to gain the treasure of some few days’ talk with men whose wisdom the world did make any reckoning of? That little which some of the heathens did chance to hear, concerning such matter as the sacred Scripture plentifully containeth, they did in wonderful sort affect; their speeches3 as oft as they make mention thereof are strange, and such as themselves could not utter as they did other things, but still acknowledged that their wits, which did every where else conquer hardness, were with profoundness here over-matched. Wherefore seeing that God hath endued us with sense, to the end that we might perceive such things as this present life doth need; and with reason, lest that which sense cannot reach unto, being both now and also in regard of a future estate hereafter necessary to be known, should lie obscure; finally, with the heavenly support of prophetical revelation, which doth open those hidden mysteries that reason could never have been able to find out4, or to have known the Edition: current; Page: [277] necessity of them unto our everlasting good:BOOK I. Ch. xvi. 1. use we the precious gifts of God unto his glory and honour that gave them, seeking by all means to know what the will of our God is; what righteous before him; in his sight what holy, perfect, and good, that we may truly and faithfully do it.

A conclusion shewing how all this belongeth to the cause in question.XVI. Thus far therefore we have endeavoured in part to open, of what nature and force laws are, according unto their several kinds; the law which God with himself hath eternally set down to follow in his own works; the law which he hath made for his creatures to keep; the law of natural and necessary agents; the law which angels in heaven obey; the law whereunto by the light of reason men find themselves bound in that they are men; the law which they make by composition for multitudes and politic societies of men to be guided by; the law which belongeth unto each nation; the law that concerneth the fellowship of all; and lastly the law which God himself hath supernaturally revealed. It might peradventure have been more popular and more plausible to vulgar ears, if this first discourse had been spent in extolling the force of laws, in shewing the great necessity of them when they are good, and in aggravating their offence by whom public laws are injuriously traduced. But forasmuch as with such kind of matter the passions of men are rather stirred one way or other, than their knowledge any way set forward unto the trial of that whereof there is doubt made; I have therefore turned aside from that beaten path, and chosen though a less easy yet a more profitable way in regard of the end we propose. Lest therefore any man should marvel whereunto all these things tend, the drift and purpose of all is this, even to shew in what manner, as every good and perfect gift, so this very gift of good and perfect laws is derived from the Father of lights1; to teach men a reason why just and reasonable laws are of so great force, of so great use in the world; and to inform their minds with some method of reducing the laws whereof there is present controversy unto their first original causes, that so it may be in every particular ordinance thereby the better discerned, whether the same be reasonable, just, and righteous, or no. Is there any thing which can either be throughly understood or soundly judged of, till the very first causes and principles from which originally Edition: current; Page: [278] it springeth be made manifest?BOOK I. Ch. xvi. 2. If all parts of knowledge have been thought by wise men to be then most orderly delivered and proceeded in, when they are drawn to their first original1; seeing that our whole question concerneth the quality of ecclesiastical laws, let it not seem a labour superfluous that in the entrance thereunto all these several kinds of laws have been considered, inasmuch as they all concur as principles, they all have their forcible operations therein, although not all in like apparent and manifest manner. By means whereof it cometh to pass that the force which they have is not observed of many.

