Arthur Stephen McGrade (ed.), Richard Hooker: Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, Vol. 2: Book V

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pg 81The form of our liturgy too near the Papists', too far different from that of other reformed Churches, as they pretend.

28. Touching our conformity with the Church of Rome, as also of the difference between some reformed Churches and ours, that which generally has been already answered may serve for answer to that exception which in these two respects they take particularly against the form of our common prayer. To say that in nothing they may be followed which are of the Church of Rome were violent and extreme. Some things they do in that they are men, in that they are wise men and Christian men some things, some things in that they are men misled and blinded with error. As far as they follow reason and truth, we fear not to tread the selfsame steps wherein they have gone, and to be their followers. Where Rome keeps that which is ancienter and better; others whom we much more affect leaving it for newer, and changing it for worse, we had rather follow the perfections of them whom we like not, than in defects resemble them whom we love. | For although they profess they agree with us touching qa prescript form of prayer to be used in the Church, yet in that very form which they say is agreeable to God's word, and the use of reformed Churches, they have by special protestation declared, that their meaning is not it shall be prescribed as a thing whereto they will tie their minister. rIt shall not (they say) be necessary for the minister daily to repeat all these things before mentioned, but beginning with some like confession to proceed to the sermon, which ended he either uses the prayer for all estates before mentioned or else prays as the spirit of God shall move his heart. Herein therefore we hold it much better with the Church of Rome to appoint a prescript form which every man shall be bound to observe, than with them to set down a kind of direction, a form for men to use if they list, or otherwise to change as pleases themselves. | Furthermore the Church of Rome has rightly also considered, that public prayer is a duty entire in itself, a duty requisite to be performed much oftener than sermons can possibly be made. For which cause, as they, so we have likewise a public form how to serve God both morning and evening, whether sermons may be had or no. On the contrary side, their form of reformed prayer shows only what shall be done supon the days appointed for the preaching of the word; with what words the minister shall begin, twhen the hour appointed for the sermon is come; what shall be said or sung before sermon, and what after. So that, according to this form of theirs, it must stand for a rule, No sermon no service. Which oversight occasioned the French spitefully to term pg 82religion in that sort exercised a mere preach. Sundry other more particular defects there are, which I willingly forbear to rehearse, in consideration whereof we cannot be induced to prefer their reformed form of prayer before our own, what Church soever we resemble therein.

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Editor’s Note
q T.C., Bk 1, p. 135.
Editor’s Note
r A book of the form of common prayer tendered to the Parliament, p. 46 [Misnumbered as p. 45; Hall, Fragmenta liturgica, 1:48].
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