Richard Hooker

Arthur Stephen McGrade (ed.), Richard Hooker: Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, Vol. 1: Preface, Books I to IV

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The second proof out of Scripture. 1 Corinthians 10:31.

T.C., Bk 1, p. 27. S. Paul says that whether we eat or drink or whatsoever we do, we must do it to the glory of God. But no man can glorify God in anything but by obedience; and there is no obedience but in respect of the commandment and word of God: Therefore it follows that the word of God directs a man in all his actions.

2. That all things be done to the glory of God, the blessed Apostle (it is true) exhorts. The glory of God is the admirable excellence of that virtue divine, which being made manifest, causes men and Angels to extol his greatness, and in regard thereof to fear him. By being glorified it is not meant that he does receive any augmentation of glory at our hands, but his name we glorify when we testify our acknowledgement of his glory. Which albeit we most effectually do by the virtue of obedience: nevertheless it may be perhaps a question, whether S. Paul did mean that we sin as often as ever we go about anything, without an express pg 107intent and purpose to obey God therein. He says of himself, I do in all things please all men, seeking not my own commodity but rather the good of many, that they may be saved. Shall it hereupon be thought that S. 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 to any commandment of God. To 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 does not therefore follow that of necessity we shall sin, unless we expressly intend this in every such particular. | But be it a thing which requires 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 anything 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 makes 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 has 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 has been proved at large: Nor is there any law of God, whereto he does not account our obedience his glory. Do therefore all things to the glory of God (says the Apostle), be inoffensive both to Jews and Greeks and the Church of God, even as I please all men in all things, not seeking my 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 show, that we do not acknowledge God to be such as indeed he is, and consequently that we glorify him not. This the blessed Apostle teaches: but does any Apostle teach, that we cannot glorify God otherwise, than only in doing what we find that God in Scripture commands us to do? | The Churches dispersed among the Heathen in the East part of the world, are by the Apostle S. Peter exhorted, to have their dconversation honest among the Gentiles, that they which spoke evil of them as of evil-doers, might by the good works which they should see, glorify God in the day of visitation. As long as that which Christians did was good, and no way subject to just reproof; their virtuous conversation was a means to work the Heathens' conversion to Christ. Seeing therefore this had been a thing altogether impossible, but that infidels themselves did discern, in matters of life and conpg 108versation, when believers did well, and when otherwise; when they glorified their heavenly father, and when not: it follows 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 does dishonour God. So that to glorify him in all things, is to do nothing ewhereby the name of God may be blasphemed; nothing fwhereby the salvation of Jew or Greek or any in the Church of Christ may be let or hindered; nothing gwhereby his law is transgressed. But the question is, whether only Scripture do show whatsoever God is glorified in.

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Editor’s Note
d 1 Peter 2:12.
Editor’s Note
e Romans 2:24.
Editor’s Note
f 1 Corinthians 10:32.
Editor’s Note
g Romans 2:23.
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