Edition: 1888; Page: [2.]Easier a great deal it is for men by law to be taught what they ought to do, than instructed how to judge as they should do of law: the one being a thing which belongeth generally unto all, the other such as none but the wiser and more judicious sort can perform. Yea, the wisest are always touching this point the readiest to acknowledge, that soundly to judge of a law is the weightiest thing which any man can take upon him2. But if we will give judgment of the laws under which we live; first let that law eternal be always before our eyes, as being of principal force and moment to breed in religious minds a dutiful estimation of all laws, the use and benefit whereof we see; because there can be no doubt but that laws apparently good are (as it were) things copied out of the very tables of that high everlasting law; even as the book of that law hath said concerning itself, “By me kings reign, and” by me “princes decree justice3.” Not as if men did behold that book and accordingly frame their laws; but because it worketh in them, because it discovereth and (as it were) readeth itself to the world by them, when the laws which they make are righteous. Furthermore, although we perceive not the goodness of laws made, nevertheless sith things in themselves may have that which we peradventure discern not, should not this breed a fear in our hearts, how we speak or judge in the worse part concerning that, the unadvised Edition: current; Page: [279] disgrace whereof may be no mean dishonour to Him, towards whom we profess all submission and awe?BOOK I. Ch. xvi. 3, 4. Surely there must be very manifest iniquity in laws, against which we shall be able to justify our contumelious invectives. The chiefest root whereof, when we use them without cause, is ignorance how laws inferior are derived from that supreme or highest law.

Edition: 1888; Page: [3.]The first that receive impression from thence are natural agents. The law of whose operations might be haply thought less pertinent, when the question is about laws for human actions, but that in those very actions which most spiritually and supernaturally concern men, the rules and axioms of natural operations have their force. What can be more immediate to our salvation than our persuasion concerning the law1 of Christ towards his Church? What greater assurance of love towards his Church, than the knowledge of that mystical union, whereby the Church is become as near unto Christ as any one part of his flesh is unto other? That the Church being in such sort his he must needs protect it, what proof more strong than if a manifest law so require, which law it is not possible for Christ to violate? And what other law doth the Apostle for this allege, but such as is both common unto Christ with us, and unto us with other things natural; “No man hateth his own flesh, but doth love and cherish it2?” The axioms of that law therefore, whereby natural agents are guided, have their use in the moral, yea, even in the spiritual actions of men, and consequently in all laws belonging unto men howsoever.

Edition: 1888; Page: [4.]Neither are the Angels themselves so far severed from us in their kind and manner of working, but that between the law of their heavenly operations and the actions of men in this our state of mortality such correspondence there is, as maketh it expedient to know in some sort the one, for the other’s more perfect direction. Would Angels acknowledge Edition: current; Page: [280] themselves “fellow-servants1” with the sons of men, but that both having one Lord, there must be some kind of law which is one and the same to both, whereunto their obedience being perfecter is to our weaker both a pattern and a spur?BOOK I. Ch. xvi. 5. Or would the Apostles, speaking of that which belongeth unto saints as they are linked together in the bond of spiritual society2, so often make mention how Angels therewith are delighted, if in things publicly done by the Church we are not somewhat to respect what the Angels of heaven do? Yea, so far hath the Apostle Saint Paul proceeded, as to signify3, that even about the outward orders of the Church which serve but for comeliness, some regard is to be had of Angels, who best like us when we are most like unto them in all parts of decent demeanour. So that the law of Angels we cannot judge altogether impertinent unto the affairs of the Church of God.

Edition: 1888; Page: [5.]Our largeness of speech how men do find out what things reason bindeth them of necessity to observe, and what it guideth them to choose in things which are left as arbitrary; the care we have had to declare the different nature of laws which severally concern all men, from such as belong unto men either civilly or spiritually associated, such as pertain to the fellowship which nations, or which Christian nations, have amongst themselves, and in the last place such as concerning every or any of these God himself hath revealed by his Holy Word: all serveth but to make manifest, that as the actions of men are of sundry distinct kinds, so the laws thereof must accordingly be distinguished. There are in men operations, some natural, some rational, some supernatural, some politic, some finally ecclesiastical: which if we measure not each by his own proper law, whereas the things themselves are so different, there will be in our understanding and judgment of them confusion.

