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CHAPTER VII

THE CONTENTS OF • THE LAWS OF ECCLE

SIASTICAL POLITY

To give anything like a full and complete analysis of the Eight Books of The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, is quite beyond the scope of this account of Richard Hooker and his great work. The following pages reproduce, with a certain amount of limited comment, the synopsis of the contents of each of the Eight Books which form Hooker's treatise, drawn mainly from Dean Church and Dr. Paget's edition of Hooker's Works.

THE FIRST BOOK

CONCERNING LAWS AND THEIR SEVERAL KINDS

IN GENERAL

I. The cause of writing this general Discourse concern

ing 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.

y. 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 muta

bility of certain of them, and the general use of

Scripture. XVI. A Conclusion, shewing how all this belongeth to the

cause in question. “ The purpose of the First Book is to define the nature of law in general, and to display the universal scheme whereby the eternal law of God is derived and conveyed to all orders of his creatures in regard to all activities of their being. This scheme is a system of laws,

that is to say of directive rules unto goodness of operation’ (Bk. I. viii. § 4), impressed upon God's creatures in diverse ways: by nature, by human enactment, by revelation. In this system the laws of ecclesiastical polity have their place; and the authority they bear, the manner of their enactment, the limits of their scope, can only be rightly estimated when they are seen in their place in the universal scheme.” 1

THE SECOND BOOK

CONCERNING THEIR FIRST POSITION WHO URGE

REFORMATION IN THE CHURCH OF ENG-
LAND: NAMELY, THAT SCRIPTURE IS THE
ONLY RULE OF ALL THINGS WHICH IN THIS
LIFE MAY BE DONE BY MEN
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 nega-

tively 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.

1 Paget, Introduction to the Fifth Book of Hooker, p. 99.

After setting forth in the First Book the true conception of law, and of all life as governed by law, in the Second Book, Hooker “ deals with that deep principle of the Puritans which most broadly and directly traverses this conception—the principle that Scripture 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.' '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' (the Puritans) *hold that one only law, the Scripture, must be the rule to direct in all things' (Bk. II. i. $$ 3, 2). The main ground on which Hooker rejects this principle has been displayed in the First Book: it reappears naturally at many points in the Second.” 1

THE THIRD BOOK

CONCERNING THEIR SECOND ASSERTION, THAT IN

SCRIPTURE THERE MUST BE OF NECESSITY
CONTAINED A FORM OF CHURCH POLITY,
THE LAWS WHEREOF MAY IN NOWISE BE
ALTERED

I. What the Church is, and in what respect Laws of

Polity are thereunto necessarily required.
Paget, Introduction to the Fifth Book of Hooker, p. 103.

1

II. Whether it be necessary that some particular Form

of Church Polity be set down in Scripture, sith
the things that belong particularly to any such

Form are not of necessity to Salvation.
III. That matters of Church Polity are different from

matters of Faith and Salvation, and that they
themselves so teach which are our reprovers for so

teaching
IV. That hereby we take not from Scripture any thing
which thereunto with the soundness of truth

may
be given.
V. Their meaning who first urged against the Polity of

the Church of England, that nothing ought to be
established in the Church more than is com-

manded by the Word of God.
VI. How great injury men by so thinking should offer

unto all the Churches of God.
VII. A shift notwithstanding to maintain it, by inter-

preting commanded, as though it were meant that
greater things only ought to be found set down in
Scripture particularly, and lesser framed by the

general rules of Scripture.
VIII. Another device to defend the same, by expounding

commanded, as if it did signify grounded on
Scripture, and were opposed to things found out

by light of natural reason only.
IX. How Laws for the Polity of the Church may be

made by the advice of men, and how those Laws
being not repugnant to the Word of God are

approved in his sight.
X. That neither God's being the Author of Laws, nor

yet his committing of them to Scripture, is any
reason sufficient to prove that they admit no
addition or change.

H

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