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THE CONTENTS OF • THE LAWS OF ECCLE
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
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-
Scripture, Prov. ii. 9.
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
I. What the Church is, and in what respect Laws of
Polity are thereunto necessarily required. 1 Paget, Introduction to the Fifth Book of Hooker, p. 103.
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.