As that first error sheweth, whereon our opposites in this cause have grounded themselves. For as they rightly maintain that God must be glorified in all things, and that the actions of men cannot tend unto his glory unless they be framed after his law; so it is their error to think that the only law which God hath appointed unto men in that behalf Edition: current; Page: [281] is the sacred Scripture. By that which we work naturally, as when we breathe, sleep, move, we set forth the glory of God as natural agents do1, albeit we have no express purpose to make that our end, nor any advised determination therein to follow a law, but do that we do (for the most part) not as much as thinking thereon. In reasonable and moral actions another law taketh place; a law by the observation whereof2 we glorify God in such sort, as no creature else under man is able to do; because other creatures have not judgment to examine the quality of that which is done by them, and therefore in that they do they neither can accuse nor approve themselves. Men do both, as the Apostle teacheth; yea, those men which have no written law of God to shew what is good or evil, carry written in their hearts the universal law of mankind, the Law of Reason, whereby they judge as by a rule which God hath given unto all men for that purpose3. The law of reason doth somewhat direct men how to honour God as their Creator; but how to glorify God in such sort as is required, to the end he may be an everlasting Saviour, this we are taught by divine law, which law both ascertaineth the truth and supplieth unto us the want of that other law. So that in moral actions, divine law helpeth exceedingly the law of reason to guide man’s life; but in supernatural it alone guideth.

Proceed we further; let us place man in some public society with others, whether civil or spiritual; and in this case there is no remedy but we must add yet a further law. For although even here likewise the laws of nature and reason be of necessary use, yet somewhat over and besides them is necessary, namely human and positive law, together with that law which is of commerce between grand societies, the law of nations, and of nations Christian. For which cause the law of God hath likewise said, “Let every soul be subject to the higher powers4.” The public power of all societies is above every soul contained in the same societies. And the principal use of that power is to give laws unto all that are under it; which laws in such case we must obey, unless there be reason shewed which may necessarily enforce that the law of Reason or of God doth enjoin the contrary. Edition: current; Page: [282] Because except our own private and but probable resolutions be by the law of public determinations overruled, we take away all possibility of sociable life in the world.BOOK I. Ch. xvi. 6, 7. A plainer example whereof than ourselves we cannot have. How cometh it to pass that we are at this present day so rent with mutual contentions, and that the Church is so much troubled about the polity of the Church? No doubt if men had been willing to learn how many laws their actions in this life are subject unto, and what the true force of each law is, all these controversies might have died the very day they were first brought forth.

Edition: 1888; Page: [6.]It is both commonly said, and truly, that the best men otherwise are not always the best in regard of society. The reason whereof is, for that the law of men’s actions is one, if they be respected only as men; and another, when they are considered as parts of a politic body. Many men there are, than whom nothing is more commendable when they are singled; and yet in society with others none less fit to answer the duties which are looked for at their hands1. Yea, I am persuaded, that of them with whom in this cause we strive, there are whose betters amongst men would be hardly found, if they did not live amongst men, but in some wilderness by themselves. The cause of which their disposition so unframable unto societies wherein they live, is, for that they discern not aright what place and force these several kinds of laws ought to have in all their actions. Is there question either concerning the regiment of the Church in general, or about conformity between one church and another, or of ceremonies, offices, powers, jurisdictions in our own church? Of all these things they judge by that rule which they frame to themselves with some show of probability, and what seemeth in that sort convenient, the same they think themselves bound to practise; the same by all means they labour mightily to uphold; whatsoever any law of man to the contrary hath determined they weigh it not. Thus by following the law of private reason, where the law of public should take place, they breed disturbance.

Edition: 1888; Page: [7.]For the better inuring therefore of men’s minds with Edition: current; Page: [283] the true distinction of laws, and of their several force according to the different kind and quality of our actions, it shall not peradventure be amiss to shew in some one example how they all take place.BOOK I. Ch. xvi. 7. To seek no further, let but that be considered, than which there is not any thing more familiar unto us, our food.

What things are food and what are not we judge naturally by sense1; neither need we any other law to be our director in that behalf than the selfsame which is common unto us with beasts.

