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whilst sufficient for the purpose for which it was intended, nevertheless requires the help of reason and tradition. He maintains this in contradistinction to the contention of the Puritans, who made “the bare mandate of sacred Scripture the only rule of all good and evil in the actions of mortal men,” 1 vehemently asserting their doctrine of “ The Bible and the Bible only,” as the one exclusive source of teaching and guide to conduct. He sagaciously recognized that this · Bibliolatry,' in exaggerating the purpose and authority of the sacred Scriptures, tended eventually to undermine that authority. He speaks of those who “ 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.” 2 He taught that belief in the supreme authority of Holy Scripture does not dispense with the offices of reason and tradition, in order to its true interpretation. It is the neglect or rejection of this principle, to which Hooker gives so careful and serious expression, which, broadly speaking, lies at the heart of the nonconformist position in England in our own times.
And thus Hooker lays down his thesis, that Holy Scripture nowhere claims to teach men what is Scripture, or to establish its own authority as the word of God. To claim that the Bible is its own witness is to argue in a vicious circle. “Scripture,” he says, “indeed
? Preface, ch. viii. $ 7.
1 Bk. II. ch. viii. $ 6.
* teacheth things above nature, things which our reason by itself could not reach unto. Yet those things also we believe, knowing by reason that the Scripture is the word of God.” i “Scripture teacheth us that saving truth which God hath discovered unto the world by revelation, and it presumeth us taught otherwise that itself is divine and sacred.” 2 Ву experience we all know, that the first outward motive leading men so to esteem of the Scripture is the authority of God's Church.”! Here Hooker follows the well-known sentence of St. Augustine—“I should not have believed the Gospel, unless the authority of the Church had moved me.”
In regard to tradition, Hooker uses the word in a somewhat different sense from that in which Archbishop Laud used it in the early part of the next century—“When the Fathers say, We are to rely upon Scripture only, they are never to be understood with exclusion of Tradition, in what causes soever it may be had. Not but that the Scripture is abundantly sufficient, in and to itself, for all things, but because it is deep, and may be drawn into different senses, and so mistaken, if any man will presume upon his own strength, and go single without the Church.”1 Hooker uses “ tradition” as equivalent to “use ” or “custom”
1 Bk. III. ch. viii. & 12.
2 Ibid. & 13.
3 Ibid. $ 14.
-“We mean by traditions, ordinances made in the prime of Christian religion, established with that authority which Christ hath left to his Church for matters indifferent, and in that consideration requisite to be observed, till like authority see just and reasonable cause to alter them. So that traditions ecclesiastical are not rudely and in gross to be shaken off, because the inventors of them were men." 2 In the same connection he says—“A number of things there are for which the Scripture hath not provided by any law, but left them unto the careful discretion of the Church.” 3 In matters not of perpetual and permanent obligation, “ both much of that which the Scripture teacheth is not always needful; and much the Church of God shall always need which the Scripture teacheth not." 4 Of the authority of the Church in regard to such traditions, Hooker says—“As becometh them that follow with all humility the ways of peace, we honour, reverence, and obey in the very next degree unto God the voice of the Church of God wherein we live.” 1
1 Laud's Conference with Fisher, xvi. 33. 2 Bk. V. ch. Ixv. $ 2.
3 Bk. III. ch. ix. $ 1. "4 Bk. III. ch. xi. $ 20.
THE HOLY EUCHARIST
“ The grace which we have by the holy Eucharist doth not begin but continue life. No man therefore receiveth this sacrament before Baptism, because no dead thing is capable of nourishment. That which groweth must of necessity first live. If our bodies did not daily waste, food to restore them were a thing superfluous. And it may be that the grace of baptism would serve to eternal life, were it not that the state of our spiritual being is daily so much hindered and impaired after baptism. In that life therefore where neither body nor soul can decay, our souls shall as little require this sacrament as our bodies corporal nourishment. But as long as the days of our warfare last, during the time that we are both subject to diminution and capable of augmentation in grace, the words of our Lord and Saviour Christ will remain forcible, • Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.'
i Bk. V. ch. lxxi. $ 7.
“Life being therefore proposed unto all men as their end, they which by baptism have laid the foundation and attained the first beginning of a new life have here their nourishment and food prescribed for continuance of life in them. Such as will live the life of God must eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of man, because this is a part of that diet which if we want we cannot live. Whereas therefore in our infancy we are incorporated into Christ and by Baptism receive the grace of his Spirit without any
or feeling of the gift which God bestoweth, in the Eucharist we so receive the gift of God, that we know by grace what the grace is which God giveth us, the degrees of our own increase in holiness and virtue we see and can judge of them, we understand that the strength of our life begun in Christ is Christ, that his flesh is meat and his blood drink, not by surmised imagination but truly, even so truly that through faith we perceive in the body and blood sacramentally presented the very taste of eternal life, the grace of the sacrament is here as the food which we eat and drink.”—Bk. V. ch. lxvii. § 1.
“ It is on all sides plainly confessed, first, . that this sacrament is a true and a real