Friday, November 03, 2006

The Judicious Hooker

Ed Cook at "Ralph the Sacred River" notes that today is the Anglican feast day for Richard Hooker.

First therefore whereas they allege, "That Wisdom" doth teach men "every good way;" 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....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. Paul 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 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 know, it is as a drop of that unemptiable fountain of wisdom; which wisdom hath divinely 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 to their place and degree adored.

[On the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, Book II, par. 4]

You can read Hooker's works online here.

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