But when we come to consider of food, as of a benefit which God of his bounteous goodness hath provided for all things living2; the law of Reason doth here require the duty of thankfulness at our hands, towards him at whose hands we have it. And lest appetite in the use of food should lead us beyond that which is meet, we owe in this case obedience to that law of Reason, which teacheth mediocrity in meats and drinks. The same things divine law teacheth also, as at large we have shewed it doth all parts of moral duty, whereunto we all of necessity stand bound, in regard of the life to come3.

Edition: current; Page: [284]

But of certain kinds of food the Jews sometime had, and we ourselves likewise have, a mystical, religious, and supernatural use, they of their paschal lamb and oblations, we of our bread and wine in the Eucharist; which use none but divine law could institute.

Now as we live in civil society, the state of the commonwealth wherein we live both may and doth require certain laws concerning food1; which laws, saving only that we are members of the commonwealth where they are of force, we should not need to respect as rules of action, whereas now in their place and kind they must be respected and obeyed.

Yea, the selfsame matter is also a subject wherein sometime ecclesiastical laws have place; so that unless we will be Edition: current; Page: [285] authors of confusion in the Church, our private discretion, which otherwise might guide us a contrary way, must here submit itself to be that way guided, which the public judgment of the Church hath thought better.BOOK I. Ch. xvi. 8. In which case that of Zonaras concerning fasts may be remembered. “Fastings are good, but let good things be done in good and convenient manner. He that transgresseth in his fasting the orders of the holy fathers,” the positive laws of the Church of Christ, must be plainly told, “that good things do lose the grace of their goodness, when in good sort they are not performed1.”

And as here men’s private fancies must give place to the higher judgment of that Church which is in authority a mother over them; so the very actions of whole churches have, in regard of commerce and fellowship with other churches, been subject to laws concerning food, the contrary unto which laws had else been thought more convenient for them to observe; as by that order of abstinence from strangled and blood2 may appear; an order grounded upon that fellowship which the churches of the Gentiles had with the Jews.

Thus we see how even one and the selfsame thing is under divers considerations conveyed through many laws; and that to measure by any one kind of law all the actions of men were to confound the admirable order, wherein God hath disposed all laws, each as in nature, so in degree, distinct from other.

Edition: 1888; Page: [8.]Wherefore that here we may briefly end: of Law there can be no less acknowledged, than that her seat is the bosom of God, her voice the harmony of the world: all things in heaven and earth do her homage, the very least as feeling her care, and the greatest as not exempted from her power, both3 Angels and men and creatures of what condition soever, though each in different sort and manner, yet all with uniform consent, admiring her as the mother of their peace and joy.

Edition: current; Page: [286]



  • I. An answer to their first proof brought out of Scripture, Prov. ii. 9.
  • II. To their second, 1 Cor. x. 31.
  • III. To their third, 1 Tim. iv. 5.
  • IV. To their fourth, Rom. xiv. 23.
  • V. To their proofs out of Fathers, who dispute negatively from authority of Holy Scripture.
  • VI. To their proof by the Scripture’s custom of disputing from divine authority negatively.
  • VII. An examination of their opinion concerning the force of arguments taken from human authority for the ordering of men’s actions and persuasions.
  • VIII. A declaration what the truth is in this matter.

AS that which in the title hath been proposed for the matter whereof we treat, is only the ecclesiastical law whereby we are governed;BOOK II. Ch. i. 1. so neither is it my purpose to maintain any other thing than that which therein truth and reason shall approve. For concerning the dealings of men who administer government, and unto whom the execution of that law belongeth; they have their Judge who sitteth in heaven, and before whose tribunal-seat they are accountable for whatsoever abuse or corruption, which (being worthily misliked in this church) the want either of care or of conscience in them hath bred. We are no patrons of those things therefore, the best defence whereof is speedy redress and amendment. That which is of God we defend, to the uttermost of that ability which he hath given; that which is otherwise, let it wither even in the root from whence it hath sprung1. Wherefore all these abuses being severed and set apart, Edition: current; Page: [287] which rise from the corruption of men and not from the laws themselves;BOOK II. Ch. i. 2. come we to those things which in the very whole entire form of our church polity have been (as we persuade ourselves) injuriously blamed by them, who endeavour to overthrow the same, and instead thereof to establish a much worse; only through a strong misconceit they have, that the same is grounded on divine authority.

