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 same assertion we cannot hold without doing wrong to all Churches.

6. But let that which they do hereby intend be granted them, let it once stand as consonant to reason, that because we are forbidden to add to the law of God anything, or to take aught from it, therefore we may not for matters of the Church make any law more than is already set down in scripture: who sees not what sentence it shall enforce us to give against all Churches in the world, inasmuch as there is not one, but has had many things established in it, which though the scripture did never command, yet for us to condemn were rashness. Let the Church of God even in the time of our Saviour Christ serve for example to all the rest. yIn their domestic celebration of the passover, which supper they divided (as it were) into two courses, what scripture did give commandment that between the first and the second, he that was Chief should put off the residue of his garments, and keeping on his zfeast-robe only, wash the feet of them that pg 153were with him? What scripture did command them never to lift up their hands unwashed in prayer to God, which custom Aristeas (be the credit of the author more or less) shows wherefore they did so religiously observe? What scripture did command the Jews every festival day to fast till the sixth hour? The custom both mentioned by Josephus in the history of his own life, and aby the words of Peter signified. Tedious it were to rip up all such things as were in that Church established, yea by Christ himself and by his Apostles observed, though not commanded anywhere in scripture.

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Editor’s Note
y John 13.
Editor’s Note
z Cænatorium: about which Matthew 22:12. There about the nuptial cænatorium.
Editor’s Note
a Acts 2[:15?].
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