Now whether it be that through an earnest longing desire to see things brought to a peaceable end, I do but imagine the matters whereof we contend to be fewer than indeed they are; or else for that in truth they are fewer when they come to be discussed by reason, than otherwise they seem when by heat of contention they are divided into many slips, and of every branch an heap is made: surely, as now we have drawn them together, choosing out those things which are requisite to be severally all discussed, and omitting such mean specialties as are likely (without any great labour) to fall afterwards of themselves; I know no cause why either the number or the length of these controversies should diminish our hope of seeing them end with concord and love on all sides; which of his infinite love and goodness the Father of all peace and unity grant.

Edition: 1888; Page: [2.]Unto which scope that our endeavour may the more directly tend, it seemeth fittest that first those things be examined, which are as seeds from whence the rest that ensue have grown. And of such the most general is that wherewith we are here to make our entrance: a question not moved (I think) any where in other churches, and therefore in ours the more likely to be soon (I trust) determined. The rather, for that it hath grown from no other root, than only a desire to enlarge the necessary use of the Word of God; which desire hath begotten an error enlarging it further than (as we are persuaded) soundness of truth will bear. For whereas God hath left sundry kinds of laws unto men, and by all those laws the actions of men are in some sort directed; they hold that one only law, the Scripture, must be the rule to direct in all things, even so far as to the “taking up of a rush or straw1.” About which point there should not need any Edition: current; Page: [288] question to grow, and that which is grown might presently end, if they did yield but to these two restraints:BOOK II. Ch. i. 3. the first is, not to extend the actions whereof they speak so low as that instance doth import of taking up a straw, but rather keep themselves at the least within the compass of moral actions, actions which have in them vice or virtue: the second, not to exact at our hands for every action the knowledge of some place of Scripture out of which we stand bound to deduce it, as by divers testimonies they seek to enforce; but rather as the truth is, so to acknowledge, that it sufficeth if such actions be framed according to the law of Reason; the general axioms, rules, and principles of which law being so frequent in Holy Scripture, there is no let but in that regard even out of Scripture such duties may be deduced by some kind of consequence, (as by long circuit of deduction it may be that even all truth out of any truth may be concluded1,) howbeit no man bound in such sort to deduce all his actions out of Scripture, as if either the place be to him unknown whereon they may be concluded, or the reference unto that place not presently considered of, the action shall in that respect be condemned as unlawful. In this we dissent, and this we are presently to examine.

The first pretended proof of the first position out of Scripture, Prov. ii. 9.Edition: 1888; Page: [3.]In all parts of knowledge rightly so termed things most general are most strong. Thus it must be, inasmuch as the certainty of our persuasion touching particulars dependeth altogether upon the credit of those generalities out of which they grow. Albeit therefore every cause admit not such infallible evidence of proof, as leaveth no possibility of doubt or scruple behind it; yet they who claim the general assent Edition: current; Page: [289] of the whole world unto that which they teach, and do not fear to give very hard and heavy sentence upon as many as refuse to embrace the same, must have special regard that their first foundations and grounds be more than slender probabilities.BOOK II. Ch. i. 4. This whole question which hath been moved about the kind of church regiment, we could not but for our own resolution’s sake endeavour to unrip and sift; following therein as near as we might the conduct of that judicial method which serveth best for invention of truth. By means whereof, having found this the head theorem of all their discourses, who plead for the change of ecclesiastical government in England, namely, “That the Scripture of God is in such sort the rule of human actions, that simply whatsoever we do and are not by it directed thereunto, the same is sin;” we hold it necessary that the proofs hereof be weighed. Be they of weight sufficient or otherwise, it is not ours to judge and determine; only what difficulties there are which as yet withhold our assent, till we be further and better satisfied, I hope no indifferent amongst them will scorn or refuse to hear.

Edition: 1888; Page: [4.]First therefore whereas they allege, “That Wisdom” doth teach men “every good way1;” and have thereupon inferred that no way is good in any kind of action unless wisdom do by Scripture lead unto it; see they not plainly how they restrain the manifold ways which wisdom hath to teach men by, unto one only way of teaching, which is by Scripture? The bounds of wisdom are large, and within them much is contained. Wisdom was Adam’s instructor in Paradise; wisdom endued the fathers who lived before the law with the knowledge of holy things; by the wisdom of the law of God David attained to excel others in understanding2; and Salomon likewise to excel David by the selfsame wisdom of God teaching him many things besides the law. The ways of well-doing are in number even as Edition: current; Page: [290] many as are the kinds of voluntary actions; so that whatsoever we do in this world and may do it ill, we shew ourselves therein by well-doing to be wise.BOOK II. Ch. ii. 1. Now if wisdom did teach men by Scripture not only all the ways that are right and good in some certain kind, according to that of St. Paul1 concerning the use of Scripture, but did simply without any manner of exception, restraint, or distinction, teach every way of doing well; there is no art, but Scripture should teach it, because every art doth teach the way how to do something or other well. To teach men therefore wisdom professeth, and to teach them every good way; but not every good way by one way of teaching. Whatsoever either men on earth or the Angels of heaven do kknow, it is as a drop of that unemptiable fountain of wisdom; which wisdom hath diversely imparted her treasures unto the world. As her ways are of sundry kinds, so her manner of teaching is not merely one and the same. Some things she openeth by the sacred books of Scripture; some things by the glorious works of Nature: with some things she inspireth them from above by spiritual influence; in some things she leadeth and traineth them only by worldly experience and practice. We may not so in any one special kind admire her, that we disgrace her in any other; but let all her ways be according unto their place and degree adored.

The second proof out of Scripture. 1 Cor. x. 31.II. That “all things be done to the glory of God2,” the blessed Apostle (it is true) exhorteth. The glory of God is the admirable excellency of that virtue divine, which being made manifest, causeth men and Angels to extol his greatness, Edition: current; Page: [291] and in regard thereof to fear him. By “being glorified” it is not meant that he doth receive any augmentation of glory at our hands, but his name we glorify when we testify our acknowledgment of his glory.BOOK II. Ch. ii. 2. Which albeit we most effectually do by the virtue of obedience; nevertheless it may be perhaps a question, whether St. Paul did mean that we sin as oft as ever we go about any thing, without an express intent and purpose to obey God therein. He saith of himself, “I do in all things please all men, seeking not mine own commodity but” rather the good “of many, that they may be saved1.” Shall it hereupon be thought that St. Paul did not move either hand or foot, but with express intent even thereby to further the common salvation of men? We move, we sleep, we take the cup at the hand of our friend, a number of things we oftentimes do, only to satisfy some natural desire, without present, express, and actual reference unto any commandment of God. Unto his glory even these things are done which we naturally perform, and not only that which morally and spiritually we do. For by every effect proceeding from the most concealed instincts of nature His power is made manifest. But it doth not therefore follow that of necessity we shall sin, unless we expressly intend this in every such particular.

Edition: 1888; Page: [2.]But be it a thing which requireth no more than only our general presupposed willingness to please God in all things, or be it a matter wherein we cannot so glorify the name of God as we should without an actual intent to do him in that particular some special obedience; yet for any thing there is in this sentence alleged to the contrary, God may be glorified by obedience, and obeyed by performance of his will, and his will be performed with an actual intelligent desire to fulfil that law which maketh known what his will is, although no special clause or sentence of Scripture be in every such action set before men’s eyes to warrant it. For Scripture is not the only law whereby God hath opened his will touching all things that may be done, but there are other kinds of laws which notify the will of God, as in the former book hath been proved at large: nor is there any law of God, whereunto he doth not account our obedience his glory. “Do therefore all Edition: current; Page: [292] things unto the glory of God (saith the Apostle), be inoffensive both to Jews and Grecians and the Church of God;BOOK II. Ch. ii. 3. iii. 1. even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own commodity, but many’s, that they may be saved.” In the least thing done disobediently towards God, or offensively against the good of men, whose benefit we ought to seek for as for our own, we plainly shew that we do not acknowledge God to be such as indeed he is, and consequently that we glorify him not. This the blessed Apostle teacheth; but doth any Apostle teach, that we cannot glorify God otherwise, than only in doing what we find that God in Scripture commandeth us to do?

Edition: 1888; Page: [3.]The churches dispersed amongst the heathen in the east part of the world are by the Apostle St. Peter exhorted to have their “conversation honest amongst the Gentiles, that they which spake evil of them as of evil-doers might by the good works which they should see glorify God in the day of visitation1.” As long as that which Christians did was good, and no way subject unto just reproof, their virtuous conversation was a mean to work the heathen’s conversion unto Christ. Seeing therefore this had been a thing altogether impossible, but that infidels themselves did discern, in matters of life and conversation, when believers did well and when otherwise, when they glorified their heavenly Father and when not; it followeth that some things wherein God is glorified may be some other way known than only by the sacred Scripture; of which Scripture the Gentiles being utterly ignorant did notwithstanding judge rightly of the quality of Christian men’s actions. Most certain it is that nothing but only sin doth dishonour God. So that to glorify him in all things is to do nothing whereby the name of God may be blasphemed2; nothing whereby the salvation of Jew or Grecian or any in the Church of Christ may be let or hindered3; nothing whereby his law is transgressed4. But the question is, whether only Scripture do shew whatsoever God is glorified in?

The third Scripture proof, 1 Tim. iv. 5.III. And though meats and drinks be said to be sanctified by the word of God and by prayer5, yet neither is this a Edition: current; Page: [293] reason sufficient to prove, that by Scripture we must of necessity be directed in every light and common thing which is incident into any part of man’s life.BOOK II. Ch. iv. 1. Only it sheweth that unto us the word, that is to say the Gospel of Christ, having not delivered any such difference of things clean and unclean, as the Law of Moses did unto the Jews, there is no cause but that we may use indifferently all things, as long as we do not (like swine) take the benefit of them without a thankful acknowledgment of His liberality and goodness by whose providence they are enjoyed. And therefore the Apostle gave warning beforehand to take heed of such as should enjoin to “abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving by them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving, because it is sanctified by the Word of God and prayer1.” The Gospel, by not making many things unclean, as the Law did, hath sanctified those things generally to all, which particularly each man unto himself must sanctify by a reverend and holy use. Which will hardly be drawn so far as to serve their purpose, who have imagined the Word in such sort to sanctify all things, that neither food can be tasted, nor raiment put on, nor in the world any thing done, but this deed must needs be sin in them which do not first know it appointed unto them by Scripture before they do it.

The fourth Scripture proof, Rom. xiv. 23. T. C. l. i. p. 27. [p. 14.]IV. But to come unto that which of all other things in Scripture is most stood upon; that place of St. Paul they say is “of all other most clear, where speaking of those things which are called indifferent, in the end he concludeth, That ‘whatsoever is not of faith is sin.’ But faith is not but in respect of the Word of God. Therefore whatsoever is not done by the Word of God is sin.” Whereunto we answer, that albeit the name of Faith being properly and strictly taken, it must needs have reference unto some uttered word as the object of belief: nevertheless sith the ground of credit is the credibility of things credited; and things are made credible, either by the known condition and quality of Edition: current; Page: [294] the utterer1, or by the manifest likelihood of truth which they have in themselves;BOOK II. Ch. iv. 2. hereupon it riseth that whatsoever we are persuaded of, the same we are generally said to believe. In which generality the object of faith may not so narrowly be restrained, as if the same did extend no further than to the only Scriptures of God. “Though,” saith our Saviour, “ye believe not me, believe my works, that ye may know and believe that the Father is in me and I in him2.” “The other disciples said unto Thomas, We have seen the Lord;” but his answer unto them was, “Except I see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into them, I will not believe3.” Can there be any thing more plain than that which by these two sentences appeareth, namely, that there may be a certain belief grounded upon other assurance than Scripture: any thing more clear, than that we are said not only to believe the things which we know by another’s relation, but even whatsoever we are certainly persuaded of, whether it be by reason or by sense?

Edition: 1888; Page: [2.]Forasmuch therefore as it is granted that St. Paul doth mean nothing else by Faith, but only “a full persuasion that that which we do is well done4;” against which kind of faith or persuasion as St. Paul doth count it sin to enterprise any thing, so likewise “some of the very heathen have taught5, as Tully, ‘That nothing ought to be done whereof thou doubtest whether it be right or wrong6;’ whereby it appeareth that even those which had no knowledge Edition: current; Page: [295] of the word of God did see much of the equity of this which the Apostle requireth of a Christian man;”BOOK II. Ch. iv. 3. I hope we shall not seem altogether unnecessarily to doubt of the soundness of their opinion, who think simply that nothing but only the word of God can give us assurance in any thing we are to do, and resolve us that we do well. For might not the Jews have been fully persuaded that they did well to think (if they had so thought) that in Christ God the Father was, although the only ground of this their faith had been the wonderful works they saw him do? Might not, yea, did not Thomas fully in the end persuade himself, that he did well to think that body which now was raised to be the same which had been crucified? That which gave Thomas this assurance was his sense; “Thomas, because thou hast seen, thou believest,” saith our Saviour1. What Scripture had Tully for this assurance? Yet I nothing doubt but that they who allege him think he did well to set down in writing a thing so consonant unto truth. Finally, we all believe that the Scriptures of God are sacred, and that they have proceeded from God; ourselves we assure that we do right well in so believing. We have for this point a demonstration sound and infallible. But it is not the word of God which doth or possibly can assure us, that we do well to think it his word. For if any one book of Scripture did give testimony to all, yet still that Scripture which giveth credit to the rest would require another Scripture to give credit unto it, neither could we ever come unto any pause whereon to rest our assurance this way; so that unless beside Scripture there were something which might assure us that we do well, we could not think we do well, no not in being assured that Scripture is a sacred and holy rule of well-doing.

Edition: 1888; Page: [3.]On which determination we might be contented to stay ourselves without further proceeding herein, but that we are drawn on into larger speech by reason of their so great earnestness, who beat more and more upon these last alleged words, as being of all other most pregnant.

Whereas therefore they still argue, “That wheresoever faith is wanting, there is sin;” and, “in every action not Edition: current; Page: [296] commanded faith is wanting;” ergo, “in every action not commanded, there is sin1:”BOOK II. Ch. iv. 4. I would demand of them first, forasmuch as the nature of things indifferent is neither to be commanded nor forbidden, but left free and arbitrary; how there can be any thing indifferent, if for want of faith sin be committed when any thing not commanded is done. So that of necessity they must add somewhat, and at leastwise thus set it down: in every action not commanded of God or permitted with approbation, faith is wanting, and for want of faith there is sin.

Edition: 1888; Page: [4.]The next thing we are to inquire is, What those things be which God permitteth with approbation, and how we may know them to be so permitted. When there are unto one end sundry means; as for example, for the sustenance of our bodies many kinds of food, many sorts of raiment to clothe our nakedness, and so in other things of like condition: here the end itself being necessary, but not so any one mean thereunto; necessary that our bodies should be both fed and clothed, howbeit no one kind of food or raiment nece